Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Main Street Caffe

Okay, so this isn't my recipe--I didn't even make it. But I know the woman who did, so that counts, right?  I went to high school with Andi.  She opened a cafe in our hometown about six months ago and has been posting the mouth watering specials on facebook ever since, making me wish I could swing by for lunch.  So while I was in Idaho for spring break I hightailed it over there with my mother and two sisters.

There is just something great about a small town cafe, and this one has certainly got charm--and fabulous fare to please the pickiest palate.

We each ordered a different panini and then split them four ways so we could try each one.  It was a tough call, but I am always partial to anything with basil in it, so my choice was also my favorite.

My oldest sister ordered the Turkey Pesto:

My other sister ordered theTurkey Bacon Avocado (probably my second favorite. . . because it has avocado on it!):

My mother ordered the Southwest Turkey:

And I ordered the Caprese Sandwich--YUM:

She added balsamic vinegar to her tomato, basil, mozzarella sandwich.  I'm going to try that next time I make myself one. . . like tomorrow! Now I'm hungry. . .

Three of us ordered our her spinach salad with cider vinaigrette, which was oh-so-good!  I would say it was definitely worth the trip.  I will have to stop by next time I am in town.  Check out Main Street Caffe HERE. Or their facebook page HERE (where Andi often posts the special of the day to get your mouth watering.)

And just so you know, I often take pictures of my food--and not just in my own kitchen.  People sometimes give me strange looks in restaurants when I whip out my camera (which is no small piece of a equipment) and snap pictures of my food before I eat it!

Do you ever take pictures of your food in public?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Lavender Ice Cream

I have often heard people speak of using lavender in cooking.  Lavender cookies have been on my "try" list for a while, but when I saw the movie "It's Complicated" recently, I decided I needed to try lavender ice cream.  The main character owned a bakery and spent half the show making lovely, mouth-watering creations--one of which was lavender ice cream.  It sounded interesting.  Or maybe I just wished for it to be summer so badly that the thought of making any ice cream created visions of warm weather and blue skies.

And while it may be difficult to reconcile the idea of lavender being edible, as opposed to something you might find in soap, or lotion, it has a subtle smoothness that combines with the other flavors to create a soothing, tea-like quality that is oh-so-yummy.  

You will need:

2 cups heavy cream
4 cups whole milk
4 Tbs dried, edible lavender flowers (for locals, I found mine at Chuck's Produce and Street Market)
3/4 cup honey
4 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla
juice of 1 lime (1-2 Tbs)
1 tsp lime zest
1/2 tsp salt

Heat the milk and cream in a pot over medium heat until very warm, but not boiling.  Turn off heat and add lavender.  Cover and let steep for 20-30 minutes.  Then strain out flowers and discard them.  

Return milk/cream to pot, add honey and heat on medium low until honey has dissolved.  Do not allow to boil.

Beat egg yolks, vanilla, lime juice, lime zest and salt until light creamy yellow.  While stirring, slowly add 1 cup of warm milk mixture to egg mixture.  When well mixed, add the milk/egg mixture back into pot, stirring.  

Heat on medium low until it thickens slightly (5 - 8 minutes).  It should lightly coat the back of your spoon.  Strain to remove any possible lumps that may have formed.

Cool in refrigerator for four hours, or until no longer warm.  

Freeze and churn according to your ice cream maker's instructions.

Yield: 2 quarts

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Lime Bars

I am a girl who loves the changing of the seasons. . . but I am almost always ready for them to change before they are.  About this time of year I start craving spring in a major way.  It pops up in my clothing, my house keeping and decorating, my desire to hit the yard work, and in my kitchen.  I get the urge to grill things and make lots of citrus-y dishes.  So when my husband declared the need for dessert tonight, I vetoed the fudge brownies or cookies and suggested lime bars.  Yum.  So glad I did.  And since we had given in to the urge to buy raspberries yesterday, I threw some in for good measure.

I have posted many other citrus desserts, but this recipe is super quick, in case you get a hankering for spring and you need it now.

You will need:

1 1/2 cup of cracker crumbs (typically graham cracker, but I had none, so I crushed up lemon Girl Scout  cookies--yum)
6 Tbs butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar (which I didn't add--I figured with the lemon cream filling I was covered!)
Zest of one lime


2 large egg yolks
1  14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup lime juice (about 4-5 limes)

Heat your oven to 350 degrees.

For the crust, crush your crackers. . .

Then mix with your zest, butter and sugar.

Butter an 8x8 inch pan.  If you want to easily remove the bars from the pan after they have baked, line the bottom with parchment paper and up two (opposing) sides--so you can lift them out before cutting.

Pour the crust into the pan and press with a spoon or fork until evenly covering the bottom. Bake for 10 minutes. let cool slightly.

For the filling, combine the yolks, sweetened condensed milk and lime juice.

Pour over crust and bake for 15 minutes, or until set.  Cool completely.  If you used parchment, remove uncut bars from pan by lifting the parchment. Cut into squares, garnish as desired, and serve.

I garnished mine with whipped cream, a little more lime zest, and fresh raspberries.  It was springtime in my mouth.  Enjoy!