Sunday, July 11, 2010

Banana Buttermilk Ice Cream

I still had some overripe bananas after making the pumpkin banana muffins, and I had leftover buttermilk from making ricotta last week.  I found this great recipe that used up exactly what I had leftover!  The ice cream is really good - it's nice and light and has a great tang from the buttermilk.  And it's so easy to make - what could be easier than blending and pouring?  I think next I'm going to have to try Nicole's caramelized banana buttermilk ice cream recipe.

Banana Buttermilk Ice Cream (from Baking Bites)
2 large ripe bananas (1 cup puree)
1/2 cup vanilla sugar
2 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 tsp vanilla extract

Puree the bananas and sugar in a blender.  Add in the buttermilk and vanilla and continue to puree.  Pour into the frozen ice cream bowl and mix according to manufacturer's instructions.
Keep in airtight containers in the freezer.

Pumpkin Banana Muffins

I used to make this bread all the time while I was in undergrad.  I have recently been craving pumpkin bread, and I had some overripe bananas to use up.  I halved the recipe, and made it into muffins instead.  It made 12 regular muffins and 12 mini muffins (that were a bit on the small side).  Now I just have to figure out what to do with the leftover pumpkin!

Pumpkin Banana Muffins (adapted from Spark People)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tbsp canola oil
2 eggs
1 overripe banana, mashed
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup buttermilk
Nonstick cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350 F.
Mix the flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt and pumpkin pie spice in a large bowl, and make a well in the center.
Mix the sugars, oil, eggs, banana, pumpkin and buttermilk well, in a medium bowl.
Pour the liquid into the dry mixture, and fold together with a spatula until just combined.
Spray a standard muffin pan and a mini muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray.  Using an ice cream scooper, fill the standard muffin pan.  If there is leftover batter, fill the mini muffin pan.
Bake regular muffins 20 minutes and mini muffins 10 minutes.

Free Seafood

The greatest thing happened last weekend!  I was grilling at my friend's place, and went to the grocery store to buy some fresh tuna.  While I was checking out, some of the items from the person in front of me ended up in my bag.  My friend had driven me there, and she brought the bags in, so I didn't actually notice until later that night that I had almost 3 lbs of fresh sea scallops and shrimp!!  I was so so excited!  Especially since I've never cooked scallops before, and I love when I'm forced to try something new.
I found a great recipe for the scallops and adapted it to include the shrimp.  It was amazing.  I actually raved about it so much that my parents are making it tonight.
I changed it a decent amount since I didn't have some of the ingredients.  I'd be curious to try it out sometime soon with the actual ingredients.
The one change I made that I'll probably keep, is that I removed the scallops from the pan after they were seared, and then made the sauce.  The original recipe added the sauce ingredients while the scallops were still in the pan, and I thought that would remove some of the crispy edges.

Scallops Provencal (adapted from One Perfect Bite):
2 lbs fresh sea scallops
1 lb fresh shrimp, 10-15 count
all purpose flour
6 tbsp unsalted butter, divided
1 cup chopped onions
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2/3-1 cup vegetable stock
1 lemon, cut in half

Peel the shrimp if they're in the shell, and pat all of the seafood dry.  Put the flour, s&p in a medium bowl, add the scallops, and toss gently until they are all coated.
Heat 3 tbsp butter in a large skillet over high heat.  When it starts to sizzle, turn the heat to medium, and place as many scallops that will fit in.  Once you place them down, don't move them for about 2 minutes, then flip them over once they are browned on the bottom.  When they are browned on both sides, remove them to a plate.  Cook the remaining scallops, if necessary, and also remove them to a plate.  Cover the plate with foil to keep warm.
Add the remaining butter, onions and garlic.  Add enough of the vegetable stock to make a slightly thick sauce.  Place the shrimp in the sauce in a single layer.
When pink on one side, flip them, and add the scallops back in.  Mix gently and cook until heated through, and the shrimp are pink on both sides.
Serve with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

Three Cheese and Zucchini Galette

So this is the recipe I made that ricotta for.  It was so good!  Extremely buttery.  The crust of the edges was the perfect amount of buttery, but the underneath was a bit too much.  But I would be afraid that the edges wouldn't be as good if I decreased the butter.
This was one of those recipes where I thought it was a failure when it was in the oven.  I took it out, and there was a pool of liquid around the edges.  I'm not sure if it was juice from the zucchini, olive oil seeping out, or just all of that butter.  Whatever it was though, after 5-10 minutes out on the counter, it disappeared! The crust just soaked it all up.  (See pics below if you don't believe me.)
The cheeses worked together really well - the ricotta made it really light, and it got melty from the other two.
I wish I put more of the zucchini on.  I didn't roll the crust thin enough (I had a few issues with it), so I didn't have as much room for the zucchini, and I always forget how much vegetables cook down.  I ended up with a lot of leftover zucchini that I just snacked on.  Next time I'll pile them on.  This happens whenever I make any kind of pie - I think the filling is going to overflow.

Three Cheese and Zucchini Galette (from Smitten Kitchen):
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour, chilled in the freezer for 30 minutes
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick cold unsalted butter, diced and then chilled again
1/4 cup sour cream (I didn't have any, so I used greek yogurt)
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup ice water

2 medium zucchini, cut into 1/4 inch rounds
1 tbsp + 1 tsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup Ricotta cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 cup Mozzarella cheese, shredded

1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tsp water

Whisk together the flour and salt in a large bowl.  Sprinkle the butter over the combination, and cut in with a pastry blender, until the mixture resembles coarse meal with small pieces of butter.
In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream (or yogurt), water and lemon juice, and add to the butter/flour mixture.
Mix in the liquid to the dry using a wooden spoon until large lumps form.  Dump out on a piece of plastic wrap, and form into a disc - don't overwork the dough.  Cover with the plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Spread the zucchini out over several layers of paper towels.  Sprinkle with salt, and let sit for 30 minutes.    Blot the top of the zucchini with a paper towel before using.
In a small bowl, mix the olive oil and garlic together, set aside.
In a separate bowl, mix the cheeses and 1 tsp of the garlicky olive oil together, season to taste with s&p, and set aside.
Preheat oven to 400 F.  On a floured piece of parchment paper, roll out the dough to a 12-inch round.  Spread the cheese mixture over it, leaving a 2-inch border.  Spread out the zucchini in overlapping concentric circles, starting from the outside.  Drizzle the remaining olive oil over the filling.  Fold the border over the filling.    Brush the crust with the egg yolk.
Place the parchment paper with the galette on a cookie sheet, and cook for 30-40 minutes, or until the crust is golden, the cheese is bubbling, and the zucchini has wilted.
Let stand for 5 minutes, then serve.

Homemade Ricotta!

Smitten Kitchen very recently posted about a zucchini galette, and I decided that I just HAD to make it.  It calls for ricotta as well, and since I've seen homemade ricotta posted on so many blogs, I figured I would give it a try (and if it didn't work, I was planning on buying it from the store).  I discovered right away that there are many ways to make it.  The "real" way is to use the whey leftover from making homemade mozzarella.  The next best thing is to cook soured milk, using either buttermilk, white vinegar or lemon juice.  I decided to use buttermilk, and it worked really well.  Be careful when draining it - I think mine got a little too dry.  I think next time I might try using white vinegar.  That's something that's easier to always have on hand.

Homemade Ricotta:
1 quart whole milk
1 cup buttermilk (I used nonfat because that's all the store had)

Line a colander or large strainer with cheesecloth, folded over so it's at least 4 layers thick.  If you want to save the whey, put a bowl underneath.
Combine both milks in a heavy medium sized saucepan, over high heat.
Stir frequently, to prevent the bottom from scorching, until you start to see some curds floating to the top.  Once there are a lot of curds, turn the heat off.
Use a slotted spoon to transfer the curds to the cheesecloth.  (Some advised to only skim curds off the top, some said to pour all of the contents of the pot in.  I did one batch of using just the skimmed curds, and another pouring the rest in, and I didn't notice any major differences.)
Gather the edges of the cheesecloth and tie together, and hang for about 15 minutes, more or less depending on desired level of moisture.
If not using immediately, put in an airtight container in the fridge.