CtBF – buttermilk ice cream

This is some of the best ice cream I’ve made. Yes, I just said that.

I decided to get a new ice cream maker because a) it was on sale, b) it’s hot in Arizona so ice cream is good, and c) because everyone, but especially my mom, loves ice cream.

I’ve made quite a number of versions, and even bought David’s The Perfect Scoop. His vanilla custard style was actually my favorite. Up until now. There’s anew favorite in town.

It’s easy! Heat some cream with some sugar and a bit of corn syrup to make it creamier. That’s cooled (supposed to be for 8 hours in the refrigerator, but I cheated and did fewer in the freezer).

The tangy flavor of the buttermilk was fabulous. We had it with berries. I think it could be yummy with many other toppings. I’m even thinking maybe some sweet waffles or maple-something. I guess my idea is not fully baked.

But the texture is beautiful, even the next day. I did set it out for a few minutes to barely soften. Worked perfectly!

This was one of my favorites out of the book. Really delicious!!

CtBF – eggplant caviar

When I was planning on making this, I hoped that my favorite farm stand would have eggplant. At first glance, no. But when it was mentioned, the guy immediately went out and picked a bucketful. Doesn't get fresher than that!!

When I read the recipe, I immediately thought use the grill! So I charred them, then roasted them over indirect heat. No heating up the kitchen!!!

It took a little longer than I thought it would, but was in no hurry.

Once roasted to softness (with a little olive oil and salt), the eggplant is allowed to cool. Then the flesh is scraped from the shells. Then whirred with lemon juice, smoked paprika, salt, I used roasted garlic and some fresh-picked basil. It was temping to use mint as well. I'd love to hear how that turned out if anyone used it. This was really dump and stir, I referenced the recipe, but didn't follow it (honestly not sure how much eggplant I had!). This makes for a very delicious, light spread. It gets a glue of olive oils and a little more smoked paprika for serving. As suggested, I served this with some crostini. A few pickles too. And, since I had a fresh fig from my new tree, I put together another version with ricotta, prosciutto and the fresh figs. All served with some sparkling rosé. It's difficult to beat this as a lovely summer repast. Totally enjoyable, and perfect for a summer afternoon.

You can check out what others thought about this simple but delicious dish, by checking out the Cook the Book Fridays site.

CtBF – herbed fresh pasta

A theme for me is finding – “oh, I have that, but it’s in storage… somewhere!”. And my storage space is not accessible except during the weekdays, regular work hours. Which makes it safe, but not super handy. In said storage unit. Somewhere. Lies a cool pasta attachment for my Kitchenaid. I bought it when I took an Italian cooking class at Sur la Table. And promptly never used it. Well, I actually schlepped it to UT on a visit because that brother thought it would be fun to make (it was). The challenge is that not only does it take up space, but the last thing I really need is a lot of homemade pasta. Another brother’s girlfriend hosted a surprise party at a different SLT where we made pasta as well – it was great. My niece thought it was so fun, so off went the manual one that used to reside in a cupboard somewhere around here – and now resides with her. Hopefully she uses it more than anyone else did. All of which left me pasta-maker-less.

Not getting a lot of encouragement from the recipe description – “the only people I know who are able to do that as well as a machine are Italian grandmothers”. I’m not an Italian grandmother. So my expectations were now fairly low.

I did have semolina available on the other hand, and a garden full of herbs. I decided to hedge my bets and make 1/3 of a recipe (since there were 3 eggs in the original one). As I look at the recipe again, and the photos, apparently I missed an egg yolk!

The missing yolk might have been why I needed to add so much water – that and the fact that I live in Arizona – where, if you didn’t know, it’s pretty dry. ;).

I’m pretty sure that my thickness was kind of like a credit card, as the recipe suggests, but really, not as see-through as the photos.

I was just going to serve it plainly – just some butter, cheese and pepper. Nice thing about fresh pasta is that it doesn’t take long to cook, so once it’s prepared, it’s fast!


You can see what others thought of this pasta recipe by checking links to their posts here.

CtBF – lentil salad (and a hummus make-up)

Seems that I was on the same cadence as a few others. Making (or posting anyway) both of these recipes this week. 

I have often written about how much I learned to love lentils on this blog. Apparently my dog does too because the last time I made them, I made a larger batch and froze some. Who knew my puppy would steal the bag thawing on the countertop? 😡. I’m the only human that lives in the household who shares our affinity however, so I don’t make them quite as often. This was a GREAT reminder about how I need to change that. 

Super simple, and just a tiny bit different than the other recipe I use for lentils – this is exactly a recipe I could make at any time because I almost always have everything on hand. 

The cooked lentils with their vegetables get tossed with a mustardy vinaigrette and allowed to cool. Then toasted walnuts and fresh parsley are added. That’s it!! And it is delicious!! In fact, I think it would be a great thing to make a small batch each week and add it to, or as a side dish for, anything. This would be endlessly adaptable with any veggies on hand, or with different herbs (almost went with basil – a great combo). So! A hit! Which leads me to the hummus. I’ve made it before (for the dukka), but had not done the whole “peal the skins off of the chickpeas” thing. This time I did, after reading about what a difference it made. 

Full disclosure, I used canned. I’ve come to my fondness of chickpeas late (though I have a chickpea tomato salad that has to be made each summer). So, I’m not cooking them from dry. Also, I was swept up in the Cuisinart blade debacle and still have no food processor. The mini one doesn’t cut it. I still have an old-school blender, so after trying to make it smooth with less than success, I put it in the blender. Made all the difference in the world! Silky!!!

My other trick is using Trader Joe’s tahini. It’s complete different than other tahinis. Different texture. Different color. Yummy. 

Anyway, this hummus got the full treatment: dukka, extra virgin olive oil, toasted pepitas and ground sumac. The full Monty. The whole enchilada. The whole nine yards. You probably get the idea. 

This ended up being perfect for an afternoon visit with a good friend who eats vegan. Of course, always my favorite to serve “regular” foods that fit the bill. 
So, a couple of terrific recipes for an afternoon visit with friends. And a great reminder in general. 

CtBF Salted olive crisps (the dog ate my homework)

I’ve been wanting to make this recipe for a while and was excited to try what seemed like a savory biscotti, or one of those yummy crispy crackers that are so good. 

I used some fabulous green olives that I love and some sliced almonds. The dough is simple to put together. I wasn’t really comparing at the time to any other recipes. I did sort of wonder about the batter, but hey!!

This was pretty fun! I baked the bread, and turned it out to cool just a bit before cutting. And that’s when things got a little sideways. I used my wonderful bread knife, and made what I thought were quite even, thin slices. These went back into the oven to crisp. I couldn’t get them to real crisp. Hmmmm… I’m sure not sliced thin enough. But even after sitting out. They looked so pretty! And then. It all went awry. Who knew that my sweet little puppy Milo had grown tall enough that he could steal things off the counter???

I returned from errands to find nothing on the counter and a few telltale crumbs. (It’s bad when you look up and there’s a stray half cracker at your feet! No amount of tail-wagging will make that disappear). Milo’s partner in crime, Molly, obviously helped. They “got” to skip dinner given the sheer quantity of crackers they ate! Needless to say they felt a lot better the next day. 

Truth be told, they weren’t my favorites. I kept trying them (until they were stolen of course), but they didn’t grab me. Might have been the olives I used. Still, the texture was off a bit. But what a great concept!!! I think they’d be fun to try again. Hopefully the dogs won’t get the homework again, though!! 

CtBF -green beans with snail butter

A day behind on this. But such is life. This was the “extra” recipe for the month. Essentially steamed green beans treated in the same way as escargot  – that is with butter and a lot of garlic. Ok, with a bit of parsley and some salt and pepper. 

I knew that it could be a challenging pairing, so I went with chicken roasted with some rosemary and lemon, and a lemon, garlic, honey and soy glaze. A degree or two of separation. 

Don’t let the photos fool you. Pretty much an epic fail. Maybe my beans weren’t that great. Dunno. But when your dining companion can hardly keep the beans down. Not so good! ( there is pie and ice cream – thank goodness!!). 

So, not a fan. And the reaction notwithstanding, I think that a fabulous vegetable doesn’t really need this treatment. Snails/escargot -sure! I’ve had lobster chunks served with this treatment. Fabulous!!! I’m a veggie fan, so this won’t get a nod from me. I’d rather have them prepared a bit more “naked”. Im actually happy with just a bit of grey salt, sand butter! 

I’m sure others have had better experiences. You can find them here

CtBF – Caramel pork ribs (plus)

Like several others of the CtBF tribe, I have fallen behind on my cooking from the book, and my posts. But here I am – on a Friday no less – the actual Friday that it was supposed to be posted – with my thoughts on the Caramel pork ribs.

Unfortunately, I didn’t take process pictures. Oh well. These are supposed to be a refined, French version of David’s memory of Texas ribs. They are actually quite popular around here, so I’ve kind of been perfecting my method, which is not much like these ones. But I felt the pressure to get these done – so here we go!

The basis of David’s sauce is caramel. With beer and bourbon, and a few of the typical suspects like mustard and ketchup and vinegar, plus some seasonings. I might have done my caramel just a bit too long, not sure – it’s usually designed to add just a little of that burned sugar note. I made mine in a separate pan, and then poured it over the ribs in a dutch oven. I made the full recipe, though had a bit fewer than half of the ribs.

I dutifully cooked the ribs, and uncovered them for the last. Somehow I think I got sidetracked, and let them cook just a bit long. They were not burned (though the picture looks suspiciously dark), but the sauce was more thick than saucy – not really right.


The caramel sauce did give them a good hue, but while fairly tender, not my favorites. The method, of just putting the rib sections in a covered pot, with sauce, and baking for a while worked fairly well. The ribs get turned a few times, then for the last 30 minutes, the cover is off. Still easier to do my method on the grill (getting a nice brown on them, then into a pan and direct heat for the remainder and sauce at the end). But fun to try something new. I was pretty happy that I made a smaller quantity as well, but ribs are generally pretty good. I threw the additional sauce over the leftovers which I think will make them a bit nicer.

The other dish today? Coq au vin – or chicken in wine sauce. I made this the weekend after it was scheduled, and of course, didn’t get it posted. Bad Candy!

For this one – I do have a lot of progress photos. Everything from the purple coloring of the marinating chicken to the end product.

This was pretty good. I assume that this recipe was developed to use an older chicken and local wine to create something tasty. It was good. I also have made one using Riesling instead of the traditional burgundy.

I’ve been doing other cooking, and a bit of baking before it heats up too much. Lemon meringue pies, a lemon blueberry cake, cinnamon swirl bread… this list goes on a bit.

Happy to be back cooking with the crew! It will take me a bit of time to catch up on all of your posts, but I’ll get there! To find out what others thought of the caramel ribs, you can click here.