Wednesday, July 22
We are in New Jersey right now visiting my family. My sister-in-law Cora introduced us to a new way to eat chocolate for lunch yesterday. I’m always up for making chocolate into a meal, so I was 100% on board!
Cora had recently taken her little girl and my niece Sophie to a cafe called Marigolds. They ordered the Nutella panini off the menu and discovered something quite delicious – a panini made with Nutella and fresh sliced strawberries!
Of course we had to try making it on our own and that’s what we had for lunch yesterday! And before you start thinking it’s all weird that this is an actual sandwich that you can have for lunch (my mom couldn’t quite wrap her brain around it), this is basically a PB&J if you really think about it. Nutella is a hazelnut spread, so that’s just like peanut butter, right? And fresh strawberries are way healthier than sugar-laden jam. So, you know. totally the same and way healthier! (Okay, not totally, but whatever.)
The cafe even served the Nutella panini with homemade potato chips. This is LUNCH, people. I swear!
Whether you agree that this makes a healthy and nutritious lunch or not, I do think you’ll agree it’s delicious. Seriously, DELICIOUS. You’re welcome.Grilled Nutella and Strawberry SandwichesPrep timeCook timeTotal timeAs created by my sister-in-law Cora Wallin, inspired by Marigold's in Summit, NJAuthor: Jane MaynardIngredients
- Good crusty bread
- Fresh sliced strawberries
- Spread Nutella on 2 slices of bread.
- Layer sliced strawberries on one side then put the sandwich together.
- Butter the outside of both slices of the sandwich and grill in a pan over medium heat until golden brown (like a grilled cheese sandwich) or cook in a panini maker.
Thursday, May 28
Summer is here! Well, sort of. Right now where we live it’s actually super cloudy, cool and misty every day. So, summer? Not so much. But if I do things like make lemonade then it will at least kinda sorta feel like summer, right?
Today I have an excellent use for the rhubarb simple syrup I shared with you last week: strawberry rhubarb lemonade. This über flavorful lemonade was a hit with every member of my family and we drank every drop. In fact, I made this last week to photograph then proceeded to wipe my camera’s memory card clean before downloading the photos. When I mentioned today that I had to remake the lemonade for photos, the kids and Nate alike were more than happy I was making more so soon and were glad that I made that mistake last week!Strawberry Rhubarb LemonadePrep timeTotal timeSummer in a glass!Author: Jane MaynardServes: 6-8Ingredients
- 1 cup rhubarb simple syrup
- 4 cups water
- 1 cup lemon juice
- ½ pound strawberries, washed and hulled
- Place 1 cup of the water and the strawberries in a blender. Blend until pulverized. POW!
- Mix together the strawberry puree with all the other ingredients in a large pitcher.
- Serve with lots of ice!
Thursday, April 18
I just finished my annual task of making strawberry freezer jam for the upcoming year! I ended up with twenty-two 2-cup containers, but I’m worried that it might not be enough jam. I’m probably going to have to make more since, apparently, I’m raising a wild pack of rabid jam eaters.
I write about my jam escapades every year and I find that I’m constantly finding new little tips that help out with the process. This year is no exception! You know how you’re not supposed to puree the fruit because then it won’t gel properly? (If you don’t know that, true story.) My least favorite part of making strawberry jam is smashing the strawberries. They’re tricky little buggers. I noticed in the directions this year, though, that it said you could use a food processor. You simply process the fruit to a fine chop, but do not puree. Since I finally have a food processor, I couldn’t wait to give it a try.
Yes, that container is almost empty! It’s been two days. These kids are rabid, I tell ya. RABID.
Using the food processor worked beautifully. The whole process went SO MUCH FASTER and I liked the final texture of the jam a lot. The fruit is more uniform in size and there aren’t any of those giant berries floating around in the jam. (I’m sure some people like the giant berries in the jam, but I’m not a fan.) So, that’s this year’s tip! Don’t be scared to use your food processor — just make sure you don’t process too much and you’ll be good!
P.S. Those berries got JAMMED. (Please, someone, get the joke! Here, maybe this will help…) Those berries got retro-jammed! (Now? Anyone?)
Thursday, June 14
Apparently it’s ice cream week at the Maynards! I seriously wasn’t planning on making more ice cream…and then I did. My girls wanted strawberry ice cream. How could I say no?
Since the first two Cook’s Illustrated ice cream recipes were such delicious successes, I went ahead and used their strawberry recipe as well. It’s a small labor of love, but it was worth it. And the girls helped me out with a bunch of the steps, which was really helpful and fun!
The girls both declared without hesitation that this was their favorite homemade ice cream so far. I still think it’s a three-way tie between chocolate, vanilla and strawberry, but the strawberry ice cream was pretty darn amazing and perfect for summertime!Homemade Strawberry Ice CreamAuthor: From the Cook's Illustrated Cookbook with my ample notes addedIngredients
- 1 pound strawberries, hulled and sliced thin (3¼ cups) (Jane note: I will slice AND chop the strawberries next time. Even with all our mashing there were still some pretty big strawberry chunks in the final product that I would have liked to be smaller)
- 1¼ cups sugar
- Pinch salt
- ⅓ cups heavy cream
- 1¼ cups whole milk
- 6 large egg yolks
- 3 tablespoons vodka (Jane note: left this out because I didn't have it)
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Combine strawberries, ½ cup sugar and salt in bowl. Mash berries gently with potato masher until slightly broken down. Let stand, stirring occasionally, until berries have released their juice and sugar has dissolved, 40-45 minutes. (Jane note: like I said, we mashed a lot - I think smaller berry pieces are better - and I also think my berries only sat for about 30 minutes - I made sure the sugar was dissolved, but I don't think they sat as long as 40 minutes.)
- Place fine-mesh strainer over medium bowl and set over larger bowl of ice water. Combine cream, milk and ½ cup sugar in medium saucepan. (Jane note: I also added ¼ teaspoon of salt to the cream mixture at this point.) Heat over medium-high heat, stirring occaionally, until mixture is steaming steadily and registers 175 degrees, 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat. (Jane note: as soon as we hit 175 I took it off - it wasn't steaming all that much)
- While cream mixture heats, whisk egg yolks and remaining ¼ cup sugar in bowl until smooth, about 30 seconds. Slowly whisk half of heated cream mixture into egg yolk mixture, ½ cup at a time. Return mixture to saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and registers 180 degrees, 7-14 minutes. (Jane note: I never hit 180...it got stuck around 177 and was taking forever, but figured we were good and everything seemed to work fine.) Immediately strain custard through fine-mesh strainer and let cool over bowl of ice water to room temperature, stirring occasionally.
- While custard is cooling, transfer berries to medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until berries are softened and broken down, about 3 minutes. Strain berries, reserving juice. Transfer berries to small bowl, stir in vodka and lemon juice, then let cool to room temp, cover, and refrigerate until cool. Stir vanilla and reserved juice into cooled custard, cover and refrigerate until custard registeres 40 degrees, at least 3 hours or up to 24 hours. (Jane note: We were too impatient to wait for 40 degrees - we waited at least 3 hours and then went for it. The custard was definitely cool, so I figured it would be okay. And, it was.)
- Transfer custard to ice-cream machine and churn until mixture resembles thick soft-serve ice cream, 25-30 minutes. Add berries and continue to churcn until fully incoporated and berries are slightly broken down, about 1 minute. Transfer ice cream to a chilled airtight container and freeze until firm, at least 2 hours. (Jane note: or just eat it right away because it's awesome ANY time!)
Tuesday, August 24
Okay, you may be thinking the title of this post is nuts, since summer is over. Apparently Mother Nature doesn’t think so. After a downright cold summer here in the Bay Area, the last two days (including the first day of school) have been steamy hot. What the? So, despite the fact I’m annoyed I can’t take Cate swimming and none of her new school clothes work in hot weather, at lease I can eat my way out of my sorrows.
How about a strawberry milkshake? Sounds good to me!
People, my milkshakes last night rocked. Actually, I would say that they brought all the boys in the yard. And I can teach you how to make it. But I have to charge.
Okay, now that I have that out of my system, and that song is permanently in all of our heads, on to the recipe. The texture for our strawberry milkshakes last night was perfect. Hopefully this “recipe” comes out just as well for you!Strawberry MilkshakesPrep timeTotal timeAuthor: Jane MaynardServes: 4Ingredients
- 2 handfuls of strawberries
- 1-2 tablespoons sugar
- ½ - 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup milk
- 1 large handful crushed ice
- 7 or so large scoops of vanilla ice cream
- If you have a regular blender, slice strawberries. If you have a nice heavy-duty blender, just halve the berries. Place in a bowl, sprinkle with vanilla extract and coat with sugar. Let sit for at least 20 minutes (can be refrigerated for later).
- Place the following ingredients in the blender in this order: Milk, Ice, Ice Cream, then Strawberries. Blend well.
- This recipe made four 10-oz milkshakes.
Friday, October 10
I’ve decided to start a new category here at This Week for Dinner – Simple Side Dishes. I don’t always put much thought into side dishes, and I would guess that I’m not alone. Sometimes all it takes is for someone to remind me of a side or point out an easy way to prepare a vegetable and I’m good to go. So, whenever I discover or re-discover a simple (e.g. fast, minimal ingredients, easy prep) side, I’ll be sure to share it with you!
How about a nice salad today?Simple Side Dishes: Spinach Salad a la LindsayFrom Lindsay RutmanAuthor: Jane MaynardIngredients
- Candied pecans (yes, candy-ing them is pretty easy, but to keep it really simple, jut buy them!)
- Feta cheese
- Strawberries, sliced
- Poppyseed Dressing (or Brianna’s Blush Wine Vinaigrette)
3.2.2807Poppyseed DressingFrom Lindsay Rutman Feel free to just buy poppyseed dressing (Brianna’s is AWESOME, by the way)…but if you WANT to make your own, this is some dang good dressingAuthor: Jane MaynardIngredients
- Mix together!
- ¾ tablespoon poppy seeds
- ⅓ cup vinegar
- ⅓ cup sugar
- ¾ cup vegetable oil
- ¾ tablespoon grated red onion
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ⅓ teaspoon dry mustard
- Mix all the ingredients, and preferably let it sit a few hours before serving so the flavors can combine.