Strawberry Ice Cream

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Now that strawberries are abundant in the market, and I'm growing them this year, I figured I might as well dig out the ice cream maker.  So glad I did.

We're not big dessert eaters, but a sweet treat now and then is nice. I bought an ice cream maker several years ago when the grand kids were coming for the holidays thinking it would be fun making ice cream with them, which it was.  But then I seldom used it and stored it away, but kept the freezer bowl in back of the freezer.

When the kids were young we made plain vanilla ice cream taking turns churning by hand with rock salt, or rolling in a coffee can with rock salt, by kicking the can around.

Electric ice cream machines are so much more advanced and fast these days.  I bought a Cuisinart and within a half hour, fresh ice cream is ready! The instruction book offers endless flavors and types of frozen treats to try.  This summer I'm trying many flavors.

Strawberry Ice Cream

1 pint strawberries, cleaned and chopped
Strawberry Ice Cream, Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App1 Tab. lemon juice
2 eggs
1 cup sugar, divided
1 pint heavy cream
1 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Mix strawberries, lemon juice, and 1/4 cup sugar in a mixing bowl.
In larger bowl beat eggs until fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Slowly add 3/4 cup sugar, mixing well to dissolve sugar. Stir in milk and vanilla. 

Add strawberry mixture then
gently stir in and combine whipping cream. Let chill in refrigerator for an hour or more. Pour into ice cream maker following manufacturer's instructions. Makes about a quart and-a-half or 12, 1/2 cup servings.   Serve in a dish, cone or with baked goodies.

Estimated cost: $5.50 or less;  .45 cents a serving or less.

Crispy Sweet Potato Fries

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone AppI first tasted sweet potato fries in a restaurant nine years ago and tried various methods of making them fried or roasted, but could never get them as crispy as desired.  

I found a bag of frozen ones I like, which is handy, but think they're spendy -- around three dollars per pound.

I began looking at recipes for the secret or trick for fresh crispy sweet potato fries and at the link, found a method using a coating of corn starch. 

I deep fry mine, but the site suggests they can also be baked in the oven.  Fresh ones are three to four times cheaper than frozen and worth the effort. 

Crispy Sweet Potato Fries
• Cut desired amount of peeled sweet potatoes into thick pieces, about a half inch. Depending on size, allow one or two potatoes for two people. 
• Soak cut fries in water a few hours and drain. Rub in one or two tablespoons of oil, then coat with corn starch.
• Put corn starch in a plastic bag and drop several fries in at a time, shaking bag to "lightly" coat fries.
• Lay fries out, not crowding, on a non-stick cookie sheet.
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone AppUploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App• Either bake in 425 oven for 30 minutes, turning over after 15 minutes, or deep fry at 350-375 degrees for a minute or two, until golden brown.

Serving with favorite dipping sauces.

Estimated cost for two servings: .90 cents.

Shucking Corn Made Easy

Corn on the Cob, Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone AppIt's summer.... time for corn on the cob! There's nothing like it at picnics and BBQs. Farmers markets are starting up, so I'm watching for bargains and stocking up for the winter. 

I learned to freeze them with husks on so it's available year round, but husking and taking the silk off was a messy chore at cooking time.  That's until I saw videos showing a nifty microwave method.

Simply cut off thick end of cob about and inch or two, put corn in microwave husk and all, for 4 minutes per ear, then remove with gloves, as it's hot, and shake corn out.  It comes out clean as a whistle ready to season and eat.

We recently did this for a group BBQ microwaving two at a time, then I wrapped the two in foil with husks still on, and placed in the oven on warm until all were done and ready to serve.  When ready to serve, guests took off the foil, shook and squeezed out their corn out, then buttered and seasoned. I like butter, salt, pepper and Parmesan cheese.

Recently my market had corn on the cob @ 3 for $1.

Shucking Corn Made Easy

Fluffy Baked Potato

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Who ever thought there was a more perfect way to bake a potato?  I've tried many ways over the years: wrapped in foil with moisture; oiled and pierced, buttered and pierced then baked an hour around 400 or even 450; oven baked, micro-wave baked and so on...

They were all good, yet when I tried this method, I could not believe the difference in taste and texture from other methods —nice crispy skins (my favorite part, slathered with butter and where the vitamins are) and moist, evenly flaky- fluffy inside, like those I've enjoyed at restaurants.

Fluffy Baked Potato
Choose evenly sized potatoes, medium size.
Scrub and wash surfaces. If weighing potatoes, about 5- 6 oz. per potato

Pierce with a fork, a half inch deep all over the surface, about an inch apart, (about 6 - 8 times ) and also on each end.

Lightly rub surface with olive oil (butter could be used), then roll in coarse kosher or sea salt.

Baked on sheet pan on middle rack of oven at 400 degrees for one hour.  Test for done by inserting a knife to see if tender all the way through or use a probe thermometer which should read 210 degrees.

Make a slit on the top and squeeze ends towards middle to open the fluffy potato and top with your choice of condiments: butter, sour cream, chives, bacon bits etc.

Estimated cost: .25 cents or less per potato including condiments.