Saturday, August 18, 2012

Welcome to the Ice Cream Social 2012!

Welcome to the 4th Annual Ice Cream Social at Kitchen Bouquet...come in to the parlor and see what kind of frosty treats and ice cream goodies me and my blogging friends have to share!
Statistics show that we eat more ice cream in the United States per capita than in any other country in the world. But after doing a little research it became clear that Ice Cream in one form or fashion is popular the whole world over. 

Here are a few little tidbits you may not have known about ice cream from a global perspective
  • The world's top 5 consumers of ice cream in order are: USA, New Zealand, Denmark, Australia, Belgium/Luxembourg.
  •  According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the biggest ice cream sundae in the world was made in Alberta, Canada, in 1988. It weighed nearly 55,000 pounds.
  •  According to Guinness World Records, the largest ice cream cone (as of January 2011) was over 9 feet tall. It was achieved at an event in Italy.
There are some pretty interesting ice cream flavors and creations worldwide.
Look at this colorful Phillipine concoction called Halo Halo!!! I'm not sure how this would taste but it sure is beautiful.

Ice cream in india is often flavored with exotic spices. Cardamom is a favorite.

In Mexico, ice cream bars called Paletas are popular. Don't these look refreshing? The picture is from Eastside Foodbites blog..check it out HERE

Turkey is famous for their "stretchy" version of ice cream, Dondurma. See Viewfinder blog for the source of the photo below.

 If I had the money I would start a Dondurma stand in NYC. Dondurma is Turkish ice cream that has a unique texture (sort of stretchy), it resists melting (that’s right mom with the twin 2 year-olds who usually wear their ice-cream instead of eating it) and it tastes delish! The photo above I took in Istanbul as I was flitting about the city. The vendors, dressed in what seems to be some kind of colorful traditional Turkish costume, regularly churn the ice-cream in small vats with long thin paddles to keep it manageable, and often put on a show for passersby, highlighting it’s unique globular qualities.  My favorite was the chocolate. 

The Japanese are the most "creative" with their ice cream selections and actually have flavors including eel, octopus, eggplant, and miso!! I think I will pass on those :-) However, in doing this ice cream research I did keep coming across these cute little Mochi Ice Creams. They are ice cream coated in a sweet rice shell. I have never eaten any, but they look so cute I thought I would give them a try. Easier said than done in a house without air conditioning on one of the hottest days of the year!!!
My efforts were not nearly as pretty! You try wrapping sticky rice dough around melting ice cream and see what I mean. I filled the Mochi with Haagen Daz Green Tea Ice cream. The end result is interesting..the sweet rice cover is not so sweet but interestingly textured. I will need to go try "real" Mochi Ice Cream now to see how mine compares! Recipe follows.

  While Mochi is an ancient invention the Mochi ice cream was created in 1981 at a California restaurant. As I was making the mochi I realized I had eaten it before many times at Chinese restaurants as they are often served filled with a sweet bean paste. My insides weren't so photogenic!
 Mochi Ice Cream
Adapted from this and this recipe
10 small scoops of ice cream frozen hard unless you want the mess I had on my hands
1 cup glutinous or sweet rice flour labeled as Mochiko - I found mine in the asian aisle.
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
Cornstarch - a ton of it

Combine glutinous rice flour and water in a glass bowl. Mix well to paste, then add sugar and vanilla, mix until dissolved.  Lightly cover bowl with plastic wrap and microwave for 2 minutes. Remove from the microwave and stir well. Dough will very thick! Stir as best you can with a sturdy spatula. Re-cover and return to microwave; heat for 1 minute. When dough begins to inflate while cooking, and then deflates with the microwave door is opened – it’s ready! If dough doesn’t inflate during the previous one minute of cooking time, microwave for 1 additional minute. Remove the bowl from the microwave. Sprinkle a cutting board with a lot of cornstarch; scrape the hot dough onto the cornstarch and then pat the surface with cornstarch-coated hands. Stretch dough gently and use your hands to flatten it. Cut into 10-12 pieces. Place ice cream ball on a mochi piece and gently pinch the edges together to seal. Eat right away or return to freezer.

 We are probably all mostly familiar with the Italian version of ice cream...Gelato. I happen to think Gelato is the BEST form of ice cream created and guess what???? Despite its creaminess its actually lower in fat than most ice creams due to the fact its made with milk and no eggs!

I tried my hand at some Chocolate Gelato for my chocolate ice cream loving hubby Randy. He approves and so do I although chocolate ice cream is hardly ever my first choice. This version was actually made with skim milk (plus a little evaporated milk to give it a bit more body). Lactose free skim milk to boot!! I think I could have gotten away with pure skim. I'll try it next time. Give this simple recipe a try.  Four ingredients!!!

 Chocolate Gelato
Inspired by a recipe in Saveur
3 cups milk (I used 2 cups skim lactose free milk & 1 cup evaporated milk)
3⁄4 cup sugar
2 tbsp. cornstarch
3⁄4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1. Bring 2 cups of the milk to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat, then remove from heat. Combine remaining 1 cup milk, sugar, cornstarch, and cocoa in a bowl, add to hot milk, and cook until sugar and cocoa dissolve and it begins to thicken (about 3 minutes). Mixture will be like pudding.
2. Set aside to let cool, then cover with plastic wrap or wax paper touching the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate overnight. Process mixture in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's directions.

So remember the stretchy ice cream?  Gelato is also supposed to be stretchier than other ice creams as well. Can you see the stretchiness in this piece? Weird huh? Still melty though! So I had to pop this tiny little piece in my mouth immediately after this picture was taken.

Finally I come to France. 

They have great ice cream too in such beautiful clean sounding flavors. I opted to make a cousin to ice cream..the French sorbet which has no dairy whatsoever in it but somehow ends up tasting quite smooth and somehow creamy. I have oodles of blackberries beginning to ripen so I went with what I have fresh and I did not go wrong! This is to die for right now with the high temps we've had this week. Super refreshing!

Blackberry Lime Sorbet
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
4 cups blackberries, fresh or frozen
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
splash of tequila (optional - I opted for about a teaspoon)
In a small saucepan, bring the sugar and water to a boil, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved.  Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
Puree the blackberries in a blender or food processor with the sugar syrup.  Press the mixture through a large mesh sieve to remove the seeds, then stir the lime juice into the sweetened puree.  Add a splash of tequila, if desired.
Chill the mixture thoroughly, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Source: adapted from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz

Hope you enjoyed the world tour of ice cream! I'll close with an Ice Cream Colors mosaic.

Now's the time to grab a bowl, scoop some in and get some toppings going while you browse all of the fabulous ice cream posts my blogging friends have created. If you have an ice cream related post please add your link below and link back to this post at your blog. Anything ice cream related is welcome! It can be a favorite recipe, ice cream product, ice cream dishes, ice cream memories, ice cream anything! Just join right in. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Put the 2012 Ice Cream Social on Your Calendar

I'm hoping everyone will join me for the 4th Annual Kitchen Bouquet Ice Cream Social the weekend of August 18th and 19th, 2012. You can come and share your favorite ice cream recipe, products, dishes, memories, anything Ice Cream related is welcome! Even if you don't have a post to share please come by to see what everyone else has to offer. Here is a peek at the last 3 years of Ice Cream Socials.

 Click HERE for 2011. I tried my hand at homemade Nutty Butty's!

Check out HERE for 2010. I made a yummy Baked Alaska.

 And finally see HERE for 2009. This Raspberry Chip Ice Cream was a definite winner.

Looking forward to seeing all of you again this year!

This week I'm participating in :
What's It Wednesday's over at  Ivy and Elephants
Foodie Friday at RattleBridge Farm

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Calzones and a Few Spring Blooms

Tonight I had a request to make Calzones. I wasn't surprised because I had tried them a while back and they were so good I figured they would become part of the dinner repertoire around here. When I made them the first time I was a bit intimidated looking for dough recipes because there are so many out there. When that happens I find the best thing to do is to refer to a trusted cookbook for a recipe and then tweak from there.

My sister Cindy gave me the Better Homes and Garden New Cook Book when I got my first apartment in college and I turn to it in cases like this. Their dough recipe is pretty straightforward and I'd recommend it for anyone wanting to try their hand at pizza or something like calzones. It seems pretty forgiving. It might not be quite as chewy as delivery pizza, but still really good. The filling for these can really be whatever you have on hand. Even leftovers stuffed in dough would be great.

Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook

Filling Ingredients:

Pepperoni (about half of one of those pillow packs), chopped into small pieces
Salami (I used about 4 ounces of a pre-sliced, but hard salami would be great too), chopped into small pieces
1 bell pepper, chopped
1/2 onion chopped
Spaghetti Sauce (use your favorite jarred or homemade) about a cup
Mozzarella Cheese - about 1 1/2 cups
Parmesan Cheese for sprinkling

Combine meats, onions & bell peppers and saute for a few minutes until onions begin to soften. Add Sauce and cook for a couple of minutes more to warm but no need to get super hot. Remove from heat.

Dough Ingredients:

3 cups flour
1 packet yeast
1 tsp salt
1 cup warm water
2 Tablespoons oil
1 egg

Preheat oven to 425°. In a large mixer bowl combine 1 1/4 cup flower, yeast and salt. Stir in warm water and oil. Beat at low speed with a mixer for a 1/2 minute, scraping bowl constantly. Beat 3 minutes at high speed then stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can mix in with a spoon. Either knead with a dough hook if your mixer has it or turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a stiff dough that is smooth and elastic (6 to 8 minutes). Cover dough and let rest for at least 10 minutes (I let mine go about 30 mins) Punch down lightly, let sit for a minute then divide into 6 equal pieces.

Working with one piece of dough at a time roll out to about 6 inches, put 1/6 of meat mixture on one side of dough about 1/4 cup of mozzarella and a sprinkle of parmesan. Wet the edges of the dough slightly, fold over one side and crimp edges to seal. Place on a greased or lined pan or a baking stone. Repeat with the remainder of the dough & filling. Let Calzones rest for about 10 minutes, brush tops and edges with beaten egg. Put three small slashes in each to allow steam to escape. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until nicely golden brown. Serve with a nice salad and you have a meal.

Spring is slow to arrive here although I know much of the rest of the country has almost skipped to summer! There are a few things happening though. Here's an early spring mini tour, starting with my first daffodil to open.

The primroses never fail to open! Love their bright cheery faces.

The hellebores or Lenten Roses are pretty right now too.

These little anemones come up from little tubers every year.

This is a tiny little spring bloomer called Hepatica

More primroses!

And a darker Hellebore

We've been awfully rainy, but I walked around today and saw even more things on the verge of bloom. Looks like its going to be a good lilac and clematis year!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

St. Patrick's Day Meal and A Garden Show tour

Happy St. Patrick's Day! We are having a pretty quiet night at home, but I have had the crock pot going all day so we have a good traditional Irish American dinner even if we don't have green beer! The corned beef is so good - I used a recipe from a blogging friend, Cathy over at Wives with Knives. I really don't think there is any need to ever look for another recipe for corned beef again. It's that good! The glaze at the end is what makes it so yummy.

This is Cathy's Method and I followed it pretty much expect no parsley and I added potatoes to the crock pot:

"I put lots of peeled carrots, 2 chopped onions and a handful of parsley sprigs on the bottom of the pot, laid the corned beef on top, sprinkled on the spice packet and added enough water to cover. I set the temperature on high for two hours, then turned it to low for an additional 7 hours. The crock pot works so well because the water never boils, it just gently simmers.

When the meat is ready to serve I trim the fat off the top and spread it with a mixture of 1/4 cup brown sugar, 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard, a dash of cloves and 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar. Place under the broiler until the sugar is melted and crusty. You will be amazed at how much flavor this adds to the corned beef. This was my mother’s trick and I couldn’t imagine serving corned beef any other way."

The broiling part it key so don't skip it! I had made some Irish Soda bread on Friday for the girls at work so I added that to the table too. I used the King Arthur's Flour recipe. Very good!

Irish Soda Bread - They give a great tutorial.


  • 3 cups Perfect Pastry Blend OR King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • heaping 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup currants or raisins
  • 1 tablespoon caraway seeds, optional (I omitted)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 3/4 cups buttermilk*
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • *No buttermilk in the house? Substitute 1 cup milk + 3/4 cup (one 6-ounce container) plain or vanilla yogurt - (I ended up using sour cream and that worked great too.)


Preheat oven to 375°. Grease a loaf pan. Mix first six ingredients plus seeds if you are using. In a separate bowl mix together the egg and buttermilk. Whisk the liquid into the dry ingredients. Ad 4 tablespoons of melted better mixing just until combined. The batter will be thick - spoon it into prepared loaf pan. Drizzle with the tablespoon of milk and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake bread for 50-55 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. If you have a temperature probe King Arthur says it should be between 200 & 210. Remove the bread from the oven, and loosen its sides with a heatproof spatula or table knife. After 5 minutes, turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool. Eat alone, with butter or maybe some marmalade.

Doesn't St. Patrick's Day just make you think spring is just around the corner. For some of you it has already arrived. We on the other hand had snow AGAIN this morning :-) It was gone by noon but still... I went to the Northwest Garden Show earlier this year and haven't shared the pics. This is probably a great time to do that now that I am really itching for spring to show up!

The theme this year was A Floral Symphony with all of the exhibits having some musical tie in. It was interesting to see what everyone came up with. I'm afraid I've forgotten some of the exhibit names, but I'll give you the gist :-) There is always a bright spring display in the lobby before you enter so not sure if it actually had a name but I loved this vertical display. There were musical instruments placed here and there. So maybe it was just meant to embody the main theme.

I loved the path on this display...I think it was a "heavy metal" rock and roll kind of them. You will have to excuse the lighting in these photos. They dim the lights and it almost feels like twilight it's so dark.

This was one of my favorite displays mostly because of this beautiful light strung gazebo

My absolute favorite was the April in Paris display. Pictures do not do justice to how cute it was.

Here's another angle

The theme of this display was Birdsong...loved this gate

And this pretty mosaic

There was a lot to take in and admire about this display

I liked the play on the verses like the use of black mondo grass in the blackbird vignette.

I love how many of the displays keep with the "woodsy" natural feel of the Pacific Northwest like this fanciful pond scene

This arbor caught my eye

And so did this flowering quince. I'd love to have one of these.

The colors in this display made my little vintage loving heart go pitter patter

There were some really nice outdoor seating areas

This was a great display "Redefining Adante"..notice the grand piano which at times had live music being played.

The pond had real koi too...such pretty colors. I've never seen the yellow kind before.

There was actually all kinds of live music being played throughout the exhibits. I caught these banjoers in action

And their resting instruments later in the day

The Persian garden drawing from Scheherazade had beautiful colors like this turquoise pool.

And a raised sleeping platform

With casual dining

There was a Symphony Orchidstra display!

Another nice outdoor living area

I believe these panels were in the same them

The garden show is always good for showing ways to recycle things. Can you guess what this is meant to be?

Lets hope not the Roach Motel! :-)

I think this one might have been A Concert in the Park and at the moment I passed through there was a Johnny Depp look alike playing soulfully on the accordion.

That big pot you see in the background is made of plastic...not sure how they were illuminated. Here are a trio of them

Being a Johnny Depp fan...I had to snap another sneaky shot of him

I thought this was one of the more clever plays on a song title...Twisting the Night Away featuring these beautifully contorted trees.

In the same display was this pretty foot bridge and some red camellias which were a popular shrub at the show

The people's choice award went to this amazing display that had rigged things up so that water dripped down on these "drums". The sound it made was amazing...very deep and resonating.

After the displays I headed to the vendors ...just window shopping mostly. But they have such cute things that I reallly Like this giant rooster...

She's pretty cute too

Or I could always use another sun

Or maybe this one

Doesn't every one need a frog hammock chair?

Or some glass bamboo or cactus?

But this is on top of my wish list...I really really need this little pair

There is another little area that has container displays that I look forward to each year

Love this one with all of the terrariums

I really want to recreate this

This cute little vignette made me smile. Notice the tiered tray planted with succulents. Very Kitchen Bouquetish!

Loved this fencing that surrounded it

I saw more than one of the neat pallet gardens at the show

Found a cute little Fairy Garden

Amazing impact in small space

This sign pretty much sums up my feelings about gardening...hope you enjoyed the garden show tour.
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