Posts Tagged ‘dessert’

A is for Apple Sundaes

Monday, March 4th, 2013

It’s the third month of the year — how’s everyone doing on your food resolutions? I confess, I’m not a big resolution maker — I’m more likely to start something new as spring approaches than in the depths of winter. But one thing I’ve been working on, since the holidays ended (well, except for Valentine’s Day) is pushing back on my son’s nightly candy/sweets habit. (You know, since Halloween. Sigh.) The boy is old enough now to understand the game rules: the one-bite rule has grown to at-least-three-bites of nearly everything, always something green, and he’s even eating salad without complaint most of the time. Still, I keep trying to rein back the treats, as I don’t believe kids need dessert every single night. So exasperated one night last week, when we’d already gone out for frozen yogurt after school, I told him his sugar-quota had already been reached and he could have fruit for dessert. And before he was two words into the predictable “but fruit is not a dessert” whine, inspiration struck: “How about if I cut up some fruit and you can make your own fruit sundaes?”

make-your-own apple sundaes

Honestly I was a little surprised that he stopped mid-whine and agreed to the suggestion. So I arranged some cut apples, bananas, blueberries and blackberries on a plate, gave them little glass bowls and let them mix their own creations. And they loved it! In the words of my six- year-old, “It’s a healthy dessert that tastes good and everyone can make it!” Score one for healthy alternatives.

apple sundaes

Now if you wanted to gussy these up a little more, for a special occasion like, you know, random Thursdays off from school (seriously, why aren’t three-day weekends enough?) you could offer one or more of these additions:

  • plain, Greek-style yogurt or unsweetened, vanilla-flavored whipped cream
  • toasted coconut flakes
  • a touch of honey or maple syrup
  • pomegranate seed “sprinkles”

For bonus points, let kids help you chop the fruit with kid-safe knives. Bananas make an easy starter fruit for teaching toddlers safe knife practices.

What new food habits has your family adopted this year? How are they going?

Sweet Caramel Mango Nachos {and Giveaway!}

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

I know some of you are back to school already — we have a few more weeks, here, but it’s never too soon to start filing away new, fast and healthy breakfast, lunch, and after-school snack ideas. The National Mango Board helped get our creative juices flowing with a box of ripe mangos and a cookbook full of ideas. Mangos are high in vitamin C, which is important to keep our little ones healthy throughout the school year.

My soon-to-be first-grader laughed out loud when we came across the mango nacho recipe, so I knew we had to make that first. I made a few tweaks to the recipe, including adding mango puree to the caramel sauce to boost the fruit content and reduce the added sugar. (Plus, the mango makes the caramel sauce more orange — closer to “real” nacho cheese.) We’ll definitely make this again for an after-school treat.

Recipe: Sweet Caramel Mango Nachos
source: Mango Eats & Treats by Mango.org
makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 6 flour tortillas
  • nonstick cooking spray
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup caramel sauce
  • 2 mangoes, peeled and diced

Instructions:

To prepare cinnamon cream, beat cream, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon in a medium bowl with a mixer until stiff peaks form; transfer to a bowl and refrigerate while preparing nachos.

To prepare the nachos, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut each tortilla into 6 wedges. Working in batches, line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper and spray both sides with nonstick cooking spray. Bake tortillas for 10 minutes until browned, turning halfway through until crisp. Stir together sugar and cinnamon in a medium bowl; add tortillas and toss well to coat. Pile onto a decorative platter (or individual plates for kids to assemble their own).

Process half of the mango in a blender or food processor until smooth. In a medium bowl, pour caramel sauce and heat for 20 to 30 seconds in the microwave. Stir in mango puree. Drizzle mango-caramel sauce over tortilla chips, sprinkle with diced mango and top with cinnamon whipped cream.

Check out the foodie boy explaining how simple this recipe is. The foodie tot tried to get in on the action, too (her job was whipping the cream — she loves to work the buttons on the mixer).

You can get some fresh ideas for cooking with mangos by visiting Mango.org.

The National Mango Board challenged me to spend a week creating healthier eating and snacking habits for my family. Join the conversation and one of my readers will receive a cookbook and a chance to win a shipment of mangos and $200 gift card to Williams-Sonoma.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of National Mango Board. The opinions and text are all mine. Official Sweepstakes Rules.

{Savoring September} Nectarine Gelato

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

I wasn’t kidding about squeezing every last bit of summer out of the month. Today may be the first day of fall, but don’t pack up the ice cream maker just yet. It’s supposed to reach 90 degrees in DC again today, and you can still find sweet white nectarines at the farmers market. So I implore you, take some home and make a batch of this sweet summer gelato before it’s too late. (Or, save it for some of those peaches you froze for winter. Ice cream is a year-round food, in my opinion.)

Recipe: Nectarine Gelato

Ingredients:

  • 5 medium-sized nectarines
  • 5 egg yolks (preferably from your local egg farmer)
  • 2 cups cream-top whole milk (or just whole milk)
  • 1 cup organic cane sugar, divided
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste (or extract)
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Instructions: Coarsely chop nectarines (no need to peel) and place them in a non-reactive saucepan. Combine with 1/2 cup sugar, lemon juice, vanilla, almond extract and nutmeg and bring to a simmer over medium low heat. Simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until fruit is soft and you can mash it with the back of the spoon. Let cool, then puree in a blender or food processor.

In a heavy-bottomed pot, warm milk and the other 1/2 cup of sugar over medium heat just until bubbles begin to appear and sugar is dissolved, stirring occasionally.

In a mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks well for about a minute. Ladle the warm milk into the egg yolks, whisking continuously, one spoonful at a time until you’ve incorporated about half the milk into the eggs. Then pour the eggs/milk back into the remaining milk in the pot. Cook, stirring frequently, over medium low heat until the mixture thickens slightly and coats the back of your spoon. Remove from heat, stir in the nectarine purée and let cool. Transfer to a bowl or pitcher, cover, and chill overnight or for at least 8 hours in the refrigerator.

Process the chilled mixture according to your ice cream maker’s instructions. I have the KitchenAid ice cream maker and mix it on medium low for about 12 minutes. Transfer to a tupperware container and freeze until firm, about 4 more hours. Makes 1 quart. Enjoy!

Note: You can adjust the sugar in the nectarines according to the sweetness of your fruit.

Kids Cook Monday: Strawberry Cream Tart

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

The folks behind the Meatless Monday campaign (HealthyMonday.org) have added a new weekly challenge to their menu: Kids Cook Monday. The newly-launched website contains kid-friendly recipes and videos of parents cooking with their kids. Naturally, FoodieTots is thrilled to support the cause — you can see some of our kid-tested recipes on the site already. And, in honor of the launch (and our new house!), the Foodie Tot and I made a Strawberry Cream Tart this weekend.

A tart is a fairly fool-proof pastry to make with younger kids. And if you, say, haven’t yet unpacked the food processor, a little child labor comes in handy in combining the flour and butter with a pastry blender. Since the rolling pin was also unaccounted for, I simply pressed the dough into my tart pan. Not as pretty, but it gets the job done.

As the boy notes in the video, the strawberries came from our new neighborhood’s farmers market, the Falls Church market. (He’s still a little confused on whether both Alexandria and Arlington are in Virginia.) It was the first weekend of strawberry season here in Virginia, and they were abundant at the market. And I bought the mascarpone for the tart from Blue Ridge Dairy, and the (multi-colored) eggs from Valentine’s Country Meats & Bakery.

Watch the video! (and pardon my arm in front of the boy’s face … we need to work on our camera set-up in the new kitchen.)

Foodie Tot makes Strawberry Cream Tart from Colleen Levine on Vimeo.

Recipe: Strawberry Cream Tart

Pastry

  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
  • 1/2 cup organic butter, cubed
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 egg yolks

Instructions: In a mixing bowl, combine flour and cold butter until small pea-sized lumps form. Add powdered sugar. In a separate bowl, whisk egg yolks with a fork. Add to flour mixture and mix until dough begins to come together (will still look quite crumbly). Press into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap; chill 1 hour before rolling out. Alternately, press crumbs into a butter tart pan. Freeze tart shell for 10 minutes. Prick with a fork and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Shell should look set but not begin to brown. Cool before filling.

Cream Filling

  • 1 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste

Instructions: Stir cheese, sugar and vanilla together until well combined. Chill until ready to use.

Strawberries

  • 1 pint strawberries, hulled and halved
  • 2 tablespoons fruit jam (we used plum), melted in microwave for 10 seconds and thinned with a few drops of water

Assembling the tart: Place the cooled tart on the counter and arrange the cream, berries and jam nearby. Your child can spread the cream in the shell, arrange strawberries over the cream, and use a pastry brush to brush the jam over the berries. Chill for an hour before serving. Enjoy!

If you’d like to join the Kids Cook Monday fun, visit the website or contact Joanna Lee at jlee@mondaycampaigns.org. And please check back the first Monday of each month for the latest Foodie Tot cooks video!

Preserving Summer: Peach Gelato

Friday, August 21st, 2009

redhaven peaches at market

It’s peach season and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they hold out long enough for me to can some for winter. In the meantime, here’s the peach gelato that made me swoon, if I do say so myself.

Ever wonder what the difference is between ice cream and gelato? Sherbet and sorbet? As far as I can tell, from my extensive google research, the difference between ice cream, gelato, sherbet and sorbet is something like this:

  • ice cream, French = milk, cream, eggs
  • ice cream, Philadelphia/American = milk, cream, no eggs
  • gelato = milk, maybe eggs, no cream
  • sorbet = just fruit, no dairy or eggs
  • sherbet = milk, no cream and no eggs

Still confused? Short version: if you taste the cream first, it’s ice cream. If you taste the fruit first, it’s gelato. That’s the official FoodieTots definition at any rate. Now I set out to make Philadelphia-style peach ice cream, but the bottle I had labeled cream was in fact buttermilk; instead I used my cream-top whole milk, so while it has a little cream it is mostly milk. It has the texture and strongly fruit-forward taste of gelato, so that’s what I’m calling it.

peach gelato

Recipe: Peach Gelato

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 peaches (1 1/2 pounds), peeled
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 vanilla bean (or 1 teaspoon vanilla)
  • 1 cup cream-top whole milk
  • juice of 1 lemon wedge

Instructions: I use the boil/ice bath method to peel peaches. It seems like a hassle but trust me, it’s a lot easier and time saving in the long run then trying to scrape peels off with a paring knife.  Score the bottom of each peach with a small “x” cut, then drop them into boiling water for 20 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon and place them into a colander set in ice water for several seconds, then set on cutting board and leave several minutes to cool. The skins will pretty much slip right off at that point.

Dice the peaches and place in a medium stock pot over medium high heat, add honey and seeds of the vanilla bean. Cook until peaches begin to fall apart, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for several minutes. Add milk and blend in small batches in a blender, or use an immersion blender in the pot. I recommend the regular blender to make sure there are no chunks — in a home freezer, the chunks of fruit get too icy and aren’t as flavorful as in commercial ice creams. Stir in the lemon juice and pour into a glass bowl or pitcher. Chill thoroughly in the refrigerator (I leave it overnight) and then process according to your ice cream maker’s instructions. (I use the Kitchen Aid ice cream attachment and mix it for 10-12 minutes, until it thickens and reaches a very soft icy consistency, then freeze for 3-4 hours.) Enjoy!

Shared with Fight Back Fridays at the Food Renegade, because once you’ve had homemade ice cream — or gelato — you’ll never go back to that commercial chemical goop from the supermarket.