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I am supposed to be onboard Celebrity Reflection in the middle of the Atlantic headed to Madeira and Ireland right now, but instead I’m at home under quarantine. Sigh. One of the highlights of cruising with Celebrity is the free scoops of gelato associated with our loyalty program. My favorite flavor is pistachio. In memory of this, I found an easy no-churn recipe for pistachio ice cream at Simply Scratch. The flavor is deeply rich and luxurious.

  • Ingredients
  • 1 cup lightly-salted shelled pistachio nuts
  • 1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract or paste
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • Chopped pistachio nuts (optional)

Using a food processor (I used my Cuisinart mini-prep), process pistachios into smooth butter. This takes time, be patient. I had to scrape my bowl many times. I stopped once I saw liquid (oil). It did not turn out as smooth as I would like, but it worked fine.

In a large bowl, mix pistachio butter with sweetened condensed milk and vanilla. Mix thoroughly.

In a separate large bowl, whip heavy whipping cream into stiff peaks. I used a stand mixer with a whisk attachment.

Carefully fold the whipped cream into the pistachio mixture until well blended. Remember to fold, not stir. Patience!

If you want pieces of pistachio in your ice cream, or on top of your ice cream, do that now. I like my ice cream smooth, so I didn’t add any extra nuts. Place into a container, cover, and freeze for at least 4 hours. When you’re ready to serve, you may have to let it set out for a bit. Mine was easy to scoop out, I didn’t have to let it sit.

This is SO yummy!

I ate half of this all by myself. Burp. The recipe from my cousin Pam calls for 6 Swai fillets and yields about 10-12 servings as a snack. I cut the recipe and used two fillets. It still makes enough to feed four, or three if one of them eats half of it. Just sayin’. I’m going to list the ingredients, but the amounts are really up to you.

  • Ingredients
  • Swai fillets (I have used other whitefish at different times, still quite tasty)
  • Lime juice
  • Salt
  • Tomatoes, diced
  • Cucumbers, diced
  • Jalapenos or serranos (pictured here are jalapenos), diced
  • Red onion, diced
  • Cilantro, chopped
  • Avocado, diced
  • Tortilla chips

Slice the fish into tidbits, about 1/2″ pieces. Place into a large bowl and cover with lime juice. This time I used bottled lime juice, but I’ve also squeezed fresh — takes a lot of limes! Make sure there is enough lime juice to cover the fish. Sprinkle generously with salt (for 2 Swai fillets I used about 1/2 Tbsp. salt). Cover the bowl and let stand refrigerated for an hour (longer is fine).

Chop remaining ingredients, except avocado and chips, and stir into the fish mix. Taste for salt and add more if needed. Cover and let stand refrigerated for an hour (longer is fine).

Just before serving, stir in the avocado. Serve with tortilla chips.

This recipe is based upon one found in my recipe Bible: Sunset Breads (Lane Publishing, Menlo Park, CA 1986). The recipe is marked with the notation that I first made it on January 16, 1991 and that it was delicious. Nothing has changed. It is delicious. As I was saying the other day, we are in the midst of the great 2020 Pandemic and finding yeast has been a challenge. My husband found out that it was a difficulty, called his wine-making supply store, and voila, he had envelopes of brewer’s yeast within the hour. The envelopes seem the same size as active dry yeast, so I used one package. It worked just fine. There’s no funny taste, it’s just like normal.

I recently read an article where the author talked about the shopping uncertainty that’s plaguing us now. One never knows if what you order will be available. I want to be clear that I understand that having food, at all, is a great blessing. And I don’t take that for granted. I simply want to acknowledge that menu planning has changed in significant ways. I finally laid hands on rice yesterday. Rice. Anyway, I ordered beets last week and I got the biggest beets I’ve ever seen. Yesterday I roasted them. I pickled some with eggs, see the recipe here. I decided to make this vegetable bread with some more, but the recipe makes two loaves and I didn’t want both of them to be beet bread, so I roasted a small butternut squash and used that for the other loaf. We don’t eat a lot of carbs, so I’m not sure what I’m going to do with all this bread. It is DELICIOUS!

  • Ingredients
  • 1 package active dry yeast (I used 1 package of brewer’s yeast)
  • 1/4 cup warm water (about 110 degrees F)
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 5-1/2 cups bread flour, approximate
  • 1-1/2 cups cooked vegetable puree, warm*

I made this in my stand mixer using the dough hook. Dissolve yeast in warm water and stir in sugar. Let stand about fifteen minutes until it’s frothy. Stir in milk, butter, egg, salt, nutmeg and 3 cups flour. Mix until it all comes together. If you are making two different kinds of bread, then it’s at this point you remove half the dough and set it aside. To the first half-batch, knead in 3/4 cup of the lightest color vegetable puree. Once it is well-blended, set the mixer on low speed for 5-6 minutes to build the gluten. Then gradually add flour until the dough is smooth and satiny, using as little flour as possible. Place dough in a greased bowl and turn it so as to grease the top. Cover with cling wrap. Repeat with the second half of the dough. Let rise in a warm place until doubled, about an hour and a half.

Prepare pans by greasing or spraying with non-stick spray. Shape dough into 2 loaves. I used 9×5″ loaf pans because I wanted the uniformity for sandwiches. I’m not real great with free-form loaves, but you do what you want. Let rise in a warm place until nearly double, about 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. If you went the free-form route, make 1/2″ deep slashes across the tops of your loaves. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes or until loaves sound hollow when tapped. I let my loaves stand for ten minutes, then removed them from the pans to a cooling rack.

*What you see pictured here is one loaf of butternut squash bread and one loaf of beet bread. The recipe says you can try carrot, potato, spinach (1.5# yields 3/4 cup), or tomato (6 oz. can tomato paste). It also says you can add different spices depending upon the vegetable that you use. Just make sure that you’ve either mashed your cooked vegetable or run it through a food processor, something like that.

This is a riff on the traditional British dessert, the Banoffee Pie, which I’ve never seen or eaten. The recipe comes from Food52. I was casting about for something to do with the 2 bananas I had on-hand before they got too soft and were only good for bread. This dessert has a strong banana flavor and is super yummy.

  • Crust Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

Prepare a 9″ square pan by fitting with parchment paper that hangs over the edges so that you can pull the dessert out of the pan when it’s time to serve it. Spray the paper with non-stick spray. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Stir in flour and salt. Mix until the dough comes together in large chunks. Press into the bottom of the prepared pan. Prick the crust with a fork. Bake at 350 degrees for twenty minutes or until it’s a golden brown color. Let cool while you make the filling.

  • Filling and Topping Ingredients
  • 10 Tbsp. butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar (160 grams)
  • 14 oz. sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 bananas, sliced
  • 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt together butter and brown sugar. Stir in sweetened condensed milk. Stir over medium heat until the mixture thickens (about five minutes).

Spread the banana slices evenly over the cooled crust. Pour the warm caramel mixture over the bananas and smooth the top with a spatula. Chill for at least an hour.

Melt the chocolate chips (I used a microwave a few seconds at a time, stirring after each few seconds) and spread over the chilled caramel layer.

Chill until ready to serve. Remove from pan and cut into pieces. Serve.

So the name is a bit of a misnomer as this is not really “twice-baked,” but it is twice-cooked. You all are probably sick of the cauliflower dishes, but we really did cut potatoes and rice and bread and pasta out of our diet a few years ago . . . until the pandemic. Now I’ve gained 7 pounds (and rising) because of the reintroduction of “carbs.” Sigh.

I was playing a little game whose goal was to successfully acquire yeast to make bread. I mean, who could ever have imagined a run on yeast? Yes, during a pandemic that has happened. My husband won the game (which has been going on unbeknownst to him for over a month) by calling his wine-supply store this morning and asking if he could use brewer’s yeast for bread. No problem. He now has a look like he’s smarter than anyone — it was so easy. I just don’t think he understood the rules. Anyway, we will see how bread turns out using brewer’s yeast in a few days.

This cauliflower recipe comes from Kalyn’s Kitchen. I’ve made it so often that I no longer follow the recipe. We use this dish in place of mashed potatoes. We really like gravy and sauces, so this is what underlies that. Today I’m making a pot roast, without potatoes, and the rich mushroom gravy will be poured liberally over the top of this cauliflower dish.

  • Ingredients
  • 1 medium head of cauliflower
  • Salt
  • 4 oz. cream cheese
  • 3-4 slices crisp bacon, crumbled
  • 2-3 green onions, sliced
  • 2-3 Tbsp. sour cream
  • 1/3 cup shredded or grated Parmesan cheese
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Cook the cauliflower in little bit of salted water, covered, just to fork tender. Do not overcook. Remove from heat and strain off the water. Make sure the cauliflower is still in the saucepan. Use a potato masher to mash the cauliflower. Cut up the cream cheese into pieces and sprinkle over the cauliflower, still in the saucepan. Put on the lid and let it sit until the cream cheese is really softened. Add bacon, green onions, sour cream, Parmesan, and pepper. Stir until well mixed.

Prepare a baking dish by spraying with non-stick spray. Mine is about 1-quart size. Place the cauliflower mixture into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese.

Bake at 375 degrees F for 40-45 minutes. Serve as a side dish or with gravy over the top. Yummy!

I use the basic recipe found at NellieBellie.com. I usually make less than NellieBellie does, so bear in mind the picture might show less. I especially like to serve this with barbecue ribs or hamburgers. It’s touted as being very low-carb and gluten-free. This is a recipe I just eye-ball for quantities, so feel free to do that, too. It’s very forgiving.

  • Ingredients
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 5 hard-boiled eggs
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 6 oz. crumbled crisp bacon
  • 1 cup mayonnaise (optional: 1/2 mayo and 1/2 Greek yogurt)
  • 1 Tbsp. prepared mustard (optional: Dijon or spicy brown)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Paprika, optional

Cook the cauliflower to fork tender. Careful not to overcook it. I boil it in a small amount of water so that it’s basically steamed, but however you do it will be fine. Strain off the water and let it cool.

Set one egg aside. Dice 4 of the eggs. In a large bowl put cauliflower, 4 diced eggs, diced red onion, frozen peas, and crumbled bacon. In a small bowl mix together mayonnaise (or mayo/yogurt combo), mustard, and salt/pepper to make dressing. Pour dressing over vegetable mix and stir gently, albeit thoroughly. Place the salad into a serving dish.

Cut the fifth egg into quarters and place decoratively on top of the salad. Sprinkle lightly with paprika. Chill. Serve chilled. Yield 6 servings as a side dish.

Below is pictured the salad using a couple beet-pickled eggs for a more decorative presentation.

This is a dish I make often. I’ve used the recipe found at reluctantentertainer.com and that one’s a SkinnyTaste recipe.

  • Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
  • 6 cups cauliflower, cut into 1″ florets
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Yes, hot! Cover a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and swazz a couple tablespoons olive oil across the foil. In a very large bowl combine cauliflower florets and garlic. Drizzle remaining olive oil over the vegetables and mix thoroughly. In a small bowl mix the cumin, turmeric, salt, and red pepper flakes. Sprinkle a bit of the spice mix over the cauliflower mixture. Stir around. Sprinkle a bit more spice and stir, then add all the spice mixture and stir it into the cauliflower. Spread evenly into the prepared pan. Bake at 450 degrees for 23-27 minutes. Stir occasionally. When the cauliflower is slightly brown, remove from heat. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve. Serves 4 as a side dish.

This is a hodgepodge of several different recipes. The cream pat recipe I found at confessionsofabakingqueen.com and I halved the recipe. The crust is based upon one found at Taste of Home. FYI, they say this makes a 9″ tart crust, so if you want to make one big one instead of four little ones, go for it. The stewed mandarins I just made up. This is written in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis. I sent a picture of the finished product to my daughter and she said I get bonus points for making canned fruit looked good. I’m offended. It’s not canned fruit. I stewed those fresh mandarin oranges this afternoon! So there!

  • Ingredient List
  • Cream Patisserie
  • Crust
  • Jelly or Jam
  • Fruit, any kind (stewed Mandarin recipe found below)
  • Cream Patisserie Ingredients
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 extra large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1-1/2 Tbsp. corn starch
  • Dash salt
  • 2 Tbsp. cold butter, cut into chunks
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract or paste

Heat milk in small pan over low heat, do not allow to boil. While that’s happening, whisk together egg yolks, sugar, corn starch, and salt. Whisk for a couple minutes. This will turn a pale yellow color. When the milk has warmed, pour a little bit into the egg yolk mixture and whisk. Whisk in a little more milk. Whisk in a little more. Whisk in all the remaining milk. Pour the mixture back into the pan and whisk over medium heat until it thickens and the large bubbles break slowly. Remove from heat and immediately whisk in cold butter and vanilla. Whisk until butter melts. Let stand for a little while to cool and then cover with cling wrap (set the cling wrap right on top of the cream pat so that a skin does not form) and refrigerate until ready to use. This will yield about 1-1/2 cups of cream patisserie.

  • Orange Crust Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 Tbsp. orange zest
  • 1/8 tsp. vanilla extract or paste
  • 1 cup flour

Cream together butter and sugar until well incorporated. Stir in zest and vanilla. Stir in flour until the dough forms a ball. Divide into 4 portions. Prepare 4 mini tart pans by spraying with non-stick spray. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Preheat sheet pan at the same time. Press each portion of dough into tart pan. I start by pressing in the sides and then finish with the center. Prick the dough with a fork. Place the tarts onto the preheated sheet pan and bake for 10 minutes. Keep checking the tart color every minute or so thereafter until they are a golden brown. This is meant to be a crispy cookie-like texture.

  • Stewed Mandarin Ingredients
  • 3 Mandarin oranges, peeled and segmented, with as much pith removed as possible
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Place all ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower heat and let simmer 10 minutes. This should result in softened mandarins.

Assembly:

Spread the bottom of the crust with a layer of jam. Dollop cream pat onto the jam. Try to be artistic and spread fruit over the top of the cream patisserie. There are only two of us eating here, so I’m going to assemble one tart every day. I may do it differently every time. I have a lot of homemade jam on-hand.