Saturday, June 18, 2011

Recipes for Low Fat Ice Cream, Ginger Peach Pie, Whole Grain Bread, and More!

I'm glad you all liked my "What I Ate Wednesday" post! I really hope a few of you will try out my "sorta single lady" cookie recipe. They're super tasty and so quick to put together when you just desperately need a cookie :P

As you all know, tomorrow is a fun day because it is Father's day but actually, yesterday was my mom's birthday so we're having TWO celebrations this weekend!

I was up all day yesterday and was completely exhausted by the end. I made pancakes, make two loaves of bread, made a pie, made ice cream, went grocery shopping, went to the gym, made dinner, and then made some pizza dough for tonight's dinner! Okay, so the pancakes were for me, but the rest of the stuff I made was all in preparation for my mom's birthday dinner.

My dad got some beautiful halibut at Central Market that I marinated in salt, pepper, dried basil, dried parsley, fresh garlic, lemon juice and olive oil. On the side, I made a caprese salad (using tomatoes we got from the farmers market!), green beans (also farmers market), and homemade bread.
This green bean dish is one of my specialties :P Everyone loves it because it includes bacon, I don't blame them.
This time I used turkey bacon and it turned out just as delicious. I first cooked up a few slices of turkey bacon and then sauteed onion and garlic in the leftover fat (usually with normal bacon I would drain most of it off, but turkey bacon left just the right amount!). After a couple minutes I add lightly steamed green beans and a sprinkle of kosher salt and pepper. Once the beans are at the desired doneness I just crumble the cooked bacon in there and serve it up! Crowd-pleaser, for sure :D

My mom requested a caprese salad; it's one of her favorites and I've never actually made one before!
So simple. You layer tomato slices with fresh mozzarella and basil and then give it sprinkle of salt and pepper! I gave it a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and it tasted amazing. Very fresh!

But what I think really stole the show was the bread!
I used the "master recipe" from Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day and was very pleased with the outcome. I've made it before a long time ago but for some reason it didn't work out. I think it was because I wasn't weighing the measurements and was instead measuring by volume. This book is very handy because it gives you the weighted measurements as well!

Here's the recipe of you'd like to try it out. It's almost completely whole wheat, no knead, and takes minutes to prepare! The only problem is you have to make the dough a day in advance, so it requires a little pre-planning.

I made two loaves, one "ciabatta" style and the other just a regular loaf.
Both were topped with a mixture of seeds and grains like poppy seed, cracked wheat, sesame, sunflower, and even fennel and anise!

My plate-
I don't really need to tell you guys how good this was because it's kind of obvious. I could honestly eat this meal every day for the rest of my life! How could you go wrong with all of these flavors?

Don't even get me started on the bread! It was super crusty and light
We actually only ended up eating one of the loaves because there was so much other goodies. The ciabatta was everything I was hoping it would be; very holey and crusty. I can't wait to make more of this bread! Perhaps a new favorite?
Can you see the Bummel & Brown butter in the background? 

Don't worry, I didn't forget about that peach pie and ice cream I mentioned making earlier. My mom asked for me to make a pie instead of cake. Now I love making cake, and don't love making fruit pies nearly as much, but of course she's the birthday girl (:

She also loves ginger, so she requested a ginger peach pie. I looked around for recipes, and decided to go with the filling from Bon Appetit and instead of using my favorite crust recipe (or the other crust recipe that went along with the peach filling) I decided to try a new one out. I chose a dough recipe from the Waiting For Gateau cookbook that I found online here. It uses a combination of vegetable shortening (I used non-hydrogenated) and butter and adds just a dash of apple cider vinegar. I'm not sure what the use of the vinegar is, but I'm sure there's an interesting explanation!

It was my first time making a peach pie and it came out beautifully; if I don't say so myself (:
But before I rush into talking about the final product I need to talk about how labor intensive this little beauty was!

Of course, there's the pie dough. This recipe was pretty simple, but it's still much more time consuming than getting the store bought kind. I actually cut the recipe in half (the recipe is for a double pie crust) and was able to have the perfect amount of dough for a bottom layer + lattice top. I also did about 60% whole wheat pastry flour and 40% unbleached all purpose with great results. I'm sure I could have done 100% whole wheat and no one would notice :P

Since the weather has been in the 100's or above lately, I had to work really fast making the dough. If the butter melted, then, well you can say goodbye to that wonderfully flaky crust you wanted. The key is to start off with everything cold and to have everything out and ready so you can just mix, wrap, and refrigerated before the butter can do anything.

But the most time consuming part was the filling. In order to get the skins off easily, you must blanch them quickly in boiling water. The peaches seemed perfectly ripe, so I thought that coring them would be easy but boy was I wrong! I think the peaches I got must have been some variety of clingstones (there are clingstone, freestone, and semi-free stone varieties) because I was practically squishing the peach to bits before it would come apart!

Obviously this is NOT a good plan for a peach pie. I didn't want peach-mush pie! So I ended up just cutting slices around the pit and tried to get as much flesh as I could off of it. It was definitely frustrating!

The filling included some ginger powder, brown sugar, cinnamon, a little lemon juice, and corn starch to thicken it up. I also added a quarter cup of minced crystallized ginger just to increase the overall ginger flavor. The other change I made to the filling recipe was decrease the sugar from 2/3 cup to 1/2 a cup and it was perfectly sweet!

I had a problem with the filling seeming to be way too liquidy, so I drained off a little bit concerned that I would end up with pie soup.

I then rolled out the dough I had already prepped and did all the fancy crimping and such.
But, I got a little lazy with the lattice top and didn't overlap them. Do you blame me? :P

After the whole pie was all set up and ready for the oven, I brushed it with a little egg wash and topped it off with a bit of turbinado sugar. After about an hour in the oven this guy was ready and perfectly browned!

And YAY the filling set up! I don't know if it would have been fine even if I didn't drain off the extra liquid, but I think if I were to make this again I would still drain it. Unfortunately, draining it means that some of those yummy spices are also being taken away!
I say that because I couldn't really tell that this was a ginger peach pie. It tasted just like peach pie with the occasional bite of crystallized ginger (very occasional). Oh well, you live and learn! The original crust accompanying this filling had the addition of powdered ginger and cinnamon in it as well, so I could have done that with the crust recipe I was using but I thought that a spiced pie crust might taste a little weird. I don't know..maybe I'm crazy :P

The pie altogether tasted fantastic. I'm not a "fruity pie" fan (I would much rather have chocolate pecan pie or coconut pie) and I loved this one! The new crust I tried out tasted amazing! This is my new favorite crust recipe! It was flakey and tender and crunchy and everything you would want in a crust. (It even has slightly less fat than the my old favorite, FYI. Double win!)

I loved how everything was perfectly balanced. The filling wasn't too sweet but worked perfectly with the crust. I think 50% of a pie's deliciousness factor lies in how well the crust works with the filling!
 The best part was that my mom absolutely loved it.

The last component of my mom's birthday meal was the vanilla bean ice cream to go along with the pie!
 I say ice cream but really, I should say ice milk because it was a combination of whole milk and greek yogurt. Well actually I wouldn't call it ice milk either because its not a true ice milk (which is supposed to be all whole milk) and it's not even frozen yogurt because it's only 1/3 greek yogurt! AH! What would you call it? Ice milkgurt? Frozen yogilk?

Okay, so the name is a still a work in progress but what I know for sure is that damn this stuff is good!! I found the recipe on The Professional Palate and was immediately intrigued. At that point I had already planned on making a peach pie so I knew that this would be perfect to put on top!

I used slightly different ingredients only because her recipe called for vanilla bean Greek yogurt and that stuff costs an arm and a leg more than the already high price of my favorite Greek yogurt (Fage) so I decided to just get some plain Greek yogurt and a vanilla bean (and now that I think of it, that vanilla bean probably evened out the difference in price, but whatever!) I also liked how, since I was using plain instead of vanilla yogurt, the ice cream would be a little less sweet (which would work perfectly with the sweet peach pie).
Can you see the vanilla bean specs?
Almost Ice Milk 
adapted from The Professional Palate
2 cups whole milk
1 cup 2% Greek yogurt
150 grams sugar (I think this is 10 tablespoons? I'm not sure though)
1 vanilla bean, cut in half and scraped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and whisk until sugar dissolves and yogurt is thoroughly combined. Pour into freezer can of electric mixer and freezer according to manufacturer's instructions.

How easy is that? (quoting Barefoot Contessa, here)

If you wanted to add something more so it wasn't just vanilla ice cream, just fold it in after the ice cream maker has done it's job. My dad's personal favorite would be crushed up heath bar when he makes his ice cream :D

Peach pie and vanilla "ice cream" are just meant to be together, don't you think?
And the top of my piece looked a bit lonely...
That's right, I wasn't shy with the amount of ice cream. I piled it on there :P

And guess what? The "ice cream" tasted AMAZING too! This had just enough yogurt to make it smooth and creamy without giving it too much yogurt "tang". My dad (who ate real ice milk as a kid) said that the two were like night and day. While the traditional ice milk is very icy and hard, this rendition was creamy and melt-in-your-mouth.

I don't think we'll ever make real ice cream (with cream and half and half) again! This ice yogurty milk is super easy; it took me 5 minutes to prepare and then the rest of the work was up to the ice cream maker. And don't get me wrong, I do love frozen yogurt but sometimes a good ice cream without all that tang is what you need and this recipe IS IT!

Okay so I got a lot of "new favorite" recipes from yesterday. Here's a recap-

First, the 73% whole wheat bread "master" recipe from Healthy Bread in Five. It didn't work before, but with this current success I can't wait to try out more recipes from that book!

Second, the "no fail" pie dough recipe from Waiting For Gateau. The secret ingredient of apple cider vinegar may have been the key to an amazing crust! A plus? Half a recipe (which is supposed to be enough for a single crust pie) makes the perfect amount for a double crust pie with a lattice top!

Third, the pie filling from Bon Appetit! Although I won't be making peach pies often, I think I will continue to use this filling recipe as my "go to" recipe (and just omit the ginger ingredients to make it a normal pie!)

And lastly, Forth, the amazing amazing AH-mazing low fat ice cream (I'm gonna stick with that title) recipe I found over at The Profession Palate. Its so creamy and delicious and versatile!

So there you have it! Although I was completely exhausted by the end of the day, I had some pretty dang delicious eats, too! I think my mom was more than pleased with her birthday meal and that's all that matters!

Next up? Father's day! :P

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