Archive | November, 2011

Make Bacon Ice Cream Parfaits

27 Nov

Last month we had a birthday party for a friend of ours who happens to love bacon.  In honor of him and his love of all fatty pork products, we decided to have a bacon tasting and cook-off.  I decided to pull out all culinary stops and make parfaits with homemade buttered popcorn ice cream, bourbon maple syrup, candied pecans and my not-so-secret ingredient, Benton’s Bacon, which is famous among bacon aficionados and is luckily located just 45 minutes outside of Knoxville and now available at any Knoxville food purveryor’s worth their salt.  The parfaits were truly decadent– creamy, sweet, smoky and salty.  Proceed with caution.

Trust me: the picture does not do this dessert justice.

Bacon Ice Cream Parfaits

Buttered Popcorn Ice Cream (via epicurious)

  • 2 cups popped popcorn
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 5 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 8 large egg yolks
Set a strainer over a large bowl; set aside. Place popcorn in another large bowl. Drizzle butter over and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt; toss to coat. Add milk and cream; cover and steep for 10 minutes. Stir in corn syrup and 1 tablespoon sugar. Working in batches, purée popcorn mixture in a blender until smooth. Transfer to a large saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat.Using an electric mixer, beat yolks, remaining 4 tablespoons sugar, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large bowl until thick ribbons form. Gradually whisk hot popcorn mixture into yolk mixture. Return to saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until custard is slightly thickened, your finger leaves a path when drawn across the back of a spoon, and an instant-read thermometer registers 175°F, 3-4 minutes. Pour through strainer. Cover and chill overnight.

Process in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to a container, cover, and freeze.

Maple Bourbon Syrup

  • 3/4 C pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 C bourbon
  • 1 T bacon grease (optional)
  • 1 stick cinnamon

Heat ingredients over medium heat until simmering.  Reduce heat and let warm on low until you are ready to assemble the parfaits.

Bacon Ice Cream Parfaits

  • Buttered popcorn ice cream
  • Candied pecans, chopped
  • Cooked Bacon, chopped
  • Maple Bourbon Syrup

Spoon one scoop of ice cream into a bowl or parfait glass.  Sprinkle pecans and bacon in a thing layer over scoop.  Add another scoop of ice cream, sprinkle with more pecans and bacon.  Drizzle syrup over parfait and serve.

For more recipes like this one, check out the Domesticity Page.



Make Turkey Burger Pitas

23 Nov

This isn’t a “how to use up your leftover Thanksgiving turkey” post.  Unless you ate raw ground turkey for your Thanksgiving dinner, this won’t help you use up all that excess turkey meat.  Just thought I should get that out there before you get too invested.

A few weeks ago I played one of my favorite games, which I call “What can I make for dinner using the random things I just happen to have on hand?”  I looked in the freezer and found some turkey burgers I’d made and some frozen pitas.  In the fridge- apples and cabbage.  Perfect.  I set about making turkey burger pitas with cabbage apple slaw.  If how fast we ate the finished pitas is any indication of how good they are, they are very very good.

Turkey Burgers with Corn (makes 4)

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup fresh yellow corn, cut off cob
  • 1/4 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon bread crumbs
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and smoosh with your hands until all ingredients are evenly incorporated.  Divide into four patties and cook immediately or freeze for up to 2 weeks.

Cabbage and Apple Slaw

  • 2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tablespoon mustard
  • 1/4 cup mayo (I recommend Dukes)
  • 1 medium unpeeled apple, cored, quartered, and thinly sliced crosswise
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3 cups coarsely shredded green cabbage
  • Spike seasoning to taste (This stuff is AMAZING, seriously.  I need to do a post just about how much I love Spike.)

Whisk vinegar and mustard in small bowl. Gradually whisk in the mayo.  Toss apples with lemon juice and shredded cabbage. Add dressing and toss. Add Spike, to taste.

Turkey Burger Pitas

  • 1/2 warmed pita
  • 1 Cooked turkey burger
  • 1/4 c cabbage and apple slaw
  • 2 tomato slices

Open pita half and fill with turkey burger, apple slaw and tomato slices.  Add additional mustard or mayo if desired.

For more recipes like this one, check out the Domesticity Page.

Make a Natural Sleep Aid

17 Nov

I’ve been a little wound up lately.  Balancing work, writing, friends, wedding planning, travel, holidays and other projects has seemed harder than usual lately, especially because the days just seems so short. In a cruel twist, I’ve been getting a little anxious my lack of time and energy to get everything done, which has made it a little harder for me to get to sleep, leaving me with less energy the next day.  Getting enough sleep has luckily never been much of a problem for me (I fall asleep 98% of the time I watch TV/movies or sit down with a book.  Sitting up, drinking coffee, it doesn’t matter.  If I get into any kind of semi-repose and can zone out a little, I am out for the count), so I wanted to nip this thing in the bud.

I’ve always liked chamomile, but have never found it to be particularly sleep inducing.  I did a little research and learned Valerian is an herb that  aids sleep, the root of which, according to all-knowing Wikipedia, “is used for insomnia and other disorders as an alternative to benzodiazepine drugs, and as a sedative for nervous tension, hysteria, excitability, stress and intestinal colic or cramps.”  Just what I need!  We started making tea with Valerian root I bought at our local co-op (and which you can also find online).  And it worked!  I was asleep ten to fifteen minutes after drinking it and woke up feeling wonderful without any weird groggy or cloudy side effects.  The problem is that Valerian has a smell and taste that is somewhat… funky.  Kind of like sour licorice.  Not super tasty for a cup of tea.

I decided to make a tincture out of the bulk herb since it will be more concentrated and so just a few drops on the tongue, in a cup or tea or in a glass of juice will have the same effect as a whole cup of funky tea.  If you need a little help getting sleep, I highly recommend this tincture.

Valerian Sleep Aid Tincture

Combine valerian and vodka in a glass jar and let sit for two weeks.  After two weeks of infusion, strain through a cheesecloth or coffee filter, squeezing to expel as much liquid as possible from the root.  Funnel into an amber dropper bottle.  Take 3-5 drops fifteen minutes before sleep.

Random side note: While I don’t particularly enjoy the smell of valerian, my cats certainly do. Both of them were going wild as I was straining the stuff.  Not sure what that’s all about, but check out our cat Duckie loving on my new tincture:

For more recipes like this one, check out the Apothecary page.

Cocktail of the Week: Easy Winter Mimosas

14 Nov

I spent the weekend with some dear friends in West Virginia.  While there was some walk-taking, conversation-having, dance party-throwing and movie-watching, the majority of our time was spent preparing and enjoying delicious food and drink.  For brunch on Saturday morning, my friend Lora whipped up some winter mimosas, which were as delicious as they are simple.

Winter Mimosas

  • equal parts champagne and grapefruit juice
  • rosemary sprig for garnish

Mix chilled champagne and grapefruit juice in a champagne or wine glass and garnish with rosemary sprig.

For more recipes like this one, check out the drink section of the Domesticity Page.

Read the Medulla Review

8 Nov

When I’m not making cocktails, going out of town, planning a wedding, sitting at work, cleaning the litter box or wasting time on the internet, I sometimes write a poem or two.

I’m honored to have one of said poems included in the most recent issue of Knoxville’s Medulla Review.   There are, in my humble opinion, some pretty fine poems in the bunch.  Check it out, why don’t you?

Cocktail of the Week: Fall in a Glass

7 Nov

Fall is in full swing here in East Tennessee. My sweetheart and I celebrated one of our first weekends at home in a while with home cooked meals, some marathon movie watching and fall cocktails. We call this one “Fall in a Glass.”

Fall in a Glass

  • 1 oz pumpkin liqueur
  • 2.5 oz bourbon (we used Four Roses)
  • 1 oz ginger beer
  • splash of apple cider


For more recipes like this one, check out the drinks section of the Domesticity Page.

Make Cold Cream

3 Nov

I’m on a roll with the apothecary this week…

When I was young, I thought cold cream was something old ladies used before face soap was invented.  Then I started doing theatre and I realized that those old ladies are all GENIUSES.  Cold cream is a great cleanser that doesn’t dry your face out like soap, which is a godsend when your putting the skin-raping goop that is theatre make-up on your face every day for weeks.  Though I’m not doing much theatre these days, when I saw a recipe for a gentle skin-cleanser in Make Your Place, I thought I’d try it out for a good winter cleanser that won’t dry my face up.

Creamy Lavender Cleanser

  • 3 oz jojoba oil
  • 3 oz vegetable glycerine
  • 3 oz cornstarch
  • 5 drops lavender oil

Combine all three in a bowl and stir vigorously until smooth and creamy.  I transferred mine to an old spice jar I’d run through the dishwasher. To use, rub some into your skin, wipe off with a washcloth and rinse well.  It’s easy to rinse off and won’t leave a layer of slime on your skin.  Awesome!

For more recipes like this one, check out the Apothecary page.