Married to Medicine

Married to Medicine

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Fresh Sour Cherry Crisp with Sour-Cream-Brown-Sugar Ice Cream

Is that enough "sours"??

The sour is, in my opinion, what makes this combo.  It's just a little something different from your typical sweeter fruit crisp with vanilla ice cream... not that there's anything wrong with traditional, and I may blog about our all-time favorite fruit crisp recipe later.

Either of these recipes is well worth making on its own.  Sour Cherry Crisp is awesome because it's so perfectly tart and you get to use beautiful sour cherries (you may need to call around; we found ours at a local farm, but Whole Foods probably carries them).  High-end vanilla ice cream will do the crisp justice just fine (for the record, I strongly believe that Haagen-Dazs "Vanilla" is the best store-bought vanilla ice cream available).

The "Sour Cream Brown Sugar Ice Cream" is also a decent standalone.  It's a delightfully rich, not-too-sweet take on vanilla that pairs perfectly with any fresh berries or any other crisp.

Together, these recipes make for an unbeatable, somewhat unique experience.  My husband isn't as prone to hyperbole as I am but he's declared this combo the "best crisp-like-thing he'd ever tasted."  

Sour Cherry Crisp

2 cups pitted sour cherries (see below)
3/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp flour
optional:  a few squeezes of fresh lemon juice 

3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (oatmeal)
1/2 brown sugar
1 stick butter (room temp or slightly softened in microwave)
1/2 cup shortening
optional:  several dashes cinnamon

First, rinse and pit the cherries.  I just used my thumbnail since they lose their shape when you bake them, but you can google "how to pit sour cherries" if you care to get fancy.  

Preheat oven to 375.  Stir cherries, 3/4 cup sugar, and 2 tbsp flour until combined (lemon juice too if you're adding it).  Pour into 8x8 baking or pie dish.  In another bowl, combine remaining ingredients and use a fork or pie cutter to cut them together until crumbly.  Spoon on top.  Bake 45 minutes.

Gorgeous sour cherries.
Photo Credit:  Food Gawker
Sour Cream Brown Sugar Ice Cream
(recipe from Sally Sampson's "Ice Cream of the Week")

1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
6 tbsp brown sugar
2 egg yolks, room temp
3/4 tsp vanilla
1 large pinch kosher salt
1 cup sour cream

Place the milk, heavy cream, and 2 tbsp of brown sugar in a small pan and cook over low heat, whisking from time to time, until warm.

Place the egg yolks, vanilla, and salt in a small metal bowl and whisk until completely mixed.  Add 1/4 cup of the warm milk mixture to the eggs and slowly add more while you continue to whisk until it's all uniform.  Eventually, return all ingredients to the pan on the stove and heat through until it just begins to thicken.  The recipe says not to boil but I actually let it get steaming for a bit and boiling on the edges if I didn't constantly stir it, because I needed to kill any salmonella from the eggs since I'm pregnant.

Pour mixture through a medium fine strainer into a metal bowl and discard any remaining solids (not necessary, but nice if you have such a strainer).  Set aside until it reaches room temp (refrigerate to speed along if you like).  Once room temp, add the sour cream and stir well.  Cover and refrigerate until chilled.  Transfer to your ice cream maker and churn until thickening  When it's beginning to come together but not yet hardened, add the remaining 4 tbsp brown sugar and process for about 5 more minutes.  You want to keep the specks of brown sugar if you can.

Photo Cred:  Desert Candy.

Photo Cred:  Desert Candy.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Matthew Lately.

Back in February, I started this blog post and made a list of five things Matthew was up to that I never wanted to forget.  Here I sit four months later... guess I have a lot of catching up to do!

The Original 5, February of 2012 (16 months)

(1) When Mark picked him up and patted him on the back, reaching around to pat Mark on the back (16 months).  He now (22 months) often pats us our backs as we hold him ... this afternoon he woke Mark up by caressing his back!

(2) Two times recently where he's FINALLY been willing to snuggle in bed with me.  He's one independent little man!

(3) Taking him out to brunch this morning with a Groupon, and he behaved through the entire meal, sitting at the table (17 months).

(4) Grabbing dinner downtown with Mark last night (16 months) before his shift started, and he behaved the entire time ONLY after we got him a big-person chair instead of the high chair.  Apparently high chairs are beneath his dignity.

(5) When he first discovered Thomas the Train and for over three days did not let it out of his grasp - meal time, bath time, night time, all included (16 months).

Matthew as of June 2012 (1.75 years)

Oh Matthew, how you have grown and changed!  You are transitioning from "baby" to "boy" and it is absolutely delightful.  You're still a man of few words and your GrandPa-pa has dubbed you the "cute mute."  But you and I have entire conversations, because I know what you're trying to say and so I respond at length.  (This might be why you don't have many words... your Da-da is convinced that you really believe you are talking with your "Da-da-da-DA-da-da, Da-DA-DA-DA-da-da!" type exclamations).

What words *do* you have?  You have "Mama" and once had "Nonna" but only if you're frustrated.  I've had a few "Mo-MMY!!!!!"'s when I'm in the shower, but even though these were a couple of months ago you still don't address me as anything in particular.  Your complete obsession with dandelions has led you to be fond of saying "It boke" when something breaks (usually a dandelion).  Over the past few days you've finally started shaking your head and saying "NaNaNaNa" for "No" - this is a new favorite.  A yard worker was declared "Tee guy" ("tree guy") a time or two.  The other day when confronted with some letters you pointed at the T and said "T."  Not sure whether that was a coincidence but you definitely know your colors.

You continue to be a sweet, sweet boy and you now love to snuggle with me and your blankie before and after every nap or night time sleep.  You still LOVE books and I once read you books for over 40 minutes, until finally *I* had to stop.  Your current favorites are "Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site," "Time For Bed," and "You Are Special."  Once when I got to the part of "Time For Bed" that says "It's time for bed little bee, little bee; yes I love you and you love me!" you turned excitedly and pointed at me and you, because you knew it applied to us.

You remain a big sleeper and will nap 2-4 hours a day.  In fact, once it gets to be around noon, watch out!  You *need* your sleep.  Due in part to this, the most trouble you ever give me is when I try to take you somewhere really fun and you do not want to leave.  Honey, even your Daddy admits:  You've got his stubborn streak (it's served him well in many ways though).  At the museums or today at the beach, oh my.  It's getting harder as I get more and more pregnant with your next sibling.  And after I explained it to you just twice, you'll point at my belly if I ask you where "Mommy's baby is."  (Of course, you're also my baby - and once you also pointed to yourself).

Matthew as of July 2012

And yet another month later, I still haven't finished and published this post.  I must add a few notes about this weekend and wrap it up.

We had a wonderful time as family picking blueberries at Parlee Farm on Saturday.  Below are a few great pics we took.  Then today (Sunday) you had a few new and exciting words.  Until now your words have been very sporadic other than the reliable "Nooooo," "Uh-Oh!" and "It bwoke."  Then this morning you pointed to a blue dinosaur at the park and you clearly said "Blow."  (I can't say you clearly said blue, but you did clearly say "blow").  The sweetest though was tonight as we sat down for dinner with Dada.  All on your own and without any prompting you folded your hands and your "Dada" and I both heard a little "DearJeshush..."  You've melted our hearts, Matthew.  We could not possibly enjoy raising you more.

"Come on, guys, hop in!  I'm taking us blueberry picking at Parlee Farm!"
Checking out the loot.
Couldn't love you more.
Mommy & Matthew
From one baby to another.

Sinful Salted Caramel Dark Chocolate Brownies

I finally made something I pinned on Pinterest.  And it was every bit as divine as it there appears:

Photo Credit as indicated.  Pinterest Link.
The original recipe is actually for "Chocolate Caramel Brownies" but I was craving salted caramel, super-dark brownies so I basically used Trader Joe's "Fleur de Sel" (salted) caramels and the darkest chocolate I could get my hand on to make these.  Here's the recipe with my alterations.  Please note that I actually halved the original recipe to make just one 8x8 pan - these are insanely rich and there's no way we could have handled a full pan of them.

Sinful Salted Caramel Dark Chocolate Brownies
Makes One 8x8 Inch Pan of Brownies


For the brownies:
1 stick butter
1 cup ultra dark chocolate chips (Ghiradelli 60% or E. Guittard 63% Extra Dark Chocolate Chips)

3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 tbsp vanilla
1/2 + 1/8 cup flour (original recipe calls for 1 1/4 cup and I halved that; I estimated with the 1/8 cup)
1/4 tsp salt (I added, but will consider omitting next time because the caramel is quite salty)
3/4 cup pecans, chopped (optional - I did on half my pan and LOVED)
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips (or whatever you have, really - I used Ghiradelli mini semisweet chips)
For the caramel filling:
7 ounces Trader Joe's "Fleur de Sel" caramel candies, unwrapped (box was 10 oz; I used 21 out of 28 caramels)
1/8 cup heavy cream

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line an 8x8 square baking dish with aluminum foil.  Grease generously with room temp butter or cooking spray (I used butter).  Don't worry if the foil breaks a little (turned out fine for me).
  2. In a saucepan on the stovetop, melt butter and 1 cup dark chocolate chips.  Stir as they melt to avoid burning. Remove from heat and stir in sugar, eggs, and vanilla until well-mixed.  Add flour and salt and stir until just mixed.  
  3. Spread about half of the brownie dough in the prepared pan.  Bake for 18 minutes.  Cool for 20.
  4. As you cool, toast the chopped pecans by stirring frequently in a saucepan over medium heat, until they are fragrant.
  5. Make the caramel filling by, once again in a saucepan on low-medium heat, stirring the caramels and heavy cream constantly as they heat.  The mixture will eventually become uniform, even if it takes 5-10 minutes.
  6. Pour caramel over baked brownies.
  7. Add toasted pecans (if adding).
  8. Drop remaining brownie dough in spoonfuls over the caramel and spread as evenly as you can.  Doesn't have to be perfect.  Sprinkle with remaining semisweet chocolate chips.
  9. Bake 20 minutes.  Cool completely.  Okay to store in refrigerator but best flavor at room temp.
Caramel filling poured.
Ready to bake.
Final Product:  Too gooey to cut!  (try chilling completely)


Saturday, July 21, 2012

My toddler does not lack "socialization" because he's not in daycare.

While I'm sure working parents get their fair share of intrusive and/or insulting comments, I just have to go on a little rant about one that I get as a SAH.  I've heard it many times and it's so absurd that I need to set the record straight.

Hear this, people:  The fact that my toddler isn't in daycare is not stunting his "socialization."  

This should be so obvious that it's almost hard to blog about it.  Do I really need to tell people that "staying home" with a toddler would more aptly be called "getting out of the house"?  Do people really not realize that at-home parents involve their kids in lessons, activities, and play dates as much as possible?  Should I really be telling people:  "Oh, it's okay, my gym has a childcare room - thank goodness; it's all that's preventing my child from a life of social awkwardness!!!"?  And what do these people think about "The Greatest Generation" or the baby boomers - do the vast majorities these generally pre-daycare generations all lack socialization?  Tell that to you grandmother!

Seriously people.  

I've twice now had people I've met at playgrounds ask me if I'll eventually put Matthew in daycare "for the socialization."  Really??  Would anybody ask a working mother if she planned to eventually stay home "for the _[fill in the blank]__."  I sure hope not.  

I always reply that when my son is 3, he'll go to preschool.  What I'd like to add is that 3 is also the age where what is now almost exclusively "parallel play" will become interactive.  Having worked in the 1 and 2 year old rooms of a daycare, I can confirm all those studies that so state.  Want to know how else I can confirm that?  I watch my son do parallel play all the time... on play dates and at parks, splash parks, beaches, museums, gymboree, etc.

Tonight at the park, another toddler boy was being somewhat aggressive with my son and eventually took a toy from him.  My son is a pretty calm, sweet guy (with other kids... just not when I tell him it's time to leave the park) and redirected his attention elsewhere - without any help from me.  His mother, whom I had just met, said to me:

"Your son just shares so well and he just rolls with it!  Are you sure he's not in *any* daycare?!"  

Nope, he's not.  And no - that's not astounding.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Blueberry Ice Cream: You've Never Had It Before.

Unless you had it homemade.  Anything else you had was really just vanilla ice cream with blueberries.  Just look at the color!!!

I don't know how to do color enhancement.  This is real.
I can now see why it (tragically) has to be that way.  It would cost ice cream shops a fortune to really do this dish justice, because it requires a LOT of blueberries.  Still... I feel hurt.  Betrayed, even - some of my favorite places in the world have been duping me out of good food (and antioxidants)!

Making this ice cream is SO easy.  It requires three ingredients - just three!!  You do need an ice cream maker.  We have the Kitchenaid ice cream bowl attachment. Then all you do is heat the milk/cream, add a few ingredients, chill, and run it through the mixer.

You can find ice cream recipes that are more involved.  One that I do every August is Fresh Peach Ice Cream (with Marcona almonds or fresh mint and cardamom).  It is AMAZING.  But after having made this the other day - along with another SUPER easy recipe for "Crunchy Coffee Ice Cream" (to which I added "Brickle" bits by Heath and crushed oreos), I'm basically convinced that they all are.  Ice cream shops, consider yourself the most recent addition to my "I can't eat out anymore because it's too disappointing" list (well, except you Izzy's... never you).

For This Recipe (makes 6 servings):

2 cups fresh blueberries
1 cup sugar (in retrospect, I would reduce to 1/2 cup or maybe 3/4 cup)
1 tbsp water
2 cups half-and-half

Simmer the blueberries, sugar, and water until sugar dissolves and berries are tender.  Stir in half-and-half.  Once chilled, run through ice cream maker.

THAT'S IT PEOPLE.  And you will NEVER have it this good in the stores (or even this healthy).

For a mind-blowing twist, take some sour cream (however much you want to taste) and stir it up a bit with brown sugar (I used dark brown sugar).  Add it towards the end of ice cream processing so that it blends but doesn't get fully mixed.  You now have a creation called "Sour Cream Blueberry Brown Sugar Ice Cream."  That's my plan for next time around - it will taste AMAZING based on what I was able to do softening some of my blueberry ice cream and stirring it up with a little sour cream/brown sugar mixture.

I plan to spend the rest of the summer trying new ice cream recipes.  I'll definitely post my tastiest finds - stay tuned!