7.31.2009

Napping with Cake Batter: Ice Cream #10

My friend from high school, Sarah, is an ace ice-cream maker. I've been running some of my flavor ideas by her on Facebook and she always has helpful tips. When I ran the idea for Cake Batter Ice-Cream by her last month she pointed out that there was no need to reinvent the wheel. She already had developed one. I quickly put her recipe to the test and loved it from first bite. So, Sarah, thank you for sharing your recipe with everyone. You are the best!

Sarah's Cake Batter Ice-Cream
1 3/4 c. of heavy whipping cream
4 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean
16oz of full-fat plain yogurt-strained
2/3 cup of white vanilla cake mix

1. In sauce pan heat up heavy whipping cream with vanilla bean until just before boiling point. Remove vanilla bean and scrape seeds out.

2. In separate bowl mix egg yolks and sugar. Once cream has heated add a laddle of hot cream to mixture and mix. Return mixture to sauce pan and heat until custard forms [stir constantly].

3. Let custard cool. Add the yogurt to mixture and chill in freezer for approximately 1-2 hours.

4. In separate bowl sift cake mix.

5. Add chilled mixture to ice cream maker and follow manufacturer's instructions. Slowly add cake mix as ice cream is mixing. Freeze ice-cream for 4-6 hours or overnight. Serve.


7.30.2009

Napping with Lunch Punch

My daughter has recently picked up a new eating habit - playing with her food. Luckily, she is not a picky eater per se, but she enjoys exploring her meals as much as she does consuming them. All in all, I don't mind letting her peel apart her sandwiches and eat them layer by layer, or separate her vegetables into little piles. I think it is important for children to understand what's on their plate, just as much as it is for them to eat it. But, every so often the mother in me can't resist making meal time a touch more interesting for her. Which is why I was thrilled to discover this awesome new kids food tool, the Lunch Punch.


Just to clarify, I am not getting paid to endorse these in any way, I am writing about them because I think they are clever and interesting. Plus my daughter loves them! As you know, I do the majority of my cooking when she naps. But, in this case, I have let her in on some of the fun. Since the Lunch Punch arrived in the mail I've been using them for all sorts of things in my kitchen, including making fun shapes out of Rice Krispie Treats, grilled cheeses, cinnamon-sugar toast and iced sugar cookies. The cookies have been her most favorite things so far. Not only because they are sweet, but because I let her participate in the cookie making.

Since she is not yet two, my daughter lacks any basic culinary knowledge. To her the kitchen is a place filled with wonderful gadgets and toys she can play with. At the present time her favorite thing to do is switch the mixer on and off on my command. She also likes to lick the icing and batters right off the spatula. I can't say I'm surprised by any of this since her actions closely resemble my memories of baking with my mother.


I have been making these classic iced sugar cookies for years on end, they are unfailingly buttery and delicious. Since I usually make them for Christmas and Valentine's Day most of my cookie cutters are in the shapes of hearts and stars. However, now that the Lunch Punch is in my cabinet, I have opened up a whole new world of shapes. During snacktime last week my daughter actually tried to assemble the Lunch Punch puzzle piece cookies. Then, later that week, she correctly identified the Lunch Punch animal shapes in front of her, before biting their heads off. I couldn't have been more proud.

(cookies decorated by my daughter)

Clearly the Lunch Punch would be useful for all kinds of reasons, they are a great way to get kids to take interest in their food, no matter what you are trying to serve them. For me, they will forever be the best tools for sugar cookies and grilled cheeses, as well as Play Doh fun. As a mother, and the Home Cook-in-Chief, I highly suggest you pick some up today and enjoy the time with your kids.

Naptime's Perfect Iced Sugar Cookies
adapted from an old recipe from my friend Andrea's mother
1 c. unsalted butter, room temperature
2 c. sugar

3 eggs, lightly beaten

6 T. whole milk

2 t. vanilla

5 1/2 c. flour

3 t. baking powder
1 pinch Kosher salt


Frosting:

1/4 c. butter

1 box (16 oz.) confectioners sugar

1 t. vanilla

1/2 c. whole milk - added gradually
Food coloring as desired

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, beat until combined. Add milk and vanilla, mix until combined.

3. In a separate bowl sift together flour, baking powder and salt. With the mixer on low, gradually add the flour to the wet ingredients, adding slowly until flour mixture is incorporated.

4. Chill batter in the fridge for 4-6 hours, or overnight.

5. When ready, roll dough out until 1/8 inch thick on a floured surface. Using Lunch Punch, cut cookies in desired shapes.

6. Transfer shapes to cookie sheets and baking for 12-14 minutes, or until the edges turn golden brown.

7. When cookies have cooled, whisk together frosting ingredients and decorate cookies as desired.


Naptime's Cinnamon-Sugar Toast
1
t. sugar 1 t. cinnamon 1 pat salted butter Thick slice of bread 1. Mix sugar and cinnamon in small bowl. Set aside. 2. Press Lunch Punch into the bread slice to create your desired shape. Trim the edges of the bread to polish. 3. Toast bread to desired dryness in toaster. 4. While bread is still warm spread butter across entire shape. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mixture. Serve.

Naptime Notes for Lunch Punch:
More Ideas:
- Rice Krispie Treat shapes
- Jello Jigglers in all shapes and sizes
- Thin crust sandwiches
- New biscuit shapes

- Grilled Cheese shapes

7.29.2009

Napping with Vegetable Roasting Rules

With the northeastern farmers' markets in full-swing I thought I would stop in today with a quick tidbit about vegetable roasting. At this time of year there are dozens and dozens of amazing vegetable recipes at our fingertips. Everywhere I look I am inspired by wonderful ideas for exciting new preparations. But, sometimes I just want to make simple traditional roast vegetables. This means, putting them in the oven and letting the heat draw out their delicious flavor. To that end, here are some of my favorite ways to roast summer vegetables. If you ideas on how to roast vegetables that you'd like to share, please let us know!


Naptime's Vegetable Roasting Rules

Slow-Roasted Tomatoes
1 dozen tomatoes (plum, beefsteak or heirloom), quartered, stems removed
6 cloves garlic
Olive oil
Kosher salt

1. Heat oven to 250. Line a 18x13 jelly roll pan with aluminum foil.
2. Place tomatoes skin side down and drizzle with olive oil until all tomatoes are covered.
3. Drop unpeeled garlic cloves randomly around the cookie sheet, drizzle with olive oil.
4. Sprinkle a dash of salt over all the tomatoes and garlic.
5. Roast for 3 hours or until tomatoes are shriveled, but still juicy.
6. Serve with fresh mozzarella and basil, or however you like.

Roasted Eggplant with Pine Nuts
1 large eggplant, cubed
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
Olive Oil
Kosher salt

1. Preheat oven to 400. Line a 18x13 jelly roll pan with aluminum foil.
2. Toss cubed eggplant with olive oil and spread evenly on the pan. Roast for 45 minutes or until eggplant is soft and brown. Toss once during roasting.
3. Remove from sheet, toss in a bowl with pine nuts and a little more olive oil and salt. Serve.

Roasted Zucchini
2 lbs. large zucchini, cut into quarters
Olive Oil
Kosher Salt
Balsamic Vinegar

1. Preheat oven to 450. Line a 18x13 jelly roll pan with aluminum foil.
2. Toss zucchini with olive oil and place skin side down on pan. Sprinkle with Kosher Salt.
3. Roast for 10 minutes. Flip the zucchinis over and roast for another 10 minutes or until zucchinis are browned and softened.
4. Season with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and serve.



7.28.2009

Napping with Happy Food

I am a nurturer by nature. Growing up I was always eager to care and comfort those around me. Whether it was tucking my stuffed animals into their "beds" or reading my little brother his favorite books, I was quick to provide TLC to anyone in need. Now that I am older I nurture people with my cooking. When my friends need a lift I like to bring them food that is nourishing, bright in color and flavor, and puts a smile on their face. I call this happy food.


In the summer my favorite happy foods include stuffed strawberries, peach cobbler and lemon squares. These sweet treats are full of fruit flavors that are capable of putting just about anyone in a good mood. Last week I had a playdate with my friend Priscilla, the proud mother of two month-old Grace. I Naptime Chef-ed her a batch of my favorite lemon squares, they seemed just thing to bring a tired, but beaming, new mom.


One of the reasons I consider lemon squares to be happy food is because of their cheery yellow hue, and bright citrus taste. I don't think anyone can eat a lemon square and feel bad afterward. Over the years I have tried a few (read: dozens) of lemon square recipes. I danced around several I thought were my favorite, and now have finally settled on one - Karen May's Lemon Squares from Park Avenue Potluck. This recipe is southern in origin and has been tweaked by Florence Fabricant herself so, trust me, it is damn good.


This best part about these squares is that the wonderful clear lemon flavor doesn't contain a hint of lip-puckering tartness. Their texture is soft and delicate, the soft buttery shortbread serving as the ideal backdrop for sweet lemon custard. They are also extremely easy to make while my daughter naps. I bake the shortbread crust first, then pour the lemon custard on top and bake it again. When the squares have cooled I polish them off with a dusting of confectioners' sugar because I like the way it looks. Every time I give these to people I get a request for the recipe. They are happy food at it's best, and I am always pleased to spread the smiles.


Karen May's Lemon Squares

adapted from Park Avenue Potluck (Rizzoli 2007)

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature

2 c., plus 4 T. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. confectioners' sugar, more for dusting

2 c. sugar
1 t. baking powder

4 large eggs, lightly beaten

6 T. lemon juice* (about 3 lemons)

3 t. grated lemon zest (about 2 lemons)

*Use Meyer lemons when available


1. Preheat oven to 350. Lightly butter a 9x13 baking dish and set aside.

2. In a mixture blend butter, 2 c. flour and confectioners' sugar. Once ingredients are combined, press dough into the bottom of the baking dish. Make sure it is flat across and tightly packed. Bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from oven and cool. Keep oven turned on!

3. In a bowl, mix together 4 T. flour, granulated sugar and baking powder. Add eggs, stir to combine. Add lemon juice and zest, mix again. Pour mixture onto cooled crust. Bake for 30 minutes, or until set.

4. Once squares have cooled, dust with confectioners' sugar, cut and serve.


Naptime Notes:

Naptime Recipe Props
: It is hard to go wrong with the recipe, it is so easy to make. I have also used the shortbread base for other baked goods, it is the perfect crust for almost any baked good.

Naptime Stopwatch:
It takes less than 20 minutes to make the lemon square batter, making it perfect for Naptime Chef-ing. They will be completely baked by the time your child wakes up! Naptime Reviews: Everyone loves these lemon squares, especially in the summer. I have never had a batch last me more than a one day at home.

--

7.27.2009

Napping with Food 52

It is no secret that I have always been a fan of Amanda Hesser. I have adapted a few of her recipes, recommended her books, and steadily cooked my way through Cooking for Mr. Latte. Twice. Which is why I think her newest project, Food52.com, is one of the most exciting new things to happen to the virtual food world in a while (next to this website, of course. Haha).

Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, an equally as awesome woman, have created a fun site where our kitchens "meet" and we share our favorite recipes based on different categories they select each week. At the end of the year certain recipes will be selected to put in the Food 52 cookbook. We can also share tours of our kitchen on Vimeo.com. In which case, I say a virtual tour of The Naptime Chef™ NYC headquarters, and Vineyard and Cooperstown outposts, are in order!
In any event, be sure to sign up for Food52's mailing list, and get ready for some fun.

To get everyone excited, here is a video tour of Amanda's kitchen. I am green with envy over her lowered chopping board and gorgeous blue-cheese style desk. What I wouldn't give?! However, while our kitchens are somewhat different, I was pleased to discover that, like me, Amanda is an obsessive spice organizer and tea drinker. I have a feeling we both have big stashes of Grains of Paradise. We also both have to use kitchen ladders to reach the higher shelves. Maybe this means that, while I don't have her cookbook career yet, there is still hope!

Kitchen Tour (version 3.0) from Food52 on Vimeo.

7.24.2009

Napping with a BLT Lunch

Happy Friday! I am posting a quick one today, since I think a lot of you will find this helpful. For some reason there has been lots of chatter about BLT's this week. I've been hearing about them on Facebook, from friends around town, and even on Twitter. So, a bunch of us food bloggers decided we would all take this day to share our favorite version of this beloved sandwich. Earlier this winter I gave you my recipe for a B.E.A.L.T., and today I am giving you another variation.


In this case I replace mayonnaise with fresh slices of avocado, and substitute bacon with leaner prosciutto. I also add a small drizzle of balsamic syrup for a finishing touch. This is perfect for picnics, hearty lunches or even light dinners. I know we love it in our house, and hope you will as well.


Naptime's Friday PLT - Prosciutto, Lettuce, Tomato

4 slices thick ciabatta
1/2 avocado, thinly sliced

2 slices tomato

4 strips prosciutto, thinly sliced

Handful Arugula

For Balsamic Syrup
1/2 c. good balsamic vinegar
1/3. c. sugar

1. Place sugar and vinegar in a saucepan. Swirl until sugar is dissolved and vinegar thickens, about 5 minutes. Do not let boil too long.

Yields two PLT's

1. Drizzle balsamic syrup on two slices of bread. On top of balsamic arrange the avocado slices. Top with arugula, prosciutto and tomato. Close sandwichs with second slice.

2. Serve with Mint Lemonade.

7.23.2009

Napping with Zucchini Spoonbread

I am a loyalist by nature, especially when it comes to food. Over the years I have tried almost everything on my grocer's shelves, determined what works best for me, and declared allegiance to my favorite brands. My favorite baking chocolate? Ghiradelli. Never expect me to buy anything otherwise. Favorite breakfast food? Quaker Oatmeal. I've been eating it for years on end, and have no intention of stopping.

When it comes to vegetables I express my loyalties in a more seasonal fashion. Sure, I buy vegetables year-round at my local grocery store, but there is nothing like being presented with big fat bushels of produce fresh from a local farm. There are certain vegetables I simply adore, and, when they are in season, I obsessively cook with them until they are no longer available. This month my obsession has been zucchini. I have already written about it here, and here, and here since they became available, and fully intend to take advantage of the remaining two months of the season.


(a glimpse of my sacred recipe binder)

Earlier this week I posted my recipe for Baked Zucchini with Tomatoes, a newer dish that has been added to my permanent repertoire. Today I am going to share an old favorite from my binder (pictured above), zucchini spoonbread. My mother has made this for years, it is the perfect way to use any surplus from the garden, or the fridge. I love it because it is a light meal that showcases the true flavors of summer.


Making spoonbread is incredibly easy and perfect for Naptime Chef-ing. While my daughter sleeps, I chop the vegetables and assemble the simple batter. Once it has been poured into the pan I place it, covered, in the fridge. In the evening I put in the oven before dinner, and wait for the delicious hot meal to be ready. We all love how it is packed with the flavor of fresh vegetables in a light cheesy bread, almost like a savory pudding. I like to serve it with a simple green salad and a fresh crusty roll. Needless to say, given my unwavering devotion to fresh zucchini, I have been serving this a lot lately and, luckily, nobody seems to have tired of it. Yet.


Naptime's Zucchini Spoonbread
loosely adapted from Better Homes & Gardens, July 1996
1 c. fresh corn, off the cob
(you can substitute frozen corn if necessary)
1/2 c. yellow onion, chopped

1/2 c. red pepper, seeded, cored and cut into strips

1 c. chopped zucchini

1 c. chopped tomato

4 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded

1/2 c. cornmeal

1/2 c. water

2 eggs
1/2 c. whole milk

7 dashes Tabasco sauce

Salt & Pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Bring 1/2 c. water to boil in a medium sauce pan and add corn, onion, and peppers. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in zucchini, tomatoes, cheese and cornmeal. Set aside.

3. In a seperate bowl, add eggs, milk, Tabasco Sauce and salt and pepper to taste. Stir egg mixture into the vegetable mixture in the saucepan.

4. Pour into a greased 1 1/2 quart casserole. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until top is set. Remove from oven and let stand for 6 minutes, then serve.


Naptime Notes:

Naptime Recipe Props:
This recipe is wonderfully flexible, feel free to add any kind of vegetables you would like. Just keep the portions of dairy consistent.
Naptime Stopwatch:
It takes about 25 minutes to prepare this batter, then another 40-45 minutes to bake.
Naptime Reviews:
People love this dish because it is like eating a light pudding. It is a great way to use up vegetables and it doesn't weight too heavily in your stomach after eating.

7.22.2009

Napping with Good Bite

A great new website called Good Bite was launched last month. It features recipes from food bloggers around the globe, along with helpful videos of cooking and kitchen tips. I was so flattered when Good Bite chose to feature my recipe for Baked Zucchini & Tomatoes today. You can find the write-up here, I am sure you will like their site!

Napping with the Tampa Tribune and Cookie

It has turned out to be a big week for The Naptime Chef™ and I am excited to share all the good news with you. First, yesterday an interview with me was published by the Tampa Tribune online and I invite you to view it here. It also contains my recipe for Zucchini Lemon cookies which are SOOO good. Second, in the spirit of zucchini season, I wrote an article for Cookie's great food site, One Little Bite. It was published today and can be found here. Stay tuned for tomorrow's recipe, Zucchini Spoonbread, to conclude my week-long zucchini-fest!

7.21.2009

Napping with Edible Vineyard: Sunday Dinner Series #5

It is an unwritten rule in our house that I, Mom, sleep late on Saturday mornings, and my husband rises early with our daughter. When we were on vacation, however, our schedule was thrown off. My husband and I took turns getting up with her each day, allowing the other the luxury of sleeping past 7am. With this schedule of alternating mornings it meant that last Saturday was my turn to get up early. Which is how I came to find myself pushing a stroller into the Tisbury Farmers' Market at the crack of dawn.

It was on that morning, in my groggy state, I realized zucchini season has started in earnest. I couldn't believe the varieties available, and, since it is one of my most favorite vegetables, I ended up bringing home a bag heavier than my own child.


For the remainder of the day I contemplated the different possibilities of what to make with my farmers' market haul. I wanted to create a dish that would draw out the sweet flavors of the zucchini, and perhaps add some of the gorgeous early tomatoes I had on hand. As luck would have it, during my daughter's naptime, I was enjoying my latest issue of Edible Vineyard and discovered a recipe for layered tomatoes and zucchini. It was exactly the inspiration I was looking for, I couldn't wait to get started.


I consider this dish Sunday Dinner Series material because the preparation was time consuming, and the recipe yielded enough food to feed us for several days. I didn't mind how long it took though, the final dish was full of the mouth-watering flavors that only appear when cooking with fresh, seasonal vegetables. I loved the way the nutty breadcrumb mixture added a subtle crunch to the vegetables, which had been softened from the baking.

When it came time for dinner I decided to pair the casserole with roasted local sausages, unintentionally making it a true "locavore" meal. Everyone remarked that the flavors of the savory meat and sweet vegetables played off each other beautifully. I made a mental note that the menu definitely bears repeating this summer. It also made me think I should start waking up earlier on Saturday mornings. Who knows where I could end up next.

Naptime's Baked Zucchini and Tomatoes, with Roasted Sausage
adapted from Edible Vineyard June/July 2009
For Bread Crumb Mixture:

3 T. toasted pine nuts, roughly chopped

3/4 c. unflavored breadcrumbs

3/4 c. grated Parmigiano cheese


For the Vegetables:
8 T. good olive oil
1 yellow onion, peeled and very finely sliced

1 red pepper, cored and thinly sliced
3/4 lb. medium tomatoes, cut in half and thinly sliced

1/2 lb. zucchini, thinly sliced

3 T. sundried tomatoes, finely chopped

Salt to taste


For the Dressing:
2 t. balsamic vinegar

2 t. honey

1 T. fresh mint, chopped

1 T. fresh basil, chopped
Salt to taste


1. Preheat oven to 375. Coat a shallow 2-quart baking dish with olive oil.

2. In a small bowl mix breadcrumbs, cheese and chopped pine nuts. Add 2 t. olive oil and mix well. Set aside.

3. In skillet heat 2 T. olive oil, add the onions and peppers and a pinch of salt. Cook for about 15 minutes, until the peppers and onions are wilted browned. Remove from heat and cool.

4. Spread the pepper/onion mixture onto the bottom of the pan, making sure it coats the pan evening in one layer. On top of this spread the finely chopped sundried tomatoes and 1/2 of the mint/basil herb mixture.

5. In a separate bowl whisk together the vinegar, honey, 1 T. olive oil, remaining herbs and a pinch of salt. Add the sliced zucchini slices and toss to coat.
6. To assemble to the tomato and zucchini slice proceed as follows: At one of the baking dish start arranged alternate rows of zucchini slices and tomato slices, slightly overlapping each other. Every time you finish a row sprinkle some of the breadcrumb mixture over it. Then proceed with the next row. I was able to make three rows of zucchini and two rows of zucchini in my dish, which is about how much you will have too.

7. Once the rows are complete, sprinkle the vegetables with the remaining olive oil and a good pinch of salt. Then sprinkle the remaining bread mixture over it all.
8. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until brown and bubbly.


Roasted Sausage

4 links fresh sausage (chicken or pork sausages work fine with this)

1. Brush each sausage with olive oil and sprinkle with a little fresh rosemary if desired.

2. Place sausages in a shallow baking dish.

3. Place in oven for the last 20 minutes with the casserole.

4. Plate vegetables and sausage together. Serve.


Naptime Notes:

Naptime Recipe Props:
Any way to use fresh produce is always welcome in my house. I love this dish because it makes the most of the vegetables flavors, without being overly complicated. Feel free to serve this with chicken, steak, or even on it's own.
Naptime Notes: The total preparation for this dish is almost 2 hours. I saved time at night by pre-chopping the vegetables during my daughter's naptime.
Naptime Reviews:
We are all fans of roasted vegetables, which is why this dish was such a hit. My daughter especially loved the roasted zucchini.

7.19.2009

Napping with Peppermint Bark: Ice-Cream #9

It felt a little strange to make my Christmas peppermint bark in July, but the result was well worth it. My whole family loved the creamy mint flavor and the soft chunks of bark. It was the perfect way to enjoy one of our favorite holiday treats in delicious summer fashion.

I delighted to be submitting this recipe to my friend, Savor the Thyme's Ice-Cream Social. She and two other blogger friends, Scotty Snacks and Tangled Noodle, are hosting this social in honor of National Ice-Cream Month. Naturally, after learning about my summer-long The Naptime Chef Great Ice-Cream Festival, they were excited for me to participate. Enjoy!

Naptime's Peppermint Bark Ice-Cream
Yields 1 quart

For the 2-layer Peppermint Bark:
loosely adapted from Gourmet, 1998
8 oz. white chocolate, finely chopped
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate (at least 60%), finely chopped
3 candy canes OR 10 individual swirled peppermint candies, crushed
3 T. cream
1/4 t. peppermint extract

1. Line a 8x8 baking dish with aluminum foil. Set aside.

2. Place the white chocolate in a heatproof bowl and place it over a pot of simmering water. Make sure the bowl and water do NOT touch. Stir the white chocolate until it is totally melted. Working quickly, pour the melted white chocolate into the dish with aluminum foil and spread evenly over the bottom of the pan using an icing spatula. Cover with crushed candies. Place in the refrigerator to harden, about 20 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, in a heavy bottom sauce-pan melt cream, bittersweet chocolate and peppermint extract. Stir until fully combined and chocolate is shiny. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

4. When the white chocolate is ready, pour the dark chocolate over the white chocolate to form a second layer. Spread evenly with an icing spatula. Place in the freezer to harden for at least 4 hours.

5. To put into ice-cream, remove peppermint bark and coarsely chop it with a knife. To give as gifts, break it into large chunks and place in gift bags.

For the Peppermint Ice-Cream:
2 c. heavy cream
1 c. whole milk
1/4 t. peppermint extract
3/4 c. granulated sugar
5 large egg yolks
Pinch of salt

1. Coarsely chop half of the peppermint bark and place it in the freezer.

2. Combine milk, heavy cream, salt and peppermint extract in a large saucepan and bring to a low boil. In a separate bowl, whisk egg yolks and sugar. Add one cup of hot milk mixture to egg mixture, stirring constantly. Add remaining milk mixture to eggs, then pour full mixture back into sauce pan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture coats the back of a spoon – about 5 minutes.

3. Pour mixture over a mesh strainer into clean glass bowl and refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours, and/or up to overnight.

4. Pour mixture into ice cream maker and follow manufacturer’s instructions on time. Add peppermint bark chunks halfway through churning. Scoop into container and freeze for a minimum of two hours.

7.16.2009

Napping in Vineyard Haven Harbor

I firmly believe summertime should be spent on the water. Whether it is on Lake Otsego or the Atlantic Ocean, I love all types of aquatic sports, especially those involving boats. It just so happens that my father-in-law is in the boat business, an unexpected benefit to marrying my husband. He commutes to work by boat, has his Captain's License and has taught me how to drive a Boston Whaler. But, I will readily admit, not all of my boat trips are spent practicing navigation rules. While I am happy to drive, I am also happy to be the passenger. Especially when we embark on our weekly dinner cruises around Vineyard Haven Harbor.

During our Martha's Vineyard vacation we held several picnics on our boat. We have gotten pretty good at coordinating these over the years, always packing unbreakable utensils and extra sweaters. When it comes to the food, we have learned to keep it basic. Much like the philosophy of
The Yachting Cookbook, boat food should be easy and delicious. We never make anything that needs to be served piping hot, or stored in a fridge until consumption. Instead, we opt for the simple and tasty route, sandwiches, salads, chips and hot dogs. Everything can be carried aboard with ease, and consumed without concern, which is why my cous-cous salad is always perfect to bring.


My husband once called this "kitchen sink" salad, due to the variety of ingredients. It is great for picnics because it can easily be made ahead of time - I make it during my daughter's naptime - and served at room temperature. The hardest part about the entire preparation is fixing the cous-cous, which is about the easiest thing in the world to do. Once the cous-cous is completely steamed I simply fluff it with a fork, stir in the ingredients, and mix in the tangy dressing.

It is a gorgeous salad to look at, and equally as delicious to eat. I love how the sweet craisins contrast with the tangy blue cheese, both of which are highlighted with the subtle flavor of vinegar and scallions. I started adding the pecans a short time ago, after tasting them in a similar salad from a nearby farmstand. They add a nice texture and nutty flavor. Last Friday I brought this salad on the boat to accompany our grilled hot dogs. It was the perfect thing to serve as we enjoyed our leisurely trip around the harbor, savoring the taste of summer.

Naptime's Cous-Cous with Blue Cheese, Craisins and Pecans
1 10 oz. box plain cous-cous
1 c. craisins (dried cranberries)
1 c. blue cheese, crumbled
1/2 c. scallions
3/4 c. pecans, roughly chopped
1/3 c. good olive oil
1/4 c. red wine vinegar
1 t. lemon zest
Juice of 1 lemon
Kosher salt to taste

1. Prepare cous-cous according to package directions.
2. In a small bowl whisk together olive oil, vinegar, lemon zest and lemon juice. Set aside.
3. Pour prepared cous-cous into a large bowl and fluff with a fork. Add craisins, blue cheese, scallions and pecans. Stir well until completely combined.
4. Add dressing and mix until salad is completely coated with dressing.
5. Add 2 pinches of salt, or more, to taste.
6. Serve warm or at room temperature. Can be stored, covered with plastic, in the fridge.

Naptime Notes:
Naptime Recipe Props: Like all good salads, this one is flexible. I have added dried cherries in lieu of cranberries before, as well as other ingredients like chopped apples or garlic scapes instead of scallions. I encourage you to find your own preferred flavors to make this salad your own.
Naptime Stopwatch: This salad usually takes me about 25 minutes to make, from start to finish. Preparing cous-cous only takes five minutes, the rest of the time is just spent pouring and mixing the ingredients. It is perfect to make during naptime, it keeps well until dinner. Or, the next day.
Naptime Reviews: A few times people have made this and added more vinegar since they prefer a tangier taste. I like to keep it subtle so I can prefer all the nuances of the nuts and fruits. When I have served this at a large party the bowl is always empty by the end of the night.

7.14.2009

Napping with a Pop Quiz

My friends often take advantage of my passion for cooking when we visit their homes. Many of them are accomplished cooks and bakers themselves, but they still enjoy asking me for ideas and putting me to work. This happened just last weekend when we celebrated the 4th of July with a big house party at the seaside home of our friends, Tom and Liz. No sooner had we arrived, then Tom presented me with a Naptime Chef pop quiz. I will admit, I used to dread pop quiz’s in math class, but I love them when they relate to anything culinary.

On this occasion Tom handed me four packages of pre-made individual chocolate and vanilla tart shells from Whole Foods. Liz had bought them on a whim without the slightest idea of what to make.
To her credit, Liz is a fantastic cook, but she readily admits sweets and desserts are just not her thing. It was now up to me.

Upon first glance my thoughts turned to filling the shells with lime and lemon curd, and topping them with fresh berries. I loved the idea of a tangy citrus flavor contrasting with the buttery chocolate and vanilla. I also liked the fact that curd is a snap to make. In this instance my daughter skipped her nap because she was so pre-occupied with the six other children in attendance, so I didn’t need to worry about cooking this while she slept. However, I wanted to spend time catching up with friends, not toiling in the kitchen.


Since I had left my recipe binder at home I turned to the Barefoot Contessa for advice, and made some quick adaptations to her curd recipe. I cut down the amount of sugar since we didn’t want to children awake all night (!), and added a little extra zest, since I prefer the flavor extra tart. Even though I was working in an unfamiliar kitchen I was able to pull together both curds in a short 30 minutes. I simplified the process of making two flavors by duplicating the steps with each fruit as I followed the recipe - first I zested the lemons, then the limes, etc. - keeping the batters in separate containers. Then I carefully cooked each curd individually, and stored them in heatproof bowls at room temperature until we were ready to eat.

Assembling the tarts was the easiest part of the entire process, I simply spooned the curd into the individual shells and topped them with berries. It took all of five minutes, and dessert was ready. We set them out on the table around lunchtime and people nibbled on them day. Even my daughter enjoyed a lemon tart with a chocolate shell after her lunch. By the end of the day the plate was empty and, everyone happily agreed, I had passed my pop quiz with flying colors.

ps – Tom posted a picture of me assembling the tarts on my Facebook Fanpage HERE.


Lime Tarts with Fresh Berries

Adapted from Barefoot Contessa, inspired by summer fruits

4 limes*
1 1/3 c. sugar
1 stick (1/4 lb) unsalted butter, room temperature
4 large eggs
1/2 c. lime juice* (about 5-6 limes)
1/2 c. raspberries for garnish
1/2 c. blueberries for garnish
Pinch of Kosher salt

*Note, to make lemon or orange curd simply substitute lemons for limes as noted.

1. Pour sugar into a food processor fitted with a steel blade.
2. Zest the limes and put the zest in the processor with the sugar. Process until sugar and zest are very fine and fully incorporated.
3. Cream the butter in a mixer. Add the lime sugar mixture and mix until fully combined. Add the eggs one at a time, mix until fully incorporated. Then, add lime juice and mix again until the whole mixture comes together.
4. Pour mixture into a saucepan and place over medium heat. Stir mixture constantly over medium heat for about 10 minutes or until the curd thickens. Do not let it simmer or boil! The curd will come together quickly and be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Once it is complete, remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Mixture can be stored in the refrigerator for long periods of time.
5. To assemble, spoon the curd into the tart shells(s) and top with berries.
Yields 3 cups of filling. Enough for 16 individual 4” tarts, or one large 12” tart.

Ideas for using Citrus Curd:
Filling for tarts, topping for Pavlova, topping for pound cake, layers in an English Trifle, layers in a Parfait, filling for Gingerbread muffins, filling for Profiteroles or other puff pastry treats.


Naptime Notes:
Naptime Recipe Props:
This is a basic recipe that could work for many citrus fruits, including lemons, lime, oranges, or tangerines. I love the versatility and taste of citrus curds, they are always refreshing in the summer can be used in any number of ways. See ideas for uses above.

Naptime Stopwatch:
Making fresh curd is intimidating to some, but it is really easy. Preparing two flavors took me 30 minutes total. And, if you make it ahead of time, the curd can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days.

Naptime Reviews:
Everyone loved the both the lemon and lime curds. They especially enjoyed mixing and matching the different curds, with the shells and berries. Each person came up with a different flavor combination.

7.10.2009

Napping with Raspberries: Ice-Cream #8

My ice-cream maker does not travel with me on vacation. Instead of packing heavy kitchen tools, I choose to travel equipped with useful recipes. For my vacation on Martha's Vineyard I brought my friend Alba's recipe for Raspberry Ice-Cream, that does not require an ice-cream maker. This recipe is summer decadence at it's best. There is no custard making involved, you just put the ingredients in a blender and freeze them before eating. We have already enjoyed several bowls this week and have plans to make more.

Alba's Raspberry Ice-Cream
20 oz. fresh raspberries
2 c. sugar
4 c. full-fat sour cream, well stirred
1 t. vanilla

1. Wash and dry raspberries, remove any stems or leaves from the bunch.
2. Pour all ingredients into a food processor and puree until completely smooth.
3. Pour mixture into a freezer-friendly bowl and freeze for 4-6 hours.
4. Remove from freezer 5 minutes before serving to allow ice-cream to soften.

7.09.2009

Napping on Martha's Vineyard: Travel Series #3

For the third installment in my Travel Series I am sharing my adventures, both foodie and otherwise, from our latest vacation destination, Martha's Vineyard. For those of you looking for a new recipe, don’t worry. During my stay here I have been Naptime Chef-ing loads of delicious summer food, and can’t wait to share the recipes next week!

Martha’s Vineyard holds a special place in my heart. I have come to this island every single summer for my entire life, and experienced many significant milestones on its shore’s. This is where I met my husband, got married and shared my daughter’s first Christmas. It is also the place where, at age four, I got my first bee sting, attended my first day camp and, in college, spent my first summer without my parents. I lived in a room at a friend’s house, paying rent with my waitressing tips.


Having spent so much time here it goes without saying I know this Island inside and out. Over the years I have gotten to know all of it’s true hidden treasures, and am excited to share some of my favorites with you today. Rest assured, since this is a place I frequent, there will more travel articles about Martha’s Vineyard in the future. In the mean time, I hope you are able to plan a visit this summer.


Naptime Chef’s Martha’s Vineyard Favorites (in no particular order):
1.
Espresso Love, Edgartown: Traveling with a toddler means no chance to sleep in. When my daughter starts her day at 6am the first thing I do is head to Espresso Love for a shot of caffeine. This coffee shop with a charming name has a great selection of drinks to give me the lift I need. It also serves delicious breakfast baked goods, lunch sandwiches, and dinner, too. Every morning should start this way.


2. LeRoux, Vineyard Haven: I could spend days browsing the shops on Martha’s Vineyard, especially this one. This store carries a well-edited collection of cooking supplies and decorative goods for the kitchen. It is any cook’s haven and is always worth a stop.

3. Martha's Vineyard Glass Works, West Tisbury: The talented artisans at the Glass Works regularly sculpt gorgeous glass creations. I always love to stop in to see the latest inventory of vases, bar ware, jewelry and decorative objects. My daughter loves watching the glass blowers at work, they have an open workspace so everyone can watch them work on a project, from start to finish.

4.
Farmer’s Markets, Multiple Locations: There are several farmers’ markets around the island to accommodate the produce from the numerous working farms. My two favorites are at the old Agricultural Hall in West Tisbury on Wednesday & Saturday’s, and Tuesday’s at Vineyard Haven Wharf. Both carry a wide selection of fresh island produce, delicious homemade baked goods and beautiful plants and herbs.


5.
Slice of Life, Oak Bluffs: This no-frills restaurant is our go-to spot when we are in the mood for a hearty breakfast. I love the Tivoli egg sandwich on a buttery fresh biscuit, my daughter enjoys the Frisbee-size buttermilk pancakes.

6.
The Bite, Menemsha: When I crave fried seafood this is my favorite place to go. This seafood shack (literally) takes orders through a screen window, gives you everything to go in greasy paper cups and makes you buy soda from a nearby vending machine. They use exclusively fresh seafood, so it is always excellent. My husband also swears this is the best clam chowder on the Island. We love take our fried food fiesta a few yards down to Menemsha beach for sunset picnics on the jetty.


7.
Alley’s General Stores & Alley’s Farm Stand, West Tisbury: This old-fashioned general store carries everything you could possibly need, and then some. There is an abundance of snacks to be had, toys for children and general household necessities. I always pick up a treat for my daughter when visiting, and then go to the Farm Stand in the back to select some fresh, local produce.



8.
State Road Restaurant, West Tisbury: I could spend a whole post writing exclusively about the restaurants on this Island, there are so many to choose from. This recently opened spot features local farm food, herbs fresh from the garden behind the restaurant, and is already a favorite among Islanders. If you want to enjoy a dinner there, be sure to make a reservation.


9. Farm Stands, Multiple Locations: Unlike farmers’ markets, farm stands are open daily and usually feature food exclusively from one farm. My two favorites are Fiddlehead Farm in West Tisbury, and Morning Glory Farm in Edgartown. When I stock up at both places I always know I am getting quality organic produce.


10.
Net Result, Vineyard Haven: This is, hands down, the best fish store on the Island. Whenever we cookout (which is often), we always stop here first to see what is fresh. I also love their take-out window for lunches, they serve the best lobster roll on the Island.


11.
Humphrey’s, Vineyard Haven, Edgartown: When I don’t have time to make sandwiches for the beach I head here. This place has been serving up the best homemade sandwiches in town for as long as I remember. Everything is made fresh while you wait, guaranteeing a delicious picnic lunch.

12.
Mad Martha’s, Multiple Locations: No summer day is complete without a big bowl of ice-cream. Though I have been making my own lately, I still love a trip to Mad Martha’s. This island chain regularly dishes up creamy homemade ice-cream, our favorite is Peppermint Stick with Hot Fudge Sauce.

7.07.2009

Napping at the Beach

I am five days into my Martha's Vineyard beach vacation and am very relaxed. After less than a week, the stress of Manhattan life has completely faded from my memory. Or, maybe that is just the Dark & Stormy's talking. Either way, I crave the simpler life in the summer. I am happy to trade the heat and grit of the city, for sand castles and boat rides. I find the country air therapeutic, and greatly enjoy waking to the sounds of birds chirping, instead of honking horns.

Since I am traveling with a toddler I don't get much down time on vacation, but, when I do, I love to pick up a good book. Reading a great story while sipping lemonade is easily one of my favorite ways to relax in the summer. To help you all relax this season I am pleased to share my summer reading list. These are books I have greatly enjoyed and hope you do, too. I have also included my favorite recipe for summer lemonade (that can easily be spiked with vodka!). I usually whip up a fresh batch when my daughter goes down for her nap and enjoy it all afternoon. Happy Summer!


The Naptime Chef's Recommended Summer Reading List 2009:
1. A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenburg: It is no surprise that this popular food blogger wrote a fantastic memoir, complete with delicious recipes. I reviewed the book here last winter, and recommend you consider picking up a copy if you haven't already. Gosh, food bloggers really are the next generation of great authors aren't they?!

2. Home Cooking and More Home Cooking by Laurie Colwin: These two books are oldies but goodies. I never tire of Laurie's warm inviting voice and stories from her NYC kitchen. Reading one of her books is like talking with an old friend. I also use her recipes a lot, they are fantastic.

3. The Story Sisters by Alice Hoffman: A fiction novel set in Long Island, this coming-of-age story of three sisters is dark and moody. Within the first chapter I was sucked into the Story's sinister imaginative world and couldn't put it down. Those of you who appreciate good storytelling and aren't afraid of the scary depths of a child's imagination, will love it.

4. The Cook and The Gardener by Amanda Hesser: This book isn't necessarily beach reading, but it is my favorite seasonal cooking reference, and might become your's as well. Hesser wrote this after spending a year living and cooking from the garden at a chateau in France. A chapter is written for each month and includes recipes and guidelines about seasonal produce. I recommend reading about each month before it takes place where you live, so you are prepared for what to include on your own menu. I love cooking from this book, especially this week when I am surrounded by farm stands.

5. The Ex-Mrs. Hedge Fund by Jill Kargman: I am always a sucker for a good chick-lit novel, and Kargman's writing never disappoints. Her latest novel follows a hedge-fund wife through the break-up of her marriage and subsequent reawakening as an Upper East Side divorcee. Witty to a fault, I laughed through each chapter and was sad when it came to an end. If you haven't already, pick up Jill's earlier novel, Momzillas, you will love that, too.

6. The Tenth Muse by Judith Jones: Ever wonder who Julia Child went to for help when she wrote? The answer, Judith Jones. As Julia's lifelong editor Judith has loads of interesting stories about everyone's favorite french chef. Additionally, Judith shares her own stories about becoming a culinary expert and an accomplished editor. Just wait until you read about the time she pulled the manuscript for The Diary of Anne Frank out of the 'reject' pile and begged her boss to publish it.

7. Hungry Monkey by Matthew Amster-Burton: I am raising a toddler I hope will become an adventurous eater and, thanks to Amster-Burton, now I know what to expect. Over the past four years Amster-Burton has thoughtfully recorded his own experiences cooking, eating and laughing with his now school-age daughter. His writing is sharp and witty, causing me to laugh out loud and recite several passages out-loud to my husband. Based on this lightheartered book now I know there are lots of laughs, hilarious questions, and grilled cheeses in my future.

8. The Walking People by Mary Beth Keane: Newcomer Keane has written an fantastic novel about an immigrant family from Ireland. I just finished reading this the other day and am still replaying the story in my head. I am going to be watching for more of Keane's work in the future, she is bound to become one of the next big writers of our time.

Naptime's Summer Lemonade with Mint
inspired by the flavors of summer
For Lemonade:
2 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 12 lemons)
1 c. superfine sugar (or more, if you want it sweeter)
1 c. crushed ice
8 c. water
*Add 1 c. (or more) of Vodka if you would like a more "adult" beverage
Yields 3 quarts

For Mint Syrup:
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. water
1 c. fresh mint leaves, chopped

1. Pour all ingredients into a blender and puree until completely smooth. You may have to do this in two batches if your blender is small.
2. To make simple syrup, pour water, sugar and mint leaves into a small saucepan over medium heat. Swirl (do not stir!) water around until sugar is completely dissolved. Turn off heat and allow to cool.
3. Pour mint syrup into lemonade and stir until completely combined.
4. Serve over ice.
5. Relax.


7.04.2009

Napping with Peaches: Ice-Cream #7 for July 4th!

Happy Fourth of July! For this all-American holiday I am giving you an all-American ice-cream flavor. Peach ice-cream is a favorite of almost every person I know. My father claims it was the best flavor served at his neighborhood soda fountain when he was growing up. My friend Barbara has memories of making peach ice-cream with her family's hand-crank ice-cream maker, each sibling taking turns churning by hand. These days I am happy to rely on my ice-cream maker for the heavy lifting, but I will only make this with fresh summer peaches. It makes all the difference with the flavor.

Naptime's Homestyle Peach Ice-Cream
3 c. whole milk
1 c. heavy cream
6 egg yolks
1 c. sugar
1 t. good vanilla extract
4 ripe peaches

1. Peel and slice peaches into small, thin pieces and place in a bowl. Put 2 t. of sugar in with peaches and let sit for 10 minutes. If you want your ice-cream smooth, after 10 minutes place peaches in a blender and puree until smooth. If you prefer the ice-cream chunky, leave them as is.

2. Combine milk and heavy cream in a large saucepan and bring to a low boil. Allow to simmer for 2 minutes. In a separate bowl, whisk egg yolks and remaining sugar. Add one cup of hot milk mixture to egg mixture, stirring constantly. Add remaining milk mixture to eggs, then pour full mixture back into sauce pan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture coats the back of a spoon – about 5 minutes.

3. Pour mixture into clean glass bowl and add peaches. Mix to incorporate peaches in the custard. Refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours, and/or up to overnight.

4. Pour mixture into ice cream maker and follow manufacturer’s instructions on time. Scoop into container and freeze for a minimum of two hours.


7.01.2009

Napping with a New Mommy

When my daughter was born I needed almost as much coddling as she did. Becoming a mother was wonderful, but I was overwhelmed by my new role. Thankfully, my family and friends swooped in to help, patiently answering my questions, tidying my home, and - perhaps most importantly - bringing me delicious homemade food. You see, during those tender first weeks I was simply too tired to cook. I hadn't yet figured out how to be a Naptime Chef, and was exhausted by my new around-the-clock schedule. Instead, I was nourished, both emotionally and physically, by the near constant stream of goodies brought to my kitchen.


Last month my friend Priscilla had her first baby, a perfect little girl named Grace. Recalling my own experience, I Naptime Chef-ed Priscilla a sweet treat before I went to meet her new family. I knew it would be more than welcome. Deciding what to make for her was not hard. While I was browsing at the market I came across a few quarts of fresh strawberries and picked them up without a second thought. A cheery fruit dessert seemed like the perfect thing to give a new mom.


For this special visit I chose to fill the strawberries with a light cream cheese frosting, and top them with toasted sliced almonds. I love this preparation because each berry tastes like an individual strawberry cheesecake. At times I have taken it a step further and dipped the strawberries in dark chocolate. But, on this occasion, I opted not to. The berries I purchased were perfectly fresh from the field, I didn't want to cover up their sun-ripened flavor.

I make this recipe often during the summer because it is perfect for Naptime Chef-ing. The assembly is a snap, taking less than 30 minutes to complete. Every time I serve these to friends or family they always receives rave reviews. I know Priscilla loved them, she emailed me to say she had polished them off in less than two days! I will be bringing her another batch this summer. We have already agreed that, when Grace's nap schedule improves, I am going to Priscilla' s home to teach her how to become a Naptime Chef, too.

Naptime's Stuffed Strawberries with Toasted Almonds
adapted from an old recipe from my mother-in-law, source unknown

20-25 fresh strawberries

8 oz. cream cheese

3 T. confectioners sugar

1 t. vanilla extract

1 pinch of cinnamon (optional)

1/2 c. sliced almonds, toasted


1. Wash and dry fresh strawberries. Carefully trim the bottom of each berry so that it will stand up on a plate. With a melon baller, scoop off the top and stem. The berry will be hallow inside.

2. In a mixer, whip the cream cheese until it is light and fluffy. Add confections sugar, vanilla and pinch of cinnamon. Beat until fully combined.

3. Fill a medium size Ziploc bag with the cream cheese mixture. Cut off a corner of the bag to make it function like a pastry bag.

4. Gently squeeze the cream cheese through the open corner of the bag and carefully fill each strawberry with a generous amount of cream cheese. Top each berry with 2 or 3 toasted sliced almonds. Serve.


Naptime Notes:

Naptime Recipe Props
: Feel free to play around with this recipe. You could add chocolate to the cream cheese to make a chocolate filling, or dip the stuffed berries in chocolate. They are excellent to serve for dessert at a party, or add to any buffet table.
Naptime Stopwatch:
Preparing this dessert takes about 20 minutes. There is simply no way you can go wrong. It will easily yield two dozen filled strawberries, perfect for feeding a crowd or for family snacking.
Naptime Reviews:
This is a great summer dessert or snack that everyone adores. My daughter likes to eat the cream cheese filling with her fingers first, then eats the strawberry separately.

Napping with Chocolate, Chocolate Chunk & Cashews: Ice Cream #6

Happy National Ice-Cream Month! It is no secret that I am a chocolate addict. I love chocolate in just about any form, especially ice-cream. So, when I found this recipe in the New York Times last spring, I knew it was meant for me. I immediately clipped it out and placed it in my permanent recipe binder. In the past year I have probably made this recipe at least a dozen times. It is a snap to make and always satisfies even my most intense chocolate cravings.

Chocolate Chocolate-Chunk Ice Cream with Salted Cashews
Adapted from the New York Times, April 2008
10 oz. bittersweet chocolate: 5 oz. roughly chopped, 5 oz. finely chopped
3 c. whole milk
1 c. heavy cream
1 t. instant espresso powder (I use Medaglia D'Oro)
8 large egg yolks
1 c. sugar
1 t. salt
1 c. roasted salted cashews, chopped (I have used roasted salted almonds instead, and they taste great, too)
Yields 2 quarts

1. Coarsely chop 5 oz. of bittersweet chocolate and 1 c. roasted salted cashews. Place in the freezer.

3. Pour 5 oz. of finely chopped bittersweet chocolate into a heatproof bowl, set next to stove.

2. Bring whole milk, heavy cream and espresso powder to a boil in a large saucepan. Let it simmer for 2 minutes and make sure the espresso powder is completely dissolved. Then, pour milk mixture over finely chopped chocolate and whisk until smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks together with the sugar and salt, until thick and well mixed. Slowly, add the chocolate mixture to the egg/sugar mixture, stirring constantly. Once all liquid has been added, mix well. Pour the incorporated mixture back into the saucepan and cook over a medium low heat, stirring continuously. Do not let mixture come to a boil!

3. Once custard thickens (enough to coat the back of the spoon), remove pan from heat and pour over a strainer into a heatproof bowl. Refrigerate the custard for 4-6 hours, or overnight.

4. Scrape the chilled custard into your ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer’s instructions. By hand, add the chopped chocolate and cashews, and mix to incorporate throughout frozen custard. Pack ice cream into a container and freeze for a minimum of 2 hours. Note: if you freeze the ice cream for a night before use, ice cream will be very dense. Remove 10-15 minutes before you wish to serve
.