I’ve never been much of a frozen drink girl but I think I’ve been missing out. It’s seventh-circle-of-hell hot outside. We’ve been enjoying lots of frozen cantaloupe and pineapple margaritas recently but we decided to take it one step further: Margarita Popsicles.
They couldn’t be easier! I whipped up a modified batch of our house margarita, poured them into small cups, and then stuck them in the freezer. Simple as that. I wasn’t actually sure that they would freeze but I was pleasantly surprised. The alcohol prevents them from freezing into a solid lime ice cube but they were still solid enough to hold their shape and eat them off the stick.
I couldn’t find “real” popsicle molds that I liked so I used the “throw away” method that I saw Matt Armendariz use in his new cookbook, On a Stick: 3 oz disposable paper cups and wooden ice cream spoons that I found in the Kids’ Crafts section of Michael’s. The little cups keep the popsicles small enough so you don’t end up with a melty mess and the wooden spoons were the perfect length so I didn’t have to cut down full-length popsicle sticks.
Margarita popsicles - taking the frozen margarita one step further.
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 cup fresh squeezed lime juice (8-12 small limes, usually)
1/4 cup silver tequila
1/4 cup orange liqueur
12 3 oz disposable paper cups
12 wooden popsicle sticks or spoons
Heat water and sugar in a small sauce pan until completely dissolved and the water is clear. Let cool.
Pour into a pitcher with lime juice, tequila, and orange liqueur.
Pour 2 1/2 ounces (5 Tbsp) of margarita into each cup.
Place cups into a baking dish and put the dish in the freezer.
After about 2 hours, start checking the popsicles. Once they're frozen enough to support the wooden stick, insert a stick into each popsicle, pushing 3/4 of the way into the popsicle.
Let freeze several more hours or until completely frozen (I let them freeze overnight)
To serve, peel the paper cup away from the popsicle, starting at the seam of the cup, and carefully remove the bottom.
I recently attended Texas Olive Harvest at Central Market, a cooking demonstration highlighting olive oils from the Texas Olive Ranch, the only olive oil producer in Texas that puts out 100% Texas-grown olive oil. We’ve been using their olive oil for a couple of months and love it.
Texas has thrown its hat into the olive oil ring with an estimated 500 tons of olives to be harvested this year! Leading the demo was Lou Lambert, Chef-Owner of Jo’s and Lambert’s Downtown Barbecue and Rebecca Rather, Chef-Owner of Rather Sweet Bakery in Fredericksburg. Their olive oil themed menu included:
Sea Salt Roasted Almonds
Pan Seared Coriander Salmon with Fennel Salsa Verde
Braised Beef Tips with Button Mushrooms and Pearl Onions
Kalamata Olive Whipped Potatoes
Olive Oil Ice Cream with Balsamic Strawberries
Glazed Citrus Cookies
Putting olive oil in ice cream is a pretty unusual use (to me, anyway). But it ended up being my favorite dish of the night. A smooth, rich ice cream laced with the fruitiness of olive oil. It was paired with a Glazed Citrus Cookie that packed a citrusy punch to balance the richness of the ice cream.
At home, I chose to pair citrus and olive oil together in the ice cream using magical Meyer lemons. Served with a slice of citrusy angel food cake and fresh strawberry sauce, it was a fabulously bright and decadent dessert!
Texas Olive Oil & Meyer Lemon Ice Cream
A smooth, creamy ice cream flavored with fruity Texas olive oil and Meyer lemons.
1 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
2 Meyer lemons, zested and juiced
4 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
pinch of salt
3/8 cup olive oil
Heat milk, cream, and lemon zest over medium heat until hot and bubbles form around the edge.
With a mixer, whisk egg yolks, sugar, and salt on high speed for 5 minutes until thickened and pale yellow. Reduce speed and drizzle in lemon juice and olive oil.
Slowly stream in the hot cream mixture until the side of the mixer bowl is warm.
Turn off the mixer and transfer the egg mixture back into the pan. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon or rubber spatula (if you're following along with a thermometer, the magic happens between 160-170F).
Pour through a strainer into a medium bowl. Refrigerate until very cold.
Transfer to ice cream maker and freeze according to your model's directions.
A couple of weeks ago, we made the drive over to Froberg’s Farm in Alvin to pick strawberries. I told myself on the way over there I wouldn’t get carried away and come home with something crazy like 8 lbs of strawberries. We can always go back when we run out, after all.
But when you’re standing at the front of a couple of acres of nothing but rows and rows (and rows!) of strawberries, it’s a little hard not to get carried away. So we came home with 8lbs of strawberries.
The Foodie Groom and I went digging through the plants, looking for the most perfectly ripe berries while the Foodie Baby toddled down the sandy rows, in a rookie-mom-mistake white shirt, reaching in and selectively picking her afternoon snack. Strawberry juice + sand = strawberry mud. And strawberry mud and white shirts don’t mix, even when it’s only a 1-inch visible section.
Strawberry Ice Cream was near the top of the list of recipes we wanted to make with our strawberry haul. We’ve made it several times before but it’s usually devoured before it and a camera come to be in the same room. The ice cream is tangy from the sour cream and lemon, sweetened from the strawberries. And a pound of the ripest, reddest berries yielded the prettiest batch of ice cream yet!
Strawberry-Sour Cream Ice Cream
Swap out the sour cream for greek yogurt for a frozen yogurt treat, or swap half the cream with buttermilk.
1 lb strawberries, hulled and roughly chopped
1 Tbsp vodka or kirsch
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 Tbsp lemon juice
Stir strawberries, vodka, and sugar together in a bowl. Cover and let sit for an hour. (I routinely start this after dinner and then refrigerate the berries overnight before proceeding with the rest of the recipe the next day.)
Place sour cream, heavy cream, buttermilk, and lemon juice in a blender and blend until smooth. Add strawberries and their juices to the blender and pulse for a few seconds until most of the strawberries are blended. Refrigerate the mixture for an hour.
Freeze in your ice cream maker according to its instructions.
The cool thing about having a well-stocked pantry is that I can make most anything we crave on a whim. We’re not big candy eaters. I don’t believe that you can classify a road trip as a real roadie without a bag of peanut M&Ms (and Funyuns!) but other than the usual Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups hiding in one of the fridge door compartments, we don’t do much candy.
What we do is ice cream.
Most nights, we share a bowl on the couch, in front of The Daily Show. It’s nice to be able to walk up and pull out your freezer drawer, over-sized scooper in hand, and have a mini creamery right at your feet.
Do I want Vanilla Bean? Vanilla Bean with crushed Oreos? White Chocolate-Habanero or Dark Chocolate? It’s a dilemma that’s usually solved with the most basic fundamentals of a happy marriage. The Compromise. And what’s more of a compromise than agreeing on a scoop of each flavor
I decided to make homemade Reese’s peanut butter cup knock-offs because… well, just because, really. Kind of the same reason I made homemade butter. Because I found out that I could make homemade butter.
I dripped, dropped, and splattered my way through making 24 peanut butter cups in a mini-muffin pan before calling it quits. There was no reason for anymore candy than that to be in a house of two but I had a ridiculous amount of peanut butter filling leftover. [Light-bulb moment goes here.]
So I whipped up a batch of chocolate ice cream – I’m a fan of rich, intense, and chocolatey chocolate ice cream so this is ice cold perfection. But it could be better. You know, should you have leftover peanut butter cup filling and chopped peanut butter cups laying around.
Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream
Rich chocolate ice cream with chunks of homemade peanut butter cups.
2 cups heavy cream, divided
3 Tbsp Dutch-process cocoa powder
5 oz good semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
5 large egg yolks
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup chopped peanut butter cups
3/4 cup peanut butter cup filling
For the peanut butter cups/filling:
1 cup butter, softened at room temp
2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 3/4 a sleeve)
2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup smooth peanut butter
pinch of salt
5 oz good semisweet chocolate, chopped
Warm 1 cup cream with the cocoa powder and whisk thoroughly. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 30 seconds, whisking constantly. Remove from heat, add the chocolate, and stir until smooth. Then stir in the remaining cream. Pour the mixture into a large bowl, scraping the saucepan as thoroughly as possible. Set a mesh strainer over the bowl.
Warm the milk, sugar, and salt in the saucepan. In a separate medium bowl, whisk the yolks together. Slowly whisk the warm milk into the egg yolks and then pour the yolk mixture back into the saucepan.
Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat , scraping the bottom, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of your spoon. Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the chocolate mixture until smooth. Add the vanilla. Set the bowl in an ice bath and stir until cool.
Chill the mixture thoroughly in the fridge (overnight works, too), and then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. Add the chopped peanut butter cups and drop spoonfuls of the peanut butter cup filling into the ice cream during the last couple minutes of churning.
To make the peanut butter cups: Add the butter, graham crackers, powdered sugar, peanut butter, and salt to the stand mixer bowl and mix on medium-high until thoroughly combined. Place in the fridge while prepping the muffin pan.
Place chocolate in a bowl and melt in the microwave in 20 second increments. Transfer melted chocolate to a ziploc baggie and snip a corner off of the bag.
Line a mini- or regular muffin with paper liners. Squeeze a teaspoon or so of melted chocolate into each cup (or more if you're using a cupcake pan), giving the pan a shake to distribute the chocolate evenly in the bottom of the cups.
Place in the fridge until just set.
Add a dollup of peanut butter filling to each cup. Try to keep the peanut butter off of the sides of the cup so that the chocolate can completely cover the filling. Cover the peanut butter with chocolate and refrigerate until set.
The leftover filling freezes very well. I placed it in a quart ziploc baggie and smooshed it out to an even thickness before sealing. I've broken off a chunk and put it right back in the freezer.