Lavender Créme Fraîche Ice Cream with Lemon Blueberry Curd for Ice Cream Tuesday

lavender creme fraiche ice cream

I am an Autumn person. I am happiest when the sun is warm but the air is crisp and cool. Watching the leaves change colors is like a miracle, and I never tire of experiencing it.

But endings are sad, and summer is coming to an end. So while I look forward to the autumn and sweater weather, I can be a bit wistful about summer’s end. So I turned it into ice cream.

What? I did.

Lavender Créme Fraîche Ice Cream.

That sounds delicious. How do I make it?

Grilled Vegetable Gazpacho (Greek Style) for Progressive Eats

grilled vegetable gazpacho

I am so excited that it’s #ProgressiveEats time again! Last month’s theme, chosen by the fantastic Lana of Never Enough Thyme’s Summer in the South Extravaganza was truly spectacular. This month, Liz from That Skinny Chick Can Bake chose the theme Summer Barbecue, and it will be every bit as delicious as last month’s! With everything from shrimp as an appetizer to two glorious desserts and everthing from salad to bread to spritzers in between this will be one barbecue you will be so glad you attended!

I promise to bring desserts to some of the Progressive Eats parties, but I wanted to use this monthly dinner to stretch myself and get out of the dessert box just a bit.

I just love #ProgressiveEats! Bring on the virtual feast (and the gazpacho)!

Toasted Almond Cookie Dumplings | Dumplings All Day Wong by Lee Anne Wong|Cookbook Giveaway

toasted almond cookie dumplings

I am not a patient person. That’s why I don’t make a lot of cookies. There’s all that scooping and baking sheet after sheet. And God forbid I have to decorate a cookie. Every cookie. One at a time. Until I want to stab myself. Many folks find repetitive activities–knit one, purl two; cutting out cookies; rolling truffle–to be calming and soothing. They say it takes them to a place where they no longer even have to think about what they’re doing, freeing their minds for deep thought or contemplation. For me, it just makes me feel stabby.

Because I have this aversion to repetitive motion–maybe it comes from having to make a billion cheese biscuits every day at the restaurant–I was a little hesitant about reviewing Dumplings All Day Wong. Because I knew I’d have to actually make dumplings. Including the dough. And rolling it all out into wee circles.

Then I remembered how much I adore the few types of Chinese dumplings I’ve had before. Steamed or fried, and usually filled with some sort of pork mixture, I really can’t get enough of the texture or the flavors. The chewiness, the juiciness. Oh! And then I remembered that because I don’t usually enjoy repetitive tasks, I have never given anyone a sweater I’ve knitted, because I’ve never knitted a sweater. We don’t enjoy decorated cookies on holidays, because I don’t make decorated cookies. And the last truffles I made were for the restaurant.

So I said yes.

I love dumplings. I really want to win this book!

Caramel Coffee Mousse from Passion for Coffee

caramel coffee mousse

I hope you guys remember the cafe bomba from Passion for Coffee I made awhile back. I went on and on about how impressed with Passion for Coffee I am. And nothing has changed. I’ve read more of the recipes, made that delectable coffee Anglaise a few times and this this book is just about the most comprehensive coffee cookbook you’re apt to find.

I chose to share the recipe for Caramel Coffee Mousse because I had never before seen this technique. When I think of a mousse, I think of a dessert based on whipped cream and meringue. Lighter and rich at the same time, made and served cold. As I read through the recipe fr Caramel Coffee Mousse, I was intrigued. The base is mainly egg whites whipped with powdered sugar, flavored with caramelized sugar, coffee and almond. The whole poofy mass gets put in an oven-safe caramel-lined bowl and then baked for an hour in a water bath.

I’m intrigued and must know more!

Vegan Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream with Dulce de Leche Swirl for Ice Cream Tuesday

Vegan Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream

As summer starts to wind down to fall, I feel like I am reaching the end of Ice Cream Tuesdays. I have plenty more ice cream left in me, but I am pretty sure I will wind down the series for this year in another couple of weeks or so. Before I wrap things up, I wanted to make at least one more ice cream for my vegan friends.

And not some icy, consolation prize ice cream either. Creamy, rich, dense as “premium ice cream” and decidedly decadent. I actually got the idea from my friend Adrienne Urban from Whole New Mom. We follow each other on Google +, and she has been a huge supporter of Ice Cream Tuesday from the very beginning

Thanks for remembering us vegans. Bring on the ice cream!

How Do I Choose The Right Kind of Flour for #Fundamental Friday

How to Choose the Right Kind of Flour

Susan of Olives and Figs Chronicles asked me this question the other day on the fan page. I gave her a brief answer and said I would go into more detail for Fundamental Friday. So here I am. First, let me share the short answer I gave Susan on Wednesday:

In short…the finer and more tender you want your end product to be, the “softer” (less gluten) and the finer mill you want in your flour. From highest protein bread flour for hearty and/or chewy breads down to lowest protein pastry flour for short and crumbly shortbread. All purpose is sort of in the middle, so it will make a nice loaf of bread or a pretty nice cake. But when I want a fine, even crumb, I tend to use cake flour.

There are lots of different flours available to commercial bakers across the spectrum from high to low protein, but for consumers (which is me, too), there are really three basic types: bread flour, all purpose and cake flour.

Happy to get into more detail on Friday, but I hope this has helped some!

There’s more to know? Tell me!

Orange Mocha Zebra Cake (with a Twist) for #tbtfood

orange mocha zebra cake

When I was a very small girl–and I know had I had to have been very, very young since my grandmother died when I was five–my grandmother used to tell us stories about Daisy, Maisey and a Cow named Bongo. We would get up early on weekend mornings and crowd into the twin-sized bed with Grammie. We’d drink tea with milk and sugar, and she would share another of Daisy, Maisey and Bongo’s adventures.

In one such story, Daisy got locked in a secret closet in an old mansion. All the adults came and tried to get her out. They beat on the door which was covered in wallpaper and looked like a part of the wall. They pounded with their fists. They yelled in their adult voices, although I still have no idea what they thought yelling would accomplish. After the adults all backed away to regroup, Maisey looked carefully at the wallpaper, and she saw a small catch cunningly hidden in the pattern of the wallpaper. She pressed the latch and, voila, Daisy was freed.

Let’s hear it for Daisy! Now, where’s my dessert?

Horchata-Abuelita Swirl Ice Cream Tacos for Ice Cream Tuesday AND Taco Tuesday: Guest Post on Chez Us

ice cream taco

Happy Ice Cream Tuesday and Happy Taco Tuesday! My friends Lenny and Denise from Chez Us invited me and several other fantastic bloggers to guest post for them on Taco Tuesdays while they are off and away on a big old vacation. I hope they’re having a fantastic time. Hi guys! Anyway, for my offering, it seemed only natural to post a recipe that can do double-duty for both Ice Cream Tuesday and Taco Tuesday: ice cream tacos!

My version is a vanilla-fudge swirl ice cream with a Mexican twist. The vanilla is played my milky-creamy-cinnamon-scented horchata ice cream and the fudge swirl is played by a concentrated version of the Mexican hot chocolate drink, Abuelita. The two marry perfectly and live in a cinnamon “waffle cone” taco shell. Waffle cone in parentheses because I don’t have a waffle cone maker. Still, they work just fine when you spread the batter out really thinly onto parchment and bake them at 350F.

Ice Cream Tuesday and Taco Tuesday?! Hooray for guest posts!

Desserts Required: Late Blog Love

desserts required

My lovely friend Betsy asked me to be a part of her blog tour a very long time ago. I said yes, and then I proceeded to do…nothing. Nothing at all for a very long time. It’s not that I don’t love Betsy–I do. It’s not that I wasn’t honored for her to choose me. It’s just that sometimes I kind of suck.

Let me tell you about my friend Betsy from Desserts Required. She is hilarious. She is talented. She is a lovely, lovely person who just sizzles with energy and passion about food.

I met her sometime last year when we both joined a video production group on Google + run by Lenny and Denise from Chez Us. We met once a week, critiqued each others’ videos, and learned a lot. We still do. But we also laughed and laughed every week. And sometimes, okay often, Betsy would come to the meeting with a chocolate martini, and I’d show up with a glass of wine. So we’d toast the week and the group and laugh and learn.

Betsy sounds like fun! I’d like to drink chocolate martinis with her!

Beirut Tahini Swirls from Home Baking for Cookbooks & Calphalon

beirut tahini swirls

The lovely Colleen from Soufflé Bombay recently had a thought. She wondered what specific cookbook it was that made her fall in love with cooking. She then decided to ask the same question to a number of her foodie friends, myself included, and #CookbooksandCalphalon- was born! We each tell our stories of our love affair with cookbooks and cooking and share a wonderful recipes. With seventeen of us participating, you are sure to find many dishes–and book recommendations–to savor!

This wouldn’t be complete without a fun giveaway for you to enter…you can’t cook without cookware and you can’t use cookware unless you can cook…right? So take a moment to enter our awesome Cookbooks and Calphalon Giveaway at the bottom of this post. Check out the fantastic prizes! I am thrilled to participate partly because I love the topic Colleen chose and partly because I own and love the majority of these cookbooks from Page Street Publishing. I don’t own the panini press but I adore my Calphalon roaster.

Sounds like a great giveaway! I’m intrigued by the Beirut Tahini Swirls too!