Thursday, September 29, 2011

Winter/Fall vegetable gardening

Back in June, we’d planted a few vegetables. Except for the zucchini and eggplant, all did well. We didn’t get a bumper crop of tomatoes thanks to the lack of heat in northwest. I’m so glad we didn’t plant any peppers! However to compensate we did get an Indian summer which turned a few our tomatoes bright red. Here’s a look:


All the tomatoes we got were from the hybrid plant, didn’t get any from the heirloom variety. If you compare the strawberry plant from this post, you can see how much it’s loving it’s new location! We found that it too like most of the plants loves sunlight.

Motivated by our summer trysts, we planted some fall/winter veggies:


Yep – that’s the zucchini plant at the very back. It grew pretty well but unfortunately some animal would eat away all the baby zucchinis. Ok so we’ve some cauliflower in the front, then a row of cabbage on the right, behind the cauliflowers are come herbs and you can see some starters around which weren’t planted then. This photos was taken when we just planted these veggies and I can tell you they’ve grown – like really grown! So let me snap a photo of them soon to show you how well they’re doing!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Strawberry Ice cream


As a child it always fascinated me that some people on this earth could make ice cream at home – the kind that you get at stores! It was like a dream come true! That fascination wore off a little when I came to US and I saw that you could buy ice cream in “tubs” and they were so economical!! However when I started looking at the list of ingredients I put an ice cream maker on my wish list so that I could make pure and natural ice cream! My initial thought was to purchase a used one as I wasn’t sure how long my fad is going to last. However that wasn’t God’s intention. He intervened in the form of a costco coupon which made a brand new IC maker cheaper than a used one. So my “dream” came true and we brought home a glossy red Cuisinart ice cream maker! Enough with the stories let me get down to what I did with this beauty!

My first attempt was a peach frozen yogurt – though tasty it was a little icy for a frozen yogurt. Second was a mango tango sorbet – I simply churned some Naked mango smoothie. It was quite tasty considering how healthy it was; but I wasn’t there yet. I wanted to make some “real” ice cream. So I hunted and found this Eggless strawberry ice cream recipe. The ice cream was AWESOME! It brought back childhood memories. It was just like the Amul ice cream we used to have in India (except mine had real fruits Smile)! That was the first time I realized the difference between the ice cream in US and India. In my research for an ice cream recipe I’d found that ice creams here were more custard-like and in most cases had egg; they were dense. Indian ice cream is more creamy and light (I don’t think there’s anything good or bad with either – just that they’re different). That’s exactly what my home-made ice cream tasted like – creamy and fluffy! Eureka!

I halved the recipe to fit in my ice cream maker. Since I didn’t have whole milk as well as coloring and I forgot to put salt, these are the ingredients from the recipe that I ended up using:

  • 1/2 cup low fat milk
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cups mashed pureed fresh strawberries – I pureed the strawberries because I didn’t want big chunks. I left some tiny little chunks while pureeing.
  • 1-2 tsp honey – I’d read that honey prevents crystallization. Did it really? I don’t know but since my ice cream turned out perfect I’m not making it without honey!

To make ice cream:

In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients. Prepare the ice cream in your machine per manufacturer’s direction. In my machine, I’d to switch on the machine and pour the mixture through the opening. I believe in churning a little more so I timed it for 30 minutes; and off I went to do my chores. When I came back, the machine was almost overflowing. Thankfully the batter was all frozen otherwise I would’ve had a mess.

Do you see the rose pink color of the ice cream? Pureeing the strawberries gave that. I didn’t use any coloring!

I think this is a great basic recipe and I’m going to try it out with different fruits.