Tag Archives: summer

Strawberry Icebox Cake (No Bake!)

10 Jun

I must have been hiding under a rock all these years, because I’ve only become familiar with icebox cakes this year.  I may be a late bloomer to this cool no-bake cake, but I’ve totally been making up for lost time.

Strawberry Icebox Cake 4

Yes, this yummy cake is absolutely bake-free.  The kitchen gets to stay cool for those warm summer days.  The time is ripe for sweet strawberries, and we are loving them right now.  We just had this delish Fresh Strawberry Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting, and now this. This Strawberry Icebox Cake comes together beautifully, making for an impressive looking dessert for get-togethers.

Strawberry Icebox Cake

I love how easy this cake is to pull off!  Some assembly required.  Six ingredients.  That’s all it takes to wow your family and friends with this light, refreshing cake that has just the right amount of sweetness to it.  Not too sweet nor heavy.  Which means you can eat more of it.

Strawberry Icebox Cake 2

Yes.  You will totally eat more than just once slice.  This Strawberry Icebox Cake boasts two pounds of fresh strawberries, freshly whipped cream, and graham crackers that soften into an airy, cake-like texture as it rests overnight in the fridge.

Strawberry Icebox Cake 3

That’s another thing.  I’m the biggest fan of make-ahead food.  If I can make it ahead of time, it’s a done deal.  Less fuss on the day of the party is always, always a very good thing.  I’m already planning my next icebox cake flavor.

Enjoy this while fresh strawberries abound.

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STRAWBERRY ICEBOX CAKE (NO BAKE) 
Serves 8-12

INGREDIENTS

2 lbs fresh, sweet strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced
3 cups heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
20 oz graham crackers (about 24-28 whole crackers or 4 sleeves)

Simple ganache:
2 oz semi sweet chocolate morsels
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

DIRECTIONS

In a large metal bowl, combine 3 cups heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract.  Place entire bowl, plus beaters of electric mixer, into fridge for 10 minutes to chill.  On medium-high, beat heavy cream mixture until stiff peaks appear.

Spread a thin layer of the whipped cream on bottom of a 9×13″ baking pan.  Lay six graham crackers down evenly.  Spread a thin layer of whipped cream over the graham crackers, followed by a single layer of closely-placed strawberries.  Repeat layers (graham crackers, whipped cream, strawberries) 3 more times.  You will have 4 layers total of graham crackers when finished.  Spread the remaining whipped cream over the top of entire dessert, and add rest of strawberries for garnish.

Heat 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream in a small, heavy saucepan over medium-low heat.  Once it bubbles, turn off the heat.  Add chocolate and let stand for 3 minutes.  Whisk mixture until it’s thick and glossy.  Let it cool to lukewarm and drizzle ganache over dessert (I use a plastic baggie with tiny bit of tip cut off.)

Cover loosely with tented foil and chill in fridge overnight, for crackers to soften.  Keep cold until ready to serve.

Source:  Chew Out Loud, adapted from theKitchn

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Asian Glass Noodle Salad with Shrimp

19 Jul asian glass noodle salad

The sweltering mid-summer weather has many locals diving for cool bars and restaurants, shying away from the stove at home.  I’ve had my share of dining out during this month of record-breaking heat.  Last weekend, though, I decided we would beat the heat with a refreshing, cool meal.  Asian Glass Noodle Salad with Shrimp = cooling grub.

asian glass noodle salad

Asian Glass Noodle Salad – light, refreshing, cool summer meal

Versatile, super easy to make, and every flavorful bite refreshes you.  It’s hard to describe in mere words how good this noodle salad is.

asian glass noodle salad

Asian Glass Noodle Salad – perfect with a crisp, dry Riesling

This Asian glass noodle salad features fresh lettuce, julienne carrots, cucumbers, sprouts, tender shrimp, and scrumptious dressing over glass noodles (aka, Asian vermicelli.)  Pair it with a very dry, chilled Riesling.

asian glass noodle salad

Asian Glass Noodle Salad – shrimp can be swapped for any other proteins

The Asian dressing can be made ahead of time, stored, and used for this salad plus whatever other salads you want.
The shrimp can be subbed out for shredded chicken (try rotissere), thin sliced pork, or just eggs and more nuts if you want to go meatless.  Did I mention “versatile?”

Asian Glass Noodle Salad

Asian Glass Noodle Salad – you’ll eat more than you planned to

Yeah, you’ll go back for seconds.  You can afford to.  This noodle salad is healthy, packed with veggies and protein, and will so jive with your fitness goals.  But, be forewarned that it is not light on flavor!  In fact, the dressing is not for the faint of heart – dare I say, it might even seem strong at first, but be fearless!

Once you pour it over everything else, this is one of those mysteries that really come together amazingly as a finished product.  Trust the process and try it!   However, if the word “fish” puts you on the border of a panic attack, then you can go light on the fish sauce or omit it.  Disclaimer – if you do omit said fish sauce, the end result will be drastically altered – i.e., not as good.  Just keeping it real 🙂

RECIPE (4)

INGREDIENTS

For the Dressing:
4 garlic cloves, minced to tiny bits
4 TB fresh ginger, peeled, and minced finely
8 TB fish sauce (found in Asian aisle of most supermarkets)
3-4 TB  light soy sauce (I like Kikkoman)
Juice of 2 limes
8 TB water
4 TB sugar
3 tsp sesame oil (pure sesame oil, usually golden brown in color, found in Asian aisle)

For the Salad:
1/2 lb cooked small shrimp
6 oz dry glass noodles (sometimes called vermicelli or cellophane noodles, found in Asian aisles)
4 oz bean sprouts

1 small carrot, peel and julienne

1 small cucumber, peel and julienne

1/2 head romaine, shredded
2-3 TB chopped cashews, for garnish
scallions, thinly sliced, for garnish
chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
Dashes sesame oil to prevent noodles from sticking

DIRECTIONS

Whisk all dressing ingredients together and blend well.  Set aside in fridge, and mix again before using.  Can pre-make this a day or two ahead of time, to keep in fridge.  Again, dressing may seem strong by itself, but it will be perfect once poured on top of the noodles & salad.

Pre-soak dry noodles in large pot of water for 1 hour.  Once it’s pliable and softened, boil for 5 minutes (or according to package instructions).  Drain immediately, and rinse with cold water.  Work in a few dashes of sesame oil to prevent sticking.

Assemble all salad ingredients, except for chopped nuts, in large bowl.  Mix most of the dressing in.  Toss it together, blending dressing into the entire noodle salad.  Portion noodle salad onto individual plates, and sprinkle the rest of dressing on top of each plate.  Sprinkle on chopped cashews and cilantro for garnish.

Wine Pairing Note:  Perfect with a crisp, dry Riesling or Gewürztraminer

Source:  Chew Out Loud

Double Chocolate Covered Strawberries

11 Jul Choclate Covered Strawberries

It’s wonderfully warm this summer, and that means one delicious thing for sure:  fresh summer fruits!  I’ve been diligently taking every opportunity to enjoy all the fresh fruits of the season.  The kids know what’s for dessert every night:  fruit!  We’ve been on a strawberry binge.  Farm fresh strawberries just can’t be beat.

Unless they are paired with chocolate.  Or double chocolate.

Choclate Covered Strawberries

Semi sweet chocolate and white chocolate over ripe strawberries

I take the pure, basic route with these goodies.  This is actually an adaption of Hubby’s perfectly cute tuxedo chocolate strawberries, which was the first treat he made for me when we started dating.  Why didn’t I take a photo of those way back then? 😉

So good and so simple – it takes just three ingredients you might already have in your kitchen.  The biggest challenge?  Trying not to keep “tasting” the chocolate, as if I don’t remember what chocolate tastes like.

RECIPE (serves many or only a few)

INGREDIENTS
1 lb fresh, ripe strawberries
10 oz chopped semi-sweet chocolate
3-4 oz chopped white chocolate

DIRECTIONS
Wash and very gently dry the strawberries, keeping stems on.  Set aside to finish air drying.

Set dark chocolate in a glass or metal bowl, over saucepan of simmering water (bowl not touching water.)  Stir frequently until chocolate is smooth and just melted.  Don’t over cook, so the chocolate doesn’t seize up and thicken.  Remove from heat once melted.

Carefully dip each strawberry in dark chocolate, twisting to cover completely with chocolate.  Set on parchment or wax paper on platter and put berries in fridge to set (about 30 min.)

Repeat melting process for white chocolate.  Using fork or toothpick, drizzle white chocolate over cooled chocolate strawberries.  Return to fridge for at least an hour.

Enjoy!

Source:  Chew Out Loud

Summer Shrimp Ceviche

6 Jul

We’re in the midst of summer, and it is hot!  Shrimp Ceviche is, hands down, one of my favorite summer recipes.  It is one of those appetizers that is both refreshingly light and full of flavor.  Bonus:  It’s full of antioxidants and good for you!   Around here, we can eat so much shrimp ceviche that we’re nearly sated by the time we’re supposed to be digging into the main dish.  This ceviche is fabulous either as an appetizer or a salad by itself.

Shrimp Ceviche, cool and refreshing for summer

The best part about Shrimp Ceviche is that there is little to no cooking involved, depending on how you prefer to prepare it.  You can avoid the stove and let the lime juice do all your cooking.  However, I usually get the shrimp to just barely-cooked before throwing the ceviche together.  The reason I don’t let the lime juice do all the “cooking” is that the shrimp tends to become rubbery and tough when done that way.  If you cook the shrimp a little bit before assembling the ceviche, your seafood will reward you and stay tender.

Tender shrimp, lime, tomatoes, and all the fixings: Shrimp Ceviche

The glorious part of this dish is that it’s extremely flexible.  In fact, I can implement my Dad’s scientific cooking technique with this one:  just a dash of this and a pinch of that.  Configure this shrimp ceviche to your taste buds, and it will come out delicious every time.

Because I eyeball it whenever prepping Shrimp Ceviche, the recipe below is one of approximates.  Go ahead – toss in as much or little of the ingredients as you like and enjoy!

RECIPE (serves about 6, give or take)

INGREDIENTS
1 lb raw shrimp
1 red onion, diced
1-2 limes
chopped cilantro (1/3 – 1/2 cup)
2-3 large, vine-ripened tomatoes, chopped (or a bunch of cherry tomatoes sliced in halves)
1 ripe avocado
kosher salt
fresh cracked black pepper
2-3 T butter or oil

DIRECTIONS
De-vein and remove shells from shrimp.  If shrimp is large, cut into thirds.  If small, cut into halves.  Heat up butter or oil in large skillet.  Cook translucent shrimp just until barely opaque.  This happens quickly, so watch carefully and do not overcook!  Once shrimp turns orange, immediately remove it from skillet to cool.  Set aside.

Generously squeeze lime juice over onions and coat.  Onions will “cook” slightly in the lime juice, giving it a softer flavor.  Dice avocado and coat with lime juice to prevent browning.

Combine shrimp, onions, cilantro, tomatoes, and avocado in a bowl.  Squeeze juice of 2-3 lime wedges over entire thing and gently toss to coat.  Now the fun part – generously sprinkle kosher salt and fresh back pepper to taste.  Add more lime if needed.  When it tastes good to you, it’s ready!  Serve cold, with crispy tortilla chips.

Wine pairing note:  Shrimp ceviche goes super well with a Sauvignon Blanc or Torrontes.

Source:  Chew Out Loud

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