Don’t chase ice cream trucks - making it at home is easy

The Free Press WV

Summer is synonymous with ice cream. And I think it would be safe to say that it is a universal experience. But making ice cream at home has changed since I was a child.

When we were young, my sisters and our cousins made hand-cranked ice cream using a White Mountain Wooden Bucket Ice Cream Maker that used ice and rock salt to freeze the ice cream. My grandmother loved having her grandkids use the hand cranker. The wooden-bucket style ice-cream maker is still popular today and comes with an electric motor, and the option of the hand cranker for a nostalgic experience. My mother used the electric motor exclusively and when she wanted to make smaller quantities of ice cream, she used the electric machines with the inserts that you leave in the freezer until you are ready to make ice cream. I’ve used those models, but the truth is that I never have enough room to leave the insert in the freezer for 24 or more hours, and so I rarely make ice cream.

But every summer, I still have a yearning to make my own ice cream. Since you can now buy ice cream machines that come with a compressor, I decided that this summer I was going to start making ice cream at home. With a self-refrigerating machine, you don’t have to plan in advance and remember to freeze the insert, and you can make batch after batch if you are making different flavors. The machine that I choose after consulting a few ice cream experts was the Cuisinart ICE-100. It is streamlined and doesn’t take up too much room on your counter. It is also very simple to operate and works like a dream. The machine is mostly the compressor with a small bucket insert that holds and churns the ice cream, and can be removed for easy cleaning. My ice cream was ready in 45 minutes, and the timer can be set for up to 60 minutes.

Now that I had the machine, I needed a recipe. I decided to turn to my friend David Lebovitz’ newly revised ice cream book, “The Perfect Scoop.” This book has something for everyone! I grew up making custard ice creams with egg yolks and David has very good instructions for these. He also has a number of Philadelphia-style ice creams made without eggs, as well as frozen yogurts, gelatos, sorbets and so much more.

But what intrigued me the most were the ice creams with a fruit component. Those he makes with a combination of sour cream and half-and-half or heavy cream. When I asked him why he used sour cream as part of the dairy component, he said, “I usually only use it with fruit because I want less cream (and less fat) as it interferes with the refreshing nature of the fruits and berries.” The sour cream also contains “natural gums so it helps keep the texture of the finished ice cream better.”

That explanation made perfect sense to me and it only took me a second to choose his Orange Popsicle Ice Cream. The six ingredient recipe was easy, chock full of quality ingredients and immediately conjured memories of summers past, ice cream trucks and creamsicles. I couldn’t wait to make it.

I zested the oranges, juiced them and put all the ingredients in a blender to combine. It couldn’t have been easier. I put the mixture in the refrigerator overnight and made the ice cream the next day. I poured the mixture in the bucket, pressed the power button, set the timer and before I knew it, I had a softly frozen, smooth and delicious ice cream that was reminiscent of my favorite childhood treat.


(Adapted from “The Perfect Scoop”)

Servings: 6 (Makes about 1 quart)

Start to finish: 1 hour

2/3cup granulated white sugar

Zest of 3 large oranges, zested with a microplane

1 1/4 cups freshly squeezed orange juice from 4-5 large oranges

1 cup full-fat sour cream

1/2 cup half-and-half

2 teaspoons Grand Marnier

In a blender, pulverize sugar and zest until well mixed. Add the orange juice, sour cream, half-and-half and Grand Marnier. Blend until the sugar is completely dissolved. I use the smoothie function.

Chill the mixture in your refrigerator according to the manufacturer’s instructions_most machines specify how long you need to chill the mixture. The Cuisinart ICE-100 states that you don’t need to refrigerate the mixture but I like to make the ice cream mixture the day before I make it and let the flavors chill and marry overnight in the refrigerator.

Freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions and transfer to a glass or plastic container and keep in the freezer until ready to serve.


Nutrition information per serving: 223 calories; 81 calories from fat; 9 g fat (6 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 34 mg cholesterol; 23 mg sodium; 31 g carbohydrate; 0 g fiber; 29 g sugar; 2 g protein.

COOKING ON DEADLINE: Green Beans with Tarragon Vinaigrette

The Free Press WV

There are green beans, and then there are green beans. After many years of cooking this vegetable, I’m here to say, freshness really counts.

Luckily for us, we are in green bean season. Look for beans that are bright green, firm and perky. And because it’s the season, green beans are likely to be cheap. Bonus.

Green beans can be sauteed, roasted or steamed. In the summer heat, I love to give them a quick boil or steam, and then drain them and transfer them to a bath of ice water to stop the cooking. That keeps them at a satisfying crisp-but-tender texture. It also locks in that vivid emerald color, and makes green beans ideal for salads like this one.

This herb dressing is bright and bracing, with a lovely anise-y flavor from the tarragon. Letting the shallots sit in the vinegar with tarragon for a few minutes before adding the remaining dressing ingredients allows the shallots to pickle ever so slightly, giving this very simple dish an extra layer of flavor.

But you can also take this concept and play with it all through the late summer/early fall green bean months. Pick a favorite dressing and toss it with the blanched and cooled green beans. If you’re feeling hurried or just want to keep things simple, some fresh lemon juice, a generous splash of good olive oil and a sprinkling of slightly coarse salt will give you a side dish to be proud of.

And next time you are putting together an antipasti platter or some kind of nibble-y spread, remember these beans, which will add fresh flavor and color to the collection.


Servings: 4

Start to finish: 15 minutes

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon minced fresh tarragon leaves

1 tablespoon minced shallots

1 pound green beans, trimmed

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (preferably coarse)

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. While the water is coming to a boil, fill a large bowl with ice water. In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, tarragon and shallots. Set aside.

Plunge the beans into the boiling water and cook for about 4 minutes until just barely tender. Drain and drop them immediately into the bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Let them cool for a few minutes, then drain well.

Meanwhile, add the olive oil, mustard, and salt and pepper to the shallot mixture and stir to combine. Turn the drained and cooled beans into a serving dish or bowl, drizzle the dressing over them, and toss to coat the beans. Season with more salt and pepper if needed. Serve at room temperature.


Nutrition information per serving: 166 calories; 128 calories from fat; 14 g fat (2 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 277 mg sodium; 9 g carbohydrate; 3 g fiber; 4 g sugar; 2 g protein.

The foolproof way to grill sausages and onions together

The Free Press WV

Sausage and onions are a classic pairing that sounds tailor-made for the grill. But the reality is usually onions that are both crunchy and charred and sausages that either dried out or_even worse_catch fire.

We wanted a foolproof method for grilling sausages and onions simultaneously that would produce nicely browned links with juicy interiors and tender, caramelized onions.

Microwaving the onions_with a little thyme, salt, and pepper_for just 4 minutes jump-started the cooking process and allowed them to finish cooking evenly and thoroughly on the grill.

We adapted a ballpark technique, first cooking the meat with the onions away from direct heat in a disposable pan and then finishing the sausages directly over the flames.

Keeping the onions cooking on their own in the pan for an extra 5 to 10 minutes allowed the liquid to evaporate and the onions to caramelize to a deep golden brown while the sausages finished up brown and crisp on the grill.


Servings: 4

Start to finish: 1 hour

2 large onions, sliced thin

1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 (13 by 9-inch) disposable aluminum roasting pan

2 pounds sweet or hot Italian sausage (8 to 12 links)

For a charcoal grill: Open bottom vent completely. Light large chimney starter filled with charcoal briquettes (6 quarts). When top coals are partially covered with ash, pour evenly over grill. Set cooking grate in place, cover, and open lid vent completely. Heat grill until hot, about 5 minutes.

For a gas grill: Turn all burners to high, cover, and heat grill until hot, about 15 minutes. Turn all burners to medium-high.

Meanwhile, microwave onions, thyme, salt, and pepper in medium bowl, covered, until onions begin to soften and tips turn slightly translucent, 4 to 6 minutes, stirring once halfway through microwaving (be careful of steam). Transfer onions to disposable pan. Place sausages in single layer over onions and wrap pan tightly with aluminum foil.

Clean and oil cooking grate. Place disposable pan in center of grill, cover grill, and cook for 15 minutes. Move pan to 1 side of grill and carefully remove foil. Transfer sausages directly to grill and cook (covered if using gas) until golden brown on all sides, 5 to 7 minutes.

Transfer sausages to serving platter and tent with foil. Cover grill and continue to cook onions, stirring occasionally, until liquid evaporates and onions begin to brown, 5 to 10 minutes longer. Serve sausages, passing onions separately.

Chef’s Note: This recipe will work with any raw, uncooked sausage. Serve the sausages as is or in toasted rolls.


Nutrition information per serving: 611 calories; 480 calories from fat; 53 g fat (19 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 129 mg cholesterol; 1536 mg sodium; 6 g carbohydrate; 1 g fiber; 2 g sugar; 25 g protein.

Get a handle on chicken satay with a peanut dipping sauce

The Free Press WV

Any dish that comes with its own handle is bound to be an appetizer favorite, and this Southeast Asian dish of marinated, grilled meat has deep flavor to match its convenient format.

We set out to bring this dish indoors for a simple but satisfying appetizer. A marinade of brown sugar, soy sauce, ketchup, and hot sauce guaranteed moist, full-flavored meat. The intense, direct heat of the broiler approximated a grill.

Our peanut dipping sauce has sweet, tart, and spicy elements that echo the marinade for a fresh, bright finish. Covering the exposed ends of the skewers with aluminum foil protects them from burning. Freezing the chicken for 30 minutes will make it easier to slice into strips.


Servings: 10-15

Start to finish: 1 hour


2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and sliced diagonally into 1/4-inch thick strips

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar

1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro

3 tablespoons ketchup

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon hot sauce

4 scallions, sliced thin

30 (6-inch) wooden skewers

Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce:

1/2 cup peanut butter, creamy or chunky

1/4 cup hot water

3 tablespoons lime juice (2 limes)

2 tablespoons ketchup

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon packed dark brown sugar

1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro

2 scallions, sliced thin

1 1/2 teaspoons hot sauce

1 garlic clove, minced

For the skewers: Place chicken in bowl. Combine soy sauce, vegetable oil, brown sugar, cilantro, ketchup, garlic, hot sauce, and scallions and pour over chicken. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

For the spicy peanut dipping sauce: Meanwhile, whisk peanut butter and hot water together in medium bowl. Stir in lime juice, ketchup, soy sauce, sugar, cilantro, scallions, hot sauce, and garlic. Transfer to serving bowl.

Adjust oven rack 6 inches from broiler element and heat broiler. Line broiler-pan bottom with foil and cover with slotted broiler-pan top. Weave chicken onto skewers, lay skewers on broiler-pan top, and cover skewer ends with foil. Broil until fully cooked, about 8 minutes, flipping skewers halfway through broiling. Serve, passing peanut sauce separately.

To Make Ahead:

Marinade and meat can be prepared (but not combined) and refrigerated, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, for up to 24 hours. Sauce can be refrigerated, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, for up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature, season with additional lime juice to taste, and adjust consistency with water before serving.


Nutrition information per serving: 254 calories; 117 calories from fat; 13 g fat (2 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 66 mg cholesterol; 385 mg sodium; 10 g carbohydrate; 1 g fiber; 8 g sugar; 25 g protein.

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