Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Product Review: Turtle Mountain's Purely Decadent Coconut Milk Ice Cream

I thought it might be fun to do an interesting product review from time to time.

I've been curious about the
Turtle Mountain's Purely Decadent Coconut Milk Ice Cream. I've walked past it many times in my grocery store... and finally decided to give it a try. I picked up the Vanilla Bean flavor, since Vanilla Bean ice cream is one of my favorites.

The ice cream is sweetened with Agave Syrup, a "sweetener" substitute we've been playing around with here in our house, in tea instead of honey, or on oatmeal instead of brown sugar. It also contains no soy protein, is dairy and lactose free, cholesterol free, contains no trans fats, is certified vegan, and made with certified organic ingredients. The website boasts that this makes the ice cream much lower in fat, calories, and sugar, than most "premium" ice creams.

This can't taste good, can it? Oh yes it can!!! One bite and I was surprised at how creamy and flavorful the ice cream was. The coconut flavor was not overpowering either. I thought the ice cream would be much more "icy" and was surprised at how smooth it turned out to be. The one pint container I picked up was $4.99.... not too much more than a pint of Haagen Dazs or Ben and Jerry's.

It also comes in other fun flavors such as chocolate, chocolate peanut butter swirl, cookie dough, mint chip, mocha almond fudge, coconut, and passionate mango.

The company also makes a coconut milk yogurt which I have tried once, and loved. The downside to the yogurt though is the steep price of over $2.00 per 6 ounce cup. Well, once in awhile as a treat is ok, right?

I'm curious if anyone has a recipe for homemade coconut milk ice cream or yogurt? Has anyone attempted to make this at home? I'd love to give it a try!!!

I know what my TV snack is going to be tonight... : )

Penne with Braised Short Ribs

About a week and a half ago I was watching Giada De Laurentiis on Food Network... and she made this dish. I stocked my freezer with short ribs, found a lot of recipes that looked amazing, had them all ready to make, and then I came down with the flu. So, here we are a week and half later and my husband and I were finally able to make them!

This dish is so savory. I had never attempted short ribs before.. but it was well worth all the "trouble" to make. My husband actually helped make most of this dish, claiming his love for braising things. When the ribs came out of the oven, they weren't even on the bone anymore and were so tender! I will definitely be throwing short ribs in the crock pot this winter!

I found Giada's recipe on Food Network, and started with that one. Look for more short ribs soon!!!

This recipe would also be delicious simmering in the crock pot all day. Just prepare as directed, and place in the crockpot all day on low instead of the oven.

Braised Short Ribs with Penne
-serves 6-

4 Lbs. Beef Short Ribs
Salt and Pepper
1/4 cup Olive Oil
2 small Onions, chopped
6 cloves Garlic, coarsely chopped
6 Canned Roma Tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 cup Red Wine
3-4 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
2 cups Beef Broth
1 Lb Penne Pasta
Grated Parmesan and chopped Flat Leaf Parsley for serving


1. Season the ribs with salt and pepper. In a large heavy bottom dutch oven or ovenproof pot, heat the oil over med-high heat. Add the ribs and brown on all sides, approx. 8-10 minutes. Set the ribs aside.

2. Place an oven rack in the bottom 1/3 of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350.

3. Add the onion and garlic, and cook, stirring frequently for approx. 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, wine, and mustard. Bring the mixture to a boil, and scrape the brown tasty bits off the bottom of the pot.

4. Add the beef broth, cover the pan and place in the oven for 2 1/2 hours. (Ours took a longer because they were cut a little larger). The meat should be fork tender and falling off the bone.

5. Remove the ribs from the cooking liquid. Remove and excess fat from the surface of the cooking liquid. Transfer the cooking liquid to a blender or food processor. Process until the mixture is smooth. Pour back into a saucepan to keep warm over low heat.

6. Remove the meat from the bones, discarding the bones. Using two forks, shred the meat into the sauce, discarding any large lumps of fat. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

7. Cook your penne pasta as per directions, until al dente. Add the beef and sauce mixture to the pasta. Sprinkle with parmesan and chopped parsley before serving.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Baked Gemelli with Sausage and Broccolini

I was really struggling to come up with ideas this week... my brain was just dead. I turned to recipe searching again... and wound up on the Williams Sonoma Recipe website. I ended up printing several recipes and saving several more. This was one of the recipes. You can find the original recipe here.

I couldn't find Broccoli Rabe, so I used Broccolini instead. I used sausage from our favorite farm, Crane Dance Farm.

Everyone really enjoyed this... I was skeptical that my older son would really be able to see/taste the onions in this, as I usually chop the onion so fine he can't see them. I got no complaints! Bonus!! This recipe makes a huge amount, and fed us for 2+ meals. Next time I would half the recipe, or freeze half of it.

Baked Gemelli with Sausage and Broccolini
-serves 6-


1 Lb Sweet Italian Sausage Links, cut in half then 1/2 inch pieces
12 ounces Gemelli Pasta, or other pasta, cooked until al dente
8 ounces Cipollini Onions, peeled and quartered
2 bunches (packages) Broccolini, cut into 1 inch pieces
24 cloves garlic, simmered in 1/3 cup olive oil until soft, oil reserved
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 Tablespoon dried Thyme
15 ounces Ricotta Cheese
1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan
1/4 Cup Grated Romano
Salt and Pepper to taste


1. In a sauté pan over medium heat, brown the sausage for 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Add the broccolini to the pan and cook until tender, 6 to 8 minutes, adding the wine after 3 minutes. Season with salt, then add the broccolini and cooking liquid to the bowl with the sausage.

2. In the same pan over medium heat, warm the reserved garlic oil. Add the onions and thyme, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are very soft and caramelized, approximately 15 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with the sausage and broccolini. Save the oil and set aside. Add the pasta and garlic to the bowl and season with salt and pepper. (my garlic was golden and crispy on the outside, so I squeezed the soft garlic goodness out of each clove and put it in the bowl.)

3. Preheat your oven to 400.

4. Spoon half of the pasta mixture into a 9x11 inch glass baking dish. Spoon half the ricotta on top. Top with the remaining pasta and ricotta. Drizzle with the reserved oil. (If you're brave, sprinkle with chili flakes.) Bake for 20 minutes, then sprinkle with the Parmesan and Romano cheeses and bake for 10 minutes more until the cheese is starting to brown on top.