Summer is finally here! With all the rain and cold that we had in June, it felt as if it would never arrive. It is here in its full glory- scorching hot days and warm humid nights. When I was young, those were the type of days that would send us racing through the streets when we heard the distant music of the ice cream trucks. The entire neighborhood would go running into the house to beg their parents for money so that we could buy the frozen treats that would cool us off and make us so happy. It was so hard to choose: a drumstick, ice cream sandwich or Dreamsicle?? It was hard to imagine that anything could ever taste so delicious!
As an adult, there is still nothing better than ice cream on a hot summer day or on the patio at night, although my tastes have evolved a bit from the ice cream truck days. I now know that ice cream can be made from fresh ingredients and with flavors that are only limited by your imagination – cookie dough, chocolate marshmallow, coffee, mint chocolate chip, etc. And homemade ice cream- whether it be from a favorite little shop, a restaurant, or made at home-is the ultimate treat.
The flavors are fresh and make you think of berry fields, campfires with s’mores and chocolate shops. I have also discovered that ice cream, with an adult beverage, can be a fun dessert. A Berry Prosecco ice cream float is as simple as adding fresh berries and a scoop of vanilla ice cream to a glass and topping it off with Prosecco. How fun is that?
Making ice cream at home has definitely become much easier than the days churning for hours. There are a variety of new ice cream makers on the market that allow you to eat a fresh, frozen treat within an hour of thinking of your favorite flavor, which is even quicker than hearing that first sound from the ice cream truck! Marcel’s carries many of the items that you need to help you make these treats at home.
On Saturday, July 27, Marcel’s will have Guest Chef, Alissa Wallers of the French Pastry School, churning ice cream and making all handmade toppings in the hands-on cooking class, The Ice Cream Bar. Think Bourbon Vanilla and Coffee ice cream with salted caramel sauce or blueberry compote. How about a chocolate wafer ice cream sandwich cookie? What a fabulous way to beat the summer heat and experiment with recipes and flavors. Kids 12 and older are welcome to join this class so you can start some new family traditions – much better than chasing the ice cream truck!
Grilled Corn and Tomato - Sweet Onion Salad with Fresh Basil Dressing
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
8 ears of grilled corn, kernals removed from the cob
1 small sweet onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
Fresh basil sprigs, for serving
4 ounces crumbled blue cheese (optional)
diced avocado (optional)
Combine the vinegar, chopped basil, honey, salt, pepper and oil in a blender and blend until smooth. The dressing can be made 2 hours in advance and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before using.
Combine the corn kernals, onion and tomatoes in a large bowl. Add the dressing and toss to coat. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving. The salad can be made one day in advance and stored, covered in the refrigerator.
Optional: Can top with 4 ounces of crumbled blue cheese and a diced avocado just before serving.
I love when that last bell of school rings and summer rushes into our house. We quickly go from school, sports and meetings, to pool and beach time, hiking and exploring nature, and of course cook-outs and backyard parties.
Spending the entire day outdoors and lingering into the night is a happy summer routine for my family. What it doesn’t leave is a lot of time in the kitchen prepping long meals. My solution is keeping it simple and fresh, and leaning on items I can re-configure throughout the week. My summer go-to sauce is a Spanish-style Romesco.
Romesco is a rich sauce made with charred peppers, pureed and thickened with nuts. I add chipotle pepper with a bit of adobo sauce for warm heat, as well as lemon juice and parsley for brightness and balance. It is a gorgeous hue that not only tastes fantastic but looks amazing on just about anything.
I always make at least a double batch (it freezes beautifully), and most often enjoy it on a simply seasoned white fish. However it is also great drizzled over shrimp, chicken, pork or a roasted cauliflower steak. Later in the week I will toss it into cooked pasta or roasted potatoes. With my kids on the go, it will be packed into a snack with pita chips and veggies for dipping. Those summer nights when the neighbors all end up in our driveway or backyard, I will pull it out with sliced baguette to share with a great summer wine. If you try it, you will find even more fabulous ways to work it into your go-to summer repertoire.
We can all take a nod from the Spanish on not only this great sauce, but also around enjoying great food and friends as an art. I hope we all find ourselves doing the same all summer long.
Chipotle Romesco Sauce
2 red bell peppers
1/2 cup blanched hazelnuts
1 chipotle in adobo, seeds removed
1 teaspoon adobo sauce
2 cloves garlic, peeled
¼ cup fresh Italian parsley, leaves only
Zest of a lemon
Juice of ½ a lemon
1-2 teaspoons kosher salt
Roast the bell peppers over a gas burner (or broil) until skins have blackened and blistered. Remove and place in a bowl. Cover with plastic film and let steam for 10 minutes. When cool enough to handle, scrape off skin. Discard the seeds and stems.
In a dry sauté pan, toast the hazelnuts for a few minutes, until fragrant and starting to brown. Remove and let cool.
In a food processor, add the peppers, nuts, chipotle, adobo sauce and garlic. Pulse to combine. Add the parsley, lemon zest, juice and salt and process until smooth. Serve over just about anything!
4 cups berries (one or more varieties, fresh or frozen)
¾ - 1 cup sugar
1-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Set aside 1 ¼ cup of the berries to add at the end. In a medium saucepan, combine remaining berries, sugar and lemon juice and bring to a simmer over med. heat until sugar has dissolved, about 10 minutes.
Puree the berry mixture; then again bring to a simmer. Remove from heat, and add the remaining berries. Serve hot or cold.