Sunday, January 23, 2011

Lemon Lemon Sorbet

Today I made lemon sorbet. It happens to be one of my favorite flavors. I love the bracing sourness from the flowery fruit and sweet creamy texture the sorbet gets from the sugar. This mixture can be made into granita if you don't have an ice cream machine. Just put the mixture together and place it in the freezer in a 9x13 glass dish and as the mixture begins to freeze chop it with a metal spatula or brake into
small chunks and whirl it around in a food processor and serve. Alternatively chop it fine when beginning to freeze and as it freezes chop it fine again and serve as a granita. It is also terrific with iced wodka, sorbet or granita.


5 lemons, zest and juice
3 cups water
2 cups sugar


In a 2 quart pot bring the sugar and water to a boil until the sugar is dissolved. Add the lemon zest. When mixture is cool add the juice. Place into an ice cream freezer to desired consistency, firm frozen about 15-20 minutes.

Or do the other methods I explain at the top for fun and easy variations.

Recipe, writing and photos by  Karen Pickus 2011
Courtesy Karen Pickus 2011

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Birthday Cake with Ice Cream Sundae on Top Built In

Today I made a birthday cake for my buddy Sandy. She was so excited about me making the cake for her lovely and festive party this evening. It was such a hit I decided to share. For all of you chocolate lovers this ones for you. Make this for your favorite chocoholic in your life they will love you foreva. xo

Ingredients for the cake

6 oz. sweet butter (1 1/2 sticks) softened at room temperature
1 3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 Tbs. vanilla extract
2/3 cup cocoa
1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
2 cups cake flour
1 cup water


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour 1 10 inch cake pan.
In an electric mixer beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. add the eggs and beat at medium speed until incorporated. Add the vanilla extract. Sift the dry ingredients together and add to the butter mixture. Slowly add the water and mix just until smooth. Scrape the batter and spread evenly into the prepared cake pan. Place in the preheated oven. Bake for 30- 35 minutes until cake comes away from the sides of the pan and the cake springs back when touched. Let cool on a wire rack for 25 minutes. bang the sides of the pan and turn over the cake onto a cardboard circle. Let cool completely.

Meanwhile make the ganache.

1 cup heavy cream
1 Lb. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 Tbs. butter


Bring the cream to a boil in a 1 qt. sauce pan. Turn off the heat whisk in the chopped chocolate until smooth. Whisk in the butter. Cover and let cool completely.

Toast 1/2 cup of sliced almonds in the 350 degree oven until golden brown, about 10 minutes.

To assemble the cake

When the cake is completely cool, make one horizontal cut in the center of the cake. Spread a little less than 1/2 of the ganache on the bottom layer of the cake.

Place the second layer on top. Spread the remaining ganache evenly over the top and sides of the cake.

Sprinkle the toasted almonds on the sides and top of the cake. Serve with Vanilla Ice Cream

For the Vanilla Ice Cream

1/2 cup sugar
6 egg yolks
1 vanilla bean
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups whole milk

Combine 1/4 cup sugar and egg yolks in a bowl with a wire whisk. In a clean coffee grinder designated for vanilla beans add some of the sugar and the vanilla bean and blend until bean is chopped fine. In a 2 quart pot combine the remaining sugar with the milk, cream and the chopped vanilla bean. Bring to a boil then add a ladle of the milk mixture to the egg yolk mixture and whisk until smooth. Whisk the tempered mixture into the milk mixture, Stir constantly without boiling until mixture coats the back of a spoon and makes a rose design when you blow hard on the coated spoon. Strain  the mixture through a fine mesh strainer and cover the top of the mixture directly with plastic wrap.

Cool completely, then churn in an ice cream machine until thick and desired consistency.
Serve with the cake.

Recipes, writing and photos by Karen Pickus 2011
Courtesy Karen Pickus 2011

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Tomatoey Chili and Yellow Rice

I wanted to make a quick warm healthy lunch.
Here it is... You can add meat. You can use, ground chicken, turkey, pork or beef, I would use 1 lb. for this recipe. In that case I would brown off the meat first in 1 Tbs. olive oil then proceed with the recipe.

Ingredients for the Chili

1 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, sliced
1 large fresh jalapeno pepper
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp ancho chili powder
1/2 tsp. guajillo chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground thyme
1/2 tsp. salt
1- 4 oz. can chopped green chillis
1 - 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
2- 14 oz. cans  pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1- 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup fresh cilantro chopped for garnish

In a 4 quart pot heat the olive oil over medium heat, add the onion, garlic and fresh jalapeno pepper.
Stir together and saute until vegetables are softened.

Add the spices and stir. Cook to aroma.

Add the rest of the ingredients except the garnish. Simmer covered over low heat for 1/2 hour until flavors mingle.

Serve with the yellow rice

Ingredients for the yellow rice

1 Tbs. olive oil
1 cup short grain brown rice, you can use long grain too.
1 /2 yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic sliced
1 packet saffron powder
1/2 tsp. turmeric
2 cups water
1/4 tsp. salt

In a 1 quart pot over medium high heat saute the onion and garlic until softened with no color.
Add the saffron powder and turmeric, and salt. Stir in the rice.
 Add the water and bring to a boil.

Cover the pot and simmer on low heat for 1/2 hour. Leave covered for 15 additional minutes, then fluff with a fork and serve with the chili. Garnish with the cilantro.

Recipes, writing and photos by Karen Pickus 2011
Courtesy Karen Pickus 2011

Saturday, January 8, 2011

New Years Venison Legs and Shanks with Wild Rice

I am lucky to have a dear friend (no pun intended) who likes to hunt and share. I am the lucky recipient of 2 lovely legs of venison. I wanted to do them justice for New Years Day. I began the marinade with:

10 garlic cloves
1 Tbs. juniper berries
2 tsps. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

I put it all into my handy dandy Black and Decker chopper and whirled it around to coarsley chop the ingredients.

Then I spread  the mixture all over the meat and added about 12 sprigs of thyme and 3 bay leaves to the meat.

I covered it and put it in the refrigerator to marinate overnight and up to 24 hours.

Mean while in a bowl I combined:

1 cup of golden raisins
1/2 cup dried pitted plums
1 cup of dried apricots
1/2 cup currents

 and soaked the fruit in

1 1/2 cup brandy.  Let stand overnight. Stir occasionally.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place 3 Tbs of olive oil in a large roasting pan. Place the pan in the oven for 5 minutes until oil is hot, dredge the meat in 4 Tbs. flour. Brown the meat on both sides about 7 minutes per side, in the oven.

Add 3 cups of white wine and 4 cups chicken broth, bring to a boil on top of the stove.
 Cover the pan with foil.

 Lower heat to 350 degrees and simmer in the oven for 1 and 1/2 hours.

Then add to the pan

5 carrots
5 yellow carrots
5 parsnips
All cut into 1 inch slices
1 large onion diced

Cover the roasting pan with foil and place it back into the oven for another 1 and 1/2 hours,
until  the meat and vegetables are tender.

Remove  the meat and vegetables from broth, let cool a bit, then take all of the meat off the bones and cut into bite size pieces. In a small bowl mix together 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup water until smooth.  Place all of the broth into a dutch oven and whisk the flour mixture into the broth, bring to a boil on top of the stove. Add  the meat to the broth. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, correct seasoning if necessary.

Serve with the Wild Rice.

Chop 1 large white onion
In a four quart pot saute' onion and 6 sprigs of thyme in 1 Tbs. olive oil until softened, then

stir in 2 cups of wild rice

Stir in 4 cups of water and 1 tsp. salt. Bring to a boil then
cover pot and lower to simmer for about 20 minutes, add the marinated fruit and continue to simmer another 20 minutes until the grains are tender but don't pop.

Serve with the venison.

Recipes, photos and writing by Karen Pickus 2011
courtesy Karen Pickus 2011

Saturday, January 1, 2011


To ALL of my readers, friends, coworkers, family and the world.... a very happy, peaceful loving and healthy new year!


Photos and writing by Karen Pickus 2011
Courtesy Karen Pickus 2011

Finished Slaw

Finished Slaw
Ready to eat!