Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Sweet July: Beaches and Cream

Pound Cake Peaches and Cream
We are having an epic summer here in New York City as far as the heat is concerned. Record-breaking high temps, struggling AC units, rumors of brown-outs, public requests to lower energy consumption, open hydrants, low water levels, cats and dogs living together...how's a girl to cope with all this? Get out! (Of the city, that is.) That's right friends, we're going on vacation. While I've enjoyed some promising auditions, am continuing to meet great people at the wine bar where I work, and love the laid-back life of summertime (the living is easy, after all), me and Mr. From Scratch need a break from the daily grind. As you read this I will hopefully be sippin' a key-lime daiquiri with my dad, step-mom, sibs, aunts, uncles and cousins on a South Carolina beach. Praise.

Today's recipe is easy-breezy, using summertime peaches and (thank you!) no hot oven. This is the last and final week of our theme month Sweet July: An Exploration in Four-Ingredient Desserts and I've had so much fun digging around for new and simple sweet treats.
Pound Cake Peaches and Cream
Cast of Characters: Store-bought pound cake, peaches, heavy cream, confectioner's sugar.
Slice peaches.
Add sugar to peaches.
Slice cake in thirds horizontally.
Heavy whipping cream and sugar in chilled bowl, whip until peaks form.
Line a loaf pan with wax paper and put bottom loaf in, then layer with peaches.
Put a layer of whipped cream. Repeat.
Freeze for an hour. 
Actual Recipe:Martha's Pound Cake Peaches and Cream
Nail Color: Essie "Haute as Hello"
Me and adorable Clara drinking from an open hydrant in Manhattan.
Lillie, Clara and Me.

Sweet July: An Exploration in Four-Ingredient Desserts... what a blast it has been! I can't wait to think of the next theme I should do. Any suggestions? (No dad, I will not do a "Vienna Sausage Extravaganza Month." )

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Sweet July: Sweet, Tart, Fresh

Tofu Berry Custard
Welcome to week three of Sweet July: An Exploration in Four Ingredient Desserts. So many tasty treats with just four ingredients! Strawberry Shortcake, Ice-box Cookie Creams, and today's fruity, delicious custard.

Tart yogurt is all the rage here in NYC, with chains like Pinkberry, Red Mango, and Yagoot. I can't get enough of this tangy, chilled confection. It's also $6.00 a cup. Yeesh. I'm not whipping out an ice-cream maker or soft-serve machine, but today's post hits all the same notes, at a lot lower price, with a little dash of healthy...

If you think all desserts are laden with fat, calories and sugar, then prepare to think again! I'm no health-nut by any means, but I do like to experiment with ingredients and flavors, and if it happens to be healthy-- then that's icing on the cake (couldn't resist a cheesy pun). I got this recipe from The Blender Girl, who has hundreds of awesome, creative recipes for your blender. Go to her website-- you won't be disappointed.

Tofu Berry Custard is vegan, dairy-free and requires no hot oven. Need I say more? And before you wrinkle your nose at the word "tofu," I beg you to give this versatile ingredient a fair shake. It's quickly becoming one of my new favorite ingredients because you can flavor it any way you want. A friend of mine makes tofu cream puffs that are the most delicious cream puffs I've ever eaten (future post?). Today's recipe is creamy, delicious and refreshing, with no guilt or extra dollars spent. Get out of your comfort zone and try it!

Tofu Berry Custard
Cast of Characters: Mixed berries (raspberries/blueberries), Silken Tofu, Agave Nectar (in the honey aisle), and lemons. (Other ingredients that "don't count": water, salt)
Put berries in saucepan and add agave nectar and splash of water.
Add a pinch of salt.
Juice lemon.
Add lemon juice to berries. Bring berries to boil then lower heat to a simmer. Side note: THIS TASTES AMAZING. I could eat this by itself.
This is what it should look like.
Place berry mixture and tofu in blender and blend until smooth.
Place in cups and chill. I accidently left it in the freezer too long and it became a sorbet! Put in fridge for custard-like consistency and freezer for sorbet/frozen yogurt.
For the "cream" on top I reserved a little tofu and agave nectar and blended it for garnish (also a splash of vanilla extract). This is not in the original recipe, just a *Girl From Scratch Modification.
Cool down and refresh yourself!
Actual Recipe: Tofu Berry Custard
Nail Color: OPI- Fiercely Fiona
I really like trying ingredients I don't normally gravitate towards. I know I will make Tofu Berry Custard again and again. Next time a parfait perhaps. What are your thoughts about soy/tofu? Likes? Gripes? Loves?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Sweet July: Icebox Dreams

Icebox Cookie Creams
There was a little switch-a-roo with the recipe in the *Girl From Scratch kitchen this week. I normally like to make a plan and stick to it, so changing my post last minute was out of character. I have my next few months of blog recipes mapped out... can you say, "Type-A"? Changing course was a last-minute risk for me, but I am absolutely thrilled with the results. Sometimes shelving your plans, courageously pulling up your boot straps (or tightening your apron strings) and doing something spontaneous can be a great success. This is a lesson in life and recipes (cue cheesy music).

Martha Stewart Living
This is the second week of our theme month, Sweet July: An Exploration in Four-Ingredient Desserts. Last week we enjoyed a divine four-ingredient strawberry shortcake and today's recipe was supposed to be a cake. And it was supposed to look like this beautiful cake (see right) from last month's Martha Stewart Living. Not only is the presentation breath-taking, but it requires just four ingredients!

Flash forward to the middle of the week: I am trying to make all the cookies that the recipe called for (a whopping eight dozen) and balance auditions, work, and time with Mr. *From Scratch. Eight dozen cookies is a lot of cookies to bake. Then there was Mr. *From Scratch sneaking in the kitchen every few minutes to "help eat the ugly ones." Needless to say, the 96 cookies never got made. Or maybe I should say 96 cookies never survived... But there still was a whole boat-load of cookies and an upcoming party to plan. I hadn't given up on the concept of this dessert and then it dawned on me to use all the same ingredients, just make it a different form.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Sweet July: Red, White and Four

*Girl From Scratch is proud to announce it's first-ever theme month! It's Sweet July: An Exploration in Four Ingredient Desserts. Each weekly post will showcase a different dessert made with only four ingredients. That means by the end of July you will add four amazingly easy, four-ingredient desserts to your repertoire-- get ready to wow an amaze everyone!

Strawberry Shortcake