Tag Archives: food

What to Make with 25 Pounds of Concord Grapes?


Two years ago I was in the Finger Lakes over Labor Day Weekend, and picked ten pounds of concord grapes. Soon after our love for grape ice cream was born.

Last year, we knew we wouldn’t be able to make it back there during grape season, and my parents were kind enough to pick some and bring them to us. Well, I think they got a little carried away. Because they brought me 25 pounds of concord grapes! My favorite way to eat them is fresh – although it’s messy and turns your lips and fingernails purple. But they only last so long – so when I couldn’t possible eat another – into the freezer they went.

I smile every time I look at them, because I remember another day spent in grapevines in the Finger Lakes.

Taking wedding photos with my bridesmaids. Some pretty, some silly.

concord-grapes-2Clearly I was in bridal la-la land. I can’t believe I let them near my white dress with those dark purple grapes!!!! (Although these were grapes for Riesling, not Concords.)

I still have about ten pounds of concord grapes in my freezer and am looking for ways to use them. I recently made these Concord Grape Crumb Bars, which make a fancy upgrade from a regular brownie sundae.

I’ve also got my eye on trying this concord grape sorbet from Martha Stewart:

via Martha Stewart

and of course I need to try making the classic grape jelly:

via Epicurious

The only problem is that most concord grape recipes I’ve found are desserts. Although I did bookmark this tasty looking grape focaccia from my Smitten Kitchen cookbook:

via Smitten Kitchen

I am looking for recommendations!

What would you make with ten pounds of concord grapes?

Recipe: Homemade Blueberry Ice Cream

Homemade Blueberry Ice Cream Recipe | DesignLively.com

Y’all. (Why are only Southerners allowed to say this?)

We love blueberries and this ice cream is delicious.

Homemade Blueberry Ice Cream Recipe | DesignLively.com

I appear to be in the minority here. That being, the minority of people who own ice cream makers and actually use them.

Homemade Blueberry Ice Cream Recipe | DesignLively.com

There is a great blueberry farm in the Finger Lakes that we make a trip to whenever we are visiting my family. And we are serious about our blueberry picking. This summer we managed to bring home 45 pounds of blueberries.

I even dragged my poor parents out in the rain one morning and we got soaking wet. (Aren’t they kind to indulge their crazy daughter?)

Homemade Blueberry Ice Cream Recipe | DesignLively.com

Blueberry Ice Cream Ingredients:

  • 1 cup blueberries (frozen or fresh)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream (sorry!)
  • 2 tablespoons boysenberry syrup

(You can supplement whole milk for a 1% milk or heavy cream for light cream, but the texture will be slightly icier, and certain members of your household will notice.)

First, make the blueberry concentration:

  1. Toss 1 cup of blueberries with 1/4 cup of sugar in a pot over medium heat
  2. Stir frequently and squish the blueberries with a spoon  to release the juices in the pot
  3. Let simmer until all sugar is dissolved
  4. Set aside and let cool

Next, make the ice cream:

  1. Whisk together milk and 3/4 cup of sugar in a bowl
  2. Gently stir in the heavy cream, 2 TB of boysenberry syrup and your blueberry concentration
  3. Pour into the ice cream freezer bowl and turn on your machine
  4. Let the machine run for 20-25 minutes
  5. You can eat it at this point if you like very soft ice cream! Otherwise put in an airtight container and stick it in the freezer for another 30 minutes.
  6. ENJOY!!!

Homemade Blueberry Ice Cream Recipe | DesignLively.com

I’m sure this ice cream would taste delicious without the boysenberry syrup too. I added it at the last minute and it was a very delicious addition! We keep it on hand for pancakes and it is usually in the maple syrup section at the grocery store.

Homemade Blueberry Ice Cream Recipe | DesignLively.com

What’s your favorite flavor ice cream? I love to get Cake Batter ice cream!

Recipe Post: Pancake Cookies

Pancake Cookies for a Lumberjack themed birthday party

Earlier this spring we had a Lumberjack themed birthday party for my husband. I promised a tutorial on the pancakes cookies and had completely forgotten until a reader left me a friendly note requesting it.

The pancake cookies are extremely simple.

Warning – I am not a food photographer and made these at night! The light from my oven does not make for beautiful photographs. : ) Also, as I’ve said before I’m not a food blogger, most of my recipe tips do not have specific measurements. It’s just the way I cook. Sorry! It drives my husband crazy too.

The Cookie:

Pancake Cookies for a Lumberjack themed birthday party

Start with any cookie base of your preference. I started with a classic Betty Crocker sugar cookie, recipe. You could also try molasses or gingersnap. Anything that will give the cookies that pancake color.

To get the cookies to bake nice and flat, I rolled the cookie dough into a ball in my palm and then I squished it so it resembled a Peppermint Patty. Sorry, no photos for this step! My hands were covered in cookie dough!

I baked them according to the recipe and let them cool completely. If they look like they are getting too puffy in the oven while they are baking, give them a pat with a flat kitchen tool (like a flipper) to flatten them back out.

The Maple Syrup Frosting:

Pancake Cookies for a Lumberjack themed birthday party

To create the maple syrup I created a runny chocolate frosting.

In a double boiler, melt some chocolate chips (About 1/2 a bag) and a tb. butter. Add the butter at the very beginning before the chips are melted. Adding it later can make your melted chocolate get a weird texture.

In my mixer, I made a basic buttercream frosting recipe (modified from this recipe). Instead of vanilla extract I added real maple syrup. Then I added my melted chocolate chips. Mix thoroughly. Add tiny bits of water until the icing easily runs off a spoon.

At this point, things can get a little messy. I laid my cookies on wax paper for easy cleanup. Then proceed to spoon the runny chocolate frosting on top of them. The frosting should naturally pool in certain directions, giving you a maple syrup effect.

Due to the runny frosting, it will take longer than usual for the frosting to firm up. I wouldn’t recommend stacking them either because they frosting never sets to a hard frosting – I’m sure a better cook would be able to solve this problem.

Frosting Butter Pad

Pancake Cookies for a Lumberjack themed birthday party
For the pad of butter, I created a very thick frosting. Combine confectionery sugar and milk in a bowl with a fork. Continue to add confectioners’ sugar until you have a very thick, non-spreadable consistency (similar to Play-doh). Add a few drops of yellow food coloring and use the fork to spread the coloring throughout your mixture.

Scrap the frosting from a bowl on to a piece of waxed paper and fold it over so the frosting is in the middle. Use a rolling pin to flatten it out until it is about 1/4 of an inch thick. Place in refrigerator.

After the yellow frosting has been in the refrigerator for sometime and feels very stiff take it out and cut into small 1″ x 1″ squares immediately. Don’t wait, it must be cold or else it will not cut smoothly. Place on top of the maple syrup frosting and there you go!

Pancake Cookies for a Lumberjack themed birthday party

Mint Hints: How to Keep Mint Fresh

How to Keep Mint Leaves Fresh

I have the answer you have been looking for. I know what you have been thinking…

How can I possibly make my fresh mint last longer.

(Am I right?)

How to Keep Mint Leaves Fresh

weekly goodies

Our CSA recently started up again, and ’tis the season of mint. In vain have wasted mint while trying all types of different methods to preserve it.

raspberry mojito

strawberry mint mojito and summer reading

You name it I’ve tried it – washing and pat-drying, freezing freshly picked leaves, wrapping sprigs in a paper towel, storing it by the window in a vase… All of those methods are great if you like dried out, crispy, brittle mint leaves.

I HAVE FOUND A SOLUTION. (Caps-lock 100% warranted.)

How to Keep Mint Leaves Fresh
Take your mint sprigs and place in a jar/glass. Fill with about 1-2″ of water.

Don’t let any leaves sit in water, otherwise your water will get manky and your mint moldy.

Take a (clean) plastic bag and place it over the top of the mint and tuck under the bottom of your glass.

How to Keep Mint Leaves Fresh
Place in the fridge.

How to Keep Mint Leaves Fresh

Enjoy fresh mint! I have had my leaves in the fridge for 2 weeks now and they are still nice and crisp.

I am thrilled that I have finally found a mint-preserving method that actually works – so naturally I had to share it with the world.

I wish you many minty mojitos on this holiday weekend! Cheers and Happy 4th of July!

What do you like to make with mint leaves?
I love to make mojitos or chocolate mint ice cream!