Spiced Apple Caramel Swirl Ice Cream

Oh Fall seasonal foods, how we love you.
All the Pumpkin Spice things and heck, even all the Red Cup things are in full swing even as November has barely peeked out from underneath the pile of unraked leaves called October.

Lest we wish away this crisp autumn for the grey chill of December, please give a nod to the original fall flavor: apple.

Before our life was pumpkin-spiced, the trendy fall thing was apples.
As in, real-life, honest-to-goodness apples. Not “apple-flavored Pringles,” but just apples.
And we were ok with that.

I think you can be ok with this: A homemade, creamy, dreamy fresh apple and softly spiced ice cream with a decadent swirl of caramel in there.


Spiced Apple Ice Cream with Caramel Swirl
Adapted from Fork Knife Swoon
Time: 1.5 hours (includes chilling) ~ Serves: About 2 quarts

Spiced Apples
2 large apples, peeled, cored and diced finely (Honeycrisp or other sweet apple)
2 tbs brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or a mix of nutmeg, cloves and allspice)
pinch of sea salt

Ice Cream Base
2 c. heavy cream
2 c. whole milk
3/4 c. powdered sugar
1 tbs vanilla extract
1-1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or a mix of nutmeg, cloves and allspice)
1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 c. prepared caramel sauce, refrigerated

- Ensure the bowl of your ice cream maker is completely frozen (usually 24 hours in the freezer is needed).
- Prepare 4 pint size ice cream containers (I like to re-use Talenti gelato containers)

In a deep saucepan, over medium heat, cook apples, sugar and spices until soft (to the point of breaking apart, about 10 min).

IMG_0740Pour apples into a heat/freezer-safe bowl and allow to cool completely.
Once cool, place in freezer to chill thoroughly (at least 30 minutes).

In a blender, whir all ingredients of Ice Cream base together until completely blended. Pour mix into a freezer-safe bowl and place in freezer to chill thoroughly (at least 30 minutes).

It’s important that all ingredients are the same temperature when churning or the
ice cream consistency will not be correct.

Following your manufacture’s instructions, churn the Ice Cream Base (usually about 25 minutes). Ensure that your ice cream maker can accommodate two quarts or prepare in batches.

photo(resist sticking  spoon into the ice cream maker)

With about 5 minutes left to churn, slowly add the chilled spiced apples to the ice cream maker.  Done! Ready to eat….

…but wait, there’s more…..

Assemble freezer-safe ice cream containers. Add a spoonful of chilled caramel and then a layer of ice cream. Continue layering until full. Repeat with remaining containers.
Ice cream will be soft. Allow to chill in freezer for firmer texture.  Makes about 2 quarts.
Re-serving suggestion: Homemade ice cream can freeze solidly. For later serving, allow at least 20 minutes for ice cream to thaw on the counter for scoopable, spoonable consistency.

Kind of makes Pumpkin Spice Oreos just look silly.

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One-Bowl Butterscotch Chocolate Chip Cookies

Also known as “Doorbell Ringing Cookies”.
Meaning your guests have just arrived for dinner and you have nothing for dessert.
Someone  “promised to bring dessert” but that flake showed up with a sheepish expression and a bottle of 2-buck Chuck.  Hmmph.

This recipe to the rescue. In addition to making two dozen (rather than the traditional
4 dozen), this recipes uses oil, so there’s not need to wait for butter to soften.  Everything is mixed in one large bowl to keep everything even easier.  Mix the batter and prep the cookie sheets while everyone is on their second glass of wine (they won’t miss you). Pop them in the oven when you clear after dinner. Bonus? Your guests are treated to the nostalgically delicious smell of freshly baked cookies.

One Bowl Butterscotch Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes: 2 dozen cookies
Time: 35 minutes

1/2 c. light oil (Sunflower Seed, Canola, Vegetable)
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tbs vanilla
1.75 c. AP flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 pinch sea salt
1 c. chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, mixed*
*Add chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, bits of broken-up Halloween candy; whatever you have on-hand. I’ve been known to chop up a few Lindt truffle balls that were hanging around in my freezer to use here.
2 cookie sheets (for faster transition time)

Pre-heat oven to 350.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together oil and sugar. Beat in egg and vanilla until mixture is smooth. In the center of the bowl, add flour, baking soda and salt. Use a fork to thoroughly incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet.  Stir in candy chips of your choice.

As there is no butter in this recipe, the cookies will not spread and flatten as nicely. Scoop a tablespoon amount into a ball, place on ungreased cookie sheet and flatten slightly (trust me, this is quick). Prep two cookie sheets of 12 each. Bake for 11-13 minutes until tops are lightly golden. Serve immediately.
Your guests will be so blown away that you served freshly baked cookies
they won’t even notice that you just ran out of wine.

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A look back at some gorgeous meals recently. Eat up.

Feast at the Rookwood.

Pumpkin beer samples at Cock and Bull.
Treats from Chef @ Dutch’s

A toffee/coffee sundae (shared) at Yardhouse.

A pretty little drink from Boca.

Chocolate Coconut cupcakes (courtesy of a Stonewall Kitchen mix from my friend Liz!)

A pulled pork sandwich enjoyed track-side at Keeneland Race track.

Homemade Kale & Rice Noodle Salad with Homemade Miso Dressing

Beers and Pork sandwiches after golf at The Eagle
Sweet Pea & Bacon pizza at A Tavola.
And for a sweet finish…Two Peas and Their Pod Apple Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting.

Keep the delicious going friends.

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Sunday Supper: Orecchiette with Sausage & Broccoli Rabe

With the weather changing to cool, those cravings for comfort foods come out in full force.
Case in point, in the last week I’ve made Apple Bacon Macaroni & Cheese,
Butterscotch & Chocolate Chip cookies and Fresh Tomato Sauce. Yeah, it’s about that time (spoiler alert: I’ve got more recipes coming your way).

Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe fits this cold weather comfort food craving perfectly. Hearty, savory, but not so rich that you need to lay in a coma until Spring.

Everything comes together in two pans and under an hour.
Leaving plenty of time to make Butterscotch & Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Orecchiette with Sausage & Broccoli Rabe
Serves:Time: 45 min
To make this dish even easier; I used Whole Foods 365 Frozen Broccoli Rabe.
A great alternative if fresh isn’t available.

6 oz Orecchiette pasta (“little ears” in Italian, a perfect shape to hold this delicate sauce)
1 tbs olive oil
3 cloves garlic, peeled & crushed
1 – 2 large Spicy Italian Sausage links, casing removed
2.5 c. Broccoli Rabe (also called Rapini) fresh or frozen, ends trimmed, roughly chopped
1 lemon, juice and zest
Red pepper flakes
Sea Salt & Black Pepper
Parmesan Cheese for serving
Fresh sausage from Findlay Market, winner winner, orecchiette dinner)

In a medium saucepan, bring 3 inches of water to a boil, add broccoli rabe and cover. Steam for 6-8 minutes until broccoli is tender. Drain and set aside. Rinse out saucepan and refill with water for pasta.

In a large, deep saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic, saute lightly. Stir in sausage, breaking it up as you go to cook it thoroughly. While sausage is browning, heat pasta water. Cook pasta according to package instructions, drain and set aside. Once sausage has browned, add drained broccoli and toss to combine.  Taste mix, season with salt, pepper. Toss in cooked pasta. Season with lemon juice, zest and a few sprinkles of red pepper flakes (add additional sea salt and pepper to taste). Serve with Parmesan cheese for passing.   IMG_0697 IMG_0696
Happy Fall friends.

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Tortellini, Kale & Tomato Soup

A bit grey and dreary here in Cincinnati lately. We’re easing into Fall with cooler temperatures, lots of rain and the occasional thunderstorm.

I’m sure I’ll regret these words in January; but I love a rainy, cool day. It energizes me to clean house, get cooking and wear sweats. Well, that last one is a given.

This soup fits the grey, dreary bill perfectly by being warm, vibrant and hearty.
Fire-roasted tomatoes, sautéed kale and tons of creamy white beans are all tossed with luscious cheese tortellini in a light broth. A punch of lemon adds the brightness to this dish and your soul.

IMG_0554 Tortellini, Kale & Tomato Soup
~ Makes 8 – 10 cups
2 tbs olive oil
1 yellow onion, peeled and sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 can (14.5oz) fire-roasted tomatoes, diced, not drained
2 cans (14.5oz each) Cannellini Beans, rinsed, drained
1 head curly kale (bigger stems removed, roughly chopped)
32 oz vegetable broth + 2 cups water
8 oz tortellini (cheese or a prosciutto flavor is perfect)
Juice and zest of one lemon

Heat oil. Saute garlic and onion until soft. Add tomatoes and beans; toss until coated.
Stir in kale and saute until wilted. Slowly pour in broth and water so that vegetables are covered. Bring to a low boil, then reduce to a simmer. Stir in lemon juice and zest. Simmer for 20 minutes (or longer) to allow flavors to marry.

Adding the Tortellini: You can cook separately and add right before serving so that the pasta keeps its shape. Or add to broth and allow to cook in the soup (the pasta will break down a bit, especially when re-heating).
Reheating note: I prefer to add a few splashes of vegetable broth when reheating, as the beans/pasta tend to absorb more of the liquid the longer it sits.

See you on the couch, sweatpants-wearer.

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Three Twists And A Ginger Plum Crumble

I love early Fall. One day it’s still beautiful summer day, and the next, you’re digging for your fleece jacket. Though unpredictable; I love the unexpectedness of the season.

Twists on the expected brought me to this recipe. I wasn’t quite ready to pumpkin spice my life last weekend, but still wanted to get some baking in, so I turned to a late summer/early fall fruit: plums.
I had a basket of these beauties on their last leg and wanted to turn them into something  delicious. A Plum Crumble fit the bill. Faster and easier than a pie, plus I’ll take crumblies over crust every.time.
IMG_0462In a slightly healthier recipe twist, I used Grape-Nuts rather than a traditional crumble topping. Ah yes, those little forgotten nuggets of whole wheat: Grape-Nuts: which, just for clarity, contain neither grapes nor nuts. Mystery. However mysterious, the Grape-Nuts performed admirably as a crunchy topping.

Ginger is the predominant spice here. A bit unexpected (as is the theme) than the usual Fall combination of apple and cinnamon but equally, if not more, delicious. IMG_0463Juicy, almost over-ripe plums, tossed with nutmeg, cinnamon and tons of ginger, topped with buttery crunchies and baked until soft. Apples who?
Another recipe twist:

There’s no sugar in this recipe.

Gasp! Truly, the fruit is sweet, and the ginger provides that perfect spicy punch that you won’t miss the sugar (but I have added it as an optional ingredient for those sugar fiends out there).

For serving; you could be traditional and add vanilla yogurt, ice cream or whipped cream. But for our third and final recipe twist….try this with a wedge of extra sharp cheddar (or bleu cheese) and a small glass of something warming (like cognac or port).

IMG_0476Unexpectedly perfect.

Ginger Plum Crumble
~ Serves 6
5 plums, pitted and sliced into half-moons (no need to peel)
1 tbs ground ginger or a small piece (quarter-sized) fresh ginger, minced
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbs brown sugar (optional)
pinch of sea salt
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 c. Grape-Nuts cereal
3 tbs cold butter, diced

Pre-heat oven to 350. Grease an 8×8 baking dish.
In a large bowl, combine plums with spices, sugar (if using) and lemon juice. Taste here, adjust spices and sweetness as necessary. Add half of the Grape-Nuts to the fruit mixture and toss well. Pour into baking dish. Cover with remaining Grape-Nuts. Dot butter over the top. Bake 30 minutes (or until topping has crisped and fruit is soft) . Serves 6.
Serve with yogurt, ice cream or sharp cheese.

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Hungry For More?

A wildly busy few weeks have kept me from this space.

Fear not, I’ve been furiously snapping and scribbling out there in the world; and I’ve got enough backlogged to keep you entertained until Halloween.

For now, writing and editing going on endlessly on my end.


See you soon.

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