Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Life-Changing Ice Cream

When I heard about the new Ben & Jerry's flavors Peanut Brittle and Boston Cream Pie, I remember thinking to myself, "Eh, they sound fine, but I'm in no rush to get a pint. They don't sound like life-changing ice creams to me."

Then I tried them. Peanut Brittle is about a million times better than I ever expected it to be and I highly recommend it, but Boston Cream Pie is over-the-top. It will change your life. Here's the breakdown:

1.) The main ice cream flavor is actually Boston Cream Pie- it's not just some vanilla or sweet cream ice cream with a bunch of mix-ins. It's SO much better than that. It's BOSTON CREAM PIE FLAVORED ICE CREAM!!!! Brilliant.
2.) The cake chunks are denser and chewier than the cake typically used in a real Boston Cream Pie. This is an improvement. Holy cow. They are they perfect consistency- any softer and they wouldn't stand up to the ice cream and any harder and they'd feel dried out and old. Instead they are perfectly chewy, perfectly moist, just perfect.
3.) The custard-y filling is soft as if it was in the cake, not in a freezer. How do they make it stay soft and not get all hard and frozen? I don't know how they do it, but it's completely AMAZING!!!

Put all of those together and you have LIFE CHANGING ICE CREAM. No joke. Try it, you'll see.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Central Market, I heart you.

I love Lancaster, PA's Central Market- it's the oldest farmer's market in the country, open year-round and offering an enormous selection of produce, meats, cheeses, and all sorts of prepared goods. It's fun just to walk around checking out the wares. This week, I had several incredibly simple and delicious meals thanks to the market. For starters, I made this delicious salmon:

The recipe was so simple, I'm not sure I'd even call it a recipe. I bought a half-pound(ish) fillet of salmon from Kathy's Seafood. Then I purchased a jar of Long's Cranberry Citrus Horseradish Relish (say THAT five times fast!) I preheated my oven to 450 degrees, then slathered half the contents of the jar of relish onto the salmon. I roasted the meat for 9 minutes, then turned the oven off and let it continue cooking for another 2 minutes. I pulled it out of the oven, portioned off enough for my dinner, packaged the rest in tupperware and then sat down to the feast pictured above. The rice is the Uncle Ben's boil-in-a-bag and the veggies were from one of those frozen steamer bags (both of these sides were given to me by friends who were moving and didn't want it to go to waste- yay for free food!) The thing about horseradish is that when you cook it, the stingy harshness goes away completely, but the tangy flavor remains. I have one word to describe this dish: YUM!

The following day I made a delicious lunch for myself that was a feast of flavor, in my opinion. I bought a fresh kaiser roll from Willow Valley, as well as smoked honey turkey ham and Canadian supersharp cheddar cheese (aged 4 years) from S. Clyde Weaver's, and finally horseradish mustard from Long's. It was a simple sandwich just bursting with amazing flavor. The ham was salty and sweet, the cheese was the sharpest I've had and the mustard added that extra kick that took the sandwich over the edge. A-MA-ZING.

I dipped some of the left-over cheese slices into the mustard. Delish!!! If you haven't tried Long's products, then get your booty over to the Central Market and do it. He grinds the horseradish on the premises at market. When you walk by his stand, the pungent aroma slaps you in the face and sometimes is even strong enough to make your eyes water just a bit.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Scrumptious Saturday

We've started a new trend at work this Christmas- it's called Scrumptious Saturdays and I love it. It all started two weeks ago with Tabby's Spaghetti Pie, then continued last week with the Frizado's Chili and this week I've contributed that delicious Pumpkin Sausage Lasagne that I blogged about around this time last year. It's simple- one or two people bring the main entree, and everyone else contributes sides and dessert.

For anyone interested in the recipe for this amazing lasagne, you can find it on Rachel Ray's website here.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Starbucks Via Ready Brew

So I finally broke down and bought a package of Starbucks Via- their new instant coffee. And guess what- it's delicious. I was running late this morning on my way to work- I had planned to go through the Starbucks drive-thru, but I didn't have time. Then I remembered that I'd purchased a package of the Italian Roast Via about a week ago and thrown it in my purse for just such an occassion. When I got to work, I made it and it was absolutely delicious. I think what's nice about it, too, is that you can make it stronger or weaker depending on your taste. I personally like really strong coffee, so I made it with the recommended 8 ounces of hot water, but if Starbucks is a little too strong for you, it would be easy to make it with a little extra water to tone it down a bit. Has anyone out there tried it? What do you think of it? Leave a comment!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Gelato di Babbo

Shop Name: Gelato di Babbo

Location: Lititz Pike, Lititz, PA

Screams: 5

I FINALLY managed to get over to Gelato di Babbo's Euro Cafe in Lititz, PA today. I had the day off and no plans until the evening, so I decided to go for lunch. I'd heard from Kim, the owner, about the delicious panini sandwiches on the menu as well as soups and of course her famous gelato. My meal today was:

"Classico" Panini- Proscuitto with fresh mozzarella, basil and cherry tomatoes
Chocolate & Coffee Gelato

First, let's talk about the sandwich. The bread was sliced nice and thick and grilled to perfection- crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside and not a bit of that greasiness that so often clouds a panini sandwich. I don't really like panini that are slathered in butter before placed on the grill- I prefer it dry and that's how they do it at GdB. Another note on the bread: it was so flavorful with a mildly sweet tone to it- really just delicious. It complemented the other elements of the sandwich perfectly- the salty proscuitto, the ripe tomato, the earthy basil- it all worked together really well. And it was all SO fresh. I watched Kim step outside to pick the fresh basil that she then put on my sandwich. It was amazing. Does it really get any more fresh than that? I don't think so.

After devouring the sandwich, I paused a moment and then surveyed the gelato case- the flavors of the day were Caramel Corn, Gingersnap, Rasperry Sorbet, Chocolate, Mint and Coffee. I sampled nearly all of them before selecting a small chocolate and coffee. They top it with a cute little wafer cookie- it's really adorable:

One thing that you just HAVE to understand about GdB is that the texture of the gelato is velvety smooth like no other frozen treat. It's silken texture is out of this world. I've never tasted ice cream or gelato like it. I don't know what her secret is, but it's working like a dream. As for each individual flavor, the best was the Caramel Corn- it had a nice popcorn-esque flavor, but sweet, almost like kettle corn. And the gingersnap was also delicious. I've had gingersnap ice cream and frozen custard before and neither one was very good. GdB's gingersnap was amazing. I'd order it in a heartbeat and recommend it just as fast.

The hours are 11-9PM Friday through Sunday- perfect for a nice weekend treat. Head on over this weekend if you can- I guarantee you'll enjoy it.


I think that anyone living in the Lancaster area knows about Isaac's- their sandwiches are out of this world, don't you think? I've been there a couple of times in the last few weeks- once when my mom was in town, another time last night with coworkers- and it never gets old.

My favorites on their menu include the Phoenix (sandwich), the Ruffed Grouse (sandwich) and the Sonoma (salad). Their desserts are pretty tasty, too. Last night I had the Sonoma Salad with a scoop of the cranberry almond chicken salad. One word: outstanding. I think the last 3 or 4 times I've been to Isaac's that's what I've eaten and it never gets old!

One thing I really love about Isaac's is the pickled veggies you get before your meal. I had a piece of cauliflower last night and it has some kick to it. I'd never tasted picked cauliflower, but now that I have, I highly recommend you try it.

Sorry for the short post, (and for not posting much lately), but I've been focused a lot on my other blog: Style... the New Black. Visit when you have a minute and leave a comment so I know you came by!

Saturday, August 29, 2009


I sometimes forget how much I enjoy cooking! I went to the Central Market yesterday and got some beautiful produce, cheese and other goodies. I wasn't sure of my plan for how to use it all, but I had a feeling it would be delicious. I wanted to make enough food to eat dinner tonight and also bring leftovers to work tomorrow and Monday. Here's my menu:

Green salad
Cinnamon chicken with apples
Maple dijon sweet potatoes
Lemon garlic mushrooms

I enjoyed my dinner so thoroughly, I thought I'd share my recipes with all of you. Enjoy!

Green salad:
1 large head green leaf lettuce
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup cubed extra-super-sharp cheddar cheese
Balsamic vinegar glaze & olive oil

I think y'all know how to make a salad- chop it up and toss it together.

Cinnamon chicken with apples:
3 chicken breasts, butterflied and pounded thin
1 granny smith apple, cubed
1 red delicious apple, cubed
1/2 small onion diced
1/4 cup apple juice
Salt & Pepper

Start by seasoning the chicken with salt, pepper, nutmeg and a generous amount of cinnamon. In a hot skillet, heat 1 T. oil and 1 tsp. butter. Brown each side of the chicken about 45 seconds. Remove from pan. Saute onion and apples, adding a little cinnamon and nutmeg (to taste). Using a wooden spoon, scrape the bottom of the pan. Once onion and apples have softened, deglaze pan with apple juice, return chicken to pan, cover and simmer until finished.

Maple Dijon Sweet Potatoes

3 medium orange sweet potatoes or yams
1 T. light dijon mustard
1 T. whole seed dijon mustard
1/2 cup real maple syrup
3 T. butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel sweet potatoes and chop into 1/2- 3/4 inch cubes. Toss with mustards and maple syrup until coated. Make 3 "pouches" with aluminum foil and divide mixture between them. Top with salt, pepper and a pat of butter on each. Close pouches completely and place on a baking sheet. Bake 25-30 minutes or until tender.

Lemon Garlic Mushrooms

1/2 pound button mushrooms, sliced
Juice of 1 lemon
Italian seasoning or dried basil, oregano and thyme
1 clove minced garlic

In a sautee pan, heat garlic, then add mushrooms, lemon juice and spices. Cook until tender.

Ok, the mushrooms don't really go with the rest of the meal, but I had to do something with them, and this is my favorite way to eat them. They added a nice tart acidity to an otherwise sweet meal. The salad was AMAZING. The cheese was aged 4 years and so fabulously sharp. It was perfect with the tart cranberries, the crunchy almonds and the balsamic glaze. The sweet potatoes are so delicious, you'll never make sweet potatoes any other way again. The chicken I would do differently next time. I'd deglaze using chicken stock instead of apple juice- it was all just a little too sweet. Also, I was rather light-handed with the cinnamon and I think I'd change that as well. The cooking process seemed to mellow out the flavor too much or something. (Hey, I'm no Top Chef- don't expect me to know what goes wrong!) Also, the whole chicken dish needed more salt. I actually put some of the cheese from my salad on the chicken. It got all melty and made the chicken a LOT more tasty. The sweet potato recipe is from my mom, but the rest is my creation. If you try any of these recipes out, let me know how they turn out!