roasted strawberry, buttermilk, and mascarpone ice cream

Roasted Strawberry, Buttermilk, and Mascarpone Ice Cream

The reviews* are in:

This ice cream is so good! It tastes like strawberry cheesecake.
- unbiased family member #1

You made this?!? It taste just like the ice cream you buy at the store.
- unbiased family member #2

I didn’t think I liked fruity ice cream until I tasted this. I love it!
- unbiased family member #3

*Yes, the reviews are from my family, but none of them were compensated for their opinions.

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at the county fair: funnel cake

At the County Fair: Funnel Cakes

For many Americans, going to the state or county fair is as much a summer tradition as baseball and fireworks on the Fourth of July. Despite the searing heat and sweaty crowds, we flock to the fair to enjoy the carnival games, rides, attractions, and, of course, the food. For me, the food is only one reason to go. Shocking, right? I can skip the games (I’m way too old for stuffed animals), the rides (I never understood the appeal of spinning really fast while suspended in mid-air), and the animals (too smelly, too hot, and ewww, too smelly). I just can’t skip the corn dogs, grilled corn, and, of course, the funnel cake! Continue reading

roasted strawberries, nutella, and brie sandwich

Roasted Strawberries, Nutella, and Brie Sandwich

I am completely smitten with strawberries, so I’m glad that strawberry season is finally in full swing. I just can’t get enough of these sweet, luscious fruit right now.  I love eating them fresh with my morning yogurt, but I have been thinking about how to use them a little more creatively. My first attempt was the strawberry-tomato salsa paired with corn cakes you may remember from a few posts back.  That one turned out quite well so I’m at it again.

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strawberry rhubarb mini-tarts

Strawberry Rhubarb Mini-Tarts

I don’t often repeat things on the blog, but I love the concept of tarts made with puff pastry so much that I made another version, this time with a strawberry and rhubarb filling. These simple and easy to make tarts come together quickly once the sheet of frozen puff pastry is thawed, so these mini-tarts are great if you’re pinched for time. The best part is that they’re absolutely delicious. I love the flaky layers of dough as the base for tart rhubarb, sweet strawberries, and an almond crumble flavored with a hint of cinnamon. There’s also a hidden layer of orange-scented cream cheese on the bottom that gives these mini-tarts a touch of creaminess.

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corn cakes with strawberry and tomato salsa

Corn Cakes wth Strawberry-Tomato Salsa

Thanks to the abundant sunshine, fertile soil, and cool coastal breezes, farmers up and down the state of California are able to grow a huge variety of crops, many of which are shipped all over the country. We are fortunate to live here in Southern California, where we have access to many of these locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables. Many of them, such as those featured in today’s recipe, are at their peak of flavor during the late spring to early summer.

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boozy ice pops: strawberry margarita

The origin of the Margarita is not precisely known. Of the various accounts of its creation, most are centered in Mexico around the 1940’s, and most claim to have named the drink in honor of women named Margarita.  However, the more likely scenario, and the one I favor (for obvious reasons) is that the Margarita evolved from the Daisy, a popular cocktail in the United States during the pre-Prohibition era.  The Daisy is made from a base spirit such as brandy, whisky, or gin (think brandy Daisy, gin Daisy, etc), citrus juice, and a flavored sweetener.  It is not hard to imagine a Daisy made with tequila and Margarita is the Spanish word for daisy.  Regardless of its origin, the Margarita is arguably one of the world’s most popular cocktails.

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rhubarb ice cream

rhubarb ice cream

As I grow more confident in my culinary skills, I find that I am more easily inspired by the foods around me.  When I’m dining out, I scrutinize the food I’m eating more closely, and remember the flavors and other characteristics I want to recreate at home. Case in point: I had never eaten rhubarb ice cream until last week when I wandered in to a small ice cream shop called, N’ice Cream, in Santa Monica.  Actually, it was a sorbet, and it was incredibly delicious.  It was very light and refreshing!  The rhubarb sorbet had a fresh, clean taste and a beautiful pale pink color.  I heard the voice in my head say “I can make that!”  Actually, I love hearing the voice inside my head say that more and more. Continue reading

strawberry mojitos

After all of the weekend’s chores were done, Chris and I had a chance to relax and enjoy an absolutely gorgeous Sunday afternoon.  We sat on our deck and welcomed the cool breeze under a shady spot, amidst the swaying bamboo and peaceful sound of the water in the nearby pond.  We watched an orange butterfly flutter around and a couple of colorful birds splash around the water. For a short while, we were transported to a distant tropical island, without a care in the world, sipping these refreshing Strawberry Mojitos, and enjoying each other’s company. Continue reading

santa hat brownies

Santa Hat Brownies | daisysworld.netAren’t these Santa Hat Brownies just so cute?  Thanks to Erica’s Sweet Tooth for the inspiration.  I was looking for a fun and simple holiday treat and I ran across a recipe on her website. They’re so good and easy to make, especially since I bought Trader Joe’s Ready to Bake brownie mix (just pour the ready-made brownie batter in an 8-X 8-inch pan and bake for 22-25 minutes). You can use ready-made brownie bites or bake a pan of your favorite brownies. I whipped up some vanilla-mascarpone buttercream to simulate the white trim on the hats.  Voila!  A festive dessert to get everyone into the spirit of the holidays.  It really is beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here!

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Update: November 17, 2013

This year, I plan to bake these Santa Hat Brownies and other holiday treats to give as gifts to friends and co-workers.  Since I will be making homemade gifts, I thought it would be a great idea to make the gift tags too.  I want to make recipe cards so I can easily share the recipe and it could double as the gift tag as well.  The card below is the one I designed for the Santa Hat Brownies using Picmonkey, an online photo editing tool.  Pretty neat, huh?  I love Picmonkey and already use it to add text and overlays to the photos on this blog.  For my recipe cards/gift tags, I am going to print the photo of the food on one side and the recipe on the other.  This is going to be a real fun project!

Santa Hat Brownies recipe card | daisysworld.net

Note: I have been paying for Picmonkey’s monthly Royale Plan for the past year.  Picmonkey provided me with a free month’s membership ($4.99 value) to use them to make these recipe cards. As always, all opinions expressed here are my own. (Product Review Disclaimer).

Santa Hat Brownies
Yields 12-16 brownies

Ingredients:
1 pan of your favorite brownies, cooled and cut into desired size and shape (I used a round cutter)
12-16 small strawberries, cleaned and hulled
vanilla-mascarpone buttercream (recipe below)

Vanilla-Mascarpone Buttercream
Ingredients:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
8 ounces mascarpone cheese, room temperature
2-1/2 to 3 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Method:
Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat butter and mascarpone cheese until light and creamy, about 2 minutes.  Add vanilla extract and salt.  Add 2-1/2 cups of sugar, half a cup at a time and continue beating until smooth.  Add more sugar, if needed to reach desired consistency and sweetness.

To assemble, pipe a ring of vanilla buttercream on top of each brownie.  Cut off the base of a strawberry so it is flat and place it upside down on each brownie, pushing slightly to secure in place.  Top the tip of the strawberry with a dot of buttercream to finish the santa hat.

Adapted from this recipe found on Erica’s Sweet Tooth

© Daisy’s World, 2011-2012. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Daisy’s World with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.