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Buckeye Ice Cream

Buckeye Ice Cream

Next to coffee and chocolate, peanut butter and chocolate is my favorite dessert pairing. Reese’s Cups were practically the only chocolate I would eat growing up, and I only liked them cold. Actually, I still only eat them cold. I guess some habits never change. When peanut butter and chocolate combine into ice cream, which is always my dessert of choice, you can bet I’m all over it.

I have a peanut butter ice cream that I adore, but I’m never one to turn down trying new recipes. Plus, this ice cream is different because it uses honey, and those two tablespoons of honey make such a big difference in the final product. This really is the ice cream version of a buckeye candy, no doubt about it. If the peanut butter and honey ice cream wasn’t good enough on its own, melted chocolate gets mixed in just before the ice cream finishes churning, creating wonderful flecks of chocolate all throughout the ice cream. This is easily my favorite ice cream making technique, and I’ve used it on mint and pistachio ice creams with fantastic results. If peanut butter and chocolate is your thing, you will love this ice cream. That’s a promise.

Buckeye Ice Cream

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Salsa Borracha (Drunken Salsa)

Salsa Borracha

My obsession with tomatoes peaks this time of year, thanks to all the wonderful varieties of heirloom tomatoes available. I can’t resist all the bright, gorgeous colors and find myself grabbing loads of tomatoes whenever we hit the farmers market. We’ve also got three tomato plants in our backyard, so it’s safe to say we’ve been eating a lot of tomatoes recently (see here, here and here).

Virginia heirloom tomatoes

I didn’t have salsa in mind for these tomatoes when we bought them. I already have two salsa recipes that I love, and I thought I’d do something, I don’t know, fancier with them. When I found this recipe, though, I knew I had to make it. The orange color was enough to draw me in, and adding beer and tequila was something I’d never done to salsa before. I mean, does cooking tomatoes in beer not sound like a fantastic idea to you? After it’s cooked and blended, you get a salsa that has the bright flavor of tomatoes and punch from the tequila. It’s a unique flavor and one I won’t soon be forgetting.

Salsa Borracha

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BLT Pizza

BLT Pizza

Pizza shows up regularly on our weekly menus. It’s versatile, fun to make, and we almost always have a ball of homemade pizza dough in the freezer. Clara loves helping us in the kitchen, and pizza is most definitely her favorite meal to make. Sure, we end up with flour and/or cheese all over the floor and whatever chair she’s standing in, but having her help us cook is one of our greatest joys. When she’s not sneaking handfuls of cheese from the cutting board, she loves to pat the dough and layer on the toppings.

With summer in full swing and a garden full of tomatoes, this BLT pizza got added to my must-make list as soon as I saw it. While this isn’t a sauceless pizza, it’s close. The sauce is made with (gasp!) mayonnaise, but please don’t let that deter you. It’s mixed with garlic and herbs, so call it an aioli if it makes you feel better about spreading it onto a pizza. The reason I say the pizza is basically sauceless is because the dough absorbs most of the mayonnaise mixture, leaving behind just a hint of the creaminess of it but with all the flavors of the garlic and herbs.

I’m obsessed with roasted tomatoes, and they are certainly the star of this pizza. Though, if you were to ask Clara, she would say it’s the bacon. A small sprinkling of cheese and a generous sprinkling of greens make this pizza feel relatively light, especially in terms of pizza, and it’s the perfect meal for dining al fresco, which is what we did both times we’ve made this. With our Sungold tomato plant producing tomatoes like crazy, this pizza will be making many more appearances before summer is over.

BLT Pizza

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Chicken Shawarma Bowls

Chicken Shawarma Bowls

We make our own Chipotle-esque burrito bowls every so often, and it’s one of our favorite ways to do weeknight dinner. So when Elly posted this Middle Eastern/Mediterranean inspired version, I was all over it. Clara loves hummus, and I knew she’d be a big fan of the tahini dressing in this recipe because, like most toddlers I know, she loves dipping her food into any kind of sauce. Grilled chicken is always delicious, and this chicken is super moist and flavorful thanks to a yogurt marinade and a fantastic blend of spices. Basically, I knew as soon as I read the recipe that it would be a hit.

Like our typical burrito bowls, this dish has a few different components but comes together faster than you might think. The chicken does require at least an hour to marinate, but you can toss it together the night before and refrigerate it until you’re ready to cook the next day. Instead of standard rice, there’s a rice pilaf with almonds and vermicelli. What would normally be salsa in our burrito bowls is a tomato and cucumber salad tossed with tahini dressing, and the hummus is like the guacamole. As expected, we all loved this, and it’s definitely going into our weeknight meal rotation.

Chicken Shawarma Bowls

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Sweet and Spicy Baked Brie with Cherries

Sweet and Spicy Baked Brie with Cherries

Raise your hand if you get a little excited when one of your favorite fruits goes on sale. And by a little excited, I mean you buy pounds and pounds of it without quite knowing what you’re going to do with all of it. Yeah, that’s me. The good thing is, fruit is a staple in our house and will get eaten even if we don’t use it in ice cream or some intended-but-never-made baked good.

With my fridge full of cherries the past couple weeks, I’ve been trying a ton of new cherry recipes. I actually intended to make this particular recipe with blueberries, even texting my friend Josie to see if she thought that sounded good, but given Clara’s proclivity to eat them all before I can ever cook anything with them, that didn’t happen. The past week or so, she wakes up every morning saying “bluebees!” on repeat until we come downstairs for breakfast. Waking up thinking about food? I don’t know where she gets that, ha! Given that I’d already purchased the cheese and given the overload of cherries in my refrigerator, it seemed a cherry version was fortuitous.

Let’s talk about this cheese for a minute. It’s like your usual baked brie times a thousand. The cherries are mixed with pepper jelly, Dijon mustard and red pepper flakes, giving them a spicy kick. After the brie bakes for a few minutes, the cherry mixture gets mounded on top and baked a bit longer. The whole thing comes out melted and delicious and oozing with the sweet and spicy flavors of the cherries. The juices from the cherries get mixed in with the brie, and the whole thing is pretty stellar. Served with a crusty baguette, I can’t think of a more perfect appetizer for summer entertaining.

Sweet and Spicy Baked Brie with Cherries

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