Peach and Mint Soda

Peaches, and other stone fruits have been in abundance lately, and as I typically buy a handful of them during the week, only for my daughter to devour, I decided to buy some extras so that I could come up with a refreshing summer drink.  I typically buy an array of fresh fruit, placing them in a bowl on our kitchen counter to show my kids how many different fruits there are in hopes that they get curious and try them. This is pretty much only successful with my daughter. She eats everything from mangoes, star fruit, kiwi, different apples, and everything in between. I love that about her. So as my wife and daughter were playing an intense game of Stratego this past weekend, I decided to whip up a fresh peach and mint soda for them.

Peach and Mint Soda Recipe
Peach and Mint Soda Recipe

This drink is way too easy to make, and is really refreshing.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 peach, cut into segments
  • 1 small bunch of fresh mint
  • Ginger Ale, or Seltzer water
  • Simple Syrup
  • 1 lime, optional

If you have not made simple syrup before, then add 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water to a small pot. Place on medium heat, and cook until the sugar dissolves. Once dissolved, let it cool before using.

To a cocktail shaker, add in about 4 segments of the peach, along with about 6 mint leaves. Using a muddler, begin to lightly smash the peaches and mint together, releasing the juice and oil from both.

Peach and Mint Soda Recipe
Peach and Mint Soda Recipe

Next, add about 1 tablespoon (or more if you want it sweeter) of the simple syrup. Cover the cocktail shaker, and shake it like you mean it.

Take a couple of glasses, fill them with ice, and pour into the glasses. Top off with ginger ale, gently stir with a spoon, and serve.

The end result is a super refreshing drink that has a nice subtle taste of peaches, and mint with just the right sweetness. Hope you enjoy!

 

Homemade Strawberry Milk

Growing up, I loved strawberry milk. As most kids loved chocolate milk, I leaned more on the strawberry milk. Heck, I even loved Franken Berry cereal, only to be done with the actual cereal and be left with the strawberry milk. Genius. So as our local farmer’s market has been selling these amazing strawberries, I decided to pick up a bunch of them and make something with them before my daughter ate all of them. Yes, that happened. When I bought my first quart of them, and went to the store to pick up a couple of ingredients, I returned only to find two of them left. I was flabbergasted. That being said, I made to secure the next bunch of freshly picked strawberries and asked if my daughter would like to help making some homemade strawberry milk, something she loved as well. Who knew?

Homemade Strawberry Milk Recipe
Homemade Strawberry Milk Recipe

If you love store bought strawberry milk, you are going to love this one. Simple, easy, and delicious, plus you know what’s going into it.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound strawberries, trimmed and sliced
  • 1/2 cup of regular sugar
  • 1/2 cup of buttermilk
  • 4 cups of milk

Start by adding everything to a blender, and blend until everything is nice and smooth. You do not want any strawberry chunks in your milk. If you do, more power to you, but I know my kids would not want anything to do with that. If you feel like straining your milk, feel free, to remove any small chunks of strawberries, but I have been using a Ninja blender, and that thing does amazing things to blend.

Once blended, store in a pitcher, chill in the refrigerator, until nice and cold, then serve.

For one, there is nothing like simple ingredients that make something so delicious, and two it is great to show your kids how things are made. This strawberry milk was perfect, and we pretty much had it done within a couple of days as it was that good. If you are looking for something simple and delicious, give this one a try. It’s awesome. Hope you enjoy!

Lemon Curd Cake

My daughter has been a baking machine lately. Every chance she gets she asks if she can make some cupcakes. Cupcakes are her thing. As a matter of fact she is measuring sugar in front of me as I right, only to bake away an orange dream cupcake creation. On the contrary, I am not a baker by any means, probably because I am not that much into sweets. I do love ice cream, but not so much a fan of cakes, pies, and unfortunately, cupcakes. BUT, I do try my best to help her out and give whatever guidance I can outside of her cupcake journal. Yes, she keeps a journal of her recipes which I think is pretty awesome.  So recently I wanted to show my daughter that you can make other types of desserts that does not require heating the oven on a summer day. That’s when the lemon curd cake came into play.

Lemon Curd Cake Recipe
Lemon Curd Cake Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pint of heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 heaping tbsp powdered sugar
  • 10 oz jar of lemon curd
  • 11 oz box of Nilla Wafers
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder

The cool thing here, and a great teaching moment for my daughter, is making homemade whipped cream.

Start by chilling your mixing bowl, and whisk in your freezer. I think this always helps when making whipped cream. Chill those two for about 15 minutes, then remove and get ready to make your whipped cream.

I use my KitchenAid mixer, and once attached, pour in the heavy cream, vanilla, and powdered sugar. Mix on a medium-high speed until the heavy cream thickens and forms stiff peaks on your whisk. This should only take a matter of minutes. If you want a sweeter whipped cream, add more powdered sugar prior to mixing.

Once you have whipped cream, get a 12×8 baking dish out, something in that range, and get ready to make the lemon curd cake.

Lemon Curd Cake Ingredients
Lemon Curd Cake Ingredients

I say cake here, but it uses those delicious Nilla wafer cookies. Once set however, and placed in the refrigerator for a period of time, those Nillas soften up and make this great cake like texture.

So take a bit of your whipping cream (I made sure my daughter got every little bit left on that whisk), and from a thin layer on the bottom of the pan.

Next, make a layer of Nilla wafers, then another layer of whipped cream, then another layer of Nillas. Next, take the lemon curd, all of it, and gently spread over the layer of cookies. Once evenly spread, add the remaining Nillas, arranging with however many you have left, then spread out the remaining whipped cream. Sprinkle on the cinnamon powder.

Cover, and place into the refrigerator for at least 4 hours before serving to let the cream jive with the cookies.

Serve in bowls, or glassware and dig in. Talk about a simple dessert and one all of my family loved!  It’s slightly lemony and creamy which had my family coming back for more. Heck, I even had two servings and that’s saying something.  If you are looking for an easy dessert, one that is perfect for this time of year, then look no further as this lemon curd cake has it all!

Roasted Garlic Scape Soup

These past few weeks, our farmer’s market has yielded some pretty great stuff, in particular strawberries (which actually taste like awesome strawberries), rhubarb, all sorts of herbs and onions, and one of my favorites this time of year, garlic scape. I buy garlic scape every time I see it at the market, and I make a variety of things with it, but this year I decided to make a roasted garlic scape soup. If you are not familiar with garlic scapes, it is essentially the flower bud from garlic, and have the taste of a mix between a mild garlic and onion flavor. That’s right up my alley.

This roasted garlic scape soup is not only easy to make, but it’s super comforting, loaded with great flavor, and has the texture of a nice bisque. Not the prettiest of soups, but one that you will want to make again.

Roasted Garlic Scape Soup Recipe
Roasted Garlic Scape Soup Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch of garlic scapes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • generous pinch of salt, and more to taste
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 3 small to medium sized shallots
  • 4 cups of chicken stock
  • 1 whole russet potato, peeled, cut into cubes
  • 1/4 cup of half and half
  • pinch of red chili flakes
  • 1/2 tbsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 sprig of fresh thyme, stem removed

I like to roast my scapes, garlic, and shallots (both skin on) over some charcoal, but you could place yours in the oven on high heat if you prefer. It’s summertime so I make every attempt not to heat up the kitchen. So start by rubbing the olive oil all over the garlic scapes, garlic, and shallots, and season with some salt, and place onto your hot grill, turning along the way. You want some nice charred marks on the scapes, as well as to soften the shallots and garlic. So once they are slightly charred, remove them from the grill and set aside.

Chop up the garlic scapes and carefully remove the skins from the garlic and shallots.

Next, get a pot onto the stove and pour in the chicken stock. Add in the cubed potatoes, and the garlic scapes, garlic, and shallots, and cook for about 25 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender.

Roasted Garlic Scape Soup Recipe
Roasted Garlic Scape Soup Recipe

Once they are fork tender, this is when you want to bust out your immersion blender. If you do not have an immersion blender, I highly recommend you purchase one, then you can carefully ladle, in batches, the soup mixture into a blender, making sure you cover the top and place pressure down onto it. Hot stuff in blenders without putting a towel over the top, once covered, can lead to a mess. Trust me.

So whichever route you take (I used an immersion blender), blend until you have a nice smooth puree.

Keep the pot on medium to low heat, and continue to cook. Add the half and half, black pepper, red chili flakes, and fresh thyme. Stir, cook for a few minutes, and taste. If more salt is needed, add a bit more.

Now you are ready to serve. Ladle some into a small soup bowl, garnish with fresh parsley if desired, and dig in. This roasted garlic scape soup is super smooth, and you get the taste of everything you put in there. It’s comforting, easy, and delicious, and granted soup season has somewhat past us here in Wisconsin, it is still worth making.

So if your market has scapes, get a bunch of them and give them a try. It’s a must if you love garlic. Hope you enjoy!