Chocolate Coconut Shakes

In case you missed it: this week on Kinsey Cooks is all about no-cook, no-bake recipes for meals that don’t heat up the house. Check out the other no-cook recipes below:

Avocado Salad with Nectarines and Walnuts

Strawberries with Burrata and Balsamic

If you’re looking for a cool summer dessert that doesn’t involve a pint of ice cream (not that there’s anything wrong with that), this is the recipe for you. This shake is going to be the best smoothie you’ve ever had: no fruit—specifically, no bananas—and no ingredients with alarming names (chlollera, anyone?), just creamy coconut milk, chocolate, and maple syrup blended up into a milkshake-like smooth with a swirl of whipped coconut cream on top for good measure. Aside from a little bit of advance chilling this comes together in less than five minutes, which is perfect for times when your interest in whipping, measuring, straining, and temperature checking is inversely proportional to your hunger.

With a small amount of added sugar and an abundance of healthy fats, this drink shouldn’t just be thought of as a dessert. You could enjoy it for breakfast or afternoon snack seeing as it’s nowhere near as sweet as some cereals or granola bars. No matter when you drink it you’re sure to enjoy it, because with one sip of this chocolaty shake with a hint of coconut you’ll already be planning your next batch.

Chocolate Coconut Shakes

Makes 2 large or 4 small shakes

1 13.5 oz. can of full-fat coconut milk

2 cups milk (use any variety that has fat: whole, 2%, soy, almond etc. Just don’t use skim.)

¾ cup ice

6 tablespoons cocoa powder

3 tablespoons maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla

Chocolate shavings, to garnish.

  1. Place the can of coconut milk, unopened, in the fridge. Divide the milk into two 1-cup portions and place each in a small Tupperware, then place in the freezer. Let the coconut milk chill in the fridge and the milk sit in the freezer for about 1 hour, until the milk in the freezer is just beginning to frost over.
  2. Open the can of chilled coconut milk and scoop out 1/3 cup of the coconut cream—it will be the thick white layer on the top. Place it in a medium bowl, then whip with a handheld mixer until soft peaks form, about 1-2 minutes. Set aside for later use garnishing the shakes.
  3. Place the remainder of the coconut milk with the milk from the freezer in a blender jar. Add the ice, cocoa powder, maple syrup, and vanilla then blend on high speed until smooth, which depending on your blender can take anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes. Pour the shakes into serving glasses, top with the whipped coconut cream and a few chocolate shavings, then serve immediately.

Click here for a printable version of this recipe!

Strawberries with Burrata and Balsamic

In case you missed it: this week on Kinsey Cooks is all about no-cook, no-bake recipes for meals that don’t heat up the house. Yesterday, I shared an Avocado Salad with Nectarines and Walnuts. Keep checking in this week for more heat-free recipes!

Someone asked me when I served this dish at our weekly Friday night pizza dinners if this is considered a dessert or savory food. It’s a really good question, because on top of a pile of sweet strawberries, there’s some salty, creamy cheese, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. While I don’t know if this is dessert or dinner, I do know that this is a delicious dish. It’s not a dish to be pigeon-holed. It’s what you eat alongside a piece of pizza and a selection of the many salads that are brought to Friday pizza night (this is California, after all). Maybe you’ll enjoy it as an afternoon snack when it’s 4pm and the idea of waiting until seven for dinner sounds unbearable. You could serve it at the end of a meal of grilled vegetables and fresh bread.

If you haven’t had a chance to try burrata cheese yet, there’s no better time to try it than this summer. Store everywhere, from Trader Joe’s to Whole Foods have started selling these balls of mozzarella filled with shreds of mozzarella mixed with cream. Fresh mozzarella is to burrata as Kraft singles are to sharp English Cheddar. It’s just that much better. With a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic reduction and a pinch of cayenne to add some spice, you can have something truly delicious in fewer than ten minutes that can be enjoyed at any time of the day.

Strawberries with Burrata and Balsamic

Serves 8 as an appetizer

4 cups strawberries, trimmed and halved

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon balsamic reduction or glaze, divided

Pinch of cayenne pepper

1/8 teaspoon salt

8 oz. burrata cheese, torn into bite-sized shreds

  1. Place the strawberries, olive oil, 1 tablespoon balsamic, cayenne, and salt in a large bowl and toss to combine. Pour the strawberries out onto a serving platter, then top with the shreds of burrata. Drizzle the remaining teaspoon of balsamic across the top and serve.

Click here for a printable version of this recipe!

Avocado Salad with Nectarines and Walnuts

Summer weather is really starting to heat up around here, which makes spending hours in a hot kitchen less than appealing. Now is not the time for lengthy braises; it’s time to embrace all of the wonderful summer produce in its freshest state. That’s why this week all the recipes I will be sharing will be heat-free. Anytime you visit this site from Monday to Friday, you will find recipes that can be made without turning on the stove, preheating the oven, turning on the grill, or starting the microwave because the last thing anyone wants to do right now is raise the temperature of his or her house a few degrees.

To start the week off, I made this simple avocado salad with nectarines and walnuts. I saw the two stone fruits sitting on the counter and imagined how good the creamy avocado would be against the sweet, juicy nectarine with a tangy lemon vinaigrette.

Despite how simple this is to put together, it ends up being a beautiful appetizer. The slices of the avocado and nectarine have a similar curvature that makes arranging them on a platter easy and elegant.

A good amount of sea salt enhances all the flavors while adding a nice textural finish.

Finally, a handful of crunchy chopped walnuts provide a slightly bitter finish to the dish to balance all of the sweetness from the fruits. I always like to pair avocados and walnuts together because I think that their flavor profiles echo one another, and after a little bit of research, I found that both of them contain quantities of the carbonyl hexanal that contribute to a walnut-like aroma, confirming my observations.

This salad makes for a nice appetizer as is, though if you wanted to create a slightly more substantial dish, you could serve it on top of a bed of lightly dressed arugula or a slice of artisan bread. Next time, you need some food in less than five minutes, turn to this dish.

Avocado Salad with Nectarines and Walnuts

Serves 4 as an appetizer

2 ripe avocados, pitted and sliced

3 ripe nectarines, pitted and sliced

Flaky sea salt

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon olive oil

½ teaspoon Dijon mustard

¼ cup chopped walnuts

Freshly ground black pepper

  1. Arrange the fruit on a plate: alternate slices of avocado and nectarine either on a large serving platter or 4 individual plates. Season the tops of the fruit with 4 pinches of salt.
  2. Make the dressing: Whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, Dijon, and a pinch of salt in a small bowl. Drizzle the dressing on top of the avocado and nectarines.
  3. Sprinkle the walnuts on top of the salad, then top with freshly ground black pepper. Serve immediately.

Click here for a printable version of this recipe!

Cultured Butter

Myth: Cultured butter is butter that has traveled abroad.

Fact: Cultured butter is butter made with cream that has been “cultured” with bacteria before being churned to yield a rich, tangy butter. It is most commonly served in the UK and France, though that is not the origins for its name.

It all starts with a bowl of crème fraiche, which normally will cost upwards of six dollars for a paltry amount at the store, but is incredibly easy to make at home. Just whisk a spoonful of yogurt into a bowl of cream and let it sit at room temperature for about a day until thick and tangy. If all you wanted was crème fraiche to serve on top of a bittersweet chocolate tart with a few flakes of sea salt (not a bad idea), stop here and store the crème fraiche in the fridge. Otherwise, continue on to churn the butter.

Churning butter is very straightforward: you have to agitate the fat molecules enough so that they clump up enough to leave any excess moisture behind. You may have done this already if you’ve ever over-whipped cream and were left with a chunky mess to serve on pie.

You can use either a jar to shake the crème fraiche until the butter forms, or you can use a handheld mixer until the butter forms.

This is what the churned butter in buttermilk looks like.

Pour off the buttermilk and save it to use in biscuits, cornbread, or dressings.

Now you’re left with pure butter. Pour a little cold water over it to rinse the butter, then pour off any remaining liquid and season the butter with sea salt to taste.

Spread the butter on toasted or warm bread, or toss some fresh pasta in the cultured butter with a handful of chopped herbs. The complex and tangy flavors of the butter make it best served with simple foods and fresh ingredients that will showcase each component of the dish.

Cultured Butter

Makes about 2/3-1 cup butter and an equal amount of buttermilk

2 cups heavy cream

2 tablespoons yogurt with live-active cultures (Greek or regular both work)

A few pinches of sea salt

  1. Whisk together the heavy cream and yogurt in a metal bowl and cover with a dishtowel. Let sit at room temperature for 12-36 hours until the mixture is uniformly thick and smells tangy. If you stop at this step, you have crème fraiche. If you want to continue on to butter, continue to step 2.
  2. To churn the butter you have two options: use a handheld mixer to whip the crème fraiche thoroughly until the butter forms, about 2 minutes, or pour the crème into a jar and shake for 6-8 minutes until butter chunks form.
  3. Pour off the buttermilk into a separate container, leaving the butter behind. Pour some cold water (about 1 cup) over the butter and stir with a spoon to loosen any remaining buttermilk. Carefully pour off the water and press with a spoon to remove excess moisture.
  4. Add a few pinches of sea salt to taste, then spoon the butter into an air-tight container and store in the fridge. Use it for all of your toast and condiment ventures that would benefit from a smear of high-quality butter.

Click here for a printable version of this recipe!

Sourdough Bread

Sourdough starter is a pretty incredible thing. It’s a very simple mixture of equal parts water and flour that’s fed gradually over a few weeks, while yeast and bacteria grow unprompted in the loose dough, until the mixture is full of bubbles and smells like a loaf of sourdough bread. It’s the oldest type of leavened bread there is, and was used by bakers everywhere before the commercialization of dehydrated yeast. Now, home bakers are more reluctant to bake with sourdough; after all, “wild” yeast from the starter can be unpredictable, and not everyone wants to spend the time to make a starter. However, starter can be bought online from many baking stores, and you can often buy a small container of it from a bakery. I took mine from work, which I suppose is the pizza cook’s equivalent of bringing home lined notebooks and boxes of ballpoint pens.

Once you have a starter, the rest of the loaf is very simple. A short sponge, dough, and an overnight rest later, your house will smell like you’re walking past San Francisco’s famous Boudin Bakery. This sourdough is bubbly, chewy, and nicely tangy. In the summer, it’s great topped with olive oil and fresh tomatoes or eaten with blue cheese and fig jam. In the winter it’s a great accompaniment to soups and stews, and there’s nothing better than a breakfast of sourdough toast, butter, and jam. Sourdough bread is a weekend project for home bakers and bread enthusiasts that’s delicious and satisfying.

Photos courtesy of Arjun Narayen Photography. Thanks, Arjun!

Sourdough Bread

Makes two large loaves


½ cup strong sourdough starter

1/3 or ½ cup water, heated to 80F (see note below)

1 cup all-purpose flour


1 ½ cups water, heated to 70F

4 ¾ cups all-purpose flour

2 ½ teaspoons table salt

  1. Make the sponge: Combine the sourdough starter and water in a medium bowl until full combined. Stir in the flour until smooth. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for 2-3 hours, until doubled in size.
  2. For the dough: Place the sponge and the water in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour, ½ cup at a time until all the flour is added. Continue kneading until the dough forms a ball, about 1 minute more then turn the mixer off; cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rest for 20 minutes.
  3. Add the salt to the dough, then knead on low speed until the dough is soft and smooth, about 5 minutes. Transfer the dough to a clean surface and knead to form a firm ball. Place the dough in a large, lightly greased bowl and flip the dough over to grease the top as well. Cover the bowl, then let rise until the dough doubles in size, 3-5 hours.
  4. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Transfer the risen dough to a clean counter and stretch the dough to redistribute the yeast and fold it into thirds like a letter. Cut the dough in half and let rest for 15 minutes. Then, using your hands to cup the dough, shape it into a smooth, taut ball. Set the dough on the parchment paper, then repeat with the second piece of dough. Cover the loaves with plastic wrap, then refrigerate for 8 to 24 hours.
  5. Remove the loaves from the fridge, then let rise at room temperature until nearly doubled in size, 3-4 hours.
  6. One hour before baking, adjust the oven rack to the lower middle position, then place a baking stone on the rack and preheat the oven to 500F. Once the dough is ready, slash the tops of the loaves with 3, ½ inch deep cuts across the top, then slide the dough rounds with the parchment onto the preheated baking stone and mist the loaves with water. Turn the oven down to 450, then bake for 3 minutes. Spray with another misting of water, then continue to bake until the loaves are golden brown and the internal temperature of the loaves is 210F. Transfer the loaves to a wire rack, then discard the parchment and let cool before slicing and serving.

Note: If you are using a 100% hydrated starter (equal weights flour and water) use 1/3 cup of water in the sponge. If you are using a 50% hydrated starter (2 parts flour to 1 part water) use ½ cup of water in the sponge.

Click here for a printable version of this recipe!

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

Welcome back to Cookie Monday! Enjoy this week’s installment:

So here’s the thing: Our baking cabinet is like a well-stocked Whole Food’s Bulk Aisle. We have at least two types of wheat flour at any given time, spices every color of the rainbow, and more cookie mix-ins than the average bakery. Not to mention chocolate galore. For me, this is heaven. I love seeing all of the mason jars labeled and lined up in the drawer alongside bags of brown sugar and chocolate chips. However, there’s a slight problem. I leave for college in about six weeks—somewhere, my mother is clutching a tissue in one hand and a pile of confetti in the other—and I know that when I leave, no one else in the family will want to have anything to do with buckwheat flour, semolina, chickpea flour, a few tablespoons of cornmeal, some almond paste, and a rogue bag of shredded coconut.

This brings me to my summer goal: leave only normal things in the baking drawer starting August 20th.

I figured that I should ease myself into the process, and thus am starting with using up the supply of peanut butter chips. The nutritional yeast will come later, once I’ve harnessed a little more creativity. Though these cookies may serve an organizational purpose, I know this won’t be the only batch of this recipe I’ll bake. These cookies are thick and hearty with a good chew from lots of rolled oats and brown butter. The peanut butter chips remain creamy and sweet against the nutty undertones of the brown butter and they’re appropriate for any range of occasions, from afternoon snacks to evening desserts. My dad said “they were so good” with the type of enthusiasm he normally reserves for college acceptances and world cup statistics, and the cookie jar was empty an hour after it was brought to the table.

Even sharks find them enticing.

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

Makes about 3 dozen cookies

Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon table salt

¼ teaspoon baking powder

3 cups rolled oats

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups peanut butter chips

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Place 8 tablespoons of the butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat for 1-3 minutes until melted. Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook for 2-3 more minutes until the butter has turned golden brown and smells nutty, then set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, and oats, then set aside.
  3. Place the remaining 8 tablespoons of butter, brown butter, sugar, and brown sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until well combined and slightly fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the mixer bowl, then add the eggs and vanilla and beat until well combined. Add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed until just combined. Add the peanut butter chips and mix on low speed until well incorporated. Spoon about 3 tablespoons of dough per cookie onto the prepared baking sheets, and flatten slightly into a disk. Bake for 12-14 minutes, until the edges begin to turn golden brown. Let stand on the baking sheets for 3-5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Click here for a printable version of this recipe!

Homemade Lattes

I started making espressos when I was eight, long before I had even tried my first sip of coffee. On ski trips with a full house of my parents’ friends, I would sit in an arm chair next to the espresso machine and watch as dozens of double espressos and lattes were made, one after another, in preparation for a full day on the slopes. After a few days of watching engineers methodically tamp down espresso grounds, they started to teach me—I could barely see the milk I was foaming, but it quickly became my favorite part of the morning. Now, I get to take care of the coffee whenever we spend a week hiking or skiing in Canada, and I really can’t think of a better vacation job. After ten years, I know how long it takes for the machine to heat up, how much coffee we’ll need for a week, and how everyone takes their coffee. Making a great latte isn’t too hard, but it involves a few steps, and I thought I would share what I’ve been taught over the years.

While the water for the espresso heats up, grind the beans for the espresso, then place them in the espresso hopper—the grounds should slightly mound above the hopper.

To ensure that the espresso tastes dark and full-bodied, tamp the grounds firmly with the plastic press, known as the espresso tamper, until they are tightly compacted. A lot of professional baristas say to exert 30-40 pounds of pressure on the grounds, but I’ve never actually measured how much force I use when tamping down the grounds; I just like to make sure that the coffee looks like firmly packed brown sugar.

Once the water is hot enough, it’s time to pull the espresso shot.

The ideal espresso is thick and dark, and if it pours slowly out of the hopper you’ll know it’s a good one. The ideal length of time for pulling the espresso shot is 21-24 seconds, and a time closer to 24 seconds will yield a sweet, well-rounded espresso.

The dark gold color is called the crema, and is another mark of a good espresso. Turn off the water right before the espresso coming out of the machine begins to turn into something that resembles watery hotel coffee. Now, you could always stop here and enjoy the double espresso that’s been made, but you can also steam some milk and make a great latte.

To start, you must heat the water for steaming the milk (that’s what the bottom left button indicates), because the water for steaming the milk is heated to a higher temperature than what is used to pull the espresso. While the water heats up, prepare the milk: I’ve found that high-fat milk (either 2% or whole) produces the best foam, and you’ll need five to six ounces (about ¾ cup) of milk for one latte. Pour it into the milk pitcher, and add a thermometer to help gauge the milk temperature.

Turn on the milk steamer and insert the steaming wand into the milk, then slowly draw the pitcher down until the wand just grazes the surface of the milk—this will help create the foam. Let the milk steam here until it reaches 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Then move the pitcher up until the wand is submerged in the milk and turn the steamer up until the milk moves in a slightly circular pattern, until the milk reaches 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Turn off the steamer and set the milk on the counter.

Now it’s time to make the latte. Whack the milk pitcher on the countertop a few times to get rid of any large bubbles.

Pour the milk into the espresso, gently shaking your wrist so that the foam is poured in as well. To finish, use a knife, chopstick, or stirring stick to drag a design in the latte if desired, then enjoy immediately.

Baked Penne with Spinach and Mushrooms

Everyone has a few quirks about the food they eat, and our family is no exception. Three out of the four people in our family (myself included) avoid mayonnaise, sour cream, aioli, and any sort of white, creamy condiment meant for savory food like it’s our job. No mayonnaise on our sandwiches, ranch on our salads, and certainly no sour cream in our burritos. As a result, I’ve never really cared for pasta dishes with creamy sauces. A big pour of cream mutes all the lively flavors the recipe worked so hard to achieve, and rather than tasting the al dente noodles, you’re left with an overwhelming slick of dairy in every bite. Because of this, I generally avoid baked pasta dishes, which more often than not laced with creamy béchamel sauce. Or at least I avoided them until I discovered this dish for baked penne.

It starts off with a generous pan of mushrooms and onions seasoned with oregano—which I used to think was an overused herb reserved for mediocre pizza parlors, but now know adds a serious punch of flavor when called into actions—that creates just enough sauce to keep the pasta from drying out. A little blanched spinach provides some greenery, and small cubes of a flavorful cheese provide richness without a creamy sauce. Along with a pot of penne (undercooked by just a hair on the stove to prevent mushiness after baking), you have a one dish meal that can be prepared well in advance. Just throw it in the oven with a sprinkle of good parmesan on top until golden brown, and dinner is served.

I don’t have a picture of the pasta once it was baked because I was at work until late in the evening and didn’t get to see the finished dish before it was dug into, but that one missing picture of a steaming hot pan of pasta with pockets of melted cheese shouldn’t prevent you from making this pasta. It has everything you would want in a pasta dish, from al dente pasta to caramelized onions, without any sort of (dreaded) creamy sauce.

Baked Penne with Spinach and Mushrooms

Serves 4 generously

Adapted from Herbivoracious by Michael Natkin

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more to grease the pan

½ yellow onion, thinly slices

2 lbs. crimini mushrooms, quartered

5 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon sea salt

½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 teaspoons dried oregano

10 oz. baby spinach

1 lb penne

Kosher or sea salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

12 oz. semi-soft cheese with a good flavor, cut into ¼ inch cubes (I used Toscano, and other good choices are Fontina, Asiago, and Comte.)

½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

  1. Brush a 13 x 9 inch baking pan with olive oil and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Heat the two tablespoons of olive oil in a 12 inch non-stick skillet over medium high heat until hot. Add the onion and mushrooms and sauté for 8-10 minutes, until the mushrooms have begun to release their water and have slightly shrunk in size. Add the garlic and the sea salt and sauté for another 10-15 minutes, until the mushrooms are golden brown but are not yet completely dry. Add the red pepper flakes and oregano, then sauté for 30-60 seconds until fragrant, then set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, bring 4 quarts of water to boil in a large pot, then add the spinach and blanch until wilted, about 30 seconds. Remove the spinach from the water with tongs or a kitchen spider, and set in a colander to drain. Squeeze out the excess water from the spinach either with your hands or a pair of tongs. Add the penne and 1 tablespoon of kosher or sea salt to the boiling water, and cook until just 1 minute shy of al dente. Drain the pasta, then return it to the pot. Add the spinach, mushroom mixture, and the cubed cheese to the pasta along with the pepper, and toss to combine. Transfer the pasta to the prepared baking pan, and sprinkle the parmesan cheese in an even layer on top.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown on top. (If you would like to prepare this dish ahead of time, prepare it up through step 3 and store it covered in the refrigerator up to 2 days ahead of time, then increase the baking time to 40-45 minutes to ensure that the center of the pasta is hot before serving.

Click here for a printable version of this recipe!

Pasta with Fennel Braised in White Wine

This dish is for anyone who has declared an aversion to black licorice or fennel seeds. Despite what you may think, fennel bulbs—unlike fennel seeds or black licorice—are a much milder flavor than the name indicates. I don’t care if you won’t touch black twizzlers (because everyone knows that red is the best flavor), but have you ever tried fennel bulbs braised with onions in white wine, olive oil, and lemon juice until the fennel bulbs are so tender that they yield under the slight pressure of a fork and marry perfectly with al dente pasta? It’s nothing to be afraid of.

You see, once the fennel has the chance to cook down for a little bit, the flavors mellow out and become sweet, but not overly so. By the time the pasta water has come to a boil and the pasta is cooked, the scent of the fennel braising in the pan will become irresistible.

When the pasta and vegetables are both ready, the dish gets finished with a sort of faux-Gremolata. Gremolata is an Italian condiment used to finish a dish consisting of garlic, lemon zest, parsley, and olive oil. To preserve the delicate flavors of this pasta dish, I omitted the garlic and used a mixture of fresh basil (to mimic the anise flavors in the fennel) and parsley for the herbs. A shower of parmesan cheese completes this pasta dish, making for an elegant meal that can still be made on a weeknight—even if you don’t like black licorice.

Pasta with Fennel Braised in White Wine

Serves 4-6

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

2 bulbs fennel, cut lengthwise then cut crosswise into ½ inch slices

1 onion, cut in half and sliced with the grain into ¼ inch slices

Sea Salt

Pinch of red pepper flakes

½ cup dry white wine

2 tablespoons lemon juice

¼ cup chopped fresh herbs (parsley, basil, chives, or a combination thereof)

Zest of 1 lemon

1 lb. of a short pasta shape, like shells, penne, rigatoni, or fusilli

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large skillet with a tight-fitting lid over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the fennel and onion and sear for 2-3 minutes until the fennel and onions are beginning to turn golden brown. Add ½ teaspoon sea salt, the red pepper flakes, and the white wine, then turn the heat to medium-low, cover, and let cook for 20-25 minutes until the fennel is golden brown, very tender, and the wine has reduced. Add the lemon juice and cook for 1 minute, until slightly reduced.
  2. Meanwhile, mix together the chopped herbs, lemon zest, ½ teaspoon sea salt, and remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, bring 4 quarts of water to a rolling boil in a large pot, then add 1 tablespoon of sea salt. Cook the pasta until al dente, then drain and place in a large bowl. Add the fennel, and bowl of herbs, then toss until thoroughly combined. Adjust seasonings to taste, then serve immediately topped, with freshly grated parmesan cheese.

Click here for a printable version of this recipe!

Fudge Ripple Frozen Yogurt

This frozen yogurt is the real stuff; it’s not overly sweetened and processed soft-serve that’s somehow labeled as yogurt. No, it’s made from rich, full-fat Greek yogurt that freezes into a creamy dessert with an authentic tang from the yogurt.

A simple caramel sweetens the yogurt and helps keep the texture smooth by minimizing the ice crystals that are created with the freezing process. A touch of vanilla adds flavor to the yogurt, as well as a rich ripple of fudge that gets swirled into the yogurt once it has been frozen to a soft-serve consistency in an ice cream maker. After an hour or two in the freezer, the frozen yogurt is ready to be scooped into bowls and eaten on a summer evening. Compared to frozen yogurt you would buy, it’s more natural and tastes much fresher, not to mention that it’s missing a whole score of additives and artificial flavors. Don’t waste any time; buy some yogurt, freeze your ice cream maker, and get started!

Fudge Ripple Frozen Yogurt

Makes a little more than 1 quart

4 cups whole-milk Greek yogurt

1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped out, or 1 teaspoon vanilla

2 tablespoons vodka

2/3 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons water

3 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, chopped

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

2 tablespoons milk or cream

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the yogurt, vanilla seeds or extract, and vodka until well combined, then set aside.
  2. In a small skillet over medium heat, combine the granulated sugar and water and stir to moisten sugar. Once the sugar has dissolved, continue to cook for 5-8 more minutes until the sugar is a deep amber color, taking care not to burn the sugar. Remove the pan from the heat, then stir in a few spoonfuls of the yogurt mixture and whisk to combine. The sugar will bubble, but the sugar and yogurt mixture should not break. Pour the mixture from the pan into the large bowl with the rest of the yogurt and whisk to combine.
  3. Transfer the yogurt to a chilled ice cream canister and churn for 20-25 minutes, until the yogurt is creamy and has the texture of soft-serve.
  4. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate, cocoa powder, and milk or cream in the microwave at 50% power, then stir until well combined to make the fudge ripple.
  5. Transfer the yogurt to a freezer-safe container, then dollop the fudge on top of the yogurt and swirl with a knife until the fudge is marbled throughout the yogurt. Place the yogurt in the freezer and freeze for 1 ½-2 hours, until frozen but still scoopable, then serve.

Note: I would recommend serving the yogurt after it has frozen for only 1 ½ to 2 hours for it to have the best texture.

Click here for a printable version of this recipe!