Chocolate Salted Peanut Nice Cream

Chocolate Salted Peanut Nice Cream
On a routine day my toddler and I walk by at least 3 ice cream or frozen yogurt shops. As if he needed any encouragement to have a sweet tooth, a trait he gets from me. The ice cream place is the worst or maybe I should say the best. You can smell the most irresistible scent of freshly baked waffle cones even before you turn the corner. That explains the constant line out the door on beautiful sunny days.

I do let my son indulge every so often, but I try to keep it under control. I made a batch of chocolate salted peanut nice cream. This vegan frozen treat came together with the magic of frozen bananas, cocoa powder, almond milk and peanut butter in the food processor. My son didn’t miss the real stuff and neither did I. On my to-do list is to experiment with other flavors for our dessert-loving house.
Chocolate Salted Peanut Nice Cream
Chocolate Salted Peanut Nice Cream
Makes about 1 pint

4 large bananas
2-1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/4 cup almond milk
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup salted peanuts

Cut the bananas into chunks and freeze until firm. Place the frozen bananas, cocoa powder, almond milk and peanut butter in a food processor or blender and puree until smooth. Transfer to an airtight container and stir in the peanuts. Freeze before serving.

Burst Tomato Pasta

Burst Tomato Pasta
I’ve been eating A LOT of tomatoes the past few weeks. So many that when I go through my camera roll pretty much all I see is a rainbow of red, green and gold straight from the farmers market and on my plate in salads and squished on toast. Raw or roasted in the oven, it doesn’t matter. I am doing my best to consume tomatoes at 2 out of 3 meals per day.

For weeknight dinners, especially Mondays, I like to make dishes that require little to no chopping or prep. With a pint of vibrant cherry tomatoes, I made burst tomato pasta that came together in minutes. After sautéing a couple minced garlic cloves in olive oil, I added the tomatoes and one by one they burst, creating the perfect easy late summer sauce.
Burst Tomato Pasta
Burst Tomato Pasta

Serves 4

8 ounces fuslli
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pint assorted cherry tomatoes
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Shaved Parmesan for serving
Finely chopped basil for serving

Cook the pasta according to package instructions.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the cherry tomatoes and continue cooking until they soften and burst, about 3-5 minutes. You can squish the tomatoes with the back of a wooden spoon to speed up the process. Stir in the cooked pasta, salt and pepper. Top with Parmesan and basil before serving.

Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies

Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies
We desperately need to replace what little furniture we have on our back deck. After being ignored for multiple Chicago winters, it is looking pretty shabby. Luckily we live near multiple parks, so whenever we have the urge to dine al fresco, we can pack up a spread and picnic in the neighborhood. Usually I keep things simple with a few cheeses, charcuterie, crackers and of course, dessert.

Instead of just picking up a fancy gourmet candy bar at my favorite corner market, I baked these chocolate hazelnut cookies. With a combination of roughly chopped hazelnuts and finely ground hazelnuts in the recipe, no surprise the cookies were nutty, crispy at the edges and a bit chewy in the middle. Next time we decide to picnic in the park, I will definitely bake a little something sweet.
Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies
Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies
Adapted from Flour by Joanne Chang

Makes about 20 cookies

3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon (1-1/2 sticks plus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter at room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups blanched hazelnuts, toasted
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
12 ounces milk chocolate, roughly chopped into 1/2-inch pieces

In a large bowl, use an electric mixer on medium speed to cream the butter and both sugars until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the eggs and vanilla extract.

Place 1/2 cup hazelnuts in a food processor and pulse into a fine powder. Roughly chop the remaining hazelnuts. In a medium bowl, combine the ground and chopped hazelnuts, flour, baking soda, salt and chocolate.

With the mixer on low, gradually mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined. Transfer the dough to an airtight container and chill in the fridge overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment. Roll the dough into 1/4-cup-sized balls and place on the prepared sheet pan about 2 inches apart. Press down the dough balls slightly with your hand. Bake for 18-20 minutes until golden brown, crisp at the edges, but soft in the middle. Cool on the sheet pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

Store in an airtight container.

Zucchini Corn Salad

Zucchini Corn Salad
I went a little overboard at the farmers market yesterday. My bag was overflowing with all sorts of goodies—way too much to feed our little family. People assume that as a food blogger I must have a child who is a “good” eater, but I just feel grateful that our tot loves pineapple and melon. Otherwise he would be surviving on a diet of pizza and pasta, and I would be loaded up on mom guilt.

Firing up the grill seemed like a good way to use all my veggie purchases. There’s not a week that goes by in the summer where I am not grilling corn. I sliced the kernels off the cob and made a grilled zucchini corn salad with plenty of scallions and Parmesan. It was the perfect side for burgers or chicken, but I ended up eating most of it cold from the fridge as a lunchtime main.
Zucchini Corn Salad
Zucchini Corn Salad

Serves 4

3 medium zucchini, trimmed, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
3 corn cobs, shucked
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon olive oil
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1 handful cherry tomatoes, halved
1 ounce Parmesan, finely shredded

Preheat a gas or charcoal grill on high heat.

Rub the zucchini and corn with olive oil and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.

Grill the zucchini until it has grill marks, about 3-4 minutes. Grill the corn, turning occasionally, until lightly charred, about 5-7 minutes. Let the zucchini and corn cool slightly before dicing the zucchini and slicing the kernels off the cob.

In a large bowl, combine the zucchini, corn, scallions, tomatoes, Parmesan and remaining salt and pepper.

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