Food for Thought

Posts Tagged ‘summer

The best reason to invest in an ice cream maker is the ability to make new flavors or try out combinations that are hard to find.  The first flavor we ever made in our ice cream maker was definitely one we never even knew we wanted to try: star anise ice cream with candy coated fennel.


I would never have dreamed up this combination in a million years.  A colleague recommended it to me and we gave it a whirl.  I loved it.  Freezing the fennel (which I hate in sausage, by the way, but happens to be good when covered in a layer of sugar) gives it an awesome crunch.  It even looks amazing because the pink, orange, and yellow candy coated fennel start streaking out into the ice cream itself.  Our favorite flavor to make at home is still chocolate cayenne.  It’s hot and cold at the same time, sweet and spicy and exceedingly popular when Ed brings it in to share at work.  It’s not a flavor you can go out to the store and buy anywhere around here.


I’m looking for suggestions or ideas.  I’m not thinking about going back to being that kid who whips up crazy concoctions that you have your friends eat on a dare.  I’m sure there are tons of great things you don’t commonly see in ice cream that you know would be awesome, or a combination of several things that haven’t been in there together before. What new, inventive, interesting, or crazy ice cream flavor should I make?

I’m going to pick one of the suggestions I get and I’ll make sure that, if I pick yours, you get a batch when I see you next.

These recipes are from an awesome book called Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home.  If you have an ice cream maker, take it out of the library like I did or buy your own copy.  It’s my favorite ice cream cookbook.  The base recipe in the back is perfect if you want to try something new or create your own flavor.

As a resident of the Northeast, there is no greater annual feeling than that first day you can walk outside without your jacket on.  I always remember the first morning I wake up to hear birds again.  It’s always the moment when I realize how much I’d missed them, and the moment I know it’s time to hit the pavement and revisit the neighborhood.  I always feel that the size of my world has doubled.  I can walk around and greet neighbors, wave to strangers walking their dogs, and experience the greatest smell I can think of: barbecue.  This is another sign of the seasons that you always remember: the first barbecue.  Whenever someone’s barbecuing, you know it right away.  Oh man, I think they’ve got some sausage and peppers on there.  Why aren’t we grilling right now?  How could we neglect such beautiful weather by going back inside?  We need to invite people over! 

 As soon as we bought our house, we bought a grill and it was moved in before the plates were even unpacked.   To me, one of the most exciting things about having a house was having a yard, a yard being defined as the place you hold your barbecues. 


BBQing makes me so happy that I feel the need to wear bright orange pants.

Chicken Pineapple Skewers

We grill everything: hotdogs, hamburgers, chicken, corn on the cob, pizza, and, of course, skewers.  I’m really into these chicken pineapple skewers.  You can use fresh pineapple, but you can also save yourself a potential knife injury that delays your barbecue and go with the can.  In the world of canned fruit, I think pineapples hold up better than many others.  Plus, you can buy wedges that are perfect for skewering. 

Note:  Remember to soak wooden skewers, if you are using them, so they don’t set on fire! 

Chicken and Pineapple Skewers

    Cook Time: 25 min

    Yield: 16 skewers



    1 cup ketchup

    1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce

    1/4 cup honey

    1 tablespoon yellow mustard

    1/4 cup brown sugar

    2 whole garlic cloves

    1 lemon, juiced

    8 boneless skinless chicken thighs (or chicken breasts)

    1 fresh pineapple

    16 skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes (if using wooden skewers)

    Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing

    Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper



In a saucepan over medium heat, add the ketchup, soy sauce, honey, mustard, sugar, garlic, and lemon juice. Bring to a simmer and cook gently until thickened, about 10 minutes. Set aside and cool.

Heat an outdoor grill or a grill pan. Cut the chicken into bite size pieces of the same size. Peel the pineapple and cut it into 1 1/2-inch chunks, (or open your can of pineapple chunks with your favorite can opener). Alternating between the chicken and pineapple, thread the pieces onto the skewers. (Sometimes we make a few all pineapple skewers for our vegetarian friends).  Brush them with olive oil and season them with salt and pepper. Remove the garlic cloves from the barbecue sauce and discard; put about half the sauce into a small bowl for later. Brush skewers with some of the sauce. Cook them on the grill, basting regularly with the barbecue sauce, until cooked through, about 10 to 15 minutes. Serve with reserved barbecue sauce on the side for dipping.

Recipe Credit: Tyler Florence