My husband believes he was born to eat pesto, and so we eat a lot of the stuff, varying the herbs and the vegetables depending on the season and what we have available. One of the tricks that comes in handy no matter which version we’re making is adding both lemon juice and lemon zest, a move the elevates the paste beyond anything you could purchase ready made.
A fruity wine with some structure complements the greenness and the welcome oily nature of a good pesto. I found just wanted I wanted in a pesto pairing wine in K-J AVANT Red Blend, which tastes of berries and transports me, when sipped between bites of this pasta, to Italy.
Though it’s delicious warm, this pasta holds up great for several hours, making it a sweet picnic or barbecue side dish option.
Place the garlic and a pinch of salt in a mini food processor. Pulse to pulverize, then add the almonds and parsley. Zest the lemon and add that too. Drizzle in about ¼ cup of oil, enough to make a very smooth paste. Add the Parmesan, mix again, then taste for salt, adding more as needed. Set the pesto aside.
When the water boils, add a bunch of salt to the water, then throw in the pasta. Cook the pasta according to package directions, until 1 minute shy of al dente. Reserve 1 cup of cooking water and drain.
Set a skillet large enough to hold all the pasta over medium heat and add enough oil to film the bottom completely. Add the sliced green garlic and cook for 5 minutes, until soft, then add the asparagus and cook another 4 to 6 minutes, until just tender. Add the pasta and the pesto to the skillet and stir to mix, pouring in the reserved cooking water a tablespoon or two at a time, until the pesto really coats the pasta, 1 to 2 minutes. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice over everything, then stir again, and add more salt if needed. Serve, garnished with extra parm.
Hello, hello! Lauren here from LaurenKelp.com & today is going to be a real treat! We are packing up the weekday woes and heading outside for a perfect summer picnic. A picnic is always a good idea in my book so we are breaking down how to pack, what to eat, and, of course, what to drink!
Don’t worry, this isn’t your typical ‘DIY picnic’ post, we are spicing things up and going for the big time here. Want to see what we mean? Keep scrolling!
So, you’ve checked the weather forecast and there is nothing but sunshine and blue skies all afternoon. Whip out that basket because we are going for a picnic! Now, I am not a believer that picnics are a weekend-only activity. A well packed picnic can do wonders for the mid-week blues, especially in the summer. But if weekend picnics work for you, then let’s prep ahead of time! Don’t wait until the weather is perfect to gather your goodies. Be a total pro and plan ahead.
Where to start? The food of course!
Finger food is the king of picnic foods, so don’t stress about bringing something complex. I always start by taking a quick inventory of the content of the fridge to see what we can set aside for easy to pack picnic food.
Cheese and crackers, trail mix, mixed fruit, and sandwiches are absolutely perfect! Run to your local grocery store the night before or swing by on your way to your picnic to pick up any missing items or gourmet additions to the mix.
Next up – the tools! No one likes being stuck in the middle of a picnic with great food, wonderful friends, a perfect bottle of wine and no wine opener. Pack some silverware, plastic cups, and, above all else, a wine opener! Or, you could be a total pro and grab a bottle (or two) of K-J AVANT and bi-pass the tricky tools all together.
Okay, picnic pro, you’ve got your food, your tools, now what? Next up – the perfect spot!
Have a perfect spot? Than you’ve got a slam dunk! But if you are new to an area or want to spice things up, keep in mind the trek up there (walking a mile with a hefty basket isn’t the best way to start things out), the ground surface (grass, sand, rock, etc.), and the view!
There you have it, the perfect summer picnic pack list. Just grab a blanket, some friends, and get going!
As you may have realized by now, dessert is kind of my jam. It doesn’t matter what time of year it is, my sweet tooth knows no season, which can prove to be a little tricky when it’s the middle of summer and all I can think about is, well, cake. (Guilty.) I don’t know about you, but turning on the oven is just about the last thing I want to do when it’s 90+ degrees outside, even when cake is involved.
Which is why today, I’m sharing one of my favorite semi-homemade, no-bake summer dessert recipes. And yes, there’s cake.
The star of the show though, is a clever little recipe developed by campers called hobo packs. Hobo packs can be made in a variety of both sweet and savory combinations — the original version was a ground beef and onion combination popular with Boy Scouts — but the version I’m sharing with you today is, you guessed it, dessert-focused. The idea is, you take whatever ingredients you have on hand, wrap them tightly in foil to form a pack, and then cook the pack by either placing it over a campfire or simply on the grill. No matter what’s inside, you end up with a perfect, single-serving portion of food, no oven, stove, or cleanup required! Pretty great, right?
To make dessert hobo packs, you can use any variety of fruit you have on hand, but I chose to take advantage of the beautiful deep purple and red plums and berries that have been flooding my local market for the last few weeks. Truth be told, nothing beats warm, juicy berries that have been cooked until bubbling with a little butter and sugar. Heaven, I tell you.
And since hot, bubbly summer fruit just begs to be spooned over cake, I love to serve these hobo packs with slices of toasty, grilled pound cake. No need to make your own, I use pound cake from the freezer section and find that it stands up to grilling much better than a more delicate homemade version. Plus, we’re avoiding the oven at all costs, remember?
Whether you’re camping (ahem, glamping) or hosting an outdoor get-together with friends, I’m insisting that you pair this fruit + pound cake combination with K-J AVANT Red Blend. Yes, I know it’s summer but this blend of French reds is seductively smooth and easy to drink. Plus, its notes of plum and strawberry make it a perfect match for the berries in the hobo pack. And oh, did I mention there are notes of chocolate in there, too? Trust me on this one, the combination is to die for. In fact, this might just be my favorite pairing yet!
Whether you’re toasting yours over an open campfire, your backyard grill, the fireplace, or even the occasional chopstick-over-a-candle trick (guilty), gooey, toasted marshmallows are one of the most simple, delicious treats that life has to offer. There’s a kid somewhere in all of us that just can’t help but feel pure excitement at the thought of toasty marshmallows sandwiched between bars of milk chocolate and graham cracker, the perfectly messy experience of biting into one for the first time, fingers sticky and belly happy. It’s a nostalgic combination sure to last the ages, because holy moly is it tasty.
That’s not to say that we all still like our s’mores the old-fashioned way. Which is why today, I’m sharing a little twist on the classic — a slightly more grown up version (just slightly) that is intended to compliment wine, which is the real reason we’re all here, isn’t it?
These s’mores ice cream sandwiches feature a toasted marshmallow ice cream that is loaded with the real deal — two full cups of toasted marshmallows — so that while it satisfies your middle-of-summer craving for a frozen treat, it also maintains a slight gooey, warmth from real toasted marshmallows. And since a s’more isn’t complete without chocolate, the ice cream is flecked with lightly crispy flakes of dark chocolate that add a delicate, bitter crunch before melting into rich, chocolatey oblivion on your tongue. Yes, it’s definitely good enough to eat on it’s own.
But we can’t forget the grahams. In this case, two buttery sugar cookies, laced with chunks of graham cracker for a slightly chewy yet crisp bite. Due to the large pieces of graham cracker that are dispersed throughout the dough, these cookies don’t always bake up in a perfectly round shape but fret not, there is deliciousness in their imperfection. When you find that perfect bite where soft sugar cookie meets crisp graham cracker, you won’t mind those uneven edges one bit.
While it may seem so, one giant scoop of chocolately, marshmallow ice cream + two graham cracker cookies does not quite equal perfection, though we’re close. It’s not until you’ve paired this treat with a glass of K-J AVANT Red Blend, that you’ll reach true summer dessert nirvana. This seductively smooth and easy to drink blend of French reds has flirty hints of chocolate and vanilla that shine through its bright notes of summer berries when combined with these decadent ice cream sandwiches. It’s absolute perfection on a hot day, especially when shared with your favorite people. Enjoy!
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1¾ cups granulated sugar
1 large egg
1½ cups all purpose flour
¼ cup nonfat milk powder
1½ teaspoons salt
¾ teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon baking soda
2½ cups roughly crushed graham crackers (about 1½ sleeves)
For the ice cream:
In a small bowl, stir together the corn starch and ¼ cup of milk. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan, combine the remaining milk with the cream, sugar, corn syrup and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, keeping a close eye as it can quickly boil over. Once boiling, cook for 4 minutes, then stir in the corn starch slurry.
Return to a boil and cook for another 2 minutes, until mixture has thickened and will coat the back of a spoon.
Place cream cheese in a bowl and whisk with ¼ cup of the warm mixture, until smooth. Whisk in the remaining mixture. Stir in the vanilla extract, set aside.
Line a baking sheet with parchment and spray liberally with nonstick spray or rub with butter. Spread mini marshmallows onto the parchment in an even layer. Place under the broiler for 2-4 minutes, keeping a close eye, until marshmallows are toasted.
Combine the warm ice cream base and the melted marshmallows in a blender, and blend until smooth. Transfer to a bowl or large Ziploc back and chill until cool.
To make the chocolate flakes, melt the dark chocolate the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds. Spread the melted chocolate onto a sheet of parchment paper in a thin, even layer. Let cool until it hardens, then chop into flakes.
Once the ice cream base is chilled, freeze the ice cream in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. In the last minute of churning, add in the chocolate flakes and let the ice cream continue to churn until the flakes are distributed throughout.
Transfer the ice cream to a loaf pan or airtight container and freeze until scoopable.
To make the cookies:
Preheat the oven to 375F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment and cream on medium-high for about 3 minutes. Add the egg and mix until just combined.
In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, milk powder, salt baking powder and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix until just combined. Add the graham crackers -- there should still be some large chunks -- and paddle until incorporated, about 15 - 30 seconds. You want the crackers to break down some, but not into graham cracker crumbs.
Scoop out onto a cookie sheet, rolling each scoop briefly to create balls of dough (this will help the cookies to bake in a round shape) and place 2-3 inches apart on your lined baking sheet.
Bake the cookies for 12 - 15 minutes, until golden brown. Cool for 10 minutes on the warm pan and than transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.
Repeat process until all cookies are baked.
Find cookies of comparable sizes to pair together for your ice cream sandwiches. Place a large scoop of marshmallow ice cream in the center of a cookie and then top with another cookie, pressing down gently to form a sandwich.
If not serving immediately, place ice cream sandwiches on a cookie sheet and freeze until serving time. If storing, wrap in parchment to prevent freezer burn.
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