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Peppermint Bark Ice Cream Brownie Sandwiches

Posted on: Monday, December 22, 2014

When it’s chilly outside, sometimes a chilly treat is all you need. In the arena of small batch local vendors out there, one standout in particular is The Galley Ice Cream in Cambridge, MA. Founder, Kelly Williamson started churning her quality and creative ingredients in her galley-style kitchen almost a year ago and has been playing around with various techniques and flavor combinations ever since. Kara and I are thrilled to feature the ice cream of a like-minded entrepreneur who is passionate about her craft, influenced greatly by her surroundings, and coincidentally grew up in our small town, Manchester-by-the-Sea.

Kelly’s inspiration for such standout flavors as Coconut Cajeta, Banoffee Pie, Malted Vanilla Bean, Lemon Curd and Magic Bar comes from a myriad of places. She looks to her friends and family, various articles, television shows and even daydreams (Kara and I can relate to that!) for ideas. One night in particular, Kelly couldn’t sleep so tuned into The Mind of a Chef series on PBS and April Bloomfield was making an English classic, Banoffee Pie. She instantly grabbed her notebook from her nightstand and jotted down a rough recipe.
When Kelly begins the ice cream-making process, it usually takes about two days. On the first day, Kelly will start with the base and prepare any of the mix-ins. The base then chills overnight so it can age and develop flavor. On the second day, churning begins and takes under an hour, and then the custard goes back into a very cold freezer to harden for at least a few hours longer. Once the waiting game is over, it’s time to delve in. I had the pleasure of sampling Peppermint Bark this past weekend.
At a friend’s holiday party in Cambridge, in lieu of beverages, I decided to bring some of The Galley Ice Cream-inspired treats. The Peppermint Bark flavor is super creamy with a minty twang, rosy hue, and big chunks of chocolate peppermint bark. Since peppermint and chocolate are a dynamic duo, I sandwiched the ice cream in between rich layers of fudgy brownies. Kelly’s ice cream truly stole the show at the party.
Peppermint Bark Ice Cream Brownie Sandwiches

2 (8 x 8) pans of baked brownies, uncut (I used Smitten Kitchen’s recipe here)
2 pints The Galley Ice Cream's Peppermint Bark Ice Cream, slightly softened
Chopped Candy Canes, for serving

Slide the brownies out of their pans. Spoon the Peppermint Bark Ice Cream on top of one of the brownies. With a knife or spatula, spread the ice cream evenly atop the entire brownie surface. Place the second set of uncut brownies on top of the ice cream layer and press down lightly. Wrap the layers in aluminum foil and return to the freezer for at least 1 hour. Remove the layers from the freezer, remove the aluminum foil, and with a sharp knife, cut the layers into thick squares. Dust with candy canes. Makes 22-24 ice cream sandwiches, depending upon your size squares.

To sample The Galley Ice Cream’s fun flavors, email to place an order or send a message via The Galley Ice Cream Facebook Page (

Pumpkin Burrata Swirls

Posted on: Tuesday, December 16, 2014

While Kara hosted a wonderful Winter Wonderland gathering last weekend, I had a blast whipping up some holiday bites to accompany her festively-hued cocktails. Keeping in mind the party’s focus on chatting, nibbling, and sipping by the tree, I selected ingredients for finger-friendly hors d'oeuvres.

As Kara and I first discovered last spring when we arranged burrata over a pool of minty pea pesto, this cheese is above the rest. While the rich and creamy interior is stellar on its own, it is amplified when accompanied by crusty bread and sweet and savory seasonal flavors. Since I’m still on a pumpkin kick, I whipped up a pumpkin puree with touches of maple and cinnamon, spooned a pool onto a platter, placed the burrata beauty on top, and scattered some, salty, nutty pepitas all over. Our friends slathered the melding ingredients atop crispy toasts and eventually found no need for a knife, dipping the bread right into the swirled medley of flavors.

Maple Pumpkin Puree, Burrata and Pepitas

1 baguette cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 (8 oz) burrata ball

Maple Pumpkin Puree
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1/4 c pumpkin puree
3 T maple syrup
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t lemon juice
1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper

1/2 c Pepitas (pumpkin seeds, shelled), toasted

Preheat oven or grill to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Arrange the baguette slices on a baking sheet and brush both sides with EVOO. Toast in the oven about 3-5 minutes per side until golden brown and crispy.

Meanwhile in a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Once melted, add the pumpkin puree, maple syrup, cinnamon, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Stir until combined. Allow the puree to cool slightly and then pour in a thick, even layer on a serving platter.
Place the burrata ball on top of the pumpkin puree and sprinkle with pepita seeds. Arrange the toasts around the fancy cheese display and enjoy with a knife for spreading. Serves 6-8.

It's Snowing!

Posted on: Friday, December 12, 2014

Oh, holiday party season. . . .
As my festively-dressed friends and I sat around my tiny, sparkling Christmas tree this past weekend, we sipped red and green cocktails and nibbled on roasted chestnuts, assorted cheeses and charcuterie. To add to the spirit, we committed to a light game of Yankee Swap with an eclectic mix of gifts for each of us. Each “player” picked a number from a hat and got a crack at picking a gift. While we eagerly anticipated the unveiling of each gift, the overall trading process was surprisingly civil. I lucked out with a Bacon-making Set (thanks Katie!) and can’t wait to put it to use this winter…

The evening continued with some other festive munchies, excessive amounts of laughs and vino, and an assortment of 90's throwback tunes. Ahead of time, I frosted some spicy gingerbread cookies with a sweet and sticky white icing. While it was not snowing outside, it sure was inside!

Gingerbread Snowflake Cookies

Cookies (Martha Stewart’s recipe)
6 c all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 c packed dark-brown sugar
4 t ground ginger
4 t ground cinnamon
1 1/2 t ground cloves
1 t finely ground pepper
1 1/2 t coarse salt
2 large eggs
1 c molasses

3 c confectioners sugar
2 t vanilla
2 t lemon juice
4 t water 
*if it’s too thin, add more sugar and if it’s too thick, add more water

In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and baking powder.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, add the butter and brown sugar. Mix on medium speed until fluffy. Mix in the spices and salt, then eggs and molasses. Reduce speed to low. Slowly add the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Divide the dough into three rounds; wrapping each tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until cold, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Roll out one of the rounds of dough on a lightly floured work surface to 1/4-inches thick. Cut snowflakes with a 7-inch snowflake-shape cookie cutter. Repeat with the remaining balls of dough.

Bake the cookies in batches until crisp,12 to 14 minutes. Let cool on a wire racks while you prepare the icing.

Whisk together all of the icing ingredients in a bowl until you have a thick paste. Add more sugar if too thin and more water if too thick. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag (or a plastic bag where you cut a small slit at one of the corners) and start piping away. Makes about 22-24 cookies, depending on the size of your cookie cutter.
This recipe can easily be split in half for a smaller crowd. Artistic license encouraged!

All About the Sides

Posted on: Tuesday, November 25, 2014

On Thanksgiving, while the turkey is the star of the show, to us the sides are just as important. Looking to spice up your traditional menu this year? Here are a few of our favorite vegetarian sides that will surely impress...
Bohemian Squash Salad- Caramelized beautifully when roasted, and fanned atop a bed of greens, the colorful delicata squash adds a whimsical touch to your Thanksgiving salad.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Sweet Potato Cubes with Zest Aioli- This colorful dish is our favorite combination of bold, roasted vegetables with a cool and creamy dipping sauce.
Pumpkin Arancini- While we often associate pumpkins with pies, sweet loaves, and cheesecakes, why not try a savory take with these crispy fried risotto balls?
Sauteed Tri-Color Cauliflower- Strong, salty flavors complement cauliflower, so we add anchovies (trust us on this one!) and toasted bread crumbs for a hearty and vibrant side.
Spaghetti Squash Puttanesca- With the addition of earthy eggplant, a sprinkling of fresh chopped basil and Parmesan cheese, it’s our Italian touch to a Thanksgiving feast.
Ruby Beet Ribbon Salad With a Balsamic Vinaigrette, dots of tangy goat cheese, nutty almonds and red onion, we love this new spin on a classic side.
Only two days to go!

Beedles, Beet Noodles

Posted on: Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Taking advantage of ICA Free Thursday Nights last week, I strolled across the Old Northern Avenue bridge to checkout the new exhibit, Fiber: Sculpture 1960 - Present. The exhibit showcases thirty-three innovative artists in the 1960s who tested the limits of fiber by using it as a medium in sculpture. Upon walking into the gallery, I was overcome by a sea of vibrant colors, soft textures, and bold shapes. My favorite piece was Sheila Hicks' Pillar of Inquiry/Supple Column, a waterfall of fiber spirals and clinging lines streaming from the ceiling and cascading on the floor below.
I left the museum with colors swirling in my mind and was inspired to channel this creative energy into cooking. Like Kara, in anticipation of Thanksgiving, I plan to revamp a classic dish. Kara and I often serve an array of roasted root vegetables at Thanksgiving, so figured why not manipulate garnet red beets by transforming them into spirals? I was recently gifted a spiralizer, so it was only appropriator to put the unique kitchen tool to use with Sheila Hicks as inspiration. I tossed the sweet “beedles” with a Balsamic Vinaigrette, dots of tangy goat cheese, nutty almonds and red onion for a new spin on a classic side.
Ruby Beet Ribbon Salad

Balsamic Vinaigrette

1/2 c EVOO
3 T Balsamic vinegar
1 clove minced garlic
1 t Dijon mustard
salt and pepper throughout

8 medium-sized beets
1 c crumbled goat cheese
1 c toasted slivered almonds
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
salt and pepper throughout

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a small bowl, whisk together the Balsamic Vinaigrette ingredients and set aside.

Cut the ends off the beets, peel and spiralize. Toss the beet noodles with EVOO, salt and pepper, and place on a cooking sheet. Roast in the oven for 5-7 minutes until tender.

Once cooled, toss the beet ribbons with the Balsamic Vinaigrette in a large bowl. Sprinkle the crumbled goat cheese, almonds, and red onions on top. Serves 4-6 sides.
I had a blast with the spiralizer and cannot wait to use it for new spins on other vegetables. Thanks so much for the gift, Linda!

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