Happy National Creamsicle Day!

August 14th is National Creamsicle Day. 
It's a kid's treat. It's a kid's treat served up on a hot day. On a stick. At least that's how we think of the Creamsicle. The soft vanilla center covered with a hard orange sherbet-like shell proved to be the perfect antidote to the hot summer sun. As a child growing up in the city, my friends and I would head over a few blocks, either on sneaker-skates (remember those?!) or our skateboards to where the Guggenheim Museum proudly stood. We weren't there in search of art or culture, but of ice cream. Parked next to the museum, on the side street was the Good Humor Man and his truck. I can't remember a day he was not there. I had my favorites. Generally I chose the Chocolate Eclair or the one that had the chocolate candy bar center. On the hotter days I opted for something more refreshing. The Creamsicle was it. It hit the spot. The flavors remind me of my childhood in the city, of the Good Humor Man all dressed in white and The Guggenheim. The orange and vanilla combination brings back happy memories, and the pleasant flavors are by no means childlike. Below I offer some Creamsicle ideas for even the most sophisticated palates. 

For those in need of a boozy treat, How Sweet it Is offers up a creamy Coconut Creamsicle Margarita (top left) that looks dangerously delicious. Savvy Eats has created a marmalade infused Creamsicle Margarita (top right). Pick your preference or try both... Who are we to judge?! However, if you're looking for something slightly healthier, stop by The Roasted Root for her Orange Creamsicle Kumbacha, pictured just below. 

If you're anything like we are, you'd probably prefer something a little more dangerous, a little more decadent. Why not turn your favorite flavors into a truffle? Cooking Classy has done just that with her Orange Creamsicle Truffle. (Oh man, would we ever like to kick these up a notch and dip them in dark chocolate!)

We can only imagine what our all time favorite (French toast) would be like when stuffed with an "orange kissed cream cheese filling." We think it might be a little slice of heaven on a fork. Will Cook for Smiles has such a recipe. (Pictured below) Our only problem would be deciding whether to have it for breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert... or perhaps all four!

Nothing, and we mean nothing, beats a really good orange cake with a really good frosting. I'm requesting Baked Bree's Creamsicle cake for my next Birthday... if I can stand to wait that long!

Garnish with Lemon is a girl after our own hearts. Dark chocolate and Creamsicles? Swoon. And you will never believe that these are actually healthy to boot! Swing on over to her sight to see if you don't believe us!

We hope you'll take a moment to celebrate National Creamsicle Day. Let us know how you plan to celebrate!

Recipe Roundup :: 13 mouth-watering, healthy corn recipes

Seasons and Supper's Grilled Corn Tomato and Arugula Salad

Corn is fresh and sweet and in abundance right now. It's also incredibly inexpensive. Unless you're having an afternoon barbecue, or have a large family you're probably enticed by the low prices yet wondering what you can do with all that corn. While there's nothing like eating it right off the cob, salted, peppered, hot butter running off the sides, perhaps paired with grilled fish, barbecued chicken or chimichurri steak. Don't fret about leftover corn that hasn't been eaten. There's plenty that can be done with it. Simply cut it off the cob using a large, sharp knife and toss it into salads, salsas, soups, corn bread, tacos and on top of bruschetta. Below we share with you 13 mouth watering recipes. 

This tomato and corn crostini with whipped roasted garlic goat cheese can be found at How Sweet it is.

Liven up your corn on the cob with pesto and lemon instead of traditional butter. Via The Lemon Bowl.

The Proud Italian cook has the beautiful, light salad made from corn, feta and ribbons of zucchini and summer squash. Looks so refreshing, doesn't it?

Once tomatoes start to turn red on the vine they are plump for the pickin'. I adore nothing more than a fresh tomato with just a little bit of salt - It makes for the perfect snack. Mixed it in with some of your fresh summer corn and you have a lovely summer side. This wonderful corn and tomato salad is from Green Valley Kitchen.

Damn Delicious has Sweet Corn Guacamole - 

Could anything be sweeter than quinoa, corn and scallions? Hop on over to Just a Taste if you want the recipe!

Quinoa and corn are reunited in these quinoa, black bean and corn tacos over at Cooking Classy.

Season with Spice has a refreshing looking Thai Corn Salad.

I adore soup, warm and chilled and eat it year round. The New York Times offers us this Cream Corn and Poblano Soup.

For those hot summer nights you might want to try What's Cooking Good Looking's Yellow Tomato and Corn Gazpacho.

This Roasted Corn and Zucchini Salad with Chili Lime Vinaigrette will also help with your garden's overflowing zucchini problems! 

I couldn't possibly have a corn recipe round up without including one of my all-time favorites, Ina Garten's Fresh Corn Salad. It's a favorite in our home!

We hope we've inspired you to find some different ways to cook and use up all your corn!

Slow + Simple :: How to Make Homemade Butter in 3 Easy Steps

In advance I would like to apologize for the quality - or lack thereof - of the photos. The following started as fun projects to entertain myself and the children... they turned out to be so much more. Over the past couple of weeks my children and I have been enjoying a perfectly quintessential summer... swims in the pool, afternoons at the beach with friends, gardening, strawberry picking, making homemade jam, bread and butter... 

The latter three happened almost by accident. I have always wanted to make jam but the process always terrified me. After hearing from so many how easy it is to make I decided to give it a try. With about 10 pounds of freshly picked berries we needed a means to use them all up. The jam was such a success that we then decided to try our hand at bread. Something else I have always wanted to do - sans bread machine - and yet too scared to... and logically what goes best with homemade bread? Butter, naturally. Oh it wasn't that we had no butter in the house. Butter is a staple that we almost never run out of but I thought that while we were making our own bread and jam which we ought to make our own butter. And really, there's absolutely nothing in the world that is easier to make. All you need is some heavy whipping cream and some sea salt... and maybe some herbs... 

Today I will tell you how to make butter, tomorrow the jam and Thursday the bread and by the weekend you will have everything for a perfectly slow + simple homemade petite dejeuner!

1 pint of heavy whipping cream
3/4 tsp sea salt - optional
1/2-3/4 tsp Herbes de Provence or Italian Seasonings - optional

What you will need:
2 - 3 airtight jars (We used canning jars. Baby food jars work well too.)
Ceramic dishes or ramekins

How to make butter:

1. Pour cream into jars, distributing evenly, filling about 3/4 to the top. Securely add lid to the top of the jars.

2. Shake jars with vigor for 7 - 15 minutes depending on the size of the jars. (Less time for smaller jars and more for the larger jars.) 
As you shake you can feel and hear the cream start to solidify. When the jar feels as though nothing is shaking inside any longer, open it up and take a look. You should see a light, pale yellow mixture to the sides of the jar with a hollow center. (See photo below)

3. When the mixture is no longer runny, but semi firm and airy, you can transfer the butter to a ceramic bowl and add your sea salt. Then, if desired, remove some of the salted butter and place it into another bowl adding the herbs, even garlic or garlic powder if you like. Season to taste.

1. How butter will look in the jar when it's done

2. Transfer butter to a bowl and add sea salt, if desired

3. Then add other seasonings such as Herbes de Provence, if desired.

And then, voila et bon appetit!

Note: This butter is great on bread, but not great for cooking.

Easter Egg Recipe Roundup :: Creative and good for you recipes

via Yummy Mummy
Easter is over. The eggs have been colored, hidden and hopefully found. Now what to do with all those hard boiled eggs? We love egg salad, sliced egg sandwiches and Deviled Eggs but sometimes we get bored of the same old, same old... I've rounded up a few fresh ideas to inspire you to use up those eggs and not let them go to waste. What I like most is that these are healthy ideas that will help us keep our girlish figures!

With Style and Grace twists up your traditional egg salad by adding avocado, lime and cilantro - a dash of salt and pepper completes these fulfilling little treats.

Paula Dean kicks hers up with a BLT twist - fresh parsley, tomatoes and bacon will make these Deviled Eggs even more devilish!

Girl Makes Food adds carrots, avocado, cucumber and tomatoes to her eggs to give them a refreshing bite. This can be a satisfying lunch, a hearty snack or a great accompaniment to a fish or chicken dinner.

Bev Cooks has this amazing crab salad with celery on her blog. To me this says less Easter and more Summertime on the shore of the New England Coast! Bring on the summer... and bring me a large bowl of this too, please!

I adore a good salade Nicoise... They always bring me back to my childhood summers in the South of France. A traditional Nicoise is made from canned tuna,  (in oil - you will taste the difference, trust me!) tomatoes, green beans, Nicoise olives,  (though Kalamata will do) potatoes and hard boiled egg. There are many variations. Some prefer to use a fresh seared tuna or a piece of fresh salmon. Nom Nom Paleo creates another version and uses crab meat instead. You can use your eggs in a heart Chef or Cobb Salad, or top off a Caesar salad with egg instead of chicken. Or add the cooked yolk of an egg to your basic vinaigrette - It works as an emulsifier.

Chopped scallions, chives, black sesame seeds and a sweet and sour marinade is one Polish blogger's creative take on our traditional egg salad recipe. Via Kwestia Smacku

If you missed it yesterday you've got to check out my recipe for Hard Boiled Egg Chocolate Chip Cookies... They are really quite egg-septional! ;)

Holiday Baking :: The long and shortbread of it!

Some people adore shortbread, others not so much. Rich, sweet and buttery, this decadent treat simply melts in your mouth. There are many variations and but the core recipe is basic - butter, sugar, flour... there are no eggs in shortbread which makes it an ideal gift for those with egg alergies. It's one of the easiest kinds of cookies, in my opinion, to bake and when baked in a pie tin, and sliced in thin slices, makes for an elegant and simple treat, no matter how you fancy it up.

A couple of years go I made Peppermint Shortbread Stars

Property of Jessica Gordon Ryan and The Entertaining House

I used a classic shortbread recipe.
  • 3/4 pound butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 - 2 tbs vanilla
  • 2 cups of vanilla *frosting, canned or home made
  • Food coloring, your choice
  • Mini candy canes in individually wrapped (about 6)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together the butter and 1 cup of sugar until they are just combined. Add the vanilla. Add flour to the to the butter-and-sugar mixture. . Mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together. Dump onto a surface dusted with flour and shape into a flat disk. You can either wrap the dough and refrigerate for later use or roll dough and start cutting into desired shapes with the cookie cutter of your choice. Be sure to liberally apply flour to your work surface as well as your rolling pin.

As cookies are cut place them onto your cutting board. When ready bake for about 15 minutes until golden brown. (May require up to 20 minutes)

As the cookies are baking use a rolling pin and carefully smash the miniature candy canes. (Or you can buy pre-crushed peppermint.)

When cookies have cooled you can start to decorate. You can use store bought frosting or make your own icing. If you use store bought, color it with food coloring to get the desired shade. Then add about 2 Tbs of water to the container and mix well.

Using a pastry knife or butter knife carefully spread the frosting on to the cookie. Once the cookies have been covered (I usually do this in batches) shake some of the peppermint candy cane crumbs on to the cookie. A little goes a long way for a perfectly and not overwhelmingly pepperminty cookie! Cookies frosted with a canned frosting will need a longer time for the icing to harden, at least overnight.

Recipe for Royal Icing:

3 egg whites
1 lb. confectioners' sugar
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 tsp. almond extract or white vanilla extract

Place all ingredients in bowl and beat on medium high for a full 10 minutes. Icing will become thick and glossy but will not increase in volume. Keep covered with damp cloth while using, removing small portions to bowl as needed. Tint if desired. To thin, add a few drops of water. Royal icing hardens with a nice sheen.

Orange et Chocolat
I adore the combination of orange and chocolate and a few years ago I created these decadent treats for a good friend of mine and she thought they were simply to die for, every year since, at Christmastime, I make these for her.

Property of jessica Gordon Ryan and The Entertaining House
I used to make these as cookies, but I found it much too labor-intensive so I make, and present it as a tarte and the dessert can be served in bars (as pictured above)or in lean slices. I also found that it is easier to make this in a tarte pan as you can pull the sides apart and then slide the pastry right off the base on to a pretty plate. The shape of the tarte makes a perfect presentation at the dinner table, dessert table or as a gift.
1 stick plus 2 Tbs. butter
3/4 Cup of confectioners sugar
2 cups of flour
3/4 Cups of ground almond meal
2 tsp. of vanilla
2 tbs. of orange zest (optional)
1 Jar of good quality marmalade
1 Cup of semi sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
In a mixer beat together butter and sugar until well blended, add vanila, orange zest, almonds and flour. Blend well.
Place dough in a tarte pan making sure to push dough into all corners and that surface is as evenly covered as possible.
Place in oven for 15 minutes.
In a small saucepan heat jam so that it gets soft enough to be able to spread with a spoon.
When the 15 mimnutes is done, open the oven and pull out tarte. Using a wooden spoon or silicone spatula carefully spread melted jam evenly over the dough — leave at least 1/4 inch around the edge so the crust will not stick to the sides.
Place back in oven for 15 more minutes.
In another saucepan create a double boiler if you don’t have one, and melt chocolate.
When chocolate has melted pour into a pastry bag with small tip attached and pipe chocolate on to the marmalade mixture on the tart.
Place in freezer to cool and set.
Remove sides from tarte pan and slide onto a pretty serving dish when ready to serve!

Cherry Almond Linzer Tart
A slight twist on the old favorite. I love raspberry jam but it is quite sweet. A really good cherry jam (Hero, Bonne Mamman) with a slightly sweet-tart flavor is the perfect topping for the basic shortbread crust. If you wanted to dress it up you could melt some white chocolate (about 1 cup) and pour it into a pastry bag and using a fairly small pastry tip pipe a pretty pattern over the top. As with my Tarte au Chocolat et Marmalade below this can be cut up into bars for easy handling at a party, or cut into thin slices for a more elegant look.

Property of Jessica Gordon Ryan and The Entertaining House
1 stick, plus 2 tbs of butter
2 cups of flour
1 cup of confectioners sugar
3/4 cups of almond meal (can be done by pulsing almonds in food processor)
1 tsp. vanilla or almond extract
1 jar of high quality cherry jam
1 cup white chocolate chips for melting, optional.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
In a mixer blend together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add vanilla, flour and almond meal. Mix well
Pour dough into tart pan and spread evenly.
Place in oven for 15 minutes,
Meanwhile in a small saucepan heat jam until it becomes soft and spreadable
When the 15 minutes is up remove the tart pan from the oven and spread the jam over the top as evenly as possible, leaving about a half an inch at the edge
Place back in the oven for another 15 minutes.
Remove and let cool.
(Pipe with white chocolate if desired, which I usually do with a pretty design and I'm not sure why I didn't! Then set in fridge of freezer to set)

Chocolate Shortbread with Peppermint Bark

It all started a week ago with an image on Pinterest. It was a chocolate shortbread recipe. I, of course, unable to leave anything alone, must tinker and adjust and create. It's the holidays and time for baking rediculous extravantly, decadent recipes that our wasitlines loathe... so this is chocolate shortbread taken to a new level!

Property of Jessica Gordon Ryan and The Entertaining House
The chocolate shortbread is baked in the oven, then topped with melted semi-sweet chocolate and then topped with crushed Peppermint Bark that the geniuses over at Trader Joe's have come up with!
8 oz unsweetened chocolate
1 cup of butter, (2 sticks)
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups of flour

Preheat oven to 325
Melt 8 oz unsweetened chocolate (Bakers, 4 squares) with 2 sticks of butter
When melted pour into an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment and add 2 cups of flour 1 1/2 cups of sugar, and the vanilla, which I never measure and always eyeball.
When all blended, can be rough in texture, divide batter into 2 equal parts and line 2 pie tins with mixture.
Bake in oven for about 20-25 minutes.
Remove from oven and add enough chocolate chips over the top to cover evenly.
Turn oven off and leave in for a couple of minutes until the chocolate softens.
Using a rubber or silicone sptatula, spread the chocolate evenly over the top. Sprinkle generously with crushed peppermint bark.
Place in fridge or freezer for a quick harden or leave out overnight.
If your gift list is anything at all like mine, it helps to have a few simple and yet pretty treats to package up and give away!

Wishing you all Sweet Saturdays!