Saturday, July 22, 2017

The Long Hot Summer


It's not a news flash to us that live in the South that's it's hot!!  As a matter of fact it's been hot over most of the country.  We've had many days that have been in the upper 90s with the heat index over 100. 

The last thing I want to do when it's so hot is to heat up the kitchen.  In the summer I always like to make baked beans.  It just says summer along with great meals from the grill.  My old standby recipe requires heating up the oven.  This new (to me) recipe uses a slow cooker that you can prepare in your cool kitchen and still have a great dish. 

Hearty Baked Beans

 3 cans (16.5 oz.) baked beans
 1 pound of  lean ground beef
 4 slices of chopped bacon
 1 diced onion
 1/2 cup of ketchup
 1 teaspoon prepared mustard
 1 teaspoon of vinegar
 1/2 cup of brown sugar

Saute' onion and bacon until the bacon is done and a little crispy. Add ground beef and continue cooking until beef is done.  Add mixture to slow cooker along with  the other ingredients.  Stir it all until combined.  Cook for 3 hours on low.

This is a great dish to take to a covered dish dinner.  It would also be a great accompaniment to other grilled foods when it's not too hot to fire up the grill. 

It would not be summer if we didn't make homemade ice cream.  I have one of those electric Krups machines that makes 1 1/2 quarts of ice cream.  When our children were young, we had the old fashioned style machine.  Even though it was electric, we still had to prepare the ice cream outside with the rock salt and ice.  I like to make the custard for ice cream the day before freezing it.  My machine makes the ice cream in twenty minutes.  We've had chocolate (the only kind according to Grayden) and vanilla.  Of course you can add what ever you wish to vanilla such as fruit or candies.  Do you make ice cream in your home?  Here are the two recipes I use for ice cream.

French Vanilla Ice Cream

  3 eggs
  1 cup of sugar
  2 cups of cream
  2 cups of whole milk
  2 teaspoons vanilla

Beat eggs and milk together in a large saucepan.  Add sugar and cook over low heat, stirring constantly until thickened.  About 10 minutes.  Mixture should coat the spoon. Cool, then add cream and vanilla.  Refrigerate overnight.  Freeze in your ice cream maker.

French Chocolate Ice Cream

  1 cup of sugar
  3 egg yolks
  1 1/2 cups of whole milk
  2 cups of cream
  1/3 cup of cocoa
  1 teaspoon of vanilla

Beat milk and egg yolks together.  Blend in sugar.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until thick enough to coat the spoon.  Remove from heat and gently sift cocoa into the mixture, then beat well until blended.  Cool.  Add cream and vanilla. Mix well and refrigerate overnight.  Freeze in your ice cream freezer. 

I hope you are trying to enjoy summer even though it's a hot one.  I'll leave you with some photos of the Crepe Myrtles that have been spectacular this year. The official spelling is Crape Myrtle, but here in the South it is spelled Crepe Myrtle because the flowers resemble crepe paper.  Mine is about to open.  These were taken one day this week in Williamsburg, where to me, everything always looks lovely. ♥