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This sturdy side dish puts a new spin on an old favorite.. a great side dish with your favorite entree!

 Grilled Potato Salad
(Makes 4 servings)

2 lb (1 kg) mini red or white new potatoes
1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil
Freshly grated pepper, to taste
8 slices bacon, chopped
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1/3 cup (75 mL) Ranch or Caesar salad dressing
Freshly shaved Parmesan cheese

Place potatoes (with skins) in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until barely tender, about 10 minutes. Drain well.

Cut potatoes in half  and place in a bowl. Add olive oil and pepper; toss gently to coat. Place potatoes in a grill basket; grill over medium-high heat until lightly grill-marked, about 10 minutes, turning occasionally. (Grilling step may be omitted: cook potatoes in first step until fork-tender).

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook bacon until crisp. Place on a paper towel to drain.

Place grilled potatoes in a bowl. Add bacon, green onions and dressing. Toss gently to coat. Garnish with Parmesan cheese. Serve warm or at room temperature.

For other summer side dish ideas, check out our Summer 2010 RoomPlanners magazine. Along with more sturdy, simple and smart recipes, find out more about Craftsman-style homes, furniture and interiors.

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It doesn’t get simpler than this quick, easy and very tasty dessert. Best of all? No one will know how little time you spent making it!  

Ice Cream Pie
(Makes 6 servings)

4 cups (1 L) vanilla ice cream, softened slightly
¾ cup (175 mL) frozen juice concentrate, thawed
     slightly (see Tip)
1 prepared 9” (23 cm) crumb crust (e.g. graham wafer, vanilla wafer  or Oreo)
Garnish: fruit, fruit sauce, toasted nuts and/or coconut

Combine ice cream and juice concentrate mixing just   until blended. Spoon into crust. Cover with plastic wrap. Freeze until firm, at least 4 hours.

At serving time, cut into wedges using a knife dipped in hot water and wiped with a paper towel. You may need to let pie stand at room temperature for a few minutes before serving. Garnish as desired.

TIP!

  • Vary garnish as desired. Try strawberry-kiwi juice concentrate with sliced kiwis; raspberry juice concentrate with raspberry coulis; pink lemonade with sliced strawberries; orange juice concentrate with mandarin orange slices and grated chocolate; and pineapple juice concentrate with toasted coconut.

  Chocolate hazelnut ice cream                                                                                                                                                  
I think Chocolate Hazelnut Ice Cream may be the best ice cream I’ve made so far. If you like Nutella and ice cream, I’m quite sure you’ll like this ice cream too! Seriously. Who wouldn’t??

It’s so easy to make, and it just sings with chocolate hazelnut flavour. It’s texture is more creamy than other ice creams I’ve made. I often find that “ripening” homemade ice cream in the freezer tends to make it harden to an extreme and form large crystals that make for a really granular texture in your mouth. I’ve had this Chocolate Hazelnut ice cream in the freezer for almost 3 days now, and although there’s not much left, what there is is firm, but scoop-able.  So here’s the recipe:

Chocolate Hazelnut Ice Cream
(Makes 8 cups/2 L)

2 cups (500 mL) whipping cream (35%)
2 cups (500 mL) homogenized milk (3.5%)
1 cup (500 mL) chocolate hazelnut spread
1/2 cup (125 mL) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped dark chocolate* (optional)
1/4 cup (50 mL) chopped hazelnuts (optional)

In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, bring cream and milk to a simmer.

In a large bowl, combine hazelnut spread and sugar; stir until smooth. Whisk 1/4 cup (50 mL) of the cream mixture into the sugar mixture; whisk until blended. Whisk in remaining cream mixture until well blended. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled or overnight.

Stir cream mixture. Transfer to an ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer’s instructions, adding chopped chocolate and hazelnuts a few minutes before the ice cream has finished churning.

Recipe Source: 125 Best Ice Cream Recipes by Marilyn Linton and Tanya Linton, Robert Rose Inc., 2003

Tips:
* If you’re adding chopped chocolate, use a good-quality brand. I used Lindt Madagascar (65%) dark chocolate.
* I have a Cuisinart Flavor Duo (two 1 L/1 quart buckets) ice cream maker. This recipe filled both buckets. The mixture had chilled overnight so only took 15 to 18 minutes to process to a soft creamy consistency.
* The recipe can be halved if you can only make 1 L (1 quart) of ice cream at a time.
* If desired, splash a serving of the finished ice cream with hazelnut liqueur and a sprinkling of chopped hazelnuts (instead of adding the hazelnuts to the ice cream).

Mother Daughter May 09 011Summer ’09 has been a little slow in coming to NY, but if you’re ready for something cool and fresh… try mooss (I grew up pronouncing this childhood favorite, mouse). This traditional fruit soup was a specialty of my grandmother, a Russian Mennonite who immigrated to Canada in the early 20th century. The German Mennonites also claimed this traditional fare under the name, obstmooss.

Whatever you choose to call it, it’s worth a taste – and it’s easy to make… a major criteria in my kitchen.

Mooss Cold Fruit Soup

4 cups water
2 cups dried fruit (apples, prunes, raisins, apricots, peaches, etc)
1 tbsp cornstarch

Chop up the fruit a little, heat together with water in a pot until they come to a boil. Simmer until the fruit feels soft.

Mix one level tablespoon cornstarch with cold water. Stir really well, then add to the pot. Let thicken and you’re done.

With such a rich cultural heritage behind this fruit soup, a few variations have been added over the years. Some people add a little sugar to taste. Some add 1 tbsp of vinegar, tang crystals, lemon juice or lemon and orange slices to add a little zest. You can also add a can of bing or sour cherries in place of the dried fruit, or make the entire soup just with cherries.

Mother Daughter May 09 013 I learned about a new variation from my friend, Marlyn, during our recent mother-daughter weekend in NY. She was visiting from Sidney, Australia; both our moms came from Winnipeg. My mom had brewed up a fine pot of mooss, and when it was served, Marlyn suggested a scoop of ice cream on the side. With a freezer full of the stuff and cats named Ben and Jerry, I wasn’t about to turn that down. It’s another great variation… and apparently sort of authentic – many Russian Mennonites added a cup of milk to the soup. 

Enjoy!