How too many peas led to my new favorite ice cream

It’s a weird garden year. My green beans haven’t done much yet. My zucchini and summer squash are succumbing to powdery mildew, and I’m hoping the cucumbers don’t follow. I’m still waiting to see if my tomatoes will hang in there.

But my snap peas produced.

To use up a bunch earlier this month, I did a stir fry with beef and peas and garlic scapes and ginger. To finish it off, I added a heavy splash of coconut milk. That left about a cup of coconut milk.

I kept thinking coconut + chocolate = yum. Since it’s summer, ice cream was the obvious answer. I’ve since subjected my kids to the same stir fry (not their favorite) again both because I had a lot of peas and because I was craving another batch of this ice cream.

Chocolate-coconut Ice Cream

(makes about 5 cups)

½ cup milk
½ cup sugar (scant)
8 oz bittersweet chocolate chips or bar roughly chopped
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup 1/2 and 1/2 or light cream

  1. Pulse the chocolate and sugar in a food processor until chocolate is very small.
  2. Heat the milk in a small sauce pan until it just starts to bubble at the edges.
  3. Add hot milk to the chocolate-sugar mixture. Stir or run the food processor until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth. Pour into a 2-quart or larger mixing bowl. Chill. (I left it overnight, but you can chill for less time as long as it gets really cold.)
  4. Take the cold chocolate out. Try not to stand at the counter eating it all. (It’s really good, but the ice cream is too.) Stir the 1/2 and 1/2 or cream into the chocolate mixture.
  5. Pour into your ice cream maker, following instructions.
  6. My machine takes about 25 minutes. Transfer the ice cream to a covered container and let set for about 2 hours—or eat right away. This one’s really good in it’s soft stage.


Winter oranges + cookies for breakfast

Double-chocolate orange cookiesI just had a cookie for breakfast. Second breakfast, and it had orange in it, so that counts right?

As we’ve been reading our Christmas stories, so many times there is an orange in the toe or the top of the stocking, something juicy and sweet and just right this time of year.

My kids often find an orange or a clementine in their stocking, and I remember my older daughter pulling hers out one year, “A real orange!” In the midst of toys and candy, she still noticed that orange.

We’ve been eating oranges lately. I picked up a few at the store to make those chocolate-orange cookies I had for breakfast and had to go back to pick up some more because my girls ate them in smiles for snack at school and dessert before I got to baking. I ate some too, and I wondered why I never buy oranges. It’s time for oranges now, that splash of color, burst of juice, vitamin C, and natural sweetness.

So go get some oranges, and if you don’t eat them all first, make these cookies. (You really only need the zest, so you can still eat that orange as long as you zest it first.)

Double Chocolate-Orange Cookies


1 c. sugar
2/3 c. butter, softened
1 Tbsp. grated orange peel*
1 egg
1 1/2 c. flour
1/3 c. baking cocoa
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 c. chocolate chips (bittersweet or semisweet)


1/3 c. sugar (or a little more as needed)
1 tsp. grated orange peel*

* The peel of one orange should work out just about right for both the cookies and the coating.

  1. Preheat oven to350º F.
  2. Mix 1/3 cup sugar and 1 tsp. grated orange peel. Set aside.
  3. Cream 1 cup sugar with the butter and 1 Tbsp. grated orange peel in a large bowl. Beat in the egg until well combined.
  4. Add your dry ingredients: flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. (You can mix them together in a separate bowl if you like, but I’m lazy and never do.)
  5. Mix in the chocolate chips. (Go ahead and do this in the mixer. It doesn’t matter if the chips break up a little.)
  6. Shape dough into small balls balls. (Sometimes I do 1 1/2–inch balls, sometimes I go a little smaller if I want to stretch the batch or know the cookies will be out with lots of other cookie types.)
  7. Roll balls in sugar-orange coating mixture. If it looks like you will run out, just add a little more sugar and mix it up with the remaining coating. (If you end up with some extra, it’s yummy sprinkled on top of blueberry muffins.)
  8. Place coated balls on parchment-lined cookie sheets. Flatten to about 1/2-inch thickness with bottom of glass.
  9. Bake 9–11 minutes or until cookies appear set.
  10. Cool slightly before moving from cookie sheet. If you are eating them soon, serve with the pieces of the orange you zested to make the cookies.



An abundance of chocolate—Flourless chocolate cake with chocolate filling and glaze

I was overwhelmed by the many decisions I had to make for my wedding, but I knew I wanted a chocolate cake. And I got it—not just chocolate, but triple chocolate ganache.

edible flowers for fall cakeIt was good—and gorgeous, dark chocolate brown with orange and yellow nasturtiums spilling over it.

For our first anniversary, I made a triple chocolate cake and decorated it with nasturtiums from the garden. The filling in this cake is lighter and more buttery than my wedding cake, but it’s still delightfully decadent.

The cake with no filling or glaze makes a rich dessert. Serve it with raspberries and a little vanilla ice cream or barely sweetened whipped cream. I often serve it this way.

Triple Chocolate Cake

The recipe looks long, but all three parts are really easy to make.


Amounts are per cake. Double for two layers. I usually mix them up separately because one fits nicely in my double boiler.

4 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
1 stick butter
3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F and grease an 8- or 9-inch round cake pan or springform pan. Line bottom with a round of parchment paper. (The cake has a tendency to stick, so don’t skip the parchment paper.)
  2. In a double boiler, melt chocolate with butter over barely boiling water, stirring until smooth.
  3. Remove top of double boiler from heat and whisk sugar into the chocolate mixture.
  4. Add eggs and whisk well.
  5. Sift 1/2 cup cocoa powder over chocolate mixture and whisk until just combined.
  6. Pour batter into pan and bake in middle of oven for 25 minutes, or until top has formed a thin crust.
  7. Cool cake in pan on a rack for 5 minutes and invert onto a serving plate.



Allow time to chill. You can make this a day ahead and store in the fridge—or cook chocolate mixture and let chill overnight.

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
4 Tbsp. cocoa powder
1 1/4 cup milk
1 cup butter softened
1/4 cup powdered sugar

  1. In a medium sauce pan, combine sugar, cornstarch, and cocoa powder. Blend well. Gradually stir in milk.
  2. Cook over medium heat until mixture thickens and boils, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about an hour or until cool.
  3. In a large bowl, beat butter and powdered sugar until well blended. Gradually add cooled chocolate mixture. Beat until light and fluffy.



3/4 c. whipping cream
8 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

  1. Place the chopped chocolate in a large mixing bowl and set aside.
  2. Pour cream into a small, heavy saucepan. set over medium heat and stir until it comes to a boil.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate. Stir until the chocolate is melted.
  4. Let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes before pouring over cake.



  1. Place one cake on a serving plate. Spread a thick layer of filling on top of layer.
  2. Cover with raspberries (optional, but the raspberries help offset all the chocolate).
  3. Layer the second cake over the first.
  4. Pour glaze over cake and smooth with a flat spatula. Use extra frosting to decorate top and sides of cake if you like. Garnish with edible flowers like nasturtiums (optional)

Some Like It Cold—Chocolate Raspberry Ice Cream

My weekend canning sessions were inspired by using what we had on hand. Cucumbers weren’t part chocolate raspberry ice cream — write • nourish • growof the plan, nor were jalapenos, but we had lots so we canned them.

This ice cream was inspired by raspberries I picked last week. I froze three quarts of berries, but I kept some in the fridge to eat fresh. We did eat some, but the rest were sitting there getting mushy and juicy and begging to be used.

When I started making this ice cream, I remembered why I rarely make chocolate ice cream. You need to melt the chocolate and then let it cool completely before making the ice cream. It takes and extra half hour to an hour, but it’s worth it. Plan on starting about 4 hours before you want to eat ice cream (though if you eat it right out of the ice cream maker before it really “sets” it’s really good that way too). When it comes to bowl or spoon licking, I usually let me kids do a lot of the licking, but I made sure I got my fair share on this one.

Chocolate Raspberry Ice Cream

(makes about 5 cups)

½ cup 1% milk  +  ½ cup half and half   (or 1 cup whole milk)
8 oz bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped
½ cup sugar (scant)
2 cups heavy cream
½ cup mushy or mashed raspberries sprinkled lightly with sugar

  1. Pulse the chocolate and sugar in a food processor until chocolate is very small.
  2. Heat the milk and half and half in a small heavy bottomed sauce pan until it just starts to bubble at the edges.
  3. Remove from heat and add chocolate. Stir until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth. Pour into a 2-quart or larger mixing bowl. (An 8-cup liquid measure or a large batter bowl work well). Chill.
  4. Stir the heavy cream into the chocolate mixture. Pour into your ice cream maker, following instructions.
  5. About 5 minutes before the ice cream is done (about 25 minutes in my machine), add the raspberries. Let the machine run for 5 minutes more. Transfer the ice cream to a covered container and let set for about 2 hours.

Go make some ice cream—or at least eat some!