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Honey Lavender Ice Cream

15 Aug

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I just made a batch of Smitten Kitchen’s Maple Cluster Granola. She uses an egg white in her recipe as a protein “glue” that creates wonderful clusters. Genius. Since I have a “nothing to waste” attitude, I saved the yolk and immediately made room in the freezer for my Cuisinart ice cream bowl.

As I was putting the container of fresh-baked granola away in the pantry, I re-discovered my bag of Culinary English Lavender (grown in Long Island). With lavender, a little goes a long way, so I always have what feels like an endless supply of purple buds.

And so, Honey Lavender Ice Cream.

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I just got back from a trip to visit California’s Bay Area and Sierra Mountains. Lavender seems to grow wild there, and in many other places, so if you have fresh lavender accessible, skip the purchased bag and go pick some!

This ice cream smells and tastes like a delicate flower, in a good way. I am almost tempted to lather a cold honey-lavender-ice-cream-mask all over my face, but the temptation to just eat the ice cream is much greater.

(psst…since we are on the subject, have you ever tried Dr. Bronner’s Lavender soap? It’s my favorite!)

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Pair the ice cream with fresh strawberries or white peaches. Or serve it over your favorite summer fruit crumble, cake, or pie.

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Find more Figs in my Belly ice cream recipes and flavors in the Recipe Index.

Honey Lavender Ice Cream

adapted from Bakeology by Lisa, using David Lebovitz technique

I used 1% milk and one fewer yolk than the original recipe because it was convenient for me and a touch healthier, without compromising on taste or texture

  • 1 cup milk (I used 1% milk, but you could use whole if you want)
  • pinch of Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons culinary lavender
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 4 egg yolks (large or extra large work fine)

Place the bowl of an ice cream maker in the freezer for at least 24 hours.

Place the milk, salt, honey and lavender in a small pot and heat, stirring with a rubber spatula, until just scalding. Turn off the heat, cover, and let the mixture infuse for one hour.

Meanwhile, place the heavy cream in a bowl and place a mesh strainer over the top. Set the bowl of heavy cream into a larger bowl. Surround the larger outside bowl with ice water.

After an hour, re-warm the milk/salt/honey/lavender mixture. Mix the egg yolks in a small bowl. Very slowly and stirring constantly with either  a whisk or a rubber spatula, pour some of the milk mixture (about 1/2 cup) into the yolks.  Pour this mixture back into the pot with the remaining milk mixture. Continue to cook the custard over low heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Once thickened, pour the custard through the mesh strainer into the bowl of cream sitting in the ice water bath. Stir everything together and let it sit in the ice water bath until the ice cream base is chilled. Once chilled, refrigerate the mixture for a few hours. Churn it in the ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Spiced Pumpkin Ice Cream (Vegan)

6 Nov

Leave it to me to make ice cream in this nose-drippingly cold weather (my computer is telling me that it is 1 degree Celsius outside right now) .

This ice cream is crazy easy to prepare. You can make it for your Thanksgiving guests. You could be like me and eat it on a random Monday night. There are only 3 main ingredients–coconut milk, pumpkin, brown sugar–and a few spices. The best part is that almost everyone can enjoy it! Vegans, lactose and gluten intolerant folks, Kosher keepers…

There is a buzz about coconut milk used in vegan ice cream bases–and for a good reason. Coconut milk provides fat that helps maintain the creamy texture of the ice cream. You cannot taste the coconut unless you really look for it. If anything, the coconut brings out the flavor of the pumpkin and spices.

Let’s talk toppings…

To really spice things up, why not make  ice cream sandwiches? Molasses cookies, gingersnaps, graham crackers, shortbread…Or have everything in one! Break apart some cookies and mix them into the already churned ice cream a la Shutterbean. Toasted chopped nuts and crystallized ginger could also make for a crunchy topping. Or maybe a warm chocolate fudge or salty caramel sauce. Slurp.

Put on a warm coat. Eat ice cream. Repeat.

Spiced Pumpkin Ice Cream (Vegan)

recipe adapted from The Year In Food

makes about 3/4 of a quart of ice cream

**Optional: To help keep the ice cream from being rock hard after sitting in the freezer, you may want to add a tablespoon or two of alcohol to the base. This keeps the texture nice and smooth. I would recommend a bourbon.

1 15-oz can coconut milk

1 level cup of pumpkin puree

1/2 cup brown sugar

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

First, make sure to freeze your ice cream bowl for at least 24 hours.

In a medium pot over the low heat, combine the coconut milk and pumpkin puree with the brown sugar and spices. Stir just until the sugar has dissolved and the spices are thoroughly incorporated.

Pour the mixture into a bowl and chill in the refrigerator for about 2.5 hours. Stir once an hour if you can.

Remove the custard from the fridge.

Have your ice cream machine ready. Take the freezer bowl out last. Pour the custard into the ice cream bowl, and churn until the consistency of a soft serve ice cream, about ten minutes. It doesn’t need very much time at all!

You can serve it this way, or let it firm up a little more in the freezer. It will get rock hard if left in for too long, probably because of the water content in the pumpkin puree. Just let it sit out at room temperature for 10 minutes or so before eating so it softens.

White Chocolate Sorbet (with a splash of amarula liqueur)

11 Jul

It can be tricky to keep chocolate around during the summer heat. It might melt and goop up, or it might bloom to an unappetizing texture and taste.

Cold, silky, frozen chocolate sorbet, on the other hand, is where the party’s at. This white chocolate sorbet is made with good-quality white chocolate, whole milk, just 1 tablespoon of sugar, a splash of vanilla, and a little shot of liqueur.

No egg yolks, no cream, and just a touch of sugar. After all, while we want to satisfy our sweet tooth, we don’t want to totally bust our belts…(never-mind that white chocolate is mostly made of cocoa fat).

I know there is a band of white-chocolate haters out there. If you’re not into it, maybe I can convince you to try this Bittersweet Chocolate Sorbet. It might just blow your mind.

Since the majority of the sorbet’s flavor will come from the white chocolate, I would splurge and buy a hunk of high quality stuff. Most gourmet markets will carry the good stuff. I purchased my chocolate at Westside Market in NYC, but I know that Whole Foods carries good brands, too. I used Callebaut chocolate (Valrhona is another popular brand). Oh, and maybe it is the professional/restaurant pastry-mind in me, but we always buy a hunk and chop the chocolate ourselves (…but hey,don’t sweat it, I won’t tell anyone if you buy chips, no big deal, it all gets melted anyway).

I added slightly less than a shot of amarula to the sorbet base.  Amarula is a South African cream liqueur that (as per wikipedia, and I agree) tastes like a slightly fruity caramel. I love to drink amarula with (preferably crushed) ice and some coffee. Oh baby! You can recognize the bottle easily because of the big elephant on it.

In addition to the subtle flavor it lends to the sorbet, the alcohol is used for texture. Sorbet is not as rich as ice cream, and it can become quite firm after spending a night in the freezer. Alcohol does not freeze, so it will keep the texture of the sorbet nice and soft. David Lebovitz offers some helpful tips on his blog on how to keep homemade ice cream soft. And instead of amarula, you could use a light rum or a splash of amaretto

White Chocolate Sorbet (with amarula liqueur)

from David Lebovitz, originally from Gale Gand

makes slightly less than 1 quart

1 1/2 cups (375 ml) whole milk

2/3 cup (160 ml) water

1 tablespoon sugar

2-3 tablespoons amarula liqueur (a little less than 1 shot)

1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise (or 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract)

8 ounces (225 gr) best-quality white chocolate (I used Callebaut brand), finely chopped

1. In a medium saucepan, warm the milk, water, sugar, vanilla, and amarula until it’s almost to a boil.

2. Remove from heat and add the pieces of white chocolate, whisking until they’re melted. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl set within a larger bowl of ice water. (If using a vanilla bean, rinse and air-dry it, and reserve it for another use.)

3. Stir the mixture until cool.

4. Freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

(Note: If you chill the mixture in the refrigerator for several hours, there’s likely to be a white chocolate disk hardened onto the surface of the mixture when you go to churn it, so it’s recommended to freeze it just after it’s been chilled over the ice bath.)

Ample Hills Creamery, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn

20 Jun

Ample Hills Creamery.

Located in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn.

You will probably have to wait in line. This will give you time to drool over the menu and decide what to order.

Ample Hills knows what’s up when it comes to a perfect mix-in to ice cream ratio: it’s all about the mix-ins.

I couldn’t have been happier with my flavor decision for the day:

Snappin’ (ginger ice cream with pieces of lemon snap cookies)Salted Crack Caramel (salted butter caramel ice cream with pieces of “crack” cookies: saltines, butter, sugar, chocolate)

My throat was burning from the spicy ginger and the salty caramel, what an enchanting sensation!

My buddy, Natasha, let me have a taste of her ice cream choices, too:

Peanut Butter Chocolate Flake (smooth all-natural peanut butter ice cream with E. Guittard 55% semi-sweet chocolate flakes) + Sweet Cream n’ Cookies (sweet cream ice cream with pieces of all-natural Back to Nature sandwich cream cookies)

This ice cream parlor will make your day. No, it will make your week.

Hand-crafted fresh ice cream. Rich. Dense. Silky. And the staff is super friendly to boot.

I will definitely be back to try more flavors.

Rhubarb Recipe Roundup

16 Apr

Because spring is here.

Because the weather in New York City is so. freaking. beautiful.

Because I just signed myself away to 13 weeks of online medical biochemistry.

Because I am going to attempt to make spanakopita tonight, delving into the abyss that is filo dough.

Because summer dresses are cute, and I’m always on the hunt for more.

Because I have been washing my hands with used coffee grounds to rid my skin of dryness. A caffeinated exfoliant!

Because I swoon over fresh peas, favas, and spring garlic…because rhubarb gets me going.

Rhubarb is around the corner, or might even be available in some areas already. Get into it and make a crumbly coffeecake, a strawberry rhubarb pie, or, what I am craving most today, some creamy cold rhubarb ice cream.

Big Crumb Coffee Cake With Rhubarb-enjoy with a tall glass of coffee for breakfast, snack time, or dessert

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie-strawberries and rhubarb were meant to come together in a pie

Rhubarb Ice Cream- creamy dreamy ice cream with chunks of rhubarb dispersed throughout; just the way I like it

Bourbon Vanilla Ice Cream

27 Dec

I’ll have a bourbon on the rocks, please.

Wait, I mean a bourbon ice cream on the rocks.

I’m on a bourbon kick. Remember a few weeks ago when I made Tracy’s Maple Bourbon Cider? And just last week I was raving about Steve’s Ice Cream in Bourbon Vanilla flavor? I decided to re-create the bourbon vanilla ice cream at home.

Take 1 cup of bourbon and reduce it with some sugar by about one fourth. Then just make vanilla ice cream base as usual. Most of the alcohol gets cooked out, leaving a nice bourbon flavor and a smooth creamy texture when frozen. Talk about a winter-wake-me-up.

Dreamy.

Bourbon Vanilla Ice Cream

adapted from EzraPoundCake

makes slightly more than 1 quart of ice cream

1 cup bourbon

1/2 cup (100g) sugar

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups (1 pint) heavy cream, divided

1 cup milk (I used 1%)

4 yolks

Before starting, have your 4 yolks ready in a bowl. Also have a large bowl sitting in an ice water bath with a fine mesh strainer over the top. Pour 1 cup of your cream into that large bowl. It is important to have everything ready to go and measured out.

Heat the bourbon in a smallish pot or saucepan over medium high heat until it boils. Add the sugar and salt and stir until the sugar dissolves. Reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the bourbon reduces by about a quarter, about 6 minutes.

Add the vanilla bean and extract (or if you do not have a bean, use 1 tablespoon of extract), 1 cup of the heavy cream, and the milk and heat over medium heat until steaming aka scalded.

Once steaming, whisk your egg yolks while pouring about 1/3 to 2/3 of your cream mix into the yolks. Keep stirring. Keep the remaining 1/3 of the cream in the pot over the heat. Then pour your yolk mix into the hot cream and heat everything together until slightly thickened. Stir constantly and switch to a rubber spatula. Once thickened and the foam disappears slightly, turn the heat off and pour the mix through the strainer into your bowl of cold cream.

Keep on an ice bath until chilled, then refrigerate for a few hours or overnight and churn in you ice cream maker.

Dinner Party For Rosh Hashanah

3 Oct

An excuse to have friends over for dinner and to cook a hearty Jewish meal… The menu:

  • Round Challah Bread, Roasted Garlic
  • Apples Dipped in Honey (Catskill Provision Honey)
  • Chicken with Figs
  • Israeli Couscous with Pomegranate Seeds, Feta, Chickpeas, Cucumber, Radishes, and more
  • Quick Asparagus and Green Bean Saute
  • Wine
  • Root

A small glimpse of the meal:

Pretty Pretty Blue Hydrangeas

Round Challah Bread; Apple Walnut Cake

Couscous Salad in the Making…(pre-couscous)

Flowers, Apples & Honey, Couscous Salad

Kosher Chicken #1 in the Pyrex, Before Baking

Kosher Chicken #2 in Cast-Iron, After Baking

Quick Green Bean Saute

Dinner is Served, Come & Get It

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream For…Honey Ice Cream!

Rugelach, Homemade Jewish Cookies…you can’t just eat one

And there you have it. Just a small taste of the lovely meal that was enjoyed by many.

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