ice cream

Coffee Ice Cream with Hawaij Spices

fullsizeoutput_a116.jpg

Shavuot is the “dairy holiday” right?

So that means ….. ice cream!

Here’s a new flavor for you: Hawaij-infused coffee ice cream. It’s like an ultra-rich, coffee-lover’s version of plain old coffee ice cream except that it has a splash of spice. Hawaij spice blend to be specific. A few months ago Pereg sent me some samples of their new Hawaij spice combos.

I used the savory blend for an absolutely fabulous chicken curry (plus several other recipes that I’ll post about some other day).

But the coffee blend (which includes inger, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom) I figured would be useful beyond simply spicing up my afternoon cuppa.

So I used it to make ice cream.

Oh my is all I can say.

If you love coffee ice cream, this one’s for you.

Coffee Ice Cream with Hawaij Spices

  • 1 cup coffee beans

  • 2 cups half and half

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

  • 4 egg yolks

  • 1-1/2 teaspoons Pereg Hawaij coffee spice

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 cup heavy cream

Place the coffee beans in a paper or plastic bag and gently tap with a rolling pin or meat mallet to break the beans coarsely. Not all of the beans need to be broken. Place the beans in a saucepan and pour in the half and half. Turn the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat and let steep for at least one hour. Strain the liquid, discard the beans and set the liquid aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the sugar, salt, egg yolks and Hawaij together at medium speed for 4-5 minutes or until thick and pale. Pour in the strained, steeped cream. Beat the ingredients, starting at low speed and gradually to medium speed, for 3-4 minutes or until the mixture is well blended and a uniform color. Pour the mixture into the saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, for 8-10 minutes or until the mixture has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. Stir in the heavy cream. Place the mixture in the refrigerator to cool completely. Stir in the vanilla extract. Freeze in an ice cream maker until thick and cold. Spoon into a container and freeze until firm.

Makes about 5 cups

Irish Coffee Ice Cream

My husband told me this was the best ice cream he has ever eaten.

That's all I'm saying, except Happy St. Patrick's Day.

 

Irish Coffee Ice Cream

  • 1 cup coffee beans
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup Irish whiskey

Place the coffee beans in a paper or plastic bag and gently tap with a rolling pin or meat mallet to break the beans coarsely. Not all of the beans need to be broken. Place the beans in a saucepan and pour in the half and half. Turn the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat and let steep for at least one hour. Strain the liquid, discard the beans and set the liquid aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the sugar, salt and egg yolks together at medium speed for 4-5 minutes or until thick and pale. Pour in the strained, steeped cream. Beat the ingredients, starting at low speed and gradually to medium speed, for 3-4 minutes or until the mixture is well blended and a uniform color. Pour the mixture into the saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, for 8-10 minutes or until the mixture has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. Stir in the heavy cream. Place the mixture in the refrigerator to cool completely. Freeze in an ice cream maker until almost completely frozen. Pour in the Irish whiskey. Continue churning in the ice cream maker until the mixture has the consistency of soft-serve ice cream. Spoon into a container and freeze until firm.

Makes about 5 cups

 

 

 

The Birthday Dinner Dilemma

DSC09140.jpg
static1.squarespace.jpg

It's my daughter Gillian's birthday today. A round numbered one. And she asked if, instead of going out to dinner at some fancy shmancy joint to celebrate, whether I would make a special dinner at home.

Of course!

With the fancy shmancy china and silverware and different size wine glasses for different wines for different courses.

Of course!

So, okay, I have the china and silverware and wine glasses. All I have to do there is make sure I have candles for the candlesticks, iron the napkins, fill the salt cellars, set the table and so on. Ed will take care of the wine.

It's all good.

BUT WHAT SHOULD I COOK?

Something new and glamorous? Fancy shmancy?

Or old favorites like Pearly Meatballs? Fried Chicken Wings? Sticky Spicy Chicken Wings? with pre-dinner cocktails.

Should I make a soup? Like Beet Soup with Orange and Mint (even the name sounds fancy doesn't it?).

For the main course I'm thinking maybe lamb. Everyone in the family eats that. But she really does like turkey. Unfortunately turkey is not the universal family favorite, so maybe no? Plus -- Gillian is our family carver, so could I really ask her to do all that slicing and deboning for her birthday dinner?

Another dilemma is that Gillian is not such a big dessert person. Or at least what people consider the usual kinds of dessert. This dessert thing would be easy if the birthday person was my son-in-law Greg. He likes chocolate cake.

Ed would always welcome chef Raymond Oliver's Normandy Ice Cream (coffee with Grand Marnier).

For me, birthday dessert is always apple pie

We are celebrating in a few weeks, so I have some time to finalize the menu plus make sure I buy those candles. 

If anyone has suggestions -- I am all ears.

In the meantime, should I also make some candy? Like chocolate dipped dried fruit?

Chocolate Dipped Dried Fruit

  • 2-1/2 ounces semisweet chocolate
  • 1/2 ounce unsweetened chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter or coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons orange-flavored brandy or rum
  • 50 pieces (approximately) dried fruit such as crystallized ginger, apricot halves, candied orange peel (about 6 ounces)

Melt the semisweet chocolate, unsweetened chocolate and butter in the top part of a double boiler over barely simmering water. Let the ingredients melt, remove the top part of the pan from the heat, pour in the brandy and stir to make a smooth, uniform mixture. Dip each piece of fruit in the chocolate mixture, shake off the excess and place on waxed paper or parchment paper to dry.

Makes approximately 50 pieces

Red Velvet Cheesecake Ice Cream

Cheesecake is one of the good things in life right? No matter what kind of cheesecake.  New York style . Baked into  Chocolate Cheesecake Brownies . Any and all really. 
 So why not cheesecake ice cream? The weather has turned, all the snow has finally melted, it’s hot. 
 Which makes it ice cream weather. 
 Cheesecake ice cream. 
 Which I made recently and just for good measure, added some  red velvet cake  crumbs (icing and all) from the cake I made last week. 
 Oh my, this was good.                                                                                                                                                                                                    

  
 Red Velvet Cheesecake Ice Cream                                                                                                                                                                                
 8 ounces cream cheese 
 1/2 cup sugar 
 pinch of salt 
 1 cup dairy sour cream 
 1 cup half and half cream 
 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
 2 cups cut up red velvet cake                                                                                                                                                                                        

 Cut the cream cheese into pieces and place in a food processor or electric mixer. Add the sugar and salt and process or mix at medium speed until well combined. Add the sour cream and blend it in thoroughly. Gradually add the half and half and blend it in thoroughly. Stir in the vanilla extract. Chill in the refrigerator for about an hour or until cold. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Just before the mixture is finally thick enough to place in the freezer, add the cake pieces and mix them in. Spoon into a container to freeze. 
 Makes about 6 cups

Cheesecake is one of the good things in life right? No matter what kind of cheesecake. New York style. Baked into Chocolate Cheesecake Brownies. Any and all really.

So why not cheesecake ice cream? The weather has turned, all the snow has finally melted, it’s hot.

Which makes it ice cream weather.

Cheesecake ice cream.

Which I made recently and just for good measure, added some red velvet cake crumbs (icing and all) from the cake I made last week.

Oh my, this was good.                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Red Velvet Cheesecake Ice Cream                                                                                                                                                                               

8 ounces cream cheese

1/2 cup sugar

pinch of salt

1 cup dairy sour cream

1 cup half and half cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups cut up red velvet cake                                                                                                                                                                                       

Cut the cream cheese into pieces and place in a food processor or electric mixer. Add the sugar and salt and process or mix at medium speed until well combined. Add the sour cream and blend it in thoroughly. Gradually add the half and half and blend it in thoroughly. Stir in the vanilla extract. Chill in the refrigerator for about an hour or until cold. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Just before the mixture is finally thick enough to place in the freezer, add the cake pieces and mix them in. Spoon into a container to freeze.

Makes about 6 cups

Banana Split with Honey-Fudge Sauce

I’ve just come back from some travels that included parts of Africa and Malaysia and I can tell you it was a feast for the eyes, ears and brain. 
  Some aspects — the poverty — were terribly painful to see, heartbreaking, eye-opening.  
 But so much was extraordinarily beautiful — rainforests thick with palms and thousands of different kinds of orchids. A mama rhinoceros and her baby crossing the road within ten feet of us. Chameleons with such bright aqua, orange or vermillion skin they looked fake, like some  high-end   souvenir from a natural history museum.   
 One of the biggest surprises were the banana trees. I shouldn’t actually say trees because although the local people we met called them that, bananas do not grow on trees. They are large herbaceous plants and the thick stalks and huge leaves only look like trees. 
 No matter. Bananas were everywhere. We were driving along any old road in the Seychelles when I noticed the banana flower in the photo and had to stop and take a picture. That purple, rounded triangle at the bottom is the part that produces flowers. Female flowers will develop the fruit, which grow in clusters that will eventually become “hands” of bananas like the red ones in the photo (each banana is called a finger). 
 There are many types of bananas and most of what we get in this country are the large Cavendish. Some markets also sell different kinds of small, fat bananas and occasionally I’ve seen some red ones. But in Africa and Asia there are so many different varieties available I stopped counting or trying to remember each one. No big Cavendish type. All the ones we saw were small, fragrant and sweet. 
 The worst part of the whole banana thing for me is — I am allergic. I can’t eat or even taste one! 
 I love bananas. I remember them from the old days (Ed says I ate my fair share by the time I met him). I remember what they taste like. I like the smell. I like to look at them. I like to cook with them. I’ve made  banana bread   more times  than you could imagine. 
 I couldn’t eat any of the bananas. But one day, my cousin who was traveling with us, ate 6, as if to make up for my lack. 
 She said they were very delicious indeed. 
 If you see any of those small bananas in the store, give them a try. They look, smell and, from what I hear, taste different than the common Cavendish. Don’t be put off by the brown spots. That’s the way they’re marketed throughout the parts of the world I just visited. That’s the way you’re supposed to eat them. 
 Sweet enough for a Valentine’s Day treat. 
 Or, if you wish, dressed up with ice cream and fudge sauce. 

  

  
 Banana Split with Honey-Fudge Sauce 

 1 tablespoon honey 
 2 teaspoons unsalted butter 
 1/4 cup whipping cream 
 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate 
 1 large or 2 small bananas 
 2 scoops vanilla ice cream 
 1/2 cup whipped cream 
 1/4 cup chopped almonds 
 2 fresh raspberries or strawberries 

  
 Place the honey, butter and cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until the butter has melted and bubbles form around the edges of the pan. Stir in the chocolate and remove the pan from the heat. Whisk the ingredients until the chocolate has melted and the sauce is smooth. Let cool. Slice the bananas and place the pieces on the bottom of two dessert plates. Top each with the ice cream. Pour the fudge sauce on top. Place half the whipped cream on top of each serving. Scatter the almonds on top and garnish with a raspberry or strawberry. Makes 2 servings

I’ve just come back from some travels that included parts of Africa and Malaysia and I can tell you it was a feast for the eyes, ears and brain.

Some aspects — the poverty — were terribly painful to see, heartbreaking, eye-opening.

But so much was extraordinarily beautiful — rainforests thick with palms and thousands of different kinds of orchids. A mama rhinoceros and her baby crossing the road within ten feet of us. Chameleons with such bright aqua, orange or vermillion skin they looked fake, like some high-end souvenir from a natural history museum. 

One of the biggest surprises were the banana trees. I shouldn’t actually say trees because although the local people we met called them that, bananas do not grow on trees. They are large herbaceous plants and the thick stalks and huge leaves only look like trees.

No matter. Bananas were everywhere. We were driving along any old road in the Seychelles when I noticed the banana flower in the photo and had to stop and take a picture. That purple, rounded triangle at the bottom is the part that produces flowers. Female flowers will develop the fruit, which grow in clusters that will eventually become “hands” of bananas like the red ones in the photo (each banana is called a finger).

There are many types of bananas and most of what we get in this country are the large Cavendish. Some markets also sell different kinds of small, fat bananas and occasionally I’ve seen some red ones. But in Africa and Asia there are so many different varieties available I stopped counting or trying to remember each one. No big Cavendish type. All the ones we saw were small, fragrant and sweet.

The worst part of the whole banana thing for me is — I am allergic. I can’t eat or even taste one!

I love bananas. I remember them from the old days (Ed says I ate my fair share by the time I met him). I remember what they taste like. I like the smell. I like to look at them. I like to cook with them. I’ve made banana bread more times than you could imagine.

I couldn’t eat any of the bananas. But one day, my cousin who was traveling with us, ate 6, as if to make up for my lack.

She said they were very delicious indeed.

If you see any of those small bananas in the store, give them a try. They look, smell and, from what I hear, taste different than the common Cavendish. Don’t be put off by the brown spots. That’s the way they’re marketed throughout the parts of the world I just visited. That’s the way you’re supposed to eat them.

Sweet enough for a Valentine’s Day treat.

Or, if you wish, dressed up with ice cream and fudge sauce.

Banana Split with Honey-Fudge Sauce

1 tablespoon honey

2 teaspoons unsalted butter

1/4 cup whipping cream

2 ounces bittersweet chocolate

1 large or 2 small bananas

2 scoops vanilla ice cream

1/2 cup whipped cream

1/4 cup chopped almonds

2 fresh raspberries or strawberries

Place the honey, butter and cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until the butter has melted and bubbles form around the edges of the pan. Stir in the chocolate and remove the pan from the heat. Whisk the ingredients until the chocolate has melted and the sauce is smooth. Let cool. Slice the bananas and place the pieces on the bottom of two dessert plates. Top each with the ice cream. Pour the fudge sauce on top. Place half the whipped cream on top of each serving. Scatter the almonds on top and garnish with a raspberry or strawberry. Makes 2 servings

Ataulfo Mango Ice Cream

Quick, before the ataulfo mangoes disappear until next year, get yourself to a market and get some! These are too juicy and sweet to miss. And they aren’t fibrous and stringy like the more common Tommy Atkins mangoes. The flesh is like butter. 
 If you don’t know what they are, or maybe you’ve been wondering what those small, flat, yellow and sort of oblong things in the bin are (the ones near the other, larger, green and red mangoes) — those are the Ataulfos. They turn from green to yellow as they ripen. 
 They are so worth buying. As anyone who has ever tasted one knows.  
 Don’t waste these mangoes on chutney or pie. They are too delicious to combine with too many other textures and flavors or bury under a crust. Ataulfos (also called “champagne” mangoes because they are suitable for a celebration) should be eaten as is, peeled and nibbled out of hand like a ripe summer peach. Just as is, as they say. 
 Or in the simplest preparations, like mixed with plain yogurt for a smoothie. Or sprinkled with lime juice and and pinch of cayenne, mint or ginger for a refreshing treat. 
 Or made into ice cream. Can there be anything better on a hot summer day? 

  
     
     Ataulfo Mango Ice Cream  

  
     
  2 ripe ataulfo mangoes   
  2-1/2 cups half and half   
  1/2 cup sugar  
  pinch of salt  
  1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract   
     
  Peel the mangoes and cut off as much flesh as possible. Place the mango flesh in a food processor and puree (it’s okay to leave small bits of pulp). Set it aside.   Cook the cream and sugar together in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes or until the sugar has dissolved. Let cool. Add the mango puree, salt and vanilla extract. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled. Mix in a commercial ice cream freezer according to manufacturer’s directions. Makes 5-6 cups     
   

Quick, before the ataulfo mangoes disappear until next year, get yourself to a market and get some! These are too juicy and sweet to miss. And they aren’t fibrous and stringy like the more common Tommy Atkins mangoes. The flesh is like butter.

If you don’t know what they are, or maybe you’ve been wondering what those small, flat, yellow and sort of oblong things in the bin are (the ones near the other, larger, green and red mangoes) — those are the Ataulfos. They turn from green to yellow as they ripen.

They are so worth buying. As anyone who has ever tasted one knows. 

Don’t waste these mangoes on chutney or pie. They are too delicious to combine with too many other textures and flavors or bury under a crust. Ataulfos (also called “champagne” mangoes because they are suitable for a celebration) should be eaten as is, peeled and nibbled out of hand like a ripe summer peach. Just as is, as they say.

Or in the simplest preparations, like mixed with plain yogurt for a smoothie. Or sprinkled with lime juice and and pinch of cayenne, mint or ginger for a refreshing treat.

Or made into ice cream. Can there be anything better on a hot summer day?

 

 Ataulfo Mango Ice Cream

 

2 ripe ataulfo mangoes

2-1/2 cups half and half

1/2 cup sugar

pinch of salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Peel the mangoes and cut off as much flesh as possible. Place the mango flesh in a food processor and puree (it’s okay to leave small bits of pulp). Set it aside. Cook the cream and sugar together in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes or until the sugar has dissolved. Let cool. Add the mango puree, salt and vanilla extract. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled. Mix in a commercial ice cream freezer according to manufacturer’s directions. Makes 5-6 cups

 

Strawberry Balsamic Ice Cream

It’s not too late to make ice cream is it? 
 Just kidding. Ice cream is always in season. 
 I made this one the other day after reading an  article  about Balsamic vinegar. Mostly it says what I have always believed:  don’t use Balsamic vinegar for everything . 
 When Balsamic vinegar was a hot, new trendy product, a whole lot of people were experimenting with it for almost every conceivable recipe. Mostly salads. But, like so many other ingredients, it has been overused. 
 Commercial Balsamic vinegars are fine for some — not all — salads and for marinades. 
 Aged, premium Balsamic vinegars are best as a condiment. Add a few drops to complement a sharp cheese (blue types, Parmesan, feta, etc.), bold greens (such as arugula), certain fresh fruit (like peaches and strawberries) or onto sizzling grilled steak (rather than, say, ketchup. Are you reading this Ed?) 
 And it is absolutely wonderful switched with traditional vanilla extract, for strawberry ice cream. 
 Strawberry Balsamic Ice Cream 
 3 cups half and half, light cream or whipping cream 
 2 cups finely diced strawberries 
 2/3 cup sugar 
 2 tablespoons premium Balsamic vinegar 
 3 large egg yolks 
 1/8 teaspoon salt 
 Heat 2 cups of the cream over medium heat until bubbles appear around the edges of the pan. Place the strawberries in a bowl and sprinkle with 3 tablespoons of the sugar and the Balsamic vinegar. Mix and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the remaining sugar, the egg yolks and salt at medium speed for 3-5 minutes or until light and thick. Gradually add the heated cream and mix the ingredients. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for 5-6 minutes or until thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. Pour in the remaining cream and blend it in thoroughly. Pour into a container and refrigerate until cold. Add the strawberries plus any juices that have accumulated. Freeze in an ice cream freezer according to manufacturer’s directions. Makes about one quart

It’s not too late to make ice cream is it?

Just kidding. Ice cream is always in season.

I made this one the other day after reading an article about Balsamic vinegar. Mostly it says what I have always believed: don’t use Balsamic vinegar for everything.

When Balsamic vinegar was a hot, new trendy product, a whole lot of people were experimenting with it for almost every conceivable recipe. Mostly salads. But, like so many other ingredients, it has been overused.

Commercial Balsamic vinegars are fine for some — not all — salads and for marinades.

Aged, premium Balsamic vinegars are best as a condiment. Add a few drops to complement a sharp cheese (blue types, Parmesan, feta, etc.), bold greens (such as arugula), certain fresh fruit (like peaches and strawberries) or onto sizzling grilled steak (rather than, say, ketchup. Are you reading this Ed?)

And it is absolutely wonderful switched with traditional vanilla extract, for strawberry ice cream.

Strawberry Balsamic Ice Cream

3 cups half and half, light cream or whipping cream

2 cups finely diced strawberries

2/3 cup sugar

2 tablespoons premium Balsamic vinegar

3 large egg yolks

1/8 teaspoon salt

Heat 2 cups of the cream over medium heat until bubbles appear around the edges of the pan. Place the strawberries in a bowl and sprinkle with 3 tablespoons of the sugar and the Balsamic vinegar. Mix and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the remaining sugar, the egg yolks and salt at medium speed for 3-5 minutes or until light and thick. Gradually add the heated cream and mix the ingredients. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for 5-6 minutes or until thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. Pour in the remaining cream and blend it in thoroughly. Pour into a container and refrigerate until cold. Add the strawberries plus any juices that have accumulated. Freeze in an ice cream freezer according to manufacturer’s directions. Makes about one quart

Almond Cookie Cups with Ginger Ice Cream

I’m old fashioned. I like dinner parties where we eat in the dining room and I use my good china and utensils and cloth napkins. It’s feels so lavish, a really nice break from the every-day stuff, and all the more welcome because I don’t do it very often.  I don’t mind the work. And in fact, the food I cook is mostly easy stuff I can prepare in advance, so that when the guests come (never more than 6 people), I can spend the time with them rather than fuss in the kitchen and miss all the conversation.  So, next weekend, when 4 of my friends will be at my house for dinner, I plan on serving a vegetable cream soup — maybe with fresh summer tomatoes — that I’ll make on Thursday and the main course will be a cold, poached salmon served with cool vegetables vinaigrette (all cooked by Friday, late afternoon).  Desserts are usually simple too, but I wanted to be a bit whimsical this time, so I started early and already have some of it stored away in the freezer: almond cookies from an old recipe that I molded into muffin tins (it could have been brioche molds or mini-tart pans) until they held their shape. I also made ginger ice cream, to fit inside those cookie cups.  It’s all done but for the garnish: a few snips of fresh mint from my garden (but you could add a sauce or some whipped cream or mashed fresh berries).  Just a few quick hors d’oeuvre and I’m done. All ahead of time.   Almond Cookie Cups with Ginger Ice Cream    the Cookie Cups:   4 ounces unsalted butter  6 tablespoons sugar  1/2 cup ground toasted almonds  1 teaspoon vanilla extract  2 egg whites at room temperature  1/3 cup all-purpose flour, sifted  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet. Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat for 1-2 minutes at medium speed or until well blended. Add the almonds, vanilla extract, egg whites and flour and blend them in thoroughly. For each cookie, spoon some of the batter onto the cookie sheet and spread with the back of a spoon into a thin circle about 3-inches in diameter. Bake for 6-8 minutes or the edges have browned. Carefully and quickly remove each cookie and slip into a muffin tin or brioche mold. Let cool for 5 minutes, then place on a cake rack to cool completely. Fill with ice cream and serve. These may be frozen. NOTE: for best results and to make it easy, bake 2 cookies at a time. Makes 12   Ginger Ice Cream   4 cups half and half cream  1/2 cup sugar  4 large egg yolks  3/4 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger  1/4 cup ginger liqueur (or 2 tablespoons liquid from preserved ginger), optional  Heat 2 cups of the cream over medium heat until bubbles appear around the edges of the pan. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the sugar and egg yolks at medium speed for 3-5 minutes or until light and thick. Gradually add the heated cream and blend the ingredients for about one minute or until smooth. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for 5-6 minutes or until thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. Strain the mixture into a bowl, pour in the remaining cream and blend it in thoroughly. Refrigerate until cold. Stir in the vanilla extract and the ginger. Freeze in an ice cream freezer according to manufacturer’s directions. When the mixture is almost completely frozen, pour in the liqueur, if used, and freeze completely. Makes about 1-1/2 quarts  P.S. I am part of a group called The Kosher Connection, which includes kosher food bloggers throughout the world. This recipe is a first in a series of a monthly “recipe challenge.” You can follow all the recipes on Twitter with #kosherrecipes.  For other fabulous recipes from our team see:   Fudge Bars    Forbidden Black Rice with Cherries    Chocolate and Vanilla Twist Pops    Frozen Chocolate Crunch Cake    Bourbon Peach Milk Shake    Raspberry Avocado Sorbet    Cornflake Crunch Ice Cream    Iced Cappuccino Baked Alaska    Dairy Free Halvah Pistachio Ice Cream    BonBons    Black Forest Kulfis    Iced Mochaccino    Strawberry Float    Peppermint Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches

I’m old fashioned. I like dinner parties where we eat in the dining room and I use my good china and utensils and cloth napkins. It’s feels so lavish, a really nice break from the every-day stuff, and all the more welcome because I don’t do it very often.

I don’t mind the work. And in fact, the food I cook is mostly easy stuff I can prepare in advance, so that when the guests come (never more than 6 people), I can spend the time with them rather than fuss in the kitchen and miss all the conversation.

So, next weekend, when 4 of my friends will be at my house for dinner, I plan on serving a vegetable cream soup — maybe with fresh summer tomatoes — that I’ll make on Thursday and the main course will be a cold, poached salmon served with cool vegetables vinaigrette (all cooked by Friday, late afternoon).

Desserts are usually simple too, but I wanted to be a bit whimsical this time, so I started early and already have some of it stored away in the freezer: almond cookies from an old recipe that I molded into muffin tins (it could have been brioche molds or mini-tart pans) until they held their shape. I also made ginger ice cream, to fit inside those cookie cups.

It’s all done but for the garnish: a few snips of fresh mint from my garden (but you could add a sauce or some whipped cream or mashed fresh berries).

Just a few quick hors d’oeuvre and I’m done. All ahead of time.

Almond Cookie Cups with Ginger Ice Cream

the Cookie Cups:

4 ounces unsalted butter

6 tablespoons sugar

1/2 cup ground toasted almonds

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 egg whites at room temperature

1/3 cup all-purpose flour, sifted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet. Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat for 1-2 minutes at medium speed or until well blended. Add the almonds, vanilla extract, egg whites and flour and blend them in thoroughly. For each cookie, spoon some of the batter onto the cookie sheet and spread with the back of a spoon into a thin circle about 3-inches in diameter. Bake for 6-8 minutes or the edges have browned. Carefully and quickly remove each cookie and slip into a muffin tin or brioche mold. Let cool for 5 minutes, then place on a cake rack to cool completely. Fill with ice cream and serve. These may be frozen. NOTE: for best results and to make it easy, bake 2 cookies at a time. Makes 12

Ginger Ice Cream

4 cups half and half cream

1/2 cup sugar

4 large egg yolks

3/4 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger

1/4 cup ginger liqueur (or 2 tablespoons liquid from preserved ginger), optional

Heat 2 cups of the cream over medium heat until bubbles appear around the edges of the pan. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the sugar and egg yolks at medium speed for 3-5 minutes or until light and thick. Gradually add the heated cream and blend the ingredients for about one minute or until smooth. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for 5-6 minutes or until thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. Strain the mixture into a bowl, pour in the remaining cream and blend it in thoroughly. Refrigerate until cold. Stir in the vanilla extract and the ginger. Freeze in an ice cream freezer according to manufacturer’s directions. When the mixture is almost completely frozen, pour in the liqueur, if used, and freeze completely. Makes about 1-1/2 quarts

P.S. I am part of a group called The Kosher Connection, which includes kosher food bloggers throughout the world. This recipe is a first in a series of a monthly “recipe challenge.” You can follow all the recipes on Twitter with #kosherrecipes.

For other fabulous recipes from our team see:

Fudge Bars

Forbidden Black Rice with Cherries

Chocolate and Vanilla Twist Pops

Frozen Chocolate Crunch Cake

Bourbon Peach Milk Shake

Raspberry Avocado Sorbet

Cornflake Crunch Ice Cream

Iced Cappuccino Baked Alaska

Dairy Free Halvah Pistachio Ice Cream

BonBons

Black Forest Kulfis

Iced Mochaccino

Strawberry Float

Peppermint Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches

Ice cream: chocolate or vanilla?

A recent Harris poll of 2183 people showed that America’s favorite ice cream flavor is chocolate (28%).

It figures. I like vanilla better (26%). My husband Ed always says I am a great person to poll to figure out if a product will be popular or not. I always pick the thing that isn’t. Like the patterns of stuff I picked (dishes and so on) when I got married, which have all been discontinued because not so many people wanted them.

Even more to the point, my real favorite ice cream flavor is peach, with only 5% of Americans with me on that.

Apparently, Democrats prefer vanilla a little more than chocolate. It’s the oposite with Republicans.

They needed a poll to realize that the Democrats and Republicans would disagree? 

Well, this is an area on which we could compromise right? For example, wouldn’t everyone, whatever their political point of view, like a Black and White Shake? The perfect summer sweet “smoothie” made from vanilla ice cream, chocolate syrup and milk.

Black and White Milkshake

1 cup vanilla ice cream

1/4 cup chocolate syrup

1/2 cup whole milk

Place ingredients in a blender and blend for about one minute or until well mixed and thick. Makes one

I’d vote for this, wouldn’t you?

Breast Milk Ice Cream?

My daughter Meredith, who is a post-partum doula and childbirth educator (you can see her website here: www.amotherisborn.com) sent me a post about breast milk ice cream.

You can find that one here: http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/2K1ZR5/blogs.babble.com/being-pregnant/2011/02/25/baby-gaga-breast-milk-ice-cream-coming-to-a-sweet-shoppe-near-you/

What do you make of this?

Is it okay? Is it for real? Is it kosher?

Is there as safety (USDA type) inspection for lactating women?