Recently Smitten Kitchen wrote about the Palm Springs Date Shake. I’d never heard of a date shake before, but I have a bag of dates in my pantry that I never use, and I (suppose I’ll admit that I) always have two or three kinds of ice cream in the freezer. There was no good reason for me not to try a date shake, and the recipe required minimal effort, which is how much I want to exert on my cooking nowadays.
I don’t usually make milkshakes. They require an obscene amount of ice cream in them, and it’s easier to just eat the ice cream. However, this milkshake was surprisingly good. I always forget how delicious dates are; when I eat them, I wonder why I don’t eat them more often. The dates made the milkshake taste honeyed to me, even though there’s no honey included. The nutmeg was subtle but delicious.
The recipe is incredibly simple. Only thing to remember is to chop and soak the dates in boiling water for at least 15 minutes, and that can be done well in advance (which is best, in my opinion, so you can chill them and have the coldest milkshake possible).
I don’t know if this is healthier than normal milkshakes, but I’m going to pretend that it is since it contains fruit. It’s definitely worth making more than once.
I’ve given up dairy for the past few weeks, cutting all butter and milk from my cooking and my diet. It’s more than just not eating obvious foods like butter and cheese and milk and ice cream, though. Milk is an ingredient in so many things!
I don’t miss much overall. I can pass up most goodies that appear at work – although one hungry day someone brought in donuts, which I eyed them longingly all morning. But in general, I cook enough that I usually have tasty, satisfying food around. It’s still summer in St. Louis, though, so what I do seriously miss is ice cream.
I didn’t feel like bothering to make sorbet, which would be fruity or chocolatey at best. I wanted something more vanilla-y, something more creamy, something with a little more heft than a fruit ice. I knew that I wouldn’t be satisfied with sorbet right now.
While looking for dairy-free or vegan ice cream recipes, I stumbled across this Blueberry Crisp Ice Cream recipe that sounded promising. Blueberry sorbet had been my goal before I’d decided I needed ice cream. I expected the high-fat coconut milk would be a very satisfying replacement for actual heavy cream.
A while back when it was cooler and I was running every other day, I decided that I wanted to prevent leg cramps by increasing my potassium intake through eating banana ice cream. Right after I made Roasted Banana Ice Cream, I stopped running due to the early St. Louis summer heat and humidity. I lost interest in bananas and let Alex eat most of the batch before I tried it. I’m glad I didn’t let him eat it all, though!
Warm weather continues to call for ice cream. When I was on an ice cream buying kick last summer, one of my favorite flavors was pistachio-almond ice cream. I had an evening routine that consisted of a jog, followed by dinner, reading, and that ice cream. Pistachios are one of my favorite foods that I only discovered as an adult, and I love any opportunity to enjoy them, such as in that ice cream. And in baklava. And in granola.
Thus, you know that I was excited to make Dried Apricot-Pistachio Ice Cream last week. It should also be no surprise that we finished off the ice cream last night.
After a cool spring, and a relatively mild June so far, St. Louis reached the mid-90s this week, and it’s warm again this weekend. It’s definitely summer now, and this heat is exactly the kind of weather that calls for a granita.
I made Espresso Granita when I went to visit my family late last month. Alex doesn’t drink coffee, and I thought a full batch of granita would be a bit much for me to eat alone. Besides, caffeine keeps me up at night if I have any during the day. Vacation was the ideal time to make it, since I’d have help eating it, no need to go to bed early, and warm Texas weather to make the dessert refreshing. Besides, the recipe is incredibly easy.
Today’s high in St. Louis was 81F. Tomorrow’s high is 97F. Is it any wonder that I have ice cream on the mind?
Recently I’ve shifted my obsession with ice cream to a preoccupation with sorbet. I decided I needed to switch from rich and heavy ice cream to something lighter, so sorbet it was. Sorbet is dairy-free, egg-free, and generally low in fat, and often contains fruit. Sure, it still contains a lot of sugar – but this is dessert. It’s not supposed to be too healthy.
I love fruit, but many of my favorite sweets are chocolate. One of the first sorbets I decided to make was a Chocolate-Orange Sorbet, so I could eat something that was clearly dessert.
At the moment, I have 3 different sorbets in the freezer, with plans to make yet another ice cream this week. This is timely, because although today’s high in St. Louis was 63, Tuesday’s high is forecast to be 90! I’m already planning out light meals that require a minimum of cooking, so I can eat sorbet or ice cream every night.
I’ve been working through David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop. There are so many tasty recipes and flavor combinations to choose from, but the last ice cream I made was Anise Ice Cream. I hesitated to try it at first. Anise takes similar to licorice, and Alex and I really don’t like licorice. However, I recalled how much I liked the Pan de Muerto I made in late 2011, and how pleasant that bread was with the inclusion of anise in the dough. If I liked it then, wouldn’t I like it now?
[I’d never researched licorice before writing this post. As it happens, licorice is not made from fennel seed or anise, although the latter is sometimes used to reinforce the licorice flavor in candies. That explains why I like fennel and anise despite hating licorice!]
Another ice cream recipe that I couldn’t wait to make was Milk-Chocolate Guinness Ice Cream. This was yet another recipe that I happened to have the ingredients for. I had milk chocolate left from the hot chocolate mix I made in the winter, and had Guinness left from St. Patrick’s Day. [Both of those seem so long ago!] As with the Date, Rum, and Pecan Ice Cream, if I turned the ingredients into ice cream, they’d be a little easier to move!
Of the handful of recipes I’ve tried from The Perfect Scoop, this is my favorite so far. This was a very easy recipe to make. Simply make the custard; mix hot custard into chocolate to until it melts; add cream and beer; chill; churn; and freeze.
I regret that it has been over a month since I’ve introduced you to a new recipe that I’ve made. Unfortunately, I haven’t had much time to blog nor cook recently. In fact, the meals I made over the long Labor Day weekend are the first that I’ve made in two and a half weeks. During the past month, we’ve both changed residences and gone on vacation.
The apartment that we moved from had plenty of room for all my kitchenware (primarily because my kitchenware took over the hall closet), a decent pantry, and an uneven and unreliable oven that liked to bake hot (and liked to spike up to 550F if you set the temperature at 450F). A large kitchen is really what made the old place tolerable, and so I’m thrilled to have spent the weekend unpacking and organizing my kitchen (in a house). I look forward to cooking a lot here.
Until this weekend, the only thing I’d made was a batch of brownies – my go-to recipe to see how my oven bakes. I took full advantage of 3 days off; I made homemade cinnamon rolls, oven-baked ribs, and Alton Brown’s recipe for baked beans. My new oven is electric and runs a little warm, but I don’t know how much of that is just the result of how an electric oven cycles on and off. I still don’t have much inspiration, but it’s been a lot of fun cooking again.
I used the lure of homemade ice cream to entice our friends to help us move. With the heat this summer, ice cream is something I’ve been particularly excited about. (Did I tell you that at one point this year, I had 5 cartons of ice cream in my freezer?) I ordered David Lebovitz’s book The Perfect Scoop and promptly found a couple of great ice cream recipes to make.