White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Ice Cream (#63)

5 01 2014

I was tidying the pantry cupboard the other day and came across a secret stash of macadamia nuts from our November getaway to Maui.  November has always been the prime time for the Official Taster and I to sneak away — it’s the greyest, wettest, and absolutely most dreary month in Vancouver.  Ordinarily, we’re the type to throw on our backpacks and head off to explore unfamiliar places.  But the past Fall had been such a whirlwind of activity for both of us that, this time around, we needed a wheely-suitcase holiday.  Maui it was then.

Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii, sunset

A recursive sunset from our hotel in Lahaina, Maui.

Of course, any trip to Hawaii requires loading up on macadamia nuts.  (Travel tip: forego the overpriced gift shops!  Your best bet is to buy your mac nuts at Costco or Walmart.)  These rich, buttery nuts are a bit of an indulgence.  They’re loaded with fat and calories, but they’re oh so tasty when whirled into white chocolate ice cream.

Mauna Loa, macadamia nuts, macadamiass

Load up on these bad boys when you’re in Hawaii!

roasted macadamia nuts, macadamias, mac nuts

Yum!

Toss your New Year’s resolution out the window and whirl up a batch of ice cream!

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Ice Cream (Makes about 1.25 L)

2 eggs
1/4 cup white sugar
3 cups half-and-half cream
Pinch of sea salt
8 ounces quality white chocolate, finely chopped
3/4 cup chopped macadamia nuts (I used lightly roasted and salted ones)

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Horlicks Ice Cream (#62)

1 10 2013

When we had a week of surprise sunshine and warm temperatures earlier this month, I had been hopeful that summer would extend right through to the end of September.  But alas, Raincouver is back with a vengeance.  The last few days have seen howling winds and sideways rain.  Welcome, Fall.  It’s officially time to switch from iced coffee in the morning to a warming drink instead.  The last couple of days, I’ve been drinking Horlicks with a shot of espresso.  Hor-what you ask?!

Horlicks is a malt drink mix.  Though it was developed by two English-born brothers in the United States, I tend to think of Horlicks as a “Chinese drink”.  It’s quite popular in Hong Kong, and hence it became a staple in many Chinese immigrant households in Vancouver.  Other kids drank Nestle Quik growing up.  I drank Horlicks.

Horlicks malted milk drink mix

Horlicks malt drink mix.  Delicious and nutritious!

Horlicks is actually quite good for, with 45% of your daily recommended calcium and 10% of your daily iron in each serving.  When mixed into a basic ice cream custard, it makes for an incredibly rich, delectable, and — dare I say — healthy dessert!

Horlicks Ice Cream (makes about 1.25 L)

3/4 cup Horlicks powder
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
3 cups half-and-half cream
Pinch of sea salt Read the rest of this entry »





Rhubarb Crumble Ice Cream (#61)

8 09 2013

My mother in law stopped by yesterday and brought along a huge bag of goodies from her garden: beautiful heirloom tomatoes, yellow cherry tomatoes, amazingly fragrant basil, green beans, and rhubarb.   Rhubarb typically peaks in the spring, but I guess when you have your own garden, anything goes… or grows!

I suppose I could have gotten creative with the tomatoes or the basil (green bean ice cream would have been pushing it), but I thought a rhubarb ice cream recipe would be safest.  I have already developed recipes for Strawberry Rhubarb Ice Cream, Rhubarb Ginger Ice Cream, and most recently Rhubarb Orange Star Anise Frozen Yogurt.  What next?

I scanned the kitchen and zeroed in on a canister of old fashioned rolled oats I had on the counter.  With autumn just around the corner, a Rhubarb Crumble Ice Cream was in order.

I love rhubarb crumble, and I love it even more when it’s topped with a huge scoop of vanilla ice cream.  Trouble is, the warm fruit usually melts the ice cream.  Unless you inhale your dessert, you end up with a bowl of soupy, fruity cream!  Solution?  An ice cream recipe that captures the sweet-tangy taste of cooked rhubarb and the satisfying crunch of a buttery crumble topping.  Enjoy.

Cook down rhubarb, orange zest, OJ, and sugar...

Rhubarb, orange zest, sugar, and orange juice…

rhubarb orange compote

… cooked into a luscious compote.

crumble topping

A quick crumble topping made of oats, flour, butter, and brown sugar.

Rhubarb Crumble Ice Cream  (Makes about 1.25 L)

Ice Cream:

2 eggs
3/4 cup white sugar
3 cups half-and-half cream
Pinch of sea salt
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Rhubarb Orange Compote (makes 1 cup):

2.5 cups of chopped rhubarb
1/2 cup of sugar
Juice and zest of one orange

Crumble Topping

1/4 cup of butter
1/3 cup of flour
1/3 cup of old fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup of brown sugar
Pinch of salt

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Vegan Mixed Berry “Ice Cream” (#60-D/E)

12 07 2013

Apologies!  I realize it’s been quite a while since I’ve posted a new recipe.  But now that we’re into July and there’s nothing in the forecast but sunshine, it’s definitely time to kick up ice cream consumption into high gear.

Environment Canada weather forescast

Nothing but sunshine in Vancouver’s summer weather forecast!

There’s nothing better than a huge bowl of creamy goodness when it’s 27 degrees out.  Except if you have a dairy or egg allergy or if you are vegan.

That’s where alternative frozen treats come in.  Walk into any grocery store and dairy-free and egg-free options abound — there’s rice milk ice cream, nut milk ice cream, soy milk ice cream, and coconut milk ice cream.  But personally, I’ve been pretty disappointed with alternative ice creams.  The taste seems artificial and the texture far too gummy.  And brands that pass the taste and texture test are usually pretty pricey, up to $9.00 a pint.  Solution?  Make your own, of course!

There are two routes for making dairy-free/egg-free/vegan ice cream at home:

  1. Use a non-dairy milk as the base (e.g. rice, nut, soy, or coconut milk)
  2. Use frozen banana as the base.

I’ve explored the first option (check out my recipes for Banana Bread Ice Cream, which has the option of using soy milk, and Purple Yam and Coconut Ice Cream, which uses both soy and coconut milk), so I figured it’s time to start exploring the latter.  The method is super simple and you don’t even need to have an ice cream maker!  For this particular recipe, it was just a matter of whirling up frozen, ripe bananas and mixed berries.  Done.  Ripe bananas are so sweet that you don’t even need to add any extra sugar, which is a bonus.

Give this recipe a try and let me know what you think!

Vegan Mixed Berry Ice Cream (Makes about 1 L)

4 very ripe bananas, peeled, sliced, and frozen overnight
2 cups of mixed berries, frozen overnight (I used a combination of blueberries and strawberries)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon vodka

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Huffington Post’s and 52 Scoops’ Best Summer Ice Cream Flavours – Top Picks for 2013

15 06 2013

The Huffington Post recently posted its editors’ top 10 picks for best summer ice cream flavours.  With the exception of one pint of Ben & Jerry’s, all others were small-batch, artisanal companies.  The line up of flavours looks AMAZING.  But the trouble is you might have a hard time finding these brands in your local supermarket.  And even though several companies offer online sales, I doubt many of you will actually do that.

So what do you do if you have your heart set on one of these gourmet ice cream flavours and you can’t find it locally?  You make your own, of course!  That’s the beauty of having your own ice cream maker.

Here’s the line-up of Huff Post’s Top 10 picks, paired with a 52 Scoops recipe that might do the trick when that ice cream craving hits.

#1 Craving Coffee?

cinnamon coffee ice cream

Huff Post’s #1:  Steve’s Cold Brewed Cinnamon Coffee Ice Cream (Photo Credit: Damon Dahlen/The Huffington Post)

The Official Taster says: "This is perfect for my coffee addiction!"

The Official Taster says: “Try 52 Scoops’ Vietnamese Coffee Ice Cream

.

#2 Want a Hit of Cinnamon?

Honey Cinnamon Ice Cream

Huff Post’s #2: Snoqualmie’s Honey Cinnamon Ice Cream (Photo Credit: Damon Dahlen/The Huffington Post)

Oatmeal Cinnamon Ice Cream Sandwiches

The Official Taster says: “Make Saigon Cinnamon Ice Cream Sandwiches!  Or, just make the ice cream.”

.

#3 Need a Pucker?

Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream, lemon curd ice cream

Huff Post’s #3: Jeni’s Juniper & Lemon Curd Ice Cream (Photo Credit: Damon Dahlen/The Huffington Post)

Lemon ricotta ice cream

The Official Taster says: “Pucker up with Lemon Ricotta Ice Cream!

.

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Chocolate Raspberry Frozen Yogurt (#59-Y)

11 06 2013

There are a lot of people out there who don’t like yogurt.  For many, it’s the characteristic tang of yogurt that’s the deal breaker.  The solution?  Chocolate.  And lots of it.

This frozen yogurt recipe calls for a whopping 3/4 cup of Dutch cocoa powder — the same amount as in my recipe for Ultra Decadent Chocolate Ice Cream, which I made waaaay back in Week #5.  I assure you that the deep, chocolatey taste of cocoa powder will mask any hint of tang in the yogurt.  Even if you have the most discerning palette, hyper-sensitive sour taste buds, and can pick out even the slightest whisper of tang in your food, you will likely attribute that taste to the sweet-tart macerated raspberries that are churned throughout the frozen yogurt.

Rather than using 2% plain Greek yogurt (Oikos brand – 130 calories, 3.5 g fat, 17 g protein per 1/2 cup) as I did with my last two frozen yogurt recipes, I gave 3% plain regular yogurt (Astro brand – 80 calories, 4 g fat, 5 g protein per 1/2 cup) a try this week to see if there’d be any difference in using a thinner yogurt, albeit one with a slightly higher fat content.

Astro 3% plain yogurt

3% plain regular yogurt has fewer calories and is cheaper than 2% plain Greek yogurt, but doesn’t compromise on taste and texture in frozen yogurt recipes.

Results?  Taste: AWESOME.  Texture: AWESOME.  Granted, I ought to test this recipe using both 2% Greek yogurt and 3% regular yogurt and do a side-by-side comparison, but based on this recipe alone, I’m convinced I could use either variety in my frozen yogurt recipes and have fantastic results.  Bonus: regular yogurt is usually cheaper than Greek yogurt!

(Readers: please let me know if you try this recipe using fat-free, 1%, or full-fat varieties of yogurt.  I’d be very interested in hearing about your results!)

Chocolate Raspberry Frozen Yogurt  (Makes about 1 L)

For the Chocolate Frozen Yogurt:

3/4 c Dutch processed cocoa powder
1/2 cup white sugar
3 cups of plain yogurt

For the Macerated Raspberries:

1 cup fresh raspberries
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 tablespoon vodka

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Strawberry Balsamic Frozen Yogurt with Balsamic Syrup (#58-Y)

20 05 2013

The Victoria Day Long Weekend calls for an impromptu dinner party, and an impromptu dinner party calls for quick, simple dishes:

French bread, tapenade, olives, bruschetta

Olives, bruschetta, tapenade, and crusty French bread.  (Pick up from the deli and ask the bakery to slice the bread for you.)

fennel orange salad


Fennel and orange salad with lemon olive oil dressing.  (Pre-washed spring mix is such a time saver!)

Linguine with clams, pasta with clams


Bucatini with Clams (An easy and impressive main with just 12 minutes of cooking time!)

And to finish, Strawberry Balsamic Frozen Yogurt.  But I’ll save that photo for the end of this post, along with the Official Taster’s comments :)

If you haven’t had strawberries with balsamic vinegar before, you must.  They are a classic and wonderfully complementary pairing, with the depth and tang of balsamic vinegar bringing out the sweetness of the strawberries.  Absolutely divine!

The recipe itself is deceptively simple: whirl together four ingredients, chill, and churn.  It’s fantastic served on its own, but dress it up with a drizzle of homemade balsamic syrup for that additional WOW factor.

Store any leftover syrup in a jar in the fridge — it will keep indefinitely.  The syrup will be very thick when it’s cold, so warm it up for a few seconds in the microwave before using it.  Try it drizzled over asparagus or a tomato bocconcini salad.

Strawberry Balsamic Frozen Yogurt with Balsamic Syrup  (Makes about 1.25 L)

For the frozen yogurt:

1 lb strawberries
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup white sugar
3 cups of 2% plain Greek yogurt

For the balsamic syrup:

1 cup balsamic vinegar

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