Thursday, October 31, 2013
Dale and I have come to the conclusion that we can never make dinner on Mondays. We like to plan our meals for the week and always include one for each weekday. But it never fails that we end up running some errand or working late or meeting up with someone or spending way way too long in the consumer culture Halloween store black hole, looking for a plastic skeleton to spookily hang on our front porch and candy to hand out to the little ones. We inevitably end up grabbing pizza or tacos or whatever else is easy and quick and actually available on a Monday at 9:00 PM... because we waited too long to eat and got all hangry.
I have similar experiences with store bought ice cream. Virtually every time I am at the grocery store, I head to the frozen food aisle in search of something sweet. But the flavors are either too generic or just the wrong combination of flavors. I hate when I read the description on the tub and something sounds delicious until I get to the last component, which most often ends up ruining the entire thing for me. It's like when you go shopping and see an awesome dress that you would totally try it on if only it didn't have that weird buckle thing on the shoulder that's not at all necessary and pretty much ruins it. Yeah, it's exactly like that. Anyway, even though I never find the ice cream I really want, I continue to traipse to the aisle and gaze at the massive selection and settle for something I wasn't looking for or leave empty handed.
You'd think I would have just bought an ice cream maker by now, but alas, I have not. My kitchen doesn't offer much in the way of real estate, and the last thing it needs is another gadget. So in the aftermath of a recent failed ice cream hunt, I decided it was officially time to give the no-churn thing a try. And holy moly is it a thing. A delicious, creamy, sweet thing. It's sort of a play on semifreddo, substituting sweetened condensed milk for the zabaglione (some versions also include meringue). I am probably definitely in love with it. And so was everyone else who tried it.
Since fall is here, I decided to pit warm flavors--bourbon, walnuts, sorghum molasses--against the cold. It was the perfect combination. Boozy and nutty with sparks of exceptional syrupy sweetness. Dale and Thomas (our temporary roommate) devoured it on the most precious ice cream cones (which also happen to be gluten-free), and I reveled in the glory of my creation. It was pretty epic. Especially the part where grown men eat ice cream from tiny cake cones. It was the best, really.
Bourbon + Walnut + Sorghum Swirl No-Churn Ice Cream
Note: Go for a nice bourbon here, as it's the primary flavor and what makes this ice cream so delicious. I ended up using a touch over 1/4 cup of bourbon, but I (and my better half) like a pretty good kick. Of course, feel free to adjust to your tastes.
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
3+ Tbsp. bourbon (see note above)
100 g (1 cup) raw walnut halves
480 ml (2 cups) heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup sorghum syrup
Toast walnuts in a skillet over medium heat or on a baking sheet in a 350 degree F oven for 6-8 minutes until fragrant. Once walnuts are cool enough to handle, roughly chop.
In a large bowl, whisk together the condensed milk and bourbon. Stir in walnuts, reserving a small handful for garnish. In another bowl, beat cream to medium-soft peaks then fold into the bourbon mixture until thoroughly combined. Pour half the mixture into a loaf pan. Drizzle 2 Tbsp. of the sorghum syrup over top and run a knife in a zigzag motion to create a swirl effect. Top with the remaining ice cream mixture and repeat the drizzling/swirling of the sorghum syrup. Cover and freeze until firm, preferably over night. Keel over.
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Weekend afternoons at our house are one of my favorite things these days. The sun comes in through the kitchen window just right. The neighborhood is the perfect combination of lively and quiet. We do things like plant, hang, lounge, bake, craft, create, and nap. Lately, it's been particularly delightful. With the cooler weather comes open windows and patio chilling. And now that our house is pretty well together, I hope to have more daytime visitors.
This past weekend, Dale and I saw friends who were in from out of town. Rather than go out for brunch, we decided to make a Saturday afternoon feast of sorts. We had fresh coffee, Chemexed by Dale, which is a treat for me since most mornings I make it myself, and it's just never quite as good. We also had a veggie-loaded frittata with zucchini, mushrooms, tomatoes, and things. I made some butternut squash pancakes with buckwheat and oat flours. And Dale made these damn delicious Bloody Marys. Because my friend can't eat gluten (unless she wants to pass out and feel like poop), everything we made was gluten-free, including the Bloody Marys. It's sort of weird to me that Worcestershire sauce is not gluten-free and is typically not vegan either, so Dale left it out and came up with this amazing concoction, which I have officially declared my favorite Bloody Mary of all time. We found the cutest gluten-free salami sticks at Whole Foods, which we used to garnish. These Bloody Marys fit in perfectly with the rest of our epic brunch, with the chatting, and with the porch sitting, perfect weather afternoon.
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
I sliced, peeled, and froze a boat load of peaches while they were still in season a couple of months ago. I knew that at some point in the late summer or fall, I would want their sweet, juicy, peachy goodness. After I extracted the boat load from the freezer, cooked them down, and made these popsicles, I had a mason jar full of leftover cooked peaches. So they seemed like the perfect thing to pile atop this cake, what with its tender cornmeal crunch, subtle honeyed sweetness, and almond overtones. Of course October is not the time for fresh peaches, but no worries, any fruit or jam or cream or whatever you like will do as a topping to this beauty. Although, an unadorned slice of this cake is just as honest and delicious. Happy fall!