June 29, 2008

Wild Canada

When asked to describe Canadian cuisine I always struggle to come up with an exact definition. Instead of a particular style of cooking I find that Canada has certain ingredients that are distinct but can be used in many different ways. I think of the obvious things like maple syrup and back bacon, (aka Canadian bacon) but I also think of things like smoked salmon, venison, wild rice, (which is actually not a rice but a grass) mustard, (did you know Canada grows 90% of the world’s mustard?) morels, wild berries, fiddleheads, ice wine and wild turkey. From that short list I think it’s evident that Canadian cuisine is really made of natural resources rather than cooking techniques or particular dishes, (although I suppose you could argue for certain things like poutine and Nanaimo bars).

Jasmine of Confessions of a Cardamom Addict is hosting Mmmm Canada to celebrate the foods that make up this great country and is asking for submissions of savoury foods that taste like Canada. There’s also a sweet version of this event which is being hosted by Jennifer of The Domestic Goddess for Sugar High Friday, (which I had high hopes of participating in as well, but it’s just not going to happen. Remember how I used to be a Daring Baker? I think they’re kicking me out for lack of participation…).

For my submission I’ve prepared Hunter’s Wild Turkey which is a riff on Hunter’s Chicken. I’ve also paired it with wild rice, to make it extra Canadian. Ideally all of the ingredients would have come from my backyard, but I can only make such a claim for the wild turkey. Dad, (pictured here with his catch) got his turkey hunting license this spring after sitting through what I can only assume was a thoroughly engrossing afternoon, (snore) on the rules and regulations of turkey hunting. He then set out into the vast yonder that is the back yard and returned not too long afterwards with dinner! Many dinners in fact… wild turkeys are not little. He butchered it himself and cut it into appropriate dinner sizes before freezing it, ready to pull out later. I wasn’t home when the actual turkey catching happened so he made sure to save some for me. And it’s a good thing he did because wild turkey is tasty! Some of you are probably wondering if it’s really any different than the turkey you have for Thanksgiving and I would say yes, it is. Wild turkeys are, as their name suggests, wild, and that means they do a lot of running around which results in more muscle building than the average bear, (or turkey). The meat is therefore initially not as tender, but like any tough cut of meat, it can be turned into something delicious with the help of a long bath in the oven, (you know, braising). Gobble gobble!

Hunter’s Wild Turkey

1 ½ cup chopped shiitake mushrooms

2 T olive oil

1 T butter

Wild turkey pieces, (for this dish I used a breast and thigh)

1 large onion, diced

1 14oz can cherry tomatoes with juice

2/3 cup red wine

1 garlic clove

1 tsp dried rosemary

1 tsp smoky paprika

Salt and pepper

2 carrots, cut into batons

Chicken stock, as needed

Preheat oven to 375F. Heat the oil and butter in a flameproof casserole dish, (dutch oven) and sauté turkey over medium heat until browned. Remove turkey and add onions and mushrooms and cook until soft, (around 5 min). Add the tomatoes and juice, wine, garlic and herbs and spices. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Add the turkey back in, cover the pot and put it in the oven. Since wild turkey does a lot of running around and whatnot the meat is much tougher than regular turkey or chicken and must therefore be simmered for a long time to become tender. I cooked this one for about 3 hours, checking on it every now and then and adding chicken stock as needed as the liquid evaporated. When the turkey is done it should be tender and falling off the bone. Near the end of cooking, add in the carrots and cook until just soft. Serve with wild rice.

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June 24, 2008

Twittering or Something... Hey Look, Cookies!

There was a time when I put up new posts almost every other day. It has been quite a while since that happened. Rest assured I haven’t abandoned Jumbo Empanadas for another blog, I’m posting elsewhere just as infrequently as I’m posting here. Today I’m going to give you a snippet of some of my other articles, scattered as they are across the blogosphere, it’s like my version of twittering, (which I don’t completely understand anyways… I had a BLT for lunch, is that how it works?).

To start things off I've got a review of Pure Food, a new cookbook writte by Greece born, Canadian celebrity chef Christine Cushing. According to Cushing there are 5 elements that she considered when choosing recipes for this book and those were: Flavour, Quality of Ingredients, Seasonality, Ease of Preparation and Health. The resulting dishes can be described as fresh and delicious such as the Strawberry mango Mojito Salad pictured above.

Read the full review and get the recipe for Strawberry Mango Mojito Salad here!

On the FoodTv Canada blog I’ve previously posted about my love of New Generation Sushi, which is in my opinion one of the best sushi joints in the Annex, (Toronto) so when New Generation opened a second restaurant, New Generation Grill Fusion, I was looking forward to trying it out. As you can read in my review of the Korean version of New Gen, I was not so impressed and I think I’ll just stick with my sushi from now on.

Read the review here!

Over on the FoodieView site I’ve written a round up of cherry recipes. Cherries have a special place in my heart because ever since I was born I’ve spent part of every summer in my Grandparents cherry orchard. As soon as I was old enough to do more than sit in my crib and pop cherries in my mouth, (which I wouldn’t stop doing unless they were removed from my reach) I was put to work picking, sorting or selling cherries. Working in an orchard means getting up early to pick while it’s still cool and then spending the rest of the day sorting and selling the cherries you picked in the morning. Despite the hard work, I’ve always loved cherry season because it means family time and delicious eats!

Read more and discovery cherry recipes both sweet and savoury here!

And finally, also on Paper Palate, I reviewed Martha Stewart’s new book, Cookies: The Very Best Treats to Bake and to Share. I wondered at first if I really needed a book devoted entirely to cookies but as soon as I got my hands on it I determined that the answer to that question was a resounding yes. When the review went up on Paper Palate I had baked my way through Iced Oatmeal Applesauce Cookies, Lemon-Poppy Seed Crisps, Banana Walnut Chocolate Chunk Cookies, and Turtle Brownies. Since then I’ve tried about half a dozen more cookie recipes from this book and will be posting an enhanced review right here whenever I get around to it, (don’t hold your breath, I thought it would have happened by now but I’ve lost any concept of time I might once have had and nothing gets done when I think it should).

Read more of my review and get a recipe for some wonderful Lemon-Poppy Seed Crisps here!

And with that, I’m off for a bike ride in the sunshine, enjoy!

June 20, 2008

Fruit Tarts Lead to Disaster

In my last post I alluded to the fact that one should not feed the crazies unless you want them to continue to come back for more. I should have known better and yet, in a moment of weakness, I slipped. I had a fruit tart that I didn’t know what to do with and I was desperate. This is the story of how it happened: A few of you have asked how culinary school is going, it’s been an interesting experience so far, (I finish in August) but perhaps less than ideal. The school that I’m attending is currently undergoing renovations which they assured us would not affect our program. Unfortunately, the renovations have had a rather large impact on my learning experience but we’re all trying to work around that. One benefit of the renovations is that because there is no restaurant or café to sell our food in, we’re allowed to take home everything we make. Depending on how you look at this, it could be a good or a bad thing.

On this particular occasion, it turned out to be a bad thing. In my baking class a couple weeks ago we made fruit tarts. We each made 4 mini tarts and one large tart and then took them all home with us. I live alone so that meant I had way more fruit tarts than one person could ever need and since they had pastry cream under the fruit and were glazed, they weren’t suitable for freezing. After eating my way through the 4 mini tarts, (one of them didn’t even make it so far as the photo taking stage) I decided it was not a good idea to start on the big one and that it had to leave my house. I have a friend who lives across the street who is usually willing to accept treats but she was gone for the week. Another friend can’t have dairy products so the pastry cream made it unfit for her. Another friend didn’t want to have to carry a fragile tart on the subway. I began to get desperate. It got to the point where I considered throwing out the tart, but I just couldn’t do it. Throwing out a perfectly good tart seemed sacrilegious and I couldn’t bring myself to do it. There was only one other option but every bone in my body was telling me not to do it: I could give the tart to Ozzy.

I’ve mentioned Ozzy before on my blog, he’s the nutcase that lives below me and looks just like Ozzy Osbourne. Because I live in what is essentially a paper shanty, I can hear everything that’s going in the apartments above and below me and I could hear that Ozzy had company for the weekend. It sounded like a zoo of children were down there, (turns out there were 4 of them and an extra adult) and I figured at least they would gobble up the tart and I’d be rid of it. So I summoned up all of my courage and brought the tart to Ozzy’s door. As I handed it over I tried to downplay my act of giving by saying that I had made the tart for school, I had no one else to give it to, it would go in the garbage if they didn’t want it and there was no need to thank me. I hoped that it would not be seen as an invitation to come and visit me later on. Sadly, that was indeed the way it was received.

A couple days later, after his company had left, Ozzy showed up on my door with a beer in one hand and a bag in the other. He proceeded to thank me profusely for the tart and I insisted that it was really no big deal. Somehow during this conversation he managed to back me into my apartment, (I hate close talkers, especially creepy ones!). At this point he asked me if I had a glass and in my confused state I pointed to a cupboard. He got a glass, opened the beer, poured half of it into the glass, handed it to me and began drinking the other half of the beer from the bottle. (Sidenote- Who brings someone half a beer???) He continued to chat away while I stood there looking like a deer caught in headlights. He then asked if I got the present he left me the week before and all of a sudden some puzzle pieces started falling into place. One day I had come home from school and found a used calculator and a Campino candy, (that looked as though it had been sitting on someone’s car dashboard for the past 2 years) sitting against my front door with no clue as to where they had come from. I assumed they were from my weirdo Landlord, (more on him here and here) because he had recently had a garage/junk sale on my front steps and I thought it might be leftovers from that.

Apparently it was in fact Ozzy that gave me this bizarre gift for no reason. As I thought all this through Ozzy was still rambling on when all of a sudden he shoved the bag he had been holding in my direction and told me he brought me a present. Without even looking in the bag I immediately try to refuse it and say it wasn’t necessary. He insisted and I grudgingly took the bag. I opened it and found a sport style watch and some face cream. I would like to point out that at this point my confusion was at an all time high. He then told me that the face cream is the best ever and that the gift was just to thank me for the tart. I continued to try to tell him it was unnecessary and he continued to talk in my general direction, telling me stories about our landlord and other tenants, while I looked on, stunned. Ozzy revealed that the tenant who lives above me is something of a writer and had written a short book which he insisted I should read. I tried to tell him that I was busy with school and wouldn’t have time to read it but he wasn’t listening. He rushed downstairs to his apartment and returned with the book in one hand and another beer in the other, (which he proceeded to pour half of into my glass). If it had of been any other night I would have made up an excuse about having to go somewhere and then gone for a walk around the block to escape, but we were in the midst of a torrential downpour and I really didn’t want to go outside. In retrospect, I should have braved the rain instead of Ozzy. It was forty five minutes later before I finally got him out of my apartment. Let this be a lesson to you, if you feed the crazies you’ll never be rid of them! Ozzy has returned since that awful night, but that will be a story for another post…

**I debated writing this post because I have an irrational fear that Ozzy will read it, damn my googleable name! In the end I decided to go ahead with it and on the one in a million chance that Ozzy reads it, well, it will make for an interesting follow up post.

June 15, 2008

Caramelized Mango Ice Cream

Mike of Mike’s Table is hosting the wonderfully appropriate seasonal event: You Scream, I Scream We All Scream for Frozen Desserts! Seeing as though my blog has basically been taken over by frozen desserts, it’s necessary that I participate. The Balsamic Roasted Strawberry ice cream that I made for my last post is definitely one of my favourites right now, but this Caramelized Mango can hold its own too. It’s fruity, refreshing and delicious, what more could you ask for? Perhaps for it to ward off crazy people? No, it can’t do that. In fact, I would advise against feeding this to anyone you’d rather not see again. One scoop of this ice cream will have them knocking down your door to get some more. But more on that next time… In the meantime, go make this ice cream and don’t feed the crazies.

Caramelized Mango Ice Cream (Adapted from Food and Paper who adapted it from Roy Finamore's Tasty: Get Great Food on the Table Every Day)

For the caramelized mango:
1/2 cup sugar
2 mangoes, peeled, pitted and cut into large dice

For the mango ice cream:
3 ripe mangoes, peeled, pitted, and coarsely chopped
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon molasses
pinch of coarse salt
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk
Splash of dark rum

1. For the caramelized mango: Pour the sugar into a heavy medium skillet. Cook over medium heat, swirling the sugar around in the pan often, until it is dark amber. Add the diced mango. The caramel will sputter and seize up. Cook, stirring, just until the caramel dissolves. Scrape the caramelized mango into a bowl, cover, and chill thoroughly.

2. For the mango ice cream: Process the mangoes in a food processor until you’ve made a smooth puree. Add the lime juice, sugar, molasses, and salt. Process for a minute or so to dissolve the sugar. Scrape the puree out a bowl, whisk in the cream and milk, cover, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

3. Freeze the ice cream base according to the instructions for your ice cream maker. When it’s just about frozen, add the caramelized mango and rum. Continue to freeze until ice cream is firm. Transfer to a container with a lid, and let the ice cream come together in the freezer for at least 2 hours before serving.

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June 10, 2008

Balsamic Roasted Strawberry Ice Cream: 2 Years in the Making

As of today it’s been 2 years since I started writing Jumbo Empanadas. That’s a long time. And as I did on my first blogiversary, I’m making a special request for a comment, (and you can’t refuse a birthday request). If you’ve never left a comment before, now’s the time to do it. If you always leave one, feel free to leave another. If you know me personally and don’t think you have to comment, make an exception today and leave one, (and your name or something like it so that I know who you are!). It doesn’t really matter what you say, I just want to know who’s out there.

I haven’t quite figured out what to say about blogging for two years, (is there anything to say about it?) and I’m not sure where things are going from here, (how long can one really write a food blog?) so I’m just going to leave you with an amazing recipe and call it a day. Yeah, it’s a cop out, but a delicious one.

For my first blogiversary I made a cake that was a combination of three different Dorie recipes, but lately it’s been so hot that all I want to do is eat ice cream and frozen grapes so there’s no cake to celebrate today. Instead, I give you my newest and current favourite ice cream creation: Balsamic Roasted Strawberry Ice Cream. I’ll give you a second to let that sink in. Each component is awesome on its own, but together they make up a trifecta of awesomeness that is unparalleled. If you still don’t own an ice cream maker, this is the reason to buy one.

Balsamic Roasted Strawberries, (adapted slightly from Zoë Bakes)

2 pounds of strawberries

1/3 cup sugar

3 T balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with tinfoil so that it goes all the way up on all sides so that the wonderful juice that’s going to be created can’t escape. Wash and hull the strawberries and pat dry. Toss with the sugar and let stand for 30 minutes. Add the balsamic and toss again and then spread out onto your baking tray. Bake for approx 40 minutes, until strawberries are jammy and there’s lots of juice. Pour the berries into a bowl and put in the fridge to cool completely. These are pretty fantastic all on their own or as a topping on yogurt or granola or any flavour of ice cream of your choosing.

Balsamic Roasted Strawberry Ice Cream

3 egg yolks

1 cup heavy cream

1 cup milk

2/3 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

In a heavy bottomed saucepan bring the milk and cream to a boil. In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until pale. Continue to whisk while slowing pouring in the hot mixture until it is completely incorporated. Pour the entire thing back into the pan and stir until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Pour into a bowl, stir in the vanilla extract and then cover and refrigerate until completely chilled, (I roasted the berries and made the custard at night and then assembled the ice cream the following morning for breakfast, yeah I said breakfast).

Once both the strawberries and the custard are completely cool, get out your ice cream maker. Take a couple scoops of strawberries with juice out of the bowl and set aside, (try not to eat it all, your goal is to use this reserved bit as a topping on the ice cream when it’s finished). Strain the rest of the strawberries and combine the juice with the custard and pour into your ice cream machine and process according to your manufacturer’s instructions. When your ice cream is almost ready, add in the strained berries until they’re just incorporated, (if you add them in at the beginning, the machine has a hard time processing them). If you like your ice cream soft, you can eat it right away, topped with the reserved strawberries and juice, otherwise stick it in the freezer to firm up a little more. I ate it both ways and then had to make more, again and again. And that’s rare for me, I usually don’t like to make the same thing twice, but this has quickly become one of my favourite ice creams.

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June 07, 2008

Empanadas! Who Would Have Thought...

Rebecca of From Argentina with Love has started an Empanada of the Month event and since it’s been quite a while since I featured an empanada recipe here, I figured it was time, (especially considering my two year blogiversary is fast approaching). I really should have made a proper mango salsa to accompany the empanadas but quite honestly I was lazy and just sliced some fresh mango and ate it along with the empanadas dipped in sweet chili sauce, (to which I am hopelessly addicted). Besides, I went through the trouble of making my own dough, (which was really no trouble at all) and I think that should count for something, I can’t do everything all the time.

Now is probably a good time to explain how my blog came to be named Jumbo Empanadas since it’s been a while since I’ve done that too. It’s not because I’m an empanada expert or have an undying love of empanadas, (although they are admittedly quite tasty) or because I’m sponsored by the North American Coalition for the Empowerment of Empanadas. No, the reason is much simpler. One day I was having lunch with my friend Len, (move back to Toronto Len, I miss you!) and we were eating empanadas and talking about future plans, (or lack thereof) when I brought up the subject of the Julie/Julia Project and told him how Julie Powell had started out blogging her way through Mastering the Art of French Cooking and ended up with a book deal. In typical Len fashion he said that was nothing and that I could do it too. I jokingly replied that I should call my blog Jumbo Empanadas in honour of our lunch and not too long afterwards when I actually did start a blog that was the only name I could think of. I have since developed a love of empanadas, but that wasn’t the reason for the name from the get-go.

I’ll leave you with a question for bloggers- how did you get your blogname? I’d love to hear some stories.

Receta por Empanadas Medocinas de la familia Oliva-Quiroz

(Mendocino Empanadas from the Oliva-Quiroz family via Argentina with Love)

For the filling:

2 lbs. ground beef

1 cup shortening or lard (you can add less or omit this if necessary)

2 lbs. onion

3 Tablespoons smoked paprika

4 teaspoons cumin

green olives, pitted and cut into slices, as many as is necessary

3 hard-boiled eggs, cut into rounds

salt and pepper to taste

crushed red pepper, to taste

For the construction: A glass of water 1 egg, beaten flour for the pan. The meat can be made a day in advance. Put the onions, sliced finely in rounds, in a frying pan and salt them. Add the ground beef and cook, then add salt and pepper to taste. Next add the lard and mix well, so that it's incorporated-the lard, the meat and the onion together. when it's all cooked, add the crushed red pepper (to taste) and the cumin and mix well. When the mix is ready, let cool and add the paprika and stir well.

The assembly: Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Put the tapas, (dough circles) on a flat surface, lightly floured. With a tablespoon, put a little of the meat filling in the center of the dough round. Add a slice of the olive and a piece of the hard boiled egg.

Then moisten the edge on the top half of the round with a little water on your finger. Fold the bottom half of the dough up until the edges meet and seal with your fingers by pressing down. The empanada should have a half-moon shape.

Use the palms of the hands to pack the filling firmly in the center. Next, fold the edges with the Repulgue: using your fingertip, fold one corner of the empanada over, pressing down firmly. Go to the edge again and repeat, pressing firmly each time. Go around the edge of the empanada and you'll get a spiral pattern.

Beat an egg in a shallow dish and paint the top of each sealed empanada so that when they bake, they have a shiny, golden shell. Spread flour lightly over several cookie sheets, and place the finished empanadas on top. Put the empanadas in to bake for 12 to 15 minutes-they should be sizzling and very golden brown on top. Take out and eat very carefully while hot!

***Empanada Dough recipe can be found at Laylita’s Recipes.

I didn’t change much in the recipe, but I omitted the lard and halved the rest of it because there was just me eating them. For a full photo demo of how to properly fold and crimp the empanadas, (which I didn’t do correctly) visit Rebecca’s blog. Also, empanadas are especially nice when accompanied with salsas and I vow to make one next time.

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June 06, 2008


For those of you without an ice cream maker, (you poor unfortunate souls) all is not completely lost. You can still make Sort-of-Sorbet! This is what I was making for the months leading up to the day I finally re-bought my ice cream machine. Want to know how? In my not so humble opinion, there are two important things to remember when making sorbet without an ice cream maker:

*Simple syrup is your friend.

*Alcohol is also your friend.

With those two things in mind, I never follow a recipe when making sort-of-sorbet. I start by making a simple syrup, (combine equal part sugar and water, bring to a boil and stir so that all of the sugar dissolves, remove from heat and let cool) add whatever fruit I have laying around, whirr it together in the super blender until smooth and then add a splash of alcohol, (more often than not it’s rum, because that’s what I like, but vodka or whatever you like would also work). Then I pour the contents of the blender into a container, pop it in the freezer and wait a few hours for it to firm up. If you’re really ambitious you could stir it a few times as it freezes, but I never do. The splash of alcohol helps to keep it from freezing rock solid so that it’s still scoopable when you want it. For those of you who like math, (anyone?) it’s as easy as:

Simple Syrup + Fruit + Blender + Alcohol + Freezer = Awesome Sort-of-Sorbet

The two different kinds of Sort-of-Sorbet you see here are Mango-Lime and Pineapple-Strawberry. As you can see, neither of them are as smooth as would be achieved with an ice cream maker, but they’re still refreshing and cool on a hot summer day. So for those of you who will be very envious of my ice cream machine in the upcoming months, (and you will be envious, I’ve got some crazy good flavours brewing) remember you can always make Sort-of-Sorbet to soothe your pain before you cry yourselves to sleep at night.

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June 03, 2008

Coconut Mango Chocolate Ice Cream Cake... And New Toys

It was only a matter of time before I caved and bought myself another ice cream machine. Another one? Yes. Allow me to explain… As anyone who frequents this blog knows, I’m no stranger to ice cream, having made such wonderful flavours as Apple Crisp Ice Cream, Maple Roasted Banana Brownie Ice Cream, and Super Matcha Jumbo White Chocolate Raspberry Supreme Ice Cream just to name a few. So it was with great sadness that I left my ice cream maker at my parents’ home when I moved out, (again). For the past 6 months, despite the fact that most of that time has been winter here, I’ve pined away for my missing ice cream machine. Now that the days have become longer and the sun is getting brighter I’ve been regularly hearing the siren’s call, luring me to my destruction. And just like the mariners in mythology I am drawn in by the sweet sound of the siren’s voice, or in my case, of the whirr of the ice cream machine. So when I saw the twin to my old ice cream maker, (this one!) on sale at a ridiculously low price I had to snatch it up. Sometimes you have to treat yourself and if you’re me, that means buying kitchen gadgets and cookbooks. And that was how I ended up trudging down the street carrying a big box with a heavy ice cream maker inside on a day that I hadn’t planned on purchasing anything. I don’t think I can help it though, I believe it’s genetic. Dad has been known to come home with all sorts of things, (all essential like an ice cream maker, of course) ranging from kites to full sized tractors and everything in between. Why just yesterday he came home with a Wii… I can’t wait to destroy him at MarioKart! There’s nanners all over the track!

Bri's Coconut, Chocolate Mango Ice Cream Cake

Unless you have a commercial ice cream maker or multiple bowls for your ice cream machine, this will be a multi-day affair, it’s easy though, so don’t worry. If you have a silicone baking pan, this is the perfect use for it. And remember, whatever flavour of ice cream you pour into the bottom of the cake pan will become the top of the cake, (in my case coconut, mango and then chocolate). Make whichever flavour of ice cream you want on the top of the cake first and when it’s done in the ice cream maker, simply pour in into your cake pan and put it into the freezer to set. After making your second ice cream flavour simply pour it overtop of the first one, and so on, creating multiple layers. The sky’s the limit with mixing ice cream flavours and layers. When you’re done, let the ice cream cake set up in the freezer for a few hours, preferable overnight. If you’ve used a silicone mold to freeze it in simply flip it upside down onto a serving plate and peel off the mold. If you’ve used a normal cake pan you pan have to dip the bottom in hot water for a few second to release the ice cream, (alternatively you could have lined the cake pan with saran wrap). Decorate as you wish, I just melted and drizzled chocolate.

Coconut Ice Cream (from Anna Olson’s Sugar)

1 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature

3/4 cup sugar

1 cup coconut milk

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 tsp coconut extract

dash salt

1/2 cup whipping cream, whipped

Beat cream cheese and sugar. Add coconut milk, lemon juice, extract and salt. Whip cream to soft peaks and fold in.

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

Chocolate Ice Cream (from Joy of Baking)

2 cups (480 ml) half-and-half

1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons (50 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 vanilla bean or 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2 ounces (55 grams) semisweet chocolate, chopped

4 large egg yolks

1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated white sugar

In a small saucepan gradually whisk together the half and half and the cocoa powder until it is a smooth paste. Place over medium-high heat and bring the half-and-half cocoa mixture and the vanilla bean (if using) to the scalding point (the milk begins to foam up). Remove from heat, take out the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds from the bean with the back of a knife, and mix the seeds back into the half-and-half. Add the chopped chocolate and stir until the chocolate has completely melted and is smooth.

Meanwhile in a stainless steel bowl beat the egg yolks and sugar until light and fluffy (about two minutes). Gradually pour the scalding half-and-half mixture into the whipped egg yolk mixture, making sure you keep whisking constantly so the eggs don't curdle. Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, cook until the custard thickens enough that it coats the back of a spoon (170 degrees F) (77 degrees C).

Immediately remove the custard from the heat and continue to stir the custard for a few minutes so it does not overcook. At this point stir in the vanilla extract, if using. Cover and let cool to room temperature and then refrigerate the custard until it is completely cold (several hours but preferably overnight).

Transfer the cold custard to the container of your ice cream machine and process according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Mango Sorbet A La Brilynn

3 ripe mangoes

½ cup water

½ cup sugar

Little splosh of coconut rum

Little squeeze of lime juice

Make a simple syrup by combining sugar and water in a small saucepan and brining it to a boil, stirring so that sugar dissolves. Removes from heat and let cool slightly. Put all ingredients into a blender and blitz until smooth. Put mixture in the fridge and let cool completely before freezing it in your ice cream machine.

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