Sour Cream Ice Cream

I first had sour cream ice cream 7 years ago at Prune in NYC. It came with a molten chocolate cake and was surprisingly delicious. So when I got an ice cream maker and started looking for flavor ideas, I didn’t hesitate to bookmark Gale Gand’s sour cream ice cream recipe. (In case you missed it, read what Michael wrote after meeting Gale Gand here.)

I didn’t have a pound of sour cream as the recipe called for, so I made up my own version on the spot. I added lemon zest and very little sugar, so it made a nice, tart ice cream perfect for serving with berries. Or molten chocolate cake,

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which Gale Gand can also help you out with (see here).

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BLT Orzo

blt-orzo

Tonight, with my parents out for the evening and my little brother satisfied after a bowl of Cap’n Crunch, I set out to make dinner for my sister and I. My mom had suggested we make some BLTs, and though that sounded more like lunch than dinner, the idea stuck.

When I saw some orzo pasta in the cupboard, I decided it would be perfect for a warm and hearty reinvention of a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich.

I crisped the bacon, then cooked tomatoes and garlic and wilted some arugula in the sauce just before tossing it with the pasta and serving with a little parmesan. To me, it was exactly what I wanted from a dinner adaptation of the lunch classic.

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Vanilla Black Tea Whiskey Ice Cream

black-tea-ice-cream

Last Christmas, Michael’s mom bought us some loose-leaf black tea from Mariage Frères. The blend smelled sweetly intoxicating with strong vanilla and caramel notes. Mary got it with ice cream in mind, and her idea was dead on. Problem was I looked to a recipe that called for eight egg yolks, and the result was nearly too rich to bear. The flavor was great (especially with the shot of brandy we added), but I felt sick after eating what was essentially a scoop of frozen cholesterol.

The idea of tea ice cream stuck. This summer I made green tea lychee and Thai iced tea flavors.

Then last week I found a Tealosophy Vanilla Tiger tea in my parents’ cupboard. I made myself a cup with milk and sugar, imagining it as ice cream with every sip.

Using a combination of heavy cream and milk, along with a more reasonable four egg yolks, and this time a shot of whiskey, the resulting ice cream was lusciously, but not sickeningly, creamy.

It doesn’t have the warming properties of a nice cuppa tea, but the flavor is just as comforting.

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Salsa Verde Baked Cod with Pineapple-Poblano Salsa

salsa-verde-fish-dinner

Call this my California comeback meal.

I cooked very differently in Argentina. I used almost exclusively Argentine products, except some spices I brought with me. I was cooking meals for me and only me, so I was less adventurous, plus my kitchen was less stocked. (Ask Marissa, who said she’d never seen a fridge of mine so empty.) And when I went out for meals, it was mostly for Argentine or Italian, nothing with much spice. So I looked forward to the flavors I’d return to in Los Angeles.

pineapple-poblano-salsaCilantro, lime and chilies — one of my favorite combinations, common in Mexican and Indian cuisine — came together in two components of this fish. First, a salsa verde, which cooks with the fish, then a pineapple and roasted poblano salsa served on top.
Does it need both? Maybe not, but we had produce to use up, and the two salsas work together nicely. The tomatillo sauce keeps the fish moist while baking, and I loved the sweet, sour and spicy addition of chunky pineapple-poblano salsa.

We served the fish with cilantro rice, quesadillas and a salad with my cilantro-lime dressing (used before on an Ahi Tuna Tostada and Fiesta Quinoa). The meal was very California, and I liked it.

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Goat Cheese and Jalapeño Polenta with Black Bean Salad

jalapeno-polenta-bean-salad

This dish started because I wanted to do something with polenta. I turned to Plate Online, which has recipes from many well-known chefs and restaurants. I saw a recipe for goat cheese polenta fries and another for soft polenta with jalapeños and bleu cheese. I had goat cheese in the fridge, and I don't care for bleu cheese unless it is with something really sweet, so I combined the two ideas.

Then I remembered I had black beans soaking in water already (As my friend Kat noted, of course that would be something I would do, start soaking dried beans one night for no particular reason).

I googled polenta and black beans and saw an idea to put a black bean salad on top of creamy polenta. So that was it, I bought a bell pepper and lime, then made do with everything else I already had.

The result was very satisfying. I loved the flavor of the polenta. The beans and bell pepper offered contrasting texture, and the guacamole was a cool balance to the spice of the jalapeños. I would have liked some fresh cilantro but the store didn't have it. I used a good amount of ground coriander in the salad, though.

All in all, a tasty dish, and a nice alternative to rice and beans.

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Chocolate Dulce De Leche Puffs

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Today is my friend Marissa's birthday, and in her honor I created this dessert: chocolate choux pastry filled with dulce de leche custard.

Marissa lives in Kansas now, but our nightly chats on Skype have kept me from feeling lonely while I am on my own in Buenos Aires. She deserves something spectacular, and I think this dessert qualifies. The pastry is light, the custard is thick and creamy, and it's all covered with chocolate and dulce de leche. Totally decadent without being overly sweet.

chocolate-custard-puff

I wasn't able to make these look refined, but I think they match our friendship more this way. Marissa and I write silly raps, wear hats while we do Mad-Libs and generally cause a playful ruckus wherever we go

I've already enjoyed a few of these on the birthday girl's behalf, but I've got some in the freezer for when she comes to visit in two weeks. So Marissa, if you weren't looking forward to your trip enough already…here's one more thing to get excited about. I can't wait to share this with you. Happy Birthday!

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