Spirit of Summer
My favorite summer indulgence, by far, is the Sea Dog BluePaw wheat ale. Of the several blueberry/wheat beer concoctions I've tried, Sea Dog is the smoothest, with the most natural, satisfying blueberry taste. It's a strong, solid ale with just a hint of real Maine blueberries, and no fake aftertaste.
But the best part isn't just the beer: it's what comes in it when you order. In Boston, at least, it comes to you with a smattering of fresh blueberries floating on top. Each surrounded by teeny bubbles, as you sip, they slowly sink down to the bottom, resulting in quite a pleasing display of physics (trust me, the process becomes more entertaining with each glass).
My friend and I started calling it the "poor man's sangria." But you can also call it delicious.
After typing a post about a wasabi popsicle, I started to think about other spice and and ice combinations. Naturally, I thought of cardamom, one of my favorite spices. A friend of mine recently suggested that we make cardamom ice cream. Unlike wasabi, cardamom is widely used in both savory and sweet dishes, such as rice and pastries. Its deeply aromatic qualities have always attracted me. And now, I'm dying with curiosity to find out its potential with ice cream.
Below are a few recipes you can try at home:
Here is the recipe from Pairings Food & Wine Education Center, and Chef Robert Waldron, of Pairings Coconut Ice Cream with Warm Rum Glazed Pineapple, mentioned in Chapter Five of "Diary of a Distiller."
Coconut Ice Cream
Chef Robert M Waldron
1 pint heavy whipping cream
1 quart Half & Half
2 cans coconut cream
1/2 Tbs vanilla extract
1 (15 oz avg) bag coconut flakes, 3 oz. reserved for toasting.
ice cream maker
measuring cups and spoons
large whisk or slotted spoon
candy or instant read thermometer
lg sauce pot
In a heavy bottom sauce pan combine the cream, Half & Half, and canned coconut cream and heat to 170'F over med/ med-high heat. Stir more frequently as you approach the 170'f mark. Do not Boil
At 170'F you may see a bubble or two, remove from heat and add vanilla extract and 12 ozs. of the coconut flakes.
Let mixture cool enough to work with and transfer to a large plastic container and refrigerate overnight.
The next day the coconut flake will have risen to the top and be "locked" into the coconut fat, break the fat and flakes into large pieces and pulse in a food processor a few times, this will give a creamer texture. Depending on the size of your work bowl you may want to do this in 2 or 3 small batches. This can be messy so use a rubber spatula to scrape the bowl.
Combine the processed coconut cream and flake back into the rest of the chilled batter.
Follow the manufacturers instructions for your ice cream machine, making sure you don't overload it.Patience is key, will be rewarded. the ice cream should make a soft serve consistency initially, store in the freezer for a couple hours to firm up.
Pre-heat your oven to 350'F and place a sheet of parchment paper or aluminum foil down on a cookie sheet.
Spread the 3 ozs. of reserved coconut flakes over the foil, thinly.
Place in hot oven, watching carefully, and brown to a light gold, rotate pan once every 3-4 minutes. Do not over cook. It is better to pull it out a little early since it will continue to brown for a minute or two after being removed from the oven. Just keep an eye on it and you'll be rewarded with golden coconut flake to top your delicious ice cream.
The recipe for the Rum Glazed Pineapple is after the jump.
I was in NYC the past week to attend some food and cocktail events and to tape some spots about summer time cocktails and spirits for a radio show, during the first heat wave of the summer. For several days the temps were in the mid to high 90's and the whole city was in meltdown. Everyone walked around slightly spaced out and dragging their feet, myself included. For me the weather was a real killer because I live on the coast of Maine and the warmest it had been all year was a day or two in the low 70's, with it so chilly at night I still had the heat on every night since last September. The morning I left for NYC it was 42 degrees out and I started the drive with my heat on high in my car, by noon the AC was cranked instead.
As I walked out of the radio studio on my last day in town it was the hottest yet. 96 degrees in the shade and the humidity was so high that you felt like you could actually feel the water sitting lifelessly in the air. I broke into a full sweat before I had walked ten feet and I started to think about waving down a taxi. My original plans were to walk from the financial district, north up to Chinatown to get some eats and buy some lychee fruit, and then through Soho and into the East Village. Now it didn't seem like a very good idea at all.
Filed under: Spirit of Summer
For me, the beginning of every season conjures up images from my childhood. The changing of the seasons makes me sensitive to the passing of time. And so, while opening the freezer door on a recent particularly hot June evening, I remembered the orange popsicles I'd make during the summer. I romanticized those blisteringly hot summer days as a 7-year-old boy with both of my sisters sitting outside by our inflatable "kiddy" pool. At that moment, I felt compelled to make the same super sweet, mildly acidic, and juicy ice pops.
I went to Bed Bath and Beyond to purchase the identical plastic popsicle molds I used as a child. On the side of the plastic mold is a straw so that you can drink the orange juice that melts to the bottom. For some reason, I remember that being the most enjoyable part of the treat. As a child, creating these orange juice popsicles –pouring orange juice in the molds and placing them in the freezer-seemed so thrilling.
I highly recommend these orange juice popsicles! They're a great way to keep children excited and hydrated during the sizzling summer days. Find out some wild and crazy ice pop ideas and check out the gallery of popsicles of different shapes and sizes.
Wild and crazy ice pops(click thumbnails to view gallery)
Earlier this week I spent a blistering hot couple of days back in my home town of New York City. It sparked my memory and took me back to when I was five or six years old and the Good Humor Man would drive up our block in Park Slope, Brooklyn. We all thought he was absolutely wonderful! Ringing his bells to announce that it was Good Humor time, jingling and jangling, starting faint off in the distance and slowly getting louder as he got closer. There was always plenty of time to run up the four flights of our Brownstone (the name of the style of four story buildings made of brownstone that were originally one family homes. Many had been carved up into several apartments) to let my mom know that He Was On His Way. Anticipation built as he made his way slowly up the street, stopping two or three times per block and hopping out to serve all the kids, and their parents, as well as uncles, aunts, and the occasional grandparent.
Everyone had their favorites. Mine varied slightly from day to day, depending on the weather or whim. Red, white, and blue Bomb Pops for those blistering hot days, sometimes varied with Italian Ices. lemon was my favorite, but occasionally chocolate, root beer, or watermelon. On days when it was warm, but not hot, I went for the ice cream bars. Chocolate Eclair or Toasted Almond were at the top of my list. My dad liked the Toasted Almond as well, with mom's favorite being Creamsicles. Sometimes she would get several and stash them in the fridge, something she still does to this day, but with a box from the supermarket. My little sister liked Snow Cones because they lasted so long. She would eat half of one and then stick the rest in the freezer for later, sometimes she would have several different types in there, building up for awhile, until mom would chuck them out when they started to disappear under a layer of frost.
Filed under: Spirit of Summer
Everyone needs at least one dish they can nail at a moment's notice. A dish everyone will love, from vegans to carnivores. Something that's cheap, easy, quick, yet delicious. Something that dresses to impress. Something that even bad home cooks can manage.
I got your sure thing right here. Vegetable couscous. It's a simple recipe, but one that's certain to please. I pulled it out of Jeanne Lemlin's mighty Quick Vegetarian Pleasures.
I have pretty basic tastes when it comes to hot dogs. Give me a hot dog and a bun and maybe some mustard and I'm good to go. But this recipe from Cooking For 2 seems rather interesting.
They're called Red Dogs, and they're turkey hot dogs that are cooked with currant jelly and Dijon mustard.
I'm not sure why something like National Ice Cream Cone Day is celebrated on the very last weekend of the summer, right when the fall is coming around, but I guess it's better late than never. (Update: Ah, it was invented on this date.)
I really don't eat ice cream cones anymore. I eat a fair share of ice cream during the months of June, July, and August, but it's usually cartons of ice cream or Ben & Jerry's or Haagan Daz that I buy at the supermarket and put in a bowl. I guess my ice cream cone days are pretty much over, for the most part. But you have an assignment today: if you have ice cream, it must be in a cone. Whether you get it at an ice cream shop or buy the ice cream and the cones at the supermarket, you must put the ice cream in a cone.
Of course, it's National Ice Cream Cone Day, with no mention of actual ice cream, so maybe you can just buy a box of ice cream cones and eat them plain. I'm partial to the sugar ones myself.
We all know that Labor Day is the unofficial end of summer. Vacations are ending, kids are going back to school, and even though it might still be warm there's something that has changed in the air compared to August. There's still time for one more cookout though!
AllRecipes has a great selection of foods you can make today, whether you're having a cookout or just making something to eat inside. How about a Bucket Salad, or maybe some Factory Workers Chicken? Or how about the Cholesterol King Heart Stopper 3000, a giant party sandwich? If you're feeling guilty about that you can always eat a Watermelon Fruit Bowl for dessert.
Check out that first link above for all the recipes, categorized by different themes: America's Melting Pot, This Land is Your Land, and Big Appetites, Unite.