Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Cherry Stracciatella Ice Cream

Cherries are my favorite fruit, and I can’t eat enough of them in the summer when they’re at their peak. My neighborhood fruit stand vendors know me so well that they automatically hand me a bag of cherries before I even ask.  So you can imagine how my taste buds went into a tizzy when I saw a recipe in the latest Bon Appetit for a cherry-bourbon vanilla ice cream.  I started doing mental variations on the recipe, imagining it with brandy instead of bourbon, or plumping the cherries in amaretto and topping it with toasted almonds. But last night I started dreaming about drizzling in melted chocolate at the end of the freezing time to make a Cherry Stracciatella ice cream.  And that version galvanized me into ice cream-making action this afternoon. 

You know you want this.  Think of it as a sophisticated riff on the popular B&J’s Cherry Garcia flavor.  However, it is so much more than Ben or Jerry could have ever dreamed.

The ice cream custard base is a straightforward vanilla one, an excellent backdrop for wherever your culinary imagination leads you. I like the roundness of flavor that vanilla bean specks add, but you can flavor your ice cream simply with pure vanilla extract if you don’t feel like splurging for the vanilla bean.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Shaved Zucchini Ribbon Salad with Pine Nuts and Parmesan

After my wordy protestations this past month about wanting to be back in my kitchen after weeks away, I haven’t actually turned on the stove very much.  When I’m not making vast quantities of green juice, I’m content to find whatever produce looks freshest and assemble a simple huge salad with it.  If I add fresh herbs, some toasted nuts, a few shavings of a pungent cheese and a drizzle of great olive oil, I'll call it a meal.  This Shaved Zucchini Ribbon Salad with Pine Nuts and Parmesan definitely follows that formula with very happy results.

This is the time of year when zucchini is growing out of control, overflowing in the gardens and in the markets. When I walk by the farmer’s market stands in my neighborhood and see these perfect specimens at the peak of their season, it’s very hard for me to pass them up. Not to be confused with much paler yellow summer squash, I love the robust yellow variety as well as their darker green counterparts too.

Zucchini is very versatile, lending itself well to being steamed, sautéed, grilled, roasted, baked into quick breads or cakes, or simply eaten raw. I can happily eat my Quick Sauté with Mint and Almonds on a daily basis without growing tired of it, but lately I don’t feel like turning on my stove even for the 60 seconds required for this recipe.  Instead, it’s been fun to put my vegetable peeler to work and make this raw salad on a regular basis.