Tuesday, July 22, 2014

tropical iceland - pineapple & basil frozen g&t

maybe there should be a whole line of cocktails with names based on fiery furnaces songs. blueberry boat offers the most obvious possibilities, but i'm sure there are many more. it'll be nice to have a mission to keep me occupied as this summer slogs on, sticky and hot and not altogether optimism-inducing.  

i have to admit, i try not to watch the news. i think at this point i have a fairly good idea of how much information i can take in before succumbing to what mike calls a German mood (which is kind of ironic since he's the one with the Teutonic heritage) and my mom has referred to as "that morose Irish blood of ours." i don't claim to be more sensitive than the average person, but knowing the details of tragedy while lacking the power to change anything is a sure ticket to a gloaming dark apathy and pessimism that a) are not fun to experience and b) sure don't make me a treat to be around. 

all that to say, i try to be aware of what's going on in a broad sense, but shy away from learning more than i have to. i'm sure that's not the best way for everyone, and i'm not even sure it's the best for me, but in a world of randomness and sadness and, it's true, great joy, it's what i need to do to maintain some equanimity in my day to day life. otherwise i just get my heart broken open again and again and it all feels too hard.

finding a balance doesn't mean sticking my head in the sand entirely, though. it's more like taking in the broad strokes of the bombings and the plane crashes and all of the conflicts and and and

but then not reading too many of the smaller, more personal, more 
"and this child who got blown up loved her dog and the color red and wanted to be a marine biologist when she grew up." that kind of thing doesn't help me understand the world better and DOES make me very sad.

anyway, this is turning a little (lot) too downer-y for something that was supposed to be about a nifty tropical drink that you eat with a spoon. oops. sorry. to be fair, i made it before the world totally fell apart. however this IS a nifty tropical drink you can eat with a spoon. so that's something! it's bracing and chilly and bitter from the tonic and herbal from the basil and pineapple-y from the pineapple.

you just chop up the pineapple into little bits, chop the basil into even littler bits, and dump both into a shallow-ish dish along with gin and some (preferably fancy) tonic. toss it in the freezer and stir it a little with a fork every few hours, as if you were making a granita (which you basically are). it gets slushy after 4 or 5 hours (at least in my freezer) and you can eat it then, but it's even better if you leave it overnight. at that point, instead of being slushy, it's crispy and crunchy and tastes like eating magic snow. but slushy's good, too. you do you.

also you can pour coconut cream over it like they do sometimes with snow cones - it makes it more like a delicious sweet creamy piña colada that way.

the only sad thing about this drink is that you have to wait for it to freeze. in an uncertain and sometimes grotesquely terrifying world, i appreciate that simplicity. and i can wait.

*tropical iceland*
~ 1/3 of a pineapple, cut into tiny bits (you could probably use canned, but i feel like it wouldn't be as good. if you must, i think i had like 1 1/2 cups of pineapple, once chopped. but it's pretty flexible)
1 small handful of basil - again, flexible. i used maybe 2 tablespoons
1 cup gin
~ 3 cups tonic (i used 2 bottles of Fever Tree and 1 of Q tonic, since that was what we had. i figured out it totaled about 2 2/3 cups, but probably you won't have the exact random mix of tiny tonic bottles that we did, so use whatever. personally, i prefer the Fever Tree, but whatever kind you have is fine)
a tablespoon or so of coconut cream is not out of place if you like that sort of thing

this actually makes a lot of servings, because you put it in little glasses so it won't melt too fast and a little goes a long way. if you want it to be less strong, add another cup or so of tonic. it sat happily in our freezer for over a week and was still good at the end, so it's not like you have to eat it all at once.

let's all clink our glasses to better times ahead. sláinte.

ALSO i am fully aware that it's an incredible privilege not to have to live in areas of conflict and not to have to worry on the level of those that do. that is obvious, and you do whatever small things you can.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

granola time! (cashew/ginger/coconut)

my friends just had a baby. well, it was like a month ago. and technically only my friend L had the baby, since men (still! in 2014!) have not gotten around to taking on that burden. but regardless, a baby that is now in the world belongs to (?) my friends and has taken up residence inside their house.

clearly this is not a picture of the baby. it's a picture of a butternut squash with googly eyes glued onto it posed next to a bottle and wearing a baby hat. obviously.

the thing is, i don't want to post a real picture of someone else's baby (or rather, i doubt that his parents would like that) and i'm worried that with my really outstanding skills in the realm of Art, even if i tried to draw the baby and add accessories or something to disguise it, its identity would be immediately apparent and in that case one might as well post a real photo of the baby, which as i already explained i am loath to do.

see? you can tell right away that that's the same squash, right? i can't get anything past you.

so, baby pictures or not, it's not as though newborns eat granola anyway. but parents of newborns seem to like to. i wanted to bring something over when i came to see the baby, and i thought granola would be good because it's nice to eat out of hand or as more of a cereal and if you put lots of nuts and seeds in it and go easy on the sugar, it's pretty healthy and protein-y.

i've made a few different batches over the last couple of weeks (one with lots of pecans and cardamom, one with chopped dark chocolate bits - definitely more on the snacky side), but i think this one was my favorite. it features cashews, lots of coconut, and both powdered and crystallized ginger to make it nice and spicy.

this picture is misleading because the cashews should be in pieces and the coconut in large unsweetened flakes. whole coconuts have no place in granola, particularly whole coconuts that look like meatballs. 

every time i've seen this baby (three or four times, so far), he's been sleeping sweetly with cute footie pajamas on and long eyelashes grazing his tiny cheeks. although i've heard that he is not always like this, the fact that i have yet to see any evidence of this other, darker side leads me to believe that it doesn't exist. he is almost certainly a perfect child. i have never once thought of stealing him, however.

as a happily childless woman in my mid-30s, i feel like something of an anomaly among many of my friends these days. as an example of the recent baby boom, six close college friends of mine now have 10 kids between them. nine of those kids are under six. and that's just the tip of the iceberg. i feel like i'm suddenly at the point where i know more people with kids than without them. it's sort of an odd place to be.

i've basically always known that i don't want to have children. i don't hate kids by any means, and all of the ones i know personally are, without a doubt, the most charming, clever, and adorable young people one could hope to meet. i genuinely enjoy talking to them, even though i'm really bad at it. i never know what's appropriate for any given age and end up asking eight-year-olds if they like dollies or toddlers if they saw last week's Scandal. it's a problem.

but the thing is, much as i like chilling with other people's kids in small to medium doses, i've never felt an urge to bring them home with me or to get one of my own. it's just not in my nature.

poor crystallized gingers

i used to read a lot of articles about people having kids or not having kids. i've always been an inveterate reader of advice columns and the kinds of articles that run in the Life or Styles section of newspapers, so this was probably related. one thing that kept coming up in these articles was that people quoted on either side of the parenting divide seemed oddly defensive about their decisions. i almost wrote "debate" instead of "divide" just then, because that's what so many of the stories felt like - debates on the relative merits of the choice to become a parent. framing this issue as a debate leads people to feel like one side is right and one is wrong, which understandably makes people defensive about their own side.

i've stopped reading those articles, for the most part. i've never been made to feel less-than because i am not and don't want to be a parent, and i certainly don't want to proselytize about my choice to others. there are lots of choices i've made as an adult that i know aren't right for everyone - owning three dogs, going to law school, commuting on a scooter, diving across the country with five animals in a Toyota Matrix - but they work for me. i don't know anyone with kids who seems to regret their choice, but i also know that it's not the choice for me. isn't it great that we get to make the choices that are right for us (when, of course, we have the incredible good fortune to have resources to make such choices)? 

at work, on the go, watching Law & Order reruns in your slippers - granola is great anywhere!

anyway, basically i feel like there's no real point in debating which of two extremely personal choices is better. everyone who knows that they want children should probably have them and everyone who knows that they don't should probably not have them. science and common sense seem to bear this out. of course, you can't really sell stories in which everyone is happy and supportive of each other. BORING. it's also pretty frustrating that often issues involving children are framed almost exclusively as women's issues, but that's a whole giant other thing for which there is no time here.

in the end it all comes down to this: whether or not you have children, you probably like granola. if you like granola, you might like this granola (see how diplomatic one can be if one tries?).

if you don't like granola, i think we can all agree that you are probably a monster.

cashew/ginger/coconut granola

preheat oven to 300 degrees
  • 3 ½ cups rolled oats
  • ¾ cup rolled barley flakes (you could also just do all oats)
  • 2 cups coconut flakes (they’re the not-sweetened kind in the bulk places. otherwise you could use shredded sweetened coconut and cut down on the sugar/honey element)
  • 1 ½ cups raw cashew pieces
  • ½ cup sesame seeds
  • ¼ cup brown sugar, packed (if you want a more coconut thing, palm sugar would be good, but i didn't have any)
  • 2 tsp ground ginger (or more, to taste)
  • ½ tsp cardamom (don’t go out and buy it for this - if you don’t have it, nbd, or add more ginger or other spices (pepper? cinnamon?) to taste)
  • 1 tsp salt
mix the above ingredients in a large bowl (i have a giant one from a restaurant supply place)
  • ½ cup oil (i used half and half coconut oil and olive oil, but whatever. all coconut would be good, but i didn't  have enough, but also i think the olive oil adds a savory element that i like. you could use less, too, i'm sure)
  • ½ cup honey (i’d use ⅓ cup next time, maybe? but i am not 100% on sweet things)
put the oil and honey in a smaller receptacle and heat in the microwave or on the stove until the coconut oil melts. mix well and pour over the grain mixture. it's best to mix everything with your hands at this point, i find. it helps get everything more evenly distributed.

bake at 300 degrees in a baking pan/cookie sheet (like 11” x 17” - i think it’s called a jelly roll pan?) lined with parchment paper. i kind of smush it down in the pan so it sticks together a little.

you can use a different/larger pan, but would need to stir it more frequently. if you use a smaller pan, i would split it into two parts.

bake for ~ 30 minutes, depending on the pan/your oven, stirring well every 10-15 minutes. while it's baking, mince a handful of candied ginger (i used about 20 of the little cubes it comes in) total when minced =  ~1/4 - 1/3 cup).

take it out when everything is golden-brown and toasty. i let it cool in the pan - i think it makes it stick together more or something. don’t mess with it! (or do, whatever).

once it’s cool, add the candied ginger (start with 1/4 cup and add to taste) and more salt if needed (this depends on how you eat it - i mostly eat it dry, so i like a little more salty-sweet and added another ~1/2 tsp)

Saturday, September 14, 2013

la paloma rosa

often in a relationship you're exposed to new things because of your partner's enthusiasms. i'm pretty sure that without me, mike would not have acquired quite so much information about weird animal facts, food, or health care policy (and he might have been better off for that). 

similarly, i wouldn't know as much about the horse-race intricacies of local and national politics or the publishing world, and i certainly wouldn't be watching football on a saturday afternoon. yet here i am. 

i grew up in small-town/rural texas, where high school football really does rule the scene on friday nights (surely you're familiar with Friday Night Lights, right? if not, FIX THAT IMMEDIATELY. you're welcome.). as a disaffected and contrarian teen, i only went to one football game in my entire high school career, and spent plenty of time bemoaning football's prominence and the lack of local culture (i was kind of a jerk about my hometown. although i live 30 minutes from it now and haven't been there in like 10 years, so i guess i haven't really changed my mind about it, actually. see you in hell, bastrop!). my undergrad years were spent at southwestern university, which at the time didn't even have a football team. it just reinstated football this year, actually, which is weird but i'm getting used to the idea.

anyway, my point is that despite being a native texan, i'm not much of a football person. but mike went to texas a&m, which has a ... robust football heritage. they take it seriously and they're very good at it. so thanks to his influence, i've started semi-watching games once in a while. i still don't really know what's going on (really, soccer's more my thing), but i'm happy to hang out and cheer when the aggies score and yell at the tv when the other team does something mean.*

*technical term

of course, all this moral support is thirstifying, so it's never a bad idea to have ingredients for a paloma rosa at hand. palomas are gaining a following here, after long enjoying popularity in mexico. they're dead simple and very tasty and just might become your favorite refreshment in the waning days of summer (at least, i really hope they're waning. it was like 100 degrees yesterday. IT IS MID-SEPTEMBER, WEATHER. COME ON.).

the paloma rosa differs from the original in that it includes pink grapefruit soda and some fresh grapefruit juice, instead of the regular grapefruit soda (squirt, fresca, etc) that normally goes into it. i found this pink ting (!) at our local liquor/food/awesomeness center, spec's, but i think similar things are found pretty much wherever. or use fresca, etc! then it wouldn't be rosa, but it would still be a paloma. 

and that's the important thing. that and spending quality time hanging out with your loved ones and learning more about the things they like. or at least getting more adept at nodding sagely when people talk about "incompletes" and "sacks."

** i had to include my la paloma magnet, which my friend beth gave me years and years ago and which to this day i cannot look at without saying out loud, "que maravilla de tortilla!" which i think is the best slogan ever. 

also, you may have noticed the ro*tel, velveeta, and chips in the background. i may not be as football-crazy as some, but by god i'm a texan and i know how to make queso. 

-ingredients- one drink
  • 1/2 - 2/3 bottle pink ting (!) or 6 oz or so of your grapefruit soda of choice
  • 3 tbsp or so fresh pink (or other) grapefruit juice
  • 1-2 ounces tequila (i don't know much about tequila aside from that you absolutely have to get one that's 100% agave. i used a blanco one, but probably the more aged ones would be good, too - maybe a little more intensely flavored?)

stir gently, add plenty of ice and maybe a curl of grapefruit zest, if you think of it. 

listening to: explosions in the sky, now that i started thinking about Friday Night Lights. also lots of yelling from kyle field. gig 'em! i don't know football, but i  know that much.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

israeli breakfast salad

we've already established that salad for breakfast is totally delicious and great, right? right.

this israeli salad is my new favorite weekend breakfast, though i also sometimes bring it for lunch. it's versatile like that.

it's also cold and refreshing, which is nice since texas hasn't gotten the message that it's supposed to cool off post-labor-day. stupid texas. when it's 100 degrees one doesn't necessarily feel like having a hot plate of migas. oh, who am i kidding - one always feels like having a hot plate of migas. but alternating them with breakfast salads will make you feel extra virtuous and clever.

anyway, it's stupid-easy and you get to practice your knife skills (which is why i usually make this on the weekends - it's a lot of chopping for a weekday morning when you haven't had coffee yet). you want to make all of the pieces as close to the same size as is reasonably possible, so a little concentration pays off.

for two largish servings, just cut up some cucumber, sweet onion, tomatoes, herbs, and any color of bell pepper except green because they are disgusting. toss them with some lemon juice or vinegar, salt, and pepper and ta da! you can also add bits of cheese (feta, goat cheese, or manchego are all good), other vegetables (grated carrot, some zucchini, maybe jicama??), spices (sumac is good, and/or za'atar) or a bit of olive oil. it's good with toasted pita or flatbread, which you could also add to the salad itself to make an ersatz fattoush (that's a freebie for those of you who are always on the lookout for good band names, by the way). the only rule is that there are no rules!

actually, i think there are some rules (the main vegetables, the trying-to-make-them-all-the-same-size), but perhaps you're the type for whom rules were made to be broken, in which case do whatever. i'm no snitch.

the last warm weeks of summer are when this salad's ingredients are at their best, so make sure to try this before we're all bundled up and talking about roasted squash soup or whatever. jk, it will never again be cold enough to turn on the oven. we are doomed to eternal summer - might as well roll with it.

there are probably a million versions of this and i've never been to israel. this is just how i do it.

  • 1 large or 2 or more small cucumbers (those little persian ones are good here)
  • 1 red, orange, etc bell pepper
  • 1/2 a large sweet onion (like 1015, vidalia, etc)
  • 1 large or several small tomatoes (i used two big romas this time, but the fancy heirloom ones would be aces)
chop all of the vegetables into small and similar-sized bits (i usually try to a fairly small dice, like 1 cm or less). toss together with
  • 1-2 tbsp sherry vinegar, lemon juice, or other mildish vinegar (probably not a strong balsamic, for instance) - start small and taste until it's to your liking. i like it pretty tart.
  • a handful of herbs, chopped (parsley, basil, oregano, mint, tarragon and other more exotic herbs are all good in here. today i didn't have any parsley and my herbs aren't doing that well, so the pictured salad is not as herby as i would prefer)
  • salt and pepper to taste (maybe 1 tsp salt, but start smaller)
optional: sumac, za'atar or other dried spices, to taste (maybe 1 tsp?), olive or maybe some kind of nut oil (i don't care for oil here, but some do!)

i like this best right after it's made, but it will keep for several hours in the fridge just fine.

listening to: songs mentioning john berryman - okkervil river's "john allyn smith sails" and the hold steady's "stuck between stations" (i think the hold steady is tied with yo la tengo as the band that looks most like they could your high school science or english teachers)

looking at: this "romantic real life comic" is adorable. also this tumblr is great for finding new art if you enjoy modern stuff but are lazy about seeking it out, as i am.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

double apricot & yogurt cake

well, it's been a difficult week and it's hard sometimes not to feel powerless and afraid of where things are going. i try to remember that worrying doesn't help unless it's accompanied by some kind of action. since i can't personally do anything right now about my great state's legislative war on women's bodies, and i certainly can't solve america's race problems, for now i'm baking a cake.

that's not to say, of course, that baking will solve anything of importance. as a lawyer, i do feel like i have some responsibility to use my training to work on some of those bigger issues. i'm currently working in the area of mental health, which could obviously use some improvements. i'm also trying to figure out where i should start volunteering my time. i'm thinking about The Innocence Project.

but in the meantime, closer to home, our dear neighbor had to put her house on the market and put her sweet elderly dog to sleep on the same day. i'm sure it's been a roller coaster for her and it's hard to deal with the open houses and having to be out somewhere while strangers tromp through your home, especially if you're missing your little furry companion. 

so, i decided to make her some cake. it's apricot season and i got a bunch recently. unfortunately, though they tasted good, their texture left a bit to be desired. luckily, any slight mealiness disappears when you bake them, leaving only soft jammy fruit. i also added chopped dried apricots to boost the flavor even more. 

to chop the dry ones, i piled 3-4 on top of each other and cut them into 5 or 6 sections, then turned them and cut again, leaving them in a small dice. the fresh apricots i just cut in half and then into wedges - maybe 5-6 per half. 

the rest of the cake was based on this one from Dorie Greenspan (although i actually have that cookbook, so i could have just used that). i brought the sugar down a bit, added a little ginger and left out the lemon zest, but otherwise mostly left it alone. i didn't have almonds for almond meal, which is offered as optional, but i think it would be good here, as almonds and apricots go well together. 

this is almost a one-bowl cake, which is my favorite kind. as it is, it only used two and required no mixer, so that's pretty good. just whisk the dry ingredients, mix the wet, add the dried apricot bits to the dry ingredients, using your fingers to separate the little stickies a bit so they don't clump together, then add the wet. mix until just combined and add the fresh apricots. fold them in gently so they don't go to pieces.

then just bake in a loaf pan buttered and lined with buttered parchment paper. mine took about 45 minutes or a bit more, but i also was using a 9" x 5" pan instead of the 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" that the original calls for. so just keep an eye on it. let it cool for maybe 10 minutes in the pan, then take it out to cool fully on a rack. it will be tempting, but i wouldn't cut it before it's cooled if you can help it. 

obviously cake's not going to solve any of the major problems facing the world today, but it can make your friends' lives a little brighter and sometimes that's all you can do on a weekend afternoon.

*double apricot & yogurt cake*
adapted from Dorie Greenspan's French Yogurt Cake

preheat the oven to 350.

5 small apricots (280 g/ almost 10 ounces)
9 dried apricots (100 g/ 3 1/2 ounces)

1 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (i would actually use more next time - it doesn't show up too much - maybe 1 teaspoon instead?)

whisk dry ingredients together and add the dried apricot pieces, using your fingers to get them incorporated so they don't form a big lump

1/2 cup plain yogurt (i used 2%, but you can probably use whatever, honestly)
3 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar (you could probably use 2/3 cup - it was still pretty sweet)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup mild oil (i used canola)

whisk wet ingredients together and add to dry or vice versa. mix gently until just combined, then add the fresh apricot pieces and fold in, trying not to break them up too much. in the original recipe, you're supposed to add the oil at the end, but i forgot and put it in too early and it was fine.

put in 9"x 5" loaf pan that's been buttered and lined with buttered parchment paper. bake at 350 for 45-55 minutes, or until it's a nice dark toasty brown and a knife stuck in the middle comes out clean. let it sit on a rack for 10 minutes or so, then remove from pan and let cool on rack.

this would be really good with some ice cream or some barely sweetened whipped cream, but is perfectly nice with some coffee or tea as well. it's the little things...

*i should probably also note that i didn't give her quite all of the cake because i had to cut it and then we had to eat a little to make sure it wasn't gross. luckily, it wasn't.

listening to: ravishers - portland, poppy, boy-girl harmonies - what more can you ask for?

Sunday, June 30, 2013

rye thyme for a collins

the name of this drink is further along the spectrum of ridiculousness than i'm normally comfortable with, but after a weekend which included the unwelcome discovery of a discomfiting little visitor from the past in our car's a/c vent, it seemed fine for now.

after all, it's after 5 on a hot summer sunday - it IS high time for a drink of some sort, and it might as well be this.

i usually think of whiskey as more of a fall/winter drink, but when you add citrus and herbs and sparkling water, all of a sudden it makes sense as a summer pick-me-up+cool-me-down. a tom collins typically uses gin, but all we had was rye and silly old texas doesn't allow one to purchase liquor on sundays. 

other things that were handy included thyme and grapefruit, whose bitterness made it seem like they would go together. i've since looked up the combination and both marcus samuelsson and martha stewart have cocktails that use it, so i'm in illustrious company, i guess? the peppercorns were an attempt to complexify it and respond to the pepperiness of the rye.

just peel a grapefruit, taking care not to dig deeply enough to get the extra-bitter white pith with it. i ended up using maybe 15 sections that were about 3/4" x 2" or so, but it's not an exact thing. then add it and some thyme and peppercorns to 1 cup each of water and white sugar and bring to a boil. let it boil for 3 minutes or so, then turn it off and let it cool. 

i like making simple syrups with lots of things in them. i think it gets to the same childhood idea of cooking that making chicken stock brings out - just toss things in a pot with water and voila! it's magically something much better. 

once the syrup is cool, strain it and mix a couple of tablespoons with an ounce of rye and 1-2 tablespoons of grapefruit and/or lemon juice in a short highball or old fashioned glass. as per usual, this is all to taste. then add a couple of ice cubes and fill the rest of the way with sparkling water or club soda. we often get that water that has pink grapefruit flavoring (it's not sweet - just grapefruity), so if you have that you might as well use it. 

then just kick back with a magazine and let your cares lift away. try not to think about how hot it is or how gross that mouse in your a/c vent probably definitely was. 


grapefruit/thyme/pepper syrup
peel from 1 medium grapefruit
7-10 sprigs of fresh thyme or 1 - 1 1/2 teaspoons dried (my thyme plant is a bit sad right now, so i augmented the 5 or so fresh sprigs i had with a couple of large pinches of dried lemon thyme)
12-15 whole black peppercorns (just grab a large pinch. sichuan pepper might be really interesting here, too, though i'd probably use less)
1 cup water
1 cup white sugar

rye thyme, etc., collins
2 tablespoons syrup
3 tablespoons rye whiskey (we usually get old overholt or bulleit rye)
2 tablespoons grapefruit and/or lemon juice
sparkling water or club soda

listening to: beirut

Saturday, June 15, 2013

vegan coconut ice cream with mango swirl

our friends recently purchased a house, which seems like such a big commitment it gives me heart palpitations just thinking about it. i know it makes sense in a lot of ways, but i'm just not there yet. also i'm not really a DIY person, so i like being able to call our landlord when something goes wrong. 

but their house is super-cute and they have a backyard and a grill, so clearly a combination cookout/housewarming party is in order. i waffled back and forth for a little bit about what to make - i thought about lime-vanilla icebox cake, or some blackberry-lime cobbler, or a rhubarb and pineapple crumble...

ultimately, though, i figured out that i didn't want to turn on the oven and i DID want to make some ice cream (although someone needs to have another party soon so i have an excuse to make icebox cake). the thing with ice cream is that it's best to start a day before you need it, so you can make sure all of your ingredients are cold enough to freeze well.

mangoes have been really great lately, and we already had one in the fridge. i thought about just making a vanilla ice cream base and adding mango to it, but then i started picturing a swirl of mango going through it and then i thought a coconut base would be good for some tropical charm.

also coconut milk ice cream sounded more refreshing in this texas humidity. 

i mentioned the easiest way to cut up mangoes previously, but here it is again - cut along the flat sides of the pit, then score it into rough cubes (it can be particularly rough in this case, because you're going to cook it down anyway). then push the skin up so that it inverts and you can cut the mango away easily. ta da!

then just cook it over medium heat with sugar and lime juice. while it's cooking, mash the pieces a bit with a fork or similar. after 5 minutes or so, you should be left with a thick, slightly chunky jammy kind of mixture. let it cool for a bit and maybe add a bit more sugar and/or lime juice, to taste. 

then just pop it in the fridge to cool.

i was a little concerned that regular coconut milk would be too watery and that the result would end up missing something, texture-wise.

i was thinking of getting coconut cream, which is more concentrated, but the place i want to didn't have any. being lazy and unwilling to go somewhere else, i did some reconnaissance and found some "coconut butter." the packaging is a bit silly and has a lot of stuff about it being raw and whatever. also it seems to be a big part of all of that dumb paleo stuff. don't get me wrong, i think the food eaten on the paleo diet mostly seems like good things for people to eat, but the "science" behind it regarding human evolution is just baseless. but whatever. i guess everyone has weird diet superstitions and whatnot? i will get off my evolutionary high horse.

i decided to try blending some coconut butter into the coconut milk to thicken it and increase the coconut flavor. it seemed like a good point to add the sugar, too, so it would mix in better. then i whisked it with the rest of the can of coconut milk plus another can and put it in the fridge overnight.

this morning i got out the trusty ice cream maker and churned up the coconut mixture. it took a little over 20 minutes in my kitchenaid attachment thingy. you can tell it's done when it pulls away from the walls of the bowl and you can lift the beater out with the ice cream clinging to it. 

then layer it and the mango in whatever you're going to keep it in (i put them in a metal bowl that i'd put in the freezer while the ice cream was churning). put down a big dollop of ice cream, then spoon the cold mango over it and stir slightly to swirl the mango through. keep alternating and swirling, but you want to work pretty fast so it doesn't start melting. 

then just freeze for a couple of hours and enjoy! i think we're having ours on mini sugar cones, which are somewhat cute and, because they don't hold much, save everyone the embarrassment of licking melted streams of ice cream from their arms.* 

though that might still happen. just because i know people who buy houses doesn't mean we're all suddenly turning into brooke astors (or insert whatever current reference you like - kris jenners? countess luanns? the latter has, after all. taught us that Money Can't Buy You Class). 

*update - we did not have ours in cones, as it was pretty solidly frozen. it was still good, but next time i would add a tablespoon or two of rum to keep it from freezing so hard. 


mango swirl
1 large mango, cubed
1 1/2 - 2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon lime juice (~1/2 a lime's worth)

cook over medium heat for ~5 minutes, mashing with a fork. adjust sugar and lime to taste and refrigerate for at least several hours, preferably overnight.

coconut ice cream
2 14oz cans coconut milk (i wouldn't use the light kind here)
3-4 tablespoons coconut butter (available on amazon and in hippie stores. or you could use coconut cream for some of the coconut milk)
6 tablespoons sugar (3/8 cup - you could also probably just use 1/3 - 1/2 cup)
*optional - 1-2 tablespoons rum (this will keep it from freezing as hard)

blend ~ 3/4 can of coconut milk with the sugar and coconut butter until smooth, then whisk together with the rest of the coconut milk. chill for at least 3 hours, but preferably overnight. freeze according to your ice cream maker's instructions, then layer with the mango mixture, swirling together. freeze for another couple of hours (or eat immediately!) and enjoy with good friends and tiny cones. it does freeze pretty hard, so make sure to let it sit out for a bit or maybe add a tablespoon or two of rum when churning.

*this isn't the coconuttiest ice cream ever - it's fairly low-key. you could amp up the flavor by adding some toasted coconut or by steeping toasted coconut in the coconut milk before doing the rest. but that seemed like too much of a hassle, so just FYI.

listening to: Beck - Tropicalia (he looks so young in this video!). also, on repeat, Daft Punk's Get Lucky, aka the official song of summer 2013.