Mint Stracciatella Ice Cream

Mint Stracciatella Ice Cream

Mint chocolate chip is one of my favorite ice cream flavors, but the quality of scoops varies wildly. The ice cream should never be green – no food coloring, thanks – and naturally flavored with real mint. Dark chocolate is a requirement, but gigantic hunks are too hard and chalky when frozen. I prefer mini chips. And then I thought, why isn’t there a stracciatella-type mint ice cream, with thin streaks of chocolate ribbons flowing through, some shattered into tiny chocolate flakes? The more I thought about it, the more I knew that this ice cream must come to be. I even strategized a totally unique way to get the chocolate drizzle of my dreams (pouring melted chocolate into the ice cream as it churned), but it turns out that great minds must think alike, because that’s exactly how stracciatella is made! The mint growing in my Aerogarden finally reached a critical mass, and I’ve been lavishing myself with this ice cream ever since.

Mint Stracciatella Ice Cream

To make it, get 2 cups of fresh mint. Then, to a small pot, add 1 cup of milk (I always use fat free milk and my ice cream turns out great, but whole milk is usually suggested), 1 cup of cream, 1/4 cup of sugar, and a pinch of salt. Heat the pot until the milk begins to steam and stir until the sugar dissolves.

Mint Stracciatella Ice Cream

Remove the pot from the heat, and stir the mint into the mixture, making sure it’s submerged. Put a lid on the pot, and let the mint infuse the liquid for 1 hour. Use a slotted spoon to strain out the mint, squeezing as much liquid and flavor from the mint as you can.

Mint Stracciatella Ice Cream

Heat the pot of minty milk again until it steams. Meanwhile, separate 5 eggs, and whisk the yolks together in bowl (save the whites for breakfast). Ladle some of the warm milk into the bowl of yolks, and whisk the yolks to warm them up. Repeat a few times, and then scrape all of the warmed yolk mixture into the pot. Stir the pot constantly with a rubber spatula, making sure to scrape along the bottom, until the custard has thickened enough to easily coat a spoon. Pour the custard over a strainer into a clean bowl. The strainer will catch any bits of egg whites that made it into the custard. Pour 1 cup of cream into the custard, and stir it together. Then, chill the custard. I put an ice pack into a plastic bag, put it into the bowl, and then transfer the bowl to the refrigerator.

Mint Stracciatella Ice Cream

Once the custard has cooled, freeze it according to your ice cream maker’s instructions. While the ice cream churns, melt 5 ounces of dark chocolate. I had an inedible sea salt Godiva bar, so I used half that and half normal dark chocolate. The now-edible, pleasantly salty chocolate was fantastic in this ice cream, so feel free to add about 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt to your regular chocolate. Let the chocolate cool down for about 5 minutes.

Mint Stracciatella Ice Cream

When the ice cream is done churning, at the point when you’d normally transfer it to a container, it’s time to add the chocolate. With your ice cream maker running, slowly pour a thin stream of the chocolate onto the ice cream. The chocolate will harden as soon as it hits the ice cream, and it will break up as the ice cream churns. If the chocolate starts bunching up around your ice cream maker, break it with a spoon to help it flow more smoothly. Once all of the chocolate is incorporated, transfer the ice cream into containers and freeze them.

Mint Stracciatella Ice Cream

The chocolate will form ribbons and flakes of varying sizes that are irresistible. If you’ve never had mint chocolate chip ice cream made from real mint before, then the flavor of this one will definitely make your tastebuds tingle. It’s so refreshing that it only feels a tiny bit decadent.

This recipe is adapted from David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop.

Shopping list:

  • Mint- 2 cups
  • Milk- 1 cup
  • Cream- 2 cups
  • Sugar- 1/4 cup
  • Salt- 1 pinch
  • Egg yolks- 5
  • Dark chocolate- 5 ounces (plus 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt, optional)
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Squash Coconut Curry to the Third Power

Multi-Squash Coconut Curry

This curry tastes fantastic, but its texture makes it really unique. The curry contains three types of squash that I would never normally put together- butternut squash, zucchini, and…cucumber! I know it sounds crazy to eat cucumber in a hot dish, but once the cucumber warms up and cooks down, it’s nearly unrecognizable. It transforms into a melty binder that holds the rest of the vegetables together, making them easy to scoop up with a piece of naan. You’ll want to cook more cucumber after this. And because this curry brings together summer and winter produce, it’s the perfect transitional meal to keep you warm as the days grow cooler.

Multi-Squash Coconut Curry

To make it, begin by cutting 1 pound of butternut squash into 1-inch cubes. Then, cut an equal volume amount of yukon gold potatoes into 1-inch cubes. Because butternut squash tends to be heavier than potatoes, you’ll probably need about 3/4 of a pound of potatoes.

Multi-Squash Coconut Curry

In at least a 6 quart pot, melt 3 tablespoons of ghee. Ghee is clarified butter (buy ghee, make it by melting butter and scooping out the milk solids, or just use regular butter). Then, add in 6 cardamom pods, 6 cloves, 2 bay leaves, 1 halved cinnamon stick, and 2 halved serrano chiles. I used 2 jalapeños because I didn’t feel like schlepping to Whole Foods to buy 20 cents worth of serranos.

Multi-Squash Coconut Curry

Once the spices become fragrant, add in the butternut squash and potatoes. Stir them occasionally over medium-high heat, letting them cook for 8-10 minutes until they pick up some color and begin to soften.

Multi-Squash Coconut Curry

While the first round of vegetables cook, cut 2 medium-sized zucchini and 1 English cucumber into 1-inch pieces.

Multi-Squash Coconut Curry

Once the squash and potatoes are softened, add the zucchini and cucumber into the pot, along with 1 teaspoon of salt. Stir them around, and allow them to cook for 4-6 minutes until they begin to soften as well. Then, cover the pot, reduce the heat to medium, and allow the vegetables to cook for about 15 minutes until they are very tender and easily pierced with a fork.

Multi-Squash Coconut Curry

Then, remove the lid from the pot, and add in 1 tablespoon of additional ghee, 1/2 cup of grated fresh coconut, and 1 teaspoon of sugar. Stir everything together, taste, and season with additional salt as needed. Serve the vegetables with crisped naan for scooping. To make a non-vegetarian meal, add some large shrimp into the covered pot about 5 minutes before the vegetables are done cooking. Once the shrimp are cooked, you can remove them, proceed with the recipe, and then add them atop the vegetables before serving.

This recipe is adapted from Saveur magazine.

Shopping list:

  • Ghee- 4 tablespoons
  • Butternut squash- 1 pound
  • Yukon gold potatoes- ~3/4 pound
  • Cardamom pods- 6
  • Whole cloves- 6
  • Serrano chilis- 2
  • Cinnamon- 1 stick
  • Bay leaves- 2
  • Zucchini- 2, medium
  • English cucumber- 1
  • Grated fresh coconut- 1/2 cup
  • Sugar- 1 teaspoon
  • Salt
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Cauliflower Steaks with Black Garlic, Almonds & Thyme

Cauliflower Steaks with Black Garlic, Almonds, and Thyme

I’m a few years late to the cauliflower steak party, but in this case, it really is better late than never. Cauliflower steaks are AMAZING! I bought a huge head of beautiful cauliflower when we went apple picking, and I knew that it was too pretty to break up into florets. And, so, these steaks were born. They don’t taste like typical cauliflower at all, instead, they take on a slightly smoky, savory taste– somewhat meat-like, we must admit. Dressed with tangy black garlic, nutty almonds, and bright thyme, the cauliflower is the star of any meal.

Cauliflower Steaks with Black Garlic, Almonds, and Thyme

To make it, get a head of cauliflower, pull off its leaves, and trim its stem. Then, turn the cauliflower upside-down so that the stem is facing up. Cut down either side of the stem so that you have a center cross-section of the cauliflower. The florets on either side will fall off, and you can save them for another use. Depending on the size of your cauliflower, you might be able to cut the cross-section in half so that you end up with two 1-inch steaks.

Preheat your oven to 400º F. Then, heat some oil in a large, oven-proof skillet, and sear your cauliflower steaks on both sides until they pick up good color. If you don’t have a skillet large enough to fit both of the steaks, you can sear them individually and then transfer them to a baking sheet.

Cauliflower Steaks with Black Garlic, Almonds, and Thyme

Once the cauliflower is browned, sprinkle each half with salt. Then, spread on some black garlic and sprinkle over sliced almonds. I filled in the rest of the skillet with some of the extra florets, but that’s optional. Bake the cauliflower for approximately 20 minutes until it is tender and can easily be pierced with a knife. When the cauliflower is done and still hot, sprinkle over some fresh thyme leaves.

Cauliflower Steaks with Black Garlic, Almonds, and Thyme

Black garlic is nothing like fresh garlic. It is fermented, so it is tangy and savory but doesn’t have the sharpness or spiciness of fresh garlic. The garlic flavor is much more subtle. The tanginess works so well with this cauliflower that I urge you not to skip it. It perfectly balances the cauliflower’s deep meatiness. Because this cauliflower was the star of our plates, I recommend serving it as a vegetarian main course rather than trying to find a protein that can match it.

Shopping list:

  • Cauliflower- 1 large head
  • Oil
  • Salt
  • Black garlic- 1 clove per steak
  • Sliced almonds- 1/4 cup
  • Fresh thyme
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