Roasted Banana Ice Cream

July 11, 2014 at 1:00 PM | Posted in I am creative., Sometimes I cook. | Leave a comment

Finding myself with an abundance of overripe bananas (again), and on an ice cream kick, and having experienced the joy of roasted banana paletas, I thought I would give roasted banana ice cream a try. I found an inspiration recipe, tweaked a few things, and came up with what you see below.

The base is the consistency of chunky pudding, which churns into a dense ice cream that’s scoop-able right out of the freezer. This recipe makes a little less than a quart. It very banana-y and sweet and the roasting changes the flavor to something akin to banana cream pie filling or banana pudding. Graham cracker crumbs might be good on top.

Bill, some friends, and I ate this with dark chocolate ice cream and yummy noises were heard ’round the table. My friend Jenn said she wanted to bathe in them.

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Roasted Banana Ice Cream

2 c. skim milk
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1.5 oz. Neufchâtel cheese, room temperature
1/8 tsp. Kosher salt
1/2 c. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. light corn syrup
1 vanilla bean, split (or 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract)
4 ripe bananas, sliced into thick rounds

1. Roast banana slices at 400°F for 30–40 minutes, tossing once or twice for even browning; I used the toaster oven. Spoon the bananas into a bowl and discard the sugary liquor. Add lemon juice to the roasted banana slices and mash into a paste with a fork.

2. Whisk the Neufchâtel cheese and salt until smooth. Mix thoroughly with the mashed bananas; I used the whisk attachment on my mixer. Put it aside.

3. Mix 1/4 c. milk with the cornstarch to make a smooth suspension. Put it aside.

4. Bring remaining milk, sugar, corn syrup, and vanilla bean to a rolling boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Boil for 4 minutes.

5. Remove from heat, discard the vanilla bean, and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry.

6. Bring the mixture back to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook while stirring until somewhat thickened, or about a minute more. Remove from heat.

7. Add a little of the hot milk mixture into the bowl with the Neufchâtel cheese + bananas and whisk until smooth. Gradually whisk in remaining milk mixture, making sure it stays smooth. (This is when you would mix in the vanilla extract if you didn’t use a bean.)

8. Chill the mixture in the fridge for several hours or overnight.

9. Freeze in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions; I churned it for 25–30 minutes. Transfer the ice cream to an airtight container and allow it to harden in the freezer for several hours before serving.

Super Easy Tiny Batch Fridge Pickles

July 9, 2014 at 1:00 PM | Posted in Sometimes I cook. | Leave a comment

Never pickled anything before? Don’t have (or want to bother with) a water bath canner? Don’t have any mason jars? Need only small quantity of pickles, or have only a small quantity of cucumbers? NO PROBLEM.

I made a modified version of this recipe from Marisa last year and Bill loved it. So I made it again. And again. And I knew I would be making more this summer.

This weekend we had friends over and I made Pimm’s Cup as the house cocktail. I specifically bought small cucumbers for the garnish so I could pickle the leftovers. Four of them made exactly one pint of pickles! The recipe below is the one I used.

Triple the quantity of liquid for 2 pounds of pickling cucumbers and play around with the spices, or look to Marisa’s (or others’) recipes for inspiration. Just don’t change the ratio of liquids—you want safe pickles!

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Easy Refrigerator Pickles

4 pickling cucumbers
½ c. apple cider vinegar
½ c. water
2 tsp. Kosher salt
2 garlic cloves, peeled
¼–½ tsp. crushed red pepper
1 heaping tsp. pickling spice blend (I use Penzey’s)

1. Wash and quarter the cucumbers into spears.

2. In a small saucepan, combine vinegar, water, and salt. Bring to a simmer.

3. Put garlic cloves and spices in the jar, then pack in the cucumber slices.

4. Pour the brine into the jar, leaving some headspace but covering the cucumbers. Tap jars gently on counter to dislodge any trapped air bubbles.

5. Apply lid. Let jar cool to room temperature and then place it in the refrigerator. Let the pickles sit for at least 48 hours before eating.

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