Caramelized Papaya with Flan Ice Cream for Cinco de Mayo

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Our friends Chris and Erin, from The Olive Notes host a weekly community potluck dinner for all their friends, here in Saint Augustine. It is a way for all of us to get together on a regular basis. You don’t have to RSVP, just be sure to come with a dish, dessert or a drink based on a pre-determined theme. Sometimes these Tuesday night Community Dinners fall on a holiday, and today was one of those times. So of course the theme for tonight was Mexican.

I really didn’t know what to make. I hadn’t gone to the grocery store in about a week, so I started rummaging through the pantry. Originally I thought I would fall back on beans and rice. However I saw a can of coconut milk and a can of sweetened condensed milk. I had a mango in the fridge, so I thought about making a mango-coconut ice cream. That was until I pulled the mango out and realized it was still hard. However, next to it was a papaya that was very ripe.

When I pulled out the can of sweetened condensed milk, I read the back and the recipe was for flan. Lo and behold, on the ingredient list was also a can of coconut milk and a few other ingredients I had on hand. I was in the mood for ice cream so I decided to use all the same ingredients for the flan, but instead make ice cream. I cut the papaya into rounds, took the seeds of of the middles, sprinkled them with sugar and popped them under the broiler for a few minutes. Once they got caramelized, I took them out, squeezed a fresh lime over top and sprinkled the papaya liberally with cinnamon.

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I made the ice cream, while the papaya was cooling, and once it was blended and still soft and creamy I scooped a big dollop of ice cream and placed it in the hole of each papaya slice. I also put a fresh mint leaf on top – and it was almost the color of the Mexican flag! Then I put it in the freezer to harden.

This was a nice cool treat to end a meal of spicy Mexican dishes! Happy Cinco de Mayo Everyone!
I am a bit late with this, but I dedicate this dish to Peter and Christey of FotoCuisine, who picked the ingredients for this month’s Royal Foodie Joust, which were the colors, Red, White and Green.

Voting closes tomorrow, so be sure to cast your vote for your favorite overall, best photo and most unique interpretation of the dish. Stay tuned to the LOQ blog to find out the winners!

(*still to come – the last of Italy – Rome)


Caramelized Papaya with Flan Ice Cream


INGREDIENTS:

1 can of coconut lite milk
1 can (from coconut milk) of whole organic milk
1 can sweetened condensed milk
3 large organic eggs
1 tsp Tahitian vanilla extract
1 large papaya cut in rounds and de-seeded
sprinkling of sugar
juice of 1 lime
dusting of cinnamon
fresh mint leaves for garnish

METHOD:

Peel papaya and cut the papaya into rounds, take the seeds of of the middles, sprinkle rounds with sugar and pop them under the broiler for a few minutes. Once they get caramelized, take them out, squeeze a fresh lime over top and sprinkle the papaya liberally with cinnamon.

While the papaya is cooling, make the ice cream. In a large bowl blend 3 milks, eggs and vanilla until smooth. Pour into ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Once the ice cream is blended and getting frozen, yet still soft and creamy scoop a big dollop of ice cream and place it in the hole of each papaya slice. Garnish with a fresh mint leaf and serve.

Lemon-Ricotta Ice Cream with a Kick and Mango-Orange Sorbetto…and a meme….

Gosh, it feels like forever since I actually posted a recipe on this blog! The scary thing is that I have A LOT of them to post! With the New Foodie Blogroll launch over, I have accumulated a lot of recipes and photos of dishes I have been preparing this summer, that I haven’t had time to post (and scarily enough, posts I had written right before the wedding, that I still have to post Bad, bad, blogger!).

DISCLAIMER: So be forewarned that some of the upcoming posts aren’t going to be seasonal for most of my lovely readers. I see that there are Autumnal posts all over the blogosphere, and although the weather is a little less humid here, we are still very much in the throes of summertime, here in Florida! (OH HOW I MISS THE FALL!!!)

We are going to be heading to New England for our annual trip in October and my goal is to post all my backlog before then. So that when I come back, I have all fresh material!

So before this gets too out of date, here are the lovely ice cream recipes for you that I promised over a week ago! *blush*

Here are the next two installments of the Ice Cream Diaries…

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Lemon-Ricotta Ice Cream

I had some leftover ricotta cheese in the fridge and I had seen Laurie from Dalla Mia Cucina make a Ricotta and Rum Gelato and I thought – there you go! That’s what I want to do with my leftover ricotta! I had about a cup left, so I decided to fill in the rest with whole milk and Greek yogurt.

A while back I had made some lemon-ricotta muffins that I found on Rosa’s Yum Yums that were awesome so I decided that I wanted to make lemon-ricotta ice cream. Also I have been trying to find a solution to the super hard ice cream texture that most of our ice cream has (to the point that we have to take it out of the freezer 40 minutes before we want to eat it!!!), and since I know vodka doesn’t freeze, I put a nice shot of vanilla vodka into the mix. Just for texture purposes! It worked really well! So now I know the trick to making softer ice cream! 😉

Click through for recipe and for the Mango-Organe Sorbetto….AND the MEME!
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Ice Cream From Leftovers: Very Pistachio Cherry Ice Cream and Baileys Hazelnut-Gateau Ice Cream

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I have really so enjoyed my ice cream maker since we got it back in March as an early wedding present from my mom. Ice cream is a big passion of mine, it is something we eat almost everyday, in small amounts (sometimes!) and I find that it has been a really fun and creative outlet for me! But…we have been making so much ice cream since we got the maker, that I literally have a backlog of recipes to share with you all. So consider the next few days, the ice cream chronicles, as I share with your our creations!

I am always looking out for new and great recipes for ice cream, gelato (although you can’t really make true gelato without the proper equipment), sorbetto and slushies. I hoard little bits of this and that away in the freezer for future ice cream endeavors, especially from Daring Bakers Challenges.

This is the inspiration for today’s two recipes!

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For the Pistachio-Cherry, I broke down and went with an egg base, something I have been avoiding. However, I had 6 leftover egg yolks in the freezer from a Daring Bakers challenge that needed using. So I decided to finally do an egg based ice cream to remember what the difference in texture is. Texture has been the most difficult thing for me to perfect in past attempts. I was really frustrated to see that there really is a difference. This ice cream was so creamy, its nuts! And this ice cream TRULY was nuts because we went a little nuts with the pistachios! But I was really struggling with the consistency issue and not using eggs. I was determined to find something that will work besides eggs, and I believe I found my answer …in BOOZE (see more on this farther down)…

Roberto loves Pistachio gelato, or ice cream. It is his absolute favorite. Second runner up, Amarena, otherwise known as black cherry. So we decided that this ice cream should incorporate these two flavors making the Ultimate Roberto Ice Cream. Unfortunately, we did overdo it with the pistachios, which means that flavor really overwhelmed the sweet cherry flavor. But it was still good, just not very cherry.

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I had a lot of fun getting the cherries ready for this endeavor. I really enjoy cutting into rich red fruits, like pomegranates and cherries and watching their juices stain everything from the cutting board to my fingers. I can’t explain it, but it makes it fun. I guess it is the kid in me.

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The second “leftover ice cream” was made from the cake remnants from the last DB challenge – the Hazelnut Gateau which was kind of a disaster for me. So I had a LOT of remnants. I had it stuffed in the freezer and had pretty much forgotten about it until I asked Roberto what kind of ice cream he wanted next. We had recently gotten a bottle of Bailey’s to experiment with making cocktails and so we decided to make a Bailey’s ice cream. That night, I DREAMT about adding the gateau pieces to it (this is how obsessed I am about ice cream!) and I am telling you guys, it is worth making the gateau, to put in this ice cream! I feel so validated now! Ben and Jerry’s really needs to buy this recipe from me to mass produce! LOL! The Bailey’s, since it is alcohol, doesn’t freeze so it made this ice cream so soft and scoopable and creamy!

Click through to see how we made them.
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Independence Day Celebration

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Independence Day in the US is all about BBQs and fireworks. I guess it is a fitting way to celebrate a birthday. I mean, we all usually celebrate our personal birthdays with great food,cake and fanfare .
I think next year, on my birthday, I should ask for the fireworks, too. 😉

But really there is no better way to celebrate a holiday or event than with delicious food. We all know that well. This weekend we were celebrating with my family. My mom and my aunt and uncle came up to Saint Augustine to celebrate the birth of the USA in the oldest town in the USA. We spent Friday afternoon sightseeing and so I decided on a simple menu, that I could do ahead of time, so that I could not only enjoy my guests, but so that we could have a delicious, but quick meal in between all of the festivities.

You know what they say though about the best intentions…

Menu:

Pork Kebabs with my special Middle Eastern inspired meat rub with cippolini, orange bell pepper and cherry tomatoes with Tzatziki

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Since I don’t have a grill, and can’t grill where I live (2nd story condo in a downtown area) I did my kebabs under the broiler!

Tangy Potato Salad: loosely based on Nana’s Potato Salad but with lots of sweet Hungarian paprika and some cider vinegar thrown in

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Green Beans Vinaigrette: Just green beans tossed with garlic, cilantro, sherry vinegar and extra virgin olive oil
(sorry no pics)

To Drink? White Sangria with strawberries and stone fruit (bottle of Riesling, bottle of bubbly and chopped fruits)

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For Dessert? Cardamom and Pistachio Brownies from Mallika’s blog with homemade Pomegranate Sorbet (recipe to follow)

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So I gave myself Thursday afternoon and evening to boil the potatoes and blanch the green beans, prep the meat with the rub, make the tzatziki, the brownies and the sorbet. No big, do it all the time. I prepped the veggies and the meat in no time, with no difficulty. Then I made the brownies. It was a bit of a challenge because I have never made brownies from scratch (oh the horrors!) before (we are not big brownie people, so that is why), plus the recipe I was following on Mallika’s blog were in metric. So I sat down to quickly do the calculations and it just wasn’t making sense – so honestly I scrapped the directions and just winged it. They turned out a little on the cake-y side, as opposed to squidgy, but we actually prefer them this way, so they were fine.

Then it was time for the sorbet, my pièce de résistance. So I made the simple syrup in this tiny saucepan I have with a broken handle (meaning all that was there was the screw and a little piece of the handle). After it was all set, I went to pour it in a small pyrex bowl, to cool. But as I was pouring, the handle finally broke all the way off, and as this happened the pot fell onto the pyrex bowl, knocking it to the floor, shattering the bowl and spraying my freshly cleaned kitchen and newly bought kitchen carpet with super sticky gooey simple syrup. The first thing that came to my mind after, “thank goodness I miraculously avoided being burned” was: “oh crap, Roberto is going to kill me!” (he has been trying to get me to throw this pan away for ages), followed by “Damn it! I am out of sugarrrrrrrrrrrr!” also dammit, my pyrex bowl is broken and dammit I no longer have a small saucepan. Followed by “I can’t believe I have to go back to the store!”

From there it was just a downward spiral. My kitchen was covered in gooey glass, and I needed to go get more sugar. So I zipped out to the store, while Roberto kindly volunteered to do cleanup duty (thank the Universe for good and helpful husbands!).
As I was driving to the store, the light for gas came on, so I had to stop and pay a gazillion dollars for a tank of gas. Then when I finally got the the store, I stepped out of the car and dropped my cell phone onto the pavement, which then promptly fell apart. I had had it, and expletives were flying from my mouth when I look up and see a mother with her little daughter walking towards me. As I mouthed “so sorry” to her, I picked up my cell phone pieces, put it back together and braced myself for the insanity that is the day before a holiday shopping frenzy at the grocery! Luckily I made it out alive and without any problems, and back home with no other detours. I managed to finish making the sorbet before completely crashing. We ate some leftovers, drank a mojito to dull the pain and torture of earlier events, and watched a few episodes of Buffy, The Vampire Slayer on DVD. Normalcy returned and all ended well.

The next day our guests arrived and we all enjoyed a nice and relaxing weekend. I hope you all in the US enjoyed your long weekend too!
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Ice Cream? You Scream, we all scream for Mango-Coconut Yo-Cream?

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Here is the next in the Artisan Ice Cream series. With summer in full swing, I am always more drawn towards lighter tastes and although I am pretty happy with the ice cream base I have been using, I do feel after using it several times, there is room for improvement – mostly in texture.

I love the ultra creamy texture of ice creams using eggs, but there are several reasons I want to stay clear of eggs. For one, the fat and cholesterol – most recipes call for 6 eggs, while others I have seen as many as a dozen! Another is the cost of organic eggs, which are the only eggs I am willing to put in this temple of my body. A third problem with egg based ice cream bases, the time involved in a cooked custard ice cream. Ice cream really is a part of our daily diet – so I can’t think of it as a splurge. I need an ice cream base that is the best of both worlds – creamy texture, light on the clock, waist and the wallet.

So with creamy and light at the forefront of my mind, I went out on a limb this time. I knew I had some mango, lime yogurt puree tucked away in the freezer from when we made Elle’s Mango Buffalo Wings and I wanted to incorporate that into this week’s ice cream. Since there was already yogurt in the puree, I thought adding more yogurt would be a great idea – giving the ice cream some extra tang, and a little more fat, when using a whole milk Greek style yogurt. I also wanted to try a different kind of sugar, so instead of adding pure cane sugar like I normally would, I used sweetened condensed milk. I love the flavor of sweetened condensed milk anyway, and I have seen it used as a base in a lot of custard like desserts, so I thought perhaps it would give me a bit of the creaminess I was after. To the mix, I threw in some shredded coconut to add a little texture. Not to mention I absolutely LOVE shreds of coconut in ice cream.

The verdict? It is more of a creamy consistency and much more dense than previous batches. I don’t think I have found the perfect base yet, but I am going to continue experiementing. I think I will keep experiementing with sweetened condensed milk and I know when I want tang to go for using yogurt. I think I would also add more coconut to this ice cream if I were to make it again. This is a tangy and creamy ice cream/ yogurt. If you like a sweeter version, I would add some sugar or agave.

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This is my entry for the Ice Cream, You Scream Blogging Event, hosted by Nikki over at Nik Snacks

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Daring Bakers: Let Them Eat Cake…at L’Opera!

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I want to start off by saying this is by far my favorite Daring Bakers Challenge yet. Why? Well, true to its name… It was very challenging, and it was a lot of firsts for me as well: first buttercream (that worked), first mousse (that worked), first time making almond flour and first time making dulce de leche. So after creating this cake, or 15 mini cakes, in my case, I felt really really accomplished and super happy about how delicious they were. So thank you very much Lis and Ivonne, our fearless founders for this wallop of a pastry!

So here we are, just getting back from our wedding (there was cake there) and then our fabulous honeymoon in Jamaica (yes, there was cake involved there too) and when I check to see what the DB challenge for May is, I am faced again, with cake. Opera Cake to be exact, and when I printed out the directions and it was 9 pages long, I almost passed out from spiking glucose levels!!!
BUT, I had missed the challenges for March and April and I was not about to miss another. So I decided to just be smart about this challenge and create some mini cakes (easily given away, and small portions) for Mother’s Day, because who deserves all this time and effort I was going to put into these cakes more than my Mom? Who happens to love cake and opera…(right, mom? back me up here!)
*pics of my Leftover Opera Cake Ice Cream follow*
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My Foray into Artisan Gelato By Way of Ice Cream: Recipe: Tamarind Ice Cream and Papaya-Mango Ice Cream

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For the longest time I have had a dream that one day I would own a Gelateria – a quaint little storefront brightly colored and smelling of heavenly delights. The setting would of course be in a quaint little town, preferably historic and with cobblestones, where I would hone my creative juices to a simple yet delectable gastronomic experiment. This town would be full of people who appreciate fine foods and artistry or maybe just a constant stream of tourists looking for a unique snack. My life would essentially be like the movie Chocolat, but instead of chocolates, I would be making gelato, because just like Vianne, I believe that good food, filled with fine ingredients, that speak to people’s hearts and souls, can change lives and ultimately make people happier.

I have always had a deep respect for artisans of food. Those craftsmen and women who dedicate their lives to a single creative outlet and do it great – with purpose and passion. I am talking about cheesemakers, hand roasted coffee roasters, breadmakers, chocolatiers, vintners, olive oil producers, and farmers.
I have also always had a deep and profound love for ice cream. That soft and creamy texture that is nothing but a blank slate for all the creativity you can throw at it! So why haven’t I opened the doors to my gelateria yet? Because also in this vision, I am much older than I am now. I have been around the world, tasted a lot of frozen treats, ice creams and gelati from all over there world filling my head with an abundance of ideas and recipes, and am at the point where I am ready to throw down roots and stay somewhere for a while, putting my heart and soul and love into my creations.

However, every great gelato maker has to start somewhere right? And aren’t the guinea pigs of said gelato makers always happy too? So from this day forward, as I live my life and get closer to that gelateria dream with each step, I will begin experimenting with ice creams – and you can be my cyber-tasters. Sound good? Good. Then Enter.
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Jam-Packed Post: Friends From Faraway, Birch Ice Cream Recipe and a New Foodie Blogroll Update!

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I can honestly say I am overwhelmed daily by the generosity of the Food Blogging Community. People are supportive of new ideas, helpful when you ask, and it doesn’t take long to feel like you have a whole world of friends out there. One day I have dreams of traveling around the world, and meeting up with all my friends from the community of foodies I have met online. So what does this have to do with this picture of ice cream? We will get to all of that, in due time…

It is almost a year since I began this journey into food blogging and it is one of the best things I ever did with my time. It has helped me re-affirm my passion for food and has made me realize that food and networking with other foodies is where my future lies.

I am getting married in less than a month, so I will continue to post regularly until the first week in April (- after which I am taking a 3 week hiatus), but I may not be able to make my normal rounds to all my favorite blogs. Just know that it is nothing personal and I can’t wait to see you all again in May! Thanks for your support! 🙂 Also be sure to read the end of this post with an update about The Foodie Blogroll! 🙂

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Anyway, back to the point of my post…making friends in the blogosphere…so a while back, if you are a regular reader of Valli’s blog, More Than Burnt Toast(and if by some crazy stretch of the imagination, you aren’t a regular reader of her blog – GET ON OVER THERE!) you will have read that she and I did a little foodie exchange. I was enamored of her birch syrup (my favorite tree) and she wanted to try tamarinds. So we decided to have a little exchange! Well I gave her the wrong address and so it took a while for the birch syrup to get here – but it did, along with some delicious maple sugar – I love that stuff!!! Recently my mom gave Roberto and I a Cuisinart Ice Cream maker as an early wedding present (THANKS, MOM!)– so I decided to christen the ice cream maker by making Birch Ice Cream (recipe to follow).

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Then the next day, the postman comes a knocking AGAIN (– he must wonder what in the world we are up to at our house!). I am looking at this package and I see a familiar name: Nuria! A package all the way from Spain – and inside a wonderful apron with an octopus on it (I LOVE THEM – how did she know???) and a vacuum sealed package of her prized Iberian Acorn Ham. If you don’t know Nuria’s blog, Spanish Recipes (and again shame on you!!!) check it out and you will see how much she loves this stuff! But she sent this wonderful surprise to Roberto and I as a wedding present! I think we are going to enjoy it best this way.

So thank you Nuria and Valli from the depths of my heart! You two really made my week!
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