The season of summer always feels like a fight against time, a race to accomplish, a bucket list to tick off. I usually succumb to it all but not this year. This year my goal has been to take pleasure in the simple daily privileges I am afforded to grieve, to rejoice at growth and to discover what has always been in front of me. I have been lamenting (to myself) the lack of inspiration I have been feeling when it comes to food. The one thing I most relate to feels like a burden. I have so much respect for all the Vietnamese, Salvadorean, Japanese, Thai, Indian, Pakistani, Chinese and so many more immigrant-owned restaurants who work hard daily (and are forced) to keep their prices low so that I can feed myself without guilt from time to time. I have respect for them for various other reasons but this is a top one. Tip well, folks….
Apparently you’re not supposed to start a story with a negative but HELLO, I have gotten this far in my writing journey and we’ve been okay. I don’t recall any time I stopped reading something because it started with a negative thought. In fact, that type of energy tends to pull me in. Challenging common held ideas is a mainstay of progress. I want to know what you don’t like. If we can be friends despite that, WOW amazing. Sign me up for more negatives….
It’s normal to make a big food blogging comeback with just 2 photos of the dish right? If the past few months are anything to go by then this is the *PERFECT* way to make a comeback. Something went wrong with the rest of the moong bean hummus photos I made so this is what I have. It’s life’s way of saying “I own you”. That’s cool, life. It’s been a while. I almost forgot how it felt like to be humbled….
I conceived this recipe not from anything original but rather from the way my Goan family thinks the best way to drink/eat a watermelon is. I can imagine people from around here (U>S>A) jaw hanging down to the ground watching my father sprinkle salt on a watermelon before serving it to us to eat. It’s the Indian way to take in-season fruit and vegetables and add seasonings to it. Not because they lack flavour but because after a while, you will easily tire of the same old same juice-dripping-down-your-chin-deep-burp-from-excessive-fruit-intake. The salt, chaat masala and chilli powder are the merry brigade of fruit flavour enhancers. They provide variety for your every fruit-eating experience all through the year. And in a country where there are more than one seasons for the same fruit, you need it. Trust. Even though I live in a one-summer place now, I don’t think twice about shuffling for my dabba of chaat masala. You should too.
You can make this recipe two ways: One with a blender and one without. I have you covered blenderless people. We are a team!
I wanted to write this post as a short summery of things this past week. Hahahaha. I punned “summary”. Get it? Okay I’ll stop.
Instead, I don’t feel very much like summaries. So many things happened, making this week feel longer than it actually was. Right now is a good time for me not to think. While I’m working on that, I’d like to let you know that by the end of next month we might have a new house. That’s crazy. If you haven’t already gauged from my posts thus far, change is scary for me. My tendency is to humanise everything. Right from a piece of furniture to carpet – to me they are all starring characters in my own Beauty and the Beast movie. This flat that we live in right now is a part of me. I began this weirdo journey living in a new country right inside these walls. The times it felt like a prison are now outnumbered by the times I desperately want to retreat in it. It’s kind of cozy and it’s the one place I know exactly where to go to take food photos. Concrete balcony floor person, you will be sorely missed. I want to hug you.
I’d like to decipher the new place before I tell you about it. For now, the kitchen is imperfect. I know I should care more but it doesn’t matter. We are already s o b l e s s e d. We (might) have a house. It doesn’t feel real so I am going to keep saying (might). Just like that.
My goal right now is to find lots of boxes. Another goal is to throw tons of crap away. (Is any American human reading this a woman’s size 8? I have shoes that I would like to give you.)
Another goal is to not get into fights with Matt. He’s my husband. Say hi! He just made rice for the second time in his life. So proud.
For someone who didn’t want to summarise, I got mighty lippy there didn’t I?
On a different note, send lots of good vibes to The Netherlands as the prepare to win their first World Cup ever!! I might be getting ahead of myself, but actually I’m not. If you live in America, go to Google and type in “Belgium”.
And if you live in Washington state right now, look up the weather! Apparently it’s a heat wave. I’m waving to this heat because this is a mild Goan winter or late January weather. I’ll take it. With arms wide open. While I’m hugging this weather, I made some ice-cream. There are few things that match homemade ice-cream and thanks to the power of this wonderful season, we have abundant ingredients to make it feel like we’re a lucky people. Summer in these parts is a gift.
Just as well, I am hoping for the monsoon to hit India already. My heart is always there and each time I talk to my mother, it bothers me that they still don’t have rain. Take some of ours, I wish I could say. This weather change isn’t good for agriculture. Food, food, food. This is where it all comes back to. That and money. There’s no better case for buying more locally and doing so responsibly.
BUT ICE-CREAM. Let’s get to the point.
Strawberry miso ice-cream
I learnt how to make ice-cream without an ice-cream maker from David Lebovitz‘ blog. Of course, when Matt bought four pints of strawberries this past Sunday, I was bound to go back to his blog to look for an ice-cream recipe that would benefit hugely from these Skagit Valley beauties. They are sweet, imperfect, and encapsulate this crazy beautiful season of Washington in their red-seeded bodies. The addition of mellow white miso is what intrigued me the most about this recipe and surely there was no way I was going to change it. Plus this was more of a frozen custard than ice-cream. SOLD! SOLD! SOLD! Adding egg yolks and roasted fruit to ice-cream is the way it should always be.
The ice-cream custard can be made a day before and the strawberries can be roasted on the same day or even three days ahead, as the original recipe suggests. I roasted them on the same day (i.e. today).
Adapted from David Lebovitz
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup turbinado sugar
- 1 3/4 cups heavy whipping cream
- 5 egg yolks (large eggs)
- 2 tbsp mellow white miso (I used this brand)
In a medium saucepan, add the milk and sugar and warm on the stove until the sugar dissolves completely. The milk should be warm but not at boiling temp. While the milk is warming take a large bowl and fill it about 1/2 way with ice and water. This will be your ice bath. Place a medium-sized bowl in the ice bath and pour the heavy cream into it.
Beat the egg yolks with the miso until combined in another bowl. Add about 1/2 a cup of the warm milk to the egg yolks a little at a time, whisking constantly as you go. If you don’t have the whisk action going, you might cook the egg yolks and that’s not what you need. Turn down the heat on the stove to low and add the yolk-mix mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining milk. Keep whisking constantly until it gets a thicker consistency (and coats the back of a spoon). This takes about 15 to 20 minutes of continuous whisking but it’s so worth it. Turn up the heat a little if you feel it’s taking longer than 20 minutes.
Using a strainer, pour the custard into the whipping cream that’s sitting in the ice bath. The strainer will catch the miso particles and also create a silkier texture for your ice-cream. Mix well and keep in the fridge overnight or for a minimum of 6 hours.
For the roasted strawberries
- 2.2 kg/1 lb fresh strawberries (about 2 pints)
- 2 tbsp vanilla syrup (or your sweetener of choice)
- 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
Heat your oven to 375 degrees F.
Line a 9 inch cake tin with aluminum foil (double up if you need to) and add the strawberries to it. Mix in the vanilla syrup and balsamic vinegar and mix well with your cleanest kitchen hands. Spread them out in the cake tin as much as you can and pop them in the oven for 40 minutes on a rack at the top 3/4 of the oven. At the 15 minute mark, pull out the cake tin and mix the strawberries around. Put it back in the oven. Mix them around once again at some point in the roasting process. The strawberries are ready when the juices have thickened.
Pour out the strawberries and juices into a bowl and cut them up into smaller pieces with a kitchen scissor. Let it cool.
To make the ice-cream
Pour the ice-cream custard into an ice-cream maker and add the strawberries to it right after. Freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions if you haven’t shared some with the neighbours and/or stuck your hand spoon into it soon after.
*If you feel like using a baking sheet to roast the strawberries, do it. I learnt that there is no wrong way to roast a strawberry unless you burn the holy geez out of it. In that case, maybe there is a wrong way.
*The first link right after the second photo has a method to make ice-cream without a machine. It is more work but it works. I’ve done it before and if you’re the kind that obsesses about food things, I’m sure you won’t mind the extra effort it requires for the “worth it” results.