So now I feel obligated, ahem, I mean inspired to make ice cream. I decided that my first endeavor should be something simple. It's blueberry season here in Tennessee. Have you ever read the poem "Blackberry Picking" by Seamus Heaney? Well that's how I feel about blueberries- greedy, like a pirate hoarding treasure. They're just so good!
I found this recipe for blueberry coconut ice cream on Roostblog.com. It only has three ingredients: blueberries, coconut milk and raw honey. And since I just read "Ratio" by Michael Ruhlman, I will explain it to you in ratios: two parts blueberries, three parts whole fat coconut milk, honey to taste. Can you believe something so plain can be so delicious?
We had one perfect afternoon this week. It was 75, sunny and not too humid. I can't imagine a better time to eat ice cream (that's not saying much; I've been known to eat ice cream during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade). I felt so lucky to work in an office that has a balcony!
Yesterday I was thinking about coming home. Coming home always calls for food. Whether you're coming home for Christmas, from a late movie or from vacation- isn't it the nicest feeling knowing that someone cares enough to have something ready for you?
Last night my boyfriend went to the Predators game right down the street from my house so I decided to have something ready for him afterwards. I didn't have a lot on hand.
Every week when I go to the store or the Farmer's Market, I am completely entranced by the produce. This past week I bought parsnips. Why? Because they are the beautiful, off-white earthy color of a set of plates I want; I know, it's a girl thing. I also grabbed some vidalia onions; they remind me of summer. I have little patience for the gentle art of sautéing, so I threw everything in the oven together with salt and olive oil.
Onion and White Bean Bake and I decided to make a similar dish. When my boyfriend came over, I heated up the bake. He told me it was delicious three times last night and once already this morning.
Easy Bean Bake:
2 vidalia onions, roasted and chopped
1/2 cup vegetables, roasted and chopped (I used one large parsnip and one small, raw carrot for crunch)
1 can white beans, drained
1/2 cup cheese, grated (I used goat milk gouda, my favorite)
2 teaspoons finely chopped rosemary
splash of chicken stock
pepper to taste (you don't really need salt; the vegetables and the cheese are already salted)
Roast vegetables at 400 degrees until slightly caramelized. Give onions a fine chop and vegetables a rough chop. Mix everything together and place in a greased gratin dish. Top with a splash (1/4 of a cup or less) of stock and a little cheese. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until bubbly. Broil the top until golden brown.
The best part of this story is that having food ready for him last night means that it is ready for me for lunch today!
Oh my goodness gracious, do I ever love Thai food.
It reminds me of long, cold winters in Boston when it would snow so hard that I couldn't see my hand in front of my face, and yet the Thai restaurants would deliver to my apartment, always with a smile on the delivery man's face. My roommate and I would sit in the middle of our tiny living room in our pajamas (as far away from the drafty windows as possible) and let the spicy goodness warm us up from the inside out.
Last night I visited my favorite Thai restaurant in Nashville, Thai Phoo Ket. While we were waiting for our dinner I told my boyfriend, "This is one of the things that I am very thankful for- to have a delicious Thai restaurant so close to my house that is open late!"
We shared summer rolls and Tom Kha and I had some Pad See-Ew, most of which I took home for dinner tonight.
My boyfriend, thoughtful as he is, actually bought me Thai cooking lessons at Whole Foods in Green Hills for Christmas last year. It was a great time and I would recommend it to anyone, but the lesson I learned from it is this: let the Thai restaurants handle the Thai cooking! Finding the ingredients alone is enough to make a lazy person like myself go crazy.
What I like best about Thai food is its balance of, well, things. It is sweet, spicy, salty, tangy, subtle, fresh, slow-cooked, light and rich all at the same time. How is this possible? I don't care how, it's delicious. The only Thai ingredient that I dare to use at home is coconut milk. It's excellent poured over fried rice or in chocolate pudding. But lately it's been hot here in Nashville and today was the first truly muggy day, a sign that summer is upon us.
I made coffee this morning and didn't have time to grab any before I left for work. When I got home, it was cold and stale. But do you know what? I poured it over ice with some coconut milk and agave nectar and it was...delicious.
Chocolate chip cookies.
Licking the spoon. Waiting patiently by the oven. The smell. The feeling of warm chocolate oozing onto your fingertips as you pick the first cookie off of the sheet. It's downright nostalgic. In fact, the process of making and eating a chocolate chip cookie is the very first thing that comes to mind when I hear the word "delicious."
Chocolate chip cookies know no bounds; they are craved during every season; the rich, the poor, the old and the young love them equally (although children are notably more open about their affection for the cookie).
This is a recipe I made on a lazy Sunday afternoon after taking a walk around Nashville's capitol building. It is adapted from Elana's Pantry. I used almond flour for a nice, roasted flavor and agave nectar for a subtle sweetness. The dough itself isn't very sweet so I topped each cookie with a pinch of turbine sugar, which happens to make them look even more appetizing when they come out of the oven. I also used a touch of cinnamon because that is what my Mom puts in her cookies. After all, it is Mother's Day.
I ate one cookie (for lunch, no less) and saved two for later. The rest are packed up for an office full of hungry co-workers.
I have an exciting day of shooting ahead of me; my beau is brewing a fresh batch of Summer IPA and then we are going to The Smiling Elephant for a delicious Thai dinner.
Delicious Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 1/2 cups almond flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
pinch of salt (about 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt)
1/2 cup (one stick) unsalted butter (or 1/2 cup of grapeseed oil)
1/2 cup of agave nectar
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1 cup of whichever chocolate chips, nuts or dried fruit you like
Mix wet ingredients and dry ingredients in separate bowls. Add wet to dry and stir. Fold in chocolate chips. Make balls (2 teaspoons is the size I used) and dust generously with turbine sugar. Bake at 350 for 7-10 minutes. As with most cookies, you will know they are done with the color of the dough changes and the top cracks every so slightly. Makes about 30 cookies.