Flavor #27: Celery Ice Cream with Rum-Plumped Raisins and Peanut Butter Swirl

10 Feb

Celery ice cream?

It got me thinking. Celery? Green. Usually eaten raw. Almost tasteless, but with a slight herbaceous flavor. Chopped up into small bits for salads to add crunch. Usually great sliced and combined with Asian stir-fry noodles. The latter is my most prominent memory of celery.

fresh celery

Granted, making celery ice cream is a response to a reddit on making celery ice cream.

As I thought about it, celery ice cream begs to be paired with something. Then it came to me. Obviously. Never a big fan of peanut butter, I was surprised by peanut butter crack introduced to me by classmates during graduate school. Specifically from Peanut Butter and Company. Jars usually found in groceries like Whole Foods…but its sandwich shop is located in New York City.

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Flavor #26: Kiwi Lime Sorbet

4 Feb

I found kiwis on sale. Five for $1! In the middle of winter. In January. A summer fruit…on sale? Why? And really the final question…why not?

At Evergreen Super Market (one of my favorite markets in my ‘hood), I purchased two bags of those brown furry things, quite certain of the sweet juicy green innards. (And you know how much I love zombies!) Fortunately, the bags were most likely on sales because the kiwis were soft and squishy. So not sour at all! Ripe, perfect for a kiwi sorbet.

kiwi fruit

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Kickstarter for Ice Cream Travel Guide launched!

26 Jan

Support the kickstarter for the primary project, the Ice Cream Travel Guide!

Making the ice cream flavors started as a fun project, but as I proceeded, it helped me understand the intricacies of ice cream. The challenges in bringing out flavors, the patience required, the sourcing of ingredients (and its cost). When I started the Ice Cream Travel Guide project, my ice cream making helped me undertand and sympathize with ice cream makers. Like some of them, I come up with zany flavors offhand. Like many of them, I prefer using local, seasonal ingredients (except when they’re on sale; when ingredients are on sale, you cannot stop me). I can chat all day about the power of ice cream (as I did in the Philippines) understanding the difficulties in machinery, the nuances of ice cream. Then it makes me curious about how the business is run.

It makes my interviews with ice cream makers even better.

To learn more or back the project, see below.

And please spread the word!

Flavor #25: Dulce de Leche Granizado Ice Cream

25 Jan

Having studied Spanish for over 6 years, I knew what dulce de leche meant. Sweet. Sugar. Ice cream. The literal translation is sweet of milk.

I love this kind of sweet. As an ice cream maker pointed out, “nearly every ice cream shop has some kind of burnt, salted sugar”. In Argentina, it’s dulce de leche.

In the states where dulce de leche isn’t ample, it can be made from…of course…cans of condensed milk. I made fresh dulce de leche for my Spiced Apple Ice Cream with Dulce de Leche Swirl from condensed milk. This time, with a trip from Argentina, I brought back two jars of dulce de leche (and a bottle of dulce de leche syrup) from the ever-present chocolate shop, Havana, located across the street from the apartment where I stayed in Palermo in Buenos Aires.

dulce de leche scooping

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Flavor #24: Candy Cane Ice Cream

24 Jan

In my family, Black Friday (day after Thanksgiving) and post-Christmas day are important. Because of sales. Because of candy sales. Specifically candy canes. Every single type. The rainbow colored ones. The green ones. The purple ones. And…of course the classic red and white candy canes. (And then there are those who get too many candy canes and holiday cookies over the season…)

Granted, this ice cream is slightly out of season. At first, I thought that I should just call it peppermint ice cream. But let’s fess up, shall we? I bought candy canes the day after Christmas at Walgreens for less than a dollar (after standing in the cold for an hour waiting for the Book of Mormon lottery).

whole candy cane

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Flavor #23: Guava Ice Cream

23 Jan

After traveling through Asia, guavas (along with dragonfruit) are what I miss the most. The guavas abroad (especially in tropical areas) are large, crunch, sweet, and slightly sour. In fact, the de facto Tapei ice cream shop Snow King proudly proclaims one of its signature flavors: guava ice cream.

Growing up, my first guava was the pineapple guava. When my sister and I rode our bikes throughout our neighborhood on the weekend, we often stopped by these…guava bushes for a light snack. I can’t recall if these trees were off the road on someone’s yard or whether we romped through prickly weeds, but I can remember reaching for them without much effort, knowing that most people in the neighborhood were not as intrepid and perhaps too conservative (doesn’t it look unseemingly to pick guavas?) to eat these small pineapple guavas.

Fruits fruits

When I first traveled to Thailand, I was astounded. Green crunchy things (that to me weren’t as “plain” as apples). I fell in love. Whenever I travel to Southeast Asia, I always do a search for these things. I can’t wait until my next experience to show guavas my love.

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Flavor #22: Five-Spiced Persimmon Ice Cream

11 Jan

Bright orange. Looks like a pumpkin. Does not taste like pumpkin. Tastes better than a pumpkin. It is a persimmon! (At least the Fuyu one.)

“I never had a persimmon before,” a friend said when I served him a scoop of the five-spiced persimmon ice cream.

I was awestruck. Never had a persimmon ever?

Fuyu Persimmon

Growing up, my mom constantly purchased persimmons…almost in bulk at the weekly farmers markets. Bruised or dotted with black spots, they were on sale, but still as good as the perfectly shaped ones. She always bought the plentiful Fuyu persimmons with its squat bottom. (Differences between Fuyu and Hachiya persimmons.) My picky younger self avoided many fruits and this was one of them. After dinner, my mom carefully peeled the persimmons, leaving finger-sized slivers on a napkin. She ate the peeled persimmon quickly, relishing the light sweet juice. Not quite floral, not quite peachy, but something of its own. Vanilla, maybe? A gentle nudge of sweet? A reminder that the fall and the winter had arrived.

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Ice Cream Travel Guide website launched!

3 Jan

Visit icecreamtravelguide.com for more details (and sign up to get updates about the project).

But to start, let’s collect what has happened the last four months in my ice cream journey. Simply put, the research has been quite amazing. Ice cream business names not included (with a few exceptions), because you’ll have to read the book!

Ice cream is around the corner!

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Flavor #21: Pomegranate Blueberry Sorbet

1 Jan

Pomegranates. Blueberries. A winter fruit of tricky and a summer fruit of warm nights. All mixed into an ice cold sweet dessert for a new year.

Then zombies. And my favorite kind of meal.

(Two months delayed due to travel.)

Every year for my book club, I host the Halloween event around late October/early November. Each time, the intended focus is the book (usually zombie-themed). But every single year, my creativity takes over me and I JUST HAVE TO make multiple courses of zombie-themed food.

Meat heads are tasty

This year, as a result of being fully immersed in an ice cream journey, I thought about how ice cream can be creepy. Blood-red colored surely. (Maybe black? Sesame?) With some kind of topping that is…incredibly gross.

And that’s when it came to me.


Pomegranates ready to be chopped

As a child, I recall my mom telling me to go to the backyard to break the pomegranates. Eating the fruit is a messy endeavor as each seed (as sturdy it seems on the outside) bursts with so much juice. My mom must have instructed me to wear an apron, lest my clothes be stained by the bright and unwashable colors of the pomegranate.

The seeds are interestingly shaped and encased inside a red package. Aliens bursting from within? Evidence of one’s trypophobia? (I am pretty sure that I have some of that phobia too…) A disease? Symbolic of the Rape of Persephone where she was tricked to eat four seeds?

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Flavor #20: Spiced Apple Ice Cream with Dulce de Leche Swirl

20 Dec

Spiced apple ice cream with dulce de leche

(An ode to the country I am currently in: Argentina.)


Apples. Red. Green. Fuji. Rayburn. Apple pie. Apple sauce. Apple cider. That annoying remainder of the apple: the core that you bite round and round, the uncomfortable eyesore on the table withering into an unsightly brown. Yet. Sweet. Tart. Classic americana. I love pink lady apples the most—for the rosy happiness inspiring color, right balance of tartness and sweetness equivalent a healthy version of ice cream (of course!). The sweet crunch. The magic of an apple corer and the friendly lady at a hotel restaurant when I was 10 who cut our apple for us when my parents asked for a knife. These are my memories of apples.

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