Tag Archives: fruit

Flavor #30: Green Tea Asian Pear Sorbet

5 Apr

“Asian pears!” my friend’s boyfriend declared.

pears at the market

While pondering what produce to buy for a flavor for a belated Chinese New Year dinner, I spotted my friend and her boyfriend roaming through the farmers market. I described my predicament. An Asian flavor that used local produce. So no mango, no dragonfruit, no longan, no guava (as I sadly discovered guava in the United States is no match for guava in Asia) and more. I was ready to return to the blood orange sorbet, which worked wonderfully for all my tasters. Yet, I kept coming across Asian pears. Growing up, my mom bought them and filled the kitchen. After a small lunch, she would carve them into small pieces and place them in a ceramic bowl with painted blue Oriental details.

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Flavor #29: Blood Orange Sorbet

23 Mar

Blood oranges, if they were only in season during Halloween, would have been perfect for my annual zombie book club meeting. Instead, I chose pomengranates to represent the bloodinness of that time of the year. But appropriately, a (belated) anti-Valentine’s day potluck theme for my writing workshop was swiftly suggested and the blood orange idea popped up in my head. What is more anti-valentine than blood oranges?

To the uninitiated, the blood orange is a variety of orange that…just happens to have red streaks. The most common kind sold in the US is the Moro which is sweet…with a slight taste of raspberry.

Blood oranges at shop


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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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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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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Flavor #19: Goat Cheese Ice Cream with Caramelized Figs and Candied Bacon

26 Nov

A few years ago, I asked to take my family’s BBQ grill. Sitting in my parents’ garage, I knew that my parents rarely used it (having opt to use the grill at a swimming pool club because it didn’t require our maintenance or cleanup). Not having the space in my San Francisco apartment, I left it at Chris’ apartment where he had a backyard. Where one summer, BBQ was the only word that escaped from my lips as the evening approached.


During those years when I dreamed of BBQing, anything that was given to me…I naturally brainstormed a way to BBQ it. At work, one day, my coworker brought bags of figs, lamenting about how they kept dropping like bombs in his backyard. Fragrant sticky juicy bombs.

“Fantastic,” I said. “I’ll think of a way to BBQ it.”

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Flavor #18: Pear Pecorino Ice Cream

2 Nov

When I was in Ohio, I asked to visit Snowville Creamery (one of the dairy sources for Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream), because I had trouble getting in touch with Jeni. To my surprise, Warren (owner of Snowville Creamery) invited me to stay the night to get a “real experience” of the dairy farm and the dairy plant. During dinner, I mentioned my love of cheese and my expensive habit of buying a wheel of Mt. Tam from Cowgirl Creamery…but how to my dismay, when I visited the cheese stand at North Market (a public market full of local goodies) in Columbus, the cheese expert told me that good cheeses in Ohio are rare. The cheese expert directed me back to California where good cheeses are plentiful.

In response, to my delight, my wonderful host invited me to visit Integration Acres, local cheese artisans, where his daughter worked.

I was starstruck. In the back with the aging cheeses, I stood there in letting the smell of cheese waft over me. To wish me on my way, I got a slice of the pecorino cheese (or what seemed to be pecorino cheese…maybe it was gouda?). On its own, the cheese was strong and intense. It desperately wants to be paired with something.

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Flavor #17: Thompson Grape Sorbet

1 Nov

Grape sorbet

There are typically two flavors I avoid when I encounter candy. Orange and grape. Maybe because those two are the most artificial tasting. Or that their colors…aren’t as bright as yellow and blue.

When we walked through my favorite farmers market, I couldn’t help but notice the stalls carrying grapes. Green grapes, red grapes, purple grapes. Concord grapes (the most vividest), champagne grapes, Thompson grapes. At one stall, we stopped and sampled the four grapes that they sold. With eyes closed, we chose the sweetest grape. The seller watched us carefully as we jumped from box to box. It was near closing time…almost 2 pm. And we finally we made our decision.

Grapes at Farmers Market

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Flavor #16: Roasted Strawberry and Caramelized Banana Ice Cream

25 Oct

Growing up in California where fresh produce is ample. I had always taken for granted the fruits available in the farmers market. Especially strawberries. There is something intoxicating about an entire case of strawberries, with the delicate scent alluring all that pass by the stand. My mom brought my sister and me to the farmers market weekly in Oakland chinatown. As she shopped for the freshest fish and vegetables, my sister and I would greedily find the ladies handing out samples. Especially those of strawberries.

During high school, the first smoothie bar opened up downtown. (Unlike what others believe, smoothie bars didn’t become popular until I was nearly 16). After working on a science project together, my classmate’s mom drove us downtown to the new smoothie bar. Sheltered from mainstream trends, I was surprised by the incredible smoothie now served to the masses. A mixture of strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, lemon and bananas. With a drop of yogurt (or some dairy product).

So, on a warm fall day (the summer in San Francisco), Chris asked, “Strawberry banana?”

It was an easy inspiration. (Granted, it had not been the first time he asked for the flavor or the smoothie equivalent.) A combination of sweet and tart.

No such recipe existed quite yet.

In making the ice cream, I adhered to the principles I learned in Ohio. Do it the right way In the recipes that I scoured for on the Internet, they were simple. Just chop up the strawberries and toss in! to Mash up the bananas and mix during churning. There was something missing.

Flavors intensify with a bit of heat…to evaporate the water. With too much water in any mix-in, the mix-in (or fruit for that matter) can taste like a bite of ice inside ice cream. So in an effort to minimize that, I roasted the strawberries and caramelized the bananas.

Pureeing strawberries and bananas

In making the ice cream, I initially started with an egg-based custard but in the process, I turned up the heat too much and the eggs…scrambled. So instead, I went with a cornstarch base, which was easier but also allowed for the fruit flavors to stand on its own than to be masked by eggs.

So more by accident, I let the roasted strawberries and caramelized bananas sit for a few hours. I am almost quite certain that the flavors were more intense as a result.

On taste, it was truly Proustian, yanking me back to the moment that I had a strawberry banana smoothie growing up.

Churning strawberry banana ice cream


For the roasted strawberries

1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced into quarters
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice or juice of a half lemon

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a glass or ceramic pan (something nonreactive), mix well the strawberries and sugar together. Roast for 8 minutes until soft. Cool. Puree with the lemon juice. Set aside.

For the caramelized bananas

2 ripe bananas, peeled
1 tablespoon packed light or dark brown sugar

In a medium pan, mix the bananas and brown sugar together with a fork until fully mashed. Cook under medium heat for about 4-8 minutes until brown. Cool. Puree. Set aside.

For the ice cream base

4 1/2 cups of whole milk, half & half, heavy cream or combination
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup sugar
Pinch of salt

In a small bowl, mix cornstarch and 2 1/2 tablespoons of the cream, half & half or milk until there are no lumps to create a cornstarch slurry.

In a medium pot over medium heat, mix the remaining cream, half & half, or milk with sugar and salt. When the mixture begins to steam, add the cornstarch slurry. Continue to cook until the mixture thickens or begins to simmer.

Chill at least three hours or overnight in a refrigerator.

To make ice cream

Mix in the strawberry puree and banana puree into the ice cream base. Churn in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Serve plain or with fruit toppings (e.g. banana slices and/or strawberry slices).