Tag Archives: vegetable

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.

Read more…

Flavor #9: Sweet Corn Ice Cream

3 Aug

Sweet corn ice cream

On the early morning after my late-night arrival to Bangkok, my eyes opened to a hazy rising sun. It was 6 am—an ungodly hour. My body was stuck in the California timezone and sleep was not an option.

“Are you awake?” I asked my friend in a nearby bed. “Because I am.”

“Yeah,” he grumbled in obvious jet lag.

Feeling too awake, we decided to take a walk while the rest of our crew continued to sleep.

Outside our hotel on the major street of Sukhumvit, I suggested that we turn left toward the unknown rather than turn right to the standard expat hangouts. The city was warming up—a reminder of the humid summers that I had escaped to California (and specifically to San Francisco). I was unprepared. As we came upon the colorful stalls full of foods unknown to unknown to us (despite being Asian American), I could feel the heat seeping into me, slowing me down step by step.

The local markets of Bangkok

The misery of the jet lag and the rising heat tugged at my bones. My morning crankiness and heat wariness would likely start exploding in complaints and exhaustion. Normally, I love the vibrancy and life of the locals. Yet at that moment, despite stopping at a 7-11, something was getting to me. My boyfriend cancelled on the trip about a month prior to the trip. I wasn’t quite sure of my group’s itinerary in Thailand. There were 2 more weeks of Cambodia and Thailand. All these thoughts were swirling through my mind in the morning humid heat when suddenly…

A man with an ice cream cart appeared. Magic.

I hurried up to him from across the street. One please, I motioned.

In that instant, the lecture from a travel nurse a week ago started fade. I pulled out 3 baht and handed it to the ice cream man. He gave me a small cone freshly scooped from his cart. Ignoring all warnings of onlyeatwhatspreparedinfrontofyou and nevereatanythingthatisnothot, I engulfed the ice cream.

Bangkok street food ice cream

It was magical and my anxieties drifted away for a moment. At the very least, I suddenly appreciated the fact that I was in Bangkok. Eating an Asian-potion-sized corn ice cream on a small cone. This is what travel is.

Shucked corn

Despite having always sought for ice cream naturally when I traveled, this was the ice cream cone that solidified my never-ending quest. (And yes, I did have corn ice cream at a KFC in Thailand, but I forgot to take a photo.)

It was the ice cream cone that changed everything. This was the moment.

corn steeping

So to acknowledge that moment, I had to make a sweet corn ice cream. Walking along Mission street, I came upon a Mexican grocery and Chris exclaimed, “Four for a dollar!” So I picked up four ears of corn, happily satisfied that this was the week that would remind me of my Thai dreams.

Corn ice cream in maker


Adapted from Lottie and Doof


4 ears of raw sweet corn, shucked (Optional: reserve a handful for the churning or topping).
2 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup granulated sugar
Pinch of coarse salt
7 large egg yolks


Remove the kernels from the cobs (I sliced off one end and held it in a bowl with the cut end facing down, then carefully through a see-saw motion cut the kernels from the cob). Reserve some kernels for churning later. Add the kernels to a medium pot. We want the corn to be raw (to infuse the base!) so sadly the best techniques to shuck corn are when the corn is cooked!

Add milk, cream, sugar, and salt to the medium pot. Break the shucked cobs in half and add them to the medium pot.

Stir and heat up until steaming (bubbles appearing at the edges of the pot). Remove from heat and let sit for at least 30 minutes to let the corn steep into the mixture. Remove the cobs.

Working in batches, puree corn mixture in a blender until smooth. Return mixture to saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from heat.

In a separate large bowl, whisk the egg yolks. Temper the egg yolks by pouring one cup at a time of the corn mixture. Whisk after every cup. Return the contents into the pot. Then at medium heat while constantly stirring, place the pot at medium heat. The custard will thicken. Remove from heat when the mixture coats the back of a spoon or a 170 degrees. Due to the presence of corn, it was hard for me to tell when the mixture was ready. I recommend a thermometer for this process!

Strain the custard through a fine sieve into a bowl, squeezing as much base as possible out of the corn solids. Discard the corn solids.

Chill completely overnight in the refrigerator. Churn in an ice cream maker based on the manufacturer’s instructions. Add reserved corn kernels when 5 minutes remain of churning. You can add the reserved corn kernels when serving to avoid a “frozen vegetable” taste. Personally, I found it great either way!

Sweet corn ice cream

Flavor #7: Cucumber Mint Ice Cream

14 Jul

After college, I became fascinated with Boston. A few good friends moved there for school and work. To me, a Californian, Boston was the smaller version of New York. It had everything of an East Coast city—the excitement, the winter, the changing color of the leaves, the easy public transit. Most importantly though, it had J.P. Licks.

I can’t remember the exact moment of having cucumber ice cream. Most likely, it was during a summer break from graduate school in Pittsburgh. I must have been walking from Cambridge across the bridge to Newbury Street. I was dying from the humidity (I prefer dry summers or better yet summers of San Francisco). J.P. Licks must have risen out like an oasis welcoming a friend and me. My friend had never been there and the sight of ice cream called to me… I rushed over lured by the many colors inside.

The word “cucumba” amused me on the list of flavors. And that’s what I had the first time. I only remember the surprise of the flavor—perhaps it was on a sample spoon or cone. The sweetness contrasted with the refreshing taste of cucumber like an ice cube sliding down your throat after having walked half a mile on summer asphalt in flip flops. Since then, when I visit Boston, I must always stop by J.P. Licks.

Adapted from Food 52:

1 large English cucumber, peeled, seeded, and roughly chopped
2/3 cups packed mint leaves (remove the stems)
3/4 cups granulated sugar
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
5 large egg yolks
1 generous pinch kosher salt
1 small lime

Puree the cucumber in a blender or food processor. The result will consist of a liquid and some solids. To my surprise, this is how one would juice a cucumber! Set aside.

Either in a mini food processor or mortar and pestle, combine mint and sugar. Process until the result is a fine mint sugar.

In a medium pot, combine milk and heavy cream over medium heat until steaming. Remove from heat.

In a separate large bowl, whisk the egg yolks together. Add the mint sugar. Then whisk thoroughly until combined.

Temper the egg/mint sugar mixture by pouring one cup at a time of the warmed mixture. Whisk after every cup. Return the contents into the pot. Then at medium heat while constantly stirring, put the pot at medium heat. The custard will thicken. Remove from heat when the mixture coats the back of a spoon.

Strain out the cucumber solids with a strainer. Mix in lime juice. Stir in the vanilla extract.

Chill completely overnight in the refrigerator. Churn in an ice cream maker based on the manufacturer’s instructions.

Flavor #3: Carrot Ginger Ice Cream

8 Jul

When I was in Berlin, my local friends took me to a Vietnamese restaurant in Mitte. There was the standard Westernized Vietnamese food…but it was the tea that gripped me in delight. Somehow I had missed this kind of tea in Vietnam. There were three kinds—with fresh jasmine blossoms, ginger, lemongrass. Served in a large ceramic bowl, I drank the tea leaving the remains in the cup.

Later at my friend’s apartment, they gave me tea again with fresh ginger. Thus began my love of ginger with hot water.

So when I had an overabundance of carrots (the same reasons as the overabundance of jalapeños for the strawberry candied jalapeño), I had to add ginger.

Instead of using ground ginger, I used fresh ginger in the recipe. Somehow the ginger did not come through, so I added some of my ginger syrup. Next time though, I plan to add more grated fresh ginger.

Adapted from Savory Notes:

For the carrot puree:

4-6 carrots
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Cut carrots lengthwise, and then into chunks. Toss in a bowl, with canola oil. Spread onto baking sheet and bake at 375°F for about 35-40 minutes. Roasting the carrots will bring out the delicious sugary flavor inherent in carrots.

When done, throw chunks into a blender, and add a tablespoon of water at a time and blend away. You’re looking for a thick paste, so keep adding as much water as you need until you get to that point. If the carrots are somewhat dry, it may need more water.

Set aside 3/4 cup of the puree for the ice cream.

For the ice cream:

2 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
6 egg yolks
3/4 cup carrot puree
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon honey
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
4 tsp fresh grated ginger

In a bowl, whisk egg yolks, salt, honey, and sugar.

In a pot on the stove, combine milk and heavy cream. When cream mixture starts to gently bubble, turn off heat.

While continuously whisking the egg yolk/sugar mixture, slowly add a ladle of the hot cream.

After incorporating about a third of the hot cream, pour the egg yolk/sugar mixture into the pot with the remaining hot cream, and whisk.

Set the flame to low, and whisk often. Add the ginger.

When the mixture coats the back of a spoon (a clean line can be drawn with a finger), turn off and remove from heat.

Add the carrot puree and vanilla extract. Whisk until everything is thoroughly combined. Strain mixture (to take out carrot and ginger bits) and let sit on the counter until it reaches room temperature (approximately 40 minutes).

Place in refrigerator for a few hour or overnight. Then churn in the ice cream maker.

Flavor #2: Strawberry Candied Jalapeño Ice Cream

6 Jul

Like many of us, I have an inherent love of strawberries. Particularly the kind that’s bursting with childlike juicy flavor.

A strawberry drink? I am there. A dessert laced with strawberries? Oh yes. A patch of strawberries for the picking? Sorry, it’s going to be gone before you know it.

As for jalapeños? I live in the Mission district in San Francisco—well-known for the ample Mexican taquieras on every corner. But more importantly, the Mexican grocery stores spilling through the streets hawking produce at lower prices than the local Whole Foods. So I have been attracted to the common produce of jalapeño. It added a kick to my chili, soups, casseroles…and various other foods. I have been known to go to a farmer’s market and pick up a single jalapeño. Upon checking out, they would always laugh at me. Just one?? Just take it! was the common response.

So when I first walked into Humphry Slocombe shortly after it opened, this was the flavor I chose. I haven’t seen it on the menu since. So when I first tasted it, it was luscious…expected. Strawberries! But then it had this sudden spicy flavor. It turned into a slow burn that almost curled into a sweet and firey end.

When making this recipe, I was looking for relief from my disaster in eggs in custard. Unlike many chefs and cooks out there, I have this incredible inability to pay attention to the stove. I don’t quite have ADD, but my lack of attention to detail…has led to many a disaster in making custard.

At least a week prior to the idea, I decided to buy jalapeño in bulk. In bulk because at this local asian market, no vegetables are ever sold individually. So I gave 15 to a friend and kept 5 for myself. Always ever resourceful, the idea for strawberry candied jalapeño came just like lightning.


Adapted from Local Milk

For Candied Jalapeño

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 medium jalapeño seeded and sliced

In a medium saucepan on medium heat, combine the sugar and water. Stir. Once the sugar has dissolved, toss in the sliced jalapeño. Turn off heat once the contents are boiling. Let sit until room temperature. Set aside until needed.

For the Jalapeño Sugar

1 medium jalapeño seeded and chopped
5 slices candied jalapeño
1/8 cup sugar

In a mini food processor, combine the jalapeño, candied jalapeño and sugar. I added more than 5 slices to give the ice cream more kick. Pulse until finely chopped and mixed. Set aside.

For the Strawberry Purée

(makes about twice as much as you need)
1 pint of strawberries (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/8-1/4 cup sugar, depending on your preferred sweetness

In a mini food processor (and I didn’t even clean it out after making the jalapeño sugar), combine the strawberries and sugar. Pulse until finely chopped. Set aside.

For the Base:
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
healthy pinch of cayenne (optional)

In a bowl, whisk together the milk, cream, sugar, vanilla, and cayenne until the sugar is dissolved. Chill thoroughly at least 3 hours or overnight. Once chilled, churn in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Five minutes until the end of churning (or when it looks like it’s almost solid), mix in the jalapeño sugar. Then scoop into an empty container. After every scoop, swirl in the strawberry puree. Let freeze. Serve with the fresh chopped or sliced strawberries.

Flavor #1: Basil Ice Cream

3 Jul

“Strawberry basil or basil?” I asked my friend. “My first ice cream flavor.”

“Basil,” he answered matter-of-factly.

But it wasn’t only that response that made me choose basil. Due to my childhood picky self, I never discovered basil until I was in my mid-twenties.

It always came with Vietnamese pho. A full plate spilling with bean sprouts, jalapeño slices and basil. Especially basil. I would take each branch and pull off the leaves. One by one into the soup. Then with chopsticks, I stirred it around in the hot broth so that every leave was dunked.

Lightly refreshing but subtle is my own description of basil.

As my first flavor of the project, I intended to start off well. It wasn’t the first time that I had made ice cream. So I had started making this…thinking all will go well. So first, I used my blender to mix the basil with the milk-cream mixture.

I thought that everything was going well until I started making the custard. As I must always repeat, I somehow lack the required characteristic that cooks must have. That is, attention to detail, particularly with heat and eggs.

When I started seeing bubbles, I was thrilled. It must be finished! I dipped my wooden spoon in and stroked the back with my finger. Clean…sort of? I turned off the heat and steam billowed out from the pot. To my disappointment, I saw…a mass floating to the top. Solid eggs. To my horror, the eggs had curdled. I dumped the mixture into a large tupperware (obviously, with no real plan of action) and decided that I would try again the following day.

And the following day, I attempted the basil ice cream with a slightly modified recipe. And to my horror again, it curdled in the pot again. Cursed the eggs! At this point, I had wasted expensive high quality organic whole milk and heavy cream. I googled and found that some similar-minded chefs simply strained the mixture.

The following day, I fed the ice cream to my friends. Delicious! they all said. I think that I succeeded.


Adapted from The Perfect Scoop and Completely Delicious Blog


1 cup loosely packed basil leaves
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream (separated into cups)
1 cup whole milk
Pinch of salt
5 egg yolks
1 lemon


Using a food processor or blender, puree the basil leaves with sugar and one cup of heavy cream. This allows the leaves to steep better with the mixture.

Pour half of this mixture into a separate bowl. Add the remaining heavy cream and set aside.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat the other half with milk and salt.

In a separate large bowl, whisk the egg yolks. Temper the egg yolks by pouring one cup at a time of the warmed cream mixture. Whisk the mixture after every cup. Return the contents into the pot and place over medium heat. Stir frequently. The custard will thicken. Remove from heat when the mixture coats the back of a spoon.

Now a custard, pour it through the strainer into the bowl with the remaining cream mixture. Zest the lemon directly into the custard.

Chill for a few hours or overnight in the refrigerator. Churn in an ice cream maker based on the manufacturer’s instructions.

Serve as is or with fresh chopped strawberries.