Friday, July 03, 2009

Purple Cows And More Squirrels

Hello everyone! I've been on a mini-vacation with my sister in town. It's been a really fun visit but unfortunately the weather here in New England has been awful for not only the entire month of June but also for the first few days of July. It's been downright dreary. It's hard not to let the gloom settle upon us when the skies are dark when we know this time of year they are supposed to be light. I am working hard not to let my usual somewhat pessimistic inclinations (oh, I fight them hard!) take over. Two pros: I haven't had to water my container garden since May (oh yes, really) and we haven't had to run the AC at all yet. I despise air conditioning but sometimes it is a necessary evil when the humidity hits a certain point (above 70% like now) and it's hot. I haven't mentioned it before but my apartment is actually a portal to hell..well, at least it can feel like it in the summer! Our western exposure and one wall of windows that faces the west means that we bake in the summer sun. It's often 90+ in my apartment late afternoon. Luckily, we've just had the humidity but not the heat. Am I doing a good job of trying to find a silver lining to a storm cloud? I'm trying REALLY hard!

So I was surprised when I went out into the garden the other day and saw that we actually had blackberries growing in our garden. I mean, did we even had enough sun for that? Guess so and no complaints here. And then when an email from VegNews appeared in my inbox and had a recipe for black raspberry ice cream, I knew that my procrastination in getting you good people a proper ice cream review had really paid off. Don't you love it when a procrastinated plan comes together? Ha ha!

So into the garden I went and I picked those raspberries undercover of darkness. Not because I didn't want anyone to see me but rather because inspiration strikes me at odd hours and I've learned to just run with it. I used to love picking blackberries as a kid. Do you find that sometimes your childhood memories leave out certain details? Yup, totally forgot about the prickers on the raspberry bushes. Ow ow ow..not sure if I woke the neighbors but I'm sure some squirrels heard me and shook their fuzzy heads and said "oh that one. She's so odd. But she gives us nuts so we like her." I do not recommend blackberry picking in the dark just in case you were all inspired and planning to do it from my post. He he he...

So anyways, since VegNews published this recipe from Wheeler del Torro's "Vegan Scoop," I figure it's cool to post it here. The original recipe is a black raspberry ice cream but of course, I had to modify it (don't we all?). I haven't had Purple Cow ice cream (black raspberry chocolate chip) in years because I've never seen a vegan version. OMG..the result is sooooo good! I used a 70% bittersweet chocolate bar that I chopped up into bite sized pieces. Since this ice cream recipe is so sweet, the bittersweet seemed suitable. Actually, I cut the sugar down to 1/2 cup and I thought it was still too sweet..I'll try for even less sugar next time.

Black Raspberry Ice Cream or "Black Cow" Ice Cream Variation (recipe from VegNews)

Makes about 1 quart

What You Need:
1 cup soymilk, divided
2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
1 cup fresh black raspberries, divided
2 cups soy creamer
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla

What You Do:
1. In a small bowl, mix 1/4 cup soymilk with arrowroot and set aside. In a blender, purée 1/2 cup raspberries, soy creamer, remaining 3/4 cup soymilk, and sugar.

2. Transfer mixture to a medium-size saucepan and cook over low heat. Once mixture begins to boil, remove from heat and immediately add arrowroot cream. This will cause the liquid to thicken noticeably. Add vanilla extract.

3. Refrigerate mixture until chilled, approximately 2 to 3 hours. Freeze according to your ice cream maker’s instructions. In the last few minutes of churning, add remaining 1/2 cup raspberries. My note: I added 1 cup of chocolate chunks at this point too.

I'm enjoying The Vegan Scoop quite a bit. So far I've made chocolate chip ice cream, strawberry and now blackberry raspberry chocolate chip. All were very good. My only complain is, again, that the recipes are very sweet. When I feel more confident with these recipes and my new ice cream machine, I'll try agave and cutting the sugar more. Speaking of ice cream machine, thank you for all the excellent advice on ice cream machine. It was great to hear what you all thought about your machines. I ended up getting the standard Cuisinart machine. It's nothing fancy..actually relatively low tech but it does the job and it was within my budget.

Some more pictures..the garden is growing gangbusters with all this rain:

The tomatoes are going to be big with all the water..but will the sun return so they can turn red?!

Very excited! I found an herbal tea from Celestial tastes pretty close to caffeinated ice tea and mixed with a little agave and some lemon, it's perfect..if it ever gets hot here again! I'm naturally caffeinated unfortunately and the littlest bit of caffeine will have me bouncing off the walls. Oh, and sugar works too =)

Finally, here's some shots from Squirrelly's family. These little siblings are really cute and they always seem to be together:


Jes said...

Blackberries! Woohoo! What a not-dreary fruit :) Your garden looks like it's doing fab even with the sucky weather!

For the Love of Guava said...

damn **stops in tracks from skipping out to blackberry field** returns with flashlight... hahaha