I followed this recipe (https://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/avocado-ice-cream-recipe/) — but added 2 t. lime juice, 1/2 t. flake salt, and 1/4 t. cayenne. I really like the result, but I suspect a lot of people may be suspicious of avocado ice cream in general, and perhaps even more so with my additions! So, y’know, try at your own risk. If you don’t like it, more for me.
Served below with some tropical tinned fruit, which worked well! The recipe says you can use coconut milk instead of cream, which would make it vegan, but I didn’t try that, so can’t vouch for the results.
We did some cooking for the Venezuelan refugees this weekend — Kevin actually did most of it, but I did make polvorosas. These are little Venezuelan shortbread cookies — the name means ‘powdery’ and the cookies have a powdery / sandy texture — crisp on the outside and powdery on the interior, delicious with a cup of coffee or tea.
I’m not sure I quite understand the science of baking here — they’re made with clarified butter (I made mine, but you could also just buy ghee instead), and I have to think that that’s what changes the texture. So you’re removing the milk solids — that’s reducing the amount of protein and maybe a little bit of water? Is that what gives them a more powdery texture than traditional shortbread (made with regular butter)? It must be, right?
These would be fun to make with kids — easy and tasty!
(Continuing from previous post, last post in sequence).
So after all that, I needed a dessert for the refugees, right? I was originally going to make polvorosas (Venezuelan shortbread cookies) with the kids, but our schedule didn’t really work out for that. And I was really intrigued by a dish called majarete — sort of like a flan, but made with corn and coconut milk. Intriguing!
In case it’s not clear, while this project of cooking a lunch for 42 refugees was a fair bit of work, it was also a lot of fun for me. I love learning new things, and exploring a new-to-me-cuisine gave me plenty of reward for the labor. I could’ve just made lots of trays of mac-and-cheese with roasted broccoli, which I’ve made so often for the kids in the last decade that I can do it in my sleep, but learning to cook Venezuelan food was much more interesting!
Anyway, back to majarete. I’m not sure I’d recommend this one, unless you have a fair bit of time, because it had one really tedious step, be warned.
It starts out simple enough — simmering milk with cinnamon sticks and nutmeg. Easy-peasy.
The next step involved blending corn, coconut milk, cornstarch and sugar. I started to do this in my blender, and then realized that was a mistake (I made a LOT of dirty dishes with this particular recipe), because I’d have to do it three separate times for a triple batch. Instead, I dumped it all into my biggest pot (just fit), and pulled out the stick blender.
That worked pretty well, though it took a little longer to get it smooth than my regular blender would have. But then came the tricky bit — the final dish is supposed to have a silky-smooth texture, so you need to strain out any grainy corn bits. Reader, that took a while. And it was messy. My bowls weren’t big enough. There was corn everywhere.
I eventually had to get Kavi to stop watching Jane the Virgin (she’s on her third or fourth rewatch, and I suppose it’s solidifying her Spanish, which is something) to come help me, holding the sieve while I scraped with the spatula, trying to get the liquid to drip through…
…well, it took a while, okay. Cleaning up my kitchen also took a while. Let’s leave it at that.
Eventually, I was able to combine the sieved corn & coconut milk mixture with the milk/cinnamon/nutmeg mixture, and cook it down for a little bit, and pour it into two foil half-pans, and put them in the fridge to chill.
(Pro-tip — slide a cutting board underneath foil trays when moving them to the fridge or oven, if they have liquids inside. And for transport on the day of, flat pieces of cardboard cut from boxes work well.)
The end result — SO TASTY. I’m not going to make a triple batch again anytime soon, and I think maybe we should invest in a proper chinois — that might help with the sieving? I’m not sure. But I definitely like this quite a bit. If you like flan, coconut milk, and corn, I’d recommend trying majarete! (There are apparently pre-made mixes that are much less work…)
And that was it — we packed up the food, along with some water and lemonade and juice boxes, drove them over, and the kids helped me deliver to the refugees (who also ran over to help carry things).
It honestly felt like so little to contribute — one meal, when their needs are clearly so great. One man asked me if I knew of anywhere a family of five could rent an apartment, and I had no idea. Kavi was trying to translate for me, since my Spanish is pretty terrible (so out of practice since studying in grad school), but hers isn’t so much better, so I’m really unclear on whether he actually had money for rent or not, for example. I hope a refugee org. can help them out soon.
It was truly pitiful, seeing the toddlers on that piece of concrete. I hope their parents can get them into a proper home soon.
If you’re wanting to donate, I’m honestly not sure what the best orgs would be — a quick search turned up Panas en Chicago (https://panasenchicago.org), but I haven’t vetted them, so if anyone knows more and wants to suggest orgs, please do feel free to leave the details in the comments:
Kevin asked me why I kept making cherry clafoutis — was I developing a recipe? Nope — I just love it.
Although now I wonder whether I could do a mango clafoutis? The mango might just dissolve — maybe if I used slightly green mango it might be good? With strawberries for color? And adjust the flavoring to be a little more Sri Lankan — skip the almond extract, go with cinnamon, cardamom, cloves? Hmm…
The Blaze climbers have been putting out so many roses, I pretty much had to make rose ice cream. Recommend serving with a drizzle of pomegranate molasses, which adds great complexity and balance to the sweetness of the rose, and some fresh fruit — mango is great, but berries would also work well.
(Note — good recipe, but made more than my ice cream maker could hold, so I had to do it in two batches.)
You might want to check that you / people in your household like rose-flavored desserts before going to the effort — Americans aren’t so used to them anymore, though rose used to be a popular flavoring here, before vanilla took America by storm. Kevin sadly thinks rose tastes like soap — he can’t get the floral connotation out of his mind. He’s missing out!
While we were watching the D&D movie with Anand, I baked Kevin a cherry clafoutis, which was about as much as we were going to do for Father’s Day — we don’t really celebrate it or Mother’s Day much here. But he does love cherries, and they’ve just come into season, and clafoutis is super-easy if you have a cherry pitter. (Thanks, Ann Whyte for ours! We love it.)
Take a few minutes to pit the cherries, mix the batter together in a blender, bake 20 minutes, sprinkle with sugar, bake 20 minutes more. Let cool as long as you need to — I like it pretty hot still, personally. But it’s also good lukewarm or cold.
The Carleton let us bring in our own birthday cake, so I made Kavi a cake we both love: Sri Lankan butter cake, done ribbon style, with a mango-peach glaze, lemon curd, fresh strawberries, and passionfruit buttercream.
The Carleton staff person was very complimentary — she said it was beautiful, and when I demurred, she said, “No, really! And we see a lot of cakes!” They ate some afterwards, and said it was delicious too.
I’m still not the neatest cake decorator, but fresh pansies from the garden cover a multitude of sins. Someday I will learn how to use an offset spatula properly (it probably would have helped if I hadn’t been too lazy to go down to the basement and dig up the cake turntable…)
I didn’t actually remember to take a photo of the finished cake! But here is a slice, at least.
That’s it for party pics for tonight, I think. I’ll get some Conservatory pics up tomorrow, although we also had a professional photographer there, so there’ll be another set of nicer pics in a few weeks.
So many pictures. My family is a little photo-happy.