Desserts

176

Ginger Sage Cashew Ice Cream (V, GF)

There are certain times of day where everything feels quieter. Calm. Every now and then it feels like this¬†at six in the evening on warm nights, but only when it’s overcast and just about to rain. The feeling is always there at five in the morning, regardless of weather or temperature. I spent a lot of time awake at five am over the past year or so, but now that I actually sleep through the night, I’ve been missing it. I used to crawl out of bed and walk around and just listen to the calm. The early risers on a morning jog. The all night-pullers just leaving the library with their laptops and exhausted faces. For me, being up at that time wasn’t about going for a¬†run or doing work, it was just about being awake and alive. I kinda miss that. But not as much as I missed sleep.

I like this summer. It feels less hectic than others. Without a doubt, I’m busier than I’ve been in years past, but I like keeping my time occupied. I usually tend to let my brain wander into circles, revisiting every possible scenario and outcome of any situation I find myself in. It gets hectic. I don’t like feeling that way.¬†It’s better to be busy and let things just happen as they may, otherwise who knows what I may trick myself into thinking. Now that I’ve started working, I’m pretty beat at the end of the day. Which, for this job, is in fact four in the afternoon. It sounds early, I know. But you try teaching fifteen 12-year olds how to draft a¬†bodice block pattern¬†or corral them around New York City¬†and¬†then you might get where I’m coming from. I’m never too tired to cook though, which is a comfort. This brings me to the reason for this post: sage ice cream. Yes. Yum.

This recipe isn’t complicated at all, it just involves a bit of planning ahead. You have to give the cashews time to soak and the custard time to chill and the ice cream time to freeze. But it’s soOOooOo worth it, let me tell ya! Side note: I’m sure this would be just as good with a dairy¬†custard base (or perhaps a yogurt one?) but I made this dairy free to enter a contest featured¬†by Food52. I really really RLY want to win a Vitamix. Keep your fingers and toes crossed for me!

ps- the fresh sage comes from the herb garden my mother planted and it makes me SO happy. Speaking of which, does anyone need any basil?? Because we have a literal mountain of it..and there’s only so much pesto a girl can make!

A few notes: I recommend using organic cashews, as the nonorganic may be treated with icky pesticides. I know they’re pricey, but I think it’s worth it. But that’s your call! And be careful not to soak the cashews for more than 24 hours, as they can start emitting¬†a weird gel (yum veganism!); it’s easily washed off, but that means you’re getting very close to over soaking, which could turn the nuts rancid. And you don’t want that!¬†

Ice Cream (makes about 1 1/2 quarts)

1 3/4 cup organic cashews
1 cup unsweetened nondairy milk (or regular milk if you don’t care about this being vegan)
1/2 vanilla bean, scraped or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 roughly chopped fresh sage leaves
1/4 cup maple syrup/agave/honey
1 cup water
1/4 cup chopped crystalized ginger
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
3 tablespoons cocoa nibs (optional, sub chocolate chips if you like it sweeter)

Place¬†the cashews in a large jar and cover with filtered water. Soak for at least 6 hours or overnight (highly recommend an overnight soak if you don’t have a Vitamix or other high-powered blender.) Drain and rinse well.

Place the vanilla bean paste, scraped vanilla bean, chopped sage leaves, and milk of choice in a saucepan on medium heat, stirring occasionally until the mixture is almost boiling. Remove from heat, cover, and let steep for 10 minutes. Let cool. Pass through a fine mesh sieve.

Place the rinsed cashews, vanilla sage milk, sweetener, and 1 cup water in a blender or food processor and blend into a smooth creamy custard. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least one hour.

Transfer to the bowl of your ice cream maker and freeze according to the instructions. Once the custard starts to thicken, add chopped ginger, sea salt, and cocoa nibs. Eat it right away or store in a freezer-safe container until snacking time! If it’s frozen solid, let the ice cream thaw for 20+ minutes before digging in.

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Drinks

152

Egg(less) Nog (V,GF)

Happy end of Hanukkah and merry Christmas Eve to those who celebrate! I think a rainy twenty fourth of December is a perfect time to share a recipe for a fairly time consuming holiday treat: egg nog! Rather, egg(less) nog, as it is vegan. This is the first time I’ve ever experimented with making my own nut milk, and I can now say with absolute certainty I know why it’s so expensive. There’s waiting overnight involved¬†and the end result does not yield nearly as much as one would think. Therefore, I will no longer feel guilty for shelling out an extra three dollars a carton to have my¬†soaked almonds/cashews/what have you squeezed for me. Now, that’s a statement of privilege if I ever heard one, amirite? Regardless, I’ve recently been reading some pretty scary articles about the ethical implications of milk (which is not news, as you can see from the article dates, but I’m just trying to be more informed). So I’m currently in the process of switching completely over to non-dairy milk, unless I can make it to a farm and watch the milk come from the well-treated cow. Or a world-wide restructuring of the production of milk happens. Y’know, easy and possible things like that. As of right now, I’ve been able to phase out milk in every area except my coffee, where several splashes of 2% make their home on a daily basis. Almond milk is too weak; coconut milk is too rich; most creamers are full of sugar. Complaint complaint complaint. I’m working on it! I’ll figure something out. Still, it was about time I learned to make my own, and when this nog presented itself in the December¬†issue of Bon App√©tit, I knew it was a sign.¬†The original recipe also describes serving the drink with whipped egg whites on top, which I did not do, as I am scared of raw eggs, but feel free to follow the link and try that yourself.

SO, I have listed directions for how to make this drink¬†100% from scratch, and also my suggestions¬†for how to make it a little semi-homemade, because, as I said in my last post, sometimes¬†store bought is fine. I recommend using almond milk -or soy, if you’re into that- because they’re the most common non-dairy milks and therefore the most affordable. Happy holidays!

Nog (from Bon Appétit)

1 c raw cashews

1 c skin-on raw hazelnuts

2 wide strips orange peel

2 cinnamon sticks

2 star anise pods

4 cloves

1 13.5-oz can coconut milk

2 tbsp agave syrup

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 c dark or spiced rum (OR if you’re me, some kind of whiskey) – optional

4 pieces of cheesecloth

Combine cashews and hazelnuts with 4 cups of hot water in a large bowl. Tie the orange peel, cinnamon, anise, and cloves in a piece of cheesecloth, lightly crush spices with a wooden spoon, and place in the nut mixture. Let sit overnight, covering with a lid/plastic wrap after the mixture gets to room temperature.

Remove spice bundle and discard. Blend nut mixture (I had to do mine in two batches) for two minutes. Line a fine-mesh sieve with cheesecloth and place over a large bowl. Pour nut mixture through sieve and squeeze out as much liquid as possible (this also will be easier if you do it 3-4 times, replacing the cheesecloth each time).

Pour the coconut milk into a separate bowl. Whisk well, until the cream and water are smooth. Add coconut milk to nut milk. Whisk in the agave and vanilla until smooth. Cover and chill for about three hours.

Before serving, whisk up the nog to freshen the froth, then pour into a punch bowl along with your desired liquor. Top with a sprinkle of cinnamon or nutmeg!


 

Quick-and-Easy Nog variation (adapted from above)

4 c unsweetened almond milk (I recommend this brand, because they only use less than 2% alternative thickeners- much better than most out there!)

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1 tsp orange extract

1/4-1/2 tsp anise extract (personal preference)

+ everything listed above (no cheesecloth needed)

Place almond milk, spices, and extracts in a large saucepan over medium low heat. Cook for about 5-7 minutes, or until spices are aromatic. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Follow above instructions starting with the coconut milk.

 

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