Thanks to surrealestate hosting a barbecue, I got motivated to do some cooking and actually be social. I made two things: banana bread and strawberry-ginger ice cream.
Spicy Vegan Banana BreadThis turned out really nice. You take a bite, and it's passable banana bread, not really anything special. And then the cayenne hits, and it's heavenly. I'll definitely be doing this again.
(adapted from a recipe on the Post Punk Kitchen website)
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. margarine, at room temperature
4 very ripe bananas, mashed well (recipe called for 3, but I had 4)
2 c. flour
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 c. vanilla soy milk, mixed with 1 t. apple cider vinegar
1 t. vanilla
1 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. clove powder (recipe called for allspice, but I didn't have any)
1/4 t. cayenne (my own addition)
1/2 t. salt
Preheat oven to 350. Sift dry ingredients together. Cream together margarine and sugars. Add other ingredients. Add wet ingredients to dry. Mix well and pour into greased loaf pan. Bake for 60-70 minutes.
Strawberry-Ginger Ice CreamThis was my first time making ice cream. As noted in the recipe, I was a bit worried about the texture. surrealestate acquired a tank of liquid nitrogen. Making ice cream is very simple with liquid nitrogen. You put your mixture into a metal bowl, and then pour liquid nitrogen in and stir with a metal spoon, making sure you scrape the sides of the bowl. Repeat this process as many times as necessary to get the ice cream to a consistency you like. Mine hadn't quite cooled, so it took quite a bit of liquid nitrogen. When it was finally done, the texture problems were all gone. It was exactly what I was hoping for, and I think it probably had the best consistency of any ice cream there (I am a bit biased, though, and other people might have a different preference for consistency). It appeared to be very well received. I hope to get the opportunity to make it again. If surrealestate doesn't do this again next year, I might have to.
(adapted from an Emeril Live recipe for strawberry ice cream)
1 qt. fresh strawberries, washed, stemmed, and quartered
1.5 c. granulated sugar
3 c. whole milk (the recipe called for 4 c. half-and-half, which I made with milk and cream)
1 c. heavy cream
6 egg yolks
freshly grated ginger (maybe about 2 T.?)
ground ginger (maybe about 2 t.?)
crystallized ginger, finely diced (maybe about 1 T.?)
In a food processor or blender, combine the strawberries and 1/2 c. of the sugar. Process until smooth.
In a saucepan, over medium heat (I did it over lower heat for a while, and then turned it up a bit higher), combine the milk and cream (or half-and-half), rest of sugar, grated ginger, and ground ginger. Bring to a simmer.
In a small mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks until smooth. Pour 1 c. of the hot liquid into the egg yolks and whisk until smooth. Pour the egg mixture into the saucepan and whisk until smooth. Bring the liquid back to a simmer and continue to cook another 4 to 6 minutes or until the mixture coats the back of a spoon (I never got mine to this consistency, and it was a bit lumpy).
Remove from heat and stir in strawberries and crystallized ginger. Whisk until smooth. Pour into a glass bowl and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the mixture to prevent a skin from forming (I didn't do this step since I discovered I was out of plastic wrap, but I didn't have any skin problem). Cool the mixture completely and process according to ice cream maker directions.