Thursday, June 17, 2010


The sluggish days of summer are here, at least for those of us who are subsisting on a risotto and ice cream diet. Activities in the kitchen have alternated between my pressure cooker and my ice cream maker, two tools that have become synonymous with summer cooking at casa wildtomato. I don't have nearly enough pictures of the things coming out of the kitchen, making this a rather lame blog post, but I'll summarize some recent successes and mishaps.
  • Green tea ice cream made for a recent Thai and Tub party (Thai food potluck followed by a soak in a hot tub). This was my first attempt at a custard based ice cream, and tempering eggs was not nerve-wracking as I had been led to believe it was by a certain individual who clearly wants the world to eat less ice cream. Because the cooking gods couldn't let me have such unfettered success, they made me drop the remaining eggs in the carton onto the floor. Or perhaps one of my dogs did a special egg drop dance to the gods earlier in the day.
  • Cherry sorbet. Yum. All I did was pit some cherries, pummeled them in the food processor, added sugar, heated the mixture until sugar was dissolved, let cool, and tossed it into the ice cream maker. It's funny how I say "all I did" followed by a bunch of steps, but "all I did" expresses how easy it is to prepare the sorbet. The cookbook I used for this sorbet method, Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison, suggested measuring out the fruit puree, dividing it by four, and using that as your sugar measurement. I did that, but my sorbet turned out too sweet even with a squeeze of lemon juice. I should have trusted my taste buds more.
  • Cinnamon ice milk. Since the green tea ice cream contained 6 egg yolks and 2 cups of cream, I wanted to make something that still had a creamy mouth feel but omitted the egg yolks and cream. I started by breaking 6 cinnamon sticks into 1-inch pieces, toasting them over a hot cast iron skillet, and adding them to 4 cups of whole milk, a pinch of salt, and 3/4 cup of sugar (again, too much sugar). I simmered the mixture for about 20 minutes, then turned the heat off and continued to steep the cinnamon sticks in the milk for another hour. The mixture then went into the refrigerator to cool down. All was going well, until I decided to be clever and add some xanthan gum, leftover from making gluten free cupcakes, into the milk. I thought a little xanthan gum, an emulsifier, would make the ice milk seem just as decadent as the fatty stuff, but it just made it weird and gummy. Yeah, the whole point of making food from scratch is to not have weird stuff like xanthan gum in your food, but I was tapping into my inner mad food scientist. I added 1/4 tsp of xanthan gum powder to the 4 cups of milk, and it was too much. Chewiness isn't a coveted ice cream texture. At least the cinnamon flavor rang strong and true. Next time, I'll omit the xanthan gum or at least reduce the amount by half. To salvage the chewy ice milk, I blended it with a handful of blueberries and some almond milk (pictured above).
  • Brown basmati rice. Easy peasy in the pressure cooker. 25 minutes.
  • Cauliflower and potato curry. 10 minutes in the pressure cooker.
  • Split pea dal and spinach soup. 35 minutes in the pressure cooker. I'm in awe of the cooking times.
Other than cooking, I've been working on the afghan. 19 stripes and counting! My plan of using the yarn store as my stash backfired when I almost could not find some of the colors I needed when it was time for a refill. So due to paranoia, I now have more balls of yarn that I care to look at taking over my closet.

Summer is just another excuse for the dogs to seek and conquer sunbeams. I tried to join them, but I was too hot within 5 minutes.


  1. You gave the blog a makeover. I like it!!

    Always love seeing the dogs...the poor, neglected dogs who don't even have a bed to call their own. :)

  2. yummmmm this reminds me I need to bust out my ice cream maker!!!!!

  3. i love your blog, seems as if i am amused by your entries, most of the, your Mingus is the reincarnation of my Chinook....and today, i read about your risotto and ice cream dinner....ditto for me last night, but it also included fresh picked strawberries....thanks, chris in madison



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