On one hand, I can count the number of summer evenings when my brother, sister and I would pad out onto the brick patio with bare feet, carrying our big bowls with both hands and trying to step over and settle into the benches of the dining table at the same time. Nothing could deny the whimsy and elation in the air on these evenings; when my mother would announce that we would be having ice cream for dinner. If you listened closely, between the crickets, distant barking dogs, and general din of summertime dusk, I am certain that you would be able to hear the soundtrack from Charlie and The Chocolate Factory playing in the background. At least, that is what I heard.
If I knew then what I know now, I may believe that these very special occasions were less about being a supermom that she was/is, overwhelming her children’s little hearts and bellies with joy, than it was about not wanting to bother going to the grocery store, dreaming up something to make for dinner, or bothering to turn on the oven/grill. Maybe.
Summer here in East Bay never really came to equate with my mental image of what summer should be – I don’t recall any mornings when I woke up sweating, required air conditioning and/or popsicles as a matter or personal hygiene. No, the summer months came and almost nearly have crept away as quietly as they lingered. And, all without me exclaiming “ice cream for dinner!”
I decided to exclaim this proclamation a little bit louder (to a great big handful of friends) when I found Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams At Home new book. This would be a perfect reason for me to get my ice cream on, AND to have ice cream for dinner.
The book is fantastic – Jeni’s descriptions are easy to follow, and she truly demystifies the process and science behind making ice cream. The best part is that none of her recipes contain challenging stabilizers or molecular gastronomic ingredients that read in code (like the recipes that we used to use in the Michelin-starred world.) Her flavors are provoking, her method straight-down home, and the whole package priceless and perfect.
I picked out a few flavors from her book, and came up with a few of my own for the party – then I suggested a few tastes for our guests to pair with and asked that they bring their most creative accompaniment. (I’m hoping that we have ice cream beer floats, sundaes, sandwiches, and decadent creations just overflowing out of the apartment.) Depending on how the whole thing turns out, maybe I’ll add some details for you all later. In the meantime, I thought I’d share a few ice cream sundae worthy accompaniments (click on the links to view recipes:)
Passionfruit + Lilikoi Butter – pairs well with vanilla, chocolate, goat cheese, and other fruit flavors.
Vanilla Poached Pears – with maple, caramel, cinnamon, ginger and almond.
Golden Flax Shortcakes – place one of these in the bottom of your sundae bowl to mop up the melted goods.
Crunchy + Spicy Caramel Corn – um, everything? Especially pumpkin, apple crunch, vanilla bean, kona stout, and coffee flavored ice creams.
Honey – Toasted Muesli – sorbets, and light flavored yogurts, honey, and winter fruits. Use this as a topping on top of other toppings.
Chocolate + Almond Macarons – make big versions of the meringue and sandwich ice cream between!
Almond + Pecan Praline Crunch – also an all around favorite. Perfect for noshing on while you’re churning ice cream…
Summer Fruit Salad w/ Champagne + Honey – dress up any fruits you might have ’round the house and make them dessert worthy.
Carrot + Cardamom Shortbread – another ice cream sandwich favorite. Cut the shortbread out in circles and smoosh chamomile ice cream, earl grey tea, coffee, chai, chocolate….
Cajeta – the ultimate ice cream topping. Caramel-y goodness to kick up any sundae.
Cashew + Coconut Banana Bread – little chunks of this quick bread on top of a banana split? New levels, friends.
Can’t wait to see what great ideas our guests come up with! 🙂