Spices and herbs as flavor agents came to me late in life. Growing up in a typical American household where the occasional Taco Night, or a meal out at the local Chinese restaurant was about as close as I got to anything resembling an exotic spice or herb. Even then the word 'spice' often referred to the La Victoria hot sauce we put on our tacos. The idea that there was a whole world of flavors out there, and even other cultures that cooked with them was a surprise to my palette.
Like cardamom for example. I first tasted the flowery, layered loveliness of this spice in Indian food on a trip to London at age 17. I have loved Indian food -- and cardamom -- ever since. Years later I ate a whole lot of Indian food when I was a film student at New York University. On East 6th Street in New York's East Village there is a block of cheap Indian restaurants where I could get multi-course meals for a few dollars. It was splendid. Living in New York, and traveling occasionally, I ate more and more non-European and non-American cuisines. I loved them all. The incredible flavors that emerged from these exotic dishes.
Authors Sara Engram and Katie Luber own an organic spice company, The Seasoned Palate. They know their spices and herbs. They recently wrote a book, 'The Spice Kitchen,' which I love and also reviewed. Now they have published a companion book of sorts: 'Spice Dreams: Flavored Ice Creams and Other Frozen Desserts' -- all about herb and spice-infused ice creams and frozen desserts. Their methods combine all-natural ingredients with herbs and spices both fresh and dried to great success. Now back to that cardamom. The first ice cream I made from the book was Cardamom-Mint Ice Cream and, wow, was it amazing. That flowery, layered loveliness I referred to earlier in combination with the peppermint extract called for in the recipe: did I say 'wow' yet? Add to the experience the creamy coldness of the ice cream -- full-on bliss. We had friends over and we devoured the entire 1 1/2 quarts.
The book is divided into four sections: Ice Creams; Sorbets and Frozen Yogurts; Sandwiches, Sundaes, and Such; Syrups, Sauces, Toppings, and Other Goodies. I tried several recipes and all worked extremely well. The book is easy to follow and well structured. Household favorites are Dark Chocolate-Anise Ice Cream, Mango Sorbet with Cumin and Cinnamon, and the highly unusual Basil Ice Cream (eat this one with fresh berries!). We also liked the Pink Grapefruit-Tarragon Sorbet. Of the syrups and sauces I made a favorite was the Ancho-Lime Syrup that we poured over the Mango Sorbet with Cumin and Cinnamon. These frozen desserts couldn't be more fun to make and eat. What makes them so unusual is the savory-sweet flavor combinations: mango and cumin; grapefruit and tarragon; ancho chile and mango (a popular Latin American flavor combination -- sweet fruit and hot chile).
Friendly and playful (they refer to their ice cream as 'spice cream') Engram and Luber not only add to the trend of combining herbs and spices with sweets, they take it to another level. They also encourage the reader to experiment and come up with their own combinations; to use the recipes in the book as templates. I am fairly new to making ice cream at home and I wish I hadn't waited so long. The experience of making and eating homemade ice cream is far superior to buying it commercially. Go get an ice cream maker if you don't have one. Buy this book and let the magic unfold. You won't be sorry.
After reading about this book in the magazine ReadyMade, I bought this book. I've only made a few of the concoctions in here, but I've been very pleased! I started my ice cream making odyssey last summer, when I asked for an ice cream maker on freecycle. I got the exact model I wanted (almost new!) along with a free copy of the William Sonoma ice cream book (also wonderful!). I was amazed at how simple it was to make amazing ice cream!
The spiced apple ice cream was incredible. I made the suggested apple caramel sundaes and served them on my husband's last birthday, after our whole extended family had gone apple picking. The sundaes were a big hit.
The basil ice cream (made with fresh basil) was interesting, but not my favorite. It had an eggnog-y taste to me, but that may have been due to my rushing through the recipe.
This summer I plan to try the various chocolate-spiced recipes. Nothing like something cold/spicy on a hot day to cool you off!
This book is great for those of you who are sick of the same old vanilla or chocolate but aren't yet ready for "too adventurous" flavors like avocado or green pea. Keep in mind, though, that while this book includes many explicit recipes, the authors encourage you to explore and change things. They provide suggestions for variation, and a healthy dose of basics and templates, but the rest is up to you. Personally, I think this is great. I would rather have a book stuffed full of different ideas and suggestions on how to expand than a book where every recipe is exactly the same except for one ingredient. This book is a must-buy if you like spices and want something new coming out of your ice cream maker.
One of the sure signs of summer is ice-cream dripping down the chins of children and adults alike. Who does not like ice-cream?
Are you in the mood for a little spice in your ice cream? What about white chocolate -allspice ice cream, dark chocolate anise ice cream or triple spice chocolate ice cream. Do I have your attention yet? Are your taste buds fantasizing about some spicy cold ice cream. I know mine are. Can you imagine my delight, when I opened up the envelope and found spice Dreams staring back at me? I need to pull my ice-cream maker down from the rafters in the garage and start churning away.
I can easily get excited over a cookbook. This book has me jumping up and down like a child. I wanted to put on a sundress and run threw a field of sunflowers or just get on my bike pedaling as fast as I can through the neighborhood with my tassels and hair blowing in the breeze and a cone in my hand savoring the arrival of summer.
Can you imagine adding spice to ice cream? This book has opened up a whole new freezer of ice cream possibilities. Cardamon mint ice cream, basil ice cream, chile -lemongrass. I feel like a line from a cheezy movie-this book had me with the title "spice Dreams"
Let's give credit where credit is due. The authors of this book, Sara Engram and Katie Luber founders of The Seasoned Palate are culinary goddesses. Who would have ever thought of combining ice cream with spice? If you have never made home made ice cream you have no idea of what you are missing. Ice cream churned at home is filled with a special magic and flavoring you never knew possible. Choose your flavor according to the season. Summertime is the perfect time for fruit ice cream. Around Thanksgiving think pumpkin and for the Christmas season, egg-nog ice cream is a favorite of mine.
Authors Katie and Sara have divided the book into ice creams, sorbets and frozen yogurts, sandwiches, sundaes and such, syrups, sauces, toppings and other goodies and metric conversions and equivalents. To match my mood, the book is printed in delicate pastels. Of course you will want to make every flavor possible I know I do.