Saturday, August 18, 2012

Welcome to the Ice Cream Social 2012!

Welcome to the 4th Annual Ice Cream Social at Kitchen Bouquet...come in to the parlor and see what kind of frosty treats and ice cream goodies me and my blogging friends have to share!
Statistics show that we eat more ice cream in the United States per capita than in any other country in the world. But after doing a little research it became clear that Ice Cream in one form or fashion is popular the whole world over. 

Here are a few little tidbits you may not have known about ice cream from a global perspective
  • The world's top 5 consumers of ice cream in order are: USA, New Zealand, Denmark, Australia, Belgium/Luxembourg.
  •  According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the biggest ice cream sundae in the world was made in Alberta, Canada, in 1988. It weighed nearly 55,000 pounds.
  •  According to Guinness World Records, the largest ice cream cone (as of January 2011) was over 9 feet tall. It was achieved at an event in Italy.
There are some pretty interesting ice cream flavors and creations worldwide.
Look at this colorful Phillipine concoction called Halo Halo!!! I'm not sure how this would taste but it sure is beautiful.

Ice cream in india is often flavored with exotic spices. Cardamom is a favorite.

In Mexico, ice cream bars called Paletas are popular. Don't these look refreshing? The picture is from Eastside Foodbites blog..check it out HERE

Turkey is famous for their "stretchy" version of ice cream, Dondurma. See Viewfinder blog for the source of the photo below.

 If I had the money I would start a Dondurma stand in NYC. Dondurma is Turkish ice cream that has a unique texture (sort of stretchy), it resists melting (that’s right mom with the twin 2 year-olds who usually wear their ice-cream instead of eating it) and it tastes delish! The photo above I took in Istanbul as I was flitting about the city. The vendors, dressed in what seems to be some kind of colorful traditional Turkish costume, regularly churn the ice-cream in small vats with long thin paddles to keep it manageable, and often put on a show for passersby, highlighting it’s unique globular qualities.  My favorite was the chocolate. 

The Japanese are the most "creative" with their ice cream selections and actually have flavors including eel, octopus, eggplant, and miso!! I think I will pass on those :-) However, in doing this ice cream research I did keep coming across these cute little Mochi Ice Creams. They are ice cream coated in a sweet rice shell. I have never eaten any, but they look so cute I thought I would give them a try. Easier said than done in a house without air conditioning on one of the hottest days of the year!!!
My efforts were not nearly as pretty! You try wrapping sticky rice dough around melting ice cream and see what I mean. I filled the Mochi with Haagen Daz Green Tea Ice cream. The end result is interesting..the sweet rice cover is not so sweet but interestingly textured. I will need to go try "real" Mochi Ice Cream now to see how mine compares! Recipe follows.

  While Mochi is an ancient invention the Mochi ice cream was created in 1981 at a California restaurant. As I was making the mochi I realized I had eaten it before many times at Chinese restaurants as they are often served filled with a sweet bean paste. My insides weren't so photogenic!
 Mochi Ice Cream
Adapted from this and this recipe
10 small scoops of ice cream frozen hard unless you want the mess I had on my hands
1 cup glutinous or sweet rice flour labeled as Mochiko - I found mine in the asian aisle.
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
Cornstarch - a ton of it

Combine glutinous rice flour and water in a glass bowl. Mix well to paste, then add sugar and vanilla, mix until dissolved.  Lightly cover bowl with plastic wrap and microwave for 2 minutes. Remove from the microwave and stir well. Dough will very thick! Stir as best you can with a sturdy spatula. Re-cover and return to microwave; heat for 1 minute. When dough begins to inflate while cooking, and then deflates with the microwave door is opened – it’s ready! If dough doesn’t inflate during the previous one minute of cooking time, microwave for 1 additional minute. Remove the bowl from the microwave. Sprinkle a cutting board with a lot of cornstarch; scrape the hot dough onto the cornstarch and then pat the surface with cornstarch-coated hands. Stretch dough gently and use your hands to flatten it. Cut into 10-12 pieces. Place ice cream ball on a mochi piece and gently pinch the edges together to seal. Eat right away or return to freezer.

 We are probably all mostly familiar with the Italian version of ice cream...Gelato. I happen to think Gelato is the BEST form of ice cream created and guess what???? Despite its creaminess its actually lower in fat than most ice creams due to the fact its made with milk and no eggs!

I tried my hand at some Chocolate Gelato for my chocolate ice cream loving hubby Randy. He approves and so do I although chocolate ice cream is hardly ever my first choice. This version was actually made with skim milk (plus a little evaporated milk to give it a bit more body). Lactose free skim milk to boot!! I think I could have gotten away with pure skim. I'll try it next time. Give this simple recipe a try.  Four ingredients!!!

 Chocolate Gelato
Inspired by a recipe in Saveur
3 cups milk (I used 2 cups skim lactose free milk & 1 cup evaporated milk)
3⁄4 cup sugar
2 tbsp. cornstarch
3⁄4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1. Bring 2 cups of the milk to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat, then remove from heat. Combine remaining 1 cup milk, sugar, cornstarch, and cocoa in a bowl, add to hot milk, and cook until sugar and cocoa dissolve and it begins to thicken (about 3 minutes). Mixture will be like pudding.
2. Set aside to let cool, then cover with plastic wrap or wax paper touching the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate overnight. Process mixture in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's directions.

So remember the stretchy ice cream?  Gelato is also supposed to be stretchier than other ice creams as well. Can you see the stretchiness in this piece? Weird huh? Still melty though! So I had to pop this tiny little piece in my mouth immediately after this picture was taken.

Finally I come to France. 

They have great ice cream too in such beautiful clean sounding flavors. I opted to make a cousin to ice cream..the French sorbet which has no dairy whatsoever in it but somehow ends up tasting quite smooth and somehow creamy. I have oodles of blackberries beginning to ripen so I went with what I have fresh and I did not go wrong! This is to die for right now with the high temps we've had this week. Super refreshing!

Blackberry Lime Sorbet
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
4 cups blackberries, fresh or frozen
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
splash of tequila (optional - I opted for about a teaspoon)
In a small saucepan, bring the sugar and water to a boil, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved.  Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
Puree the blackberries in a blender or food processor with the sugar syrup.  Press the mixture through a large mesh sieve to remove the seeds, then stir the lime juice into the sweetened puree.  Add a splash of tequila, if desired.
Chill the mixture thoroughly, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Source: adapted from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz

Hope you enjoyed the world tour of ice cream! I'll close with an Ice Cream Colors mosaic.

Now's the time to grab a bowl, scoop some in and get some toppings going while you browse all of the fabulous ice cream posts my blogging friends have created. If you have an ice cream related post please add your link below and link back to this post at your blog. Anything ice cream related is welcome! It can be a favorite recipe, ice cream product, ice cream dishes, ice cream memories, ice cream anything! Just join right in. 
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