When in Rome, Giolitti!

When in Rome, venturing to the Trevi Fountain is a must! Definitely a sight to behold, the same can described of the outpouring of tourists. Rightfully wishful, there’s truly no shortage of admirers tossing coins and within elbow’s reach. So let’s face it, when the only open space left is the mini pool – ‘la fontana’ itself – reality strikes: it’s time to go! Saving you the trouble of locating your next mini-getaway, allow me to retrace my steps and acquaint you with a must-visit gem of a gelateria along the maze-like streets of Rome. Giolitti 13 arr

Nestled between an espresso bar and neighbouring boutiques – Via degli Uffici del Vicario, 40, to be exact – I find myself reliving a happy incident of déju-vu at Giolitti. Oh, how sweet it was – a few years ago – and still is, today! Clearly having been there and done that, a good first impression is enough to leave me wanting more. And with an endless display of premium quality frozen desserts, Giolitti makes repeat visits easy. Giolitti 11 arr 

From start to finish, getting your hands on ice cream is quite the experience at this parlour.  Upon entry, most tourists shuffle between the pastry counter and the corner stop for cafe beverages all the while lost in amazement of the ornately decorated establishment.  Almost frozen in time, the traditional handmade pastries and sweets if not the interior ambiance is sure to take up a couple of your minutes.  

Giolitti 1 arrOvercome by a spectacle of confections – cassata siciliana, sfogliatella napoletana, crema e pinoli, marmellata, paste assortite, cannoli, cookies, and brain-freeze selects – the commotion of eager patrons will certainly bring you back down to earth, and in no time you’ll soon remember why you’re here in the first place: “Gelato, por favor!” Sure enough, crowd control is in check and, so too, is the step-by-step ordering process:  first, place your order – one, two or three scoops – then, pay the cashier and receive a receipt to present to one of many ice cream servers.  At this point, don’t be shy to make your request and be heard, especially since there’s no formal queue and the servers are beckoning ice cream lovers to efficiently make their way to the counter.  Essentially, your wish is your command. Literally, the sooner you voice your ice cream desires the sooner you’ll grab it and go – just be prepared, and know what you want.

Hanging around the masses of gelato fans, delighting in a chocolate-covered cone-filled treat is monumental sight in its own right.  Just imagine:  cones upon cones covered with scoops of freshly churned congealed dairy dessert and topped with a generous slathering of sweetened whipped cream. No risk, no reward – get in queue already!

Sticking to the caffeinated side of things, I spot so many variations of cocoa indulgences through the glass window but narrow down my choices to three.  Going for a trio of dark chocolate, tiramisu and coffee, this combo is velvety rich and packed with nuanced flavour. Simply put, Giolitti’s gelato is the ideal afternoon pick-me-up. Better yet, it’s an everlasting souvenir that’s meant to be devoured and detailed for later recounts. Clearly repeating history, this foodie chronicle is worth reliving – in person!

Copyright © DISHFUL, 2017. All Rights Reserved.

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“L’envie en rose”

If you ever find yourself hungry in Paris’ 5th ‘arrondisement’, there are a few places you may want to visit. Between fresh fruit stalls and seafood markets, in addition to local pâtisseries, this district boasts full of restaurants that cater to various palettes.

Au Jardin de Lutece 1 arrKeeping you well informed, here’s a little taste of what I spotted along the streets of Rue Monge, Paris. Not to be confused with ‘mange’ that means ‘eat,’ Rue Monge is not your typical tourist attraction and, however quiet, it remains worthy of some notable buzz.

Starting with a duo – literally neighbouring markets – Poissonerie Monge and Au Jardin de Lutèce are considerably destined stops for local Parisians who seek fresh seafood and a bountiful of tropical fruits and garden vegetables. While I haven’t had the fortune to cook the ‘catch of the day’ – chez Poissonerie Monge – my testing of freshly squeezed orange juice, decadent honey-sweet dates among other seasonal berries are to be discussed.  Beginning the day with vitamin-rich essentials, locating this fruit stall all began with a quick passage down the street. Like many happy accidents, some hidden gems are best identified when merely walking. Once there, this roofed ‘garden’ does not disappoint. Eyeing a rainbow display of every fruit and vegetable you can name from A to Z, there’s clearly no shortage of items.

As for my impromptu excursion, the prices are a bit steep but, the quality reigns supreme and leaves a lasting impression from first to last bite. Personally, I recommend the ‘jus d’orange’ as it’s prepared on the spot, and is consistent of sweet and tart flavours – seriously, a delicious way to start the day. Like the citrus, this vendor knows how to pick dates. Au Jardin de Lutece 6 arrToo mesmerized to ask their origin, whether Medjools or not, there’s no mistaking these dates were certainly fresh with a soft outer layer, meaty in size – not dried up or shrivelled like some other varieties – and, jam-packed with sweetness.  Surely, a date or two is the perfect lightweight snack to keep anyone energized.  Consisting of more happy surprises, each corner of this small shop carries pockets of nature’s beauty. For instance, while indulging in ruby red currants and organic strawberries did amaze, the one that got away – hopefully, to be sampled on a future trip – was the box-load of once again ‘fresh’ hazelnuts. Can you believe it? Now, I know from former experience what fresh almonds look and taste like but, much to my excitement, seeing fresh hazelnuts was a first! Luckily, for those in the area, they can be found here Au Jardin de Lutèce. Now you know – ‘je vous en prie,’ you’re welcome!

Maison Gregoire 1 arrFrom land and sea to farm fresh and freshly baked or cooked, there’s an endless list of gastronomic stops to recount. Briefly, for those with a sweet tooth, Rue Monge is also host to an array of ‘viennoiserie’ and classic French pastries – pain au chocolat, brioche, croissant, flan, tarte aux pommes, macarons, etc. – as well as simple cheese sandwiches, all courtesy of Maison Grégoire. Maison Gregoire 2 arrHaving said that, those after a more hearty lunch or late night dinner must-visit and must-walk further along Rue Monge and take a detour – all within walking distance, I promise – to Rue Mouffetard. Once there, behold: foodie central! Taking a late night promenade to Rue Mouffetard, myself, I find this street to be lively and boasting with a mélange of young and young-at-heart patrons. Likewise, the diverse spread of dessert parlours, tea houses, international fare – Greek, Italian, Turkish – and authentically French cuisine-oriented bistros run plenty.

Crepe 1 arrVenturing to satisfy sweet and savoury senses, I opt for a cheese and egg-filled paper thin crêpe. How so very typical – I know, but don’t mind! Almost an equivalent to what we – North Americans – commonly identify as a pancake house, this ‘crêperie’ offers both Nutella/fruit options and meat/veg components, and speedily prepares them ‘à emporter,’ for takeout.

Gelati d'Alberto 8 arr

In continuation of the next sought after treat, I set out for a real beauty – an edible rose – at Gelati d’Alberto.  Truly, a sight for tasteful eyes, this gelateria impresses not by its compact dimensions but, instead, by its glass-encased selection of uniquely flavoured congealed confections. At initial glance, I’m left intrigued by flavours such as açaí berry, “Alibaba” – a mixture of sesame and orange blossom water – litchi, and even aloe vera. Gelati d'Alberto 6 arrUltimately, request is made for a delicate yet vibrant trio of: rose, pistachio and strawberry gelato. Taking time to savour this ‘fleur,’ each petal layer at a time, the distinct combination of the three gelati did make for a pleasantly memorable experience. Undeniably fragrant, this perfumed hand-crafted rose smelled sweet as much as it tasted intoxicatingly true to the essence of rose water – simply, magnifique!

Needless to say, it’s all in the way it tastes!  And, in keeping with homemade tradition, Alberto’s use of pure fruit and quality ingredients speak volumes in the final product of gelati and sorbets that is clean and refreshing on the palette.  It’s no wonder, then, that gelati and sorbets made by this ‘maître glacier’ – master ice-cream maker – are self-proclaimed to be the envy of town, “L’envie en rose,” and rightfully so. All in a day’s work, this food-hunting escapade just touches the surface of all there is to explore. While I’m sure I could go on with more mention of French food or the artisans who craft them, there’s no denying this fact: “La vie est belle, et vous êtes comme elle!” Life’s beautiful – and even more so with ‘la cuisine française’!

Copyright © DISHFUL, 2017. All Rights Reserved.

INSTA Ice Cream

Insta Ice Cream 13 arrInstantly made for “insta” yum, no-churn ice cream is the answer to all things delicious and frozen.  Essentially, the dessert for summer time.

Truly no fuss and easy to make, anyone can whip up their very own batch of homemade frozen confection. For the start of your own, all you need are three ingredients – heavy cream, sweetened condensed milk, and vanilla essence.

To prepare humble vanilla ice cream – also the base to future flavourful variations – first pour the ‘necessities’ into a mixing bowl, whip the combined trio until soft peaks form and then set contents into the ice box to fully solidify. Et voilà! You’ve mastered no-churn ice cream.

From here, the possibilies are endless. You can create a menu of delectable dairy rich frozen treats. To start, mix-in palatable additions of choice whether via fruit compote, crushed cookies or biscuits, chocolate chunks, chopped almonds or walnuts, and even broken pieces of your preferred candy bar.

Insta Ice Cream 2 arrHaving fun with the making of several ice creams, I couldn’t stop at one or two. Essentially setting up my own ice cream parlour – if only for a day – going for gold is the aim. And so, when a couple flavours just don’t cut it, I set my eyes on building a dream team of flavour pairings to include mine, yours, and everyone’s favourites: mint chip, mocha almond fudge, cherry cheesecake, caramel macchiato crunch, Oreos ‘n’ cream, and a peachy-esque spin resulting in ‘nouveau’ nectarines and cream. Likewise, candy coated cones with sprinkles and the works are a must – a match-made winning combo for the otherwise already beautified real cream scoops.

Made in an instant and ‘flash’ frozen, personalizing your ice cream to create a range of tastes is a cinch. To do so, simply remember the magic of three: three items and three steps – combine, whip and freeze. Word to the wise: for mint chip, I omit vanilla essence and replace it with pure mint extract. Alternatively, deconstructed banana split ice cream can made by using banana flavouring as well. Once again, the sky’s the limit when creating your very own plain or fusion ice cream, especially when starting with the original no-churn base. Rocky road or what ever route you take your ice cream, there’s one ultimate certainty: no-churn ice cream is an “insta” success.

Copyright © DISHFUL, 2017. All Rights Reserved. 

Mom Knows Best!

Persian Ice Cream 5 arrMy mom has taught me everything I know – from Persian culture to family values, and the importance of ongoing learning. A gem in her own right, my mother has and persists to display multifaceted talents. Crafty yet studious, successful in business ventures as much as a leading parental figure, she’s – without a doubt – the person to whom I look up and admire, and fortunately, my personal ‘go-to’ when presented with life’s question however big or recipe-related.

 

On this Mother’s Day, my mind easily trails to an endless memory bank of times I shared with my mom. Moments for which I’m grateful, and instances that are now family stories in great thanks to my mother who selflessly took every spare moment she had to spend with her children. Always giving of herself, she put ‘quality’ in every minute, hour and all times that are now made eternal.

Persian Ice Cream 3 arrIn celebration of my mom and all mother figures, I like to dedicate this post to past memories and some made new. Regardless of the month or season, every year has been touched by my mom. From devouring a plateful of homemade Christmas cookies, to custom-made birthday cakes, my mom started traditions that were made to last. Effortlessly working to make every occasion special, she continues to approach holiday dinners with the same level of attentive care and happily creates festive menus and table spreads that are thematic and attune with hand-selected patterned dishes, flatware, drinking glasses and centrepiece arrangements. Again taking time, she not only ‘makes things happen’ but, too, adds an element of magic to transform otherwise ordinary events into something beautiful.

In recollection of one of my fondest childhood memories, every trip to the mall included a stop at the ice cream parlour – my favourite scoop in a cone, mint chip for my sister, and French vanilla for my mom. Clearly, this family loves ice cream. And for the creation of more sweet memories, my mother has passed on the tradition of making and appreciating Persian food, including traditional desserts.

Persian Ice Cream 8 arrGladly following in my mother’s footsteps, I hope to have honoured both her teachings and our heritage with the making of a delectable recipe fully-loaded with nostalgia. Hoping you, too, will share something sweet with your mother-figure, here’s what I learnt from the ‘wise’ one: a popular Persian Ice Cream commonly known as ‘bastani Akbar Mashti’ and ‘faloodeh’.

Having the fortune to savour my mother’s cooking, I need no formal introduction to the distinct floral tastes identified with these icy desserts. Inclusive of saffron, rosewater, pistachios and frozen pieces of whipping cream, this vanilla-based ice cream dessert was first invented by ‘the man,’ Akbar Mashti. Rightfully named, then, ‘bastani’ simply refers to ice cream in Farsi.

As easy to make as reading the ingredient list, anyone can share and delight in their very own homemade batch of Persian Ice Cream. Starting with pure vanilla bean ice cream – homemade or already-made, preferably premium grade – allow the ice cream contents to slightly soften, and then mix-in the following: 1 cup of pistachios, 1/4 cup of rosewater, 1/16 teaspoon ground saffron, and 500 mL of whipping cream for ultra richness – freeze cream separately, and break into pieces prior to incorporating – and when well-combined, place the container back into the freezer to solidify the jewelled ice cream prior to serving. In case it helps, here’s some pearls of wisdom passed from mum: a little goes a long way with saffron so – however tempted to intensify colour of your ice cream – be careful not to overpower the dairy contents or otherwise risk gaining an adversely medicinal tasting dessert. Also, I first bloomed the portioned saffron into the measured rosewater, and later incorporated the perfumed liquid gold to the ice cream.

Persian Ice Cream 10 arrHighly satisfying as-is, ‘bastani’ can even be sandwiched between two wafers or enjoyed alongside ‘faloodeh’. Perhaps unfamiliar to some, ‘faloodeh’ is essentially cooked rice noodles that have been frozen with rosewater infused simple syrup. Short on ingredients and steps, less is definitely more with this fragrant dessert. Once prepared and semi-frozen, be sure to comb it over with a fork – like a granita – as it does not share the same consistency as ice cream. Finally ready to serve, you can enjoy ‘faloodeh’ in all its rosy glory for an extra hint of tart and sweet tastes top it with a squeeze of fresh lime juice or sour black cherry syrup – and, that’s all she wrote!

From my mother’s kitchen to yours, these Persian desserts are family favourites and simply worth having any time of year. Using these recipes or alternate expressions of thanks, I hope you have the opportunity to treat the parental figure who has left a lasting imprint on your life with daily tokens of gratitude. And on that note, this one’s for you – Love you, Mum!!

Copyright © DISHFUL, 2017. All Rights Reserved.

The Latest Scoop

No-Churn Ice Cream 2 arrAsk any ice cream fan, and I bet they have their ‘favourite.’ While mint chip and rocky road are popular flavours, mocha almond fudge tops my list.  Whatever your preference, most would agree that quality ─ real dairy ─ ice cream can’t be beat.  And much to my delight, “no-churn” recipes are no-fuss and all things decadent, rich, creamy, and simply divine.

Too irresistible not to try, I put a three ingredient “no-churn” ice cream recipe to the test. Happily evading use of an ice cream maker, I only need an electric mixer and these “must-haves”:  2 cups of heavy cream, a can of sweetened condensed milk, and a couple dashes of vanilla essence.  Once the aforementioned ‘magic three’ are whipped and form soft peaks, I pour the mixture into a freezer-proof container, cover it with a lid, and set it into the icebox for at least five hours.

No-Churn Ice Cream 3 arrThat’s it! Truly, your work is done ─ “no-churn” vanilla ice cream 101.  But why stop there, right? ─ Right on!  Getting creative, I double the ‘basic’ vanilla recipe, and divide the ‘very good’ vanilla bean ice cream into four separate loaf pans.  Creating a blank canvas of sorts, you can stick with vanilla-infused ice cream and later incorporate added texture and taste via your imagination.  For instance, consider the following:  chocolate chips, caramel sauce, fresh berries or fruit preserve, nuts, crumbled cookies, liqueurs or even mint extract for a more refreshing taste.

No-Churn Ice Cream 4 arrGoing for delicious scoops of ‘breige,’ my ice cream cloud is made of plentiful shades of wonderful: vanilla bean, espresso, double chocolate and mocha almond fudge.  For the already mastered classic, use of pure vanilla extract is a given.  Catering to purists, I also recommend following suit by integrating the scraped black seeds of an authentic vanilla pod for an elevated flavour profile.  As for a chocolaty spin, whip a few tablespoons of cocoa into the basic mixture until it appears homogenous, and then stir in shavings of dark chocolate.  In similar fashion, treating the basic vanilla mixture to an “afternoon pick me up” is as easy as blending it with chilled brewed espresso or with a few tablespoons of the ‘instant’ alternative.

No-Churn Ice Cream 1 arrReserved for last, but certainly not least, my favourite ─ mocha almond fudge ─ tastes like the real-deal. Best part is:  the only place I need to ‘bask in’ for the making of this confection is the kitchen.  Kid you not, this take on mocha almond fudge is ‘that’ good!  And, here’s how to make your own:  blend the basic vanilla mixture with cocoa powder, espresso powder ‘et voilà,’ you got the mocha part ready.  Half-way done, freeze the mocha ice cream for about an hour while you prepare the fudgy addition.  No-Churn Ice Cream 6 arrFor my interpretation of a DIY nutty ganache filling, I take a dark chocolate almond bar ─ the family-size variety, about 300 grams ─ save some with which to later decorate, and then melt the rest with some heavy cream over a double-boiler.  Once the contents have melted and the ganache has cooled, remove the mocha ice cream from the icebox and spoon in the filling, trying to create chocolaty almond ribbons.  Finally, top off the mocha almond fudge ice cream with a crunchy combo of toasted sliced almonds and chopped chocolate chunks, and really freeze it this time ─ a solid five hours should suffice.  Wait time ‘somehow’ endured, appeasing to one’s appetite for homemade “no-churn” frozen dessert is undeniably a cinch.  As for the question of brain freeze, “no-churn” is still a no-brainer ─ happy ‘paced’ consumption!

© DISHFUL, 2016.  All Rights Reserved.

What’s The Story, Crowning Glory?

Dole Farm 1 arrWhat stands tall, wears a crown, and is internally sweet? ─ Pineapples! Forever my favourite, pineapples rank among my top preferred fruits. Both delicious and elegant in structure, this beautiful natural creation is ─ simply put ─ my kind of wonderful. “Have I told you, lately, how much I love…” pineapples? ─ Just checking! So you can only imagine my excitement upon learning that my recent travel destination is also home to a pineapple farm. Ideally situated in the historic town of Wahiawa, my trip to O’ahu has been made extra special with a very worthwhile visit to ─ you guessed it ─ the Dole Plantation.

Dole Farm 2 arrNothing ventured, nothing gained? ─ Precisely! Somewhat off the beaten path, the Dole Plantation is outside the heart of Honolulu City, but certainly not to be missed. For a ‘field’ day in of itself, merely take a drive along the Kamehameha Highway and you’ll be happier for it. And once you arrive, guiltlessly reward yourself with a self-indulgent treat ─ ‘ananas’ of course!

Between fresh and ‘freshly’ preserved airtight goods ─ macadamia nut cookies, praline candied nuts, Kona coffee or dried mangoes/papaya/pineapple chunks ─ I have my eyes set on one thing only: “Dole Whip.” Saving my appetite for this momentous treat, my unique pineapple cup of Dole’s very best ─ homegrown golden delicious ─ does not disappoint. Dole Farm 3 arrConsider this: tangy yet sweet and smooth soft-serve pineapple ice cream that is topped with succulent dices of ripened pineapple fruit. Undeniably irresistible, Dole Whip is simply divine ─ spoonful’s of heaven. Befitting of venue and warm climate, this chilled refresher is exactly what this pineapple-lover ordered. In essence, the chance to taste Dole Whip is an authentic experience not to be missed ─ the edible souvenir of choice!

To my heart’s content, this pineapple adventure similarly fed my mind as much as my appetite. Catching up on some thematic Dole Q&A, I learn a memorable “Fact of Life” for a pineapple. Did you know, the pineapple plant takes its ‘sweet’ time ─ approx. 1 year and 8 months ─ to yield its first fruit? It’s no wonder this glorious fruit earns and rightfully wears a crown. Dole Farm 4 arrWhile I won’t trifle with Mother Nature’s timing, it’s times like these I’m grateful for the produce aisle, and waiting ─ ever so slightly ─ at the “Plantation Grille” for dessert.   Catering to all, other activities include: a tour of the grounds via the Pineapple Express train, discovery of flora in the botanical gardens or getting lost/found along a maze course. Whether in memorabilia or snack formation, this massive stretch of cultivated pineapple devotion is truly worth the journey ─ and it didn’t take 20 months!

© DISHFUL, 2015. All Rights Reserved.

Froyo Inferno

Banana ChocoFro arrHot and hazy days call for an ice-box favourite ─ say it is so, “ICE CREAM!”  Sweet, creamy and undoubtedly refreshing, who wouldn’t want to indulge in this summertime favourite?  I know I do, but with another ‘seasonal must’ beckoning ─ teenie weenie swimsuits ─ dreaded bouts of foreseeable guilt supersede advanced signs of temptation.  Fortunately, sunny days remain bright with an evasion of processed “sugar-free” and “fat-free” alternatives in exchange for homemade batches of fruit-flavoured frozen treats.

Banana Fro arrRecipes abound, there’s no shortage of instructions that call upon the usual suspects ─ sugar, cream, eggs, vanilla ─ and use of an ice-cream maker.  Having both the ingredients and the machinery ‘chez-moi,’ the common necessities aren’t an issue.  What it really comes down to, however, is the “s” word ─ SUGAR!  And so, I continue to scour the net and happily find an effortless frozen recipe that calls for two things:  bananas, and a food processor.  Ultimately working with a blank canvas, be brave and personalize your soon-to-be congealed treat with tasty additions ─ dash of cinnamon, a handful of nuts for added crunch, and even a tablespoon or two of either peanut butter or Nutella.

Blueberry FroYo arrStarting with the basics, follow these steps:  first peel and slice ripened bananas, then place cut pieces into a freezer-proof container, and freeze for a few hours or overnight.  How many bananas?  Good question!  As a rule of thumb, you can start with three but, just remember:  if you use more, you’ll get more.  So, it really depends on how large a batch you seek.  Once frozen, place the banana slices into a food processor and keep pulsing ─ about three to five minutes ─ until you yield a smooth consistency likened to soft-serve.  Finally, enjoy this naturally sweet delight immediately or store it in the freezer ─ once again ─ for a more solidified confection.  Requiring minimal ingredients but resulting in superior taste, it truly doesn’t get any easier than this.  So easy, in fact, I couldn’t resist dividing my potassium-rich batch into two and by proceeding to blend it with some cocoa powder ─ ‘et voilà,’ my very own chocolaty banana ice-cream.

Strawberry FroYo arrHooked on something wonderful, why stop now?  Equally achievable, making homemade strawberry and blueberry frozen yogurt is next on my list.  Courtesy of Just A Taste, I adhere to directions that call for three ingredients:  four cups of berries, ½ cup of yogurt, and three tablespoons of honey.  Like the banana recipe, begin with your choice of frozen berries and pulse the fruit using a food processor.  Catering to my taste, I combine the frozen fruit purée with ½ cup of thick and creamy Balkan-style yogurt, in addition to Manuka honey.  So far so good, I pour the vibrant batch of semi-frozen yogurt into a temperature-safe container and leave it in the freezer to solidify.  That’s it ─ done and done!

FroYo Palette arrAs for overall impressions, taste is not an issue so much as texture.  Clean and refreshing to the palette, both berry-inspired frozen yogurts are light and far from saturated ─ no cream, no refined sugar, no problem?  Not quite!  As any ice-cream maker well knows, sugar helps reduce the formation of ice crystals.  Honey, on that note, has purposefully been incorporated into this somewhat health-conscious recipe.  Making a valiant appearance, however slight, the ‘sweet stuff’ ─ agave nectar or other sweetener ─ does not share similar proportions as one would typically find in the rich custard original.  That said, the absence of fat and white sugar in this recipe indicates a less than creamy outcome that fares closer to a ‘granita.’  Needless to say, this fro-yo recipe may cater to some but not all.  On the plus side, there’s no denying this:  bright authentic taste of hand-picked strawberries trump any artificially-packed tub load.  So is fro-yo a go go?  I’d say so!  It’s definitely good as-is, and worth repeating using an ice-cream maker, at least for curiosity’s sake ─ churn baby churn!

© DISHFUL, 2015.  All Rights Reserved.

Once You Go Stack, You Never Go Back

“What would you do…?”  For a Klondike Bar, to buy and eat it – both – are plausible answers.  As for me, I’d get inspired and make my own – only proportionally mountainous!  Requiring no arduous trek, venturing unexplored territory – in baking – is simply too irresistible to ignore.  In response to the delectably infamous ice cream cookie sandwich, why not add a ‘well-rounded’ hit to an existing ‘discography’ – cookie repertoire – with the creation of my very own ice-box-worthy treat?ICS 2 arr

Since I can, I will – end of story!  The concept first started upon a midsummer’s craved dream.  Taking a cookie ‘n’ cream sandwich to higher elevations, my interpretation – like the original – still embodies crumbed goodness and frozen dairy contents.  For an even better spin-off, I present an overhaul of chocolaty bliss – the Big Stack Cookie Monster Sandwich.

Just imagine:  triple decker, mammoth-size homemade chocolate chip cookies – times three – embedded with a trifecta of palatably dense vanilla, chocolate and strawberry ice cream.  Inexcusably decadent, this oversized ‘wide load’ knows no limits.  And to a sweet tooth’s delight, this colossal frozen dessert’s exterior is further enrobed with all that appeases one’s taste – dark chocolate shavings, chopped toasted almonds, and rainbow sprinkles.

ICS 3 arrWasting no time, then, the order of priority follows in three steps:  bake, make and decorate – Scout’s honour!  First thing’s first, take your preferred cookie dough recipe – any kind – and whip up three batches.  A childhood favourite – for most – I use Martha Stewart’s reliable “Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies.”  While this speckled dough is normally arranged by the tablespoon, hand-held treats are not what I’m after – essentially, “Go big or go home!”  This time, I prepare and refrigerate three separate batches of big and beautiful.  Time-elapsed, the chilled ‘discs’ are easier to handle with which I evenly spread out onto a parchment-lined pizza dish; and when bake-ready, the trays are placed into a preheated oven.  Word of caution:  this cookie dough will rise and expand, so avoid thin crust styled ‘pies’ as they will burn; definitely not – for this hefty layered confection – a “good thing.”  Advisory noted, attentive watch yields triple a dreamy outcome – three ‘fortunate’ cookies – that evidently, is revealing of a crisp circumference and a chewy middle center.  Almost famous, cooling ‘hot stuff’ is a must prior to assemblage of a three-tier towered masterpiece.

ICS 1 arrMelting over double chocolate and mint chip, instead?  Aside from obvious compatible ‘couplings,’ anyone can actualize their own match-made pairing of tempting cookie and ice cream flavours.  Options abound, just think fast and brainstorm your way to a successful baking session.  Once complete, finish stacking those sugared ‘plates’ with your choice of frozen dairy or alternative filling, and – for fun – a final touch of textured ‘extras.’  Hands down, this rocky road novelty is not only sky-high, but a sandwich that measures up in pure taste and sliced portability.  And while best enjoyed immediately, you can always tightly seal this ‘deal’ – quantified quality dessert – with plastic wrap, and save it in the freezer.  Bottom line:  a Klondike-esque sugar rush validates that dreams, however sizeable, can be realized.

© DISHFUL, 2014.  All Rights Reserved.

No Baked Alaska!

Frozen – in time – shaved iced is clearly nothing new.  Pleasantly evolved,  Häagen-Dazs bars and the unfailing Baskin Robin’s Mocha Almond Fudge – preferably, two scoops in a cup – are among some frozen desserts that persist to amaze.  Tried and true to taste, real cream dairy favourites, yoghurt alternatives, and even gelato are a must in anyone’s freezer.

As young and old scurry to stockpile their icebox, the pursuit of a happy summer leads me to another hot craze.  It’s no Baked Alaska, but comes close – no-melt ice cream cones.

Welcome to mess-free country!  Napkins saved, this melt-free edible table fixture is the ultimate must-have treat to top off any backyard b.b.q.  To make, you’ll need:  ice cream cones, cake batter, frosting, sprinkles and your choice of toppings. Cone Cake arr

“I’ve got the power”… to decide?  Exactly, and so do you!  This versatile recipe leaves you with endless options.  Chocolate, vanilla, red velvet or any other batter you can think of, decisions are truly yours to make.  Still holding the reigns, choose between homemade batter or some help from a boxed Betty for a guilt-free – cake mix approved – treat.

For my not-so-dirty dozen, I whip up two separate batches of batter and frosting – chocolate and vanilla.  Oven preheated, I proceed to line up and leave – flat bottom – cones standing in a muffin tray.   Simply pour the batter into the cones – three-fourths full – and proceed to bake until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.  Next, allow the plain Janes to cool.  This stage is critical, as even slightly warm cone-cakes will – in fact – melt the frosting.  So, to ensure a ‘no-melt’ appeal, calmly dress the cooled and collected bunch using a filled piping bag.  Different tips will undoubtedly reveal distinct designs – again, you decide.  Tearing a page out of good-old fashioned value toppings, my retrolicious cone-cakes are made complete with a dash of rainbow sprinkles and maraschino cherries – of course!Cone Cake Plain arr

Time well spent?  I’d say so!  Hands-free – of dripping liquefied sugar – in addition to a cleared dessert plate, no-melt ice cream cones are a definite crowd pleaser.  Caring to share, transport of these ‘sundaes’ is made easy.  How?  Follow suit by using paper ice-cream trays – got mine at Mickie D’s – and, carefully set these ‘beauties’ into place for convenient carriage to its anticipated destination.  Long story short, “no” means “no!”  In this case, averting disastrous situations – brain-freeze, melt-downs and hot messes – are affirmative indicators of one triumphant summer afternoon get-together.  In continuum of happy snacking, then, cone-cakes are the ideal addition to any sweet’s bar – with a cherry on top!

© DISHFUL, 2014.  All Rights Reserved.

‘Healing’ Waters

Poppins – who?  Before Mary came into the scene, traditionalists have long used sweet sugar to ease ‘troubles.’  Also requiring no sing-along, my Persian mom – like others before her – already knew the soluble response to minor stomach ailments.  Hunger pangs or over-indulgence, the known ‘treatment’ remains unchanged and in following ‘the method’ – the old-fashioned way.

MintWater arrThanks to the former housewives of Persianville, trusted homemade solutions are safely locked into memory and made using a touch of age-old necessity – ‘healing’ waters.  Diverse in application as in scent, find these ‘waters’ in tall translucent bottles – possibly – along the “international aisle,” and definitely available on the shelf of local Persian grocers.  To name a few, popular varieties of floral-infused waters – also stored in my fridge – include:  rosewater, orange blossom water and mint water.  While the number of distilled ‘waters’ are endless, aromatics via fruits, herbs and flowers are commonly used to create these wonderfully fragrant liquid elixirs.

Ancient in existence, but perhaps recent to some, perfumed waters have been around for centuries – talking about past generations!  With yesterday’s ‘news’ – now recycled – daily appearances of these ‘waters’ are more common than one may think.  Gently washed onto one’s face or incorporated into food, rosewater can be identified with beauty regimens or among Middle-eastern baking staples and fusion cuisine.  Still confused?  Just think about the last time you ate simple syrup-laden baklava – that mystery component was most likely rosewater.  Clearly a multi-purpose item, some even resort to these ‘waters’ for its medicinal purposes.   And, if you’re like my mom, mint water is the remedy to realign your ‘center.’  Equally appealing to my preference for all that’s effective, reliable and natural, this digestive aid works – all the proof I need.RoseOBlossomWaters arr

Previously tried, I can attest to mint water’s restorative ‘powers.’  But, people are people – we’re different!  As such, unique tastes will undeniably carry diverging reactions.  So if you don’t like mint, are allergic or – heaven forbid – are suffering from appendicitis, please don’t try this at home.  Seriously, in case of emergency – needless to say – you know what to do!  In the meantime, this agreeable recipe stands as my sure-fit non-prescription for refreshing alleviation.  Non-accidently made aware of this ‘medicinal’ drink, it comes highly recommended – even directly made – by my Persian matriarch line of ‘naturally’ instinctive doctors.  For your own glass of settling comfort, simply blend these ingredients:  a generous pouring – tablespoon or two – of mint water; then dilute with actual water – H2O; and to complete, mix the ‘remedy’ with a stick of crystalized sugar rocks or the famed alternative – “spoonful of sugar” – until ‘caster’ is dissolved.  Easily prepared and fitting of fast relief, this pleasant beverage need not be limited to a minty ‘curative.’  So go ahead, if you wish, and drink your ‘greens’ – anytime!

Appetite redeemed, satisfying cravings for more ‘aromatics’ is another flavourful bottle away.  As your bonus instruction, simply scoop and combine into a bowl:  premium quality real-cream vanilla ice cream, dash of rosewater or orange blossom water, and – though optional – top with a hint of ground saffron and crushed pistachios.  Sweet tooth or sore throat, whatever the ‘suffering,’ being under the weather is immediately corrected with ‘rosier’ alternatives – Persian food and drink!

© DISHFUL, 2014.  All Rights Reserved.