Tag Archives: gelato

Chocolate Toffee Gelato

It’s funny how things work.  I was finally able to go to the nursery this past Sunday to choose plants for the patio project I’ve been working on for the past few weeks, and was so pooped lifting those 5-gallon containers I decided to put off planting them until the next day.  Bear in mind that lifting them into place and moving them around to decide which looked best next to what was just as physically taxing as planting, so quite a bit of stepping back to stare at the results was involved afterwards.

At some point Sunday evening, the clouds rolled in and the wind whipped the trees around, surprising us with rain lasting through much of Monday morning.  In this land of perpetually  sunny days and palm trees, I always welcome the rain but like to be able to look forward to it and have time to think about closing windows in the house I forget are open.  Yes, there were two open, and though I wouldn’t willingly risk having the rain come in and ruin the flooring, the soothing sound of a steady rain and scent of fresh moisture wafting through the house is what I was left with.  Not bad.  Not bad at all.

It also leaves me with a gelato recipe to write about instead of rainy day food like a nice bowl of creamy asparagus soup, or cute little fruit handpies, but it’s a gelato recipe well worth writing about. Flavor you might find in a paper pint on a night when a good movie you’ve seen a trillion times is what’s in order and your couch has a spot with your name on it.

Jammies required.

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Ricotta and Brown Sugar Gelato

IMG_4415 Quite some time ago, I came across a recipe in a magazine that I didn’t subscribe to but magically ended up in my mailbox each month, addressed to me.  It didn’t take long to realize the publication’s advertisements outweighed its content, but a two page piece featuring a local chef caught my eye as did his recipe for honey ricotta ice cream.   I’m more in the chocolate camp when it comes to ice cream, but once in a great while, a lighter flavor will temp me.  Rarely, if ever, will it be plain vanilla, however.  Sweet cream?  Yes.  Cream cheese?  Definitely.  It made sense that ricotta and honey would appeal to me, so I tore out the recipe and recycled the magazine.

The recipe sat among the other bits and pieces of paper that manage to hover near our telephone in the kitchen.  When looking for someone’s number, or trying to locate a coupon, I’d see the recipe and think, “I should make this…” and place it on the counter hoping that its presence would coerce me,  but it would get shoved back into the stack I removed it from, so never did.  There was the small matter of not owning an ice cream maker that could also be the culprit.  Not the old-fashioned hand-crank model my mother and I found at a garage sale for five bucks and which lost its novelty long ago.  No, I needed an electric model I could plug in and forget.

Years passed (honestly!) and I finally bought a Cuisinart with an extra freezing bowl so we could enjoy home made ice cream whenever we felt like it.  Ironically, the honey ricotta recipe disappeared, most likely falling victim to one too many sessions of being shoved into a drawer and out of sight when guests were expected, and then not retrieved.  It figures.

But I’ve not forgotten the idea of those flavors, and so finding myself with leftover ricotta from a recent gnocchi making session, I finally decided I’d try to recreate my lost recipe.  Of course all that entails is typing “honey ricotta ice cream” into my Google search box and voila!  A few hundred thousand ideas are at my fingertips.  Ah, but at some point, I’d decided to make gelato, so that reduced my options to just under 30,ooo.  What would we do without Google?

In the end, I compared three or four recipes merging a honey vanilla gelato with a ricotta gelato.  And guess what?

My gelato ended up with absolutely no honey in it.

Go figure.

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Fresh Cherry Gelato

When my husband and I got married oh so many years ago, we couldn’t afford an extravagant honeymoon, but we were able get away for a few days just to dream a little about possibilities.  So we headed to San Francisco and stayed at what was then the Four Seasons Clift, a luxurious hotel where fluffy white robes waited for us, chocolates were placed on our pillows after housekeeping turned down our beds for the night, and room service —  decadently ordered on our first night there —  introduced us for the first time to gelato.

I’ll never forget the heavenly, creamy texture, and the just right sweetness of the vanilla scoops we enjoyed that night.

The hotel has changed ownership since then, and although still beautiful, it barely resembles the traditionally elegant place we spent the first few days of our married life.  It’s now a sleek, sophisticated looking place that I’m not sure I’d feel entirely comfortable in.

I wonder if they still have gelato on their room service menu?

Next week,when we taste our first sample of gelato in Italy (and the following 10 or 15), I know we’ll smile and remember those three perfect days.

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