This is a story of turnip pickles and ice cream. No, I’m not pregnant.
During the summer I am more drawn than ever to very simple meals that can be made in a matter of minutes. (I plan on sharing a couple of those later this week!) However, I find myself doing more food projects. Either because I’ve discovered a new kitchen gadget or there’s more produce available, the time I’m not in the kitchen making lunches and dinners, I am instead having fun with food-related projects. (Some of them are more successful than others!)
First up, turnip pickles!
When a friend had to go out of town recently for business, she handed off her weekly CSA delivery to us. (Good friend, right?) Amongst the kale, kohlrabi, radishes, and more, there were three beets. Now, as regular readers may remember, I am no beet fan. However, there are a couple of ways that I can enjoy them. The number one way is by joining them with turnips for pickled turnips. (The beets are what give turnip pickles their gorgeous, vibrant, hot pink color.)
I’ve written about my love of the David Lebovitz recipe before and their subsequent addition in Double Hummus Wraps. I picked up a couple pounds of turnips at the farmers market and set about peeling and chopping. The turnip pickles take a week to be fully ready, but I’ve been taste-testing them every day in the way that someone might taste chocolate chip cookies at every step in their making. With turnips being fresh and in season, I can tell already that this is going to be an especially good batch. (If you make them, remember to opt for small turnips. The big ones tend to be overly strong in their radish-flavor, which dominates and throws the taste off balance.)
Next up, ice cream!
I must be hitting some kind of lucky streak, because in addition to my CSA bounty, I had the surprise delivery this week of a Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker that has been on my wish list since last summer, if not the summer before that. My mom decided to send me a “just because” present that keeps on giving! (First it’s the joy of discovering an ice cream maker on your doorstep. Then it’s the joy of ice cream!)
Just that morning, I had been admiring Kristy’s post about Red Velvet ice cream with much longing, while knowing that without an ice cream maker, I would be unable to sample a bite for myself. So once the ice cream maker arrived, I started pinning recipes that I’d admired in the past (like pistachio ice cream from The Sweet Life and Salted Caramel Pretzel ice cream from Chef Chloe).
That’s when this Snickers ice cream also from Keepin’ It Kind caught my eye. It’s made with a coconut milk base and has a swirling of caramel made from dates. It’s dotted with chocolate chips and peanuts. Sign me up!
I popped the freezer bowl into the freezer for the day while I picked up ingredients. The next day, I put the ice cream mixture into the maker to blend while I did some work at the computer. Fifteen minutes later I came back to the machine, and there was smooth, soft serve-style ice cream! (I realized later that I forgot to add the ¼ cup of non-dairy milk in the ice cream indicated in the recipe, but lucky for me, it still turned out just fine.)
Looking at the ice cream I was reminded of the way I felt when I made almond milk for the first time. It’s one of those things that’s really cool to see happen in your very own kitchen. It seems like something that should be relegated to fancy restaurants or factories, but instead I had fresh homemade ice cream on my countertop.
The next step in the ice cream making process was adding the layers of caramel sauce and then putting it into the freezer in a loaf pan to fully set. But of course, I had to taste at every step along the way, in the same way a person might taste test… turnip pickles.
This ice cream is so incredibly delicious and decadent. It’s hard to believe that it’s only sweetened with dates! (Although, I did use vegan chocolate chips made with sugar.)
Finally, in the less than successful realm, enter this wheatgrass juicer.
I have a standard juicer that I use for juicing celery, cucumbers, carrots, pineapple, tomatoes, oranges, and other watery fruits and vegetables. However, when it comes to leafy greens, it produces less than inspiring results, and it is totally unable to juice wheatgrass.
So when I saw this Manual Wheatgrass Juicer at a consignment shop, where I sometimes shop for blog props, I had to pick it up. It was only $15, which is much better than the usual $50 that it goes for new. I imagined that some person who was not at all interested in juicing had probably received this wheatgrass juicer for Christmas, never used it, and then took the unloved bit of machinery to the thrift store for a new life. I imagined that unlike that person, I was going to have a shot of wheatgrass every morning as a pick-me-up.
When I opened the box, I saw that it had, in fact, been used before, and there were no instructions inside. It wasn’t immediately intuitive how it might all fit together, and so I looked up some videos online. I followed the demonstration and then cranked and cranked until I had wheatgrass juice.
I’ve had juiced wheatgrass many times before at raw restaurants and juice bars. And I realized after that shot, this is not something I need all the time. For the $7 I paid for a flat of wheatgrass, I could have easily instead saved those wheatgrass-cravings for times when I’m at such a location. Plus, there wouldn’t be 5 minutes putting it together and 10 minutes of cleaning it for a shot that takes seconds to drink.
The whole system felt kind of rinky dink, leaking from places where it shouldn’t be with lots of parts to clean. The plastic arm felt a bit shoddy, and in the two or three subsequent times I used it, the wheatgrass got stuck in the nose of it, making it next to impossible to take it apart. Oh, well, at least it was only a $15 investment instead of $50 to find out I don’t really need a wheatgrass juicer. Welcome to the basement, buddy. I hope you like your roommate, Bread Machine.
Who knew that I would enjoy homemade ice cream more than wheatgrass? I know. No one could have seen that coming.
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