Saturday, February 18, 2012

Week Seven - Valentine's Day Takeout

Happy belated Valentine's Day, friends! I hope you all enjoyed your day on Tuesday, whether you spent it with your significant other, your closest friends, or your favorite bottle of tequila. I spent the day seeing a movie by myself (one of the best ways to spend an afternoon, in my opinion), then shopping with my best friend, then eating tacos and watching crappy television with my husband. It was bliss.

I've never been super big on Valentine's Day. It seems really silly to me: one day a year to get all romantic and lovey dovey. Bah Humbug. I'd rather be romantic and lovey dovey all the other days of the year and then save my money on February 14th. The price of roses jumps up to crazy talk. And any restaurant I would like to eat at (read: not Applebee's) is likely hosting some sort of expensive prix fixe wine-and-dine deal which will likely contain one, if any, vegetarian options. So again, Bah Humbug.

Early on in my relationship with my husband, however, I must have been a lot less cynical about February 14th. For our first Valentine's Day, we celebrated for an entire weekend. On Friday night, I cooked us a fancy college meal of penne vodka and some sort of weird chocolate custard-like things that I made in a blender. We exchanged gifts: I remember being really excited about giving him the new Final Fantasy game along with the DVD's of a show called Upright Citizens Brigade, a sketch comedy show that he was really into. To kick the gift up a notch (something I take pride in) I got tickets for us to go to the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater, an improv theater in Manhattan started by the original members of UCB. (It should be noted that this turned out to be an even-more-awesome gift than I had anticipated when, among the many stars taking part, Mike Myers joined the troupe for the evening. My husband is a HUGE Wayne's World fan so I scored big points that night!) After exchanging gifts, we went to this adorable little Thai restaurant a couple towns from my school. It was candlelit and romantic and, as I recall, pretty friggin' delicious. Ya can't ask for more than that out of a Valentine's Day dinner!

Fast forward to today, as I scorn the foolish holiday but gladly stock up on the 40% off conversation hearts at Target. Though we may not celebrate like we did that first year, I do look back on that weekend and smile. And so, with that feeling in mind, I chose this week's flavor: Valentine's Day Takeout. (The name needs some work, I'll admit.) I went back to my favorite ice cream book for this one as the recipe so perfectly, and yet so oddly, represents the holiday in my mind. The flavor is basically a combination of coconut and peanut, a base for many Thai curries. There is a small amount of heat in this and not a ton of is subtle and tasty. A success, in my book!

Here you have it, folks...

Valentine's Day Takeout Ice Cream (adapted from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home)


1 1/4 cup whole milk
1 tbs plus 2 tsp cornstarch
1 1/4 ounce cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup natural peanut butter
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 1/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
2/3 cup sugar
2 tbs light corn syrup
2 tbs honey
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, toasted
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

1. In a small bowl, combine 2 tbs of milk with the cornstarch and stir until combined. Set aside.

2. In a medium saucepan, combine the rest of the milk, cream, coconut milk, sugar, corn syrup, and honey. Bring to a boil and allow to boil for a few minutes.

3. Remove the pan from heat and whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Return to heat and boil for another minute or so, stirring all the while.

4. In a large bowl, whisk the peanut butter, cream cheese, and salt until smooth. Slowly pour the hot milk mixture in, whisking to combine.

5. Add the toasted coconut and cayenne pepper. Pour through a fine sieve into a clean bowl and cover with plastic wrap, pressing it down directly on top of the mixture. Refrigerate until completely cooled.

6. Transfer cooled mixture into bowl of ice cream maker and churn. Upon completion, transfer to a freezer safe container and freeze.

7. Add some chopped peanuts and enjoy!

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