cakes, prose, woes -- the photos, food & thoughts of a french-speaking seattle-native in brazil

In the end, you're just happy you were there—with your eyes open—and lived to see it. -AB
In the end, you're just happy you were there—with your eyes open—and lived to see it.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Ice Cream 2 Ways

Avocado Lemon & Lemon Mint

Ice cream? In March? Remember i'm in the Southern hemisphere now and it is (the end) of summer. Over the past (almost 4) weeks i have realized a few things: i am not going to use the oven to bake anything until i move into my house, i'm not interested in baking yet in the heat, and i enjoy using serial commas. Now obviously it is possible to bake in the heat, millions do it and i have no doubt that i will. But the oven in this house.....and it's not because it's gas, thousands of bakers bake with gas, even my new still-in-plastic shrink wrap oven is gas (though it has a nifty ignite button, so no matches). It's something else....this oven just doesn't like me; it knows i'm North American. Actually there is no thermometer or temperature gauge anywhere to be found and i am not yet quite to the level (and loss of sensory nerve) where i have skill enough to stick my hand inside and determine "yup, 219 celcius." For example. The other day there were 7 blackening bananas, and so before they were mashed 50-50 with sugar in a sauce pan for "dessert" (read: plain) i said hey, stop, let's make banana bread, because after all that is what we Americans do with bananas is it not? Alright alright they nodded, (this of course came out of my mouth in my wonderful present tense Portuguese) and i made the bread. Not cake, i insisted they call it bread. Sweet bread seems to not compute. As the story goes, the thing came out charred black. This was a problem the last time i was here as i recall. But cut away the bottom and sides and it's perfect inside. You've spleened me for the last time oven, now i am only making things on top of you or with no heat at all.

While we were in the middle of miserably hot weeks (90 degrees is miserably hot for me) i thought, ah, i'll make ice one makes homemade ice cream here. No kidding. But i didn't actually want to be right with that statement. Why make it when you can buy it everywhere? that's something that is starting to pop up more and more around me. The bakeries make bread, so why make it? Cookies come in packages, so why mess up a pan? Well, i guess the answer to all of it is i like to do it. It's not the product i am crazy over, it is the process. However, one thing, at least in this household, that is homemade more often than bought is juice. Juice? Granted there are dozens of varieties of juices at the grocery market, but fresh fruit is not expensive, and buying an entire pineapple for one pitcher of juice is quite reasonable. I watch H's mom make juice daily out of pretty much anything. One carrot and one apple? Done. Chop, put in blender, add water and sugar, then strain and drink. She has a pretty fancy pants juicer that happens to be named Mallory (the name of the electronics brand, seriously. they manufacture coffee makers, toasters and fans too) but she does it this way. Lemons, avocados, oranges-seriously it takes a lot of fruit to make a small amount of juice. But no one has scurvy around here that's for sure. So yesterday there was a bag of passion fruits, about 6 apple-sized yellow globes. I (myself) will make passion fruit juice. When you cut into a passion fruit it is quite hollow, there is a glob of seeds attached to a pink membrane with a little juice surrounding. Once that is scraped out all that is left is white sponge and quite unattractive nodes that look like sea anemone tentacles. Whoever thought to call this fruit 'passion' has a sick mind...the Brazilians actually believe it to be a sedative fruit, quite ironic actually. Can't get to sleep? Suck on a passion fruit. In Portuguese it is called maracuja. I mixed it with squeezed lemons, sugar and water and thought it extremely tart (but good). Later i noticed H's mom added about 50 percent more water. Guess i'm too tart.

What? Ice cream? As i was set on making ice cream to do a post for poor Salty, i had it stuck at the front of my mind. We went to Sao Paulo last week for another visit to the US consulate to finish up a few things, and on the way we stopped at my favorite place smack on the corner of a highway exit ramp, the kind with large obnoxious billboards- where? None other than the extremely corny Castelinho da Pamonha, also known as the "Corn Castle" to grab some corn ice cream to make going to the consulate less dreadful. Now, i wrote about this place last August when i recreated the sweet corn ice cream in a post here. I guarantee you that anyone who visits will be forced even against their will into this place. there's even a corn playground. Neither here nor there, but i couldn't make and post corn ice cream i keep moving.

Two days later i went for a visit to an aunt's house (there are about 20 aunts) which is settled in the garden of an extremely large mansion in a private condominium surrounding a river. Why in the garden? Her husband is the gardener. We were there, of course, for "afternoon coffee" and snacks...slightly British if you ask me. We went into the kitchen and she opened the oven; each rack was lined with avocados (Brazilian avocados are huge, bigger than mangoes) that practically spilled out over the floor. jesus, i said, your oven is full of avocados. well, what a wonderfully obvious statement. Now the sky is blue. But at least i'm trying. Aunts, uncles and cousins are the only ones so far who i am comfortable attempting to practice my wretched Portuguese on. Now there were two more large buckets of avocados on the porch; how is she going to use all these? Horrific thoughts returned to last January in my grocery market in Poulsbo (near Seattle) where i unfortunately had to pay $2.50 for a single rotten avocado that was smaller than an apple. yeesh. Another bucket of lemons, a bucket of oranges, and every 5 minutes one of the caged-quails seemed to pop out yet another spotted egg. Well, i have to say being a gardener looks quite rewarding in more ways than one. When we left we took a shopping bag full of avocados and lemons. i'm going to make avocado and lemon ice cream. Thanks tia.

Back to the nobody makes ice cream here statement. I want an ice cream maker for my birthday (which is in July), i told H a few weeks ago. Anyways. Haven't yet seen one at any kitchen store....gulp. So i'm making it by hand for now. Guess they aren't the most popular selling of products-First sign. Now for cream; everyone knows you need cream to make ice cream (hence the second part of the word.) So we be at the grocery store, "where is the cream? doesn't anything come in bottles?" Poor H who tries to help as best he can to accommodate my outrageous projects that make no sense to Brazilians. He looks, thinks, then says "what kind of cream? What does it come from?" uh, a cow. Oh. We shuffle to an aisle with cardboard boxes full of already prepared whip cream mix that you simply whip. No, not this. I want pure cream, this has sugar and chemical junk in it, isn't there anything fresh? Something that has to be kept cold? At this point he is quite confused and my attitude doesn't help. The people at the store inform us that they don't sell it-second sign. please please, this is not the time to have one of those breakdown culture-shock moments. Over the weekend we stopped by the pharmacy at Carrefour and thought to see if they had cream in a bottle, they did (i think it's cream....) have cream in a bottle. Fresh whipping cream (i hope that's what it is...). Hooray Carrefour! However slightly expensive. At this point i decided to make two flavors, because i'm like that. I need mint now. For lemon mint ice cream. Mint?...again i have confused the poor man, like toothpaste flavor, i clarify. I head over to the produce section with green leaves and herbs, H asks "why are you here then?" I pick up a bundle of mint and say uh, to get the mint. "That's mint? Mint is blue." interesting....wait what?? Let's laugh and move on. We are so lucky to be awarded so many possibilities to laugh at the smallest of things each and every day. Culture is such a wonderful thing, nothing is wrong, nothing is right, all it is is different.

So here is my ice cream, no machine, only hand. It is a combination following the methods of David Lebovitz and Jamie Oliver (both don't mind machine-less cream). I made them both at 5:30 this morning since H left early for work (we have an appointment at the registry office early in the afternoon, immigration stuff). All ingredients were thrown in the blender, and then poured into casserole dishes and placed in the freezer. As they are thick (in depth) they took quite a while to freeze, stirring every 30 minutes to break up the clumps. Would you believe 5-6 hours? Avocado is a great ingredient to use when attempting the dish method to make ice cream as it is a naturally fatty food and allows the ice cream to remain creamy with fewer ice crystals. And, not surprisingly, the lemon mint tastes exactly like a mojito. Now we have homemade ice cream, probably the only homemade ice cream around for miles. Was it worth it? I think so.

Avocado Lemon Ice Cream
500ml cream, 1 cup sugar, 1/2 can sweetened condensed milk, 2 Brazilian avocados (like 4 of the wimpy ones in the U.S.), juice of 2 lemons, 1 tsp vanilla extract (or powder).

Lemon Mint Ice CreamIngredients:
600ml cream, 1.5 cups sugar, 1/2 can sweetened condensed milk, juice of 2 lemons, 1-2 tbsp finely chopped fresh mint leaves.

Method (for both):
Combine all ingredients in a blender and whirl until smooth (you need to use a blender or you will have avocado chunks...mmm). If using a machine, follow the instructions for your particular model. If making by hand, poor into a shallow baking dish (plastic, glass, etc.) and place in the freezer. Check it after 45 minutes and stir with spatula or whisk. Keep checking every 30- 60 minutes (depending on size of container and temperature of freezer) keep stirring until it is consistency enough to serve.

a bientot

ps. i'm experimenting with banners, this is the third in the past three weeks....can't quite get it right. Yes i do take constructive criticism as useful. So keep it coming.


Mel- said...

They both sound absolutely amazing. Stunning colours as well :)

anna said...

These both sound brilliant! Really refreshing. I used to make ice cream by hand, sometimes I still do if I want to do two flavors in one day. It's not bad but it does keep you chained to the freezer for a few hours :(

Stella said...

Ooh, I see your Brazilian avocados in the background of one of those photos. I have a tree in my front yard that produces avocados kind of like that-the season has passed this year though.
Your ice cream looks wonderful and this post is the most interesting I've seen all day-truly. The flavor combinations are nice too. I will be making this soon.

Memória said...

Este sorvete é perfeito!! As fotos são perfeitas também.

Moira said...

Your ice-creams are both fantastic, but i have to keep the recipe to do much later. Here is time for "crepes flambées" or scones with hot tea :)
The banner is beautiful, but i can't identify it as Salty Cod's or yours. As we say in portuguese: Não é a tua imagem de marca, hope you can understand it. I think it shoud be a photo that when people see it must say this is Mallory or this is Salty Cod.

Corinne said...

did you use yellow lemons (called limão siciliano) or limes? Lemons are hard to come by and pricey. Cream in Brazil is called "creme de leite". It is usually sold in UHT boxes on the self with the sweetened condensed milk. It is ok for some recipes but not for making whip cream (for that you need the box labeled "chantilly" - which is whipped cream in Portuguese) or fresh cream. That is called "creme de leite fresco". You can find it in larger supermarkets (like Carrefour) and yes, pricey. Mint is called "hortelã". Try pineapple mint juice (if you haven´t already) - it is heavenly.

I have noticed that a lot of Brazilians are amazed that I bake and cook (and enjoy it). It is just not that common (especially among the middle class). Everyone is impressed that I always bring something home baked when my son has a school event (BTW - banana bread is my go to baked good for school). I seem to be the only one.

benbes said...

they are very good flavors, I love both of the ice creams.
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Mallory Elise said...

obrigada moira, eu trabalho mais de fazer um "salty" banner :)

hi Corrine--in pretty much everything i make that includes lemons i use green lemons; brazilians don't call them limes...i actually haven't seen any yellow lemmons. my family simply calls them limão, so that is what i call them as well because really they taste like lemons. limes have a specific taste-and it definitely isn't it. most of them are actually taken from trees found at some of the family cottages :)

as for the milk and cream- i am definitely aware of what the stores have to offer now. i've always known that the creme de leite and milk come in the sterilized boxes, but it wasn't what i was looking for. and the chantilly mix is actually already made whip cream minus the air--that is it already has sweetener and a type of flavoring. also not what i was looking for. we figured there would be more variety at some of the bigger stores, and we did find fresh bottled straight cream at carrefour, 500ml for about R$3, and i'm almost certain that Pao de acucar has more...i just haven't looked yet. in the future when i try ice cream again, i think i will look into small ice cream shops to learn where they get their cream.

the hortela wasn't that expensive at carrefour, just bad quality. i've decided i'm gong to grow it on my balcony garden along with one seems to use basil...the biggest tragedy here yet. and i have had the mint and pineapple juice, it is very good :)

Corinne said...

you can find a smaller variety (purple basil?) in most larger or upscale stores. I have not seen basilica basil, but I have seen the seeds in supermarkets and have grown it before. I have trouble maintaining an herb garden (terrible black thumb), but it is definitely the way to go since fresh herbs are not always available and expensive (with the exception of italian parsley, green onions and cilantro). I don´t think I am familiar with green lemons, maybe a regional thing?

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Hudson said...

I think that what you was looking for is called "nata" but the name at the store could be different, after think for a while I am sure that it is what you were trying to find, and sorry for my english, hehe.

Moira said...

Thats it! For me that is Salty Cod :)
I love it Mallory.

Mallory Elise said...

wooo! obrigada moira! finally ;)

Corinne, what part of the country do you live in? you don't have a blog linked to your name...

Hudson your English is better than my Portuguese so no worries :)

Brynn said...

Mmmmmm! Limão and maracuja are two of my favorite flavors. The more tart the better.

Because I too flee in terror from our stove/oven with the nondescript buttons that are marked only by a progressive color scale from yellow to dark orange, I'm very excited about your ice cream recipes. Sticking something in the freezer is a task I can handle.

Hope the home renovations are going well!

Nani said...

Oh Gosh, I didn't know they give foreigners a hard time to get married in Brazil. But you did awesome!!!! I am so happy for you both! It reminds me of Bryan and I... I am excited yay!!!!!

Christy said...

I could've sworn that I left a comment here!! No matter...

One of the things I LOATHE about living in a tropical/sub-tropical country is the lack of good dairy produce. What is it about dairy products being better in countries with colder climates?

Anyhoo, I'm taking like a month break from DB---might do this month's challenge though it's getting pretty tiresome for me. We'll see. Understandable that you're taking a break. Like moving to a new country without cream or a good oven isn't stressful enuff, right?

Tanya said...

This ice cream looks heavenly! I must try.

I have been lurking on your blog for a while but never commented.

I love your photos, beautiful.

What kind of cream did you use for this? Creme de leite or Chantilly? Or the fresh cream found in markets? I am curious. Would love to try this out. I will let you know how it goes.

Thanks for all the recipes and pretty photos.

Tanya @

Jolette said...

This looks really good. I kind of like unique ice cream flavours - my favourite is pistachio, which might not seem unique but is extremely rare here in South Africa. Your photo styling is really good! What camera do you use? Oh, and I like this banner a lot - I say keep it. :-) said...

I choose avocado lemon.. yum!

Anonymous said...

Yum. I am so jealous that your aunt grows avocados! How cool!!

Both of these flavors sound amazing, and I am really looking forward to trying the avocado one!

Bukan Sekedar Blogger Bertuah said...

perfect picture....good informations.....nice,,,very very nice picture

Cynthia King said...

The banner is sweet: homey, artistic, looks professional but not corporate and creepy. Also, my friends and I were discussing yesterday what ice cream maker to buy. They were discussing the Kitchen Aid Ice Cream Paddle and seeing as we don't have that kind of money I said, "I think we can just use a pan." Indeed! Yes! We will try this.

katty said...

I really like the cream and combine it with another kind of ingredients. It drives me crazy, and i love to spend time with my friends and i like to prepare some cakes with too much cream.

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sheryln said...

Ice cream on its the own is a delicious, creamy and the smooth confection that takes us the back to our childhood .

ice cream machines