Recipe: Matcha green tea ice cream with furikake
I’ve been writing a lot lately about healthy living, but as I’m a firm believer in the saying, “everything in moderation,” here’s a nice, fatty post for you this week.
The best ice cream I’ve ever had was in San Francisco. Let me preface this by saying gelato is different from ice cream—in a nutshell, gelato has less fat and churns at alower speed, thus has less air incorporated into it (read the more in-depth explanation of ice cream vs. gelato from Serious Eats)—and I’ve definitely had some amazing gelato in Italy. I’m also not referring to the ice creams I can find in supermarkets across America (Lord knows I love Ben & Jerry’s). Today, I’m talking about ice cream shops I’ve discovered during my travels or even strolling around my hometown of Houston.
In my 2011 trip to SF where I ate my way through the Bay, a friend who loves food as much as I do took the hubs and me to Bi-Rite Creamery, a little ice cream counter inside the Bi-Rite Market. Who knew a bunch of grocers could produce ice cream so heavenly?
The first flavors I’d tried on my initial trip to Bi-rite were salted caramel and honey lavender. The salted caramel, which is one of their most popular flavors, was all right to me, but their honey lavender blew my mind. It was the first time I’d tasted lavender in ice cream, and it wasn’t overwhelming as I’d expected. This made me run home to Houston and immediately come up with my own honey lavender recipe, which you can find in my cookbook, Recipes from My Home Kitchen.
During our last visit to SF, it was a beautiful sunny day, and my friends and I’d just finished lunch. We decided to wash it down with some dessert, so we walked to the nearest Bi-Rite Creamery, and I had the roasted banana. Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey is one of my favorites, so I knew I’d like banana flavored ice cream. We went up and down the aisles of Bi-Rite, licking our cones, when my hubster, John, exclaimed, “Bi-Rite has an ice cream cookbook!” Of course we bought it.
Breville is a sponsor of my Canadian cooking show, ”Four Senses”, and as a token of gratitude after we wrapped filming the first season, they’d sent me a lovely new Breville ice cream maker. Before this, I’d been churning my ice cream in a little Cuisinart, which worked fine, but it required me to pre-freeze the bowl which took up valuable freezer space, and if I forgot, well, I’d be SOL until tomorrow. This Breville ice cream machine, however, has a built-in compressor which means no pre-freezing necessary: just turn it on, and give it a few minutes to bring the container down to proper temperature. And then ta-da! Just pour in your custard straight from the saucepan (no cooling down with an ice bath even necessary!), and you’ve got soft-serve ice cream in less than an hour. (I freeze mine for at least four hours afterwards, though, because I like a “bite” in the consistency.)
Now with this Breville, making ice cream has never been easier. Every little bit helps when you’ve got friends coming over all the time asking if you’ve got any homemade flavors in the freezer.
We’ve made Bi-Rite’s Earl grey ice cream twice and, this past weekend, churned a quart of green tea. The best green tea ice cream I’ve had came from a 7-11 in Hakone, Japan, but maybe this is the second best. It’s better to use matcha green tea powder because it’s more concentrated in flavor due to the fine milling process, and thus translates into ice cream better than, say, simple green tea leaves. I used the matcha green tea from Costco, which I drink on a regular basis. The ice cream turned out a tad sweet for my preference, but incredibly delicious nonetheless. Below is the recipe with the sugar tweaked to my liking. I also made the amazing discovery of sprinkling the scoop with furikake–a Japanese rice seasoning made of seaweed, sesame seeds, and fish flakes–which gives the luscious, sweet, slightly bitter green tea a dose of salty umami. It was AMAZE-BALLS. But don’t take my word for it. Try it yourself. If the Blind can Cook it, you can too.
Do you make ice cream at home? Which are your favorite flavors? Which machine do you use?