Man's Vantage Point + [vegan]

Rose Ice Cream
Lychee cake with rose ice cream
Lychee cake with rose ice cream

A note on making ice creams: I'm using this Cuisinart ICE 50BC ice cream maker. It's serious. I got a deal on it and would probably balk at buying a full price one, but if you can find a deal or don't mind a splurge, it's pretty awesome. Even it though, which promises ice cream in 30 minutes or whatever nonsense, does not deliver miracles. The ice cream pictured above is the consistency you will get after running an already chilled mix for about half an hour in the ice cream maker. It's quite enjoyably edible, but not perfectly frozen through. To get it to really set up, you'll need a couple-few (that's a Western NY-ism from my younger days meaning, "I don't know really, two or three?") hours in the freezer.

As far as bases go for the ice cream, I got inspired by the pastry cream I've been working with, which involves cooked tapioca starch. The mixture becomes pudding-like and freezes in a wonderfully textured way--not too hard, not too icy, but just creamy and meltingly delicious. As far as liquids, a mix of soy, nut or rice milk with something heavier does the trick nicely. Coconut milk is nice in situations where you'd like to impart a little coconut flavor, otherwise my ice cream base of choice is currently unsweetened MimicCreme. It's made mostly of almond and cashew and it's rich and creamy and pretty wow. The price is also wow, but if you've made your own nut milk lately, this seems a pretty good deal. On their website you can buy a case of twelve at a per unit cost of $4.59 and there's apparently no shipping charge (?!) if you take ground shipping in the United States, making it a good dollar+ less expensive than I've seen anywhere else. And that, my friends, will make a lot of ice cream.

Basil Ice Cream
1 1/2 cups unsweetened soymilk
1 1/2 cups MimicCreme or soy creamer
1 cup packed basil (Italian or Thai)
1/3 cup sugar
5 teaspoons tapioca starch
pinch of salt

In a medium saucepan, gently heat the soymilk, cream and basil until the mixture boils.
Cover immediately and leave to steep for an hour.
With an immersion blender or in a food processor, puree the mix for one minute.
Strain through a mesh strainer, pushing hard against the basil pulp with the back of a spoon to extract all of the liquid.
Return the liquid to the stove top and heat again, stirring in the the sweetener, tapioca starch and salt. Continue stirring until the mixture reaches a rolling boil and thickens to a pudding-like consistency.
Pour mixture into a wide, flat dish and cool throughly before finishing ice cream with your ice cream maker.

In other news, I was happy to receive a VegBloggy award a couple weeks ago from VegNews magazine and am really gratified that people find this blog interesting. It's definitely an honor to just have readers, so thank you all very much. There will be a feature on vegan blogs in the newest issue of VegNews, so look for it! In other, other news, I just got through my first week of farm share veggies and will soon post the results. Think: pea tendrils!