Coconut Cardamom Ice Cream

While perusing the internet the other night, thinking of what to make to celebrate Mark’s birthday (today), I remembered a David Lebovitz recipe for a coconut ice cream, and thought that would be a perfect scoop to go along with some rich chocolate cake.

The last time I’d had coconut ice cream was on our honeymoon in San Francisco. We were strolling through the Mission District, when we came upon Bombay Ice Cream, and it looked interesting, so we strolled in. I had a dish of coconut cardamom ice cream that was unlike anything I’d tasted before. It was light and had an incredible fresh coconut taste, and the cardamom gave the dish an earthy, aromatic backnote. Remembering that wonderful honeymoon treat, I decided to add some cardamom to my ice cream. I had some green cardamom pods on hand, so I toasted them briefly, then bashed them up a bit in my mortar and pestle, removing the husks after a few pounds with the pestle. Once the husks are removed, continue to grind the cardamom until you’ve got a fine powder.

The finished ice cream did not disappoint. This isn’t an overly sweet ice cream, the coconut made it very light and airy, and the fresh ground cardamom was just the taste I remember from our honeymoon. We shared the ice cream and cake with our friends to cap a perfect pub lunch birthday celebration. I nearly forgot to take a photo of the cake and ice cream, and I’m thankful that John spoke up to remind me! The cake was just the Bob’s Red Mill chocolate cake mix, with some diced crystallized ginger and chocolate chips thrown in. Bob makes some good cake.

Coconut Cardamom ice cream
8 servings

4 Weight Watchers Points

1 can coconut milk, 13.5 oz
1 cup half & half
1/3 cup sugar
2 T vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
2 T rum

Combine all ingredients except rum in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, add rum. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled. Pour into ice cream maker to turn & freeze the ice cream. After 40 minutes, spoon the fresh ice cream into a large tupperware container and freeze for a couple hours until ready to serve.

Thai Curry Coconut Butternut Squash Soup

And now for my first recipe…and how fitting that this one is inspired by one of my favorite blogs, Closet Kitchen, and his recipe for Coconut Butternut Squash. I simply took his brilliant idea a step further and turned it into soup, and it turned out surprisingly well. Mark even declared “Why would you ever make normal butternut squash soup, when you could make this?” So I guess this is a keeper.

For the record, I still like my “normal” butternut soup – Wolfgang Puck makes some very delicious soup.

Thai Coconut Curry Butternut Soup

Serves 8
(5 Weight Watchers Points per serving)

Butternut Puree:
3lb butternut squash, peeled, cored, sliced in 1″ slices
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1Tb olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place squash slices on a oiled cookie sheet, toss with 1Tb olive oil and nutmeg. Roast for 30 minutes, flip slices, roast 30 more minutes, then remove from oven and set aside for a few minutes to cool. When the squash is cooled a bit, place in food processor and puree until smooth. Set aside. Puree can be made a day or two ahead of making the soup.

2Tb butter
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tb fresh ginger, grated
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 1/2 tsp Thai Kitchen Red Curry Paste
1/2 tsp cardamom, ground
6 cups chicken stock
1 can coconut milk (14 oz)
2 Tb fish sauce (to taste)

chopped cilantro
air popped popcorn
lime wedges

Making the Soup:
1. Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add butter and onion and saute for a few minutes until onions start to soften.

2. Add the garlic, ginger, coriander, cardamom and red curry paste. Stir, cooking until fragrant – about 30 seconds.

3. Add butternut puree and stock, and heat until the soup comes to a bare simmer. Continue simmering for about 20 minutes, and add more curry if taste is too subtle, though beware that the spice level will increase when you eat the leftovers the next day. Season the soup with the fish sauce, to taste.

4. Pour soup into a food processor and puree until smooth, in several batches. Pour pureed soup into a new pot, and return to stove on low heat. Add the coconut milk, and stir until incorporated. Taste for seasoning, and adjust if necessary.

5. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with chopped cilantro and a squeeze of fresh lime juice. Serve with air popped popcorn, garnishing every lovely spoonful with a couple of kernels.