Tag Archives: gelato

Getting a head start on barbecue season

Mister "Aloha" Bentley

With yesterday marking the start of Barbecue Month (according to daysoftheyear.com), it was a perfect way to mark the end of MotH’s holiday stay-cation and a chance to improve our grilling skills. We’ve done beer can chicken, seafood pasta in foil, paella (which needs more practice), and even pizza (which needs a lot more practice). I think it’s safe to say that steak, in general, should be a no-brainer, but when it involves a 2.5-inch thick Tomahawk, we definitely need to do things by the book and P R A C T I C E!

Mister and the Tomahawk

Grill on indirect heat, flip after 20 minutes, check interior temp to 85°F, and reverse sear directly over coals when it reaches 125°. I thought I got every step right, but apparently I got it all wrong. Or maybe I stuck the thermometer in too much that it took the reading on the other side of the Tomahawk instead of in the center. Or my thermometer just plain sucks (I use it for everything from tempering chocolate to cooking sous vide). In the end we had meat that was perfectly medium rare around the edge but rare in the center. Of course, the dogs did not mind at all.

Gelati Toldo
Chocolate, pistachio, mango, pomegranate, and coffee

After the steak, grilled vegetables, rice, limoncello and coffee, we still had room for dessert. This particular gelato comes from Gelati Toldo in central Lecco. It has such rave reviews that we did what we always do when checking out a gelateria for the first time: purchase a kilo to go. The shop itself is something of a wonder because the flavors in the showcase churn in individual canisters. A kilo (5 flavors of your choice, 20€) is quite a lot but the gelato is excellent and dang it, half the container is already gone!

Toldo Gelateria
Click on the image to see video (Flickr)

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Lemon verbena gelato with Fico Rosa di Pisticci

Lemon verbena gelato

This really should’ve been something to talk about during those dog days of July and August. My lemon verbena grows like a weed during summer, but the only one to use it the most is the Westie (she prefers nibbling the leaves to grass when she has a tummy upset). The idea of using lemon verbena in gelato is not new, but I have yet to see it made with the addition of caramelized figs. Fico Rosa di Pisticci (written about previously) holds up well during the cooking process, and contrasts beautifully in both color and taste.

1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 yolks plus 1 large egg
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup verbena leaves, loosely packed
For the caramelized figs:
1/2 cup chopped Fico Rosa di Pisticci figs (or other fig variety with red flesh)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon butter

1. Heat the milk and cream in a heavy saucepot until tiny bubbles form around the edge. Add the lemon verbena leaves, remove from heat, and set aside to infuse for 5 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks and egg together with the sugar until light in color. Temper the egg mixture by slowly whisking in the hot lemon verbena milk (leaves included) in a thin, steady stream. Pour the mixture back into a clean saucepot and cook over very low heat, stirring frequently, until it coats the back of a spoon. Do not allow to overcook as the eggs will curdle. Remove from heat and cool completely. When the mixture has cooled (you can facilitate this by setting the pot on a bowl of ice), pour into a clean dish, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. This overnight step is key to obtaining a good lemon verbena flavor and gives the gelato base enough time to get really cold.

3. For the figs: melt butter in a saucepot and add the figs and sugar. Cook and stir over low heat until the sugar has caramelized. Cool completely.

4. Strain the lemon verbena gelato base and churn according to manufacturer’s instructions until the desired consistency. Scoop gelato into the container you will use to store the gelato, and gently fold in the caramelized figs. Freeze until firm enough to hold its shape.

Fico rosa di Pisticci
Enjoying the last of summer’s sweetness, one scoop and one bite at a time!

Kauai’s south shore farmers markets

To market, to market, to buy….more papayas and anything else that looks plucked right off a tree. This was one of the best things about being back in Hawaii, and we didn’t let a day go by without eating some kind of tropical fruit that actually tasted like how it’s supposed to and not ripened in a warehouse. Kauai has farmers markets scattered all over the island but we chose the south shore locations as they were the nearest ones to get to. We enjoyed each of the 3 visited, but of course there has to be one that we just LOVED. If you’re lucky to find yourself at any of the following, remember to bring your own shopping bags, small bills, and someone with strong arms to carry the loot. And get there early!

Koloa Farmers Market: Mondays @ 12 noon

Koloa farmers market

Held at Koloa Ball Park, and as I remember it, is a very busy market frequented by locals and visitors alike. That didn’t seem to be the case in November as the crowd looked half of what I expected. Mainly fresh produce, and oh the strawberry papayas! They were the best we had during our stay. Great prices and friendly vendors. The Man of The House (MoTH) tried his first soursop. It was a tad overripe. I think he’s gonna sit on the fence for that one.

Soursop from Koloa farmers market
Kauai soursop from Koloa’s market $4

Kauai Community Market: Saturdays @ 9:30am to 1pm

Kauai Community market

Website: http://www.kauaicommunitymarket.org – Held at the community college in Puhi. Beautiful selection of fresh produce, tropical flowers, prepared foods to go (I spied a vendor selling kimchi rice), and even a foodtruck or two depending on the weather. Definitely not one to miss for market lovers.

Artisan breads and our loot from the Puhi market

We especially liked the baked goods from Midnight Bear Breads (amaaazing macadamia nut cinnamon Rolls and olive ciabatta) and the goat cheese from Kunana Dairy (omigod the lilikoi is broke da mout’). The cheese vendor also gave us tastings of artichoke, pepperjack, chive, and herbed goat cheese. Her table had many other goodies too; so hard to choose!

Pohole Tropical bouquets Ginger Fresh taro
Kunana Dairy vendor Jackfruit Papaya-a-gogo Avocados
A photographer’s delight for all things colorful and in many shapes and sizes

Kauai Culinary Market: Wednesdays @ 3:30pm to 6pm

Kauai Culinary Market
The Shops at Kukui’ula

Hands down our favorite market. Geared for visitors since it’s in the resort area of Poipu, but the gorgeous setting at The Shops at Kukui’ula is hard to beat especially when you can buy fresh produce and touristy things like Aloha shirts (we bought a Jungle Bird Tom Selleck Magnum PI Hawaiian Shirt for a friend) at the same time. Free tastings at Monkeypod Jams table (the mango jam is divine!), fresh pies from The Right Slice, prepared lasagne and soups to go, chef demos, and much more at this market.

Monkeypod Jam

And when you’re all tuckered out from shopping, get a cone at Lappert’s. The place is known for ice cream, but there’s a small selection of gelato flavors as well. We ♥ the chocolate and chile pepper gelato. MoTH gave it a big thumbs up.

Lapperts at The Shops at Kukuila Kauai Culinary Market sign