Dessert, Snack, Gluten Free, Spring, Summer

ROASTED STRAWBERRY COCONUT MILK ICE CREAM

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I've never been labeled the creative one. Thoughtful, intentional, sarcastic, sensitive, yes, but not creative. I got good grades in school because I am motivated and try hard, but not because I fall someplace just shy of genius or anything. My sister has always been gorgeous - tall and thin, blonde hair and light eyes - both beautiful and creative. She gets her artfulness from my mom, the one who has always made us homemade cards and crafted murals on our bedroom walls while we went through numerous adolescent phases. At one point my sister had a jungle themed room and I had an enthusiastic "surfer girl" phase, so alas my mom painted a hibiscus print across my wall. I'm attracted to this creativity, my mom and sister are two of my favorite people, so it makes sense that I fell in love with someone quite innovative himself. These "creatives" as they are so trendfully called, are constantly seeking more creativity. My sister wants more striking clothing designs, my mom, a better landscaped backyard and Hugh, cutting edge pictures. They are proud of their work, but never quite as dazzled as I am. I use my family as examples because I know them well, but whether you write, photograph, cook, draw, dance or such as, I'd guess you also struggle with your expectations being set just above what you deliver. Even as the rest of us are dazzled by you.

We've been in the final stages of the book editing process over here (more specifically Hugh, numerous hours editing photos, I just provide a continuous flow of snacks). I browse the pages and realize that me, the non creative one, is doing something quite creative actually. I fell into cooking partly because of a love of produce and wellness, but also because it was the skill that no one in my circle had marked their own. It was my niche, no threat of competition or following the footsteps of a culinary genius grandma like I hear frequently of others. I do chase my own expectation, wanting something even greater of myself, a recipe that is the "greatest xyz anyone and everyone has ever had!" But when I take the people pleaser out of this art form, the seeker of affirmation and the desire to do well, it is transparent that I am sharing a creativity that is genuinely running through my veins. I desperately want to inspire people to eat well and fill their bellies with an excess of vegetables but to also enjoy good treats, of course. So while we're about to send this book to print, where the changes and second guessing will be out of my hands, I'm finding rest that regardless of where the creativity meter falls on this project, we have constructed a tool that speaks of community, good food and inspiration. Hugh, my creative one, you've exceeded my expectation in the work you've done and I am so anxious to share this with people.

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ROASTED STRAWBERRY COCONUT MILK ICE CREAM // Makes about 1 quart

Adapted from Hungry Girl Por Vida

Few notes. First off, be sure to use full fat coconut milk, the light stuff will turn out too icey. I halved most of my strawberries, but after a few spoonfuls of the ice cream, I wish I had either quartered them, or mashed them up a bit with a fork before I added them to the machine. The chunks were a bit large and disrupted my pure ice cream enjoyment with big frozen cubes of fruit. If you end up with more strawberries than you use in the ice cream, they are delicious on a piece of toasted bread over a hearty swipe of fresh goat's cheese. In fact, that combination is maybe a reason to make more than you'll need anyway. 

2 pints strawberries, hulled and quartered

2 tsp. natural cane sugar

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2 egg yolks

1/3 cup natural cane sugar

3 Tbsp. maple sugar (or just more natural cane sugar if that's what you have)

1 13.5 oz. can coconut milk

1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

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2 oz. dark chocolate, optional

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Preheat the oven to 300'.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Pile the berries in the middle, sprinkle with the 2 tsp. of cane sugar, pinch of sea salt and toss gently to coat. Spread in an even layer and bake on the middle rack for 25 minutes. Turn off the heat but leave the berries in there to cool slowly. They need to be completely cool before adding to the ice cream machine. This step can be done in advance. 

Set a glass bowl over a pot of simmering water, but do not let the bowl touch the water. Add the egg yolks and both sugars and stir to warm. As the sugar melts, it will become smooth and shiny. If these two need a bit of help melting, just add a spoonful of the coconut milk to get things moving along. Stir the mixture for about 5 minutes. Add the can of coconut milk and whisk everything to combine. As everything warms, it will get smoother. The custard will start to thicken just a bit. Stir in the vanilla, turn off the heat, strain through a fine strainer to remove any eggs bits and transfer the bowl to the fridge to cool completely. 

Add the coconut custard to your ice cream maker and churn according to instructions. Meanwhile, if using, melt the chocolate in a double boiler (glass bowl over simmering water). At about 75% finished, add in a cup of the cooled, roasted strawberries and let it continue. In the last minute, slowly drizzle in the (not super hot) chocolate if you wants some chocolate chards or chunks in the ice cream. 

Transfer to a container and freeze until firm.

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