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Allergy-Friendly, Desserts, Egg-Free, Gluten-Free, Nut-Free, Special Diets, Vegetarian

Brown Sugar Hominy Ice Cream with Cajeta Swirls

I’m recovering from oral surgery, which is one of the least fun things I’ve done in a while, but it does give me an excuse to snooze and eat lots of ice cream! 

Notes of delicate, sweet hominy swirled with heavenly, complex cajeta (a Mexican confection similar to dulce de leche but made from goat’s milk) make this recipe especially comforting for this convalescent. The boyfriend thought it equally magical. 

If you’re not familiar with hominy, it’s corn that has been steeped in an alkaline solution in an ancient process called nixtamalization, which loosens the hulls from the kernels makes them puffy and chewy. It also makes the nutrient niacin in corn more available to our digestive tracts.

Hominy is a staple of Mexican cuisine and can be found in cans in most U.S. grocery stores. It’s also used in sweet drinks like champurrado, which is basically the delicious lovechild of hot chocolate and cornmeal porridge. So it only made sense to put hominy in ice cream. 

If you’ve got a lot of time on your hands, you can even make the cajeta from scratch

Brown Sugar Hominy Ice Cream with Cajeta Swirls
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Ingredients
  1. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  2. 2/3 cup hominy
  3. 1/2 cup water
  4. 1/2 cup brown sugar
  5. cajeta for swirling
Ice cream base
  1. 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  2. 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  3. 1/2 cup white cane sugar
  4. 1/4 cup brown sugar
  5. 1/4 cup corn syrup or tapioca syrup
  6. 3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
  7. 1/2 tsp salt
Instructions
  1. Soak hominy in brown sugar, vanilla, salt, and water for at least 2 hours, strain with cheesecloth, and blend until it becomes a fine paste.
  2. Mix 1/4 cup brown sugar, sugar, salt, and xanthan gum together in a bowl. Pour cold milk into a pot, and whisk sugar, brown sugar, xanthan gum, and salt into milk. Add corn syrup. Heat the milk on low until warm, stirring until all ingredients are completely dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in cream. Refrigerate for at least 12 hours.
  3. Add hominy paste to ice cream base, churn according to your ice cream maker’s directions.
  4. Pour one layer of ice cream into pan, cover with swirls of cajeta. Add another layer, cover with swirls of cajeta. Add last layer, and top with swirls of cajeta. Freeze in freezer overnight.
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Drinks, Egg-Free, Gluten-Free, Non-Alcoholic Drinks, Paleo, Special Diets, Vegan, Vegetarian

Natural Pedialyte/Gatorade Electrolyte Drink Alternative

The other night I woke up in a haze, tongue shriveled up, stumbling in the dark with only one thought: I’m thirsty! You know the feeling: when you’re parched from the effects of a stomach flu, a high-intensity workout, or too much alcohol (hello New Year’s Eve!) wishing you had an electrolyte-replenishing drink like Pedialyte or Gatorade without all the artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners, and preservatives.

I created this comforting refreshment for those days when I’m needing extra hydration to bring me back to life; it’s also kid-friendly with its low sugar content and tropical tastiness. 

The base is coconut water (make sure that you grab a variety with no added sugar), which contains over twice as much potassium as the average energy drink, and is packed with antioxidants, enzymes, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals like calcium, zinc, iron, magnesium, copper, and manganese. 

The second ingredient is Himalayan pink salt, which replenishes the same 84 trace minerals found in the human body that are lost when we sweat. A study in the Southeast Journal of Tropical Medicine and Public health showed that drinking sodium-enhanced coconut water was as effective at rehydrating as a commercial sports drink; in addition, it caused less nausea and stomach upset. So, in other words, it puts those flashy blue and red concoctions to shame. 

The third and last ingredient is acerola cherry powder. This one is optional, but I love the extra immune-boosting, whole food-derived vitamin C, subtle tanginess, and pale pink color it imparts to the drink. 

Natural Pedialyte/Gatorade Electrolyte Drink Alternative
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups coconut water
  2. 1/4 tsp Himalayan salt or sea salt
  3. 1/2 tsp acerola cherry powder
Instructions
  1. Pour two cups of coconut water into large jar or blender, add 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp acerola cherry powder. Close jar and shake vigorously or blend until ingredients are well combined. Serve.
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Desserts, Egg-Free, Gluten-Free, Special Diets, Vegetarian

Salted Brown Butter Barfi

When I was a teenager, I was invited to attend the Indian-American wedding of an acquaintance’s daughter. It was a lovely affair, but I didn’t know the bride or the groom. For me, the most memorable part was the parting gift. 

Inside a small box decorated with brightly-colored flourishes sat a little unfamiliar square of food with a note attached. It was a dessert common in India called ‘barfi.’

The name is a derivative of the Persian word barf, which means snow. While barf might not exactly sound appetizing to some, you’ve gotta trust me on this one: it was the most buttery, milky, fudgy splendor-morsel to ever touch my tastebuds. All those years passed and I have never stopped yearning for barfi. 

Well, now it’s mine, all mine! It turns out you can actually make food. Revolutionary, right? Wanting to mix it up and add an updated touch, I decided to make them with salted brown butter. ERMAHGERD. They are so good I made several batches of them and sent them away to loved ones in lieu of Christmas cookies. 

Salted Brown Butter Barfi
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cup milk powder
  2. 1 cup powdered sugar
  3. 1/2 cup whole milk
  4. 1/2 cup butter
  5. 3/4 tsp himalayan salt
  6. Optional garnishes: saffron, pistachios, dried fruit, toasted flaked almonds, or coconut flakes
Instructions
  1. Butter a small pan and set aside.
  2. Melt butter over medium heat in a pan with a light-colored bottom (to observe the color), swirling occasionally. The butter will begin to foam.
  3. When the butter reaches a soft caramel color and nutty smell (be careful not to burn the butter!), turn the heat down to low. Whisk in milk powder, salt, and liquid milk and mix thoroughly.
  4. Add powdered sugar, whisking continuously.
  5. Stir continuously until mixture becomes a thick lump in the middle.
  6. Pour mix into buttered pan and smooth out the top with a spatula or spoon.
  7. Let cool and set, cut into shapes, and garnish if desired. Serve at room temperature.
Adapted from Fa's Kitchen
Adapted from Fa's Kitchen
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