Baklava Ice Cream and Fruit Flies

You’ll be happy to know those aren’t related. Well, outside of their both occurring in the Shoes And Pie Test Kitchen. And my not being particularly pleased with either.

Baklava Ice Cream

The thought process went like this: Hmm, what to do with this leftover baklava? (I usually work from home, so bringing it to the office for the cubicle gophers isn’t an option.) I know, I’ll make ice cream! A vanilla base, with the baklava chopped into chunks. And instead of white sugar, I’ll sweeten the vanilla base with honey. No, the baklava has enough honey in it. It’s already incredibly sweet, for that matter. I’ll cut the sugar in the ice cream way down.

I’ve learned from years of ice cream experiments that a combination of heavy cream and whole milk is the way to go. Every time I try to “lighten” the fat content, the resulting ice cream is too icy and not enough creamy. For this recipe, I bought the required heavy cream, but decided to go with the 1% milk I already had in my refrigerator. I can add rennet to balance the lower fat content. But nooOOOoo, I decide to skip that step.

I reach for my sugar canister and…it’s empty. Empty. The Test Kitchen manager* is so fired. I don’t want to use much sugar anyway, but I need something. I glance at the brown sugar. No, too rich in combination with the baklava. Okay then, confectioners’ sugar, it is. ¼ cup.

Okay, time to add the vanilla, at which point I decide that rose water would be a better compliment to the pistachio/honey mix that is baklava. I don’t even have sugar, you can believe I don’t have rose water. Vanilla it is. And my secret ingredient: a shot of whiskey to keep the ripened ice cream from being rock hard.

Not terrible, but not a winner.

Stir stir stir. Pour into Cuisinart** ice cream freezer. Churn churn churn churn. Add the chopped baklava. Churn churn. Pour into a freezer-safe container, ripen for two hours. Open it back up, scoop (I’m already not liking the texture), take a bite…blargh. Too icy, too sweet, too much baklava. Back to the drawing board. Or not. The recipe came about as a way to use up leftovers, not because I really wanted baklava ice cream. Now, honey-butter ice cream with pistachios, there’s something I may try to work out!

Fruit Flies

All spring and summer long, I’ve been tending to a relatively healthy heirloom yellow pear tomato plant. I’ve been leaving the ripe tomatoes on the vine, because one pear tomato at a time isn’t very satisfying. But I am ready to take in the full harvest and chow down. As soon as I get home from the race in Kearney.

When I get home, there are 3 pear tomatoes greeting me on my front stoop. It seems that the tomato vines could only hold on for so long, and the time has come. I grab a bowl, pick all of the tomatoes, and see that there are what look like tiny, short hairs on some of them. Pollen from something? I blow. Nothing. When I take them inside and rinse them, I see that some of the “hairs” are still attached. I decide they must be a pest of some sort, and soak the tomatoes in water overnight to drown whatever the remaining little things are. The next morning I drain the now-clean tomatoes, and leave the colander on counter (because you should never refrigerate tomatoes. Sucks the flavor right out of ’em.). Evening approaches, and I’m so excited to have pear tomatoes and fresh mozzarella for dinner! With some fresh basil, a splash of aged balsamic, some cracked pepper…go away, little fly…and some sea salt…shoo, fly! And your friend! And…hey, what’s going on here? My kitchen is swarming*** with fruit flies! I check the tomatoes, and see that some have split open and are looking rather spent. Into the compost bin they go, my dreams of fresh tomatoey dinner dashed.

Too many flies OUTSIDE, not enough INSIDE.

I run to Teh Intarwubs for advice. I set out a bowl of apple cider vinegar spiked with a couple of drops of dish soap. I check the trap a couple of hours later to find the flies congregating near the bowl, but not touching the vinegar. I try home remedy #2 which involves a deeper receptacle, and adding a paper cone that the flies can’t fly back out of. I go to bed. In the morning, I’m greeted by a fruit fly party on the cone, but only 4 inside the contraption. I hear that patience is a virtue, so I’m not getting rid of the vertical trap, but I’m adding home remedy #3: a shallow bowl of vinegar with the addition of a plastic-wrap “lid” to trap the suckers who don’t drown of their own volition. They will not win.

__________________

*me

**I went through 4 or 5 ice cream makers, manual and electric, before I settled on the Cuisinart. I’ve been using it for years now, and don’t have a single complaint. Well, I wish it had come in red back when I bought mine. 🙂

***If 30 or so make a swarm, and it sure feels like it

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