A few weeks ago, Jenn (a most talented cook and Club member!) asked me if I had a recipe for honey gelato. I didn’t… Why didn’t I have a honey gelato recipe yet, I wondered? It’s something I had thought about many times, but never got around to making.
After months of dormancy, forced into stupor by winter’s deep-freeze, my herbs are the first plants in my garden to show signs of life. As soon as the ground thaws, mint, chives, sorrel and tarragon proudly emerge… tentatively at first, then vigorously. And these young shoots are never as flavorful as at this time of the year.
Cardamom is perhaps the most intensely aromatic spice there is. The little silvery-green, papery pods that shelter the fragrant black seeds might not look so exotic, but break one open and your nostrils will be permeated by the most intoxicating scent.
That first whiff of fresh cardamom seed is likely to make an unforgettable imprint on your mind.
A native of India, the cardamom plant is part of the ginger family. There are two genera: green cardamom (or “true cardamom”) and black cardamom. The most commonly available variety is green cardamom; that’s the one I used for today’s recipe.
As with all spices, it’s preferable to cook with whole cardamom pods, rather than the pre-ground kind, for the simple reason that the instant the seeds are exposed to air, they start to lose their precious fragrance.
What is it about iced desserts? Whether you’re 2 years old or 82, it’s hard to resist an ice cream cone. For most of us, I’m sure that frozen treats are some of our earliest, and happiest, food memories.
I shall never forget the first time I tasted gelato in one of Florence’s most popular gelaterias. It was so creamy, so luscious and yet so light — I was hooked!
The minute I got back home from my trip, I started experimenting. I had a bounty of recipes for ice creams, but none for their lighter Italian cousins. The thought of making gelato, without cream or eggs, was especially alluring to me, so I set about trying to duplicate some of the flavors I had tasted in Florence.
Then came the idea of infusing gelatos with fresh herbs. Not too surprising if you know me even a little: I am totally seduced by fresh herbs and use them just about every time I cook! Basil, mint, lemon balm soon became the new flavors perfuming my gelatos. But none of them was as delightful as today’s rosemary infusion.