Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Food Discoveries: Halva and Basil Ice Cream

I have made two fantastic food discoveries this year: Halva and Basil Ice Cream (thanks for the idea, Corrin).

Megan bought a package of halva at a Greek Orthodox Festival this spring.
I have a vague recollection of buying a similar tasting something from a small Italian import store while in PA last year for my cousin's wedding. But that's beside the point. The sweet, sticky goodness from the festival came in an unassuming clear plastic bag, but oh that taste--strangely appealing and oddly addicting.

As for the basil ice cream. The idea was introduced while commiserating with Corrin about the pine nut ice cream that got away (more on that later). Corrin mentioned her experimentation with an unusually flavored ice cream. So that night, an inspired Megan bought a small vanilla ice cream and added some of my basil then refroze. Not bad.

She made a second batch this past week. This time pureeing the basil so that the herb and ice cream mixed more evenly this time. It is downright tasty. Not to mention fun to flavor one's ice cream with herbs from one's garden.
As for pine nuts, I have a theory about them. Pine nuts raise the bar. They just do. By adding a just a few to a dish. It is transformed--tastier, fancier, and down right more enjoyable. And if they're toasted...well, taste buds should sit up and take note. These little morsels deliver pizazz to every dish they greet. So, once we caught sight of it on the Gua-Rapo's menu, Megan and I were tantalized by the prospect of the pine nut ice cream, but it was no longer available. Sad.

Between the herbal frozen treat and the Middle Eastern staple, two quirky sweets have quickly climbed this year's notable "like" list.

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