Monday, July 21, 2014

Chocolate Chunk Vegan Ice Cream

I don't know what's gotten into me but lately I've been obsessed with ice cream. While I do love dessert, ice cream is probably my least favorite. I still think it's delicious but if I can order cake or pie or creme brûlée, sorry ice cream.  

I posted last week that we had phenomenal ice cream at Cow A Bunga, which made the UT's list of San Diego's top 25 frozen desserts.  Then I took my son to Neveria Tocumbo for Bubulubu ice cream, also on the UT list, which was great and just like the candy bar.  I think that all that sampling got me thinking about breaking out the old ice cream maker that I used only once 12 years ago. 

Last summer my sister came home with a cashew based cherry ice cream.  It was outstanding and very expensive.  I knew I could recreate something like it for a fraction of the price.  And now that I'm obsessed with trying new ice creams, it's the perfect time to attempt it.  

I had researched tons of recipes and watched many YouTube videos on the subject and they all seemed pretty similar.   First thing's first, buy raw cashews. If you buy the pieces instead of whole ones, it's cheaper. I think I paid $4.99 for mine at Trader Joe's.   


Then you have to soak the cashews in water for 2-4 hours.  


Once they've soaked up the water, blend it up to a smooth texture. Mine reminded me of hummus. 


Then I added the lemon juice, coconut oil, simple syrup, and vanilla extract and blended again.  I think the next time I make it, I'll just blend everything together in one step instead of two.  

Trader Joe's has this nifty bundle of three dark chocolate bars. I chopped all three and set them in the freezer until it was time to add them to the cashew base. 


I added the cashew base to my ice cream maker and let it go for 20 minutes.  Around 15 minutes, it really started to thicken up and resemble a frozen treat.  While I was scooping it out of the mixing bowl and into its container, I added in the chocolate chunks.  

When I first set out to make this, I was going to add cherries.  Cherries and chocolate are one of my favorite dessert combos.  However, I wanted my husband to love it and he doesn't care for fruit in his sweets.  When he came home from work and my son told him what we made, the Mr. taste tested it on the spot. He was in love! He couldn't believe it was made of cashews and had to make an effort to not eat more before dinner. So, yay for me! It's beyond satisfying when my husband loves my food.  


The day of, the ice cream was easy to scoop and portion. Two days later, I was having a rough time even though I dipped my scooper in hot water.  I recommend leaving it out on the counter for 15 minutes before you eat it. 


Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups raw cashews
  • 2 cups water
  • 3/4 cup simple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 5 ounces of chopped chocolate
Directions
  • Soak the cashews in the water for 2-4 hours
  • Blend up the cashews, water, simple syrup, coconut oil, vanilla extract, and lemon juice until smooth.
  • Add the mixture to your ice cream maker and let it go for 20 minutes. (if you don't have one, I think it's safe to freeze it in an airtight container.)
  • At this point it will resemble a soft serve which is great. You can also freeze for a couple more hours and it will be more like ice cream.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Sea 180 Coastal Tavern

Last weekend we ventured down to Imperial Beach to check out the surf dog competition. It was all sorts of cutes with different breeds of dogs actually surfing. I heard the announcers say hang 20. We'll be going back next year but we'll get there early so we can find parking and stake out a primo viewing spot on the beach. We watched from the pier which was still nice. 

Around lunchtime, we went to Sea 180, located in the Pier South Resort. The resort is part of  the Marriott Autograph Collection and just recently opened in January 2014. My husband and I are definitely going to stay there for a night or two soon. It's location is perfect, right on the beach and surrounded by fun places to eat like Cow-A-Bunga ice cream, Babycakes Bakery, Coronado Brewing Company (coming soon across the street,) and Sea 180, another Cohn jewel, on hotel property and directly on the beach. 

Sea 180 is a Cohn restaurant and that group also includes BO Beau and 100 Wines, a couple of my very favorite restaurants. I knew when I saw Brussels sprouts and flatbreads on the menu, I was going to be a happy camper. I love ordering those items at BO Beau too! One of the best features of Sea 180 is the ocean view. I'm kicking myself for not taking a picture of it. The patio is right on the sand! 

The one of the left is what my husband and I shared. It's a Korean BBQ Pulled Pork Flatbread. It was sweet and savory and tangy. I will 100% order it again and again. Our friends ordered the one on the right, Meatball Flatbread, which the menu describes as "smoked tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, and charred peppers." Our friends loved it. 


You guys, I was so in love, I took a close up of a slice. See the little greens? They added the perfect amount of herby freshness to the dish.


I didn't drink but everyone else did.  This is the red sangria. Doesn't it look beautiful and refreshing? I hear it was.


THE Brussels. There were four of us and we already knew how we felt about these. We couldn't split one dish four ways so we had to order two orders. Honestly, we could have ordered one more and it wouldn't have gone to waste. If you have not eaten Brussels at BO Beau or Sea 180 (they're similar) make it a point to do so. These are not your average veggie side. These are crispy, sweet, salty, amazingness.  TRUST ME.
The orange colored drink was their fancied up version of a tequila sunrise. I had a sip and thought it was delicious. 


That's my son on the left eating the french fries, more specifically, garlic herb fries. They came with lime aioli which I liked. My son didn't bother with it but he's a purest and doesn't dip anything.



Once we completed our meal we headed over to Cow A Bunga and ordered their famous ice cream. I had two scoops of peanut butter brownie. It was one of the creamiest ice creams I've ever had. For all of you ice cream fans and even if you're not (they have great coffee and chai tea drinks) you need to head on down to try this little place by the pier.

The sandcastles are being built in Imperial Beach starting tomorrow and the celebrations continue through Saturday at least. Here's the link to IB Sun & Sea Festival. While you're there check out Sea 180 (I'm urging you to make a reservation) for brunch or lunch or dinner and make sure to sit on the patio for the best view and then head on over to get your ice cream at Cow A Bunga.  Or if you're a cupcake fan, there's Babycakes.  Enjoy your weekend everyone!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Ironside Fish and Oysters


I was feeling like I hadn't ventured out and tried anything new in a while. The other night when my friend suggested Ironside for dinner, I jumped at the chance. I told myself I would remember to take pictures of all the food and make to post it! A few weeks ago I was in San Francisco and I remembered to take photos but then my phone died and there went all my delicious food pics. Waaaaah.  


How cool are these lights in the bar? The place has a cool vibe and is decorated with lots of stacked luggage. Fun, right? We were originally seated in the bar but asked to move to the dining room when we ordered our entrees and second round of drinks. 


Oysters are in the name of the restaurant, so we had to order some. Since none of us knew what type of oysters to order, we requested a variety. I preferred the smaller ones.  Oysters were served with a mignonette sauce, lemons, horseradish, and Tabasco. Sorry my friends, no cocktail sauce at Ironside. I enjoyed the oysters immensly and wondered why I don't eat them more often. Gotta do that.



This is the clam chowder and it was excellent.  The way it was served with clams in the shell made it a little fancy, which I appreciated. There was pork and cheddar and potatoes in the delish chowder. Something that we all loved was that the soup wasn't thick. I highly recommend this.


One of my friends splurged and ordered the lobster, grilled. She said she enjoyed it.


Across the table, you can see the kale salad my friend ordered.  She said it was excellent and it was enough to take home and eat for two lunches. Nice! I ordered the beer braised mussels with sausage. DELICIOUS! The broth was heavenly. I only wished I had more bread so I could sop it all up. 

Well friends, if you love seafood, I recommend you get out to Ironside in Little Italy. May I also suggest you use opentable.com and make a reservation? The place gets packed.

Enjoy!