Wednesday, May 16, 2012

oh, the cleverness of us!

I mentioned the wonderful cookbook Dolce Italiano in a previous post It truly is one of the nicest, most thoughtful gifts I've gotten (thanks again, Patrick and Rita), but I'd been neglecting it. Yesterday, however, I took it off the shelf and turned to the frozen dessert section and decided to try making the almond gelato. Amateur Gourmet has posted DePalma's recipe on her blog, so rather than re-type it, I'll just direct you there (she's put up lots of pictures too, which are helpful) .
     I'm in love with the ice cream/frozen yogurt maker we got last year - it's definitely in the running for favorite kitchen machine of all time. Here it is, and my fingerprints all over it show how much I love to use it. (I didn't realize there were so many till the camera pointed them out.)
It works like a dream. Here's the gelato churning away!
Now, there are two points I want to make about this recipe:
      The first is to really watch the almonds as you're toasting them - some of mine got too toasty so they wound up in the compost and I had to toast more.
      The second is that after the almonds have infused much of their flavor into the cream/milk mixture, the recipe tells you to strain them out and discard them. But as I stood there gazing at the strainer full of soft, nutty deliciousness, I just couldn't. Almonds are good for us. They're not cheap. My grandmother taught me not to be wasteful.
     So I asked Joe what he thought. I was considering just churning the gelato with the almonds, but then he suggested putting them in oatmeal. Brilliant! So I put them in the refrigerator and next morning made a big pot of oatmeal (2 cups old-fashioned oats, 4 cups water) and added about 3/4 of a cup of quartered dried apricots and a teaspoon of cardamom while the oatmeal cooked. The almonds got plump and juicy and I stirred in the almonds at the end. This is what it looked like.
That's a spoonful of dark brown sugar on top. I like my oatmeal the traditional Irish way, with brown sugar and buttermilk. The combination of almonds and apricots is wonderful, and although it turned out to be a lot of oatmeal, we don't mind heating it up in the microwave for a couple or few days after it's made - it's certainly better than that instant stuff in the envelopes, which is like the dust swept up from the floor of the oatmeal factory with a few artificial ingredients tossed in to confuse and mislead consumers who can't wait 10 minutes for the real thing. This breakfast is an example of real food and waste averted. My conscience and my stomach are both happy.
     And the gelato that started it all is also fabulous!

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