Friday, March 22, 2013

Avocado Ice Cream from Brazil

Avocado Ice Cream

After receiving about fifty ripe avocados, I spent all weekend making guacamole and freezing it--each avocado went mashed, together with a tablespoon of lime juice, into a small sandwich bag. The avocado ice cream was a breeze to make in comparison. It packed the contents of about twelve small avocados all at once into one container!

California Avocado Pie next to some avocados
History of the Avocado
This new world fruit was compared to pears and figs when the Spaniards and Portuguese, mesmerized, first tasted it. It is native to many countries, such as Mexico, Central American and South American countries, and it's name comes from the indigenous language, nahuatl. The oldest traces of the avocado plant have been found in Puebla, Mexico, but there are also historical accounts of them in other Latin American countries as early as 900 A.D.

The avocado is a power fruit/vegetable. It is packed with vitamins and minerals, such as Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Potassium, and B vitamins.

The Avocado in Brazil
In 1809, the avocado plant was introduced to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the location of the 2016 Olympics (only 1232 more days left, as you can see on the official website: Nowadays, this country is one of the largest producers of this delectable fruit.
In Brazil, the avocado is often whipped with a small amount of sugar and some milk into a delicious smoothie. It is also beaten with sugar to make "sweet avocado". Some recipes even add eggs or cheese, and condensed milk to turn it into ice cream. Other countries that make these sweet beverages in similar ways are the Philippines, India, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Morocco.


2 cups of mashed avocados
1 can of condensed milk
2 tablespoons of lime juice
2 tablespoons of sugar

Beat ingredients together and place in a container in the freezer, until it hardens. Scoop it out! The condensed milk makes it easy to freeze.


Saturday, March 9, 2013

Italian Mimosa Cake for International Women´s Day

Men give women mimosa flowers or mimosa cakes in Italy, especially in Emilia-Romagna, on March 8th, for Women's Day. 

International Women's Day was first celebrated in the United States in 1909. In Italy, it was first conmemorated in 1946. The mimosa flower blooms in March and was thus added as a colorful, vital, and  feminine symbol for the occasion in this country. 

Mimosa Cake
This delicate cake is made to resemble the flower. Its main elements consist of: a) a light sponge cake, so it can be imbued with a rum syrup. b) enough sponge cake leftover so it can be cut into enough cubes to properly cover the cake. c) a very yellow sponge cake so that it resembles the color of the flower d) a dome-shaped cake should result in the end, whether you place the cake in a bowl so that it takes its shape, or you heap enough cream on top, or even taper the cake tower enough with the knife to give it a dome shape. e) pastry cream mixed with whipped cream results in a delicious filling that is also used to cover the cake.


Sponge Cake
75 grams of white sugar
75 grams of flour
3 egg yolks
3 egg whites

Beat egg yolks and sugar until they are thick and lighter in color. 
Beat egg whites until stiff; then fold them into the batter. Finally, fold in the flour.
 Pour the batter into four greased and floured 4 inch springform pans. Bake at 325 degrees for 25 minutes.

Syrup Recipe
1/2 cup of water
1 1/2 ounces of sugar
4 tablespoons of rum
Heat water and sugar until the sugar has dissolved. Turn off the heat and add rum.

When the cakes are ready, poke holes in three layers and pour the syrup over them.

Next, take the extra layer, remove the crusts and cut it into small cubes.

Pastry Cream
1 egg yolk
30 grams of sugar
30 grams of flour
Zest of half a lemon
pinch of salt
Place milk, salt, sugar, flour, and lemon zest in saucepan. Heat until boiling, then pour a small amount on the egg yolk and mix. Pour the egg yolk mix into the saucepan. Stir until thick and remove from heat.

Whipped Cream
62 grams of whipping cream
25 grams of confectioner's sugar
Whip until the cream is stiff.

Assembling the cake
Fold the whipping cream into the pastry cream. Place this cream on one of the layers of sponge cake, then another layer of cake on top. Add more cream, then the third piece of cake. Cover the entire dome with cream.
Place the cubes on top of the cream-covered cake, so that it will resemble the mimosa flower.


Saturday, March 2, 2013

Hamantaschen Cookies for Purim, February 24th, from Israel

You trudge upwards on a hot, diagonal mountain path near the Dead Sea. You volunteered to do this instead of taking the cable car. As you sweat under the sun, you see the plateau you are walking towards: the Masad. What was once Herod the Great's Palace is now in ruins, a fossil-like spiral snail structure in the middle of the desert.
Nearby, you can also visit Ein Gedi, a genuine oasis that has been inhabited for 5,000 years.Two waterfalls are attractions, as well as spotting animals such as wild goats.
In contrast, float in a natural spa nearby which is also one of the lowest points on Earth, the Dead Sea. At 483 meters below sea level, it is much lower than Badwater in Death Valley California, or the Caspian Sea in Kazakhstan.

Hamantaschen (Oznei Haman in Hebrew) are cookies that are eaten during the Jewish feast of Purim (once the fasting is over). Purim conmemorates an event written in the book of Esther; Queen Esther's cousin told her that a man named Haman had convinced the King to kill all the Jewish people in the kingdom, and she fortunately was able to convince him to reverse the edict. Thus, the cookies represent this man, Haman's pockets (taschen) full of bribe money. 

They are usually filled with a homemade jam that includes walnuts, but can be filled with any jam. I tried an apricot filling, as well as nontraditional fillings such as my guava and loquat jams.

Recipe from
1 1/4 cups of butter
1/2 cup of sugar
1 large egg
1 tablespoon of orange juice
1/2 teaspoon of salt
3 cups of flour

Filling (My recipe is different from that cited above)
A more traditional apricot jam or firm one of your choice (I used loquat and guava)
1/2 teaspoon of rum
1/2 cup of walnuts

Cream butter and sugar. Add egg, orange juice, and salt, and beat well. Mix in flour until it turns into a dough ball. Refrigerate half an hour.

Roll out a quarter of the dough at a time. Cut out 3 inch circles. You can even use the top of a 3 inch mug to cut them out if you don't have the right size cookie cutter. (That's what I did). Wet the perimeter of the circle with water. Place a teaspoonful of the jam in the center, then pinch three points of the circle with your thumb and forefinger to form a triangle. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes at 375 degrees F.

Recipe from