Love is how you stay alive, even after you are gone.
~ Mitch Albom
Both my parents hail from big families, with at least 10 siblings on either side. I therefore grew up surrounded by as much love as there was chaos and drama. When our massive family gets together a few times every year - up to 4 generations of individuals bearing similar genes - we always needed to prepare food and anecdotes to entertain around 250 people! Ours is very much a matriarchal family, with my grandmothers acting as the glue that holds every one of us close together.
I am dedicating this week's French Fridays With Dorie post to my beloved grandmother (my father's mom) who had left us for good last Monday. The past two weeks was hard on all of us because she had become very ill over that period of time. Except for my 5-Star Restaurant Wars commitment, blogging had been relegated to the back of my mind as I'd wanted to savor every moment that I could spend with my grandmother. She was was my confidante, my best friend since birth and she was unconditional love personified. Although I truly miss her physical presence, I am comforted by the fact that she is now at peace and that she will always be by my side no matter what.
Our last picture together.
So back to this week's Olive Oil Ice Cream. In all honesty, I forgot that this was the week for this recipe - okay, I also forgot today was Friday - until I saw my fellow Dorista, Patty, post something about her ice cream on Instagram. I was curious about the use of olive oil in ice cream and wondered how different it would be compared to regular custard only ice cream. Patty (sorry to keep using you as a reference point) also made a rustic apricot pie to go with her ice cream and that inspired me to want to make something else to go with my ice cream too. I just couldn't figure out what.... drew a complete blank, nada. While I was busy staring into space for inspiration, this packet of quinoa was staring back at me from the kitchen counter. Hmm...would quinoa make a good crust? Well, I decided to put it to the test, and lo and behold, it did make a good crust! It was pretty easy to make too, which was a real bonus.
To make two 3-inch tarts, I simply boiled 1/4 cup of mixed quinoa (mine was red, black and plain) and added a tablespoon of flaxseed meal to it while still hot and moist. The flaxseed becomes sticky and hence acts like a 'glue' binding the quinoa grains together. I then pressed the mixture into the base and sides of a mini-tart pan and left the crust to cool down completely while I made the ice cream. You can chill the crust in the fridge or freezer to firm it up further.
The plain nuttiness of the quinoa and flaxseed played off well against the sweetness of the ice cream. What I also loved was the contrast in textures, the silky smoothness of the ice cream versus the gentle chewiness of the grains. It felt like there was a micro-party going on inside my mouth while I ate this ice cream. Oh, those red hearts made from raspberry puree? They're for you, grandma. May your strength and love continue to live in all of us.
As I said, last week was a pretty intense time for me and my family. Despite that, I did manage to carry out last week's assignment of Lentil, Lemon and Tuna Salad. The intention to participate was there but my heavy heart just couldn't think of anything pleasant or engaging to write in a post to go with my dish. So I'm now taking the opportunity to share my pictures from last week in this post. I hope this doesn't turn into a 'two-in-one' habit...
I made a few adjustments to Dorie's recipe: I used yellow lentils instead of lentils du Puy, cilantro instead of scallions, lemon juice in place of preserved lemon and black rice vinegar instead of red wine vinegar. In spite of the changes, this dish tasted great and it's something I'd like to make again. And again :). I served mine wrapped in lettuce leaves and although it looked like a light meal, the lentils still managed to fill me up.
I'm pretty sure the FFWD site has been turned into an enticing ice cream parlor this week thanks to everyone's participation. If you'd like to have a virtual taste, head on over here.
Hope you all have a beautiful, sunny weekend :).