Ever since I began working in the food industry, I started to celebrate and remember holidays differently. Specifically, not to celebrate them but to “help people” celebrate them. Around Mother’s Day, any cooking classes, such as “cooking with moms,” are exceptionally popular. Before I became a chef instructor, I used to think cooking with your mother would be a routine for most families. I could never imagine that is was something that required planning. The popularity of my Parent & Child Cooking Workshops indicates to me that it is actually less common for families to cook together these days than I use to think.
Isn’t this phenomenally intriguing? Even though the statistics show that many families still sit together at the dining table to enjoy dinner, it is normal now that each member of the family may enjoy different dishes from different sources. The mother has the salad from Sweet Green, the father microwaves a hamburger, and the children order pizza from Dominos. Does that sound familiar to you? Since getting ready-to-eat meals is so convenient today, especially in urban and suburban centers around the Boston area, some of us have forgotten the joy of cooking together and sharing the same dish.
I cook with my children on (almost) a daily basis. I believe that’s what made my tiny kitchen the most special place on my children’s mind. If you’re thinking about where to take your mom out for lunch or dinner for Mother’s day this year, why don’t you cook a meal with her or make a special dish to surprise her? I would suggest you avoid going to any restaurant on major holidays. You can read my blog post “WHY YOU SHOULD CONSIDER COOKING AT HOME THIS VALENTINE’S DAY” Many of the same issues are going to ring true for Mother’s Day, as well.
Ok, so, let’s get down to the plan. Does your mom like flowers? Why don’t you make a dish and give her “edible” flowers rather than any expensive bouquet from Winston Flowers. The price of flower bouquet can double or triple on Mother’s day, but the price of lavender and dried rose petals remain stable. Moreover, it will make the gift far more special!
My mother passed away before I turned one because of cancer. Fortunately, I have many female friends, who are like sisters or mother figures in my life. Susan is my Godmother in States. She is wise, kind, generous, energetic and full of curiosity. She is always there for me when I need advice. I could go on all day, but I would never finish listing how wonderful she is or how grateful I am to have her in my life. I got the inspiration to make this dessert for her. So, Susan, this one is for you!
Susan is Jewish, and she loves vegetarian dishes such as hummus and baba ganoush. Tahini is an important ingredient for Eastern Mediterranean cuisine. Last October, I had a taste of Tahini ice cream at Chelsea Market in New York. My little girl was sick during this trip, and I was exhausted taking two children traveling to New York from Boston on my own. Despite of my fatigue, I can still remember how delicious the Tahini ice cream was to me at that time. It was nutty, creamy, refreshing and very flavorful. I had been drooling over the idea to create my own Tahini ice cream since that trip.
A couple months ago, I went to “Our Fathers,” a modern Jewish restaurant with Elizabeth, my boss at Jewish Community Center. We ordered Halva for dessert. I had no clue what Halva was. The decision was purely based on my trust to Elizabeth. “I think you will like it,” she winked at me. She was right. I was seriously amazed by Halva. It was flaky, nutty, dense and indulging. Once you try it, you’ll agree it has a unique flavor.
I made my ice cream base with tahini and dessert rose (spice blend of halva, sesame, rose petals). When the ice cream was ready, I fold in halva and dried Rose petals. Susan absolutely loved it. Bon appetite. I hope you will love it too!
Ingredients for Rose-Tahini Ice Cream
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2/3 cup sugar, divided
- 3 large egg yolks
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup tahini, well-stirred
- Dessert rose spice blend
- Chopped Halva
- Dried rose petals
Directions for making Rose-Tahini Ice Cream:
- Step 1: Combine heavy cream, whole milk, and 1/3 cup sugar in a medium, heavy saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat (do not boil), stirring frequently.
- Step 2: Combine remaining 1/3 cup sugar and yolks in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Gradually whisk about one-fourth of milk mixture into yolk mixture; slowly whisk in remaining milk mixture.
- Step 3: Return milk mixture to pan; cook over medium-low heat 2 minutes or until mixture slightly thickens, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; whisk in Dessert Rose spice blend and vanilla. Add tahini; whisk until well blended. Strain mixture through a sieve into a bowl; place bowl in a large bowl filled with ice water. Let stand 15 minutes or until cool, stirring occasionally.
- Step 4: Pour mixture into the freezer can of an ice-cream freezer; freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. When the ice cream is ready, fold in chopped halva. Serve right away (for a soft-serve texture), or spoon into a container, and place in freezer for 1 to 2 hours (for a firmer texture).
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