July 27th, 2009


Recipe: "Lakshmi's Mango Ice Cream 1.3"

Some of you may have seen an earlier version of this ice cream. I've tinkered with it since its original conception. Tonight I happened to remember that the darn thing always overflows my ice cream maker, so I cut the amount of half-and-half. I think I processed it in the blender a little longer than usual too. Anyhow, the result is considerably better.

Lakshmi’s Mango Ice Cream 1.3


2 ripe mangoes
1 cup sugar, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon orange-flower water
5.6 oz. can coconut milk (or about ½ cup)
1 cup half-and-half


Stand each mango on end and slice the sides of the fruit away from the huge pit. Score the fruit into squares without cutting through the rind, then evert the rind and use a knife to scrape the cubed fruit off the rind. Place mango chunks in a medium bowl and sprinkle with 1/3 cup of the sugar. Allow to macerate for 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Place macerated mango chunks into blender or food processor and add remaining 2/3 cups of sugar; process thoroughly until smooth. Strain processed mango. You should wind up with about a cup of strained mango; throw away the last couple tablespoons of glop in the strainer. Return the strained mango to the blender. Blend in vanilla extract, orange-flower water, and coconut milk. Add half-and-half then process again to combine.

Freeze in ice cream machine for 25-30 minutes.

Optional Topping: Pistachios, sweetened coconut flakes, and cardamom or fresh ginger; chop together until crumbly.


This recipe is optimized for fresh mango fruit. It can be made with 1 cup of canned mango puree, but the result is merely adequate instead of luxurious. This ice cream is actually worth the hassle of butchering two live, struggling mangoes. Detailed instructions are here:

Sometimes you can find the tiny 5.6 oz. can of coconut milk. A normal sized can holds about 2 cups of coconut milk.

Chaokoh is a good brand of coconut milk. So is Imperial Dragon, which is imported by JFC International – but the cans that actually say JFC Coconut Milk on the front are awful. Look for canned coconut milk in the Asian food aisle or in an international food store. This isn’t what pours out of an actual coconut, but rather a thick creamy white liquid that includes processed coconut meat.

Orange flower water is a delicate flavoring that can be found in international food stores. It brings out the floral notes and high sweet notes in the mango.

Meme: Frozen Favorites

In honor of summer, I present this meme for you to use as you wish. You're welcome to reply with your answers in a comment, or on your blog, or repost this meme elsewhere.

  1. What frozen desserts do you like: ice cream, ice milk, sherbet, sorbet, granita, snow cone/shave ice, popsicle?

  2. What are three of your favorite flavors?

  3. In general, do you prefer fruit (strawberry, lime, etc.) or candy (chocolate, caramel, etc.) flavors in frozen desserts?

  4. Do you like smooth or chunky texture?

  5. You're in an ice cream parlor with dozens of flavors and different types of dessert. Do you buy an old favorite or try something you've never had before?

  6. What's the weirdest flavor you've tried -- and did you like it?

  7. If you could have any combination of plausible dessert flavors in an ice cream -- something you've never seen for sale or in a recipe -- what would you choose?

My answers...

1) I like a wide range of frozen desserts, but ice cream and ice milk are my favorites. When I was little, I liked snow cones better. I keep popsicles in the freezer for cooling down after yardwork.

2) Chocolate, wild strawberry/rose, pear/ginger.

3) I like both, but fruit probably edges out over candy for me.

4) I like both, but smooth is easier on my mouth. Big frozen hunks are not my thing.

5) I spend 10+ minutes reading all the labels and making noseprints on the cases trying to decide which flavor looks best. One of the clerks offers me a free sample and I try several different flavors before deciding on one, which is usually something new but occasionally "Let's see how good their [favorite oddball flavor] is." I generally won't buy an ordinary flavor in an exotic dessert shop, so not plain chocolate, but I might well go for dark chocolate/ginger or mixed berry.

6) Baklava. No, I only like actual baklava; I do not like baklava ice cream, even though it was totally baklava-flavored. I don't seem to like honey flavor in ice cream. But it was interesting to sample.

7) You can guess how long this lasts, like until I get my hands on the ingredients. Latest example is Doug's request for an ice cream with three different types of cherries. I've got a lot of other ice cream plans, so that one might have to wait a bit, but it's in the queue. Oh, and I was going to try the Dulce de Leche with brownie bits added.

"Socialism" in context

This cartoon reveals some of the many things that are already provided by the American government, some of which are pretty effective.

This doesn't mean that putting the government in charge of any given thing is a good idea, or a bad idea -- just that it can be done and sometimes it works. This is useful to remember whether you are generally for or against government involvement, or for or against a particular program/issue/proposal. Know your context.

New Idea in Crowdfunding

avepasifika is now active -- it's a speculative pirate story. The cool new thing is that additional content will be released based on number of Friends joining. So if you like it, Friend the blog and encourage other folks to do so. This looks to me like a very promising method of boosting audience size.

Do you folks think something similar would be helpful in boosting the number of participants in my Poetry Fishbowls? Say, posting an extra poem if there's a first-time prompter that month? Would such a thing appeal to you?

Screech Owl

This evening I went outside and planted wildflowers (gloriosa daisy, sweet william, and parsley) in the butterfly meadow. It's supposed to rain tomorrow, so this is a good time for my shear, scratch, and stomp method of sowing wildflower seeds.

On the way back to the house, I heard a loud flutter in the branches overhead. Out flew a little screech owl! He landed in another tree just overhead. I was only about 12-15 feet away from him. I've often heard screech owls calling "hoo-OOO ... hoo, hoo, hoo" in the distance. They're common around here and even in the towns. But this is the first time I've actually seen one; they're really shy. I've seen barn owls and great horned owls, though. I'm delighted to have a screech owl in the yard. I hope he likes it here. I was intrigued to read that they like to nest in old woodpecker holes, of which there are plenty in our yard. They're so small for raptors, they fit almost anywhere; he was barely a foot tall.

Earlier today we saw a vulture perched on a fence post as we drove into town, right at eye level. We often see them soaring overhead, and sometimes on the road eating roadkill. This was the first time I got a really good close view of one. They're interesting birds too.

Graphic Confectionary Violence

These divorce cakes are impressive on technique, and amusing at first glance. On second thought, however, it's quite an illustration of how our culture links sex and violence. I suspect if the brides were dismembered the way the grooms are, feminists would be going berserk. The one with the couple simply back-to-back is more sensible. As a priestess, I'm aware of people's need to mark important milestones in life, including divorce ... but I'd suggest something reasonably tasteful.

Lying Down on the Job

When ordinary Americans don't do their jobs, they get fired. When Congress members don't do their jobs, it's business as usual. This is pathetic.

What's Happening Now?
Obama has put his reputation on the line to persuade wavering Democrats and moderate Republicans to vote on legislation by August. The Senate has said this will not happen. That's a major blow, as it puts off the debate until September and could see the political momentum stall.