vanilla ice cream with warm blackberry sauce

I love wild blackberry season. Blackberries contribute their unique flavor to a number of sweets, but this simple dessert features the wonderful blackberry as the star of the show.

Finding good vegan ice cream can be a bit difficult. I recommend Purely Decadent made with Coconut Milk Vanilla Bean ice cream, which tastes rich and delicious, reminiscent of coconut ice cream. This brand, as far as I know, can be found all over the US. Another great brand isMudslinger's FreeStyle ice cream. The company (Maggie Mudd) operates from San Francisco, so I've only seen this ice cream in stores here in California. Or even better, if you have an ice cream maker, nothing beats homemade ice cream (see recipe below).

Wild Blackberry Sauce
Serves 6-8
Total time: about 15 minutes

3 cups fresh blackberries
1/4 cup agave nectar
1 tablespoon arrowroot powder (add more if you want a thicker sauce, and vice versa)
2 tablespoons orange juice

Wash and sort through the berries. Reserving 1 cup of the nicest looking berries, blend the rest with the agave nectar. Strain with a sieve into a medium stainless steel saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Sift in arrowroot and whisk in. Simmer for another 5 minutes or so, whisking often, until the mixture has thickened into a sauce. Turn off the heat and stir in the remaining whole berries, and let sit, covered, until heated through. Serve hot over vanilla ice cream.
Creamy Vanilla Ice Cream
Makes 1 quart
Time: 1 day, for soaking cashews and chilling the custard

1/2 can (about 3/4 cup) coconut milk (not lite)
1/2 cup raw, unsalted cashews, soaked in filtered water 8-24 hours
1/2 cup agave syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt

In a blender or food processor, blend all ingredients together for several minutes until completely smooth.

Transfer to an airtight container and chill for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight--I've often read that the longer it chills, the creamier the ice cream. This is reportedly because the mixture becomes more viscous from sitting in the refrigerator, so will take less time to freeze in the ice cream maker. The less time it takes to freeze, the less time ice crystals have to form, creating a smoother the ice cream.

Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.


tomato basil cream pasta

6 oz whole wheat penne pasta
6 cups water

4 large tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight
1 tbs tomato paste
1 cup red wine

1 tbs olive oil
3 large cloves garlic, minced

3/4 tsp salt

1 lemon zested, plus 1 tbs juice

freshly ground black pepper
1/2 bunch fresh basil leaves, chopped

Bring water to a boil in a large pot, add pasta. Cook until done, then drain and rinse. Meanwhile, blend 1 tomato with cashews, paste, and wine, for several minutes until very smooth and creamy. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan or skillet over medium heat, add the garlic, and cook until golden. Add the cashew paste, diced tomatoes, salt, pasta, and lemon zest and juice, and cook several minutes. Stir in fresh basil leaves and serve with black pepper.