Anytime I used to giggle or belly-chuckle, Khanom-e Mansoori would ask me: "Za'aferaan khordi?"
Translated from Farsi, that means: "Have you eaten saffron?"
Apparently saffron is an upper, it makes you smile. And saffron in great quantities makes you giggly.
Saffron makes everything yellow -- the happy color -- so it makes total sense, right??
Tonight we celebrated the Firefighter's engagement to Nessa. A happy occasion at Jasper's in Plano. A great place to eat, by the way, if you're vegan or gluten-free. Well, there's not much on the menu, but if you ask your server, they'll gladly tell you that Chef is happy to accommodate your wishes. Would you like something based on pasta or rice? Would you like something spicy? Something with Indian flavors? Greek? Italian? It's just so pleasant to be able to get something other than the standard salad or grilled veggie platter. I can have that at home!! They made me and Nini Bell a delicious spiced rice dish, with lots of veggies, and plenty of heat. Best restaurant dish I've had in a loooong time.
Dessert for vegans or gluten-freers, on the other hand, is always a tad more difficult. So the vegan/gluten-free offer tonight was....please don't say it...fruit. Oh, believe me, I would've enjoyed the butterfinger creme brulee or chocolate mascarpone cheesecake had they been vegan/vegetarian or GF. I encouraged everyone else to partake, but personally passed on dessert and instead had an espresso with brandy -- cafe corretto, as they call it in Italy. Well, after all, I had dessert waiting at home....
I've been thinking a lot about Persian ice cream lately. Not sure why.
The other day at the Indian grocer's, I picked up a bottle of rosewater....for sentimental reasons. The firefighter used to love vanilla ice cream drizzled with rosewater. Aww, seems like forever ago....and now he's getting married....awww....
Anyway, I had this idea to make saffron-rosewater ice cream. I knew it wouldn't be exactly like the Akbar Mashti ice cream we used to buy: rosewater, saffron & pistachio-flavored ice cream studded with chunks of frozen cream, usually served along with faloodeh & sour cherry syrup. This would be the casalinga style -- the home-made style. I started with dissolving some saffron in boiling water, stirring in some sugar, mixing in the rosewater, finishing with coconut cream and then chilling.
I thought about it during dinner, wondering if it would be worth the wait. It is. This has more of a gelato consistency -- all the better, as you can eat more of it :)
You'll want to use really good saffron for this because it's the main flavor. Saffron itself is a deep red color, but will turn the liquid a lovely yellow-orange and smell perfumey and intense. If it doesn't, it's probably old, flavorless, and not worth adding to your dish. Buy the best you can afford and store it tightly-sealed in a dark, dry spot in your cupboard. Also, buy your rosewater from a Middle Eastern or Indian grocer - don't confuse this with the rosewater you buy in the bartender section of your local grocery/liquor store.
Rosewater Saffron Ice Kreme
1/2 teaspoon best quality saffron
2 tablespoons boiling water
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup rosewater
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup coconut cream
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
In a small bowl, steep the saffron in the boiling water for about 5 minutes. Stir in the rosewater and sugar.
In a blender, combine the coconut milk & cream and almond extract. Add the saffron mixture.
Blend well, then refrigerate for a few hours.
When the mixture is chilled, pour into the ice cream maker and churn until done.
Makes about 2 1/2 cups
Bah bah bah! as the say in Iran. Noosh-e jaan....enjoy....
And I hope you have lots to smile about :)