On our way to Ragusa, we stopped at another big highlight attraction in Sicily, found among the rolling hills and farmland: Villa Romana del Casale. In fact, as we started our visit, I distinctly remember hearing the cow bells on a neighboring farm, interrupting the otherwise peaceful serenity of being away from civilization. Villa Romana del Casale was the palace of a wealthy Roman who chose to build outside of town, and it is the best and largest collection of Roman floor mosaics ever to be found relatively intact. In fact, it’s one of the few surviving Roman sites in Sicily, as so many subsequent invaders/rulers came after and looted or rebuilt in the cities. Continue reading “Sicily 2019: Villa Romana del Casale, Ragusa, Modica and Noto”
cake from a box
While I’m not normally one to use boxed mixes, I’d recently read a review praising the Ghirardelli cake mix and (clearly experiencing a craving for chocolate) decided to give it a try.
Graeter’s Black Raspberry Chip Ice Cream
Blackberry Chip Ice Cream
This is, perhaps, the BEST ice cream on the face of the planet, and I know my ice cream. It is Graeter’s Black Raspberry Chip ice cream, which is a famous chain I was introduced to while living in Ohio. It’s their most popular flavor, and for good reason–it is amazing. It’s deep purple, perfectly sweet-tart and their chocolate ‘chips’ are really giant boulders that melt in your mouth despite the freezing temperature. The only recipe I’ve ever found was a recreation Pioneer Woman made and is published in her second cookbook, but not on her website. I swear, in the time it took me google and NOT find hers’ or one that someone–anyone–else had typed up already, I could have typed it up myself! I’ve made it myself twice, (read about it here) and have even experimented with tempering (or untempering) the chocolate to ensure it melts in your mouth. In fact, I have some homemade in my freezer right now. Greater’s does ship, in case anyone is interested. Now, without further ado (just take enough time to grab your ingredients), here is PW’s recipe:
2 pints blackberries
1 1/4 C sugar
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 1/2 C half-and-half
5 egg yolks
1 1/2 C heavy cream
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
1. Combine blackberries, 1/4 C sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan. Cook over low heat for 20 minutes, or until blackberries are syrupy.
2. Pour mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl. Force as much as you can through the sieve and discard the rest.
3. Heat half-and-half and remaining sugar in saucepan over med-low heat.
4. Whisk egg yolks until pale yellow and thick in a separate bowl. Temper egg yolks by splashing a small amount of the warm cream and sugar mixture in and whisking constantly.
5. Pour tempered yolks into saucepan with the rest of the sugar and cream mixture and cook for about 5 minutes, still on low heat, until thick.
6. Pour heavy cream into bowl with blackberry mixture, then add custard and stir to combine.
7. Freeze mixture according to your ice cream maker’s directions. After frozen, add chocolate chips* and incorporate. Store in freezer and let harder for four hours.
*It is preferable to buy a block of chocolate and melt it, then spread on parchment and allow to harder in freezer. Once solid, break into small pieces and use that to incorporate into ice cream. I believe this helps lower the melting point of the chocolate, thus allowing it to ‘melt in your mouth’ despite being just out of the freezer.