2005_09_healthy_hedonist.jpgThe Healthy Hedonist: More Than 200 Delectable Flexitarian Recipes for Relaxed Daily Feasts by Myra Kornfeld (Simon and Schuster, 2005)

With summer coming to an end but the warm weather still around (for now), Gothamist felt the need to not only eat ice cream, but to make ice cream. And while we have no childhood memories of hand cranking an old-time ice cream machine, we nevertheless were very excited to try out a Cuisinart electric model that promised to freeze the ice cream in as little as 20 minutes, with just the flick of a switch. But what type of ice cream to make? Given the fact that there's such amazing ice cream to be had all throughout the city, at everywhere from Mary's Dairy to the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory, Gothamist decided to search for a recipe that contained unusual flavors not found at even your best ice cream parlors.

And that's how we settled on Myra Kornfeld's recipe. She's a former graduate and current faculty member of New York's Natural Gourmet Cookery School, and in her new Healthy Hedonist cookbook, she offers up an intensely gingered ice cream that--technically speaking--isn't ice cream. Using coconut milk instead of heavy cream to provide the necessary fat for this dessert, the recipe also gains a unique flavor from that coconut base. As the cool, mellow coconut flavor interacts with the fiery ginger (yes, half a cup's worth of grated ginger does burn), you may experience a Thai-food flashback. Definitely not your everyday ice cream experience. (And for those who fear such intensity in their dessert, do note that you can easily reduce the ginger content of this recipe to excellent effect.)

2005_09_ice_cream_machine.jpgGINGER COCONUT ICE CREAM

2 14-ounce cans unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 cup natural sugar, preferably maple sugar or evaporated cane sugar
1/2 cup grated unpeeled fresh ginger

Combine the coconut milk, sugar, and ginger in a medium saucepan, cover, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Lower the heat, uncover, and simmer gently for 5 minutes to concentrate the ginger flavor.

Strain the liquid into a bowl, and let it cool to room temperature (discard the ginger). Then refrigerate it for an hour or so, until chilled. Freeze according to your ice cream maker's instructions. Let the ice cream sit in the freezer for a couple of hours before serving.