Salted double chocolate ice cream
You never realize how heavily you lean on someone until you kiss him goodbye and find yourself trapped in a running shower with no one to grab the face wash you always leave above the bathroom sink. When your bike tire goes flat and you're forced to wheel it a mile and a half to the bike shop because you still don't know how to replace a tube (and you're too stubborn to take the bus). Or when you decide to paint the very small, 30 square foot entry way and not even a quarter of the way through taping the trim you give up because This is far too much work for one person (but really it had more to do with the fact that I picked an awful shade of Benjamin Moore sea green). I lean on him. I lean on him so heavily. Part of me wants to apologize for what appears to be a minor codependence, but part of me is over-the-moon thankful for the newfound appreciation.
On his first night out of town, I went to the mall. But it only took about 20 minutes of being surrounded by people walking aimlessly and more people with kids on leashes (seriously, WTF?) for me to realize that I didn’t need anything, I was just filling a void. So I left and took some of the money I saved at the mall and spent it on almondmilk and granola. I'm not usually the granola buying type because, not only is it insanely expensive, it's stupidly easy to make at home - but I was feeling particularly lazy and I had a fierce granola craving, so I caved. I took the rest of the money I saved and spent it on a big bag of dirt and an assortment of overpriced succulents. Succulents my black thumb will probably end up killing within a matter of months, but that's ok because I've learned to accept this cursed thumb as an inherent part of my being. And before you try sending me links on how to keep these hardy creatures alive: There is no amount of plant education capable of turning my thumb green. I've tried everything. Literally, everything.
I rode home with all my new plants and almondmilk and recently-mended tire, and I shoved handfuls of crunchy granola into my face as rain fell from the heavy sky. I parked my bike in the garage then hurried through the front door, where my first instinct was to shout HEY MISTER! but the absence of his favorite pair of Zuriicks quickly reminded me that I was alone. It was just me and the succulents and the flat screen, tonight.
We put the television in the bedroom so that we’re less tempted to watch reruns of The Office or Rick Steves Europe. That’s a lie. We put the television in the bedroom because a) that 46” black mass is a total eye sore and b) we have an unusually large bedroom so it was only natural to turn part of it into a sitting area. We made a rule - rather, I made a rule - that we wouldn’t watch it in bed but what did I do the first night I hooked it up? I watched TV in bed. Shamelessly. I gathered all the pillows from around the house and threw them onto the freshly washed sheets, then climbed in with my recently shaved legs (shaved legs + clean sheets = heaven) and sat the bag of granola where Thom's body would be and a bowl of ice cream went right in my lap. And my god, it was the most gloriously indulgent and relaxing night I've had in I don't know how long. To be able to lay down the middle of the bed and not have to share the granola or ice cream or remote with anyone else? It was nice.
But now it's Monday and I'd very much like to have Thom back home because there have been four straight nights of eating ice cream in bed. And although I could probably get used to it, I'd like to kiss him and thank him for leaving so that I could come to the realization that a) I can't do everything on my own (although many times I prefer to think otherwise) and b) it's ok to lean on someone, as long as you're letting them lean on you, too.
Notes: Using Califia Farms almondmilk is a pretty crucial component to this recipe, as they make their milk by pressing the almonds, not by blending them with water. This makes for an extremely smooth, ice crystal-free ice cream, which has not been the case when I've attempted frozen treats with other plant based milks. The number of dates you add will determine the sweetness of the ice cream. While I prefer it on the less-sweet side, some people may want something a bit more sugary so add up to six dates if you'd like. Or, if you'd prefer to avoid the whole date situation, replace the dates with 3-4 tablespoons of pure maple syrup. If you don't have full fat coconut milk, you can replace it with 3/4 cup of raw cashew pieces that have been soaked for at least four hours (although overnight is best if you're using a normal blender). Simply add the soaked cashews to the blender at the same time you would add the coconut milk, but instead of blending the mixture for 15-30 seconds, you'll want to blend it for upwards of 2 minutes (or until the mixture is completely smooth).
This post is sponsored by Califia Farms. All opinions are my own (and I think Califia rules).
SALTED DOUBLE CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM
ICE CREAM BASE
4 ounces good quality dark chocolate, broken into pieces
2 cups Califia Farms vanilla almondmilk
1 can full fat coconut milk, refrigerated overnight
4-6 medjool dates, pitted
1 ounce good quality dark chocolate, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons cacao nibs, optional
1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the chocolate and almondmilk. Cook until chocolate is completely melted then add the dates and cook for one additional minute. Transfer mixture to the base of a high speed bender, such as a Vitamix, then scoop the thick, white layer of coconut milk fat off the top of the can of refrigerated coconut milk and add that to the base; blend on high speed for 15-30 seconds. Transfer to a large bowl, cover with plastic, and refrigerate for at least four hours, or until thickened and chilled. Once ready, transfer the mixture the the bowl of your ice cream maker and mix according to the manufacturer's instructions. Once the ice cream starts to really thicken, add the mix ins and let the ice cream machine do it's thing for another 5 minutes. Serve ice cream immediately or transfer to a freezer safe container. Thaw for 15-20 minutes before serving.
Yield: 1 1/2 pints