Pistachios are awesome. Raise your hand if you agree. Woohoo! (You may lower your hand now, if you like)
I am by no means obsessed with pistachios. In fact, I rarely eat them, but they have popped up in my life in special ways so that I think of them as an indulgence rather than a mere common snack.
I remember pistachios being a perpetual snack at most family gatherings when I was a small girl. Though it could be frustrating to remove the shells, there was always an uncle around to help me out. And even if I couldn't get a shell opened, the roasted, salty shell tasted good enough to suck on for a minute anyway (just be sure to put the slobbery shell in the bowl of shells, not the bowl of uneaten pistachios). Win, win! Snacks that take the most work to eat always seem to taste the best, don’t they?
Another popular pistachio-ed treat among my family was Watergate Salad, whose ingredients include cool whip, pineapple, marshmallows, and pistachio pudding. It wasn't present at every family party, but when it was, boy was I excited! I remember taking leftovers to school in my lunch only to hear my friends ask suspiciously, "What is that?!" The salad's green coloring always intrigued me and it was just ridiculously delicious.
It should have come as no surprise, then, that my first taste of pistazien-eis (translation: pistachio ice) outside of a gelateria in Salzburg, Austria would be a resounding success. I fell in love with the pistachio gelato and although I did commit myself to trying a handful of other flavors while I was there, I often ordered a scoop of one flavor along with a scoop of pistazien to make sure I got enough of it before the end of my six week study abroad session.
|Can you guess what this store sells?|
Fast-forward several years later and I met the man who would become my husband. Early on in our dating relationship, Drew moved to Miami and mentioned that the city life at twilight reminded him of evening strolls to get gelato when he lived in Italy. I asked him his favorite flavor (one of the few questions that I am proud to say I actually initiated) and told him mine was pistachio. Here was his response: “Holy cow! pistachio!? I have met NO ONE that shares my love of pistachio gelato.” As you can see, the two of us were meant to be. We even ended up naming one of the tables at our wedding reception “pistachio,” so this particular nut is obviously special to us. I know you’re thinking, “Wow. They are weird.” You are right, and we have no qualms about admitting it.
Now it is time for me to tell you why I have been a little nutty today. I made Pistachio Ice Cream yesterday evening and it was PERFECT. Not too sweet and just pistachio-y enough. The recipe is almost exactly like the Strawberry Ice Cream I wrote about a few days ago, but with one key ingredient changed. You guessed it – replace strawberries with pistachios.
Here are the details:
1 can of regular coconut milk
2 cups half and half (or whipping cream)
1½ tablespoons vanilla extract
½ cup granulated sugar
12 oz bag of pistachios with shells on
Liquid Stevia to taste
First, shell the pistachios. I suppose you could buy them pre-shelled, but I don’t know how much you would need. Maybe a cup? I bought the kind with the shell on because they were less expensive. Pour the coconut milk, half and half, vanilla extract, sugar, and pistachios into a blender to mix the ingredients and break down the pistachios. Next, I added about 20 drops of liquid stevia to mine, but you can add stevia or sugar or another sweetener according to your taste. Then, follow the directions for your ice cream maker and freeze it in a sealed container until you are ready to eat it.
We have eaten ours with chocolate syrup and whipped cream, but I think next time I will also add fresh strawberries and banana. Yummers!