yogurt and cookies…

I don’t know who comes up with these nonsensical national days but they’re silly and fun, and who doesn’t need a little bit more of that in their life?! So I’ve decided to dedicate July to some of the silly national days this month and I’ll be featuring a couple each week starting today. Obviously it’s the second and I missed yesterday so we’ll start with that first. It was….drumroll…National Creative Ice Cream Flavors Day! If you’ve never made your own ice cream, do not be scared it’s actually extremely simple and cost-effective, even the ice cream maker itself (I recommend this one) is inexpensive! One of my favorite things to make in the summertime is Greek gyros with all the fixings like roast lamb, tomatoes, homemade tzatziki, and my Greek quinoa salad (see the recipe here). And what’s a better Greek dessert than baklava?! I do make a pretty mean baklava if I do say so myself. But with all the hungry men I feed, that measly little pastry square wasn’t going to cut it. So, for a twist on the traditional pie and ice cream, I decided to make an ice cream that would go well with the baklava and came up with…Greek yogurt ice cream!


The result was a deliciously light, fresh, and delightfully tangy summertime dessert. Here’s the recipe…


1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup sugaR
3 egg yolks (save the whites and make meringues!)
1 cup whole-milk Greek-style yogurt
a little pinch of salt

Combine heavy whipping cream, milk, and 1/2 cup sugar in medium saucepan. Bring mixture to simmer, stirring until sugar dissolves. Whisk 3 large egg yolks and remaining 1/4 cup sugar in large heatproof bowl until blended. Gradually add hot cream mixture to yolk mixture and whisk until blended. (make sure you do it slowly, we’re making ice cream not scrambled eggs!) Return mixture to saucepan and stir over medium-low heat until custard thickens slightly and coats back of wooden spoon, about 3 minutes (do not boil). Pour custard through strainer set over medium bowl. Place bowl with custard in larger bowl filled halfway with ice and water. (it helps to have the bowl of ice already prepared) Whisk until custard is almost cool to touch, about 5 minutes. Remove bowl with custard from ice water. Whisk yogurt and pinch of salt into custard. Refrigerate custard until well chilled. Transfer custard to ice cream maker and prepare according to manufacturer’s directions. Transfer ice cream to freezer container. Cover and freeze until ice cream is firm. Can be made 3 days ahead, if you think you can last that long!

Now, onto today’s post. Normally I would have just written the greek yogurt ice cream post and called it a day. But I just could not ignore what National Day July 2nd is…National Anisette Day. Anisette is an anise-flavored liqueur that is consumed in most Mediterranean countries, mainly in Spain, Italy, Portugal, Turkey, and France. But in our family, an anisette isn’t something you drink, its something you eat. Its an Italian cookie flavored with anise seed extract and its delicious. The recipe we use was my husbands great Grandma Mary’s and if I gave it to you, I’d have to kill you. But I’m sure you can find a recipe online that will be almost as good. We haven’t done it lately because of life’s many complications but in times past, we’ve had a family cookie contest. Each female representative of the different families made their version of Grandma Mary’s cookies and we presented them for a blind taste test simply marking them “A-D”. The men and children (is there a difference haha) line up, cup of milk in hand, taste each cookie, then thoughtfully place their vote. Here’s some pictures of a quite momentous year because the winner just happened to be…me!
My favorite part about the contest (other than the actual cookies which disappear almost as quickly as they are prepared and then we start haunting each other to see who has a hidden stash of them) is the way the votes turn out. Despite it being a blind taste test, each man and child unknowingly votes for his own mother/wife’s cookie. This is just so neat to me because a) I love social experiments and b) we know what we like and there’s nothing like home cooking, especially when it’s from our own home.


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