Monday, August 1, 2011
I’ve had this recipe for Lemon Curd bookmarked for months. Until making this, I don’t think I’d ever eaten any kind of curd or bought it in the store. That might have been a good thing because now I’m addicted. The word “curd” doesn’t give much credit to the deliciousness that awaits you. It’s silky smooth and incredibly decadent.
So, how’s it taste?
I loved this! I didn’t doubt that I wouldn’t like it, but I had no idea how good it was going to be. It was incredibly easy to make and perfumed my kitchen with lemon. It’s richness no doubt comes from the eight egg yolks and 10 tablespoons of butter. It’s quite decadent, but not exactly something I can eat everyday and keep my girlish figure! But a splurge every now and then is worth it! You can adjust the sugar depending on how tart or how sweet you like it. I used one cup of sugar because I like my lemon to have a pucker. If you lean more on the sweet side, increase it up to 1 1/2 cups total.
What can you eat with lemon curd? Spread it on a scone or muffin, swirl it into your yogurt, or team up with a friend and create a sinful dessert! Recently Shannon from Family Bites and I planned a lemon-themed birthday party for our friend and coworker, Denise. She LOVES lemon! I made this curd and gave it to Shannon to fill her lemon cupcakes, which she then topped with lemon buttercream. After eating one, I claimed it to be one of the best cupcakes I’ve ever had, and hands down the best lemon cupcake. The tart curd paired beautifully with the slightly sweet lemon cake and the buttercream was a combination of sweet and tart. Everything together was one big wow factor with lemon.
There are so many ways to enjoy lemon curd, but the easiest is straight from the jar with a spoon! I can’t wait to make more and experiment with other flavors.
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 tbsp. lemon zest
1 - 1 1/2 cups sugar
8 egg yolks
10 tbsp. butter, sliced into tablespoons
1. In a medium saucepan, combine the lemon juice, lemon zest, and sugar. Heat over medium heat until simmering. Turn heat to low.
2. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks in a medium sized bowl until smooth. Slowly pour half of the citrus mixture into the yolks while vigorously whisking. Return the mixture to the saucepan.
3. Continue cooking over low heat while whisking until mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon. About 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the butter 1 tablespoon at a time.
4. Cool to room temperature. Store refrigerated in an airtight container for about a week.
Friday, July 29, 2011
If you haven’t been to City House, located in Germantown at 1222 4th Avenue North, you should put it on your short to-do list. As you drive down 4th, you may miss the house as it’s tucked away a bit and appears rather small. Walk around to the side and you’ll see the entrance. Once inside, it’s much bigger than it looks from the outside. I sat at a table on this visit, but I think a seat at the bar would be fun to watch the pizza making!
What I hear most about City House, is their House Made Belly Ham pizza. Boy does it live up to all the talk! Belly ham, mozzarella, Grana Padano, oregano, and chiles top the soft yet crispy crust. The ham is tender with no chunks of fat that usually make me steer clear and the chiles give a subtle heat. It’s not on the menu, but be sure to add a runny egg on top. It makes the pizza.
For my drink, I ordered The A.P. It’s Bulleit Bourbon, amaretto, Douglas Fir Brandy, lemon bitters, and Prosecco. It’s on the slightly sweet side with a kick of bourbon and bubbles from the Prosecco. It goes down so smooth. It’s one of my favorite drinks around Nashville.
Another great appetizer to try is the Frico. It’s Montasio cheese and potatoes cooked in a skillet so that the cheese melts and forms a crust that becomes the top when served. The underside is ooey and gooey. I love the combination of soft melted cheese with a crunchy crust. You can’t go wrong with cheese and potatoes in my book.
I ordered the Bread Gnocchi for my entrée. Served with a sauce of ricotta, spring herbs, lemon, and olive oil, this dish is surprisingly light in flavor, but the generous portion makes for a rich meal. I wish the lemon had been more prominent in the dish though. I really wanted that tart, fresh flavor to shine through.
I had the Root Beer Layer Cake for dessert. Layers of moist cake topped with buttermilk buttercream and the most amazing candied pecans. Not too sweet for all those ingredients, which I like, but zero root beer flavor. I’m a huge fan of root beer and I really wanted to taste it in this dessert. It’s very good, but tastes more like caramel pecan, which isn’t a bad problem to have!
1222 4th Avenue North
Nashville, TN 37208
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
I am constantly on the lookout for recipes that are easy to make, low in calorie, freeze well, and actually taste good. I’ve had my fair share of low-calorie recipes that taste terrible. That would make anyone want to quickly turn to a piece of cake and call it a day. Not this Quick Stromboli. It’s incredibly delicious and freezes very well. I enjoyed it so much that I made three rolls of it and now have 24 slices of it in my freezer. Perfect for taking to work or those nights I don’t feel like cooking.
So, how’s it taste?
It reminds me of pizza rolls, but with bread instead of pizza dough and no sauce. I purchased the bread dough in my grocer’s freezer and let it thaw in the fridge and then come to room temperature. It was a snap to roll out and top with the ingredients. Roll it all up and bake, and that’s it! I was a bit disappointed to see that a serving was one slice, which would never satisfy me unless I paired it with a side or a salad. But at 206 calories a slice, I can eat two while watching my calories and feel full. I also made this with chopped chicken instead of ham and it was pretty good, but I preferred the ham. Feel free to substitute ingredients you like, but keep in mind that may change the calorie count. The bread dough came in a pack of three, so it was really easy to make all three at the same time, slice them, and freeze them. I defrost mine in the microwave and then toast in the toaster oven to give it that fresh-baked crust.
1-16oz. loaf frozen wheat or white bread dough, thawed
8 oz. lean ham, thinly sliced
1/4 cup pitted black olives, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup pimiento-stuffed green olives, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella
1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 tbsp. grated Parmesan, optional
1. Line a 15x10x1-inch baking sheet with foil; grease foil. Set aside. On a lightly floured surface, roll bread dough to a 15x8-inch rectangle. Top dough with ham to within 1/2 inch of the edges. Top ham with olives, mozzarella, and red pepper flakes. Brush edges with water.
2. Starting with the long end, roll into a spiral, pinching edges to seal. Pinch ends and tuck under. Place seam side down on the prepared baking pan. Brush surface with water. Using a sharp knife, make shallow cuts diagonally at 2-inch intervals along the top to allow steam to escape. If desired, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
3. Bake in a 375F oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until brown. If necessary, cover loosely with foil after 20 minutes of baking to prevent overbrowning.
Monday, July 25, 2011
Butter Pecan Ice Cream is one of my favorites. It only comes second to Mint Chocolate Chip, so it was simply a matter of time before I made it. Some of you must really enjoy it as well because it was the #1 voted flavor I should make next when I posted a few choices on Facebook a while back. It beat out Whoppers Ice Cream by one vote, but you know I’ll make that one soon! So without further ado, here’s a big bowl of ice cream just for you!
So, how’s it taste?
Fantastic! Tastes even better than what you’ll find in the grocery store or ice cream shop. I was a little worried after looking over the ingredients list that this wouldn’t match what I’m used to eating. Somehow it all comes together perfectly. It’s rich, creamy, and buttery. That tiny bit of scotch and brown sugar really make the ice cream something special. I’m a huge fan of pecans and they bring the final element of this ice cream together to make it delicious. Smooth ice cream with chunks of buttery pecans. No wonder it’s among my favorites!
Butter Pecan Ice Cream
5 tbsp. butter, salted or unsalted
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp. coarse salt
2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup whole milk
6 large egg yolks
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tbsp. scotch whisky
1 1/2 tbsp. butter, salted or unsalted
1 1/2 cups pecan halves
1/4 tsp. coarse salt
1. For the ice cream, melt butter in a medium saucepan. Stir in brown sugar and salt. Whisk in 1 cup of the cream and the milk.
2. Warm the brown sugar mixture. Pour the remaining 1 cup cream into a large bowl and set a large mesh strainer on top.
3. In another bowl, whisk the egg yolks. Slowly pour the brown sugar mixture in to the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then pour the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.
4. Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spatula. Pour the mixture through the strainer and stir into the cream. Add the vanilla and scotch, stir until cool over an ice bath. Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator.
5. Meanwhile, for the buttered pecans, preheat an oven to 350F. Melt the butter in a skillet or microwave. Toss the pecans with the melted butter until well coated, then sprinkle with salt. Spread evenly on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for up to 10 minutes, stirring once halfway through baking.
6. Let the pecans cool and chop coarsely.
7. Freeze the chilled cream in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. During the last few minutes of churning, add the pecans.
Friday, July 22, 2011
I’ve gone a little burger crazy this summer, but that’s what grills are for, right? Ever since Bobby Flay schooled me in how great a burger can taste, I’ve been slowly eating my way through his burger cookbook. I had no idea there were so many ways to top a burger. There’s nothing wrong with the standards, but I consider myself a condiment junkie, so I’m always up for new flavors on my burger. The fresh herbs and gooey cheese are what attracted me to the Argentinean Burger. Topped with homemade chimichurri and Manchego, I couldn’t wait to get this burger on the grill.
So, how’s it taste?
Three simple toppings and I was in love. The chimichurri brings so much to the table with its punch of garlic, tang of vinegar, and fresh herbs. I find that fresh parsley is a big enhancement to many dishes. The Manchego melts beautifully and has a very mild flavor so it lets the chimichurri shine. The red onions give a pop of beautiful purple and a nice spicy bite. I was fully expecting to be bored with this burger because I thought three toppings just wouldn’t satisfy me, but I was completely wrong! The chimichurri makes a lot, so you could either halve the recipe for these four burgers or use the extra in other dishes. I found it’s fantastic on grilled chicken as well!
2 cups packed fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tbsp. fresh oregano
4 cloves garlic
1 tsp. smoked sweet Spanish paprika
3 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 lbs. ground chuck
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 tbsp. canola oil
4 slices Manchego cheese
4 hamburger buns, split, toasted
1/2 red onion, sliced 1/4-inch thick
1. For the chimichurri, combine the parsley, oregano, and garlic in a food processor. Pulse until coarsely chopped. Add the paprika, vinegar, oil, and salt & pepper to taste. Process until smooth. Transfer to a bowl. The sauce can be made 8 hours in advance, tightly covered, and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before serving.
2. For the burgers, divide the meat into 4 equal portions. Form each loosely into a burger and make a deep depression in the center with your thumb. Season both sides of each burger with salt & pepper.
3. Cook burgers in a skillet with the oil or if grilling, brush both sides of the burger with the oil. Cook to your desired degree of doneness. Top each burger with a slice of cheese during the last minute of cooking.
4. Place burgers on bun bottoms and top with a large dollop of chimichurri and a few slices of onion. Cover with bun tops and serve immediately.
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Tart lemon is such an appealing flavor for me. I like my lemon more on the sour side than the sweet side. That’s why I love lemon icebox pie. It’s creamy, tart, and really refreshing served chilled. I wanted something different and thought ginger would be the perfect compliment. I made this Gingered Lemon Icebox Pie three times before I got the flavor just right. Stuck with three pies…it’s such a hard life!
So, how’s it taste?
It’s perfect. Exactly what I want in a lemon pie. It’s super creamy and the tart lemon is the prominent flavor. The ginger comes through as a subtle spicy aftertaste and ever so slightly cuts down on the tartness. The gingersnap crust was a nice change from the usual graham cracker crust. I added ground ginger and crystallized ginger to pump up the flavor. There’s also minced fresh ginger in the filling. I strained it before finishing so the filling would remain that classic smooth consistency. If you prefer a regular lemon icebox pie, substitute graham crackers for the gingersnaps and leave out the ginger everywhere else in the recipe. This would be a wonderful dessert for summer since it’s so refreshing and easy to make.
Gingered Lemon Icebox Pie
1 1/2 cups Trader Joe’s Triple Ginger cookie crumbs (or gingersnap cookie crumbs)
1 tbsp. crystallized ginger
3 tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
6 tbsp. melted butter
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
2-inch piece fresh ginger, minced
3 egg yolks
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
zest from 1 lemon
1. For the crust, preheat oven to 350°F. Blend the cookie crumbs and the crystallized ginger in a food processor until well blended and no chunks of the ginger remain. Transfer crumb mixture to a medium bowl and add the sugar and ground ginger; mix well. Add the melted butter and combine. Press into the bottom and up sides of a 9-inch pie pan. Bake 10 minutes. Let cool.
2. For the filling, in a small saucepan add the lemon juice and minced ginger. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat and let steep for 10 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, add the egg yolks to a medium bowl and whisk. Add the sweetened condensed milk and the lemon zest. Strain the ginger lemon juice mixture over the same bowl, pressing on the ginger to release its flavor. Whisk all ingredients until well combined.
4. Pour lemon mixture into baked pie crust. Bake at 325°F for 30-35 minutes, until filling is set. Cool at room temperature for 1 hour. Place pie in refrigerator and let set for 3 hours. Serve chilled with a dollop of whipped cream, if desired.
Monday, July 18, 2011
I love fries. Especially crunchy, crispy fries from a certain fast food chain. I rarely treat myself to them, but if I’m in any restaurant and order something that comes with fries, I have a hard time not finishing my plate. Even when I’m full. They’re just so good! I also love dipping them in barbecue sauce. I’m not a fan of frying at home, so when I saw these Barbecue Oven-Roasted Fries, I couldn’t wait to give them a try.
So, how’s it taste?
While these fries aren’t the same as those that are fried, they are pretty darn good. I was pleasantly surprised at how crispy they get in the oven. While my favorite style is shoestring, I’m not going to turn any type down. Waffle fries, steak fries, crinkle cut, you name it. These are definitely the steak fry variety, crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. The barbecue seasoning is delicious. Since I prefer to dip my fries in barbecue sauce over ketchup, I really liked how these turned out. Spicy and smoky, you almost don’t need to dip them in anything. These would be just as tasty without the barbecue seasoning and simply adding a sprinkling of salt and pepper. But if you’re a condiment fan like I am, try making the blue cheese sauce from my Bacon Blue Burger post and dipping these fries in it. Phenomenal!
Barbecue Oven-Roasted Fries
5 large Yukon Gold potatoes, well scrubbed
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tbsp. kosher salt
3 tbsp. seasoning mix
Barbecue Seasoning (makes 1/3 cup)
1 tbsp. smoked sweet paprika
2 tsp. ancho chile powder
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. packed light brown sugar
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1. For the seasoning, mix all ingredients in a small bowl. The seasoning will keep in a tightly sealed jar in a cool, dark place for up to 1 month.
2. Preheat the oven to 400° F. Place a large rimmed baking sheet in the oven to heat for 10 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, slice each potato lengthwise into 8 slices. Put the potato slices in a large blow, add the oil, salt, and seasoning mix, if using, and toss to coat the potatoes evenly.
4. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and add the potatoes in an even layer. Bake the potatoes, turning occasionally, until golden brown and cooked through, about 35 minutes. Serve hot.
Friday, July 15, 2011
So many good things to say about Tavern, located in midtown at 1904 Broadway. I’m having quite the love affair with this restaurant. One look at the menu and instantly I knew I’d be back several times to slowly work my way through it. The inside has a cool, fun atmosphere with its long bar and rows of high tables and booths. There are a lot of TVs as well for sports fans. There’s not a bad seat in the house and they have two outdoor seating areas. It’s jam-packed on the weekends, but still a great spot to see and be seen. Now on to the food!
My favorite dish so far is the Kaya Toast. Warm coconut jam sandwiched between two slices of Texas toast with a fried egg, dark soy sauce, and Sriracha. It sounds a little strange, but completely satisfies those sweet and savory cravings. It doesn’t look like a lot of food, but it’s very rich and filling. The coconut is sweet and I like the contrast of the smooth jam on the crunchy toast. Eat this meal with a knife and fork so you can cut a bite of the toast and swirl it in your runny egg, soy, and Sriracha. It’s heaven and I crave this on a weekly basis. If you’re an adventurous eater, make sure you order this.
The Bazooka Guacamole is also a must-order. After hearing so many good things about it, we had to order it. Chunky guacamole with goat cheese and pistachios. I would have never thought to combine goat cheese and pistachios with guacamole, but it works! So well that I think I’ll make my guacamole this way at home. The tangy goat cheese with creamy avocados and nutty pistachios is an unbelievable combination.
Next is the Salad of Little Gems. Red pears, cranberries, ricotta cheese with toasted almond vinaigrette. It’s available in half or full sizes. Pictured above is the half, which is perfect if you want a little something extra with your entree. The vinaigrette was amazing. Very light but full of flavor and paired perfectly with the tart cranberries and sweet pears. The ricotta cheese was ok, but didn’t bring much to the salad for me. I might ask to substitute goat cheese when I order this salad again.
The Turkey BLT is perfect for lunch. Smoked turkey, Benton’s bacon, roasted tomato, avocado aioli, and gruyere served on pretzel bread. It’s mouth-watering good. And yes, those are sweet potato chips! I’ll definitely order this again.
Tavern offers four kinds of tacos: fish, chicken, pork, and Korean bbq. On this visit, we tried the fish tacos. I’m not a huge fan of fried fish tacos, as I prefer grilled, but these were pretty tasty. It’s topped with jicama slaw which is a crisp, refreshing bite in contrast to the fried fish. Even though it’s only two tacos, you can see the serving is pretty generous.
If you’ve got a bigger appetite, try the Basket of Crispy Little Fish…although there’s nothing little about it. Cornmeal-fried organic catfish, whole-citrus tartar sauce, jalapeno cornbread, and sweet potato fries. It’s enough for two people to share or for one person if you’re starving. The catfish is some of the best I’ve ever had. Even though it’s fried, the cornmeal coating makes it super crunchy and not one bit greasy. My friend and I didn’t care too much for the tartar sauce. We couldn’t taste any citrus so it came off as nothing more than mayo to us. I’d like to see a chunkier tartar sauce with a real punch of citrus flavor. The fries were awesome. I have a soft spot for sweet potato fries and these don’t disappoint. The huge jalapeno cornbread muffin was amazing. Perfect fluffy texture, almost light, and a major heat factor from the jalapenos. It was almost like dessert.
The Lettuce Wraps also pack some heat. Chicken, butter lettuce, cashews, cucumber, cilantro and jalapeno. My friends both ordered this as their late-night entree and enjoyed them. I had a little taste of the chicken and it was very flavorful and spicy! If you need your sinuses cleared, this is the dish for you. As you can see above, it’s a nice serving size, too.
Tavern also offers a hefty drink menu. Along with beers, wines, and liquors there’s a ist of what I call “fun” cocktails. The Existentialist is Corsair gin, St. Germain, muddled cucumber, and soda. I didn’t like it but I’m not a fan of gin. However, for gin-lovers this drink has recieved rave reviews so don’t count it out if you like gin.
The Cucumber, Apple, Elderflower is very good, but strong. It’s Stoli, St. Germain, muddled cucumbers, and apples. Once the ice melted a bit, it was more to my level. I’d order this again.
Next up is a Pineapple Vanilla Bean preserve served over vodka. You could also choose gin and they have a Fig & Honey Jam or Summer Berries and Yuzu. This drink is naturally very strong, but found that an added shot of pineapple juice did the trick. The preserves don’t mix very well, but it was still a tasty drink.
The last drink I’ve tried is the Bellini Sparkle. I happen to love bellinis and this one made me happy. Cava, peach nectar, and orange juice. Just the right amount of sweet without being sickeningly sweet. Also on my list to enjoy again.
Several thumbs up to Tavern! I like the atmosphere, the servers are fantastic, and the food is outstanding. It’s a spot I look forward to visiting again and again. As a matter of fact, I’ve already got plans to return again soon and try The Tavern Burger. I hear it’s been tagged as one of the best burgers in Nashville. Stay tuned as I’ll report back what I think, but I somehow doubt it won’t live up to its hype. You can follow Tavern on Twitter or find them on Facebook to keep up with specials and events.
Update: Tavern now serves brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. The menu is just as tantalizing as their regular menu…and you can get the burger any time. Read what I thought about the Tavern Burger and brunch.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Welcome to my latest addiction. I am obsessed with Iced Coffee. I’ve tried for years to brew coffee and turn it into an icy delicious concoction, but failed every time. What makes it more pitiful is I’ve worked at 3 coffee shops in my lifetime, but I could never duplicate it at home. Probably because I don’t have a ginormous espresso machine and honestly, I don’t really care for espresso, but prefer coffee. I searched the interwebs and landed on a popular blog, made her recipe, and gagged. Way too strong and bitter. Fortunately for me, I have no problem griping on Twitter, and that led to Erin from One Particular Kitchen coming to my rescue!
So, how’s it taste?
I’m. In. Heaven. I’m not sure I’ll ever go back to hot coffee, even in the winter. Who knew you could cold brew coffee? Kind of makes sense though. Why heat it up just to ice it down? Erin’s ratio of coffee grounds to cold water is perfect. She also taught me to fill up my glass halfway with the concentrate. It’s too strong and bitter if you use more. It’s so good, I dare say it’s better than the uber-expensive version at a coffee shop. What I like best is you can experiment with different coffees. I’ve made this concentrate using a chocolate truffle flavored coffee and it turned out really well. It added a hint of chocolate to my drink without adding any calories. You could really jazz it up with flavored syrups, too. I use Splenda for my sweetener so I don’t have trouble with it dissolving. You may want to use a simple syrup to sweeten your drink as regular sugar won’t dissolve easily. Guess who’s got a recipe for that? Erin does! You can also blend this drink if you like a thicker consistency. I’m so hardcore about my iced coffee that I’m now making extra concentrate to freeze as ice cubes so my drink never gets watered down. I wasn’t kidding when I said welcome to my latest addiction!
How do you like your coffee?
2/3 cup coarsely ground coffee
1 quart cold water
1. Place ground coffee in a 1-quart container. Add water.
2. Let sit for 8-12 hours, depending on how strong you like your coffee concentrate.
3. Place a coffee filter in a mesh strainer and set over another 1-quart container. Pour ground coffee/water mixture through the filter. It will take a bit to completely filter through. Refrigerate concentrate.
5. To make iced coffee, fill your glass with desired amount of ice. Fill the glass halfway with the concentrate. Fill the rest of the glass with milk. Add sugar, if desired.
Monday, July 11, 2011
At first, I didn’t have this recipe bookmarked in my ice cream book. It sounded fine, but didn’t jump out at me as a must make. But for the 4th, I wanted to make Oatmeal Ice Cream Sandwich Cookies and needed a fabulous ice cream for the center, beyond your basic vanilla or chocolate. I thought this Date, Rum, and Pecan Ice Cream would pair perfectly and I was right! It’s almost like an oatmeal raisin cookie with nuts and booze!
So, how’s it taste?
Although it wasn’t my favorite ice cream in the world, it was very good. I was nervous the dates would be way too potent after soaking in rum for so long, but the sweet of the ice cream made that a non issue. There’s also rum in the cream mixture, so everything paired together beautifully. Chewy, sweet dates and crunchy pecans surrounded by a rum custard. Not too shabby sandwiched between oatmeal cookies! Fair warning, this ice cream is super sweet and very rich. I think that’s why it went so great with the oatmeal cookies because they were barely sweet. A scoop or two of this ice cream will send your sweet tooth into overdrive!
Date, Rum, and Pecan Ice Cream
12 dates, pitted
1/4 cup dark rum
1 cup whole milk
2/3 cup sugar
Big pinch of salt
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
6 large egg yolks
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tbsp. dark rum
1 cup pecans, toasted* and coarsely chopped
1. Chop the dates into 1/2-inch pieces and combine with the rum in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then remove from the heat and stir. Cover and let sit at room temperature for at least 4 hours or up to a day ahead.
2. For the ice cream, warm the milk, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan. Pour the cream into a large bowl and set a strainer on top.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm milk mixture into the eggs, whisking constantly, then pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan.
4. Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer and stir into the cream. Mix in the vanilla and rum, cool the mixture over an ice bath.
5. Chill the mixture completely in a refrigerator, then freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. During the last few minutes of churning, add the pecans and dates.
*To toast the pecans: Preheat oven to 350F. Spread the pecans in an even layer on a baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, stirring once or twice during baking. Let the nuts cool completely before using.