Sunday, September 28, 2014

Doing the Bandana Split!

It seems like forever since I wrote a blog post! I'm going to blame it on a job I started three weeks ago that has taken over my life. I have a tendency to throw my whole heart and soul into things, especially when I'm working with kids (I'm at an elementary school), but yesterday I realized that I'm burning out in a hurry and I've got to pull back and do other things besides work. SO, I'm going to get this blog post finished that I started a month ago! And this week, I'm determined to get back to writing my YA novel. I'm never completely happy unless I'm writing, so getting back on top of my novel should improve my outlook on life.

Thus, without further ado, let us proceed with my post on the Hushland Bandana Split! Now, you may think you read that title wrong, or that my fingers stumbled over the keys as I typed. But, no--it really is a Bandana Split. This comes to us from the wonderfully creative and wacky world of the Free Kingdoms in Brandon Sanderson's Alcatraz series. I have to gush for just a moment. Brandon Sanderson is one of my all-time favorite authors. I got to meet him once at a writer's conference, when he signed my copy of The Alloy of Law. (High-pitched, girly squeal!) His level of creativity and perfect pacing, involving plenty of action, is exactly the kind of thing I love to read. When you combine that with the laugh-out-loud humor of his Alcatraz series, you have the perfect storm! (Seriously: people give me weird looks when I'm reading these books, because I can't stop laughing and tears are running down my face.)

In the third installment, Alcatraz Versus the Knights of Crystallia, Alcatraz visits the home of his birth, the Free Kingdoms. Things are a little different than they are here in the Hushlands, and Free Kingdomers often don't understand our Hushlander culture. Thus, at an ice cream shop modeled after an old-fashioned 50s malt shoppe where the waitresses wear red stripes and proudly serve their version of Hushlander fare, Alcatraz finds himself confronted by a Bandana Split: an unidentified flavor of ice cream served in an actual bandanna. (I hope it didn't recently inhabit someone's brow...that's just nasty!)

As I contemplated how to recreate this exotic dish, I remembered a recent visit to Puerto Rico, where we stopped at a little ice cream place that served all kinds of creative flavors. (Including rice and beans and garlic...really!) I've long wanted to try my hand at creating some of these unique flavors at home (just not the really weird ones).

Thus, in homage to Mr. Sanderson's creativity, and to the Free Kingdomers who fight against evil librarians everywhere, I present my own version of a Bandana Split with CocoSpud Ice Cream!

A Hushland Bandana Split!

CocoSpud Ice Cream

1 medium sweet potato
3 cups coconut milk
1 cup coconut cream
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla

Wash the sweet potato and prick it a few times with a fork. Microwave it on high for about 4 minutes, then turn it over and microwave 4 more minutes until the sweet potato is tender. Allow to cool.

Once cool, peel the sweet potato and place in a food processor or powerful blender. Add about half of the coconut milk and process until the mixture is completely smooth.

Blend in remaining coconut milk and other ingredients, mixing well. Pour everything into an ice cream freezer and process according to the manufacturer's directions. The ice cream will still be soft at this point, so put it in the freezer for at least 4 hours or overnight. (However, don't forget to taste-test first! ;-)

The ingredients I used for this project.
To serve, clean a bandanna well with dish soap and rinse thoroughly. Dry it in the dryer without a dryer sheet (unless you really like the flavor of dryer sheets). Knot two opposite ends of the bandanna, then tie the remaining two ends together and tuck them underneath. (See the illustrations below.) Place the bandanna into an elongated dish to give it a firm base.

Scoop rounded mounds of CocoSpud Ice Cream into the center of the bandanna. Top with whipped cream and cherries and serve! (Just don't tell your victim...I mean patron...what's in the ice cream--it's probably better they don't know.)

Peel the cooled sweet potato and puree it so you don't have chunks.

Process the ice cream mixture according to manufacturer's directions until it is thick. Then freeze for several hours to firm it up for scooping.

Prepare bandanna by knotting two opposite ends.

Knot the two remaining ends together...

 and tuck under to create an elongated "bowl."

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