No, I didn’t do this because Peter Falk of Columbo fame died last week. However, as it happens, we at Chez Rea are indeed huge Columbo fans. We’ve been watching the series on DVD now for over a year and have made it into the sixth season.
Here are the facts of the case:
- I had special out-of-town guests stopping by. My niece and her husband’s family were en route from Indiana to Wisconsin for a wedding.
- I had homemade coconut mango ice cream in the freezer. This was a recipe that had recently appeared in the Chicago Tribune just when I was on a making ice cream kick.
- I love to serve things from my garden, and it’s July.
So my first idea was that it would be nice to sit on the deck with them and eat that homemade ice cream. Then as I was watering the garden and harvesting some raspberries that morning, I thought why not put the raspberries on top of the ice cream when I serve it. After all, the flavor of raspberries goes well with mango and the color contrast would look great. Plus, I’d get to say I’d served something from my garden even though no garden ingredients were used in the ice cream.
Just one more thing–I had a couple mangoes sitting on my counter. They’re not from my garden, of course, but I buy them when they’re on sale because I like to mix chopped mango with herbs from my garden to make salsa for chips or for grilled fish. These were not designated for any use in particular, so there was no reason I couldn’t add one of them to our desserts. More fresh fruit is always an improvement, and it would help stretch the ice cream out into eight full servings.
Just one more thing–there’s some lemon balm (a lemon flavored mint) in my garden. Wouldn’t a sprig of that look nice sticking out of the dessert glasses filled with ice cream and fruit?
Just one more thing–edible flowers. I couldn’t skip those; that’s my signature touch. I just LOVE edible flowers! For very little effort, they make any dish look magically delicious. I try to have some around all the time, and at this time my herbs-and-edible-flowers bed had bright blue bachelors buttons in bloom. I could anchor one nicely to the top of each dessert with a small dollop of whipped cream.
I took the ice cream out of the freezer to soften and got everything prepped and ready to go. Our guests arrived and were eager for a tour of my garden, so I gladly obliged. Then they came into the kitchen and saw me set up the desserts. It was fun to add one thing after another to create a beautiful presentation while they watched. Then they got their cameras out! (Nate, my niece’s husband, happens to be a professional photographer, so this picture is probably the best one I’ve posted on my blog so far.) After the pictures were taken, we took our desserts out to the deck and sat and ate and talked and had a lovely time.
NOTE: You do not need homemade ice cream on hand to have an impressive looking dessert. You could do this with just about anything–store bought ice cream or sherbet, cake, brownies, anything! Just keep adding one more thing, and it will look fabulous–like something Lieutenant Columbo would tell his wife Mrs. Columbo about.