Amy Palanjian

Summer Dessert: Berry Coconut Milk Ice Pops and Review of Vibrant Food

Vibrant Food: Celebrating the Ingredients, Recipes, and Colors of Each Season

Image courtesy of Kimberley Hasselbrink and Vibrant Food

A lot of cookbooks come across my desk, but it is rare that one will actually make it into heavy rotation in my kitchen. I’ve spent a lot of time with the new—and gorgeous—book, Vibrant Food: Celebrating the Ingredients, Recipes, and Colors of Each Season by Kimberley Hasselbrink and I can safely say that this book is going to get worn out and splattered on my counter. I made the Almond Honey Cake from the book for my birthday dessert (though in all honesty I wound up eating it for breakfast), and I was so stunned that an easy-to-make, gluten-free cake could taste so good—and have such an amazing texture—that I’ve been telling everyone I know about the book. Each page is colorful and inspiring, and the recipes are fresh, interesting, and straightforward. We spoke with Kimberley about the book—and she was nice enough to share an ice pop recipe for you to try at home to satisfy your next craving for a light and refreshing dessert.

Vibrant Food Author Kimberley Hasselbrink

Image courtesy of Kimberley Hasselbrink and Vibrant Food What inspired the book?
Kimberley Hasselbrink: The book was inspired by a series that I started on my blog, Color Studies. The idea was to start looking at produce for its color, to be inspired by it aesthetically, instead of thinking of it only in terms of health and flavor. Of course, those are equally important, but I think that if we start with color, we start from a place of inspiration and joy instead of thinking about health and obligation and shoulds and shouldn’ts in terms of eating. What’s been the best part of having it out in the world?
KH: So far, it feels really great to receive so much support and enthusiasm and praise from the people closest to me and from strangers alike. And it’s great to have it out in the world, and to share it with people, after working so hard on it for so long in relative isolation. Do you have a favorite recipe that you’ve been making lately?
KH: I’m usually most inspired by whatever’s the newest thing in season. Right now, that’s stone fruit. Cherries by the handful. And blueberries. And watermelon. That’s the glory of summer, right? I’ve noticed that I don’t tend to repeat recipes very often because part of what inspires me about food is the novelty of new ingredients. The only things on regular repeat are my breakfasts: invariably oatmeal or eggs on tortillas. What did you have for dinner last night?
Some leftover halibut, leftover mushroom soup, and the last of these granola bar bites that I made. I love leftovers! What’s next?
I’m embarking on a book tour on the West Coast this summer and working out the details for some dates on the East Coast in the fall. I’d love to spend a couple weeks with no obligations to the Internet, most likely deep in the wilds of Montana. And I’m really excited to focus on my photography career!

Summer Berry-Coconut Milk Ice Pops

Image courtesy of Kimberley Hasselbrink and Vibrant Food

Summer Berry-Coconut Milk Ice Pops
I love those instances when so few ingredients come together to make something so big in flavor and so deeply satisfying. The jammy mash-up of berries with the coconut milk and cardamom makes these pops just rich enough and rather irresistible. They never last long in the freezer.
Makes 10 3-ounce pops

2/3 cup thinly sliced ripe strawberries
2/3 cup ripe blueberries
2/3 cup ripe blackberries
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon natural cane sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 (13.5-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk

  1. Combine the strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries with the sugar and cardamom in a small saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring regularly, for 5 to 7 minutes, until the berries are soft but not falling apart—they should be a little jammy. Remove from the heat and stir in the coconut milk.
  2. Carefully pour the warm berry mixture into a pitcher. Pour the mix into 3-ounce molds, helping some of the berries along with a spoon so that they’re evenly distributed. Freeze for at least 4 hours. The ice pops will last a month in the freezer.

Reprinted with permission from Vibrant Food written and photographed by Kimberley Hasselbrink (Ten Speed Press, © 2014).

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