April 19, 2011

Ice is Back with a Brand New Edition

When Vanilla Ice lyrics start applying to your life, I'm pretty sure you can die a happy person. I'll let you know in 60 or 70 years for sure, but I'm just sayin', writing that title made me the happiest little bean in the great big City of Angels.

OK, friends. HELLO. I am back. I am visiting Los Angeles, where the sun is shining in a weird, smoggy, overcast, EXCELLENT kind of way (if you are as desperately in love with this city and its quirks as I am), which reminds me of summer, which reminds me I have not one but TWO fabulous updates for you.

First, the bad news. My beloved computer crashed in October of last year, taking with it hundreds of pictures documenting my life in general and my ice cream-making life in particular. For this recipe, I am going to resort to the good old fashioned Google Search Engine, Image Section for my pictures. Starting with this one.

This, my friends, is lemon verbena ice cream. I made it last summer, here in Los Angeles, in the very home in which I currently sit. I'm visiting my bestie friend Laura, owner of The Veg Report blog and kitchen co-hort extraordinaire. Last summer we got our hands on a bunch of local lemon verbena, which looks like this for us city dwellers unfamiliar with the herb world:

It's a leaf, sure, but it tastes like LEMON! Oh, nature. Touche. You so sneaky.
The recipe we used last summer comes from David Lebovitz, and the recipe treated us very well. Here's what you'll need:
  • 1 1/2 cups loosely-packed fresh lemon verbena leaves, rinsed & dried
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk (2% is also fine! this is what we used and it was great.)
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream (or whipping cream)
  • 3/4 cup sugar (unrefined whenever possible! This will lend the final product more mouthfeel and sophistication (because we are SOPHISTICATED here at Ice, Ice Katie.)
  • pinch of salt
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • Two mixing bowls, one of which you will chill for 1-2 hours in the fridge or freezer until you need it.
  • A saucepan

To start, warm the verbena with the milk, sugar, salt, and 1/2 a cup of the cream. Warm it (no boiling! milk hates boiling like cats hate baths), then remove from heat and let it sit for 45 minutes to an hour, as long as you can stand waiting. (Thanks for the picture, Kim!)

Now it's about to get jiggly. Bear with me. Just put on some Beyonce and go for it.

Pour the rest of the cream into the chilled bowl, and put a strainer over the top. First, scoop out the leaves from the first mix, and squeeze them over the strainer to get every last bit of liquid out of them. Discard, compost, dry, do whatever you do with old herbs. Then put the heat on low on the verbena/cream mixture (in the not-chilled bowl) and re-warm it.

While that's rewarming, separate your egg yolks and then whisk 'em. Add them to the mixture on the stove, stirring constantly. Now you're going to treat the mix like scrambled eggs, and it will slowly become a custard. As soon as it stops leaving a trail in the pan, stop cooking it. Strain the custard over the strainer, and discard what's left in the mesh. Stir, stir, stir (one might call it going STIR CRAZY! heh heh heh MAN you missed me) until it cools down. When it's not warm anymore, bordering on cool, it's ready to process in your ice cream maker. And then it's ready for you to eat. Remember how cool ice cream blogs are? You get to EAT ICE CREAM at the end of every entry!

It is good to be back, friends. Blackberry (also from last summer) is coming up next, and then it will again be summer in the Northwest, and I'll get to makin' all over again. See you soon.

August 24, 2010

I'm a huge lush, or: Happy Summer!

Quick! Before it's not summer anymore and it's no longer socially acceptable to drink in broad daylight!
Ahem. I meant to say... eat ice cream in broad daylight! Ok, ok. I meant eat ice cream... that hides in its folds intoxicating substance! Without further ado, and because, let's face it, it's summer, and I'm probably drunk right now:

Lime Sorbet/ Lime Slushee/ Sherpa on your trip to the top of Drunk Mountain

Ok, first. Let's explain. There comes a time in every (non-Mormon, morally exploratory) woman's life where her travel bug yearns toward Drunk Mountain. Its shimmery peaks that get fuzzy when you move your head too fast, its caves full of inappropriate texts and sobbing in the bathtub in the middle of a house party, its really excellent soundtrack. Ah yes, Drunk Mountain. However. Sometimes the travels to Drunk Mountain are a little out of our reach. Sometimes the path is too windy, and assistance is needed. If the peak to Mount Drunkula is too far, and your need too great, a sherpa is what you need. And this, my friends. This dessert is just the sherpa for you. Don't forget the oxygen.

2 cups lime juice (the recipe called for 2.5, but they seriously must have been drunk when they wrote that.)
3 limes worth of zest (note: zester not needed. Lime skin works well with a regular cheese grater.)
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 cup rum (adjust as your trek requires. This made for a very strong drink.)
1/2- 3/4 cup water (or even a little more- ours was SUPER slushy, and could have used more ice.)

The best lime squeezer I know. Metaphor? MAYBE.

Stir the sugar, rum and water together. I used a food processor to ensure even mixing. I'm extravagant.
Add the lime juice and zest a little at a time.
Once fully mixed, add to ice cream maker. Process for about 25 minutes.

It was 95 degrees in Portland, OR today. This picture is summer porn.

Now, family, here's the thing. Our daiquiri was sort of a disaster. There was a loose portion somewhere on my food processor (aren't there supposed to be, like, LOCKS, so that doesn't happen?!) and the juice spilled everywhere. What we were left with was essentially some lime-infused rum. For the kidlets out there, this is because alcohol is lighter than sugary-lime-water. So the heavy water leaked out and the delicious sherpa remained. Got it? Look at the information you already have ready for your first day of school in a few weeks! You're welcome, my dears. You're welcome.

Anyway. If you attempt this recipe, please let me know how it goes in the comment section! Happy drinking! I mean... cooking. I mean...making. I mean.... drinking.

May 26, 2010

Io Triumphe, or, Chocolate gone Nuts

Recently I wrote an email to someone because I thought they might be dead. They had done an extraordinarily good job of dropping off the face of the planet, and I wanted to be sure I hadn't made a birthday present for someone Hitchhiking the Galaxy with a towel around their shoulders, metaphorically or otherwise.
I mention this story because, obviously, I have also done an extraordinarily good job of dropping off the face of the ice-cream planet. But today, my friends, I have returned triumphant. And this time I am updating with a REAL RECIPE, not just a whining plea that you still read my blog when I hypothetically post on it again soon.

Yes, summer is rolling ever closer over the San Gabriel mountains, and my to-do list in life has been simplified to the following activities:
--practicing ukulele (currently I'm working on a Magnetic Fields song, a Weepies song, and a Justin Timberlake song. Get ready for the best summer of your life, Eagle Rock Trader Joe's parking lot.)
--reading at least 5 books at a time. (if I could link you to my account page with the library, I would. Let's just say I have 21 books checked out. In a manner of speaking.)
--making ice cream. making ice cream. making ice cream.

So yesterday was sort of a suck day. It turned on me over the course of the afternoon, and yadda yadda yadda at 5:30pm I found myself sitting in my room, writing in my journal, no lights on in the house, listening to music about car crashes. True story. Mmm. Yikes. BUT THEN! I got this phone call, and the miraculous being on the line was eating ice cream. Brief side bar: I wish we still said things like "I call you up/the line's engaged," which is a Beatles' lyric. I wish lines still got "engaged" in modern patois. Alas. The closest thing I can think of is when you go to update your twitter and it won't let you because there are too many tweets all at once. Gross. Let's move on. Anyway, my dear friend was eating ice cream, and I was in a terrible mood, and it became obvious to both of us that the answer was to make ice cream, quickly and in large quantities. So let's dive in.
First, thanks to B&J's, the reason for the season:

Light (in theory) Chocolate Ice Cream with Peanut Butter:

1 (in theory) oz. unsweetened chocolate (i used at least 4. i went a little overboard. like i said before: it was a bad day.)
4 tbsp cocoa powder
2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup heavy or whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup (in theory) peanut butter (again, I used way more than was called for. Turned out fine, but I love peanut butter more than most humans.)

Alrighty. So to start with, melt the chocolate on a double broiler. You may recall that I do not have one of these. I worked in a regular frying pan. I'm bohemian. Whatever.
--Once melted, stir in the cocoa powder. If it gets clumpy, fear not. The milk in the next step will chill it out. (HA! Oh, I have missed having a vehicle for such jokes.)
--Whisk milk in a little at a time, until blended. Do this on low heat, to avoid boiling the milk.
--When all the milk is mixed in, remove from heat and let cool. At this point, probably because I don't have a double broiler AND because I was talking on the phone, my mix was still lumpy. Because they were lumps of chocolate, I let it go. But in general, it should be smooth. These lumps of unsweetened chocolate and cocoa, which made it all the way into my final product are, surprise surprise, unsweetened. Next time I will get off the phone earlier and mix completely-er.
--While the stovetop concoction is cooling, whisk the eggs into a fluffy lather. This will take about 2 minutes. Once fluffily lathered, add the sugar a little at a time, and whisk until completely blended.
--Add the vanilla and the cream. The cream is really pretty when you add it. It makes swirls.
--Add the (cooled) cocoa/milk/chocolate mixture to the egg mixture. Whiskify.

When a problem comes along, you must whisk it!

--Take about a cup of this mixture, and, in a separate bowl, mix in the peanut butter. Once completely blended, add back to the larger bowl.
--Cover and cool in refrigerator for 2-3 hours.
--Pour into ice cream maker, run for 30 minutes.
--Watch NCIS LA finale (G's about to find out who his dad is? WHAT?!) and enjoy.