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.