But we all love food, don’t we? So you won’t mind a few pictures & recipes? Great.
I love a kitchen experiment: seeing just how hard it really is to make something. It’s like science, chemistry, the ultimate multi-tasking. And the best part of all that work is that you get to eat it.
(Usually. I’m very proud of how far I’ve come since I confused vinegar for vegetable oil in a boxed brownie mix. I was 9. And that one time I confused powdered sugar for flour in banana bread. I was not 9.)
My latest obsession is making my way through this entire book:
After introducing us to this Columbus, OH favorite, my friend Jermaine helped me try my hand at ice-cream making last summer. We made Goat Cheese & Roasted Apricot ice cream, because there are few edible things in this world that I love more than a good cheese. It was delicious, but rich. My friends thought it tasted “odd”, and I couldn’t finish the whole quart on my own.
But the craft of homemade ice cream was just too fun to call a one-time thing. So when Jermaine gave me my own copy of Jeni’s cookbook as a wedding gift, and my Uncle Pat gave me an ice cream maker, I sort of went nuts.
I made about 15 quarts of ice cream in a month.
And these are not your standard strawberry-chocolate-vanilla flavors. They are gourmet, fresh-ingredient, not-playing-around, I’ve-never-heard-of-that-before, uniquely perfect ice creams.
The favorite flavors so far are tied between Kona Stout (yeah! coffee-beer ice cream!), The Darkest Chocolate in the World, the four batches of Watermelon Lemonade Sorbet I made on the 4th of July, and my most recent victory over fear: Salty Caramel.
I’d love to have detailed pictures of the Salty Caramel creation process, but I don’t. Here’s why: I never knew before that caramel is just a lot of sugar that has been brutally (but carefully) burned. And when you start to add cream to all that burning sugar, it becomes a scary, boiling lava monster of doom that spits and hisses and I spent most of the time yelling and stirring and finding out the hard way that my favorite heat proof spatula is definitely not heat proof at all.
But I made it through, and the final product is in the freezer, and everybody is ok.
The flavor pictured here was definitely not a favorite in taste, but it’s my favorite in looks:
Jeni calls the color of beets “glamorous,” and I totally agree. They look deep and dramatic, while tasting earthy and comforting. But mostly drama. Seriously, look at these!
This recipe also involves boiling milk and cream with lots of orange zest. It made my kitchen smell like a Dreamsicle.
In case you are wondering about the nutrition value of all this ice cream making, I hate to disappoint you. It’s full of processed sugar, full-fat dairy, and that evil corn syrup we’ve been warned about. Not exactly food-purist friendly. But for the record, those beets were local and organic.
Now look what happens when the pureed beets get thrown into some smooth Mascarpone cheese and all that orangey cream.
That is a magenta vegetable. So much fun. (Mom’s matching kitchen towels didn’t hurt. They also didn’t stain.)
Once it has all cooled, it goes into the spinner. Of course, that dramatic beet-cream color does not stay in one place. My whole kitchen looked like I’d let loose a finger-paint-happy toddler. It was a delightful mess.
The best thing about this ice cream that tasted like vegetables is that I got to eat most of it. I made it for my family the last time we went to Wichita before moving. With a little extra orange juice squeezed on top, this ice cream’s perfect sweetness combined with the earthy beet flavor that will always remind me of my Ukrainian host mom, Anya. It was summery and nostalgic and I loved it.
But aside from my foodie dad, who will try anything and loves delving into French haute-cuisine when he as the time, the rest of my family just thought it “didn’t really taste like food.” (Thanks Mom.)
For their sake, I also made Cocoa Cabernet ice cream, which is just the Darkest Chocolate recipe with dry, red wine instead of black coffee. Yes: chocolate-red wine ice cream. I told you this recipe book was not playing around.
If this homemade ice cream endeavor interested you, take a look at Jeni’s blog or grab a copy of the recipe book. And if you’re lucky enough to live in Columbus, Nashville, Atlanta, or Chicago, you can find a scoop shop! Go do that!