"ice cream"

Blueberry Maple Ice Cream

Today I'm over at Simple Bites. It's all about taking a moment to just stop. No canning, no thinking ahead to apple pie now that the weather is turning, no worrying about Sunday dinner. Just stopping to take a look around and enjoy what we've got, right now, in front of us.

And right now I have blueberries. Plump BC blueberries are still all over the markets. My girls eat them by the handful. Me, on the other hand, I can be rather indifferent to blueberries. I enjoy them when added to other things or baked, but I'm not an out of hand girl when it comes to the orbs.

My favourite to enjoy blueberries is actually cooked down with a bit of maple syrup, to be served on pancakes, waffles, or yoghurt. I was making a batch of my blueberries when it occurred to me that it might work really well with ice cream. Not on ice cream, mind you, but in ice cream.

It's a good thing I am addicted to making my own ice cream because it means the canister for my ice cream maker is always in the deep freeze when not in use. And, I always keep cream in the house now. So this recipe came together in just a few minutes. And for dinner, we were licking our bowls clean.

Blueberry Maple Ice Cream
Makes 4 cups

2 cups blueberries
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 cups cream
2 tbsp cup maple wine/maple liqueur/creme de cassis.

1. Cook the blueberries in the maple syrup over medium heat until the berries just begin to pop - 3-4 minutes. Put in the fridge to cool, if you've got the time.
2. Blitz the berries in a blender, adding the cream and alcohol. Alternatively, mash the berries with a fork then combine with the cream and alcohol.
3. Churn in an ice cream maker and freeze until firm. Serve drizzled with maple syrup.

The Letter S

Pardon me while I get sappy.

You see, this week I've also been recovering from a medical issue. It's made me tired, shaky, and mopey. So this afternoon, after I put some tomato sauce in a slow oven to come together, I took a nap. Wrapped in the arms of my husband. It was the best nap ever.

So tonight's dinner was spaghetti and meatballs, and for dessert, strawberry ice cream. More specifically, strawberry sour cream ice cream. It was the slightly more elegant version of Baba's berries and cream. It was all comfort food.

The ice cream recipe comes from, who else? David Lebovitz. All the recipes in my books were custards and I didn't have many eggs in the house. So a little search led to many, many descriptions of this ice cream from The Perfect Scoop. It seemed like fate considering the pounds of strawberries I bought at the market and my own need for comfort. 

But no amount of comfort food can replace the love of your best friend.

Strawberry Sour Cream Ice Cream
(With great thanks, perhaps literally as I don't actually own The Perfect Scoop, to David Lebovitz.)

1 pound strawberries
3/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp vodka
1 cup sour cream
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp lemon juice

1. Rinse, hull, and quarter your strawberries. Toss with the sugar and vodka. Let sit for an hour or so.
2. Add in sour cream, cream, and lemon juice. Blitz with a hand blender, leaving it as chunky as you want.
3. Chill for an hour. Process with ice cream maker. Freeze until ready to eat.

Summer Sunday Dinner

After a weekend of landscaping - well, a weekend of mostly providing snacks, lemonade, and advice while Hubby did some landscaping - I thought I should treat the man with a good dinner. Steak was too obvious. Then I remembered that our old summer ritual has been neglected since the girls arrived. Time to bring out the lobster.

Back story:

Hubby and I met 15 years ago. We started dating once I finished undergrad a year later. He came to visit me in Halifax. See, I was going to keep working at my organic vegetarian bakery cafe job and save money to go to Europe. Then he decided to visit. After spending a week driving around Nova Scotia, eating lobster along the way, I knew there was no way I would get to Europe. 

So, a few days after he left and more than a few boxes of Kleenex later I booked myself a plane ticket West, packed up all my University belongings, and called him. We chatted for a bit, then I asked him what he was doing the next night. When he replied that he had nothing going on I suggested me might want to pick me up at the airport. Like a good man he asked why I was coming to Edmonton. And like a brave, slightly stupid 21 year old I simply answered, "You."

One plane ride, a short soap opera, 14 years, and 2 kids later I still say it was the dumbest and best thing I ever did.

And every summer since we've treated ourselves to a lobster dinner. Indeed, this is more of an anniversary than our actual wedding anniversary. Tonight we brought the girls into our tradition.

That may have been a very, very bad idea. The Monster was all excited to buy the lobsters with me, happily carrying them and showing them off to Daddy. The girls are quite fascinated with the lobsters at the market and are wickedly curious about them. This fact alone could not prepare me for the abject terror Smilosaurus had when actually face to face with a lobster.

I should have been sympathetic to her tears, but I was only reminded of her Dad, on that first trip to Nova Scotia. The last night of his visit we decided to buy lobsters and cook them at home. I pulled them out of the box and held them out for Hubby to inspect. The guy seriously jumped and ran away, screaming, "Get it away! Get it away!" I, being the little snot that I am, then chased him with the lobsters while he threw anything available in my direction. And that was the week I discovered about the only thing Hubby is afraid of - live lobsters (he blames his mother). All I could do was giggle with memory as my baby girl cried and cowered in fear.

Yes, I'm still a little snot.

We thought everything would be fine once the lobsters were cooked. I steamed them (do not ever boil your lobsters) for about 12 minutes. The same amount of time the corn was on the grill. I made a salad of green and baby beets from our CSA delivery, with some peaches, basil, and toasted pecans. We sat down to eat and the terror re-emerged. She couldn't stop screaming. Even when we told her she didn't have to have any and that the lobsters were dead. Terrified was the word of dinner. 

Rather than have her tears destroy what should have been a fantastic dinner we put her in her bed and let her read books while the rest of us ate a very lovely, yummy meal. She joined us for a bit of corn and salad. Lucky girl, because then it meant she was allowed dessert. And that was worth setting the fear aside. Ice cream sandwiches made with this lime ice cream and Digestive biscuits. 

Oh, I guess I should clarify that Hubby is no longer afraid of live lobsters, but he would still prefer I don't hold them anywhere near him.

An Abundance of Limes

On a gorgeous weekend not too long ago, Hubby and I indulged in quite a few gin and tonics. We've discovered a new-to-us gin and are rather obsessed with it. The first time I saw it in our local wine store I asked the purveyor what it was good for, meaning martinis or G&T? His response, "Making Babies!"

Well, I can't attest to that at all - she says as she raises another gin and tonic - but I can say that it makes about the finest drink I've had. Aside from those Negronis. If we ever get some heat again the Old Raj is coming back out.

I will, however, need to buy more limes. You see, we got a little gung ho that one warm weekend and bought about a dozen limes. No, we aren't that big of drinkers. We merely forgot we already had them. Yes, we were sober when we were at the store.

With an abundance of limes and a convenient container filled with egg yolks it really did seem that the only option was to make ice cream. Gin and tonic ice cream? Hmm, not too bad of a concept, but my brain could not figure out how to capture the necessary balance of taste with the custard base. Browsing through the books, I came across a recipe for Margarita Ice Cream in Nigella Lawson's Forever Summer.

Um yeah, sign me up. 

This recipe did not disappoint. I was worried it would be too eggy, but all that lime juice really cuts the richness. Overall it is refreshing without being cloying. Smooth but somehow a bit light. It isn't a Margarita - which would have also been a most excellent use for our extra limes - but the hint of tequila is amazing. I did cut back on the amount of alcohol because I knew the girls would be having some ice cream If you swapped out the tequila for a generous splash of vodka you would simply get something akin to Key Lime Pie ice cream.  Hmmm, there might be a frozen pie idea there...

This is the second ice cream recipe I've made with sweetened condensed milk. I must admit, I'm rather fond of it.  I wonder what David Lebovitz would say? It creates a silkiness to the ice cream without overly sweetening it. I'm always afraid it will be too sweet, but it really works well.

Now, I wonder how good this ice cream will taste with the snow we're expecting? Yes, snow. Don't talk to me about it.

Margarita Ice Cream
(Adapted from Nigella Lawson's Forever Summer)

1 1/2 cups whipping cream
6 large egg yolks
300 mL tin of sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup tequila
splash of Triple Sec, Cointreau, or Grand Marnier
Juice of 6 limes and zest of 1

1. Heat the cream in a heavy saucepan. Slowly whisk it into egg yolks, off the heat.  Once combined, pour back into the saucepan and cook it, stirring, until thickened.  It should coat the back of the spoon.
2. Pour the custard into a clean bowl and let it cool slightly.  Stir in the condensed milk, alcohol, lime juice, and zest. Cover the surface directly with plastic wrap and chill for 4 hours at a minimum.
3. Churn according to your ice cream maker's instructions. Enjoy.