Sunday, August 19, 2007
It is the height of summer now. No better time that now for cold, creamy homemade ice cream. This May was the first time I have ever had fresh ice cream, the kind created by people who love food and friends. Kelly and Juliette made Strawberry Ice Cream while I was staying with them. That was divine. The little strawberries from the local pick-your-own were potent and sweet. I am amazed at how much richer and more flavorful homemade is over the store bought. It even trumps the ice cream parlor.
Mint. That one little work conjures up a mouthful of explosive flavor. One leaf is enough to flavor a glass of tea. One stem makes a mojito something more than just rum and sugar. When you think about it you can taste it. And there are different flavors of it, old reliable peppermint, spicy strong spearmint, alluring chocolate mint, and the tropical pineapple mint with its sassy sweetness mixed into all that zing. It's hardy. It will dominate your yard if giving a little nudge. Thankfully, it is plentiful.
I am a chocolate gal. The darker the better and bittersweet, ohhh. Love in a bar. What more do you need out of life than a pint of New York Super Fudge Chunk at the end of a very bad day? Chocolate can so take the pain away. A bite can open your mind and a bar lets all the bad flow out. Not so much to make a tummy ache, but just enough to start pleasure stirring, to feel the silky texture, the melting sensual flavor on your willing tongue. Combine that with the powerful flavors of mint and you've got yourself quite the illicit love affair.
I mentioned in an earlier blog that I had made Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream. Well, the mint in the back yard is starting to get a little out of hand so I'm doing it again. It is steeping in warm cream, milk and sugar right now. In a short while it will get combined with more cream and some eggs, making a smooth and delicious concoction.
I am using the recipe from Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz with only a slight modification. Where he says warm the milk, I actually go for tea steeping temperature, somewhere around 175 F, to bring out the most flavor of the mint. I also bruise the leaves before steeping to release the oils. At the end, just before finishing it off in the ice cream maker, I will be adding the crushed pieces of a very dark chocolate bar. I will not post the recipe here since it isn't mine. If you are so inclined, I would suggest picking up a copy of his book. The flavors he uses and pairs together are inspired.
And here is the finished product. It has a greener color than the picture describes. It is a lovely color of pale emerald. And, oh, the flavor and texture!