7.22.2006

Adventurer of Ice Cream, Part 1

I'm making, er, I was making basil ice cream based on this recipe from Epicurious.


I put the bottom pieces of the blender pitcher together in the wrong order. As I lifted the pitcher to pour the custard back into the pan, the bottom of the pitcher fell away and sent my blend of exotic smelling milk, sugar, chopped basil, and egg yolk all over the counter and the floor. All over.

It green-gushed everywhere: my glasses, the dish towel drawer, the cat and in coated the cabbage I started working on for supper.

Since R* is on Long Island for the day managing a friend's moving sale, I decided to dedicate today entirely to researching and making ice cream (and trying to get Sears to fix the dishwasher). I'm trying to create my entry for The Best Lick ice cream recipe contest at Apartment Therapy Kitchen.

My plan was that I would make three kinds of ice cream today. I would try existing recipes for a custard-based basil ice cream and then a Philadelphia-style berry ice cream. Then, based on learning from those tests, I would start developing my own recipe building on what I discover in my testing.

After steeping the basil in warm milk, the recipe says to use the blender to chop the basil leaves into very small pieces. Then, the recipes says to use a hand blender to mix the rgg yolks and then incorporate them all together. Since the blender was already dirty from step one, I thought the blender could be used for the rest of the steps, keeping the hand mixer out of things all together. I wonder if the Epicurious recipe recommends using the blender for only one step and the moving on to the mixer is because blenders, especially the cheap-o kind I have that I really only meant to use for margaritas, are unstable.

So far I've learned:
[] I didn't know how to put the blender together correctly. It frustrates me from time to time, but I now admire the genius of how the Cusinart only works when each piece is lined up properly.
[] As soon as I got back from the farmer's market with my blueberries and lemon basil, I wrapped a blueberry in a basil leaf and bit. The taste was not encouraging. Too bitter, too vegetal. After that mess of flavors cleared though, there was a bright clean lemon basil taste with an almost cinnamon-like blueberry taste. These are the flavors that I need to fight out of my ingredients as I cook.
[] I'm wondering if I should add lemon zest to exaggerate the flavor of the lemon basil. I'm trying not too -- I think it would be exciting to get a perfume of lemon without using any. A little trick. One problem with that is that people who don't have access to lemon basil will not be able to make the recipe as I'm testing it.
[] I tasted blueberries at four different farmer's market stands this morning. The mouth feel, size and taste of the berries varied much more than I expected.
[] The smell of the lemon basil in the milk is amazing, reminding of the perfect lemon panna cotta J and I had at Dona last week. Since my spill, the whole apartment has that sunny lemon smell.
[] The color though, I'm not so sure. At first glance, I thought it was a beautiful pale pea color. Once it was all over my counters, it looked like bile or a McDonald's shamrock shake that was abandoned in the back seat of the car.

2 Comments:

Anonymous ann said...

L.O.L!
i'm so sorry Chris, that's a brutal way to spend a saturday!
I am sure (absolutely sure) that the color of the ice creamw will come out fine once you add the blueberries!
they'll make it look really pretty!

in re the blender: cuisinarts may work only when all the parts are aligned, but, they're awful for liquids due to that stupid hole in the bottom.
I wish someone would fix that design flaw...

11:35 AM  
Anonymous Mr. S said...

So sad! D has done this before. He was convinced that you needed to unscrew the pitcher from the base, instead of just lifting it off, and we ended up with gazpacho all over the kitchen.

That's one reason why I do almost all of the cooking.

Did you try again? Have you ever gotten ice cream to work well? I've had terrible luck with it in the past. I don't know if I'm too impatient to chill the custard as long as I should before putting it in the ice cream maker, or if I've never gotten the milk/egg ratio right, or if I've undercooked it each time.

3:21 AM  

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