Friday, June 25, 2010

Fresh Mint Ice Cream and a Birthday

I've wanted a kitchen garden or at least an herb garden for as long as I've been cooking. And it just hasn't happened yet. I have had too many dried up basil and mint plants and too many dark kitchens. But through no effort of my own, I am now the proud owner of a huge forgotten mint plant and a gargantuan basil plant growing in containers on my porch. Ah to reap the benefits of other people's efforts!

This recipe calls for 2 cups of lightly packed fresh mint leaves, or 80 grams. Now if a recipe gives me weight measurements, that's what I'm gonna use, but 80 grams of mint is A LOT OF MINT. I plucked as much mint as I thought the plant could possibly spare and we got very close to 80 grams.

Look at all that fresh decliousness!

Letting the mint steep in some whole milk. And presto chango! You got yourself some intense mint ice cream:

The flavor of this ice cream really did take me by surprise because it was unlike any mint flavor I had tasted before. I guess I've never had fresh mint anything! Or at least not this variety of mint. It was oddly intense and yet not overpowering. Truly delicious and very much worth plucking my plant almost to death.

Gotta eat it quickly! The Washington heat has been oppressive this year.

Fresh Mint & Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
Makes about 1 quart
Adapted from this recipe in David Lebovitz's Perfect Scoop

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 cups (80 gr) lightly packed fresh mint leaves
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 5 ounces finely chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
Warm the milk, sugar 1 cup of the cream and salt in a small pan until hot to the touch. Add the mint leaves and stir to immerse. Cover, remove from heat and let steep for about 1 hour.

Strain the mint-infused milk through a mesh strainer into a medium saucepan. Press on the mint leaves to extract as much flavor as possible, then discard the mint leaves. Pour the remaining 1 cup heavy cream into a large bowl and place a strainer on top.

Rewarm the mint-milk. In another bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm mint mint liquid into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrap the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.

Stir mixture constantly over medium heat with the heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer and stir into the cream. Stir until cool over an ice bath.

Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze it in your ice cream maker. Meanwhile, melt the chopped chocolate either in a double boiler on the stove top or in short increments in the microwave. Drizzle some of the chocolate into the mixer as the ice cream churns and use the rest to line the bottom and sides of the storage container.

Last weekend marks the 1 year anniversary of getting my cat Maggie. As I don't know her real birth date, June 21st will have to do! Kitty treats, a pat of butter and a not very welcomed party hat were on the menu. Happy Birthday Maggie!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Hello! Remember me?

Hey! It's been ages! How have you been? Me? Yeah, I know, I've been out of touch for a while. But you know how it is - life - it got the better of me. From just reading my blog, one would think that I went to China and never returned. I have so much to tell you and we have so much catching up to do! Here is an attempted recap in pictures:

Since Hong Kong, I visited my parents in Hainan, China for Christmas

At the walking street in Sanya

A chocolate Terracotta Army
We stayed at a beautiful hotel
We relaxed- I acquired some mad Scrabble Skillz

We stayed at "The Windiest Villa of them all"

I'm not sure anyone slept that night. We were up and gone by 7am.

We spent a few days in Beijing

We saw the Forbidden City

It was much colder

Leather boots were not a good idea for this weather

We saw the Great Wall

It was even colder

We celebrated the New Year

On our last day in Beijing it snowed

We visited the Temple of Heaven

We took goofy pictures

Back in the states the New Year was in overdrive. The boyfriend and I celebrated 5 years by going to Boston. My hard drive died and all that remains of the trip is a silly video:

Soon enough, we both quit our jobs and were headed back for Virginia. Someone had a Hipster themed Birthday to celebrate a quarter century and the exodus from New York:

Next thing I knew, my unemployed butt did the responsible thing and flew half around the world to:


And once I get all the pictures back from that journey (read: also lost in hard drive failure) I'll see about posting some more information on that amazing trip. But there has also been a lot of cooking and eating since Hong Kong! And I hope to catch you up on that too. I'm back to being employed and I must say- It's good to back home in Virginia.