Saturday, July 28, 2007

Peppermint Stick Ice Cream

Since Monday's BBQ here at the beach will include some very special guests (like an old girlfriend who traded up when she ditched me and is coming to show off her three lovely daughters) I decided to pull out all the stops.

Tomorrow's agenda is to go fishing. We leave about two hours before dawn and come back just after sunset. This should give us plenty of time on the albacore holes. I'll be posting those recipes once I know what the catch of the day is. You can help by thinking ALBACORE, DORADO, or, should you wish to throw out incredible vibes BLUEFIN. Any or all of those would be welcome at the table. As would any readers who are near San Diego. You'd be on your own for parking, but on Mondays that usually isn't an issue.

Since the company is special I am pulling out my Nana's old recipe for Peppermint Stick Ice Cream. This stuff is incredible. I will translate some of her proportions for you, since we are working with a recipe from the nineteen thirties.


7 five cent peppermint sticks (see? in 1930 that was about a pound of peppermint candy)

1 pint whole milk
3 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cake flour
pinch salt
1 teaspoon each vanilla extract and almond extract
1/3 cup white Karo
1 can Eagle Brand® sweetened condensed milk
equal proportions heavy cream and 1/2&1/2

I do this the day before. Although since tomorrow's about fishing, I'm doing it today.

Break up the peppermint candies (the puffs you can buy in bulk are the easiest, and a pound is a pound) and dissolve them in the 1 pint of milk over a medium heat in a heavy saucepan.

When completely dissolved, remove from the heat and whisk in the three eggs, sugar, cake flour, extracts, salt, syrup, and condensed milk.

Pour this into the freezing container for the ice cream maker and add, in equal amounts, heavy cream and 1/2&1/2 to fill the container to the full mark. (remember that when it freezes this will expand by about 1/3 in volume). Refrigerate until ready to freeze.

Since I'm one of those frontier throwback type of guys my freezer is the old timey hand crank variety. There's no discernable difference between the ice cream made in one of these and the ice cream that comes from an electric freezer, but I enjoy having people take a turn on the crank and being able to remain with my guests while we are doing this. The electric freezers make a horrendous noise and the person on freezer is isolated off in a secluded, noisy part of the house, away from all the fun. That's not my idea of a party.

Layer about 2 inches of crushed or small cube ice into the freezer bucket around the canister of ice cream, then sprinkle with rock salt. When it is about an inch from the top of the canister, commence to cranking. When your arm tires pass it off to someone. Because you are starting with cold ice cream base it should only take about 20 minutes of good cranking to achieve a decent freeze. One tip though, vigorous cranking introduces more air bubbles into the ice cream, which makes for a fluffier and smoother end result.

Once the ice cream is at a soft freeze, where it will cling to a wooden spoon without dripping right off, call over all the kids and hand out plastic spoons. Remove the dasher from the container and put it in a big bowl and tell the kids to have at it. They will swear later that this is when the ice cream is at its peak flavor. Put the rest of the canister into the freezer for another half an hour to bring it to a nice, firm state.

Give this one a try. It won't make your old girlfriends wish they had never left you, but it will keep her thinking about the good times you had together, much more than the tawdry endings. And, yes, Louise, I know it was all, completely my fault. I was a shithead who did not treat you as well as I should have and you were absolutely right to leave. I am looking forward to helping you spoil your lovely daughters on Monday.


Monday, July 23, 2007

Why I Was Glad To Not Be Working Last Night

This is the view from the porch. I might just sit here until Wednesday when I have to go back to work.