(if i’m going to whine, ice cream is the very least i can offer…)
dear readers… ceF is 2 days shy of turning one year old and well, i must tell you that as much fun as this is, in the short time that we’ve known each other i have recklessly and pitifully packed on some serious poundage. i have tried to be better about keeping it all in balance, but to date am failing miserably. i have tried to do all the things i know to do. but i am weak in the face of good food.
to keep us all entertained here, i have been also trying to achieve some semblance of excellence with my cooking. ok, maybe excellence is going too far. but i am aiming high, and honestly, most of the time we’re eating pretty well here at kitchen central. but i’ve still got a lot to learn, and that means practice. and repetition. using it or losing it. and this tends to involve churning out a fair amount of food if you ever want to call yourself a cook. and i aspire to that…
right now i’m in santa monica for 3 weeks. and guess what? i’m not going to any great restaurants or cooking. i’m in semi-radical cleansing mode drinking fresh juices and eating fruit and plain salads. as in vegan raw without the frills of nuts or seeds or oil or seasonings of any kind. as in yes, you’re right this is not easy – and no, i don’t recommend you do this. unless you want to. which you probably don’t. and man, i so do not blame you. because if i could find a way to eat the way i wanted to eat all the time, and not look and feel toxic, i’d be all over it. you see, i am the quintessential plate cleaner. i love to eat and i can pack it away but good. but i am terribly vain – and that’s a tricky combo to balance. so here i am – paying for my salty high-caloric intake. because the fat lady has sung and it’s time to pay the piper.
interestingly enough, the older i get the more he charges – the little flute playing bastard…
but to keep the blog fires burning, i have a few things that i recently whipped up and then stockpiled, knowing i’d be away from the kitchen. and this is one of them. fresh mint custard ice cream with pralus 75% chocolate. i used david lebovitz’s recipe for the ice cream, always adding an extra egg yolk as a sacrifice to whatever god that thomas keller worships (i do believe he uses up to 12 yolks in his ice creams). and then i went a little too heavy on the chocolate because well, one bar is 3.5 ounces and david calls for about 5 ounces (i don’t have the book with me) and i think i may have used over 1 1/2 bars. but next time i think i’d stick to the one, as that’d be plenty. this batch was a bit heavy on the chocolate. not that it’d hurt your feelings, because the chocolate is so spectacular and plays well off the minty custard… but still, live and learn.
the fresh mint is steeped in the warm milk/cream mixture and then the custard is made and chilled. to make the stracciatella, you add the melted chocolate in a steady stream at the very end of the churning process, keeping the chocolate away from mixing blade. being a stracciatella making virgin, i did a so-so job… but it was really very, very awfully good. and i guess one day i will have to try again. and again. but not for a little while.
my inner child had hoped for the ice cream to be a bit on the greener side - but when thinking about the steeping/straining process, it seemed unlikely that the leaves would give up much color. but david had promised an emerald hue and dear readers, that just was not happening. also and for the record, i’m not a huge mint fan. and now i know why. because most mint things that we buy are made with some kind of extract that is way not my thing. this ice cream was minty, but subtle. it tasted real, because it was.
and i’ll be posting here and there, but for now, i’ve gone west to where the ‘beautiful people’ are. to where you are pretty much always – comparatively speaking (to like, anywhere) - too fat, too old and too poor. i kind of never "got" LA but i want to. and i am willing to love LA – if it will let me. i will hang by the beach and soak up the califiornia vibe and then i am back to nashville for a night, only to take off the next day to nyc to do my usual thing – which totally revolves around food. and as one might imagine based on my last trip home, i am still going to dine quite well. and so this is when i will get to practice balance. and then i get to practice even more balance a week later in chicago at alinea and trotter’s.
so, it’s looking like if all goes well i will be one helluva balanced woman come july. and then i will throw a party and invite you and i will make this mint stracciatella for everyone and only eat one scoop.
which brings us back to all of you summer loving, ice cream eating people out there. why not go and make yourself this minty custardy ice cream? it is truly wonderful. the recipe is in david’s book and if you’re an ice cream aficionado and don’t own it, i urge you to get it.
and oh by the way – if there is a next life?
i am so coming back as a person with the metabolism of a hummingbird…