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June 30, 2008


Dale Hazelton

I've cut way back on the yard saling this year, gas is too much money for an "oh, let's just go see what they've got" trip right now. And I've been burned by the ads that promise "Something for Everyone!" but deliver nothing but baby clothes and pink and blue plastic ride-on toys. However I did get some nice Lambs Ear plants at an auction Saturday...

I made banana popsicles last week, loosely based on a spanish version Mark Bittman had in the Times last week, with the added spice of rum. Quite refreshing.

My wife has been practicing with some vanillas (I like to add whatever fruit is seasonal after): an ice milk, a cooked then frozen custardy affair (very rich) and then uncooked and a little less fat. All good, but whatever type you prefer, it's best eaten right away or the next day at the latest. It seems to lose it's home-made lustre after more time in the freezer. Have you seen the price of a vial of vanilla beans?


Here's my can't-miss vanilla ice cream recipe:

1 quart half and half
pinch of salt
3 large egg yolks
1 vanilla bean
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup sugar (minus 3 tablespoons)
1 TB corn starch

Pour the half and half into a heavy non-reactive saucepan. Heat to simmering.

Split the vanilla bean and scrape the resin and seeds with a paring knife. Add it all (including hulls) to the simmering liquid. Add a pinch of salt and vanilla extract. Keep on simmer for about 10 minutes.

Separate the Eggs, putting the whites aside for another dish (egg white omelet, for instance). Put yolks into the bowl of a stand mixer and beat slowly. Increase speed and begin to add the sugar, a few tablespoons at a time. Eggs should get pale and buttery in look and feel. Continue to add the sugar until it's all incorporated.

Now slowly pour some of the hot half and half into the egg mixture with the beaters still going (about 1/3 cup at a time). When about 1/3 of the hot half and half has been incorporated into the egg mixture, the egg will be tempered. Now pour the egg mixture back into the sauce pan and return to simmer.

Mix 1 TB corn starch with a little milk and add to the simmering mixture. Stir well put heat on low. Allow it all to bubble and thicken for about 5 minutes.

Remove from heat, cover and allow to return to room temperature. Then place mixture in refrigerator for at least 8 hours.

Remove bean hulls right before churning in ice cream maker.

Note: If you can't acquire a real vanilla bean, add 2 more tsp of the vanilla extract.

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