Amidst the stress-filled spring that this has become, it has been hard finding time to enjoy regular outdoor activities. Which isn’t to say that I haven’t! Taking a trip to Block island this last weekend was great, and kayaking (when it’s not too windy) is my slice of paradise. So while I sit chained to my desk, working on dissertation writing, at least I can dream of a day when I can sit in the sun, sipping a mojito, and not worrying about writing or graduating or searching for a job. But that dream is too far away. What is closer is our trip to Italy (in two weeks)! Of course, it’s still a conference gig where I have to present and network for the first week, but after that Melissa and I will be jet-setting around Como, Milan, Genoa, and Florence for a week eating (cheese, pasta and gelato!), drinking (espresso and wine!), seeing the sights (suggestions?), and shopping (Melissa needs no suggestions!). To say I’ve been looking forward to it is an understatement.
Moving out of my apartment over the summer has also been on my mind. I know it will be bittersweet to leave New Haven, but to ease the troubles, I have been planting a few potted herbs for the balcony of my new (temporary) apartment. Fresh herbs are the way to go when cooking nearly anything, but most of us don’t have access to proper growing environments (or the patience to see it through). While I was over in Milford planting, I picked up a few rhubarb stalks from my parents’ garden. While I knew it would be difficult (and time consuming) to make pie which still wouldn’t rival Melissa’s, ice cream was totally something I could do. Searching around the internet for a suitable strawberry rhubarb ice cream recipe resulted in weak or overly complicated formulae. So taking a few tricks from David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop, I came up with the this heavenly batch of early summer creaminess. Honestly, this may be the best ice cream I’ve ever made! But why would you believe me, go try for yourself… and no, my batch is not for sale!
Finally, you may notice the quality of those photos… I’m not ashamed to say that I asked for Melissa’s expertise and she rushed over fresh from work. While I sat across the room, wanting nothing more than to finally eat my ice cream and feeling the discomfort of knowing that it was melting and dripping all over my cutting board, she snapped away. Because I couldn’t help myself, I snapped a couple of my own of the master at work…
- 2 cups strawberries, washed and quartered
- 3-4 stalks rhubarb, cut
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 cup milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 cup strawberry rhubarb puree
- 1 cup heavy cream
- In a sauce pan, combine the strawberries, rhubarb, water and sugar over low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the rhubarb and strawberries have broken down and the liquid is thick, 10-15 minutes. Puree the mixture in a blender until smooth.
- Heat the milk and vanilla extract, with stirring, on medium low heat in a clean sauce pan. While heating, whisk the egg yolks and ½ cup sugar together in a medium bowl. When the milk is slightly steaming, pour it slowly into the egg yolks and sugar while whisking. Pour back into the sauce pan and turn the heat down to low. Stir for several minutes until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 5-10 minutes. Remove from the heat and empty into a medium bowl. Whisk in 1 cup of the strawberry rhubarb puree and 1 cup heavy cream. Chill the mixture in a refrigerator for several hours or overnight. Churn in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer's instructions (about 20 minutes), pack in a container and chill in the freezer overnight.
- To add a swirl of strawberry rhubarb, either drizzle some of the extra chilled puree into the ice cream just before the end of churning. Alternatively, layer ice cream and a bit of puree in your container and run a knife or chopstick around to create a swirl (this must be done quickly so the ice cream doesn't melt).
- The extra puree can also be used as an ice cream topping, in smoothies, as a topping for waffles (but these are just a few ideas).