Sunday, June 24, 2012

Ice Cream Churnin'

Triple Berry Homemade Ice Cream in a mug (one of my favorite ways to eat ice cream)
Homemade Ice Cream.  There is nothing like it. I compare making homemade ice cream to roasting a turkey at Thanksgiving.  I rarely do it, but when I do, I think, "this is so simple and so great! Why don't we do this ALL the time?"

I have many fond memories from childhood of Homemade Ice Cream.
My mom would make the mixture and dad would man the ice cream maker with the layering of rock salt and ice.  It was a loud and messy adventure that always signaled summertime.

There are a couple of specific ice cream making stories in my memory:
The Fruit Dilemma and The Missing Cork.
I love how a moment in time can be memorialized in a way that then becomes a "story to be told" for the next 30 or 40 years.  (I think of this at times with my children in our home.  Wondering which moments, out of the millions in their childhoods, will become THE memorable moments – the ones that will be legendary to them.  And what makes them so?  Is it the moment itself?  The significance of the event?  Whether the story is subsequently told, or is it more about the perspective of the person?)  I wrote more about this HERE.

The Fruit Dilemma:  My parents would often make strawberry ice cream OR banana ice cream.  One evening, they realized that they didn't have 4 cups (the required amount for their recipe) of either, but they had 2 cups of each.  Mom was stressed about this and was thinking she needed to run to the store to get some more fruit.   Then my dad creatively suggested that they go with what they had and put them together and see what happened.  What happened was that a new favorite ice cream was born.  So Strawberry/Banana became the family's signature ice cream flavor.

The Missing Cork is a story about the day when friends came over and ice cream was scooped into bowls.  After serving, mom realized that the cork (that was always placed in the lid of the ice cream canister after the paddle was removed), was missing.  It didn't take long to realize that it must have fallen into someone's bowl of ice cream.  And so... a playful announcement was made that some lucky person had a hidden cork buried in their bowl of ice cream.  This lucky cork-finder would be the prize winner.
Banana scooped up

I guess both of these legends follow the theme of making lemonades out of the lemons that life deals you.  Which is in keeping with my mom's outlook on life.  (Which I have talked about HERE, and HERE, oh, and HERE.)

We have had a simple RIVAL ice cream freezer (the salt and ice kind) forever.  We were given one as a wedding present by my dad's co-worker, and we have loved it.  We had to replace it a few years ago when ours petered out.  And last year for Dave's birthday, my mom gave him a countertop ice cream maker.  It's special.  It's makes a much smaller batch than the traditional one, but it is so easy and accessible.  It invites frequent ice cream making.

As far as recipes go, they are varied and Dave and I have been debating on a great basic recipe.  He prefers rich, creamy (and fatty); and I have wanted to lighten it up.  We made sorbet a while back and it was AMAZING and "healthy", but super expensive, as it requires so much fruit.  We wonder if it even makes sense to make sorbet when you could more easily and possibly more affordably buy it at the grocery.

So, I called my mom to ask for her favorite ice cream recipe and she sent me "Grover's Ice Cream".
I texted her, "Who's Grover?"  I wasn't sure if it was a restaurant or a friend or a furry, lovable monster.
the recipe with my grandmother's alteration – circa 1950's
She called me to explain that this recipe was from Grover, a man from her church when she was growing up.  He was a very generous man, a friend of her parents and always hosted meals for people.  This was his recipe.  So it's vintage, we could say.  It's from the '50s. I love the directions on this typed recipe card.  It's so dated. Mom said she always liked this recipe because it is eggless and therefore, you don't have to cook it and then cool it before freezing it.

I made it last week and used my bunch of ripe bananas, just to give it a try and we were very pleased.  The recipe is versatile, and is actually a base for whatever ice cream you want to make with it.  I wanted to try it order to honestly tell you that it is versatile.  We used a frozen berry medley. And it is super tasty.  I tried it with 1% milk instead of 2% just to see how it fared.  Ice cream made with skinnier milk is a little icier and a little harder when frozen, but equally delicious! Even Dave agrees.

Chocolate topped with slivered almonds

Then my 8 year old begged for chocolate, her favorite flavor.  I used Grover's recipe and adapted it to chocolate by melting 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips with some of the milk in a saucepan and using unflavored gelatin in place of the jello.  (we learned the hard way the second time making it, that you need to dissolve gelatin in the cold milk, not in the warm chocolate-melted milk.)  I finely chopped another handful of chocolate chips to stir into the ice cream. I wasn't sure what I was doing, but it is super tasty! I think it would be great with raspberries...or swirls of peanut butter...or marshmallows.

I also have to tell you about the greatest ice cream scoop that I've met to date.  I have tried many, many ice cream scoops trying to find the perfect one.  I won't detail all of the styles and kinds of scoops I've tried... you probably have done the same.  But when my mom was on a business trip with my dad to France last year, she bought this scoop at a cooking shop there.  It's our kind of souvenir - a kitchen gadget! After getting home and trying it she wished she had gotten a few more to give my sister and me and friends as gifts.  Lucky for us, she then found them at a grocery store in the states. This was great news... and yet, it makes her French-Imported-Scoop a little less novel.  Now you can buy it on Amazon online for $15!  You squeeze it and scoop and then release your hand and the scoop pops out.  Brilliant.
(If you want to see some of my other favorite kitchen gadgets go to the Kitchen Wish List post. )

Grover's Ice Cream (with my grandmother's substitution, and my updates)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 (3 oz.) pkg. Jello gelatin (lemon for vanilla...or a corresponding flavor of your choice)
1 quart (4 cups) milk, divided
1 cup (1/2 pint, that is) whipping cream
4 cups of fruit (bananas, berries, peaches, etc.)
     or flavoring- vanilla, chocolate:

fold in whipped cream
Set 1 cup of milk out on counter to reach room temperature (to help the jello dissolve).
Mix Jello and sugar together.
Add 1 cup of room temperature milk.  Stir well until sugar/jello are dissolved.

Add remaining milk.

Use wooden spoon (not quite sure about the significance of this, but I'm following Grover's lead).

Whip 1 cup of cream in a separate bowl with mixer.

add chopped fruit
Fold in whipped cream.

Add fruit (and/or flavorings).
Stir together well.

Freeze ice cream according to Ice Cream Freezer directions.

Banana ice cream
Triple Berry packed and ready to eat

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