Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I scream for ice cream!

Last weekend, my husband proved to me his devotion and love. In a blizzard he drove to Kentucky and picked up an object necessary to life…an ice cream maker.
Ice cream is, quite possibly, one of life’s greatest indulgences.
The creamy-cold frozen treat can charm the bleakest moment into joy.
It enhances celebrations and solidifies memories.
I had been eyeing the Cuisinart ice cream maker for over a year, but at $50 I couldn’t really justify the expense until I discovered the mind-numbingly delicious Graeter’s coconut chip. I’ve always turned my nose up at Ohio’s food “scene.” Buckeyes, Cincinnati “chili” (which, in my not so humble opinion looks like greasy dog food) and Larosa’s (which taste like the pizza I had in Ukraine) did absolutely nothing for me.

Try to understand.

I am from New York, where bagels are chewy and yeasty. Where pizza crust splits down the middle when you fold it (listen up, Cincinnatians. You are not supposed to eat pizza with a fork unless it is Sicilian style!) and where you can find a deli, Greek restaurant and zeppole on every corner. So, I wasn’t expecting much the first time I had Graeter’s.
Imagine my surprise when I tasted the creamy, custardy dessert chock-full of chocolate “chips” the size of my spoon.
The only problem with Graeter’s is that it is almost $5 a pint. After six months of “the girls are in bed. I’m going to run to Kroger and pick up some coconut chip” excursions, the Cuisinart became justified. Even more so when I found one on Craigslist for $10!
I eagerly contacted the seller- trying not to sound too excited in case he didn’t realize that a once used Cuisinart ice cream maker is worth way more than the cost of 2 ½ pints of Graeters.
That Saturday morning I woke Shane up and told him he needed to go pick up my ice cream maker. It was snowing (hmmm…maybe the value of an ice cream maker goes down mid-winter) and I hate driving in the snow...actually, had it been June I still would have made him go because I hate driving period.

He didn’t grumble.

He took a shower, got dressed, grabbed a banana and headed out the door.

"You can take my car,” I generously offered. “It might be warmer and more comfortable than yours.”
That was an understatement. Shane’s car is a twenty year old, neon-blue “junk drawer.” In case of an accident, the refurbished computers, Chipotle wrappers and three years worth of coffee cups could become deadly projectile weapons.
“That’s okay. I’d rather you have the car in case you need to go out.”
What a gem.
I smiled, kissed him and sent him on his way.
Two hours later he called and told me he was stuck in an accident on 275 and hadn’t moved in an hour.
An hour and half later he was home with my glowing gift from heaven.
I was up the entire first night (and half of the second) concocting recipes and dreaming of miles of rainbow-hued sherbets and shiny pillows of chocolate-studded treats.
Below is one of them.
Of course, I use raw cream but if you aren’t able or willing to secure raw dairy you can find gently pasteurized, non-homogonized cream milked from grass-fed cows at most Whole foods. The ice cream calls for raw egg yolks. Most ice cream recipes instruct you to bring the eggs and cream to a boil but I don’t do that because boiling $8 worth of raw cream would be pointless and expensive. If you choose to use the eggs raw, make sure you use local eggs made from pastured chickens.
Ice cream, when homemade and depending on your views on healthy eating, can be a fulfilling and healthy snack. Fulfilling, because ice cream made from cream and eggs satisfies in only one scoop rather than three bowls of the low-fat, conventional stuff that doesn’t even contain cream (creamless ice cream is up there with meatless meatballs.)
Healthy, because you can substitute unprocessed and natural sweeteners for sugar and use organic, fresh ingredients that are wholesome and created by God- not a lab in Iowa.
What are some of those ingredients? Let’s have a looksee…

(Keep in mind that manufacturers are not required by law to list the additives used in the manufacturing of their products so you won’t find these ingredients on the label of your chunky monkey.)

Diethylglycol: An inexpensive chemical used as an emulsifier instead of eggs. Also used in antifreeze and paint remover.
Piperonal: Used in place of vanilla. The chemical is used to kill lice.
Aldehyde C-17: Used as cherry flavoring. It is an inflammable liquid also used in aniline dyes, plastic and rubber.
Ethyl Acetate: Used as pineapple flavoring (SEE RECIPE BELOW!) It is also used as a leather and textile cleaner. Its vapors have been known to cause chronic lung, liver and heart damage.
Butraldehyde: Used in nut flavored ice creams. It is one of the ingredients in rubber cement.
Amyacetate: Used as banana flavoring. It is also used as an oil paint solvent.
Benzyl Acetate: Used as strawberry flavoring. It is a nitrate solvent.

These ingredients are in addition to the listed ones. Partially hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup and dry milk solids. What ever happened to cream, eggs and sugar? (I would bet sugar, in all its evilness, is less threatening than those ingredients. It may be processed and stripped of its original goodness, but at least it’s real!)

The next time you have a yen for a scoop of ice cream skip the antifreeze, lice killer and leather cleaner and whip up a batch yourself…or at least pick up a container of organic ice cream with pronounceable words and edible ingredients.

Tropical ice cream cake

Layers of ginger cookie crust, coconut sorbet and pineapple-agave ice cream and lemon whipped cream.

Coconut sorbet

2 cans 14 oz whole coconut milk
1 ½ cups shredded, unsweetened coconut
¾ cup evaporated cane juice crystals

Combine ingredients and bring to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved.
Remove from heat and cool. Chill completely in fridge.
Pour into ice cream maker and process according to directions. Transfer to freezer container and freeze at least four hours before serving.

Pineapple-agave ice cream

3 egg yolks
½ cup raw agave nectar
1 Tb. pure vanilla extract
1 Tb. Arrowroot
3 cups heavy cream, preferably raw and NOT ultra pasteurized
1 15 oz. can pineapple, drained and crushed

Beat egg yolks and blend in remaining ingredients. Pour into ice cream maker and process according to directions. Five minutes before finished add pineapple. Transfer to freezer container and freeze at least four hours before serving.

Lemon whipped cream

Chill bowl and beater prior to whipping.
1 cup chilled heavy cream (again, raw is best)
2 Tb. Evaporated can juice crystals
1 Tb. finely grated lemon peel
2 ts. lemon juice

Combine ingredients and beat with electric mixer until soft peaks form.

Ginger cookie crust

Okay, I cheated and used Newman ginger cookies. I could have used homemade but I didn’t have time. I just twisted open the cookies and scooped out the cream- which my husband gladly ate.

Process 2 ½ cups crumbled cookies with 5 Tb melted organic butter and 3 Tb evaporated cane juice crystals in food processor.

To assemble cake

Line round eight inch cake pan with saran wrap. Press cookie crust onto bottom. Scoop softened pineapple ice cream over crust and press down. Freeze. When ice cream is hardened scoop softened coconut sherbet over ice cream layer. Spread a layer of whipped cream over sherbet. Freeze until top layer is hard. Pulling up on the saran wrap, remove ice cream cake from pan and place on tray (You can tear a piece of wax or parchment paper into four squares and cover the tray. Center cake over paper and pull out when done frosting. This will keep your tray clean.) Frost sides and top of cake with remaining whipped cream. Sprinkle with shredded-unsweetened coconut.

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