What's Going on Today: Picking up knives from new knife sharpener (!), library trip, fun in the sun, Mom's night out!
Naptime Goals: Make Strawberry Mint Ice-Cream, organize schedule for babysitter, clean up email inbox.
Tonight's Menu: Mom's night out! (Dad and daughter eating leftovers)
Parenting Lesson of the Day: Introduce kids to their local library early and often, it is a wonderful place!
This week I had a really fun Mom's night out. You all know that I love to cook for my family, but even the best of us need to go out with our friends once in a while. On the days when dinner plans are already made, I use the time I might have spent rolling meatballs to play in the kitchen. I'll often experiment with new ice-cream flavors, baked goods and stock the pantry with some honest-to-goodness batch cooking (5lbs of homemade granola anyone?!)
I'll get to the batch cooking later this summer, right now I am going to tell you about ice-cream. As you can see we are in full summer mode here and my cooking is beginning to reflect that. Instead of diving into my favorite cookie recipes, recently I've been breaking about my good ole' Cuisinart Ice-20. For the next three months I'll use this almost as much as I use my KitchenAid mixer, generating pint after pint of our favorite summer freezer staple.
Since we are still taking advantage of strawberry season, this week I decided to make some delicious Strawberry-Mint Ice-Cream. I love the flavor pairing of strawberry and mint, it is both refreshing and sweet. As you'll see, I was even able to finish off the batch in full cocktail dress, wedges and all.
Strawberry Mint Ice-Cream
1 c. whole milk
1/2 c. superfine sugar
1 t. good quality Peppermint extract
2 c. heavy whipping cream
For Strawberry Swirl:
3 T. superfine sugar
Juice of 1 small lemon
1/2 c. water
2 c. fresh strawberries, washed and hulled
Makes about 6 cups
1. Heat the milk in a saucepan over medium heat until tiny bubbles form around the edges. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar and peppermint extract. Ladle a small portion of the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture and whisk constantly to incorporate. This will help temper the eggs. Whisk in another small ladle of milk. Then, pour in the remaining milk mixture and whisk to completely combine.
2. Pour the egg/milk mixture back into the saucepan over medium heat and stir constantly until mixture thickens and is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove it from the heat, pour it into a fresh bowl and whisk in the heavy cream until mixture is completely smooth. Note: If you suspect lumps in your egg custard place a fine mesh sieve over the bowl and pour the custard through it to catch any lumps, the whisk in the cream.
3. Place plastic wrap over glass bowl and put it in the fridge to chill for at least 1-2 hours.
4. For the ripple, pour the water, sugar and lemon juice into a small saucepan. Heat until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is slightly reduced - about 4 minutes. Place the strawberries in a blender, pour in the sugar mixture and puree until smooth. Pour the strawberry mixture through a fine mesh sieve to catch any seeds. Place in the fridge next to the custard.
5. To make the ice-cream, pour custard into ice-cream maker and churn according to manufacturer's directions. At the very end of the churn cycle drizzle in the swirl for about 1 minute so it forms a ribbon through the ice-cream, but doesn't get too distributed. Alternatively, you can fold in the ripple with a spoon or spatula. Freeze ice-cream until ready to eat.
Naptime Recipe Variations and Ideas: If you just want plain strawberry ice-cream it is fine to use vanilla extract instead of peppermint. The basic vanilla base is also a great jumping off point. Instead of strawberries you could use raspberries, blueberries or even peaches for the swirl in.
Naptime Stopwatch: Making the custard takes about 20 minutes, then churning is roughly another 20 (depending on your machine).
Naptime Reviews: We are a family of ice-cream enthusiasts - we ate the entire container in 2 days! (Or, maybe I shouldn't admit that?)