Filed under: Appetizers, Dessert, Food and Recipes, Side Dishes, Snacks | Tags: alton brown, chocolate mint ice cream, cooking light, cucumbers, homemade ice cream, ice cream, low fat ice cream, refrigerator pickles
Those with inquiring minds may wonder, but I have no news to share with this post. The combination was simply one out of necessity, and just happened to be what I was into this weekend.
It’s hot. No seriously, like 105 degree heat index hot. I can’t go outside barefooted on the concrete anymore, and it’s hard to bend down over the garden with the sun beaming into me. So, I’ve been waiting until after 5 to venture out of the house, drinking lots of this green tea punch, and finding things to do in the cooler weather inside. Things like stocking my freezer and refrigerator with goodies to cool one down: thus pickles and ice cream.
I guess it’s only right, that on this father’s day, I make pickles and ice cream. I can remember when I was younger, each time that my dad sent me to get ice cream, he would shout after me, “and don’t forget the pickles!” He was only joking, of course, and he fooled many a friend of mine with that joke, but it’s a combination that made me think of him on this day.
I would tell you to beware of people when they say that this recipe is “the best.” Everyone has their own inclination of what “the best” is, but believe me when I say these two recipes are the best. Go with me on this one. The pickles are wonderfully flavorful, neither too sweet or too sour. The ice cream has the best undernote of mint that I’ve ever tasted, and the chocolate mint gives the milk base a pale green hue that looks beautiful when scooped out into my stark white bowls. It’s a welcoming site during this heat. So welcoming, in fact, that I might be tempted to have a bowl of that ice cream and a side of those cold, crisp, pickles.
Fresh Mint Ice Cream with Chocolate Bits
Adapted from Cooking Light, May 2010 Issue
2 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
1 cup fat free half and half
1 (1 ounce) package of fresh mint sprigs (I used chocolate mint from my garden, but you can use whatever you can get your hands on)
3/4 cup sugar
dash of salt
2 large egg yolks
1/3 cup of chocolate (dark is better, it will hold it’s flavor when it’s cold)
1. Combine milk, half and half, and mint sprigs in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium high heat. Heat until milk is 180 degrees, forming small bubbles around the edges, is steaming, but not boiling. Remove from heat, add mint sprigs, and cover. Allow to steep for 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk together egg yolks, sugar, and salt. The mixture will be thick, but stir it around until it is pale yellow.
3. Return to the milk mixture, and pour it through a fine mesh sieve over a bowl, and press the mint slightly with a wooden spoon to get all the juices out. Discard solids, and return the milk mixture to the pan. Pouring slowly while wisking, gradually add the milk mixture to the egg yolk mixture, and whisk until combined. Once again, pour this mixture back into the pan.
4. Return the pan to a burner set to medium-low heat, and, whisking constantly, bring the mixture to 160 degrees, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, and allow to cool.
5. Freeze ice cream base according to the manufacturer’s directions for your ice cream maker. I have a cuisinart one, and it works best if I chill the mixture overnight while freezing the bowl and make the next day. Add the chopped chocolate in the last minute or so of mixing. After freezing in your ice cream maker, place the ice cream, which should be soft serve consistency, into a bowl and freeze until firm enough to scoop.
Slightly adapted from Alton Brown at foodtv.com
I doubled this recipe and placed it in four one quart jars so I could have some for gifts, and it worked beautifully!
2 cucumbers, sliced 1/4 inch thick, with skin still on
1 half of a medium onion, sliced into strips
4 garlic cloves, smashed
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 tsp pickling spice
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground yellow mustard
1/4 tsp tumeric
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 2 qt glass jar, cleaned
1. Over medium high heat, add all vinegar, water and dried spices until at a rolling boil. Reduce to medium, and allow to simmer for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat, and allow to cool slightly.
2. Meanwhile, slice cucmbers, onion, and smash garlic. Layer in your jar, starting with cucumbers, then onion and garlic. Do a few layers, ending with a small amount of onion and garlic on top. No exact science, just pack it down in there.
3. Using a jar funnel, add the pickling liquid to the jar until the liquid comes up to the shoulder of the jar. Seal with your lid, and tip the jar upside down to make sure all spices are well dispersed (make sure it’s sealed!!).
4. Store in the fridge overnight before eating to allow to pickle. Lasts for about three months in the fridge. If the pickles stay around that long…
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