World on a Plate

Exploring culture. One plate at a time.

Month: August, 2006

Unearthly Summer Fun – PB Ice Cream

              Icecream2

Cravings hit at the strangest time.  My fellow gophers in cubicle life have come to expect my outbursts to be around food. Wednesday’s out burst was "Peanut butter ice cream with bits of Reese’s cups–doesn’t that sound good."  KK, quipped back, "Hey you over there! Don’t get us started."  But it had struck so I needed to address the urge.

Having recently moved into a small in-law cottage and spontaneously deciding to make something Krups_1 in my IBK is an ongoing experiment.  First I had to recall where the Krups Glacerie had been placed in the overstuffed storage shed, dig around and drag it out, only to learn that the container needed 24 hours to pre-freeze.  OK so this would be a 2-day impulse effort. It’s a fine line between craving and obsession and I had just crossed it.

Most of the history of ice cream is checkered with claims by the French and the Italians. But what is known is that the first recorded bowl of ice cream was in China in the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907). It was made with a combination of horse, water buffalo, cow and goat milks that were heated and allowed to ferment then mixed with flour and camphor.  Also in the Middle East there was a drink called, charbet, made with water and fruit.  In Japan a type of ice slush was made in the 11th century.

Final_pbNeedless to say there are many languages of ice cream. Sorbet and sherbet differ in that the latter contains milk and the former does not and relies heavily on the quality and natural sugars of the fruit. Ice milks contain no cream. Hmmm, skip that shall we? And then we arrive at Philadelphia style ice-cream which is yielded from uncooked cream and sugar. But for me, during summer there is no substitute for the true blue variety–rich, full fat. So in selecting the ingredients it was going to be necessary to include heavy cream, full fat milk and high-quality eggs. The recipe that I was envisioning had to have that rich full mouth taste with a smooth as silk taste. My recipe would be a French style ice cream with a cooked custard base. Interestingly in a piece over at Slate ice cream can’t legally be labeled "ice cream" in France until it contains eight egg yolks per quart.

Homemade ice cream requires you to pay attention and to exhibit some patience.  If carefully followed the results will be rewardingly indulgent and heavenly ice cream. This particularly recipe is no exception. And now that my craving has been satitatied who wants some ice cream?

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When is a Plum a Rose?

               Rosehips

Summers on Cape Cod are to be held close. The soft sands, the beach food, the salt-kissed breezes. Time spent there makes my heart pine for early morning beach walks and lazy days spent reading in a low slung sand chair with my feet in the water.  It’s also a time to seek out wild beach plums.

Beachplums The wild beach plum grows on a gnarly shrub in sand dunes between Maine and Maryland. Each fruit is about the size of a grape. These small orbs when cooked down have a velvety, sweet taste that produces an elegant jelly that New Englanders seek out. I’m certainly no different.  However, before you set out to harvest your crop its best to know a bit more. You see I set out one morning large bowl in hand to harvest for jelly.  After 90 minutes I arrived back at the cottage only to have my brother say, "You know, Aunt Lana says those aren’t beach plums. They are rose hips."  "Really, I just got all prickly for rose hips?" said the very disappointed city girl. I knew this was too easy.

Off we went to the West Dennis library to determine exactly what I had picked. After inquiries with the librarian and a look at pictures of both fruits and the final conclusive fact–the growing season (late August through mid-October)–it was final, rose hips.

Rose hips develop after the bloom of a rose fades as it is the seed pod of the plant. There are wild roses in every state but Hawaii. Before we all go clamoring be forewarned that preparing and cleaning rose hips is very time consuming as you need to remove the stem and calyx, and their are hairy seeds and small hairs around the pits. As they are a hard fruit it should be cooked prior to eating which is why their use is typically in the form of tea or jelly which is a bit tangy. During World War II, when fresh fruit was hard to come by, British mothers boiled the fruit with sugar and water and served it to their children.

I will need to wait until another vacation for my homemade beach plum jelly. Instead I paid a visit to the Chatham Jam & Jelly Shop for a jar of Cape Cod Wild Beach Plum jelly, one lives and learn!

Read on for a Swedish recipe for Rose Hip Soup.

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