One of the interesting elements of this current pandemic is how quickly the order we’ve grown so accustomed to gets thrown out the door and how our collective need to be more ‘lax’ trickles down into so much of what we do- even governmentally, as we have seen.
While social order has become redefined, so do our self-bureaucratic policies. Maybe we don’t feel the need to exercise, or we drink more or eat more pasta. Maybe the kids watch too much TV or play too many video games. Perhaps the adults find themselves suddenly interested in a bizarre new show about the strange world of large cat people and the Tiger King. Whatever rules or systems we allow to fall by the wayside, we all have them. We make these quick and easy changes because we recognize that, when push comes to shove, so many of these rules just aren’t that important.
I’m a girl of order and organization. Some would call me OCD-ish, and others might even say anal retentive. But one thing I learned early on in life is that no rule, policy or system is finite. Like life itself, these things are meant to be adjusted. Of course, it is important that we think about the overall well-being of ourselves and others. So, rules like staying put and social distancing may not be the best ones to break, but others like eating ice cream at your desk in the daytime, would be.
That’s where this is going… to an ice cream recipe that I made yesterday that I have nowhere else to post for the many people that asked me for it. This blog, My Herbal Roots, is my herb-centric place where I share all my herbal passions. But my ice cream recipe, like many things I make, doesn’t have herbs in it. My other website, Ger-Nis, is currently down and totally outdated (I rarely us it but to store recipes). Some recent PHP updates the hosting company did a month ago made it go totally out of wack- and it hasn’t been fixed yet.
So, here I am with a recipe I want to share but no ‘proper’ place to put it.
Thus, I’m breaking my own herb-centric Herbal Roots policy, so I can share this recipe: Vanilla Bean Ice Cream with Strawberry-Rhubarb Jam and White Chocolate Ripples. Because it’s fantastic, so many of us now have time to make it, and even more of us have the opportunity to eat it at our desks in the middle of the day.
Maybe we exercise after eating it (ok, not right after but sometime after), or maybe we just watch the tiger show in our skivvies. Maybe we eat too much and don’t share any. These things don’t matter right now, just like those gray hairs perking up and the unmanicured fingernails and the men’s haircuts that are growing way out. What matters is grabbing joy wherever it can be found and doing what you can, if you can and are up for it; for your neighbors, community, and friends around the globe. Joy is a very powerful emotion that we should never turn away. It can be found in ice cream, in your pets, the good things people do and countless other places. Your job is simply to find it and share it. Empathy is the skill we all need to hone for the other side of this thing.
I wish I could give a bowl of this ice cream to all my friends, but since I cannot and since it is rhubarb season, this is the best that I can do.
Share joy, where and when you can.
Vanilla Bean Ice Cream with Strawberry-Rhubarb Jam and White Chocolate Ripples
Makes about 2 pints
This ice cream contains the joys of spring, the soft comforts of familiar vanilla, and the lush depth of white chocolate. It’s a standalone dessert, but naturally it makes the perfect a la mode companion to many desserts – in other words, the world is your ice cream. Also, ice cream that you make has the added satisfaction of a job well done.
You’ll need an ice cream maker for this, but it’s worth the investment if you can spring it. I happen to have one of the high-end De’Longhi versions. These have a built-in compressor making the ice cream making process incredibly easy and quick. It can freeze your ice cream in under 30 minutes. I have it for the culinary center work, but it was one of the best kitchen investments I ever made.
For the ice cream base:
5 egg yolks
½ cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1 vanilla bean split
Pinch of salt
For the strawberry-rhubarb jam:
For the white chocolate ripples:
Enough melted white chocolate to please you
For the ice cream base:
Mix up the egg yolks and sugar until it’s super creamy and well mixed.
In a heavy bottom pan, heat the milk, cream, and salt until just about boiling. Whisk in a little of the hot milk mixture to the eggs (to temper) – then a little more, then a little more. Next, add the egg mixture to the warm milk mixture, turn the burner to medium-low, and allow the mixture to thicken, stirring constantly about 2-3 minutes. It should get thick and coats the spoon (but honestly, I don’t know if that description helps enough, it’s more a feeling that it’s the right consistency than anything).
Then strain it into a glass bowl (I think the glass cools it quicker). Put that bowl into an ice bath, stir a lot and let it cool as quickly as possible. Then, put that in the freezer for 20 minutes to get super cold. In the meantime, turn your ice cream maker on freeze so it gets cold.
For the strawberry-rhubarb jam:
Use whatever proportions you feel best. You can cook this up like a compote. I personally don’t like to use a lot of sugar, but you can use what you feel. You can also try alternative sugars, if that’s something you’re into. Be sure to cool this jam before you add it to the cold ice cream base.
Put the cold ice cream base in the ice cream maker and turn the churn and freeze on. Let it do its thing for about 30 minutes. Then add a stream of melted white chocolate and turn it on freeze for another 15 minutes.
Then I place that the mixture in a pre-chilled container (I like glass). At this point, it’s still kind of like soft serve. Then I swirl in the rhubarb jam and place in the freezer to harden.