Thursday, July 1, 2010

Veggie ice creams...who would have thunk it?

My last week has been spent busily baking and ice cream making in hopes of some fulfillment. What fulfillment, I know not. I've been quickly falling into a serious health kick. I will always have my desserts, but those desserts now include honey or agave instead of processed sugar (though I'm not opposed to organic sugars). Ever since my friend Danika told me about how they make sugar so white, I've been completely mortified. I guess it just scares me to now know what exactly is in my food, and to think that something that I've used so often to make such delicious food is filtered with animal bones (that's right, folks, animal bones!) just creeps me out. I'm not even a vegetarian any more (though I usually lead a pretty vegetarian lifestyle), but I still am bothered by this news.I've especially been on a vegetable ice cream kick this past week. It started out with my roommate suggesting sweet potato pie ice cream (with the apple ginger glaze I had made for the muffins I had just made). Since I have cut out gluten for a bit, I did not want to use pie dough. I created a recipe from a combination of several recipes online, using canned chunks of sweet potato instead of pureed potato in hopes to make the ice cream a bit chunkier. The end product was less than desirable, with a weak potato taste and the unpleasant effect of the cream stuck to the roof of my mouth with every bit. After this failed experiment I have sworn to myself to only use tried and true recipes until I can become confident enough in my ice cream making skills.
I had been planning on making a coffee Heath Bar ice cream for my friend Matt (who should really have a cooking blog of his own,
and to whom I owe much of my skill and knowledge to), but when I went to the store yesterday sweet corn was newly in stock and on sale. I had read about sweet corn ice cream, and since it was nearing 4th of July weekend, I thought I might as well give it a try. Yet another mistake.
Several people had recommended a recipe from Epicurious, and I was very excited. I exchanging 3/4 cup sugar for just under 1/2 cup of honey, and adding a teaspoon of sea salt, which I had seen in another recipe. I am in love with sea salt. Matt taught me that when we crave salt, we are actually craving the minerals in salt. Iodized salt does not have these minerals. Anyway, back to the creation.
The first mini disaster came while cutting the corn off the cob, which caused kernels went everywhere. Always have a broom on standby while cooking.

Everything was going fairly smoothly, and I managed to add the 9 (whoa!) egg yolks to the milk mixture without them curdling. The recipe said to then stir the mixture constantly over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes, but after about three minutes of this my eggs began to cook! I immediately took the mixture off the heat, but it was already too beautiful custard was quickly turning into scrambled eggs. I didn't want to just toss it away, and it still tasted good, so I decided to go ahead and freeze it and see what happened. I tried to strain it through my french press, which did not work at all, and by this time I was so frustrated that I just put it in the fridge to cool off overnight, solids included. In the morning I froze the mix, and was not at all surprised when the ice cream came out with the texture and taste of creamed corn. I put it in a tupperware and decided to deal with it later.
I eventually slowly defrosted the ice cream, strained it through a better sieve, then re-froze it. The texture is now much better, but it still overpoweringly corn-y. I don't think it helps my opinion that I have disliked corn for some time now, owing to the overgrowth of the same strains we produce in America. I think it's just too damn American for me.
The two veggie ice creams with delicious gluten free brownies I made (will post more about that later). I didn't mind the sweet potato ice cream (on the left) with the brownies, but I still detested the corn.

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