Sunday, July 6, 2014

Summer Fun: Big Weekend

Marked lots of things off our list this weekend:
  1. Celebrate July 4th--all weekend
  2. Go to cultural festival--Scottish games
  3. Make ice cream--today, from the NYTimes, a basic vanilla--soo good!!  Reminded me of Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla, my gold standard (sadly not available up here).  I also made the chocolate ganache
  4. Have a barbecue--okay, campfire, but I'm counting it
  5. See fireworks--from the car, driving through town
  6. Have a dance party--Bud even danced the Sailor's Hornpipe
  7. Make a favorite meal--well, not a meal, but Bud and Mama made Ma's Thai cucumber salad
  8. Do a 1000 piece puzzle--does a 6,000 piece Nano-Neuschwanstein count?  They're not quite finished.
  9. Visit with Miss S--who was so happy to see me; her memory is more noticeably diminished and she covers well, but we still had a great visit.
Not on our list but also accomplished:

  • Water fight--twins against me, with hoses.  Their battle cry, "Minecraft!"  I surrendered
  • Have a storybook night--we read several of our favorite storybooks from a long time ago
Whew.  Holidays are hard work.

Vanilla Ice Cream a la NYTimes

  • 2cups heavy cream
  • 1cup whole milk
  • cup sugar
  • teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 6large egg yolks
  • 1 1/2-2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1. In a small pot, simmer cream, milk, sugar and salt until sugar completely dissolves, about 5 minutes. Remove pot from heat. In a separate bowl, whisk yolks. Whisking constantly, slowly whisk about a third of the hot cream into the yolks, then whisk the yolk mixture back into the pot with the cream. Return pot to medium-low heat and gently cook until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon (about 170 degrees on an instant-read thermometer).  Add vanilla extract.
2. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. Cool mixture to room temperature. Cover and chill at least 4 hours or overnight.
3. Churn in an ice cream machine according to manufacturer’s instructions. Serve directly from the machine for soft serve, or store in freezer until needed.
Yield: About 1 1/2 pints

NYTimes (see link for alternate flavors)


Chocolate Ganache
  • 14 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 3 tablespoons espresso, strong coffee or water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup sugar (confectioners’, granulated or light brown)
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream, preferably not ultrapasteurized
  • 1 pinch coarse salt, more to taste
In a heavy saucepan, combine all ingredients and melt together over very low heat, stirring. (Alternatively, combine in a bowl and microwave at low heat for 2 minutes. Stir. Continue cooking in 30-second blasts, stirring in-between.)
Just before all the chocolate is melted, remove from heat and stir until chocolate melts and mixture comes together. It may appear curdled, but keep stirring or whisk vigorously; it will smooth out. If too thick to pour, whisk in hot water a tablespoon at a time. Taste for salt and adjust the seasoning.
About 1 1/2 cups

NYTimes (see link for alternate uses, like truffles)

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