April 07, 2009

Ice Cream and Chickens

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream with a snowy backdrop.

I’ve made ice cream four times in the past week. It was supposed to be a celebration of spring and the arrival of warm weather. I woke up this morning, ready to freeze the Vanilla Bean custard I made last night and discovered 15cm of snow on the ground. Where did that come from? The Pomegranate Frozen Yogurt photo was taken only days earlier when the temperature climbed to a hopeful 14°C, (57°F) and now this. I had hoped we were done with snow this year. As much as I like to ski and can appreciate the beauty of a white, snow covered landscape, I’m done with winter. Bring on the sun. I want to see flowers blossoming, asparagus and rhubarb coming up in the garden and I want to ride my bike. I want to continue making ice cream but I want to eat it outside on the deck. And I want it to be so bright outside that I have to wear sunglasses. Is that too much to ask?

Orange Popsicle Ice Cream

There may be another reason I’m making so much ice cream and that would be that I have approximately a million eggs to use up so I’m making lots of egg based things, (challah, egg salad sandwiches, deviled eggs…). The source of all these eggs? Chickens! Six of them. They’re in my backyard and each of them is laying an egg a day. For some time now Dad has been complaining that eggs are always on the grocery list and that I go through too many eggs with my baking and ice cream making. He recently came up with a solution to that problem. He built a chicken coop and acquired six chickens. Now I’ve got more eggs than I know what to do with and ice cream is accumulating in my freezer at a rapid rate as that seems to be my favourite thing to make with eggs.

Green Tea Ice Cream

When I want to make ice cream, one of the first places I look for a recipe is David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop. Sometimes I make his recipes exactly as written and other times I tweak them a bit to suit what I’ve got in mind or on hand. Once I’ve got an ice cream idea I usually check Lebovitz’s book for a recipe before looking anywhere else. Work is usually the source of my ice cream making inspiration, (no real surprise there considering it’s where I spend most of my time) and one of the guys at work is currently addicted to green tea. I think he’s single handedly decimating the kitchen’s supply of green tea so when I felt like making ice cream earlier this week, green tea was an easy choice. It had also been a long time since the last time I used my matcha powder to make ice cream in the form of Matcha White Chocolate Raspberry Ice Cream, so it was definitely time. The Orange Popsicle Ice Cream you see here was also inspired by a workplace conversation with someone who said they loved creamsicle bars. This ice cream is pretty close in taste, although I’d like to try making my own version of creamsicle ice cream that incorporates an orange sherbert swirl into a creamy ice cream.

Pomegranate Frozen Yogurt

While I was thinking about an orange sherbert swirl I got distracted from ice cream for an instant and somehow drifted into frozen yogurt land, (which is useless for using up eggs, but tasty nonetheless) and I decided that it was imperative I make Pomegranate Frozen Yogurt. I have a few bottles of POM Wonderful sitting in my fridge and I’ve been contemplating what to do with them besides drink them as is. The colour drove me to make frozen yogurt out of one of them. I reduced a bottle of POM Wonderful by about a quarter and could have reduced it even more but I was impatient. I then stirred in a little less than half a cup of sugar, a squirt of lemon juice, a splash of vodka and about 2 cups of plain, strained yogurt, (you could use Greek yogurt if it’s available to you, otherwise strain 2% yogurt overnight in a sieve). I absolutely love frozen yogurt made with strained yogurt, (I also love eating strained yogurt with maple syrup and blueberries and think I should make a frozen yogurt out of that too) and the pomegranate was perfect with it. It was definitely an experiment gone right.

And last but certainly not least, we’re back on track with using up eggs by making Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. Vanilla Bean Ice Cream is not new to me. I’ve previously exalted the virtues of the humble vanilla bean and after recently making vanilla bean cupcakes with a friend I decided I need a Vanilla Bean Ice Cream fix. David Lebovitz to the rescue again, (although I’ve made vanilla bean ice cream using a variety of recipes and never been disappointed) he’s got a modified version of the Vanilla Ice Cream in The Perfect Scoop, posted on his blog. I chose to go for a richer custard and used a couple extra egg yolks, it was a good choice.

Any suggestions for what flavour of ice cream I should make next? What are your favourites?

My chickens! And their eggs.

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, (from DavidLebovitz.com)

For a richer custard, you can add up to 3 more egg yolks. For a less-rich custard, substitute half-and-half for the heavy cream, realizing that the final texture won't be as rich or as smooth as if using cream.

1 cup (250ml) whole milk

A pinch of salt

3/4 cup (150g) sugar

1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

2 cups (500ml) heavy cream

5 large egg yolks

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Heat the milk, salt, and sugar in a saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the milk with a paring knife, then add the bean pod to the milk. Cover, remove from heat, and infuse for one hour.

2. To make the ice cream, set up an ice bath by placing a 2-quart (2l) bowl in a larger bowl partially filled with ice and water. Set a strainer over the top of the smaller bowl and pour the cream into the bowl.

3. In a separate bowl, stir together the egg yolks. Rewarm the milk then gradually pour some of the milk into the yolks, whisking constantly as you pour. Scrape the warmed yolks and milk back into the saucepan.

4. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heat-resistant spatula, until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula.

5. Strain the custard into the heavy cream. Stir over the ice until cool, add the vanilla extract, then refrigerate to chill thoroughly. Preferably overnight.

6. Remove the vanilla bean and freeze the custard in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Note: Used vanilla beans can be rinsed and dried, then stored in a bin of sugar. That sugar can be used for baking and, of course, for future ice cream making.


Speedcat Hollydale said...

Interesting and very tasty looking post!!!

I do a chicken on Tuesday post at my blog and will be adding your link. Well done - and can I have some of the ice cream to sample??

Cheers from SpeedyCat in Minnesota

Brittany (He Cooks She Cooks) said...

Your scoops look perfect!

I love cinnamon ice cream. Dulce de leche is incredible. I also love to match fruit with different herbs or spices to find some clever combinations.

curiousdomestic said...

What a nice blog. I make a vanilla pumpkin swirl ice cream for the holidays. Homemade pie filling meets vanilla ice cream and it works out for both of them.

Sweet Charity said...

AWwww! Cute chickens- I'd love to have a few, but don't really have a chicken friendly space for them at this point...
I love the Perfect Scoop... just made the Cheesecake Ice Cream this weekend (though there aren't any eggs in it, so that won't help you out).
One that I think is interesting and delicious is olive oil ice cream, just make sure to use a good olive oil- something fruity and peppery!

Nupur said...

They all look like "perfect scoops".

My two flavor suggestions are favorites in India- mango ice cream, using canned mango pulp. And "kesar-pista" ice cream. Which translates as saffron and pistachios. Flavored with cardamom, this is a decadent treat.

Sara said...

All of those flavors look so good! I tend to make a lot of sorbet at home, more so than ice cream.

Amy said...

So neat! We're planning to get chickens in a few years, and I'm always interested in hearing about other people's experiences with them. I'd imagine it doesn't get much better than walking out to the backyard and picking up some fresh eggs! The ice creams look absolutely wonderful; I love the idea of reducing the POM to make the pomegranate flavor.

Maria said...

This is my kind of post! LOVE frozen desserts! They all look so good!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Well, we didn't get the white stuff but we did get very close to freezing last night.
Love that we both did the pom yogurt!
I can never get enough vanilla bean!!

Coco Bean said...

awww chickens! I have to do a presentation in french about locavores... I don't think that from the farm to the table is any closer than those eggs! I can't even keep my plants alive so I am amazed when people have real animals to take care of. Great job!

Esi said...

All of the ice creams (and yogurt) look lovely. Hopefully the showers (snow) will bring May flowers!

Dragon said...

I think the pomegrante frozen yogurt is my favourite. I can't resist pink food. :)

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Love the color of that pomegranate ice cream. Maybe this summer I will finally excavate in the cellar and find my ice cream machine. I know it's down there somewhere.

Michelle @ Find Your Balance Health said...

Wow, those all look amazing! Now I'm just going to throw this out there: yesterday I saw a BACON chocolate bar at Whole Foods. Bacon ice cream, perhaps?

Mrs. L said...

I'm so jealous that you have fresh eggs to use in your cooking and baking...and ice cream making! Everything looks wonderful. I may have to get my ice cream maker out and start summer early.

Bren said...

green tea icecream is the best. hagaan daaz makes an amzing one! i was JUST looking for it... great looking icecream!

anna said...

I made some matcha ice cream to use up some yolks recently. I guess it was good because while I was out my boyfriend ate at least half of it. I really want an ice cream maker - if I had one right now, I'd make something with kumquats, or maybe chocolate-lavender.

dorie said...

Our son's birthday is April 6 and it's snowed in New York City on 50%of his birthdays! April is so unpredictable, but no matter the weather, your ice cream would cheer up anyone.

Kevin said...

Nice looking ice creams! Green tea ice cream is one of my favorites.

Cookie baker Lynn said...

Your ice creams all looks fabulous! My vote is for creme brulee next. You use up eggs and get to play with a blow torch! Best wishes for spring to show up soon. I'm with you on wishing for a reason to use sunscreen and sunglasses.

Manggy said...

Beautiful ice creams-- you've churned quite a spectrum there! Here's to productive hens!

Alisa - Frugal Foodie said...

That vanilla bean ice cream looks amazing!!!

Sara said...

You have chickens! That is so cool. There's a group here in town that's trying to get the City to allow residents to have chickens in our backyards. No luck yet but Scott is hoping they win, he wants a chicken.

Anonymous said...

First off, I LOVE that you have your own chicken coop and fresh eggs every day! I'm SO envious!

Secondly, your ice creams all look text book perfect and delicious! I really need to get The Perfect Scoop..it seems everyone has it and churns out these amazing Lebovitz creations!

Love your blog!

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Dimah said...

your ice creams look perfect and fabulous!

Jenny said...

That's a hoot! I was just hearing in the news the other day about some towns in Southern Ontario where there was fighting in city council about whether or not people could put chicken coops in their backyards. I guess you are far enough out of town that it didn't effect you. And what a great idea!

Sunshine Mom said...

We have backyard chickens! It's a first for me...I had no idea the little darlings had so much personality. Now I treat our girls' eggs like gold. :)

sheryln said...

There are so many different the brands of really good ice cream freezers. You can the be sure that whichever one you finally decide on the will be one that will service your family for years the or even generations to the come.

ice cream machines