ice cream

Coconut Ice Cream

by Caroline

Even though it has been cold enough all summer in San Francisco to turn on the heat, one recent day we also turned on the ice cream machine. This recipe comes from The Ultimate Ice Cream Book, by Bruce Weinstein, and it is absolutely fabulous.

1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut
1 c sugar
3 large eggs
1 t cornstarch
1/4 t salt
1 c half-and-half
1 1/2 c unsweetened coconut milk
1 c heavy cream
2 t vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 400. Spread the coconut on a baking sheet and toast in the hot oven for 7 minutes or until the coconut turns light brown. Set aside to cool.

In a medium mixing bowl, beat the sugar into the eggs until thickened and pale yellow. Beat in the cornstarch and salt. Set aside.

Combine the half-and-half with the coconut milk in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove from the heat and slowly beat the hot liquid into the eggs and sugar. Pour the entire mixture back into the saucepan and place over low heat. Stir constantly with a whisk or wooden spoon until the custard thickens slightly. Be careful not to let the mixture boil or the eggs will scramble (yuck!) Remove from the heat and our the hot custard through a strainer into a large, clean bowl. Allow to cool slightly, then stir in the toasted coconut, cream, and vanilla.

Cover and refrigerate until cold, or overnight.

Once the custard is nice and cold, give it a good stir and then freeze in your ice cream machine according to its instructions. Put on a wool sweater and eat.

Strawbery Balsamic Cookie Crunch Ice Cream

by Caroline

I usually don’t have much trouble getting my kids into the kitchen; we make sushi together, we make muffins, we make cakes and pancakes — mostly I bake with the kids, because mostly I bake, period. But anything I’m making, they’re welcome to participate, and they’re typically eager to help.

Still, when a link to this article about cooking with kids appeared in my inbox, I couldn’t help clicking on it; how are others getting their kids into the kitchen, I wondered? What are they making?

Well, among other good cooking projects, they are making ice cream! And so on a recent cold and foggy day, we made ice cream, because it is summer and summer means ice cream, and because this recipe (from High Flavor, Low Labor) sounded so delicious to me.

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon strawberry jam
10 cream-filled chocolate cookies (such as Oreos or Newman-O’s)
1 pint vanilla ice cream

If you’re starting with store-bought ice cream, take it out of the freezer and let it sit in a big bowl while you start preparing the other ingredients; you want it to be soft so that you can stir them in easily. If you’re starting with homemade, prepare the other ingredients while the ice cream is mixing in your ice cream freezer, and then stir them in at the end.

In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the vinegar and jam. Simmer, stirring often, until reduced by half, about 8 minutes.

Eli says don’t stand too close; the fumes of the simmering vinegar are strong!

Set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, place the cookies in a zip-close plastic bag and gently pound with a meat mallet or rolling pin to break into small chunks.

This is, of course, a great job for kids:

Drizzle the vinegar into the ice cream and mix until blended.

Mix in the cookies.

Stir well, and then stir one more time to make sure the balsamic syrup is well distributed. Dump the ice cream into a container with a tight lid and return to the freezer until firm, 2 to 3 hours.

Eat.

One more post about ice cream

by Caroline

It was a hot day. We’d been exploring the Storm King Art Center by foot and by tram; we had picnicked and sculpted and now it was time to refill our water bottles and drive home. We could see, near the water dispenser, a vending machine with ice creams. OK, we told the boys, you can each choose an ice cream.

Tragedy. The vending machine was broken.

Plan B: We’ll stop for ice cream on the way home, we promised. The boys were skeptical, hungry and tired. I wracked my brain, thinking of all the fast food joints we’d passed on the way, but couldn’t remember seeing a single decent ice cream place. We needed the Red Rooster. We got in the car and drove, fingers crossed.

And then I saw the sign: Rita’s Ice Custard Happiness. Perfect!

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I have to admit, it wasn’t immediately happiness. This:

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grand as it is, was a little overwhelming at first, and there were tears from one boy before there was happiness. But I made the supreme maternal sacrifice and ordered one of the two things he wanted (the lemonade ice custard, which I have to say was excellent, with chewy bits of lemon zest), and then we all felt like this:

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Summer Traditions: The Red Rooster

by Caroline

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Thirty-seven years ago my family moved back from Japan to the States, to a town eighty miles away from my maternal grandparents, and a tradition was born. Because halfway between my grandparents’ house and the one in which I grew up, in Brewster, New York, stands The Red Rooster, a hamburger and ice cream spot where we have been stopping regularly since 1972.

The Red Rooster is a small white place with a red and white striped façade, its steep roof topped by a giant sculpture of a soft serve vanilla ice cream cone. These days it has acquired some retro appeal; Jane and Michael Stern have reviewed it, and hip New Yorkers make pilgrimages for the Rooster’s fresh burgers and real milk shakes. But when I was a kid, before Route 22 was dotted with MacDonalds and Burger Kings, the Rooster was just a typical burger shack, the only place to stop for miles. There are two or three small tables inside, but they’re always taken up with people perched waiting for their orders; everyone eats at the picnic tables outside, or, in rougher weather, their cars. Friday afternoons would find my dad (my mom would join us later, after work) driving my brother Larry and me from our house in Westchester to my grandparents for the weekend. The Rooster was the halfway point, so we would stop to stretch our legs, use the bathroom and then, if the timing was right, buy hamburgers and root beer floats.

Now, the Rooster marks the halfway point between JFK Airport and the house my parents built for their retirement, a little north of where my grandparents lived. And so just as when I was little, a trip to Grandma and Granddad’s house involves, for my kids, a stop for ice cream. We have to leave home early to make our flight, so Tony and I scoop the kids up out of bed while they’re sleeping, and somehow the chance to eat ice cream in pj’s after 11 hours of travel makes it all the sweeter. They should be eating a proper meal, but sometimes nostalgia and sentiment are stronger than nutritional values.

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Boardwalk Ice Creams

by Caroline

What’s a summer without ice cream? No kind of summer at all. Last week we made our own It’s-Its, this week, we stopped in at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk (where everybody has a good ti-ime) and tried out the ice cream treats on offer there.

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Ben, no doubt still dreaming of It’s-Its (and also realizing that everything tastes better when served on a stick), went for the chocolate-dipped “sandae”:

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Eli just went for sheer size, choosing the Super Sundae Cone:

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He even ate the maraschino cherry off the top, and declared “This is the goodest moment ever!” Which made it a really good moment for me, too.