Ice Cream

gelatofruit.jpg Just recently my mother asked me to pick up some vanilla ice cream she wanted to serve with a pie she had made. I came home with a gallon of 'Pet' vanilla ice cream. She asked me why, out of all the brands at the grocery store, would I choose 'Pet?' I told her   grocery store ice cream,whether it be Ben and Jerry's, Hagen Daaz or Pet all tasted the same to me and that Pet was the cheapest. 

When I was growing up, my mother would make homemade ice cream in the summer from the local peaches using a hand-cranked ice cream churn. We would take turns "churning" and adding endless amounts of rock salt for what seemed like hours until it was ready. That is what ice cream is supposed to taste like and if you've never had homemade ice cream, do yourself a favor a buy an ice cream churn. They make electric ones now with no hand crank churning required.

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ice-cream-cones.jpg Despite the fact I have parents who eat ice cream almost every day (if they could have it at every meal, they would), until recently I thought I could live happily without ever lifting a dessert spoon again.

I know what you’re thinking. Quelle horreur! C’est impossible! I tell you it’s true. When I gave up my 2-liter a day Coca-Cola habit  in college in an effort to regain a good night's sleep (caffeine is not my friend), I found, after a few months, I no longer craved sugar. As my tastes matured, I discovered the savory complexity of wine and eating dessert no longer interested me. Since ice cream was never one of my favorites, I didn’t miss it.

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cherrysorbetDuring summer, I take every opportunity to make ice cream or sorbet. (If you look in my freezer, you'll find a reserved space for the ice cream maker container.) There really is no better time to make frozen treats than on the hottest summer days. And who wants to bake anyway? (Though I still bake summer pies and cakes.) Sorbets are my favorite because they're easy to make and full of fruit flavor. And you can pretty much make sorbet out of any fruit. There's no custard to cook as with ice cream, and in most cases the fruit goes in raw—keeping the best fresh flavor.

Since sour cherries are in season right now, I couldn't help not making a sorbet out of them. I love it when sorbets are more like palate-cleansers than overly sweet icy desserts. And what fruit could do the duty better than sour cherries? Only one cup of sugar goes into taming the sour cherries' tartness, ensuring a little tang lingers. A little bit of lemon juice in the mix helps keep the color bright more than making the sorbet sour. This dessert has everything going for it flavor-wise—you really taste the cherries. It's not laden with any unpronounceable ingredients. It's just pure and natural.

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cherryicecreamEver since making coconut ice cream, well, I am in love with the stuff. It's so refreshing and addicting! It makes me feel like I'm on a tropical vacation. I knew I wanted to make different versions of that ice cream very, very soon. 

Then, my friends at Republic of Jam just happened to stop by our tasting room (okay, they are right next door) with 6 quarts of freshly picked, sweet Pacific Northwest cherries. After eating about 2 quarts myself (swear), I decided to make ice cream. And chocolate needed to be involved...it just did.

In my adventures around the internet (I could read food blogs all day), I found OXO has a new cherry pitter,...and wait for it...it has a splatter screen. Yes folks, it's the little things. I have no other choice but to get this, like NOW. While I love my cherry pitter, it sprays juice, the seed goes flying, the dog chases it and swallows it. It's a mess and I've ruined quite a few articles of clothing. I need the screen and I'm getting it.

Anyway, what I love about this ice cream...there is no-custard, but you do have to make sure your ingredients are cold. In other words, some planning is necessary. 

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icecreamroll-005.jpg I’m quite sure it’s in the genes. I know I got the ice cream-loving gene from my dad who got the gene from his mom. It’s that gene that forces me to direct my husband miles out of our way just to visit an ice cream store that makes their own ice cream. That same gene has been known to cause cravings that send me to bed with a spoon and a pint of my favorite frozen cream. I can eat ice cream morning, noon and night and never get enough. I can’t help it – it’s in my genes.

Fortunately for me, my sons each have the gene. Those with this specific ice cream gene like to hang out with others who have the gene. Both sons chose ice cream-loving wives. So far, it seems each grandchild has been gifted with the gene. Oh, I am lucky to have so many who are always ready to share a cold dreamy treat. Did I say share? I didn’t mean it. My friends and family all know that I’ll share just about anything – except ice cream.

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