Ice Cream

icecream-rasp-swirlEach week, Levi gravitates to the fresh raspberries at our local farmers market.  He insists on buying them claiming to “love them”.  He eats 2 or 3 and then he is done.  I pack them in his lunch box and a few stragglers end up coming home with him.  I can’t toss them.  So, I either eat them or throw them in a baggie and put them in the freezer.

I had just enough fresh and frozen raspberries to make David Lebovitz’s Raspberry Swirl Ice Cream.  Doesn’t that sound good?  I haven’t made any ice cream this summer and it has been on my mind.  Today, the kids are going to arrive home from camp to a very, very, sweet treat.

This recipe calls for vanilla extract.  Instead, I steeped the cream with a fresh vanilla bean.  I cut the pod in half, scraped out the seeds and threw them in the bowl of cream along with the pod.  When it came time to add the custard to the cream, I removed the pod and saved it to make some vanilla sugar.

This ice cream is a small reminder that summer is here and it is here to stay for just a little while longer.

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ice_cream_maker_trad.jpg My husband Leo loves ice cream.  I like it, but he loves it. For a wedding present, we received a wooden ice cream maker that like the old fashioned ones, needed to be filled with ice and rock salt, but unlike the old fashioned ones, could be plugged in and churned the ice cream without the 'elbow grease.'  Once every few years, we'd pull it out and impress ourselves by making a batch of lovely vanilla ice cream, but it was always a big production for the results.  About 6 or 7 years ago, as a birthday gift for my ice cream loving husband who almost always has a quart of vanilla in the freezer, I bought a double Cuisinart automatic ice cream machine.  It consists of a motorized bottom, plastic churners and plastic covers with two metal containers which I keep in the freezer at all times.  

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lemon_verbena_frozen_custard_009.jpgWe've got a few ice cream machines in our house. Two of them we've had for years. They're identical with their big plastic tub that holds a can with a paddle inside of it, with plenty of room between the can and the sides of the tub to pack in lots of ice and salt.

And then there is the Cuisinart machine with its ice cream can insert that needs to be frozen before you can make ice cream. I have two inserts. I store both in the freezer so they are ready to go whenever I have a sudden urge for something sweet and frozen.

I use my old machines for making ice cream, preferring the creamy consistency that results. I use the Cuisinart machine for making sorbet.

Earlier this week I plucked leaves from my lemon verbena plant out in my garden. It was the first time I was using the bright, fresh lemon-scented leaves. For the last couple of years I had searched local nurseries for lemon verbena plants and always came out empty-handed until this spring. There are so many ways I want to use lemon verbena and I am so excited to finally have a plant of my own. I'm told it is a perennial, and if it comes back each year, it becomes a nice shrub. We'll see if it can survive a cold Minnesota winter. I hope so.

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