Carmel Apple Ice Cream

On second thought, the coloring might be off a bit

Normally when I go to the grocery store to buy something specific, I end up collecting lots of additional items on my way through the store which were not on my original list. Today, on a quick run for some diapers, I noticed that the items I was collecting were different than usual; heavy cream, whole milk, food coloring, and dry mustard. I found myself inventorying our kitchen as I walked though the isles, and spent a good couple minutes looking at various cleaning and polishing products for copper and stainless steel. The other day my wife and I were in the car, both sitting there quietly pondering as we often do. Melissa asked me, “What are you thinking about?” I replied “Cooking”. She sort of laughed at her expectations being met. But what can I say? I just get very focused on hobbies.

Anyways, now that I’d restocked my kitchen a bit, I couldn’t help but start looking through my wife’s preserve stash for something interesting to make ice cream with. Ah ha! Apple butter. I quickly threw this together and popped it in the fridge for later churning.

 

Carmel Apple Ice Cream
Print
Mixture
  1. 2 cups whole milk
  2. 1 cup heavy cream
  3. 1/2 cup sugar
  4. 1/2 cup apple butter (ideally home made)
  5. 1oz lemon juice (fresh squeezed and strained of pulp)
  6. 1/4 tsp sea salt
  7. food coloring as desired (i used about 45 drops of neon green)
Mix-ins
  1. 1 tbsp minced granny smith apple
  2. 2 tbsp 1/4″ x 1/4″ super-thin slices of granny smith apple with skin on the end
  3. 1 tbsp freshly pressed granny smith apple juice
  4. 1 tsp vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Combine and heat mixture to 170 degrees, bring to room temp, refrigerate, churn, add mix-ins, freeze, eat.
She & Him, Cooking http://cooking.parscal.com/
Initial taste tests indicate that my attempts to capture fresh green apple flavors during the mix-in stage were successful. We shall see how the texture comes out after a full day in the freezer.

Yeah so after half a day in the freezer secondary taste testing revealed little to no fresh apple taste in my opinion. To me it was more of an apple pie or roasted apple flavor. In a secondary note don’t use green food coloring for something that tastes like apple pie it sends conflicting signals to the brain. It’s like picking up your glass of orange juice and realizing it was actually milk.

Indeed, the flavor and color didn’t turn out to match up all that well, but it’s very fun looking!

Strawberry Ice Cream

If only those strawberry chunks weren’t ice cubes…

I’ve tried to make ice cream a few times in the past month. I made apricot, chocolate fudge, and now strawberry.

On a side note this strawberry ice cream is the best ice cream he has made yet. Although the apricot was also very good. Not to say that I didn’t like the chocolate but it was very strong and you could not eat very much of it in one sitting.

So yeah, the first two ice creams I made were too syrupy, so this time I used the same Alton Brown Serious Vanilla recipe, only I backed off the cream a bit and used more milk – 2:1 ratio of whole milk to heavy cream to be exact. I also discovered recently how poorly calibrated our refrigerator and freezers were – all units were about 15 degrees too warm.  With the now cooler temperatures, the ice cream really seemed to setup better. There was more air throughout and the texture was spot-on.

 

Strawberry Ice Cream
Print
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups whole milk
  2. 1 cup heavy cream
  3. 1/2 cup sugar
  4. 1/2 cup strawberries preserves
  5. 1 diced fresh strawberries (mixed in at the end)
Instructions
  1. Combine and heat everything but the strawberries to 170 degrees, bring to room temp, refrigerate, churn, add strawberries, freeze and eat.
She & Him, Cooking http://cooking.parscal.com/
The chunks of strawberries I chose to mix-in at the end of the churning process however did not turn out. Besides the chunks being too large, they were mostly water so they froze up like ice cubes. Next time I will slice them very thin and dry them as much as possible before adding them in. Also, the berries I got at my local supermarket in December taste very bland anyways – I need to try this again in the summer.

Trevor decides he likes cooking…

When I married my wife Melissa, I completely accepted her lack of cooking skills.

When Trevor and I got married I was glad he accepted my lack of cooking skills. I was a pot scrubber/prep cook ONLY! No one at my parents house would dare to eat anything that I had cooked, and was scared that some type of fire might break out simply by me being in the kitchen.

Up until this point, I had basically been surviving on items from the Jack in the Box dollar menu, canned tuna and black olives, and the occasional night out to sushi. I suppose you could say it was a bit unbalanced, eating the cheapest foods possible most of the time, and the most expensive foods possible the rest of the time. Aside from eating sushi, which thankfully I was introduced to when I was 18 by a friend with “rich” parents, I treated food similar to sleeping – a necessary waste of time. It was an expensive annoyance, which if I could, I would have just skipped.

I had a pretty good idea what kind of diet he had before we actually did tie the knot. I was ok with eating it myself until I started working at a vitamin store and reading all the books they had in their lending library. I started to get scared as I realized what we were actually eating. As I started reading labels and looking up most of the terms on them I realized we were pickling ourselves and would soon start to look like Twinkies – you know amorphous blobs that are so well preserved they could survive a nuclear explosion.

Soon, Melissa was cooking meals that were basically the best home cooking I’d ever had. My passion for food really grew, and my standards for what I was willing to put in my body were improving as well. Things were great – but after we had a couple of kids, it became clear that Melissa needed some help in the kitchen – a place I still found quite foreign and mysterious. After a bit of helping out here-and-there, and a bit of Food Network television watching (we love you Alton!), I sort of caught the cooking bug.

When Trevor says his “passion for food really grew” what he really means is all of a sudden eating became enjoyable and not just a bodily function. We both started to love the Food Network and especially enjoyed watching Good Eats, mostly because Alton explained the chemistry behind the cooking. Being a computer programmer that is just how he thinks.

Everyone be quiet! I’m focusing…

I started out with making foods I really love, like ice cream, gratin, beef, lamb, chicken, and duck – all with varied degrees of success, but nonetheless all satisfying experiences. As with any hobby/obsession of mine, I quickly began upgrading equipment. I had no idea how lousy the vast majority of the essential tools in our kitchen were, and how many were not even present. We seemed to have every cooking appliance known to man, but when it came to knives, pots, pans, baking sheets, etc. our drawers and cabinets looked more like a Good Will store than a proper kitchen.

That’s because most of our pots and pans are hand-me-downs dear. He didn’t realize how bad it was because I just made do with what we had and still managed to make his favorite foods. Also when he says he started to “upgrade the kitchen” he bought everything he could find that he thought we needed in under 2 weeks. Just kidding – but not really. He did some serious damage to the credit card, which is now sitting in the freezer cooling off because he darn near melted the poor thing. But who’s complaining I don’t have to pay it off (he he). Anyways during his adventures in kitchen land I have been tutoring him along the way and trying not to pull my hair out in frustration while watching him cook.

Indeed it takes a certain, and special, talent to embrace my enthusiasm while tempering my energy level – a talent Melissa thankfully has. I tend to cook a lot like those people on Iron Chef – only with much less impressive results. My tendency to pour ample, often excessive, amounts energy and improvisation into the things I do is my biggest challenge in the kitchen. My primary focus seems to be on taking things slowly, and sticking to the recipe. And in my own defense, I took careful inventory of the entire kitchen in a spreadsheet and performed hours of research before purchasing anything for the kitchen – and the credit card isn’t melting, it’s just a bit warm…

Ha! Warm… Anyways his Iron Chef approach is quite different from my approach which lately has become prep, walk away, prep some more, walk away again, and finally assemble and cook while children are distracted or sleeping.

Eh hem – I’m a big fan of “Mise en place“. I just tend to do it all sort of – quickly.

Uh huh – sure… We’re still working on that. He gets distracted pretty easily by cookies, bacon, chocolate, etc.

So anyways, we decided to blog about our adventures together in the kitchen – our successes and failures, as well as our recipe refinements and inventions.