Peppermint Patty Ice Cream

At 6:34 pm on 6/20/2016, the Summer Solstice officially begins.

Oh boy has it been hot the past two weekends!  So happy we made the investment in that swamp cooler six years ago. We’ve already had two porch parties since Memorial Day, but now we are just kicking back and enjoying the cool house and the fruits of our garden.

We’ve had a mint plant for a few years. I mostly used the leaves for garnish, to steep in hot water or in cold water. But I have discovered a few more recipes here and there to make the mint the star of the recipe.

mint plant

This is one of our mint plants. It has behaved itself and not spread out like crazy as mint can do. We have another mint plant that did go wild last year. My husband ripped it out but the little bug-gar keeps sprouting little offspring. They are similar plants but the leaves are distinctly different.  I am wondering if this well-behaved mint plant is spearmint flavored and the wild mint plant, peppermint in flavor. Hmmmm?

I was dreaming of ice cream in this heat so I perused my recipe books. After looking them over and reading reviews about type of ice cream, I decided to combine two recipes into one from the Cuisinart recipe booklet and from Alton Brown’s Good Eats 2: The Middle Years cookbook.

cream and mint

Ingredients:

3 cups half and half

1 cup heavy cream

8 large egg yolks

9 oz sugar

large bunch of mint leaves

3-6 oz of peppermint patties candy coarsely chopped

1 tsp vanilla

Directions:

Combine the half and half and cream in a saucepan and bring to simmer over medium heat stirring occasionally. Then remove from heat and add the mint leaves allowing them to steep for 20-30 minutes.

steeping the leaves

Whisk the egg yolks in a large mixing bowl until they lighten in color, then add in the sugar and mix until smooth.

Remove or strain the cream and mint mixture. Then temper the egg yolk and sugar mixture by ladling 1/3 of the cream mixture into the bowl whisking constantly. Then place the tempered cream and egg yolk mixture back into the saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently until the custard thickens to coat the back of a spoon or a temp of 170-175 degrees F.

heating the mixture to 170 degrees F

Transfer the custard into a new bowl or wash out the egg yolk bowl and then add the vanilla and cool at room temperature for 30 minutes. Cover and refrigerate for 8-10 hours (or overnight)

fresh from the churn

Pour the mixture into the prepped ice cream maker then add the candy and process for 20 minutes.

creamy mint chip ice-cream

Serve as soft serve and place into a container to freeze and hard for 3-4 hours.

Patty’s Points:

1.I like the frozen custard or French-style type of ice cream which must contain 1.4 percent egg yolk solids to meet that definition.

2.You can substitute 1 teaspoon of peppermint oil instead of mint leaves but you would add it after the tempering of the egg yolks and cream mixture and omit the vanilla.

3.You can substitute the peppermint patties with mint chocolate chips or with good shaved dark chocolate and white chocolate.

4.I LOVE my new find the Tovolo Glide-a-scoop Ice cream container

Tevolo

It has two layers, Inner for the ice cream and Outer to insulate it from over-freezing and protecting it from forming ice crystals
Two parts of Tevolo

It also is easy to store, taking up less space than traditional ice cream containers. It cost about $15.00 and I had a 10% off coupon which was nice.

storing the ice-cream

5. The mint had more of a spearmint taste to it and it gave the cream a slight green color. I like it but I like peppermint better. I’ll have to try the wild mints leaves to see if it has more of a peppermint flavor. You could add a few drops of green food coloring to get the full color experience of mint.

6.Some of the recipes called for more cream (3 cups) and whole milk        (1 1/2 cups) or varying amounts of cream 2 cups half and half to 1 cup cream. Use whatever combo you wish for your taste.

7. Another option would be to use the peppermint oil 1 tsp and add crushed peppermint candies or candy canes and make it festive for the Christmas holidays.

Welcome Summer – We’re so glad you are here!

I’m going to stay inside where it is cool.

cropped-beesunflower6x9_427x640.jpg

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What I did this summer

The summer of 2014 is at an end. In Colorado it was a wet one. The garden did well this year.

I kept up with the produce but I invited neighbors and friends to stop and “shop” as well. Joy said this was better than the grocery store because she could come in her nightgown.

the 2014 garden

The food processor I got for Christmas got plenty of action with chopping and shredding

the food processor

I used this batch for a zucchini chocolate cake with a chocolate cheese frosting.

I forgot to get a picture, but I’ve made the cake for two potlucks.

At Mary Beth’s Labor Day party I got a standing ovation from an admiring crowd stating it was the best chocolate cake ever. Then laughed when they heard I snuck vegetables in a dessert.

shredded zucchini

Our neighborhood is full of rabbits (lack of foxes and presence of coyotes). One and maybe two bunnies made it into our garden although interestingly they haven’t eaten anything that I can see.

the garden bunny

 We grew cilantro this year, it was gorgeous so I tried my hand at some Indian Chutney.

making chutney

This Cilantro Chutney recipe is from The Splendid Table (my favorite website).

I fell in love. I put it on roasted chicken and fried eggs.

cilantro chutney

I joined the spiralizer craze, getting one for my birthday.

the spiralizer

I spiralized carrots, zucchini, potatoes and yams. I loved placing the carrots and the zucchini in a microwave safe bowl, steaming it for about a minute and tossing basil pesto in it. Yummy!

It could also be adapted into a cold salad and tossed with a vinaigrette or dressing.

spiraled carrots

I had a lot of cucumbers this year. This salad was a combo of cucumbers, mint (both from the garden) with black and white quinoa and brown rice

IMG_4961

This next recipe was from Bon Appétit  magazine Watermelon Gazpacho.

Cantaloupe was abundant and inexpensive at the grocery store, so I adapted the recipe.

melon gazpacho ingredients

Patty’s Cantaloupe Gazpacho. Oh it was so good. Sweet and cool eaten as an appetizer on the back porch.

melon gazpacho

 This recipe was also from Bon Appétit  magazine for a Grilled Salad.

I adapted this as well. The romaine lettuce was 99 cents per head. I brushed it with olive oil and my husband grilled each side for about 1-2 minutes. Oh this was wonderful! I adapted this recipe to what produce was available.

grilled salad

And finally, Ginger Marmalade. I was excited to make this recipe since sampling James Keillor and Sons Ginger Marmalade.

I surveyed many recipes on-line, it was a daunting task.

peeled ginger

shredded ginger

Time consuming little recipe!

hand blended ginger

canning the marmalade

Ginger can be a bit HOT. This marmalade was HOT. The ultimate experimenter, I looked at other recipes and found an Orange-Ginger Marmalade. So I mixed my marmalade with regular store-bought orange marmalade and tamed it down a bit.

I also used it as a glaze for roasted chicken and roasted carrots from the garden.

ginger glazed chicken & carrots

I went to Portland in August with nursing colleagues Nancy, Rita and Kathy, for a conference. A manager for a local retailer tipped us off on to Nong’s Khao Man Gai food truck for lunch.  Nong was the named Food Network Chopped Champion just 4 days before we visited.  What a sweet girl who has her own bottled sauce and make the best chicken and rice.

Nong's Food Truck

It was a summer of reflection for me. Autumn will bring some changes. Ready for new challenges.

A Fearless Woman

Fearless Cook Junior Edition

‘I want to learn to cook!’ my chip off the block chirped. Okay, Kate is 22 years old, she’s cooked before. During her college days she ate dorm food, made a few recipes I handed down to her, and tested the Pinterest web recipes.

She wants to feed herself in Veterinary Medicine School for the next four years. Her challenge for the this summer is to improve on cooking techniques,learn basic recipes and try to stay within a budget. My challenge is to give direction on what I’ve learned from trial and error in the kitchen.

See how enthusiastic she is?

Jr Fearless Cook

Here are all the recipes we’ve made individually and together.

Banana Bread

Chocolate chip and Peanut butter chip Banana Bread

omelets and falafels

Omelet with Falafel

beer batter cheese skillet bread

Skillet Beer Batter Cheese Bread from Quick Family Recipes

Nutella Bread

Nutella Swirled Banana Bread

radish, cucumber and apple salad

Red radish salad

Pork chops with the Dean brothers spice rub

Pork Chops with the Dean Brothers Dry spice rub

white chicken pizza

White Chicken pizza

cherry crisp pie

Cherry pie with almond crisp topping

frozen lemon yogurt

 Lemon Frozen Yogurt

Kate’s Komments:

1. Pitting the cherries for the cherry pie crisp was fun. About 10% of the cherries still had the pits inside despite using the cherry pitter.  We found two websites on how to pit cherries without  using a pitter at Our Best Bites and Baking Bites.  The cherries splattered juice everywhere while pitting them. We had just watched Django Unchained the night before and scenes from the movie came back to haunt us!

2. The Skillet Beer Batter Cheese Bread called for Gruyère cheese which was pretty tasty, but a little pricey for someone on a budget. For a similar and cheaper substitute use Swiss Cheese.

3. Her favorite recipe was the Nutella Banana Swirl Bread. Her mistake was that she set the oven for 250 degrees, not 350 degrees. The recipe in turn took longer to complete after she discovered  that the bread was still mushy inside and then adjusted the oven temp. As a taste tester, I thought the bread was delicious and moist. I didn’t know about the temperature error until much later. Gotta check the oven!  There are chocolate hazelnut butter knock-off brands that are cheaper.  They all vary in quality, so test out what brand you like.

4. Kate said she had never eaten a Falafel before and liked them. She also said she is not a fan of radishes, but we had them growing in the garden and we had to make something! She said the radishes were good as long as they were “hidden”.

5. Pizza is always a favorite and economical to make. We made a garlic butter sauce for the base of the crust. It was yummy with mozzarella cheese, basil leaves, halved yellow cherry tomatoes, red onion and grilled chicken thigh strips.

I bought her the America’s Test Kitchen ‘Quick Family Cookbook’ to take with her this fall. She loved leafing through the recipe book. The pictures are great with many step-by-step tips and techniques to master.

My parting wisdom: you can buy the ingredients to make your favorite recipes or you can look up recipes and decide what to make based on the ingredients you already have in your pantry. The key is use your ingredients thoughtfully. Way to go Fearless cook junior!

Marvelous Marscapone

My final made-from-scratch cheese this past month was luscious and rich marscapone.The recipe came from The Denver Post who took the recipe from “Artisan Cheese Making at Home” by Mary Karlin. Check out her fabulous website.

The equipment and ingredients required were low key and easy to find at your local grocery store.

Ingredients

2 C pasteurized heavy cream (not ultra-pasteurized)

1/3 C powdered skin milk

1 lemon, cut in half

Make a clean area in your kitchen counter with clean towels. Assemble equipment: 2 quart non-reactive saucepan, thermometer, butter muslin (or double length of regular cheesecloth) metal spoon and colander.  Whisk the cream and powdered milk together and heat slowly up to 180 degrees F. Stir constantly to prevent scorching. It should take 40 minutes or so, then remove from heat.

Squeeze in half of the lemon juice, switch to a metal spoon and stir constantly to promote curd formation. Do not whisk. The cream will coat the back of the spoon when it is ready. Then add the remainder of the lemon juice and stir to incorporate. Cover and cool the cream in the refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight.

The following day the cream will look like yogurt. Transfer the curds to a muslin-lined colander (check out the 10/29/12 Oh Cheez  post for pictures). Draw the ends together and twist into a ball to squeeze out the liquid. The marscapone will then be thick and ready to use in recipes or refrigerate for up to two days.

Patty’s Points:

1) Super easy.

2) Super creamy and versatile.

3) Very little liquid was squeezed from the mixture. It took less than an hour to drain into curds.

4) For recipes on how to incorporate marscapone into recipes, check out Food Network, under ‘marscapone‘. You’ll find that Giada De Laurentis‘ name pops up quite a bit. She loves marscapone and has a variety of sweet and savory recipes to choose from.

The Fearless Cooking Club members each received a jar of marscapone to take home. Many have used it in place of clotted cream, whipped it into mashed sweet or white potatoes, or spread it atop crisp thin bread, with a lovely jam. Marvelous.

The Ice Cream Social

The weather this summer has been unbearable, so far. Colorado has had horrible fires that thankfully, are nearly all contained by the time of this post. It was hot and humid on the 4th of July, so ice cream was the best remedy to the solution.

The Fearless Cooking Club challenge was for each member to bring an ice cream dessert. A few members were concerned about what to make as they had no ice cream maker. Alas, everyone rose to the challenge of making ice cream, and for most members, for the very first time.

To begin our “star”, Joy made three, yes you heard me, three ice cream desserts. She is holding the Honey Ice Cream recipe by The Hungry Australian blog site. Joy had  honey all the way from Mt Vernon, Virginia. This recipe does not require an ice cream maker and the cream is whipped prior to combining all the ingredients. We only wished we had some honey from the bees who pollenate the eucalyptus trees.

Joy then brought out a lavender ice cream from an edition of English Home magazine. One taste transported me to a tea room sipping hot tea and a lovely biscuit. And lastly she made a homemade ice cream cake out of two cartons of ice cream and cookies. She found the ice cream cake container at home. Her basement is a great supply closet for all kinds of kitchen equipment.

Cindy, our newest member, made the WordPress Freshly Pressed recipe Christmas in July Gingerbread Ice Cream Sandwiches from Cookie Talk. She said that she messed up the gingerbread as she didn’t have parchment paper. But she put the “damaged” gingerbread on the bottom layer and no one knew there was a problem. She had a cute presentation didn’t she?

Next up, our calorie conscious member Char, made Brown Cow Ice cream floats. She had a soft serve ice cream machine that she made vanilla ice cream with Splenda, sugar-free chocolate syrup and Diet A&W Root Beer.

Julie made a chocolate ice cream that she made with sweetened condensed milk and silky chocolate.  It served well in popsicle form.

Barb made a fabulous Lemon Semifreddo by Anne Burrell Food Network. It tasted like frozen lemon meringue pie. So refreshing.

Lastly I brought my ice cream: Maple Bacon Cayenne (on the right, this time marinated with bacon) and the Mexican Style Chocolate Ice Cream (left). The bacon was chopped and provided as a topping.

Patty’s Points:

1. Everyone was equally impressed by each other’s efforts. Luckily, husbands and grown children came by to partake in all the sweets. We had lots of savory like veggies, chips and dips to balance out the sweet.

2. All of the ice cream treats were delicious. My personal favorite was the semifreddo. It was so unique and fresh. Anne Burrell is becoming one of my favorite chefs on the Food Network. Her recipes are so tasty and easy to replicate at home.

Halfway through the summer. The monsoon rains started and cooled everything off for a few days. It will be back in the 90s later this week. Stay cool out there.