Like Dave McElroy, featured in a story by Sara Deseran in the May issue of 7x7, my husband is somewhat of an "extreme home cook." He relishes designing extravagant menus and wowing hungry guests with elaborate concoctions. (Though we don't have the benefit of the lush-looking kitchen shown in the Deseran story, which is no small source of anxiety to me, the dishwasher. Somehow my husband manages to deal with the janky oven, the lack of counter space, and the inevitable broken glasses a little more elegantly than I do.)
So, not content to forever be relegated to the sink at the end of the meal, I decided a while ago that I should be contributing more to the cooking side of things. I write about food; I enjoy food; I should make food. (And I'm forever fearful of being tossed aside like McElroy's wife, who is described in Deseran's story as "squeamish" -- she doesn't like to cook.) So I am now the ice cream maker in the family.
Ice cream is one of the easiest things to make, and the payoff (i.e., the guest appreciation) is big. Last night I made honey ice cream to accompany some fresh spring strawberries. A delicious apricot pie made a surprise appearance, brought by a guest, and it all came together beautifully.
The recipe came from "Chez Panisse Cooking" -- it was supposed to be chestnut honey, but I had a jar of Marshall Farms Buzzerkeley Wildflower honey so I used that. (Which means that, with dairy from Straus and eggs from Petaluma, this recipe was almost entirely local. The sugar was the only foreign offender.)
The recipe called for 6 tablespoons of chestnut honey and 2 tablespoons of clover honey. I just used 8 tablespoons of the Marshall honey; next time, I would reduce that to 6 tablespoons because it was a little too sweet.
6 tablespoons honey
1 cup half and half
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream
6 large egg yolks
Warm the honey in a saucepan. In another saucepan, heat the half and half, sugar, and 1 cup of the cream; stir to dissolve the sugar. Whisk the yolks in a bowl. Add the hot half and half mixture to the yolks, whisking constantly together. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the custard is thick and coats the back of a spoon. Strain through a fine sieve into the remaining 1 cup cream. Stir in the warm honey. Chill and freeze in an ice cream maker.
Another recent venture into the world of frozen confections yielded a really surprisingly good olive oil ice cream (recipe from "The Babbo Cookbook"). The summer ahead holds many icy delights.