Saturday, May 23, 2009

Marvelous mint ice cream

I am not an ice cream fan. As far a desserts go, it's okay, but I can take it or leave it. And, usually, when I take it, I can't eat much. A little goes a long way to not just filling my belly, but making me feel like I'm going to burst. Anything larger than a kiddie cone and I know why I don't eat ice cream that often. My lovely husband, on the other hand, could happily plow through and entire 1/2 gallon on his own if it weren't for his herculean self-restraint. Rowan is following in his father's footprints on this one.

When the papa says he's making ice cream, I usually stay out of it. This time, I stuck my nose in and am I glad I did. Mint chocolate chip was on the schedule and the papa wanted to run to the store to buy mint extract (yuck!) and green food coloring (what?!). Luckily, I planted a nice big patch of spearmint this year (despite all the warnings that it will take over the entire yard within seconds of hitting the soil). I convinced him it was much easier to toss in a few sprigs of the fresh stuff than run to the grocer. As for the chocolate chips...why put them in the ice cream when you can sprinkle as many as you want on top (then I don't have to dig around the tastless little nuggets in my little dish--does anyone else think chocolate chips lose all their flavor when they're in ice cream or is that just me?).

I figured I'd have my requisite little scoop when it was done cooling and churning and freezing, and the boys could finish off the batch. But, when that first spoonful hit my tongue, it was nothing short of love at first bite. Not only did I eat more than half of the first batch, I requested another batch and made a chocolate cake just to act as the perfect pillow on which to transport the light and minty ice-cream-of-the-gods to my trembling tastebuds!

The best part is the recipe couldn't be simpler. Although the local ice cream parlor is only 2 blocks away and the ice cream truck drives by every Thursday at 5:30pm, I suspect we will be eating this homemade minty concoction most weeks this summer instead.

Spearmint Ice Cream
(adapted from a recipe by Alton Brown)

2 cups half-and-half
1 cup cream
just under 1 cup sugar
3-4 sprigs of fresh spearmint washed

Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat. (Just toss the spearmint in whole as you will fish it out before churning.) Stirring occasionally, bring the mixture up to 170 degrees F. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Fish out the spearmint sprigs and toss them in the compost or the trash. Pour the mixture into a lidded container and refridgerate over night or at least for a few hours. Churn per the instructions on your ice cream maker and harden in the freezer for 1 hour before serving.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

ABCs of Happiness

I was tagged by Cave Mama to do a twenty-two tiny pieces of me post, but I couldn't resist the ABCs of Happiness list I've seen elsewhere in blog-land. And, since I don't want to overwhelm you lovely readers with too many of these thingies, I'm fulfilling my tag requirement creatively. Enjoy!

Bread (both baking and eating)
Evening light
Holding Hands
Moon watching
Pickles (of the full-sour sort)
Rhubarb strawberry pie
Spearmint icecream (homemade)
Tire swings
Ukulele (watching Rowan play We Will Rock You on it, more specifically)
Yogurt with honey

Happy Mama's Day

And many thanks to sunnymama for featuring this lovely video on her blog!

Monday, May 4, 2009


"He smells like strawberries. Do you think that's bad?" ~Papa

He's bathed and brushed and yet the scent of strawberries rises from his skin. Sure, he ate a whole bowl full for breakfast, but it's bedtime. How could he still smell like strawberries?

I'd worry, but I'm too delighted by this metaphor materializing in real life.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Salamander Hunting

We honored May Day a little late this year with a hunt for the elusive fire lizard. Rowan had yet to see the bright orange salamanders common to our area, and we awoke to a crisp spring morning, the air wet with new rain and a mist hanging close to the ground. I thought, for sure, it was too chilly for the little amphibians, but Papa insisted we should be able to find a few. He was right...

Papa's eagle eye discovered a total of four little lizards sunning themselves along the path through the wood. Rowan was tickled to discover a new creature so dazzlingly bright and charmingly adorable and surprisingly dry (he thought they would feel slimy). Born of fire, according to legend, but usually found in the damp wetness of spring and summer, the salamander is a bit of a contradiction and a perfect familiar for a Beltane celebration.

We thought we might catch the elves riding their trusty salamanders, but Rowan tells me they must have been napping. We knocked on a stump or two, but no one answered.

Rowan did manage to squeeze in some fishing (that would be dipping a stick in and out of the water) and sailing (using a fallen tree as a pirate ship) before we headed home for lunch.

After lunch we harvested the first juicy tart rhubarb stems of the season and make them into a pie. Check back and I'll be sure to post some photos and a recipe.