Traverse City Record-Eagle

June 10, 2008

Foodie With Family: Scream, not for ice cream

BY REBECCA LINDAMOOD

Lately the boys have decided they hate all things girl-related. I suppose this is common, but when five boys team up, things can get rather dramatic and reactionary. They scream bloody murder when a Barbie commercial is on during their favorite testosterone-fueled cartoon. They poke each other in the ribs and say "You want one of those" in snotty tones while pointing at Bratz dolls at the store. They make grotesque faces and moan as if they're in pain while passing the lingerie section at the department store.

I've tried my best to temper this by lecturing them about how someday they'll meet a girl who might have liked these things. I've tried the speech about how hurt their future daughter might be by their Daddy's hatred of all things pink. (I know not all girls like dolls or pink, but I was trying to make a point!)

My sister Christina was watching the boys for me one day and knew about the gender battle I'd been waging with my sons. When a commercial for something having to do with "Cheetah Girls" aired and the jeering ensued, she tried to back me up.

Christina: "You know boys, someday you'll have a wife and she might've liked this stuff."

Liam (interrupting): "I know. And I'm not happy about it one little bit."

I had my revenge this past week when the weather turned warm. I made homemade strawberry ice cream -- the prettiest, pinkest, most delicate-looking strawberry ice cream of all time. They wolfed down the entire batch in about three minutes flat.

Mom: "How did you like the strawberry ice cream?"

Boys: Unanimous approval.

Mom: "Wasn't it pretty?"

Boys: "Sure was, Mom!"

Score a subtle point for Mom. I was intelligent enough to keep myself from gloating. I'll take one little victory at a time and then save it for when it really counts ... like when the Hannah Montana commercial they really hate comes on.

Here's a tip I learned back in my teen years working at Worley's Whippy Dip: If you're serving ice cream in cones to kids, put a large marshmallow in the cone before scooping on the goods. It keeps melted ice cream from pouring out the bottom when someone inevitably bites off the end of the cone.

The two vanilla ice cream recipes that follow are designed to be prepared in an ice cream maker. The Simple Vanilla Ice Cream is great for those last-minute ice cream cravings because it comes together so quickly. It is wonderful in root beer floats! The Vanilla Bean Gelato takes a little more planning but is sumptuous and creamy. It is, without contest, my favorite homemade ice cream.

Simple Vanilla Ice Cream

Makes about 7 cups

11/2 c. cold milk

11/4 c. granulated sugar

3 c. heavy (whipping) cream

11/2 T. pure vanilla extract

Pour milk into a blender and add sugar. Put the cover on the blender and blend on low until the sugar is dissolved. Add the heavy cream and vanilla extract to the blender and pulse 5 times on low speed.

Freeze according to instructions from your machine's manufacturer. Mine requires about 25 minutes of freezing.

The ice cream will be soft-set when done. You may transfer to an airtight container and place in the freezer for about 2 hours if you desire a firmer consistency. Remove from the freezer and allow to soften for about 5 minutes before serving.

Vanilla Bean Gelato

Makes about 7 cups

31/4 c. whole milk

1 whole vanilla bean

1/4 c. powdered instant dry milk

8 large egg yolks

1 c. granulated sugar

1 c. heavy cream

Pour the milk into a saucepan. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and use the blunt edge of your knife to scrape the insides. Put the bean pod and all the scrapings into the pan with the milk and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer gently for 30 minutes.

Remove and discard bean pod. Stir the powdered milk into the vanilla milk and keep warm over low heat.

Place egg yolks and sugar into a medium bowl. Whisk until thick and pale yellow (or use a mixer, either hand or stand.) While still whisking or mixing slowly add 2 cups of the milk to the egg mixture. Stir back into the hot milk that remains in the saucepan. Increase heat to medium.

Stir constantly until the mixture reaches a custard-like consistency and coats the back of a spoon. The temperature of the mixture should be 180 degrees on a candy or instant-read thermometer.

Strain through a fine mesh sieve into a large bowl. Stir in cream, lay plastic wrap directly on the surface and chill for at least 6 hours prior to finishing.

Freeze according to instructions from your machine's manufacturer. Mine requires about 25-30 minutes of freezing.

The ice cream will be soft-set when done. You may transfer to an airtight container and place in the freezer for about 2 hours if you desire a firmer consistency. Remove from the freezer and allow to soften for about 5 minutes before serving.

You can read more of Rebecca Lindamood's recipes, kitchen tips and parenting adventures at www.foodiewithfamily.com.