Honestly, I probably should’ve waited to start cooking when I got up this morning. But I went to Wal-Mart for rock salt and Ziplocs after karate last night, just like I said I would. I didn’t do the ice cream last night. I didn’t want to – I was too focused on getting this damn computer working (I failed at that last night, too). Finally, at around 0100, I decided to go to bed. I slept ’til 0800 this morning, fed the dog, fooled around and decided that I was gonna make icecream. So I went looking for recipes in cookbooks, until I found one I wanted in Cooking: A Commonsense Guide that would be reasonable and easily modified. There was a gelato recipe in my BHG, but I didn’t have the heart to split 12 yolks and whites, or split the recipe. Another time, perhaps. Besides, I wanted this recipe to go off without too much trouble, which meant I wanted the fat ratio of cream in there. I think the gelato called for milk… anyway.
After seeing the trend of homemade flavored icecreams, and wanting something different than vanilla or chocolate, I decided on green tea. I left my matcha at work, but I had bags. Bringing milk and cream to a boil was my first mistake – I was splitting yolks and whites and I let it boil over in a split-second. Agh! I took it off the heat, of course, hoping I hadn’t let it boil for too long and scalded anything. I cleaned the drip pan before doing any more cooking – I hate the smell of scalded dairy, don’t you? I let it sit to get to room temperature, per the recipe, which I figured would do fine to steep my tea bags in the meantime.
I whipped up the egg yolks and sugar by hand, since I don’t quite know where my beaters are at the moment. To keep me occupied while doing that, I was thinking of things to do with the egg whites. Six ‘wasted’ whites? I couldn’t. Something would have to be done with them. I was thinking an egg white omelet, or something of that nature; I guess I could’ve made meringue with them, of course. But I hadn’t eaten breakfast, so omelets were a little closer on the brain. I shoved that all out of mind, squeezed all that green milky goodness out of my tea bags and whipped up the egg yolks and milk mix, now that the latter was cooled. It all went back onto the burner in a saucepan to thicken up, which was supposed to take 5-10 minutes but took me more like 15-20 because my relationship with my new stove is still a little iffy as of yet. We haven’t really learned each others’ quirks and peculiarities, which means I don’t know exactly where the dial goes for a proper temperature and the stove can’t be particular enough to piss me off. Anyway, once it was a nice thick custard, I set it back in the bowl, nested in ice water, to cool down while I mixed up the ice bag.
I had some trouble with the bag, because I was new to the whole Ziploc icecream maker idea. I’m sure someone else out there has tried it – there has to be someone. My mother can’t have come up with this on her own. It’s not possible. But I finally figured out that it needed to be
(four cups ice + half-cup salt) + custard bag + (four cups ice + half-cup salt)
to be proper for freezing without copious amounts of rolling a gallon bag of ice and green tea custard around on the floor for the dog to tear open. (He loves ice cubes.) I seated the quart bag over the half-gallon of ice and carefully poured in the custard. Luckily my mixing bowls, though they don’t match the rest of my kitchenware because they’re red, have spouts. I covered the bag with the last of the ice and salt, jiggled it around a minute, and stuck in the freezer.
Green Tea Icecream
adapted from Cooking: A Commonsense Guide
cooking time: 15-20 minutes (+ a couple hours for freezing)
1 c milk
1 c cream
1 tsp vanilla*
6 egg yolks
½ c sugar
2-3 green tea bags
7-8 c ice**
1 c rock salt**
Combine the milk and cream in a pan and add the vanilla and tea bags. Bring to a boil, then remove from the heat and set aside for 10 minutes.
Using a wire whisk, beat the yolks and sugar together in a bowl for 2-3 minutes, until thick, creamy and pale. Drain the tea bags, discard, and whisk the warm milk into the egg.
Wash the pan, and pour the mixture into it. Stir over very low heat until thickened. This will take about 5-10 minutes. To test, run a finger across the back of the wooden spoon—if it leaves a clear line, the custard is ready.
**Put 4 cups of ice and a half-cup of rock salt into a gallon storage bag and nest a quart bag on top of the ice. Carefully pour the custard into the quart bag, being careful not to spill outside the quart bag. Press the air out of and seal the quart bag, then top with the remaining 3-4 cups of ice and half-cup of salt. Leave in the freezer for 20-30 minutes, take out and shake vigorously. Return to the freezer and repeat every 15-20 minutes until custard has frozen to desired consistency. Serves 3-4.
* The original calls for 1 vanilla pod. I don’t have vanilla bean readily available to me, so I used extract. I didn’t measure, just used a couple dashes, so I’m estimating somewhere between ½-1 teaspoon. Use your discretion, however much vanilla taste you like.
** Obviously, you need ice and rock salt for this version. The original has a different way of mixing. Check the original recipe at the end of this entry.
I’m going to try the original’s version of mixing up ice cream – in a metal bowl with an electric mixer – someone later, when I can find my beaters, but the Ziploc way works awesome. It doesn’t take up a lot of room, you can make several batches, you don’t have to worry about buying a mixer for lots of $$$ and easy cleanup. The drawback is the serving limitation – you can only make as much icecream as you have bag size – but you’ll run into that with anything. Besides, the smaller quantity freezes faster, so you have icecream sooner!
The icecream came out dense, creamy and delicious. The color wasn’t great, but I hadn’t really expected the vibrant green that matcha would’ve given me. And so what if it wasn’t ‘pretty’? It was absolutely delicious! In the future, I’ll probably use two teabags inside of three, but if you want the taste to be strong, use three! (Four might be a little much.) Hurrah for green tea iceam in a bag!
While the icecream was firming up, I took my spare egg whites and decided on a frittata. I had some Mexican chorizo in the fridge and some onion – I’m a sucker for egg and caramelized onion. I mixed up the egg whites with salt, pepper, a little milk and let it sit while I browned the onion. Then I browned up the chorizo, which was a little new. The last chorizo I bought was from the UGA meat lab and it was singularly wonderful. I cooked it in the casing in pieces and made a carbonara from it. No so with this chorizo. It crumbled, much like ground beef. The flavor was powerful and the smell of all the spices and meat cooking in my apartment was lovely, but the consistency wasn’t what I was looking for.
In keeping with a frittata, I baked it in the same pan. When I took it out and went to taste for research purposes, I burned the crap out of the pad of my thumb. It was good, don’t get me wrong – spicy, layered with flavors, sweet and hot and garlicky and good. But it wasn’t what I was looking for. It was flat, of course, being an egg white frittata, which I for some reason didn’t fully anticipate. (I mixed in an extra egg to try and get a little fluffiness from the yolk, but alas.) I discovered, instead, that with a little mayo and some bread, it makes a very good sandwich. Tomorrow morning I may try it with toast and some kind of sauce. We’ll see. Experiments are the sauce of life!