I bought an ice cream maker.
We will be really chubby by the end of the summer because I am addicted. In a bizarre fit of irony I ended up with an $80 gift card to Williams Sonoma and decided I was going to spend it on an ice cream maker. I'm sure you've realized I love the idea of anything I can make myself, from jam, to hostess cupcakes, to peeps. Ice cream is no different and I am in a huge ice cream making kick.
It started with a batch of cherry from the little booklet that came with the machine. It was good, but not creamy (despite tons of cream) and was filled with ice crystals. Then yesterday I was shopping at Anthropologie and discovered a cute little book about ice cream. I scanned through it - Pearl had fallen asleep in the stroller so I had two minutes to actually look at something without everything else around it being pulled off the shelves. It had all the things I look for in a cook book :: great photos, interesting flavor combinations, and very simple ingredients. I came home with Jeni's Spendid Ice Cream at Home.
I immediately made vanilla ice cream and swirled in roasted red cherries. As you know, I have a fair share of cherries. It's really good ice cream.
Then today I made mint - with mint from my garden, lavender - with lavender from my garden, and strawberry with fresh strawberries swirled in. The strawberry is amazing. Lucky for me, all of it didn't fit into the container, so I was forced to eat a scoop.
Jeni's book makes amazing ice creams. A-H-MAZING. I always value a cookbook that relishes in local ingredients and local flavors. Because she's in Ohio, our local flavors are a little different. But the seasonality is still present for both of us. More than that, I value a book which details the science or process behind the product. Jeni spends the first quarter of the book speaking to each ingredient and the value it adds to the recipe. I love that. I'm a science geek at heart and being able to understand why her recipes call for cream cheese and cornstarch when the recipes that came with the machine do not is vital for me. Especially since I started making my own ice cream to limit the number of ingredients found in my freezer.
If you're not interested in making your own ice creams, have no fear. Jeni has a huge mail order business that can supply you with seasonal, unusual, and amazing flavors at any time. And, because it's ice cream, you know there won't be a huge shipping delay.
I can't encourage you enough to go get this book + an ice cream maker. The flavor is so ridiculously different from store bought ice cream and you can control the flavors and the environment (NOT made in a factory with nuts is a big deal in our house). It's also a really simple dessert for summer nights and an impressive dessert for summer entertaining. One that doesn't take that long to make and can easily be made ahead of time.