Ahhhh, long holiday weekends, I love them! Hope you've all been able to relax and enjoy a little time off too. After quite a few rainy days this month, we've been spoiled with the most gorgeous weather the past few days, which has been especially nice. Shane and I took advantage of the sun to get out and do some yard work. We also went shopping for flowers, and finally picked up some of the herbs and veggies I've been so eager to get planted this spring. I've been growing herbs in containers on my deck for a few years now, but this year I've decided to branch out and try a few veggies for the first time too, I'm so excited!
I still haven't completely decided on everything I want to grow, so today we just grabbed a few things. Parsley is non-negotiable, it's the herb I use most so I love having it on hand. I turn to mint a lot in the summer so that was in the cart as well. Basil and rosemary rounded out the herbs, though I may still pick up thyme at some point too. The veggies are where I remain most undecided. I don't have a lot of room to grow them so I need to do some more research. Today we started with a jalapeno plant, and it's probably the most excited I've ever been about a plant in my life. Let's just hope I can keep it alive long enough to get one or two peppers :)
With Memorial Day weekend marking the unofficial start of summer, I thought it was as good a time as any to share an ice cream recipe with you. We've already made a few trips to our favorite local ice cream shop, but I really love having homemade ice cream in the freezer too, it really is the best. If you've been nervous about making your own ice cream at home, this is a great first recipe. It's Philadelphia-style (versus French style), which means you don't have to fiddle with cooking egg yolks to make the base. Instead, here you'll puree strawberries, some sugar, a little bit of lemon juice, salt and half and half for the base. It really is as easy as it sounds.
I've made a French-style strawberry ice cream in the past, and it had chunks of strawberries in it, which did get quite firm in the freezer. I liked them, but I don't think everyone was as keen, so I pureed all of the strawberries in this recipe to give the ice cream a really smooth texture (though you can see the seeds, I really couldn't taste them at all). This ice cream is rich and packed with sweet strawberry flavor, it was the perfect way to use up some berries I'd neglected in my fridge. If I have one tiny criticism of this recipe it's that the ice cream froze quite hard - I definitely had to let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes before I could scoop it. Next time I make it I'll probably try to add a little bit of alcohol to keep it a bit softer. So yeah, the "perfect" in the title was the author's, not mine, but it's a keeper for sure :)
Perfect No-Cook Strawberry Ice Cream
adapted from Gourmet, August 2009
1 lb strawberries, stemmed and hulled, halved if large
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups half and half
Combine the strawberries in a large bowl with the sugar, lemon juice and salt. Use a potato masher to mash them until coarse. Let the strawberry mixture stand for 10 minutes, stirring and mashing every few minutes.
Transfer the strawberry mixture to your blender and add the half and half. Puree until smooth, then pour the mixture into a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, or until very cold. Freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. Store in an airtight container in your freezer.
Makes about 1 1/2 quarts