Tuesday, September 13, 2011

first time: making ice cream

just got off the phone with the heart sister and am winding down for the evening.

we were talking about quite a few things and one of the things i mentioned was how i was probably going to write about my first ice cream making experience....and how it didn't exactly go flawlessly.

it started out with planning and excitement. i bought the ice cream machine, an extra bowl, and a hard cover copy of lebovitz's the perfect scoop. i placed markers throughout the inspiring food-porn pic book and gathered the ingredients in my pantry and refrigerator.

i decided to to make lebovitz' vietnamese coffee ice cream recipe as my first foray into making ice cream. i whisked together sweetened condensed milk......with some straus half and half.....

then added some strongly brewed four barrel coffee.......

and placed it in an ice bath......then had an impromptu inspiration of adding some bourbon.....and then put it all in the fridge overnight.

i was very excited.....so looking forward to having the combination of sweet cream, coffee, and bourbon. just typing out those words makes me sigh with an almost blissful happiness. yet, the next day, after putting the ice cream base in the machine......i realized that after 20 minutes of churning that something was wrong. it wasn't solidifying.

such disappointment. such excited expectation then followed by disappointment. figures.

at first i wondered if i put in too much bourbon. then i went back to the recipe and then realized that i made an assumption that 12 oz is equal to 1.5 cups....but then realized that a single can of sweetened condensed milk at 14oz was actually only 396 grams....and the recipe called for 1.5 cups or 600 grams.

when i realized this, i thought "oh shit." there wasn't nearly enough of the binding agent in the current mixture to make ice cream. this was a key lesson in realizing that i needed to pay attention more to grams. one that i should have remembered while i was reading the recipe. this was total user error.....and the user being me.

as i looked at the churning liquid that i knew now would never solidify, i almost wanted to wail....as would this mean starting the recipe all over....waiting overnight for the mixture to chill....and then try again the next day?

yet, in the midst of my disappointment and self-pity, i decided to try something. sure, the mixture had added moisture from running in the machine...but what if i removed the mixture....added more condensed milk.....whisked it....it would still be chilled yes? i also had that extra bowl already frozen which would enable me to try it again....right now. this way i wouldn't have to wait another day. if i ruined it, i ruined it....but i should at least try it and see what happens.

so put the mixture in a clean bowl, added more condensed milk so that it was at least 600 grams in the liquid, whisked it together, grabbed the extra frozen bowl in the freezer, and tried to churn it again. this time, i refused to look at it while it was churning. if it worked...it worked...if it didn't....it didn't. i didn't want to stand there with my eyeballs glued to the churning machine....stressing even more about the potential outcome. i set my kitchen timer to 20 minutes and then went back to my laptop to do some work.

when i heard the timer go off, i was thrilled when i looked into the churning machine.....

it worked! it really worked! it really did!

i scooped the majority of it out into a container so that i could put it in the freezer for a bit more overall firming up, and then i ate the rest out of the ice cream machine bowl. it was delightful. i felt like i was eating gelato. i could feel the heart race and the brain go alight.....typical reactions to consuming a mixture of coffee, condensed milk, and bourbon.

later on, when i was scooping some out, i thought back on this experience and was glad that i tried to make it work.....that i didn't just give up....or throw the entire batch out to start again.....

sometimes it can be easy to be disheartened when something doesn't go according to plan. it can be difficult to see within the midst of things "going all wrong" that there are opportunities to work things out by trying an alternative path or something different in order to make it work....for you as an individual. it also doesn't mean that working things out equates to having to follow along someone else's plan or expectation either. that someone being society in general, a group of people, even friends.....or former friends. methinks that a good portion of my life hasn't followed according to the "typical" paths....yet....they have been my paths with my general "big picture" goals in mind. it has been very much about what i discover and who i decide to share the journey with along the way. it also doesn't mean that despite my not knowing very much about something (like making ice cream) that it should stop me from trying.....i mean, look what i've done with the blog over the past few years....with taking pictures and whatnot.

it shouldn't surprise me that my first experience making ice cream was quite appropriate. there is something about food...the making of it...that is definitely reflective of what is going on with me. it was a good lesson relearned.

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