Friday, March 18, 2011

Recipe: Guinness Chocolate Ice Cream

As weird as this recipe might sound to you, I am telling you now that this is the best chocolate ice cream that I've ever had. Bear in mind that that is coming from a chocolate snob. And for any of you who might be freaked out by the beer, trust me when I tell you that the Guinness adds an interesting depth and complexity to the custard. It's a nice, very subtly bitter counterpoint to all of the richness of the dairy. I tasted the custard before and after the addition of the Guinness (you know, strictly for scientific purposes) and the beer really does make the difference.

I came across this recipe on the blog of another Michelle, over at Brown Eyed Baker. The following is my modified version of her modified version of a recipe from David Lebovitz's "The Perfect Scoop". I can't help it, I'm a modifier. Sometimes I shoot myself in the foot with my tinkering, but in this instance, I am happy with my finished product. So make it my way or make it her way, just do yourself a favor and make this ice cream!

Guinness Chocolate Ice Cream

This recipe makes 1 quart. I made a double batch with no trouble. ;)

5 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped (I used Callebaut)
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
4 egg yolks
1 cup heavy cream
¾ cup Guinness Stout
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Put the chopped chocolate in a large bowl and set a mesh strainer over the top, set aside.

2. Warm the milk, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm milk mixture into the beaten egg yolks, whisking constantly to temper them without cooking them, then pour the warmed egg yolk/milk mixture back into the saucepan.

3. Stir the egg yolk/milk mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula, forming a custard. Pour the custard through the strainer over the bowl of chopped chocolate, catching and discarding any bits of cooked egg. Stir until the chocolate is melted and incorporated. Once the mixture is smooth, whisk in the cream, followed by the Guinness and vanilla extract.

4. Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator (it is recommended that you chill it for at least 8 hours or overnight), then churn in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. (My ice cream maker went kaput on me, so I used the freezer bowl portion of it only. After 6 hours of cooling before freezing, then another 2 hours in the in the freezer (in the freezer bowl), I had a nice, soft-set ice cream.)

Four easy steps, followed by a painfully long wait pacing back and forth in front of the freezer, and you have yourself a wickedly delicious bowl of ice cream. :)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Goats Gone Wild

The girls went out to feed the goats this evening. They're out there for about 5 minutes when Scarlet comes hauling butt onto the porch, "Mom! Spike's got his head stuck in the fence! UPSIDE DOWN!!!"

Wow. This is a creative new way to annoy me, even for you, Spike. Way to go buddy!

The offender

So then it's my turn to haul butt stumble awkwardly through the mud out to the goat pens. By the time I get there, he is no longer upside down, but he is still good and stuck. I try to thread his horns back trough the same square that he's got his giant head poking out of, only to have Mr. Wonderful start to fight me in earnest. Spike doesn't like having his horns touched; it makes him feel vulnerable and controlled. But I don't see any other way that we're going to get this mess dealt with, so I go behind him, inside the pen and try to wriggle both horns back through the hole while Archie and Gertie bob and weave and jump up on me, with the mistaken idea that I have some sort of foodstuff squirrelled away in my pocket. Three against one and the one is cold, breathless and pissed.

I finally get numbskull's head out of the fence, trudge back in to the house and have just sat down on the couch, when here comes Scarlet, all kerfuffled again. "Mama! Fritzen got out! We need help!"

Son of a &#%&@!!!

By the time I'm halfway out there with some alfalfa snacks to bribe the misfit mama back home, Liv yells down to me that she's already rounded her back up - crisis averted.

This sort of circus reminds me of when the girls were little. The minute you sat down after a long day, somebody needed something, pronto. It got to the point where my delirious sleep-deprived mind started to wonder if my girls had a sixth sense, or maybe some sort of buzzer rigged to the couch cushion to let them know the minute I sat down so that they could time their potty emergencies and midnight pukings just so. And now it would seem that the critters are in on it. No sooner do I lay my head down at night than I hear what *might* be a coyotes yip out back, or the low clang of Spike's bell, just outside my bedroom window, signaling a jailbreak. Some variation on this theme occurs daily. Can mama not get a moment of peace around here, for crying out loud? SERENITY NOW!!!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Graced by Grace

Our funky little Golden Laced Polish hen, Gracie, finally laid her first-ever egg today. I found it in the nest box and quickly put it back, so that the girls could find it later. They came back from critter patrol running and hooting down the driveway with the telltale white egg.

We now have a full spectrum of egg colors!

My husband's family is of Ukrainian heritage, so Grace's timing is just perfect for us to make some Ukrainian Easter eggs from our own eggs. It's a painstaking process, sort of like Batiking an egg. But some of the designs are pretty amazing. This will be a family time double-whammy of using what we grow and honoring the culture of our heritage.

Thank you, Gracie girl! :)