Throughout my life, I tend to glom onto one idea or thing, and it becomes all consuming. As a kid it was stuffed animals and HBO. In high school, it was Cosby sweaters and INXS. College: Doc Martins, Merchant Ivory films, and giraffes. Late twenties, it was Shakespeare and Ricky Martin. Now I have officially moved into my cooking/foodie phase.
And, for some reason, people pick up on this trait when it comes to any sort of gift giving occasion. A few years ago, I had to place an official moratorium on giraffes. This past Christmas/birthday season (my birthday is 12/28...so start shopping now), I received no less than 9 cookbooks (some that are amazingly old school with chapters dedicated to flaming food and "the man's job: steak"), cooking lessons at Viking, and gift cards to Williams Sonoma. Complete heaven. So it was off to Williams Sonoma!
But, I have a problem. I tend to panic when I enter that store. I have a very small kitchen, picture a typical Manhattan apartment kitchen without the benefits of living in the Big Apple. It is already chock full of gadgets and equipment, and it takes the strategical mind akin to the one who planned the storming of Normandy to find storage space in this teeny tiny room. My usual pattern is to walk around the store (or Valhalla, as I call it), ooh and ahh, and then leave empty handed, a routine J has patiently suffered through on several occasions.
However, this time was different. After careful consultation and a brief moment involving several slow, deep breaths into a paper bag, we walked away with that most frivolous of kitchen appliances: the ice cream maker. Thanks to the oppressively swampy Memphis summer and SMW's fro yo recipe, I have officially been bitten by the ice cream makin' bug.
So, in true Improvised Chef fashion, I played around with one recipe and came up with another one.
What ice cream flavor should I try next?
Vanilla and Thyme infused Pineapple Frozen Yogurt
1 pineapple, peeled and cored
1 Tbl fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1 Tbl good vanilla (or if'n you're feelin' fancy...1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped)
1 Tbl butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tbl. brown sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
1 1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup milk
Place the pineapple, vanilla, thyme, butter, and sugar in a medium saucepan. Heat on medium heat, stirring, until all of the sugar has dissolved. While the mixture is heating, use a potato masher to mash up the pineapple. Add lemon zest. When all of the sugar has dissolved, remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes.If you want a smooth result, you can process the cooled mixture in a food processor, or skip. I recommend skipping.
Stir in the yogurt and milk until completely incorporated. Chill the mixture in the refrigerator for several hours (or overnight) until completely cold.
Process the pineapple yogurt mixture in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions (usually about 25 minutes). Serve immediately (it will be soft) or let it firm up a bit by freezing it for several hours.
Makes about 1 quart.
Laura and her Giraffe Menagerie.