Sunday, July 18, 2010

ICA: Ice Cream Anonymous

I am (not) married to an addict.

Now, J doesn't drink, smoke, do drugs, or even eat poorly.  The man hasn't eaten cheese in a year and a half, for God's sake, which has been a serious point of contention for this Midwesterner.  I mean,'s cheese...nature's snack!  Next to Doritos.

No.  J's problem is much more insidious than funny smelling cigarettes or not-so-wholesome websites.  It's ice cream.

Every night it's the same thing:  "Baby, I need some cream." 

And my usually mild-mannered Valentine turns into a twitchy, sweaty beast hungry for the junk.  Little did I know that our seemingly frivolous purchase earlier this summer was all a part of a covert master plan to feed the need for cream.

Here is what we came up with at 11:00 last night.

Basil Strawberry Ice Cream with Vanilla Bean

We had gone to the farmer's market that day and bought huge bunches of locally grown basil and, in a moment of extravagance, we happened to have a vanilla bean in the cupboard.  That stuff is gold!  If you don't want to spend the $87 for a fresh bean, substitute 1 tsp good vanilla extract. The basil adds a wonderfully floral quality and enhances the sweetness of the cream.

1 pint strawberries, sliced
3/4 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
1 tsp lemon zest
1/4 cup fresh basil, thinly sliced
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk

In a saute pan over medium heat, combine strawberries, sugar, and vanilla and cook for 7-10 minutes.  Use a potato masher to smoosh it up to desired consistency.  Add basil and cook for one minute allowing basil to wilt.  Cool mixture completely.  If you are doing this at 11:00 at night, like I did, pour mixture into a bowl and place into a cold water bath.

Once chilled, combine berries with milk and cream.  Pour into ice cream maker and let it do it's thang for about 25 minutes.

And thus concludes The Improvised Chef's adventures with the ice cream maker.  You get the idea.  Sorry so many posts about ice cream, but it's summer and it's HOT!


  1. I think Ken and J may be cut from the same cloth in the need for ice cream! Every night immediately after finishing dinner, "I want ice cream." Maybe I need to invest in an ice cream maker as well!!

  2. We have had so much fun playing around with different flavors. I wouldn't say that you are saving a ton of money, but you do know exactly what is in your ice cream.
    Thanks for reading!

  3. I have been loving the great pictures, and I laughed at your fancy ice cream holder.

  4. You posted this just for me so I'd have the recipe for my afternoon of "cream" mak'n. Can't wait. I'm using the Amish berries my Dad gave me, my fresh basil and a TIRED vanilla bean that has been moonlightin in my sugar jar. LOL. Will let you know how it turns out.

  5. Hi Scott,

    Just checked out your blog for the first time, very entertaining. Good luck getting your own show. If you do may I suggest a segment for folks like me "Quick Tips For The Culinary Clueless" lol

  6. Thanks for joining the fun, Joanne! Most of these recipes require only patience and a little bit of adventure. (Remember, I have had no formal training). Just get in the kitchen and play!

  7. SD...The ice cream turned out spectacular and we shared with our neighbors. They couldn't figure out the 'mystery' ingrediant (basil). Thanks again.