I have skimped on biographical details here, in part because it’s not relevant and in part because it’s so easy to figure out with a bit of Googling. But, I was very happy to offer my ice cream making skills for my law school’s public interest auction a few months ago. The proceeds of the auction go to fund first years in their summer jobs at public interest jobs — a cause I care a great deal about, as a long-term public interest attorney.
I auctioned off an ice cream making tutorial, complete with four flavors of the winners’ choice, and cocktails. Four graduating women won the prize. Amidst drinks and my two favorite flavors (J & A — you remain super popular), I came up with a new one at the winners’ behest. It mixes a lovely lemon base with a delicious shortbread mix-in courtesy of Melissa Clark and the New York Times — and is sure to be a crowd pleaser. Better still, you only need half the shortbread from the recipe; you can snack on the rest.
The finished product
One of the benefits of being friends with a food writer and cookbook author is you know you’re getting honest criticism. But when it came time to come up with a flavor that did justice to her talent, I took my time. The result — a blend of Meyer lemons, the classiest commonly available citrus (second classiest: blood oranges; third: key limes) and crème fraîche — turned out well. The zest in the ice cream base slightly heightens the flavor of the curd. You can swap out regular lemons and sour cream for those two, but it won’t be as sophisticated.
Shades of yellow.
One of my friends has spent a lot of time in the Middle East and North Africa, where preserved lemons are de rigueur, and she was tickled when I told her I had made preserved lemons. I did it because I had too many lemons on hand and it seemed like a fun project. I haven’t had the chance to use them in cooking, but of course I wanted to see how it work in ice cream.
Preserved lemons have a bit more umami than regular lemons, so it’s a different flavor profile than a standard lemon ice cream. The recipe I used had peppercorns and bay leaves as well. Also unlike, a regular lemon ice cream, this has a salty tinge that, when combined with the lemon and other notes, is delightfully unusual and unclassifiable. Much like Ms. Sharpe herself.
In its raw form.
I have been absent for longer than I had planned — a trip to New York and work busyness has prevented me from writing up all the installments bouncing around my mind. Happily, I have been able to make some new recipes, so we’re not lacking in ideas around here.
Lauren’s favorite lemon curd.
The New York trip was in celebration of my dear friend Lauren’s baby shower. I’d never actually been to one so it was a novel experience, and a relaxed one (no stupid games, very little pomp). Lauren has always loved my lemon curd, which I frequently add to cakes and cookies, but I’d never actually done it as an ice cream swirl. The trip got my mind going — you’d want a basic flavor, but with a subtle flavor to make it not just lemon + vanilla. Enter the chilies. They add a kick, but not an unwelcome one. People who hate spicy food probably shouldn’t try this, but the mix of spice, sweetness, and tart — complete with the richness of the vanilla, use seeds and good extract if possible — make it an unusual, addictive combination. The friends who tried it while watching the Oscars very much enjoyed it. Continue reading