Fonticulus Fides

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

So Ends the Month of May

We spent Memorial Day out at the farm. It was a $20 car trip, now that gasoline is so expensive, but we hadn’t been out there since Easter, and we all needed the fresh air and wide open spaces.

Zooey brought his kite but promptly forgot all about putting it up when his cousins arrived. Instead, he spent the entire day outside with them, climbing up to the tree house, digging in the dirt, coaxing our dog to play fetch with a ball. Edyn was too shy to wander far from my side for the first couple of hours, but she eventually stopped hiding her face in a pillow and charmed all the relatives with her big blue eyes. Happily, Laurel ignored the new tooth that is pushing its way through her bottom gum and smiled enthusiastically at anybody who would talk to her.

My husband grilled hamburgers and hot dogs to feed the 20-some people gathered. His mom, aunt and grandmother rounded out the feast with various salads and baked side dishes. Lots of macaroni and not too much Jell-O® this time.

Breathless and thoroughly aired, the kids ate their dinners outside on the picnic table, dropping bits of meat in the grass for the dog when they thought nobody was watching. Half the grown-ups balanced their plates on their laps as they relaxed in lawn chairs set up in the sunny and breezy front yard. The rest of us ate indoors, closer to the food and farther from the gnats. (I’m still too "city" to enjoy eating al fresco if I have to constantly shoo bugs away from my food.)

Afterwards, my husband walked the children through the soybean fields down to the pond to look for deer and other wildlife. Zooey accurately called the pond "an animal junction" – we’re wondering where he picked up that phrase, but he seems to understand what it means. Meanwhile, I nursed Laurel to sleep upstairs in the farm house, listening to the laughter and conversation below, the songbirds outside, the silent song of praise in the heavens. God is so very good to us.

We’d made ice cream at home for the feast, much to Zooey’s delight, though he rejected it in favor of the red, white and blue popsicles that Grandma handed out. The ice cream was unanimously approved by the rest of the family, so I offer the recipe here.

Vanilla Ice Cream

3 eggs
2 egg yolks
1-1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups heavy cream
4 teaspoons vanilla

Wisk the eggs and yolks together. Set aside. In a heavy saucepan, heat the milk, evaporated milk, sugar and salt over medium heat, stirring frequently, until just starting to simmer. Reduce heat to low. While whisking steadily, slowly pour one cup of the hot milk mixture into the eggs, then slowly pour the egg mixture back into the rest of the milk, stirring constantly. Cook for one minute longer, stirring frequently.

Pour the mixture into a metal bowl and set it in an ice bath. Stir for 3-5 minutes, or until the mixture has cooled to room temperature. Whisk in the heavy cream and vanilla. Chill at least 2 hours in the fridge, and then freeze according to the directions on your ice cream maker. Pack tightly into a plastic container and ripen in freezer for 3 hours or more.

This would probably be even tastier if you heated a vanilla bean in the milk mixture, then removed it and scraped the seeds into the milk before adding the eggs. You could also use vanilla sugar instead of plain. Make vanilla sugar by burying that scraped vanilla bean pod in a plastic container filled with ordinary granulated sugar, then sealing tightly and storing for at least 2 weeks.



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