Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Making Icy Progress!

I'm finally figuring out my ice cream maker. It was a birthday present (one of the best birthday presents ever!!), and the first few tries were quite unsuccessful. I started off with a lemon sorbet. Too slushy. Then I tried a fresh strawberry frozen yogurt. Too icy. I was beginning to feel frustrated. I was following the recipes from my ice cream cookbook exactly and couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong.

Then, a friend gave me Emily Luchetti's ice cream cookbook and everything changed. In her intro, she talks about the secret behind ice cream. The fat. There is no cutting corners. If you are going to eat ice cream, eat ice cream.

My next experiment was fresh mint chip ice cream from her cookbook. I didn't make sorbet. Didn't use yogurt. I didn't even use low fat milk. This time, it was whole milk and heavy whipping cream. I had success!! It was the best mint chip ice cream I had ever tasted.

It was so good, that I wanted to see if I could do it again. The next time? I turned my head for one second...and BAM. Scrambled eggs. It was late at night (why is it that I'm always experimenting late at night?), and yet, I was determined to do it again, despite how tired I was at that point. The only problem? I had just used up all of my eggs. The last three were now scrambled in a mess of cream on my stove top. Pissed off and in my PJ's, I headed out to the grocery store.

But the second time? Success. I was beginning to feel confident. I was getting the hang of this! The fat was the secret! Next recipe? Peanut Butter ice cream. A friend had emailed me the recipe and my friend that gave me the ice cream maker LOVES peanut I thought, what could be nicer than to make this for her? First try--BAM! Success! It was heavenly. So good. And just as I was confident again...failure. I was just too tired and too disheartened to try again. I couldn't figure it out. I didn't do anything different. :(

Tonight, the stars were aligned for me. I figured it out! I had too much 'liquid' in the ice cream maker. There wasn't the opportunity for air to get mixed in, and there wasn't enough space to churn. I divided it into two batches, and presto! Ice Cream!

Ice cream is about the chemistry and the science. Everything has to be measured and perfect. You have to be at your best, and you have to be fully engaged and paying attention. Not something you can half ass.

It made me think. If I had actual training...or someone teaching me...what would my potential be? Not just me reading a recipe and then just seeing what happens, but actual training.

Or alternatively, if I could spend all day in the kitchen, testing recipes, and trying again and again after each failed attempt, where would I be? Would I hate that lifestyle or would I thrive and actually make progress and feel like I was accomplishing something?

Perhaps in another life...I will be in whites in a kitchen somewhere!

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