Monthly Archives: December 2011

Vanilla Ice Cream Custard

After reading the alarmingly long list of ingredients (and the saturated fat content!) of Trader Joe’s Super Premium vanilla ice cream, I decided to make my own.  I basically adapted my favorite pudding recipe, cutting the corn starch a little and amping up the vanilla.  Turned out better than anything I’d made before, and absolutely delicious on baked apples.  Makes about 4 cups.  Enjoy.

Vanilla Ice Cream Custard

2 c. 2% milk, divided
1 c. heavy cream
Vanilla bean
2 T. cornstarch
2/3 c. plus ¼ c. sugar
4 egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Almond extract (few drops), opt.

In a small saucepan, heat one cup milk and cream over medium low heat. Scrape in seeds and stir. Add pod, cover and steep at least 20 min. Remove pod. Rewarm gently.

In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine cornstarch and ¼ c. sugar. Pour in warm vanilla milk mixture and whisk until smooth. Add remaining sugar. Cook over medium heat until sugar dissolves and small bubbles form around the edges of the pan, stirring often. Mixture will thicken slightly.

In the meantime, whisk egg yolks and remaining cup milk in a medium bowl until combined. When vanilla mixture has begun to bubble and thicken, pour one cup (or so) of it into the egg mixture, whisking to temper eggs. (This step must be done quickly and smoothly so you don’t get scrambled eggs!) Pour tempered egg mixture back into the saucepan and cook over medium heat until mixture begins to boil, stirring constantly. Keep at a slow boil for one minute. Remove pan from heat and stir in extract(s). Let cool.

Pour cooled mixture into airtight container, placing saran wrap directly on the surface to prevent a “skin” from forming. Chill until cold (ideally overnight). Process in an ice cream maker until quite firm. May be made ahead and frozen in an airtight container. Allow to sit at room temperature 10-15 min. before serving.

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Filed under Sweets and Treats

Eggplant Caponata

While home over Thanksgiving, I tasted an amazing Eggplant Caponata at Gratzi in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  Instead of the usual spicing, this caponata had a distinctly Lebanese flavor.  It was absolutely delicious- so good the table devoured it- I only got one bite!  Below is my take on the dish.  I served it warm last night for dinner as part of a vegetable plate.  Tonight I’ll scoop the little I have left over on toasted baguette slices to have with wine.  I can see it becoming a regular in our rotation. Enjoy.

3 small eggplant
Olive oil
Sea salt
1-2 lg onions, diced
½ cup pine nuts, toasted

1 medium onion, finely diced
Olive oil
Sea salt
4 cloves garlic, minced
½ carrot, finely grated
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
2 T. tomato paste
1 tsp. sugar
Pinch of ground cayenne pepper
1 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400°F. Peel half of the eggplant and cut peeled and unpeeled portions into ½”-diced. You should have 7-8 cups. Toss with olive oil, season with salt, and spread into a single layer in two 9×13” baking pans. Roast for 20-30 minutes, stirring once or twice, until eggplant is soft and lightly browned. It should be chewy/crispy. Remove from oven and set aside.

In a wide, shallow skillet, sauté 1-2 diced onions in olive oil over low heat, seasoning gently with salt. Sauté until soft and lightly browned. Stir in eggplant and remove from heat.

In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan,  finely sauté diced onion in olive oil over medium-low heat for 5 minutes, or until beginning to opaque. Add garlic and sauté 2 minutes more. Add carrot and gently season. Cook until carrot is soft. Add tomatoes and their juices, tomato paste, sugar, pinch cayenne and cinnamon. Turn heat up slightly to bring to a boil, then turn down and simmer gently until sauce darkens and thickens. When done, in should have the consistency of lumpy oatmeal. Taste. Sauce should have a distinct taste of cinnamon.  Adjust if necessary.

Scoop a few large spoonfuls of sauce into skillet with onions and eggplant. Fold together. Add enough sauce so that tomatoes are evenly distributed throughout eggplant (a little over half the sauce). Set remaining sauce aside for another use.

If not using right away, let cool, cover and chill. Before serving, stir in toasted pine nuts. Caponata may be served warm or at room temperature.

Makes about 4 cups.

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Filed under Recipes