Thursday, July 29, 2010

Homemade Bomb Pops

Eric's current popsicle obsession is Bomb Pops. His taste in popsicles has self-admittedly matured over the years, moving from a "quantity over quality" stance (think mountains of skinny and oh-so-cheap freezer pops) to an appreciation for the finer things in life (aka Edy's Strawberry Whole Fruit Popsicles).

As a gift one day I decided to surprise my man with delicious and healthy home-made Bomb Pops.

But first, dear Readers, a question:

Why the name Bomb Pop? And why is it red, white and blue? The flavors are cherry, lime and blue raspberry, so the obvious color combo there is red, green and blue. Which came first? The shape, the name or the colors? And why should the makers assume that the three go together? America = bombs?

A quick google search revealed not much information about the origins of the bomb pop except that they were first produced in the fifties by Blue Bunny. That's during the Cold War, folks, when everybody had bombs on the brain. Clearly it made sense to reinforce the nation's dominance and paranoia in the minds of children with patriotic popsicles.

On to the subject at hand!

To make these bomb pops, I simply pureed strawberries with a little simple syrup (half sugar, half water, heated in a saucepan until the sugar is dissolved), and poured it in the bottom of my popsicle molds. If you don't have popsicle molds, you could always use small paper cups.

Next I added a bit of vanilla yogurt, but you could try lemon or limeade as well.

Finally, I pureed some blueberries with simple syrup and used them to top off the molds.

Add the popsicle stick/plastic knife/mold caps and freeze away!

In a few hours, you can enjoy your Bomb Pop with the knowledge that you are eating real fruit. And for your information, National Bomb Pop day is celebrated the last Thursday in June. Missed it this year, but I'll be ready next year. We'll have a party, ok?

To unmold, just run hot water around the outside of the mold or cup for a few seconds, and slide the popsicle out.

Obviously, the popsicle is a very adaptable frozen treat. Try different fruits or flavors of yogurt- even frozen pudding!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Cinnamon Oatmeal Praline Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream

That name is quite the mouthful, eh? Let's add on to it and make it Smooth-Crunchy-Creamy-Chunky-Luscious-Cinnamon-Oatmeal-Praline-Chocolate-Chunk-Incredible Cream.

And after all that I have to admit that string of descriptors goes nowhere in describing how utterly divine, just how perfect it is. Thank you, David Lebovitz, for equipping me with the tools to make it.

disclaimer...this absurd number of egg yolks is for a double batch

This ice cream has three components: 1. A custard base, which means it uses a ton of egg yolks and remains soft and creamy in your freezer, rather than getting icy and hard like ice creams that use only cream and milk. 2. Oatmeal Pralines- toasted old fashioned oats tossed with hot caramel an sprinkled with sea salt, cooled in a sheet pan and smashed to bits with a heavy object. 3. Chocolate chunks- I recommend chopping up bar chocolate in slivers and chunks. I used ghiradelli baking dark, but I think semisweet would be just as good, if not better.

Order of prep:
1. Make custard, place in ice bath in fridge.
2. Make Oatmeal Pralines, set out to cool.
3. Chop chocolate, place in bowl in the freezer.
4. When custard is totally chilled (at least three hours later), churn in ice cream maker.
5. While churning, smash the praline to bits and place in bowl in freezer.
6. When ice cream is churned, put it in a bowl or tupperware and fold in the praline bits and the chocolate.
7. Cover bowl. Freeze for several hours (I recommend overnight) to soften pralines and firm ice cream.
8. Enjoy your hard earned ice cream. Try to share with your friends and family, and try not to stick your whole face in the bowl when you take it out of the freezer. Feel free to sneak a spoonful every time you pass the freezer.

Cinnamon Ice Cream, from The Perfect Scoop
Makes about 1 quart. I doubled it, and it still only lasted 2 days. There were 7 people though.

1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
Pinch of Salt
Ten 3-in cinnamon sticks, broken up. I used 2 tablespoons of Saigon Cinnamon instead.
2 cups heavy cream
5 large egg yolks

Warm the milk, sugar, salt, cinnamon sticks and half the cream in a pot. Once warm, let steep for an hour to infuse the milk with the cinnamon. If you're using ground cinnamon, skip this step.

Heat the milk mixture, remove the cinnamon sticks and discard. Prepare your icebath- fill a large bowl with ice and a bit of water, and put a smaller bowl inside the big bowl. Pour the remaining cream in that smaller bowl. Have a strainer on hand to make sure there are no eggy bits in your ice cream.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Whisk the hot milk into the egg yolks a little bit at a time until the egg yolks are the same temperature as the milk mixture. Whisk the hot egg mixture into the milk mixture.

Stir constantly over medium heat until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. DON'T BOIL. You can also tell it's done when you can feel it starting to coat the bottom of the pan. If you think its coating the spatula, it probably is.

Pour the custard through the strainer into the cream in the icebath bowl. Stir until cool. Cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, then churn according to the instructions that came with your ice cream maker.

Oatmeal Pralines, also from The Perfect Scoop

3/4 rolled oats (not instant)
1/2 cup sugar
Pinch of coarse salt

First, toast the oats. You can either do this on a sheet pan in the oven, or, if it's a hot summer day and you don't feel like turning on the oven, you can toast them in a wide skillet on the stove top, stirring constantly. Like so:

Place a sheet of aluminum foil on a baking sheet.

Spread the sugar evenly in the bottom of a medium, heavy bottomed pan. Cook over medium heat and cook attentively. When you see the edges liquify, stir carefully to get the rest of the sugar to melt. Be aware that if you don't stir, the bottom can burn while the stop is still white. Once the caramel is deep golden, remove from heat and dump the oats in. Stir the oats to coat with the caramel, then scrape them onto the aluminum foil on the baking sheet. Spread them out as evenly as possible. Sprinkle with salt and let cool and harden.

Once cool, break up into pieces and put in a heavy duty plastic bag. Whack them into bits with a rolling pin or other heavy blunt object.

The pralines will be very hard, but will soften in the ice cream. I recommend mostly small bits, like the size of a fingernail.

Stir together ice cream, pralines and chocolate, freeze for a bit and enjoy!

Make it this weekend and tell me how you liked it!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Lake Skaneateles Vacation

We just got back from the best vacation. We were in the finger lakes area of New York, spending time in Ithaca and with Eric's family on Lake Skaneateles. They just bought a Geodesic Dome-Home on the lake; a lovely little absurdly shaped cottage, full of bright light and perched on top of a cliff. Tilting steps make their way down to the water where there live two kayaks, a row boat named Lyng (which means flower in Norwegian), a dingy, and- the pride of the place- a sailboat.

We're sailors now!
Our favorite thing was to stand up at the front of the boat while Mr. Fuchs expertly caught the wind by zig-zagging the boat across the lake. Every time he "tacked" or made a turn, we had to move back and duck down to avoid the jib sail flying across the deck to the other side of the boat. At these times he loved letting the boat lean far over the water while we were perched precariously, our feet dragging in the water.

I'm steering the boat. Right is left and left is right.

Behold! The Dome-Home in all it's glory!

The water of Lake Skaneateles is a breathtaking blue and shockingly clear. Doesn't it look like water that belongs in Tahiti?

The dome-home's water comes straight from the lake, and the towns nearby get their water from it, too. It's one of the cleanest lakes in the US.

Leah and Drew came through Ithaca on their Northeastern road trip. You can see more pretty pictures of the lake on Leah's blog.


Eric's brothers, Isaac and Micah, are into food and restaurants and this week was the week of delicious food. And the week of David Lebovitz, actually, because Micah brought his new cookbook, Ready for Dessert (which I cannot wait to obtain), and I brought his ice cream book, The Perfect Scoop. And there was much rejoicing.

Micah, crimping the edges, and his mom's hand demonstrating the proper position for the thumb and forefinger

We grilled out almost every night, every thing from porkchops and chicken to pizzas and sandwiches to corn on the cob and watermelon. Mrs. Fuchs used her home grown black currants to make sorbet. Isaac made Lebovitz's chocolate chip cookies and Micah made his double crust mixed berry pie. And I made two batches of truly stellar ice cream (one adapted from Lebovitz)- and I will gladly share the recipes with you.

i said, "Christine, make it look like you're enjoying it."