Growth is a double edged sword. Unchecked, growth can be cancerous and destructive. It is this type of ceaseless expansion that has put our society into the precarious environmental and financial positions in which we currently find ourselves. On the other hand, growth can be regenerative and life-giving. Following a forest fire or a bitter winter, the first green shoots to emerge from the earth bear witness to the earth's ability to restore life in the wake of disaster.

My goal for this blog is pretty simple and open-ended: I want to document and share with family and friends my efforts to incorporate an ever increasing degree of self sufficiency, voluntary simplicity, and environmentally-conscious design into my life as a would be urban homesteader.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Homemade Ice Cream

Homemade vanilla ice cream with cinnamon, corriander, and some local honey

I have a variety of vices and low-level addictions, chief among them beer and ice cream. My brother Rob has periodically brewed his own beer, and does a pretty good job. It's something I'd like to try at some point, but I don't have any of the equipment right now. Besides, there are lots of great local and regional microbrews at the grocery and liquor store.

Ice cream is a different story. There are some great places in St.Louis to go get good, hand-made ice cream; Ted Drewes, Serendipity, and Frostbite. At the store, however, I'm pretty much stuck with mass-produced "frozen dairy dessert" made with various conditioners, emulsifiers, preservatives, artificial flavors and colors, and let's not forget high fructose corn syrup. I ate it, because, well, I love ice cream.

A couple of weeks ago, while rummaging through the basement, I came across an ice cream maker that my parents had left here. Since I have a penchant for doing things the hard way, I immediately swore off store bought ice cream and vowed to make it myself. The churn had a recipe book with it, so I tried the "Old Fashioned Vanilla Ice Cream". Wow. I remember having home made ice cream a few times as a kid, but this stuff was dynamite! My wife and kids loved it too. Better still, based on the quantity that you get, it's cheaper than the premium ice cream at the grocery store. It's safe to say that this is the only ice cream that we're going to have around our house anymore.

Here's the recipe, give it a try!

Old Fashioned Vanilla Ice Cream
This recipe makes 5 quarts of ice cream. Keep in mind that the average carton of ice cream at the store is only 1.5 quarts, so make sure you have enough containers to keep it in.

Sugar 3 cups
Flour 1/2 cup
Salt 1/4 teaspoon
Milk 6 1/4 cups
Eggs 5
Cream 5 cups
Extract 2 1/2 Tablespoons

Combine the sugar, flour. and salt in a large saucepan. Stir in the milk. Cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes, stirring constantly.
Whip the eggs in a bowl. After the milk mixture is cooked, mix 1 - 2 cups of it into the beaten eggs. Pour the eggs back in with the milk and stir thoroughly.
Put the mixture into the freezer for 45-60 minutes to cool off. Stir occasionally. Once it is cool, pour the whipping cream and vanilla extract into a bowl and mix. Add in the milk mixture, and stir with a wire whisk. (At this point, you should add any spices or liquid flavorings you are using.)
Pour the mixture into the ice cream maker and churn for around 45 minutes. When the churning is done, pour it into whatever container(s) that you will be freezing it in. At this point, it is the consistency of a thick milkshake, so it's perfect for adding fruit pieces, candy, or brownie bits. Put is in the freezer for a couple of hours to get solid. Enjoy!

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