I planned to let you all know yesterday that I was pregnant. I found out the morning of Canada Day, thinking it would be smart to pee on that stick before the onslaught of parties and Stampede, and having just brought home 23 cases of beer (from the CBC beer pool). Instead, the pregnancy ended. It was early – between 6 and 7 weeks, and it was only for 10 days that we believed a new baby would be arriving in March, but I can’t seem to sit down in front of the keyboard and spin tales of what we ate as if it was just another day. I’m glad it was so early – my first pregnancy ended the last day of my first trimester – and I know it’s common. It still sucks.
(For those keeping tabs: that’s a new roof, $3000 worth of dental work, a tax audit, a he-nearly-died medical emergency (not mine) a pregnancy and a miscarriage in a little over two weeks. Plus Stampede, during which I couldn’t have a drink. I could cry with joy that we’re heading to Tofino in T minus 7 hours.)
Yesterday started at 4:30, when (after getting up at midnight when W wet the bed and again at 2 to let Lou out for a pee) I got up to finish prepping breakfast in the barns for 20 CBC listeners who came down to eat with us and the driver of the Food Bank chuckwagon – David Bensmiller – and his crew. A fun time, if rainy, cold and wet.
We invented the Bensmiller Griller specifically for the occasion, having only an enormous grill available to us in the barns to cook with. A Bensmiller Griller is essentially a breakfast burrito, assembled the night before, which gives the soft flour tortilla packets of scrambled egg, black beans, sauteed peppers, onions and cheese time to sort of set so that they hold their shape when tossed on the grill to crisp on the outside and heat through the next morning. It worked brilliantly (fortunately); it’s great to have an easy make-ahead brunch (or dinner, really) dish that will feed a large crowd (I made 50, assembly-line style) with a minimum of morning fuss. And perfect for the cowboy on the go.
In the afternoon, I cleaned, packed and made ice cream. What else can you do? Roasted plum, remembering how fantastic that roasted peach and brown sugar ice cream was last year, and then mascarpone. I had a tub of it in the fridge that needed using up, and since I have in the past stirred it into panna cotta, it seemed to be a fine candidate for ice cream. Topped with some strawberry-rhubarb compote, the result is ultra creamy and cheesecakelike; to make strawberry-rhubarb ice cream, add it through the feed tube toward the end of the freezing process. Yes, they are every iota as good as they sound.
Mascarpone Ice Cream I
3 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar (or to taste)
1 1/2 cups half & half
1 cup mascarpone
a capful of good vanilla extract
In a medium pot, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar; whisk in the cream. Put the pot over medium low heat and cook, whisking often, until the mixture bubbles and thickens; whisk in the mascarpone until it melts and the mixture is smooth. Whisk in the vanilla. Remove from heat and cool completely, then refrigerate until cold. Freeze according to the directions of your ice cream maker. Makes about 1 pint.
Mascarpone Ice Cream II
sugar or honey to taste
a few drops of vanilla
Use as much cream as you have mascarpone; heat it up on the stovetop until it’s hot but not boiling; stir in the mascarpone until melted, and add sugar or honey to taste (I use a couple tablespoons per cup of cream-mascarpone) and stir in the vanilla. Chill in the fridge until cold, and then freeze in your ice cream maker.
Roasted Plum Ice Cream
Instead of using this formula, you could add the roasted and semi-pureed plums to any basic vanilla ice cream recipe.
4 large plums (or 6-8 small Damson plums), halved and pitted
sugar, for sprinkling
1 cup good-quality plain or vanilla yogurt
1 cup heavy (whipping) cream
1/3 cup sugar or honey, or to taste (depending on whether you used plain or vanilla yogurt)
Preheat the oven to 400F. Place the halved plums skin-side down on a rimmed baking sheet and sprinkle the cut sides with sugar. Roast for about 20 minutes, until the fruit softens, releases some juice and turns golden and sticky. Set aside to cool.
In a bowl, whisk together the yogurt, cream and sugar or honey. Freeze in your ice cream machine (or using the can method) until it’s almost solid. Meanwhile, scrape the plums (along with any juices or stickiness left on the bottom of the pan) into a food processor and pulse until mulched; alternatively chop them roughly with a knife on a chopping board that will catch all the juices. Make sure the fruit is completely cool – if it’s still warm, it could melt the ice cream.
When the ice cream is frozen but still soft, add the plums through the feed tube, or stir it in. Serve immediately or transfer to a container and put it in the freezer until solid.
A note about Free Stuff Fridays: I need to take a little break from it for the summer – at the end of August I will resume gathering stuff to give away, but for now I need to jettison some of my workload. Congrats to Donna, who won the box of Epicure Selections swag!
One Year Ago: Jerk pork, new potatoes, roasted beets, sugar snap peas, and Strawberry Shortcakes