Jan 29, 2008

Meyer Lemon Ice Cream

I've been listening to KCRW's Good Food program podcast ever since my friend Kelley turned me on to it. (You can download the podcast from iTunes.) KCRW is a Southern California radio station. The show opens every week with a market report from the Santa Monica Farmers' Market. Despite the torture of listening to all the exciting and unusual produce they have available at the market, I love this part of the show. I found this recipe online over a year ago, but was delighted to discover the Santa Monica Farmers' Market Cookbook by Amelia Saltsman last summer. It's full of so many fresh, seasonal produce-based recipes. Amelia has her own show, Fresh From the Farmers' Market, on L.A. cable. Wish we could get that on iTunes too.

Turns out, Amelia Saltsman has family in Austin and she came for a visit last summer to our downtown farmers' market. I got a chance to see her cooking demo, meet her and ask her some questions. She was a total delight. If you like to shop at the farmers' market and would like some fresh ideas about what to do with all that produce, check out her cookbook.

So far, I've tried winter squash purée with Parmesan and pumpkin seed oil and braised winter greens with chipotles and bacon and loved them both. The book also includes lovely portraits of the market vendors and their products and tells some of their stories. Reading these recipes and listening to the market report each week is developing my craving for a weekend in Santa Monica just for shopping at the market and sitting on the beach. Sounds like a great escape from Austin's summer heat.

As I said, I originally found this recipe online, but the one in the book is the same, with the added bonus of how to turn it into a sundae with oranges, tangelos, raspberries, shortbread cookies and dessert wine. Whether you fancy it up that way, or just eat it as is, the flavor will blow you away.

The original recipe calls for cream, but I've been making it with whole milk to lighten the load a bit. Try it however you like. I also added a shot of (evil) corn syrup to make it a bit smoother.

1/3 cup Meyer lemon zest (6 lemons for me)
2/3 cup Meyer lemon juice (5 lemons)
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons corn syrup
2/3 cup whole milk (or half&half or cream), COLD

Note: I used a fine Microplane to get the zest.

Combine zest, juice, water, sugar and corn syrup. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil for a couple of minutes to melt the sugar. Strain. Add back in two tablespoons of the zest you just strained out. (If you've used the Microplane, you won't need to chop it. If you didn't, chop it up finely first.)

Chill the syrup completely. (Fastest method: ice bath. Fill a bowl with ice cubes and water; pour the syrup into a tall container with a sealable top; place the container in the ice bath until thoroughly chilled.)

Remove syrup from the ice bath and stir in the milk (or cream). Freeze in an ice cream maker.

Note: If it's too cold now for you to get fired up about making ice cream, then grab half a dozen Meyer Lemons from the store. Zest and juice them into freezable containers and keep them handy til you're ready.

Yield: almost a quart or about 6 servings.

Reciped adapted from The Santa Monica Farmers' Market Cookbook by Amelia Saltsman.

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