Free Range on Food: Ice cream tips with Jeni Britton Bauer, plus peach recipes, preserved lemons, this week's recipes and more!

Jul 17, 2019

Every Wednesday at noon, Food section staff members and guests answer your burning culinary questions.
Past Free Range on Food chats

Hello, friends! Thanks for making time on your lunch break to swing by and talk about food, hopefully while you eat something good.

As usual, we've got lots to share, including my newest deep dive: How to make ice cream at home. Maura spearheaded one of her signature taste tests with store-bought cookies and cream ice cream. We also had stories about the cult following of Georgia's Peach Truck and how to make and use preserved lemons.

Recipe-wise, Ellie Krieger hooked us up with some truly awesome chocolate pudding pops, Joe did some okonomiyaki and Bonnie threw together a brown rice salad. And my fish taco recipe just published online.

As we alluded to last week, we've got a special guest here today -- Jeni Britton Bauer of Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams! She, of course, can answer any and all your ice cream questions.

For you PostPoints members, here's today's code: FR8011. Remember, you'll record and enter it at the PostPoints site under Claim My Points to earn points. The code expires at midnight, so be sure to enter the code by 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday to get credit for participating.

As usual, we'll have a prize for our favorite question, and this week it will be a signed copy of one of Jeni's books!

Now let's get started.

What does the addition of alcohol to an ice cream base do to the texture of ice cream?

When you add alcohol it will depress the freezing point of the ice cream meaning the ice cream will need to be colder to be frozen. If you add too much alcohol you can make your ice cream soupy--it won't freeze. Sugar also does this. If you follow my recipe you can add 1/3 cup of any spirit to the recipe without upsetting the balance. However, if you want to add more, you can reduce the sugar by the same amount. Some ice cream makers even use a bit of vodka so that they can reduce the sugar in a sorbet. 

Hi Rangers! Since y'all are usually so good with ideas, I was hoping you could help me out. Any ideas for an easy peach-based side dish or dessert to that isn't baked, isn't ice cream, or a drink for a potluck picnic coming up soon. Thanks!

You've got to try this Fresh Summer Peach Salad -- there's a little fish sauce in here and a little heat that play SO well with sweet peaches. 

I'm so excited for your section on ice cream - thanks for doing this! I especially love Jeni's base - not having to deal with tempering eggs makes it so much easier. One flavor combination that I love but have not figured out how to do together in one batch of ice cream is banana caramel. I know I could make banana ice cream and caramel ice cream and then just mix the two together, but I only have one container for my maker, which has to freeze for 24 hours. I'd rather not have to spread things out over such a long period. Any suggestions?

The way I would approach this is to make a banana ice cream with caramelized white chocolate freckles (page 152, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home). Caramelizing white chocolate is a great way to bring both texture and flavor to your ice cream. I do it on the stovetop, but watch it and stir it constantly because it can burn easily. You can find my method in my book or online. 

 

Another option is to make a caramel or praline sauce (page 201, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home) and swirl that in to the ice cream as you pull the ice cream from the machine. Put a little sauce on the bottom of the bowl. Then add ice cream, and a little more sauce. Create depressions so that there is a spot for the sauce to pool, then top with another layer of ice cream. You’ll want about a cup to a cup and a half of sauce total. Be sure to save some sauce to decorate the top so that people know what the ice cream is! And then freeze the ice cream for a few hours so that you can scoop it. 

 

I agree, the two flavors blended together feels like it muddles both flavors! I would prefer to keep them distinct. 

Last week an article was featured about Rose’ wines. Could you recommend a make ahead cold hors d’oeuvres to pair with the wine?

I think any of the recipes in this piece we had by Ann Mah about the French way of entertaining with aperitifs would work.

aperitifs

ARTICLE: The newest recipe for a French dinner party: Less cooking and more relaxing

Becky asked that I resubmit my question this week, so here it is: I loved your ice cream article (thank you!), but it doesn't help me with the problem I've been having making strawberry ice cream. I want at least a few "pieces" of strawberry, not completely pureed and strained fruit like your peach ice cream recipe. But while my ice cream taste great straight out of the ice cream maker, once it's been in the freezer for a while, the bits of strawberry always freeze solid, which makes it difficult (if not actually unpleasant) to eat. I cook the strawberries with sugar, and have even added vodka to the mix and let it sit in the refrigerator for a couple of days before making the ice cream. This process worked well with cherries (the halved cherries were -much- larger than the strawberry pieces I end up with after the cooking process) but the strawberries still froze. How do the commercial brands keep their strawberry bits from freezing? Is it something I can do at home? [To answer the questions presented in last week's chat, I typically slice the strawberries; regular strawberries are maybe four slices, larger ones maybe six? My knife skills are strictly amateur; I don't think I'm really able to slice them much thinner than that without losing the tips of my fingers, and/or it taking several hours. I cook them until they are very soft, but not until they completely disintegrate. I've not tried putting in raw strawberries, assuming they would have less flavor, and would be more prone to freezing, but perhaps it's counterintuitive.] Of course, strawberry season is now long past, but I'd love any tips for next June. Thank you!

I have never had even a commercial brand of ice cream that had soft, flavorful strawberries in the frozen ice cream. The only thing I can suggest is to roast the strawberries for 8 minutes with some sugar and when you purée it, stop before it’s all liquid. The small chunks will still be icy, but if they are small enough then it won’t disrupt creaminess of the overall . One suggestion might be to take some of the berries all the way to jam consistency, where all the water in the fruit is bound to sugar, then you could achieve softness while frozen.

I loved the ice cream section of this week's food section. I've made the fig brandy (September 2017) several times, and have some leftover brandied figs in the freezer. Do you have some suggestions for ice cream or even sorbet made with these goodies?

Hi! I would be inclined to put it into a cheese ice cream. It’s easy to make a soft cheese, or cream cheese ice cream, or use super fresh goat cheese. Then sprinkle the brandied figs into it. Sometimes in December we make a Goat Cheese with Cognac Figs ice cream and it’s one of our most popular flavors (page 69, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home). I soak figs in cognac and sugar and then purée them into a sauce, keeping some chunks and then layer that throughout the ice cream.

I read with interest the chats of past two weeks. In the discussion regarding the butter lawsuit, there were unchallenged statements that if a cow was fed soy or corn, there would be soy or corn in the butter and the butter must list those as included allergens. I strongly recommend that those persons with soy and corn allergies consult with their physicians regarding what foods will contain soy and corn, rather than depending on chat comments. I am unable to find any scientific studies which confirm that soy and corn allergens are present in cow milk.

I agree, always best to defer to an expert when it comes to medical questions.

No question, just fan-girling. My husband made both your buttermilk strawberry ice cream recipe and watermelon sorbet recipes this weekend and I was (am) very happy as we bake in this heat!

Those recipes are both so delicious! So glad you are loving them! Try either of them with a little rose water, it’s beautiful!

I am all over that "use tons of fresh herbs" suggestion that you all made recently. I've been making big salads to go with my sandwich at lunch, and I'm getting kind of bored with it. So last night when I was watering them, I remembered the idea and threw in handfuls of mint, oregano, and basil, and wow. This salad rocks. Thanks!

Yes! I love it when salads treat herbs like greens. Loads and loads of them.

herbs

ARTICLE: How to push fresh herbs beyond the garnish: Use with abundance and abandon

Nope, no lite buckwheat cakes for me - I'll take the real Preston County West Virginia variety. I grew up on them! My mother would make the first batch early in November and keep a starter in the fridge. By February those things were beyond earthy! But with maple syrup and a side of sausage it was my favorite breakfast. Thanks for the memories!

Are you not gonna share your mom's recipe for us pancake lovers out there?????? 

Your Watermelon with Herbed Goat Cheese Whip looks delicious. I have a substitution question. I have goat cheese cheddar that I would like to use up. How can I use it in this recipe? I was thinking of shredding it very fine before putting it in the blender and adding a little extra liquid. Is there a smarter way to incorporate it? Or should I just make an amazing toasted cheese sandwich with it?

I agree! This recipe needs a soft cheese, I think. So if your cheddar has the texture/consistency of a cow's-milk cheddar, those toasted sandwiches sound like the way to go!

Sometimes during churning, even if I've followed all the usual steps, the ice cream will be more liquid than thick. Obviously freezing it still makes it ice cream. But I can't figure out if "still liquid-like" that means I need to churn it longer than normal and what the extra churning would give it. Can you overchurn ice cream (mine typically have egg yolk in them)

Your ice cream should be like soft-serve when finished. I can’t comment on the recipe you are using (maybe it has a bit too much sugar? That would prevent it from freezing), but if you start with my recipe, and the ice cream base is chilled completely and the canisters are frozen for at least 24 hours then you won’t have this problem. 

 

Yes, you can overchurn ice cream and the butterfat will come back together — like making butter! It makes the ice cream feel more (unpleasantly) buttery

I’ve been jonesing for some ice cream with a salted caramel swirl. Add-ins kind of confuse me. What’s the best way to make the caramel and then have a creamy swirl?

I love the nutty scent of real caramel. It comes from caramelization (no surprise), there is nothing on earth like the scent of toasted sugar. It’s one reason why we go to such lengths to make our Salty Caramel ice cream with sugar that we toast in our kitchens in copper kettles over fire (synthetic caramel flavoring is not the same!)! It’s memorable and emotional. So, I’m with you! I would use whatever recipe you love (or my Salty Caramel sauce, page 187, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream Desserts - my second book). Be sure to cool it down completely in your refrigerator or it’ll melt the ice cream and become mixed in too much. When I layer in sauces, I like to not swirl so much as layer— I like to make puddles and bury them with more ice cream. Otherwise there isn’t enough. It’s also fun to flavor the caramel — I love to add whiskey or miso. There is a lot you can do with real caramel. 

Made it this weekend; winner! Will be making again, probably once a month, at least, while I still have the huge tub of marshmallow fluff in the house. Have all of Jeni's cookbooks; have picked up pints at the Columbus Airport before flying back to DC; and generally love all the flavors, but the chocolates are my favorite (along with any containing goat cheese).

You just made my day, thanks! Credit to Jeni, of course, for that splendid milky chocolate base.

S'Mores Ice Cream

RECIPE: S'Mores Ice Cream

I've had fish tacos with two different kinds of fish: one is flaked bits white fish that seems to be grilled, and the other is bigger pieces of fish, frequently cod, that are deep-fried, and have heavier (mayo-based) sauces on them. Am I the only one who very much prefers the lighter, citrus-y kind? The lighter body, of both the fish and the sauce, seems to go better with hot weather than a big, deep-fried hunk 'o fish slathered in a heavy mayo sauce.

I am with you! Not sure if this question was just coincidence or in reference to my piece, but that's exactly the approach I took with the fish taco recipe that went up today. Definitely not interested in fried fish in this heat.

Citrus-Marinated Fish Tacos

RECIPE: Citrus-Marinated Fish Tacos

I can only handle very young soft goat cheese with savory flavorings; there's just too...well, I don't like the flavor, that's all. What kind of cow's milk cheese would you recommend? What they used to call farmer cheese or pot cheese? It's harder to find now that goat cheese has taken over.

There are plenty of soft cow cheeses too. Ricotta for one. Or something like Cowgirl Creamery's Fromage Blanc.

I love ice cream, but it has been years since we have had an ice cream maker (and no room for one now) and my son is allergic to eggs. Is there any hope for us ever making our own?

Of course! My whole project is based on Jeni's egg-free bases! Go forth and make ice cream!

What foods make you happy? I've been in the doldrums lately (not least because I'm spending most of my time in AC with the blinds drawn to hide from the heat) and I'm thinking that there may be something happy-making that I could cook or buy. It's different for everyone, obviously, but maybe you can spark some ideas. Pre-empting one obvious choice: the nectarines and peaches at my farmers market and grocery store are dreadful. The cherries are nice though.

I'm going to go with the theme of the day here... ice cream!

Also, do try to get outside when you can, even if it's for just a little... In the morning or evening, just so you don't feel so cooped up!

Fresh fruit, but like you said some are hard to come by :(. Honestly when I need a little bluesy pick me up, I make a spicy bacon pasta that a former roommate used to make for us when we both worked late night shifts. Just bacon, tomato sauce, red pepper flakes and parm over linguine. Also pancakes! 

13 sweet and savory pancake recipes for every kind of mood

I've been loading up on sour cherries from the farmer's market for the last month, and I wonder whether I should adjust the amount of sugar if I try them in ice cream?

I am so jealous! I would either make these into a sauce or a sorbet. For a sauce, I would cook it with sugar and a little bit of cornstarch, either roast or stovetop (page 196 Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home) and then partially purée it (leaving some chunks). Whenever you make something with cornstarch the trick is to bring it to a full boil, if all the starch isn’t hydrated then you end up with a chalky texture. Then use the sauce to make a river in a really gorgeous vanilla ice cream.  A cream cheese, or herb ice cream would also be great options (chamomile ice cream is perfect here because it’s soft and a perfect compliment to the tartness of the cherries). 

 

 

 

As for a sorbet, you can use my Cherry Lambic recipe (page 86 Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home), and leave out the lambic — or keep it in. Any sour beer will give this red cherry sorbet an almost bubbly quality. I particularly love this sorbet with tart cherries, but it is also delicious made with any stone fruit. 

Is there such a thing? I have a bunch of recently frozen sour cherries and would like to try adding them to ice cream. A previous chatter mentioned that cherries worked well in ice cream - any tips? Haven't made ice cream in years, but I'm SO motivated by the ice cream piece - thanks Becky and Jeni.

I'm actually currently in the process of making (tonight is the churn) Jeni's roasted cherries and goat cheese ice cream, with which I'm obsessed. I would think that (and of course Jeni, please weigh in!) that roasting the cherries would be important in getting rid of extra moisture, i.e. possible iciness. But the idea of sour cherry anything sounds absolutely divine to me. 

Hello! We ate last week at the Rusty Scupper in Baltimore and I loved the spread they served with bread. The waitress said it was roasted garlic, olive oil, almonds, roasted red pepper and egg yolk. I've scoured the Internet but haven't found anything similar. I'm going to try to recreate it but am wondering if you have any suggestions or are aware of similar recipes. Thank you!

Yup! We just so happen to have a Roasted Red Pepper and Hazelnut Dip that is absolutely delicious. 

I have a number of pieces of good quality cheese that became hardened because they were improperly wrapped. They smell and taste great, but are too hard to grate or cut. I'm looking for any experimental suggestions about how I might try softening them or using them in some (vegetarian) form. Could I just boil them in water (or milk), as you do with parmigiano reggiano rinds in stew, then slice and... make a strata? They're too dry/hard for Fromage Fort or similar.

I don't think I've ever met a cheese that was too hard to grate! Try softening in 10 sec increments in the microwave? I toss them into broths for risotto and soups.

Can you recommend some vegetarian salad/main dish recipes that can stand sitting out in the excessive heat that's forecast for Saturday? It's for an evening potluck at a pool.

Even salads are going to start to wilt or turn after hours in the heat, so keep that in mind (check out our food safety piece below). But I'm going to nominate Joe's recipe from the other week.

Corn, Radish, Tomato and Tortilla Chip Salad

RECIPE: Corn, Radish, Tomato and Tortilla Chip Salad

food safety

ARTICLE: Turn to these food safety tips the next time you grill — for your most successful cookout yet

I've been celebrating the late Maida Heatter's life by making her recipes, each one the best. My latest bake: A blueberry crumb cake from the latest compilation of her recipes, Happiness is Baking. It was perfect, the berries stay distributed instead of sinking to the bottom. What a wonderful legacy she leaves behind!

Stay tuned next week on Voraciously -- I've got a lovely Maida recipe I'm sharing from one of her older books. :)

Every year, some garlic scapes get away from me and end up blooming on the stalk. I just noticed the seed heads have little tiny pods that are intensely garlicky. I've been trying to think what to do with them. One idea is steep them in hot milk or cream to make savory panna cotta, but I wonder if you all can come up with other ideas. I'd hate to just toss them in the compost pile!

They make such a cool garnish! I like them on gazpachos and other cold soups, and of course salads. They remind me of chive blossoms (although not that gorgeous blue/purple color).

That sounds like romesco to me, but I've never encountered egg yolk in a romesco recipe before.

Sounds a lot like romesco, except for the egg yolk. Romescooooo.... Mmmmm...

Hi, Jeni and Posties, Do you ever make spicy ice cream, like with chili peppers? I'm loving spicy peaches and watermelon and pretty much everything else, so it almost seems odd that chili pepper ice cream isn't on store shelves. Is it best to just sprinkle it on once the ice cream's been scooped? In either case, what peppers do you recommend -- fresh or dried and what kinds (serrano, bird's eye, cayenne, etc)?

I started my company in 1996 with a spicy chocolate ice cream! I love them. Especially spicy fruit sorbets. It’s not wildly popular yet, so this is one best made at home. You could start with a watermelon sorbet (page 88, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home) and add some cucumber, or mango, or even peach. You can substitute any melon for the watermelon, too! Add a pinch of cayenne, a squeeze of lemon or lime and a pinch of salt. So refreshing! Also a great cocktail or soda mixer.  One of my favorite sorbets is Pineapple Piment D’Espelette Sorbet (page 48 Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home). It’s made with fresh pineapple and a sweet, mild, flavorful pepper — but you can also add a pinch of cayenne for heat. The sweet pineapple is such a good balance for heat and holds it well. 

Oh gosh I LOVE spicy chocolate ice cream.

You could also for sure experiment with fresh peppers, doing a hot steep after you've cooked the base. Just frequently taste the base while you're steeping and don't go too long, or else it might get toooo spicy.

Jeni! So excited to see you here today! This Food Section was the first place I heard of your ice cream when they did an article back in ... 2012? and I've been following you ever since. In fact, my husband & I made a stop in Columbus JUST for your ice cream which marked the first time we had gone to a city specifically for food. Will always remember how welcoming your staff was at the Short North location and how they treated ice cream like a wine tasting. BTW, your sweet corn/black raspberry ice cream changed my life. So good! Thanks for doing what you do!

Back then, the WP didn’t have their cool as heck tagline LOL. I love this memory, makes me want to go look it up! Thanks for stopping in, I can’t wait to tell your story to our Short North team. Love that Sweet Corn and Black Raspberry Ice Cream! I’ve been making it for almost 25 years! You can make it at home using the recipe in pace 62 of my book Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home. 

Here's the link to Jane Black's piece. That's how I caught the Jeni's bug, too! That and the tasting of all the ice creams we had in the office lol.

ARTICLE: An ice cream wizard brings the magic home

Would your recipe work with salmon?

Probably!

Add me to everyone who has tried the recipe and loved it. I doubled the recipe, and used a 9 x 13 pan. I didn't watch the butter close enough, and it browned, but, hey, brown butter is always good, so I went with it, and it was fine. You said it could be made with other berries, or rhubarb, can I use diced peaches?

Sure! It's very flexible.

Hi Jeni, Just wanted to say thank you for your Splendid Ice Creams! We recently visited Charleston and stopped in your store. My son who has peanut and tree nut allergies was treated so wonderfully by your staff. They specially washed the scooper and got him sorbet from the back. He enjoyed the sorbet so much, that he had another order and the server had to go through the whole rigamarole again. The server did so very cheerfully. I really appreciated the matter of fact handling of food allergies. Afterwards, when discussing our favorite food from the trip, we all decided that the visit to your ice cream shop was the best food we had on the trip! Now I'm planning more visits to other cities where your stores are located. Thank you!

This makes me so happy! We love to make gorgeous ice creams, but I think our friendliness is everything! I can’t wait to pass on your feedback to the team!

What can be used in place of sugar so that someone who is diabetic can partake? I know that sugar controls the freezing and texture in homemade ice cream.

I am not an expert on how to make ice cream without sugar. I’m sorry.

I would definitely seek out recipes that have been specifically developed with these alternatives in mind. They do behave differently than regular sugar, so it's best to start with a recipe that takes them into account.

I am wanting to make Jose Andres's Gazpacho (WAPO July 11, 2018) and notice that it does not say to peel the tomatoes. Any thoughts pro or con here? I've always peeled them in the past with other Gazpacho recipes, but wondering about this one. Do the little bits of tomato skin just work their way into the emulsion?

I've made this several times, and can't discern any bit of tomato skin in the puree. But as the recipe says, the original version of it did call for straining the gazpacho, so if you were at all worried about the smoothness you could certainly do that. 

 

RECIPE Jose Andres's Gazpacho

 

Someone told me once when she's down she bakes two loaves of bread and gives away one. I've done it also occasionally - the tactile joy of kneading, the yeasty smell that fills the house when it's rising and the glorious odor of baking bread - that alone is enough to improve my mood. Then I get to make someone else happy by giving a loaf away and eat fresh bread too! That said, baking bread may not be what you want to do in the summer heat (although it will definitely rise fast), but maybe you can find something else that appeals to several senses and give part of the batch away.

I’m at work and all I can think about now is making ice cream. I’m watching the clock.

Happy to have inspired you!

Do they need to be kept in the fridge? How long outside the fridge? What if the brine turns dark, which mine has? Thanks for this chat.

Paula Wolfert's recipe says no, our quick preserved recipe says yes after 5 days at room temp. I don't think anything bad will happen if you refrigerate.

I am not sure about the brine, to be honest! I suspect with all that salt it's probably fine, but.... not 100 percent sure. Anyone?

Hello WA PO Free Range, I like the recipe you have this week for a curry flavored chickpea sandwich. I'd prefer to make my own curry spice blend, so it will be fresher (and then I will toast the spices also). Do you have a suggestion for a recipe? Thanks.

Really, the beauty of a curry powder is that you can put together whatever you want in a blend! Here's a nice primer from Food52.

On Tuesday, I got the notice that the PostPoints program is ending in a month (August 16, 2019). The last day to redeem the points is September 27, 2019. My personal account has about 2,500 points which I won't be able to use. Here is my idea on how to use them. Let everyone who has points they won't be able to redeem, simply DONATE THEM. Think of it like a food bank, where people donate shelf-stable food to those in need. Readers can donate their points to a "points bank". YOU (or the Post's designated collector) can then transform them into gift cards for Giant, Shopper's, and so on. These can be given to food banks, emergency food pantries, and the like. They can include them in food packages, or use them to supplement a particular shortfall they might have. In theory, the cards would be available in November or December, the time of year when the need for food is most apparent. My 2,500 points won't be enough to buy me even the smallest $5 gift card. However, if enough people donate their points, it could make a difference to someone in need. Something to think about!

Thanks for the idea -- consider it passed along to the PTB.

The phrase “when you eliminate boring old vanilla and chocolate…” appeared in today’s cookies and cream article. Something about that bugged me, and a consideration of the syntax involved led me to this: “boring” and “old” are not attributes of chocolate and vanilla, they are attributes of the reaction experienced by some of those tasting them. When we experience boring and old, don’t blame the food. Blame the way you’re mismanaged your diet: manage your diet well and something as simple as a peanut butter and onion sandwich can be delicious and satisfying.

Sure!

I mean, aren't many descriptions of food -- including "delicious" and "satisfying" -- attributes of the reaction experienced by people tasting them? 

Love that people are taking Jeni's ice cream back home with them on planes. Not sure how they manage to keep it frozen, not to mention getting it through TSA. Please tell.

Bahaha, you're assuming it even makes it off the plane? Nomnomnom.

Hi! How long does it usually take to get a cookbook from this chat? I "won" the Immigrant's Table a couple of weeks ago and haven't received it yet. I'm not complaining and don't want to look a gift horse in the mouth... I just can't wait to start cooking!

Sorry about that! Drop another email just in case we didn't get the first one -- send to Kari.Sande@washpost.com. Thanks!

Please tell me how to make scapes last, hopefully until next summer. I've heard they can be made them into pesto -- How long does that last? I'm hoping you'll offer instructions for that and other options, whatever changes the taste least, like maybe simply putting them in the freezer? Thanks in advance.

I've never tried freezing them whole, but you can freeze the pesto (especially if you make it without cheese) for up to a year, sure. Then just thaw and stir in the cheese.

Their berries, plums, apples, etc. are all ripe, but even if the peaches smell ripe, they're not. I don't know what to do!

Wait -- and leave them on your counter until they ripen. Then you can transfer them to the fridge to keep longer.

My mother would make an amazing peach jam - but she also always set aside some to peel, slice fairly thin (say, 16ths), then bag and freeze. There was some liquid in there, and it was sweet, but not very sweet. The peaches kept their color, shape, and flavor. I've tried to do this a number of times, even trying techniques like home vacuum sealing that mom didn't have in the 70s, but I never get them to hold up like she did. Any ideas?? That was a taste of heaven come February...

Hmm... Interesting! I wonder if she was working with barely ripe or even slightly underripe peaches? Chatters, have any thoughts?

I'm the recipe tester. I had a hard time finding the thai basil - whole foods and yes didn't have it. I bought the Thai basil and the Thai chilis from a local Vietnamese restaurant.

Thanks for testing! Availability I'm sure varies by location, but I've bought Thai basil at my local Safeway. Usually I just grow it for especially easy access, but life got in the way this year.

and would you use them in cooking any differently?

I would imagine you can preserve them like you do lemons, but as limes tend to taste a bit saltier, you might want to play around with proportions on that. As for uses, I would try using them the same way to figure out what direction I'd want to take them into, but it sounds really lovely! If you try it, will you let us know how it goes and what you use it in?

I really enjoyed the article about upcoming food trends. I’m already seeing some of those items in stores. My current favorite is Bamba peanut puffs from Trader Joe’s. They’re addictive.

So glad you liked it! Yes, Bamba is definitely the leader when it comes to puffs. All of the others at Fancy Foods are playing catch-up. 

I don't even want to think about how much Bamba my son ate yesterday.

Have you ever made rhubarb ice cream or sorbet?

Yes! I love to make Lime Cardamom Yogurt (page 128 Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home) with a rhubarb sauce throughout. I would cook the sliced rhubarb with about half the sugar to fruit—so, one cup sliced rhubarb, ½ cup sugar, cooked on the stovetop until it breaks down into almost a butter. You can layer this through any ice cream.

 

I also love to serve this rhubarb butter by itself under a scoop of salty caramel ice cream. With a cookie!

A Sloppy Mama's opened recently near me. Would like to try it, but know very little about BBQ. I've read many of Tim's articles, but didn't retain much of what he wrote. So many different versions on the menu. Anyone have any suggestions? Kind of hot for BBQ, but would like to try out the new place.

Just take a big group of friends so you can eat through the menu, and ask a lot of questions, and consider this one stop on your barbecue-education tour.

Jeni, the first time I had your ice cream was at a Big Summer Potluck event....you brought ice cream sandwiches. To this day I can still remember how ridiculously good they were.

There was a notorious one in the 1990’s where I also brought bacon to throw on the grill and serve with Salty Caramel! I converted a few vegetarians for the day. Those sandwiches are in my book, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home (page 53). I make a pretty rustic version of the classic Parisian Macaron, it’s relatively easy to do. 

I was at a BSP event years back with a Jeni's treat appearance -- Jeni and I both spoke, too. These were chocolate-dipped ice cream bars on sticks, with roasted nuts and caramel inside. Insanely good!

There's a legendary story (ca. 1910) in our family about the time my eldest uncle, who loved when the family made homemade ice cream, had a hankering for some when the grown-ups weren't around to make it, so he mixed some cream and sugar, in the churn -- and wound up with very sweet, expensive, inedible butter.

Buttercream! I have done this more times than I can count! My goodness, what a cool family story from so long ago. I love that kind of family history! 

I have to use a lot of egg whites. Have done meringue cookies but I need more ideas! Thanks!

This is still in meringue zone but what about this delicious Pavlova? If that's too close to what you're making, and you're leaning more cocktail-route, this Ramos Gin Fizz looks fantastic (though is an arm workout, for sure!)

Have nice gin- but don't know what to do with it in a fun summery way? Have watermelon, peaches, lemons, etc. Is there a good way to mix into something interesting?

I love gin and fruit together! This Summer Watermelon Punch uses gin and would be great on a really hot day. The recipe asks that you use a melon baller so you have little melon bits in the punch--stick them in the freezer to use instead of ice cubes! 

And this Lemon Thyme Cello uses tequila but I think that this would taste really well with gin, I like herby things and gin together. 

This may not be easy to answer, but I am struggling with how to organize my saved recipes. I probably have thousands - printed, saved on my phone, on Pinterest, etc. etc Not to mention dozens of books. Any ideas?

I haven't tried it, but I've heard good things about Paprika.

Why do ice crystals sometimes form on ice cream in my freezer?

Ice crystals form for a couple reasons. One is that air has water in it and those water molecules like to collect on surfaces colder than they are. This happens in ice cream when it is exposed to air. Once there are a few ice crystals on the ice cream (not the container, the actual ice cream), those ice crystals will begin to grow in your ice cream converting the water in your ice cream to ice crystals. The best way to prevent it is to keep it completely converted — parchment paper works best. And keep it cold and frozen. 

 

Ice crystals can also begin to grow if the ice cream is partially melted and refrozen. Once you get some ice crystals growing, they will continue to grow through the ice cream. The best way to prevent it is to bring it out of the freezer and then quickly put it back in once you’re done scooping. Otherwise the melted portion will turn into bigger ice crystals and continue to grow in the same way. 

 

Keep it in the coldest part of your freezer, never in the door. 

I made your corn ice cream last summer and I was the only one who really ate it. I liked it. I used some of it in a milkshake with turmeric and bananas and that was awesome.

Sometimes it takes work to change someone’s perception about an ingredient. With sweet corn, I like to tell people that it’s the sweet cornbread or corn pudding of ice cream. You could also add some honey and cornbread to the flavor. I agree, it’s so good!

I would second the recommendation to get outside, even in this heat. Go for a morning walk (cooler than evening). Take a quick, cool shower afterwards if you have to (I generally shower twice a day in this heat). And eat summer produce when you can get it fresh.

Yup! And at the risk of getting too medical here, I would also encourage the OP to speak to their doctor if they're really feeling down and unmotivated.

My husband makes this recipe all summer so we generally have a jar in the fridge. He does not peel the tomatoes, but he does peel the cucumber and pepper. Also, he uses a Vitamix, which pulverizes everything, and then strains the resulting soup as well. It's definitely a highlight of the summer for us.

We’ve been discussing a road trip to Columbus to Schmidt’s. Sounds like I know where to go for dessert.

Please come! You might need two meals because Schmidt’s cream puff is my favorite thing on earth! 

Baked potatoes make me very happy.

For Jeni (whose ice cream I adore) or anyone with some tips: I make a Kahlua ice cream recipe (I think one was released here, but I'm pretty happy with mine!) that never freezes on the first try, but is perfect after removing the still liquid base from the ice cream maker, re-refrigerating overnight, and freezing again in the maker. Any tips on alcohol ratios to get the base frozen the first time, or reasons it might not be freezing on the first try? I wish I had the recipe in front of me to give you specifics, but this is a problem I have with several alcoholic ice creams, and was wondering if anyone had insights on how to improve.

We're running out of time here, so I would recommend just cutting back the alcohol. No more than 1/4 cup, I'd say. Alcohol makes ice cream softer by lowering the freezing point. Also make sure your base is very cold when you are ready to churn and your insert is totally frozen.

Thank you for reminding us about immigrant restaurant workers once again. I wish I could think of some way to do something helpful.

Donating to organizations like RAICES that protect immigrants' rights is a good way to go. Also keeping an eye out for calls for translators--in a lot of cases, organizations need translators to help communicate with folks who don't speak English very well.

Why? (I have over 60,000.)

Yup. Here's the FAQs the PP folks sent us to pass along:

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Long ago we used to find it in PA. Vanilla ice cream with, for-lack-of-better word, veins of peanut butter swirled in. Ice cream was white, and the peanut butter would be hard-ish. Heaven. Have searched everywhere for it, to no avail. Don't have Jeni's book and haven't read Becky's piece, but will do both. In the meantime, if you have any suggestions, I'd appreciate it. Think the ice cream maker is no longer in business.

Make a vanilla ice cream, a la Jeni's, and swirl in some really good peanut butter!

I prefer to think of them as CLASSIC vanilla and chocolate!

Hi! You probably saw the article in another paper (which shall remain nameless) touting the virtues of sous-vide machines when combined with grilling. I've always wanted a sous-vide machine, but I also am trying to de-clutter. We only grill once or a week or so (if that), so I'm wondering if you've found sous-vide machines to be useful beyond just combining them with grilling.

Especially if you're trying to declutter, I don't know why you need a sous-vide machine, really. It can give you lots of control, to cook things to very precise temperatures, but one of the reasons people combine it with grilling is that the texture from sous-vide alone can be very one-note -- no chewy edges, etc. But some of us really love that no matter what we're cooking, and that's the kind of thing that an oven -- or a grill on its own -- does really well. 

Having said that, I'm not a regular sous-vide user by any means, so chatters who are bigger fans should pipe up!

Has anyone seen maple walnut in NoVa, or do I have to wait until I visit family in New England? I know that the Dairy Godmother has it occasionally, but frozen custard turns to rock in the freezer.

Not off the top of my head. You could try making your own, adding maple swirls to the Jeni's base and of course, toasted or candied nuts!

Serve fresh ripe peach halves or slices with raspberry sherbet. (Paging Nellie Melba!)

Of course!

Love the preserved lemon ideas. I went on a tear and made preserved limes and satsuma mandarins. The limes I would only do again in a tiny jar (could be great sprinkled on guac) but the mandarins are amazing. Kudos to Jeni for cracking the no egg ice cream code. I'll be making the sour cherry and goat cheese this weekend while it's 100 and icky degrees outside. I also plan to riff on it with fig and ricotta.

How do I know when to put a lid on something I'm cooking? My husband and I never agree about the lid.

It's really about controlling moisture. Do you want liquid to evaporate and cook down? Lid off. Do you want to keep the liquid and moisture in (a la braising)? Lid on. Some of each? Partially covered.

OP here. There were five sons in the family. My father was the baby, so he got to churn first. Then the next-older brother, and so on. Finally, when the ice cream was getting really hard and stiff, Grandpa would give it the finally turns.

That will do it for today! Appreciate you coming by and chatting. Thanks for all your awesome ice cream questions and thoughts, and to Jeni for joining us! The winner of a copy of her book is the chatter who came back after last week to ask about strawberries in their ice cream. Please send me your info and I'll pass it along to the Jeni's team.

Come back next week! Until then, happy churning.

In This Chat
Joe Yonan
Joe is the Food and Dining editor of The Post and the author of "Eat Your Vegetables," "Serve Yourself" and the upcoming "Cool Beans." He writes the Weeknight Vegetarian column.
Maura Judkis
Maura is a staff food writer at The Post.
Jeni Britton Bauer
Jeni Britton Bauer is a James Beard Award-winning American ice cream maker, cookbook author and the founder of chain Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams.
Becky Krystal
Becky is the lead writer for Voraciously.
Tim Carman
Tim is a staff reporter for Food and writes a weekly column on casual dining for Weekend.
Olga Massov
Olga is a food editor at The Post.
Carrie Allan
Carrie is The Post's Spirits columnist.
Kari Sonde
Kari is the food editorial aide.
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