So last week was kind of busy for me :) I had the annual BBQ to get ready for, which involved some planning and grocery shopping. It's not that it took that much time, but it disrupts the routine so it feels like it takes a lot of time... and also, it's time that I usually spend reading LOL. However, for some reasons, in addition to the BBQ, I was determined to make some ice cream ^_^; As you know, I've recently purchased Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home by Jeni Britton Bauer - probably the only cookbook I'll ever personally own LOL. I had previously made vanilla ice cream from her recipe and really liked the result and I know she has some very unusual recipes in her book, so decided it was a good book to invest in :) Anyway, I had a craving for pistachios and decided that the roasted pistachio ice cream was the way to go... However, you know me, I'm not the best or most experienced cook out there and my sister wasn't home ^_^; Big thank you to Christine for her help and answering all my pesky questions!
So what I particularly like about Jeni's ice cream recipe is that it doesn't require any eggs... so there's no chance for me to scramble the custard! Still, there were some nice challenges... For example, I almost burnt the pistachios while I was roasting them! ^_^; Luckily, my mom caught it in time LOL. Then, I had to grind the pistachio to make a paste... but what would the paste look like?
My pistachio paste mixed with cream cheese and salt. After that, I add in the boiled milk and cream. Already looking yummy!
However, the most crucial step is the ice cream churning. Having made vanilla ice cream successful, I was over-confident this time around that it would work... And yes, it didn't ^_^; Usually, when making ice cream, you have to cool down the liquid mixture before it can be churned. What Jeni suggests is pouring the mixture in a ziploc bag and then, submerge it in a ice water bath. In comparison to simply putting the mixture in the fridge, it cuts down the time by a lot! Anyway, at my house, ice is rare because the freezer is always full LOL. So previously, what I did was prepare a cold water bath, put the ziploc bag in and then, put it outside since it was winter LOL. Not an option this time around, but then, I thought luck was with me as we had ice! So I made a nice ice water bath and left it for 45 minutes and figured it'd be all right... but it wasn't ^_^; When I tried churning it, it never really took because the mixture wasn't cool enough. I should have kept adding ice to the water bath. Lesson learned.
So I put back the mixture in the fridge and the ice cream bowl in the freezer and figured I'd try again the next day. However, just in case, the next day, I brought dry ice from the lab back home. The instruction says to freeze the ice cream bowl for 24 hours which I didn't do and also, later on, I realized that I didn't put the bowl deep enough in the freezer... Anyway, long story short, it wasn't completely frozen yet... so I added the dry ice and left it for 3 hours. I thought I was so smart!! Yeah, turns out, not that smart ^_^; What happened this time around is that the freezing bowl was too cold! So as soon as I poured in the mixture, it froze and became ice cream... which is good, but only the liquid that actually touched the frozen surface. So the middle wasn't freezing ^_^; I tried waiting for it to warm up, but it wasn't happening either. In the end, I had to scoop out what was frozen and tilt the bowl to freeze the rest... Another lesson learned LOL. In the end though, I still managed to get ice cream!! Yay!!
Failed attempt to churn ice cream... and freezing by dry ice LOL.
End result was actually pretty good! I love the smoothness of the ice cream :) However, I do think it was slightly too salty. Still, I'm definitively going to make it again and I do think it was worth the mess... LOL.
Now, onto the BBQ! The fun thing about it being an annual event is that each year, it feels like it's getting easier and easier to plan. You know what everyone likes and expects :) The only difference this year was that instead of it being a whole day event, it was only dinner...
Three essential persons during the BBQ:
My co-worker and good friend S., the grill master! My friend E., our crazy watermelon cutter! Look at the maniac smile LOL. And my sister, the dessert queen (don't think you can see it, but the smoke coming out from the bowl is from the dry ice:P).
However, the BBQ would not be as good if it wasn't for my friend V who prepared homemade sausages again this year! It was especially awesome of her considering that she's been under the weather for the past two weeks :( And LOL, yes, we are a gang of carnivores!
In addition to sausages, pork brochettes and chicken wings, we had some salad :) It was strawberry, mango and spinach salad with balsamic dressing and it was sooooo good! I also made guacamole and we had some dip for carrots and peppers :) And of course, the fish meat balls :)
And for dessert, aside from the watermelon, my sister made macaron ice cream sandwiches! She made two batches of macaron shells, regular and chocolate :P Since the purpose was for ice cream sandwiches, she followed the recipe in Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home instead doing the one she's used to. I think it was a good decision because these macarons were three inches in diameter which made for nice ice cream sandwiches :) And she also made mini ones with the left-over batter. We used my roasted pistachio ice cream and she also made a batch of green tea ice cream as well :) As you can imagine, it was a success :P Next year though, we'll make the ice cream beforehand... just to be sure :P
And this was BBQ 2013! LOL, need to re-energize for next year! :P