recipe #15: cucumber and basil buttermilk ice cream

summer. i hate the humidity, but love the snacks. one day while eating one of my favorites–fresh cucumbers in buttermilk with salt and pepper–i tried to decide what kind of homemade ice cream to make (because naturally while eating one thing i am already thinking about what to eat next).  and with that serendipitous circumstance this recipe came to be! okay so also not having to go to the store to get anything was really appealing, but i feel comfortable admitting that a lot of my recipes are born out of laziness.

recipe #15: cucumber and basil buttermilk ice cream
soundtrack: chris thile and michael daves’ sleep with one eye open
ingredients: 2 cups half and half, 1 cup buttermilk, 6 egg yolks, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup honey granules, 1/3 cup basil leaves, 2 cucumbers. machinery: ice cream machine, juicer.                                                                                                           the plan: in a medium-sized saucepan, let the half & half and buttermilk  simmer with basil leaves and honey granules over low heat for about 30 mins. while you wait, use a juicer on two medium sized cucumbers and put the juice aside.

a fresh basil bounty in our fire escape herb garden

once the flavors are infused in the cream/milk mixture, in a separate bowl,whisk egg yolks with sugar until color changes to a pale pastel yellow and sugar is dissolved (about 5 mins).  temper the eggs into the milk/cream mixture (which means put a few ladlefuls of warm milk into the eggs and mix slowly until bottom of bowl is warm, then stir egg mixture into milk/cream).

fresh cuke juice

as the mixture starts to thicken, stir in half of the cucumber juice. let it continue to thicken until it holds a line on a wooden spoon. then remove the basil leaves and refrigerate the mixture overnight (if you’re impatient like me, just stick in the freezer for a couple hours. it’s not the best way to do it, but it’s not the worst).

finally, turn on the ice cream machine and pour in the mixture. once the volume starts to increase (usually after 20-30 mins), pour in rest of fresh cucumber juice and let go until it just can’t go no mo’.

i garnished mine with honey sesame candy and freshly ground black pepper, then some extra honey granules and fresh basil leaves for extra flavor flare. it’s central air for your mouth!

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