8.16.2018

SOUR CREAM ICE CREAM // elspeth


Food tastes better outside. I first learned this eating grilled bagels with cheese on a six-day canoe trip in Ontario, and I've been reminded of it in recent weeks again and again. For the first time since I was fourteen I am not spending July and August working in a restaurant. I am home with the girls at night and we are free, and it feels both wonderful and alien.  

Most nights, we eat simply. We make a pasta salad and sit on the deck out back. We pack a picnic of veggie sticks and crackers and sausage and bike to the beach. We sit next to a fire with hot dogs, then marshmallows, on a stick. 

A few weeks ago, though, we joined in a feast. We met up with friends on the other side of the Cape, who had been planning for weeks, and we drew out a menu on a whiteboard and collected last minute ingredients. The next morning we started a fire early on the beach. Freddi appeared with rebar and a plan for a metal cooking gazebo, and a gaggle of kids watched rapt as he bent it into place. We hung six chickens from it and cooked them for hours, until their skin was golden and fat dripped, hissing, onto a bed of coals. We massaged an octopus and cooked it on top of a wok. We wrapped pears in prosciutto and seared them until the meat was crispy and the fruit was soft. We went swimming, we peeled peaches, we made sour cream ice cream. We swam again.





Most of it was inspired, in one way or another, by a book from Francis Mallmann. If you've heard of him, it's likely from a 2015 Chef's Table episode, where the show heads to his private island in Patagonia to cook with fire. He's a much discussed, much dissected figure, and I won't spend time on that here. (If you're interested, this is as good a place to start as any.) But I will say the man inspires some serious outdoor cooking. 

The friends we cooked with were American, Swiss, Italian, and French. At the end of the evening, Anne, from France, leaned over. "We are so excited to have this American experience," she said. I started to laugh, but then I caught myself. How lovely, I thought. Better to leave it. 

We came home with smoky hair, full bellies, dirty feet. A renewed commitment to outdoor feasts. And that recipe for sour cream ice cream, playing on repeat. 


SOUR CREAM ICE CREAM

I'd never have come across this recipe if it hadn't been for an outrageous amount of leftover sour cream from the Wellfleet Farmers Market corn roast. I looked for all kinds of ways to use it up, and I'm so glad I did, because this is a keeper. The ice cream is excellent on its own but even better alongside summer fruit—think stewed peaches, blueberry pie, or blackberry cobbler. It'll keep a few days in the freezer, but the texture's best a few hours after you've made it. 

2 cups sour cream
1 cup half and half
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Stir all the ingredients together, mixing until the sugar dissolves. Freeze the mixture in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions and then spoon into a container. Put in the freezer to firm up for about six hours before serving. 

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