Did you notice? The site has a new look! It's purty, isn't it? I'm a big fan. It was all inspired by that lovely new header that you see at the top of the page. I've been working on a new header idea off and on for the past couple months. I've been playing around with type and different arrangements and colors and spent a good number of hours trying to get everything right. And after a few months of work, this is what I came up with:
Feel free to mock it. I do.
So how did this become the lovely header you see at the top of the screen? Well, I knew that no matter how hard I worked on this one and moved things around, I couldn't get it to look quite right. I e-mailed it to my very talented graphic designer dad, hoping he could just move a couple things and voila, it would be lovely. He's got that eye, you know. I had mentioned doing a header in the past but he's also very busy so I didn't want to pressure him. I e-mailed him one night, and by lunch the next day, he sent me an e-mail titled, "Okay, something to look at" with this logo in it.
Did I mention my dad is super talented?
When I e-mailed himself just gushing over how much I liked it, he played it down and said it just basically built itself. Sure. No talent required. You all can see what built itself on my screen.
Whether it built itself or not, in honor of my wonderfully talented dad I'm dedicating this post to him. He's one of the hardest working people that I know, and in my family, to say that someone is hard working is just about the highest compliment you can give. My dad has had a job ever since he was a kid helping to deliver newspapers with his mom. He was working his way through school when I came along and my mom convinced him to raise kids in Vermont instead of the very urban area of California where they were living. To move from sunny California to snowy Vermont is a brave, brave thing, but I've never heard him complain about it. Though both my parents have a great sense of humor, I suspect that my dad is the reason that our family's humor is so quirky.
I can't think of a better recipe to share in a post dedicated to my dad than ice cream. My parents were very good about feeding us healthy food when we were growing up, (which I'm so grateful for) but somehow ice cream always managaed to sneak into the house through my dad. He'd make special stops at creemee stands (soft serve, for you non-New Englanders) whenever we would be driving places in the summer. To this day, every time I eat a soft serve cone I can picture him handing us kids our dipped creemees and instructing us to lick around the base so that it wouldn't drip all over our hands. We invariably forgot to follow those instructions and got so messy that there was plenty of ice cream evidence for my mom to see when we got home.
This vanilla ice cream recipe is one of the best vanilla ice creams I've ever had. There's nothing quite like freshly made ice cream, and a super creamy, soft, beautiful vanilla ice cream made with a real vanilla bean and real eggs, sugar and cream is about as good as it gets. I had been looking for a good vanilla ice cream recipe but it's so hard to decide which one to make because everyone has their favorite variation. I decided to go with this one from my friend Paula at Dishing the Divine because she recommended it so highly and she's not one to accept anything less than deliciousness. Yes, there are some extra steps that make it a little more work than other recipes but I promise that the payoff is worth it.
Besides, we value hard work in my family.
Homemade Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
1 vanilla bean
1 3/4 cups heavy cream
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp sugar (divided)
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1/4 tsp salt
6 large egg yolks
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1. Place an 8- or 9-inch-square metal baking pan in freezer. Cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Using the tip of a paring knife, scrape out the vanilla seeds. Combine the vanilla bean, seeds, cream, milk, 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, corn syrup, and salt in medium saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is steaming steadily and registers 175 degrees, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the saucepan from heat.
2. While cream mixture heats, whisk yolks and remaining 1/4 cup sugar in bowl until smooth, about 30 seconds. Slowly whisk the heated cream mixture into egg yolk mixture. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and registers 180 degrees, 7 to 14 minutes. Prepare a large bowl with a fine-mesh strainer placed on top. Pour the custard into the strainer. Discard remaining bits in the strainer. Add vanilla extract to the custard in the bowl. Let the custard in the bowl cool until no longer steaming, 10 to 20 minutes. Transfer the vanilla bean to the bowl and cover the bowl and refrigerate at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours.
3. Remove the custard from refrigerator and transfer to an ice-cream machine. Churn until the mixture resembles thick soft-serve ice cream and registers about 21 degrees, 15 to 25 minutes. Transfer the ice cream to the frozen baking pan and press plastic wrap on the surface. Return the ice cream to the freezer until firm around the edges, about 1 hour.
4. Transfer the ice cream to an airtight container, pressing firmly to remove any air pockets, and freeze until firm, at least 2 hours.
Recipe Source: Dishing the Divine, originally adapted from Cook's Illustrated