Drink of the Summer?

Pitcher Full of Freshly Made Maple Mint Tea

We have a big old patch of mint in the herb garden next to the house. I am always looking for ways to use it. Last summer I made fresh mint chocolate chip ice cream (and I kick myself for not having made it yet this summer). This summer I may have a new mint hit–maple mint tea. It is way simple to make, and on these hot days when I have been out sanding or painting the house, it is mighty refreshing. Here is how to make it:

  • Take 2 cups packed fresh mint leaves and add them in a pot to 8 cups water
  • Bring almost but not quite to a boil
  • Remove from heat and let steep for about an hour
  • Strain into a pitcher or, if you prefer, strain and then pour into a pitcher
  • Add 1/4 cup maple syrup and stir well
  • Cool

It takes a little time but, like I said, it is tasty and refreshing. Give it a shot and let me know what you think.

Another Batch of Ice Cream

Recently my wife has been craving chocolate ice cream. One day last week she went to four stores in search of Ben and Jerry’s chocolate ice cream. Chocolate ice cream is pretty much found anywhere one might find ice cream but we like to eat locally. Truth: Ben and Jerry’s is hard to beat. Chocolate ice cream is one thing. Good chocolate ice cream is another.

So I decided to make some good chocolate ice cream. After some delicious trial and error I think I’ve got it. Not too rich, not too meak. Plenty of creaminess and just sweet enough.

Here is the recipe for one quart wicked good chocolate ice cream:

Melt 1 ounce unsweetened baking chocolate in a double boiler or in a sauce pan over low heat.

Stir in 1/4 cup baking chocolate. It will get clumpy but have no fear.

Stir in 1/2 cup skim milk and 1 cup cream, a little a time. Whisk until smooth. Let cool.

In a bowl, whisk two eggs until light and fluffy, a couple of minutes. Add 3/4 cup sugar, a little at a time, until blended. Whisk in 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1 cup cream.

Mix all the ingredients together until well blended. Let cool for at least one hour in a refrigerator. Use an ice cream maker to turn it into ice cream.

Try not to eat it all once.

Next up: mint chocolate ice cream made with fresh mint. I’m salivating already.

Fresh Mint Ice Cream

I had the idea recently to use some of the mint we have in our herb garden to make some ice cream.   I found a recipe by another blogger with a recipe she tried that involved using fresh mint.  I tried it myself, with a little variation.  I used cream, of course, but also skim milk.  And I used good chocolate.  I chopped up a couple of bars of Lake Champlain dark chocolate and added that.

Chocolate Chopping

Chocolate Chopping

It was very minty.  My wife described it as having a “Kapachow!’ right when you tasted it, but then a mellow finish.  It has a fresh real mint taste.  I might use less mint next time, but maybe not.  I wouldn’t want to lose too much of the flavor I was after to begin with.  Overall, I think it tasted about right.  Here is the finished product:

Chocolate Chip Mint Ice Cream Ready for Snacking

Chocolate Chip Mint Ice Cream Ready for Snacking

Here is recipe I used, (a variation on this one), which makes about 1 quart:

Ingredients:

1 cup skim milk

3/4 cup sugar

2 cups cream

pinch of salt

2 cups packed mint leaves

5 egg yolks

6 oz. chopped good quality dark chocolate

Directions:

1. Mix the milk, sugar, salt and 1 cup of the cream in a saucepan and warm it gently.  Submerge the mint leaves in the liquid and set aside to steep at room temperature for an hour.

2. Pass the mixture through a strainer into another saucepan, pressing on the leaves to remove as much liquid as possible.  Toss the leaves into your compost bucket and rewarm the liquid.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks until fluffy (a couple of minutes).  Slowly pour the warmed mint liquid into the egg yolks, whisking the whole time.  Then pour the egg cream mint mixture back into the saucepan.

4. Stir the mixture over medium heat with a silicone spatula that can take the heat, scraping the bottom, until the mixture thickens and sticks to the spatula.

5. Pour the 2nd cup of cream into a bowl and place a strainer over it.  Pour the warm liquid through the strainer into the cream.  Mix until blended.

6. Cool your ice cream mixture thoroughly, several hours in a refrigerator or chill in an ice bath and then cool an hour in a refrigerator.

7. Freeze in an ice cream maker, adding the chocolate bits at the end and mixing them in well.

If you try it, please let me know how it comes out for you.  Next up on the ice cream circuit:  peach.  We are off to go camping overnight so it will have to wait until at least later in the week.  We do have to get through this batch first, although I can’t imagine that will take very long.