Saturday, August 28, 2010

Yard sales, basement, and ice cream

This morning Tom and I went to yard sales with Beth. We soon discovered that the last Saturday of August is a yard-sale madhouse — apparently everyone decides this is their last chance to unload stuff before winter sets in. Prices were outrageously good, from Asian antiques to brand-new designer clothes. We saw, but didn't need, some wonderful furniture. We bought a professional mat cutter, blades and all. I got a blue-and-white pin-stripe cotton blouse that makes me look like Girl Genius.

As is my habit, I came home, moved the new stuff in, and set about bagging an equal amount of stuff to take to Goodwill on Monday — most of it clothes. This led me into the deep storage-recesses of the laundry room, under the basement stairs where the cats like to hide. What a mess! I hauled out a lot of stuff I simply trashed, a lot that needed to be washed, and I found the missing plug-in heating pads for the cat beds.

The laundry room cleanup was so extensive that I got into the garage and triaged the remainder of my dad's tools and hardware left from my mom's move to Florida.

This didn't leave much time for gardening, and the next thing I knew it was dusk, and time for a late dinner. I'd promised Tom spaghetti. We have a lot of basil growing in the garden, so I did a Genovese pesto sauce (but with parmesan instead of pecorino Sardo). It was outrageously good. I realize I should make it for guests, but who do we know who would be willing to wait until 8:30 at night for dinner?

After dinner it was time to make the cream base for the ice cream we're taking to Diana's ice cream social tomorrow. This involves heating half-and-half to 175 degrees, blending that into an egg/sugar mixture, heating it all to 175 and stopping just short of creating a custard. Then I pour it through a sieve and add cream, vanilla, and a tiny bit of salt.

At that point you usually add the flavoring (fruit, etc.) and refrigerate the base for 4 - 12 hours.  Half of this base is going to be made into butter pecan (you churn it, then mix in chopped pecans that have been baked and then tossed in melted butter) but the other half is going to be an extremely unusual flavor that our chef friend Nilos suggested. I looked up the recipe and it dates to 1760!

I'll reveal what it is after I find out how the people at the ice cream social react to it.

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