This winter looks like it’s finally over. It was definitely being a tease for a while, but I think Spring is finally here! The Cherry Blossom Festival peaked this weekend, which was good news. Sarah went, and will probably put up pictures here at some point. I just spent some time walking around the neighborhood and admiring everyone’s gardens, so many people were out digging up their front yards and planting. We got our grill AND some herbs in our backyard– so expect some summer cooking soon.
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about DC lately– this prolonged winter is making me think about the fact that despite being a tropical island girl, I call this home now. Sometimes it feels really surreal– 6 years ago, I never would have thought I would have ended up here, but at the same time I think old-Sneha would have been really happy if someone had told her this would be her life 6 years in the future. Fellow DC blogger Sarah at The Yellow House wrote a really interesting piece about why she chooses to split her life between the city and the country, and how it was was a natural progression that just worked for her. I remember when I was convincing (my) Sarah to move up here with me. I’d moved to Columbia Heights after living in Williamsburg, VA for 4 years, and Singapore for 18 years before that. I always get asked whether I loved Williamsburg, since I always considered myself to be a city mouse. I really, really did love it. And I love Columbia Heights and DC too, for a totally different reason. Yes, there’s a lot to do, and yes, I love being able to walk everywhere. But more than anything, it’s because I associate DC with my first time standing on my own feet, there’s places I discovered myself by walking around, there’s specific items on menus that I consider my favorites, I like coming home and sharing that with Sarah and other people I love. There’s a sense of ownership in my life in DC that I’ve never really felt anywhere else. I was walking to the gym the other morning and even though it took a while, this place feels like my home now. I’m pretty sure Sarah feels the same. And I think there’s something really valuable in recognizing that, and being true to yourself.
Anyway, rambling aside, for this week’s blog, I thought I’d feature something sweet! It is Spring, and I debated doing a springtime vegetable like asparagus or fiddlehead ferns, but I realized I have no idea where to get fiddlehead ferns and let’s be honest, everybody knows how to make basic roast asparagus. So I decided to make rose ice cream. An awesome benefactor gave me their old ice-cream maker a while ago (thanks, Mr. B!) and I’ve always wanted to make it. This seemed like the perfect week! Rose is definitely one of my favorite flavors. That said, it’s almost too sweet, so it’s important to temper it with something else to add to the texture or depth of taste. This reminded me of having faloodas in India, as a kid. Maybe it will remind you of other things. It was simple, delicious and a great way to welcome Spring into our lives!
There are several ways to make ice cream, as I understand. For this recipe, I chose to make a custard-based version, with egg. I’m sure you could alter it accordingly if you’d rather make an egg-less version. The internet is full of smart people, you just have to find them. Anyway, I chose to use rose syrup because I loved the distinct flavor. If you’d rather use all syrup, cut back on the sugar a little bit so it isn’t too sweet. Also, you need an ice-cream maker for this recipe. I have a yellow Cuisinpro Donvier, which was remarkably easy to use, and needs to electricity. If you have an electric ice cream maker, check the instructions and follow this recipe until you load your ice-cream maker, then follow your manufacturer’s instructions.
You can find rose syrup and cardamom at any Indian or Persian/Middle-Eastern store. Cardamom is a tiny green pod, and when you cut it open, it has tiny black seeds that smell like heaven. It’s these seeds you want to use, not the
2 cups whole milk
2.5 cups heavy whipping cream
6 egg yolks
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons rose syrup (or 3 tablespoons rose water and some pink food coloring)
Seeds from 3 pods of cardamom (or about half a teaspoon of cardamom powder)
1. Beat the Egg Yolks with the Sugar, until it’s creamy and slightly foamy. It should be a beautiful yellow color. I used a fork to do this, but it doesn’t matter either way, as long as it’s mixed well and not clumpy.
2. Bring the milk to boil (preferably in a heavy-bottomed pot) slowly (medium to low heat, so it doesn’t burn), while stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Once the milk comes to a boil, turn it to low, and add the cardamom seeds/cardamom powder.
3. Add the Egg Yolk-Sugar mixture to the milk, constantly beating the milk with a fork or whisk. Remember to keep the heat low.
4. Keep heating and stirring the mixture occasionally, until it thickens. It will take a while, but you can tell when it’s done by dripping with a wooden spoon. It shouldn’t run off like liquid, and it should be foamy enough to coat the spoon.
5. Pour this mixture into a bowl, then chill in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour, until it cools. It might help to put it in front of a fan to get it to room temperature before putting it in the fridge.
6. Once it is chilled, stir in the cream, rose syrup/rosewater, and make sure it is smooth.
7. Follow your ice-cream maker’s instructions to finish the process, and enjoy!