I DREAM OF HOME-MADE ICE CREAM
with Karen Ralph
Following the time-honoured tradition of oral history, Christina’s Hakka-Style Stuffed Tofu has been passed from one generation of her family to the next, travelling from Mauritius to Calgary while staying true to its roots. The tofu is deep fried, stuffed with a pork mixture and then steamed. Depending on your crowd, estimate two triangles per person. It makes an excellent appetizer or unique addition to a many-coursed dinner. The stuffed tofu triangles are versatile and traditionally served hot. They are great cold with a drop or two of sesame oil, a lemon juice spritz and maybe some hot sauce like sambal oelek.
Leftovers can be frozen or made into a satisfying breakfast with the addition of fried eggs. Christina’s Hakka-Style Stuffed Tofu will enliven and enrich your cooking repertoire.
We used medium-firm tofu and firm silken tofu. Medium-firm tofu is readily available in almost every supermarket. It has a rough skin and dense interior, which makes it easy to hold and handle. Firm silken tofu can be found at Planet Organic and most Asian markets. Slick and delicate, this is superior quality tofu that demands a light touch. The block crushes easily and will crumble if handled roughly, but the flavour and texture are more refined than the medium-firm tofu. The end result is worth the effort.
After six months of snow, you’d think we’d have enough of the cold, but not if it comes in the form of ice cream. We love ice cream and are adventurous with flavours and styles; if it’s sweet, cold and creamy, we want it all year round. Making your own ice cream is fairly easy and like anything home made, it just tastes better.
Growing up on a farm, we had cows, chickens, beehives and a garden. That meant we had everything to make ice cream. Most of our cows were tall black and white Holsteins but we had one Jersey named Victoria. Small, tidy, dark brown and tan like a deer, she was as sweet and gentle as the others were ill tempered and
aggressive. Jersey cows produce more cream than milk and by mid-summer hers was exceptionally thick and sweet from the grasses and flowers consumed in her
free-range foraging. Likewise our chickens had yolks that were startlingly orange. My city-dwelling uncle almost fainted when he saw the hens scratching and pecking grain out of fresh steaming cow pies, but it was the flax and various cow-digested grains that gave them their vivid colour and excellent flavour.
You can use any berry, fruit, spice, herb or edible flower to flavour your ice cream but we usually used strawberry or raspberry because they were plentiful. This
recipe can be made with or without an ice-cream maker.
Raspberry and Vanilla Ice Cream
I’ve always used fresh berries, but you could use frozen.
- 1-1/3 c. milk (by accident I’ve used 10% cream and it was delicious)
- 2-2/3 c. heavy cream
- 1/2 vanilla bean split lengthwise
- 8 egg yolks
- 1-1/4 c. sugar or honey
If you are splitting the recipe into raspberry and vanilla, use 1 cup of raspberries; if using the entire recipe for one flavour, 2 cups raspberries; or if just vanilla, no additional add-ins. This recipe doesn’t work as well if it boils so watch your temperature and the pot.
You will need a wooden spoon, a mixing bowl, heavy saucepan, whisk or handheld mixer, fairly fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth and freezer-safe bowls.
Stir together the cream, milk and vanilla bean in the heavy saucepan, and bring to almost a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for 5 minutes.
Remove the cream mixture from the heat and take out the vanilla bean.
Separate the eggs and whisk the egg yolks together with 1 cup of sugar or honey until it’s smooth and sugar is dissolved. Whisk 1 cup of the hot cream into the egg mixture and then whisk eggs back into the cream.
Put the creamy egg mixture back on the burner and cook over low heat, stirring constantly until it starts to thicken.
This might take ten minutes, but don’t turn up the heat and don’t let it boil.
Strain through a sieve or cloth into a bowl. Cool at room temp, then chill thoroughly, about an hour, in the freezer.
If using an ice cream maker you can add the fruit and follow the instructions on the machine. If continuing by hand, split the mixture in half if making two flavours and mix it like you mean it. The idea is to break up any ice crystals that might be forming. At this point stir in the sweetened raspberries, and put back in the freezer for about an hour. Remove and stir again to break up any ice crystals and ensure a smooth consistency. If it’s smooth, it’s ready to eat, if not, stir it one more time. This has no preservatives and it tastes best eaten right away in a cone, on cake, on a plate with a little fresh fruit, or right out of the bowl.
1. Eggs and sugar.
2. Heating cream, milk, vanilla beans.
3. Eggs, sugar, milk and cream combined, vanilla bean removed.
4. Straining the hot mixture.
5. Stirring after an hour in the freezer.
6. Stirred ice cream with raspberries added.
7. Vanilla ice cream with raspberry topping.
8. Raspberry ice cream with raspberry topping.
Karen Ralph is a regular City Palate contributor. Photos by Karen Ralph.