For this blogpost, I thought I’d revisit a childhood memory, my Dad’s ice cream. My Dad’s ice cream is creamy, sweet, and redolent of condensed milk. My Dad flavors his ice cream with tinned lychee or longan with the syrup thrown into the ice cream for good measure. Lychee and longan both have a woody shell that is peeled open to reveal the fleshy fruit inside around a shiny black stone. When fresh they have a chewy texture; while longan is delicately sweet, the fresh lychee is tart. Both of them make wonderful additions to ice cream.
This Songkran (Thai New Year), I longed for Dad’s ice cream. I remember when Dad used to make the ice cream in Jamaica in an old fashioned bucket with a crank, then later with an electric ice cream maker. The ice cream makers of my childhood depended on lots of ice and rock salt to make a brine cold enough to freeze the ice cream. So for this project, Andy bought me the ice cream maker attachment for Gracie, my KitchenAid mixer. No ice or salt needed.
Lychee Ice Cream
Prep time: 20 minutes
Base Chilling time: 2-12 hours
Ice Cream Freezing time: 20-30 minutes (KitchenAid Ice Cream Maker)
2 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons sugar, optional
1 egg, well beaten
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 can condensed milk (can reduce to 1/4 can)
1 can lychees, drained, and chopped. Reserve syrup
Place cream, sugar, if using, and egg in a saucepan. On low heat, heat the mixture, stirring constantly, until the liquid reaches a temperature of 160˚F on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat. Add vanilla, condensed milk, and reserved syrup. Stir to mix well. Pour ice cream base into a covered bowl and chill thoroughly 2-12 hours.
Pour chilled ice cream mixture into the ice cream canister, and freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions. Serve immediately or scrape into an airtight canister and put into the freezer to harden.
I found this rather unique dish on epicurious.com and decided to try it for Sunday dinner. It’s really a variation on Chinese sour-and-sweet dishes except that it is made with dark rum instead of rice vinegar. As a result, it has a mild rather than a pronounced sour flavor. Using a dark rum instead of vinegar is really an inspired idea. It shows how the Chinese adapted their cuisine to include what is locally available, as they did in Trinidad and Tobago, where they have lived since the early 19th century.
Chinese-Trinidadian Stir-Fried Shrimp with Rum
1 pound large shrimp, shelled and deveined with the tails on
Juice of 1/2 lime
3 tablespoons ketchup
3 tablespoons dark rum
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt 1 medium ripe tomato, cut into thin wedges
1 large bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1 small onion, cut into thin wedges
1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
1. In a medium bowl toss the shrimp with the lime juice for a few seconds. Rinse the shrimp, drain, and set on a plate lined with paper towels. With more paper towels pat the shrimp dry. In a small bowl combine the ketchup, rum, soy sauce, and ground white pepper. [Cook’s Note: I didn’t have a piece of fresh ginger so I added 1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger to the sauce.]
2. Heat a 14-inch flat-bottomed wok or 12-inch skillet over high heat until a bead of water vaporizes within 1 to 2 seconds of contact. Swirl in the oil, add the garlic and ginger, then, using a metal spatula, stir-fry 10 seconds or until the aromatics are fragrant. Push the aromatics to the sides of the wok, carefully add the shrimp and spread them evenly in one layer in the wok. Cook undisturbed 1 minute, letting the shrimp begin to sear. Sprinkle on the salt and stir-fry 30 seconds or until the shrimp begin to turn orange. Add the tomatoes, bell peppers, and onions and stir-fry 1 minute or until the shrimp have turned almost totally orange. Swirl the ketchup mixture into the wok and stir-fry 1 minute or until the shrimp are just cooked through and the sauce coats the shrimp. Stir in the cilantro.
3. Serve with hot cooked rice and vegetable sides. I recommend steamed green beans lightly sprinkled with kosher salt and pan-roasted asparagus drizzled with lime juice and almond slivers. And if you can get it, ripe plantains baked in the skin for 15 minutes.