My Shamrock Wine Plant gifted my apartment a beautiful gift. It blossomed tiny white and lavender flowers in the middle of a winter snowstorm, a few weeks shy of Spring. It’s been flowering ever since. Maybe in a few days, I’ll start seeing crocuses peering out from the leftover snow. Snow once glistening pretty, now gritty and soiled. It’s melting away, but perhaps more snow will arrive. This is New York after all, because it still snows in April .
I’m pretty excited with anticipation. It was an emotionally harsh Winter, but the energy in the air is changing. Perhaps it’s for the better. It’s been a while since I’ve hoped, dreamed, and fantasized about the near future. However, these changes will not start unless I put in the work. March is looking quite industrious. Let’s hope it pays off.
Peppermint and its sweeter cousin, spearmint, have particular menthol notes that precisely represent the end of Winter. It’s a hopeful green plant with a refreshing bite of the chill. It’s one of the first returning herbs of Spring. It grows vigorously without any effort. It’s best to grow it in a pot, because it will spread throughout a garden, no matter what methods are used to eradicate it. It’s a strong and hardy plant.
I had tons of leftover mint from a snowpea salad. Not one to let good food go bad, I thought why not make a minty ice cream. This version doesn’t have any fancy green food coloring. The cream is a warm white. Speckled with chunks of bittersweet chocolate chips and flakes. Store-brought ice cream is like eating scoopfuls of icy milk. When I make my own ice cream, the pure creaminess of it is overindulgence.
Besides saving pennies, working around the clock, and planning for the future such overindulgences are what I need in my life. It’s a minty fresh hope of what is about to happen. At the beginning of the year, a pastor mentioned faith is about believing in the possible even when it isn’t seen or tangible. After all, if a Shamrock Wine plant, a symbol of good luck blossoms pretty tiny flowers in the midst of a snowstorm, I can believe and hope again.
1 to 2 large bunches of mint leaves, rinsed clean
(Optional) 1 tsp. peppermint extract
A tiny pinch of salt
1 cup organic whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups organic heavy cream
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup/6 to 8 oz. bittersweet chocolate chips; place in a food processor for a few seconds.
1. In a food processor, puree mint, salt, and milk.
2. Warm the minted milk in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk frequently until tiny bubbles appear around the edges. Do not boil. Turn heat off and let cool to room temperature.
3. Place in a sealed container, and place in the refrigerator to let steep for a few hours or over night.
4. Afterwards, pour milk over a fine-mesh strainer. Use the back of a large spoon to press solids against the mesh. Discard solids.
5. Whisk the eggs with the sugar in a separate bowl.
6. Reheat minted milk and peppermint extract over medium-low heat. Whisk frequently until tiny bubbles appear around the edges. Do not boil. Turn the heat off.
7. VERY SLOWLY add hot, minted milk by less than an eighth of a cup to the egg mixture and continue to whisk vigorously.
8. Pour the minted milk and egg mixture back into the saucepan and heat slowly over medium-low heat until thickened. Stir mixture constantly until it’s similar to liquid pudding. Do not let the mixture boil! Turn off heat and let cool to room temperature.
9. Place custard in a sealed container and chill in the refrigerator for a few hours.
10. Add chill custard to a bowl. Whisk in chocolate chips, cream and vanilla to make the Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream base.
11. Add base to your ice cream maker, and follow manufacturer’s directions.
12. Depending on the ice cream maker’s brand, custard might appear from frozen solid to a slightly firm soft-serve ice cream. If ice cream is slightly firm soft-serve ice cream, place in a sealed container. Freeze until firm.
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