This weekend I made a new variation of chocolate ice cream, pairing it with fresh, peppery ginger. Before getting started, I was unaware that ginger will curdle milk. Did you know this?
An enzyme in the ginger causes a thickening reaction, according to Tokyo blogger Blue Lotus. On my first attempt to infuse the ginger, I grated it into hot milk and so thought its too hot temperature was the reason it curdled.
So I tried whirring the ginger and milk in the blender, and it came out looking like oatmeal again. Fool me thrice? No thanks. I looked online and found there’s an easy remedy. First, boil the ginger in water for a minute and your chocolate ginger ice cream will be smooth and decadent.
2 cups cream
1 cup milk
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
about 1/3 cup of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced, then boiled in water for one minute
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt
Heat the cream in a heavy sauce pan. Strain the boiled pieces of ginger and add them to the cream.
Add in the cup of milk, egg yolks, cocoa and sugar and whisk to blend. Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat until it thickens and almost boils. When this occurs, remove it from heat and stir in the pinch of salt and vanilla. Put in the fridge to chill thoroughly. As the mixture cools, it will thicken to the consistency of pudding, which is good because it shortens the processing time in the ice cream maker. When you’re ready to churn it, remember to remove the ginger pieces.
One of my habits, besides stopping to look at discarded stuff along the road, is to shop at small grocery stores and fruit stands. For a time we lived in Rogers Park and stopped in the Rogers Park Fruit Stand just about every day. The brisk Greek grocers there showed me how to pick a good eggplant and insisted it’s not coriander, it’s cilantro.
These days I’m into the Marketplace on Oakton in Skokie. It’s a drive, full of more Greek grocers, and the produce there is excellent. The brother-in-law of the produce manager assures me they purchase locally whenever possible. There are also sheep and pig heads, glistening ruby livers and lots of other organs that add to the atmosphere.