We are joining friends tomorrow for a boating trip up the Willamette River to watch the Portland fireworks. I must admit that I am a fireworks fanatic and I can’t wait. It’s time to make some fun things for tomorrow’s adventure.
First I am making some homemade French Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. What makes it French I wonder? Probably all of those extra egg yolks. With a whole vanilla bean and some vanilla extract to boot this is a rich ice cream redolent with vanilla. Just the thing to accompany a strawberry rhubarb pie. I made the custard last night and froze it this morning in our little Krups ice cream maker. It makes maybe a quart but that is plenty for the infrequent times I serve ice cream. Make no mistake, I adore ice cream, but there’s a lot of sugar and fat in there so a little goes a long way.
The Strawberry Rhubarb Pie recipe comes from Cook’s Illustrated. They take great pains to accommodate all the liquid that strawberries and rhubarb contain. The idea is to capture and reduce the liquid so that the flavor is retained and the filling is thick rather than runny. This preparation uses vodka as a moistening liquid in the crust. The alcohol does not contribute to the formation of gluten, the network of proteins that can cause a crust to turn leathery, and it bakes away quickly in the oven.
For something to munch on while making our way up river, I am making a batch of my favorite Salsa with tortilla chips. I ran across this salsa recipe from Cuisinart years ago when I bought my food processor. Both the processor and the recipe are still with me. The recipe calls for fresh tomatoes but in the winter when there are no edible tomatoes I use tomatillos instead and they are delicious but nothing beats ripe, home-grown tomatoes in this dish.
Tonight we finish the leftovers from the last two dinners. Then it’s on to the marina. Happy 4th!