Thursday, July 17, 2014

Florene's Vanilla Ice Cream

My father-in-law, Milton, recalls his mother, Florene, making ice cream, as far back, as the 1930's. Times were different. Florene didn't have the luxury of electricity. She couldn't chill the ice cream base in the refrigerator. Nor could she freeze ice cubes. Ice would have to be brought in, from town. Not having an ice cream maker, Florene, came up with a way to churn her own ice cream. She would put the ice cream base in a syrup tin. The tin was set into a large bowl of ice and salt. She would twist and turn the tin can; then scrape down the inside, of the tin, with a butter knife, until the milk base froze, and turned into ice cream.

I never had the pleasure, of meeting Florene. She passed during the 1970's. I can feel what a special person she was, by the way my father-in-law speaks of her. 

She must have really loved her family, to go through all that work, churning ice cream with a tin can and a butter knife! I can't help but think, she would be happy to know her son is keeping her memory alive, by passing along this family tradition.

I asked my father-in-law if other families, in the area were making ice cream, too. To his recollection, she was the only one.

This recipe starts by mixing 2 cups of the whole milk, whipping cream, evaporated milk, sugar, eggs, and vanilla; until the sugar is dissolved.

* There are times when it becomes necessary, for health reasons to cook the ice cream base: pregnant, elderly, or toddlers; you should err on the side of caution. My in-laws never cooked the ice cream base, but I did elect to, when my daughter was pregnant. If you decide to cook the ice cream base, it would be at this point. Blend thoroughly: 2 cups of the whole milk, whipping cream, evaporated milk, sugar, eggs, and vanilla; until the sugar is dissolved. Cook ice cream base, in a dutch oven, over medium high heat; until you get a temperature of 170 degrees.Let mixture cool, then resume with the remainder of the recipe.

** Another good tip, when it comes to raw egg safety: wash your eggs with soap and warm water, prior to cracking!

I pour the milk base, and the remainder of the whole milk, into a gallon milk jug; giving a good shake.

Make sure to label the jug, so you don't accidentally drink it. Keep refrigerated, until ready to churn.

We are churning the ice cream, but with the help of an ice cream maker.

Find a comfortable spot, because that's where you're gonna be for the next half hour.

Fill the container, with the ice cream base; then attach the crank. We always set the ice cream maker in a large tub, to catch the salt water, as it melts.

Fill the tub with ice, a third of the way; then add a cup or so of rock salt. Repeat, until the ice is filled to the top. As the ice melts, keep adding ice and salt.

I've found that it takes 20 pounds of ice to churn a 6 quart container of ice cream. It probably takes about 1 pound of rock salt. Rock salt tends to be expensive, at the store. A box of rock salt at the store, can cost as much as a large bag at the hardware store. So, if you plan on making ice cream more than twice, get the big bag!

Now you're set to crank! It is important to not stop, once you start the cranking. The ice cream is freezing, to the inside of the tin. If you stop, it will be hard to get to cranking again.

*Here is my own disclaimer. Keep your upper arm close to your side while cranking, to keep your shoulder stable. Last thing you want, is a shoulder injury. Remember, all this hard work will be worth it, when you are eating home made ice cream.

I always serve the ice cream, from the kitchen sink. Just place a dish towel, on the bottom of the sink, then place the ice cream maker on top.

You can serve the ice cream, right after it has been churned. It will be a soft serve consistency. I prefer to have the ice cream prepared 2 - 2:30 hours, before serving. This gives the ice cream time to harden.

To pack the ice cream, for hardening:  Start by removing the dasher. It will make the ice cream easier to serve.

Then replace the lid. I cover the lid with a piece of foil, so salt doesn't make its way into the ice cream.

Cover the lid with one more layer of ice and salt.

Then insulate with a couple of dish towels. We put the serving spoon, on top, so everything will be ready to go!

This is ice cream that was allowed to harden for a couple of hours. It is nice and thick.

If you happen to have left over ice cream, just store in a ziplock freezer bag. I've found, stored in the freezer bag, keeps it from becoming rock hard.

I'm thankful for so many things: Florene, for creating this ice cream recipe and making it for her family. My father-in-law, for continuing the tradition. For electricity, refrigeration, and freezers. For a White Mountain ice cream maker, to make churning that much easier. Most of all, I am thankful that this recipe is going strong, with 5 generations still cranking, Florene's Vanilla Ice Cream!


4 Quarts:                                                      
4 Cups whole milk                                     
1 Cup heavy whipping cream                            
1 Can evaporated milk                               
2 Cups sugar                                               
4 Large eggs                                               
1 Teaspoon vanilla                                       

6 Quarts:
7 Cups whole milk
1 Pint heavy whipping cream
1 Can evaporated milk
3 Cups sugar
6 Large eggs
2 Teaspoons vanilla 

Beat 2 cups whole milk, whipping cream, evaporated milk, sugar, eggs and vanilla, with an electric mixer, until sugar is dissolved. Stir in remaining milk; blending well. Freeze ice cream base, according to manufacturer's directions. 

4 Quarts serves up to 10 people
6 Quarts serves up to 14 people

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Crock Pot Rice Pudding

My Grandmother made Rice Pudding, all the time! It was a comfort food to her. Although, I know it is not comforting to stand at the stove for three hours, constantly stirring a pot of pudding.

I think, I tried to make Rice Pudding Grandma's way, one time. I recall pulling a chair up to the stove, and stirring away. By the time the pudding was done, I didn't care anymore. I was over it! I didn't find the payoff worth the amount of effort put forth. Soon, I found myself cheating, by adding corn starch, to thicken the pudding. Grandma turned her nose at that when I told her.

So, wanting an old fashioned pudding, that Grandma would approve of, I set out to make this recipe the best that it can be, with minimal effort. I am sad, that Grandma is no longer here, but I'm sure she would give this recipe her stamp of approval.

We are breaking tradition, and utilizing the crock pot. Just grease the bottom, of the crock, with a couple tablespoons of butter. 

Whisk the pudding ingredients, in a large mixing bowl; until the sugar has dissolved.

Notice the recipe only calls for 1/4 cup of rice, per 4 cups of milk. This is how we make creamy Rice Pudding, folks! This is why I develop my own recipes. Most recipes I come across have way too much rice in them! I want decadent, creamy rice pudding.

* A note about the milk and cream. If you don't want to use the cream, that is fine, leave it out. Just increase the milk to 4 cups. You can use reduced fat milk, but your chances of the milk separating increase. I haven't experimented with almond milk and the like.

Pour your pudding mixture into the crock. Then cover with a towel, a double layer of aluminum foil, and the lid. This reduces the amount of moisture allowed back into the crock.

The heat setting is just a little past medium high. Full heat will scorch, so we want to kick the heat back just a little.

I've tested this recipe numerous times. Per my Westbend crock pot, at 1:45 minutes, I stir in the raisins. You should have the same results with the standard crock pot. The rice will be done, yet still quite milky.

This is the most important part of the instructions: Once the raisins are added, the mixture starts to thicken and caramelize. You want to stir the pudding every 10 minutes. It shouldn't take more than 2 or 3 times, until the pudding has reached it's consistency.

The beauty of this recipe is you only have to stir 3 or 4 times. Total! I know; you can thank me later!

The pudding will be the consistency of a thinned pancake batter, or sausage gravy. It will continue to thicken, as it cools.

Transfer the pudding to a bowl, then cover with plastic wrap. Make sure the wrap sits directly on the pudding, to prevent moisture, or a skin forming on the pudding. Of course, you could eat the pudding warm, but I prefer it chilled. 

Refrigerate for several hours; until completely chilled.  Notice how much it has thickened? Grandma would be so proud!

Old fashioned rice pudding, made for today's busy world. Enjoy!


2 Tablespoons butter
1/4 Cup white rice (cheap brand is fine, or Uncle Ben's converted long grain)
1/3 Cup sugar
3 1/2 Cups whole milk
1/2 Cup heavy whipping cream

Coat crock pot with butter. Combine remaining ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Stir until sugar dissolves. Pour into crock. Cover crock with a kitchen towel, double layer of aluminum foil, and the lid. Set the heat to just a notch above medium high heat. Cook for 1 hour and 45 minutes; then stir in raisins. Cover, and continue stirring every 10 minutes, until pudding has reached the consistency of a thinned pancake batter. Should not take more than 20 to 30 minutes. Transfer pudding to a bowl. Cover with a sheet of plastic wrap; making sure plastic sits directly on the pudding. Chill completely. Pudding will thicken as it cools. Makes 3 1/2 cups. 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Desserts & Snacks

Ants In Quicksand
Chocolate Covered Strawberries
Florene's Vanilla Ice Cream
Jarrene's Hot Fudge Sauce

Ants in Quicksand

This recipe is a spin off of the childhood snack, Ants On A Log. More than a snack, I find myself eating this for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!

You can use your favorite variety of apple, or pear. To prep the fruit:  slice the apple in half, scoop out the seeds, using a melon baller, then remove the stem and end piece.

Sprinkle the apple halves with cinnamon.

Fill the apple with peanut butter; then top with raisins, or your choice of dried fruit.

Ants in Quicksand (Apple)

Ants in Quicksand (Pear)


1 Apple, or pear, halved, cored
Sprinkle cinnamon
2 Teaspoons peanut butter
10 raisins, or other dried fruit

Sprinkle prepared apple with cinnamon. Spoon peanut butter, into cored apple. Top with raisins.