Thursday, August 14, 2008

Peachy Zen Ice Cream

The ugly fruit continues, and I'm back to the blog! The trip was fantastic, family is wonderful, and I have lots of goodies and insights to share with you in the next few days.

I realized this weekend that the next few weeks might be some of the busiest of my life, and I was (ridiculously) attempting to balance all that I had to do in my head. School starts soon, and I'll be balancing over 20 hours of class, two (!) bands, organizing art shows and finishing more illustrations, working three jobs (all of which I adore), taking a new yoga class, and, of course, cooking up a storm and telling all of you fine folk about it.


Sure, I make lists everywhere, random scraps of paper scrawled with to-dos and grocery needs, but nothing that amounted to actual "organization". I amended this today and bought a real grown-up planner. After spending an hour going through my email and plotting out every engagement and party and wedding and meeting I agreed to show up for, I stopped and had to take a breath. Overwhelmed isn't the perfect word, because I'm really loving everything that I'm spending time on. Pleasantly daunted is a bit better. It makes me wonder how I'll find time to breathe. The yoga will probably help with that, but even that feels so scheduled and time-consuming. One of my favorite ways to calm my thoughts is to reach into the fridge, pull out some fresh ingredients, and start chopping. Though I pay enough attention to the knife to keep all ten of my fingers, cooking lets my mind wander, lets new songs find lyrics, lets all of my senses play without asking anything too demanding. The next few months are going to be some of the best - and craziest - of my life, and I know that whenever it gets a bit to much to handle, I can turn on NPR, zone out, and make something tasty.

I found the perfect recipe to let my mind escape - but it's not exactly new. A few weeks ago, I shared how to make hand-rolled ice cream without an ice-cream maker, and I decided to try it at home with some REALLY ripe peaches. If rolling a paint can back and forth for 15 minutes doesn't get you into a zen state of mind, I don't know what will. Here's another way to use up all the stone fruit that is falling into your lap this time of year, and get some meditative down-time in the process.

I peeled, pitted, and chopped about 4 (kind of ugly but DELICIOUS) peaches, and let them simmer with some water, cinnamon, and lemon juice for about an hour. The result was a syrupy sweet, completely natural peach mush - that might be one of the tastiest things I've ever made in a saucepan. Not to mention the fact that the kitchen smelled like an orchard for hours.

After this cooled, I added the puree to the half and half, sugar, and vanilla from the original ice cream recipe (which you can find, along with the method here) into the smaller can, filled the larger can with ice and rock salt, lidded everything (tightly!) and commenced Operation: Ice Cream Roll.

After 15 or 20 minutes, and a lot of daydreaming, the moment of truth. I call down the roommates and pry open the lid, being careful not to let any salt water into the finished batch. Inside was a good amount of creamy, smooth, perfectly peachy ice cream - summer in a can, indeed. And the rolling wasn't the only zen part of the process - eating a cup of the stuff in my hammock wasn't too much of a strain, either.

Wish me luck as I head into the next few weeks. Who knows, this ice cream thing might need to become a regular event. You know, for the sake of my sanity.

Eat well!


  1. Pleasantly daunted... I like that. Very positive approach to the craziness :)
    I love your blog and your writing style! The ice cream looks amazing.

  2. This looks fabulous. I'm not sure that I'd have the patience to sit and roll the can back and forth... I wonder if I could get the dog to do it???

  3. LOL...peaches all around I guess. Seems like we had a similar peachy craving this week.
    MMM ice cream is always an option, that's my motto

  4. Yummy! Love fresh peach ice cream!

  5. Hey, Oakley! Welcome back! That ice cream looks scrumptious, and we love to hear about your trip. That breath is what will save the day: breathe...
    Love ya, Country Rhodes

  6. Hey, Kristin. This looks amazing. I love the visable peach bits. I was back home in Kentucky over the weekend and had some of my grandfather's peach ice cream. He hand cranks his in a White Mnt. Creamery ice cream maker. Pretty old school, you'd crack up. He doesn't have a recipe--it has however much cream, peaches, milk and sugar he feels like...usually 2 tea cups of sugar, he said. No custard base. (I made a fizzy peachy drink the other day.)

  7. When were you back?? How come I missed this post? Anyway, I'm here now. I agree on your thoughts regarding lists and planners. Lists make me happy. They lay out my life in a controlled and neat manner. That is, until they don't work and the space on my planner got too small to contain all my lists.

    I usually end up baking to calm myself down. This usually works until I mucked up whatever I was making. Sigh. Hope to see you on this blog soon again before you become to busy for us!!

  8. Imagine my surprise when the food blog I had been reading turns out to belong to my former 4th and 6th grade student. What a small world! The pictures are wonderful and I love reading the stories about your family. I tried to find that fortune cookie poem you wrote, but you know my system of organization. I am glad to see that you are doing well.