I never quite know how to start these posts anymore, considering the multi-month breaks between them. But hello hello! I’m back again, with a new recipe and the obligatory life update
My spring semester at school began much like the fall—full of cooking (highlights include my roommate’s lasagne and the Leite’s Culinaria chicken shawarma dish that got us through the past year), TV nights (lots of Jeopardy and lots of Girls), apartment competitions (including the first and second Great 715 Cocktail Challenge), and the like. There was plenty of studying and Zoom school, too, as we settled into an academic routine that has grown familiar if still unideal. As the seasons started to turn, warmer weather and the rollout of the vaccine meant that life returned to something that was just starting to resemble normalcy (albeit loosely). Or, I guess, normalcy was in sight for the first time in a long time.
At the end of the semester, my two best friends and I packed up our apartment of two years, rented a Uhaul, and moved everything into a storage unit for the summer, where it’ll stay until we move into our new house later this month. It was the biggest move I’ve done to date—having been all of one year old when my family migrated from one end of our neighborhood to the other, I’d never been tasked with packing my entire life into boxes in that way. It’s sad and kind of scary, saying goodbye to a place you’ve made home in a year when the notion of home has taken on all new meaning.
When I left Philly for the summer, I had no idea what I’d be doing for the next several months—something that had never been the case in previous summers, and that left me with a nervous lump in my throat whenever I thought about it for too long. Coming from a school like Penn, it always seems like everyone has their summer jobs and internships sorted a year in advance, their three, five, ten year plans laid out the minute their majors are declared (or even sooner). I know that’s not the case, just like I know that some industries—the creative ones, certainly—simply don’t work like that. But the unknown can be at once exciting and scary and liberating, for better or for worse.
In the two weeks or so after the semester and before I had any real job prospects, I sought advice from every outlet I could, from industry mentors to friends to my mother. I knew that I could use this summer to work on my own content and projects and dreams, set my own goals and push myself to achieve them. I didn’t need someone to hire me to do that, and there was something in that sense of self-efficacy that was empowering.
One idea was especially exciting to me—exciting in a spiraling-down-the-rabbit-hole-can’t-stop-planning-and-dreaming-and-thinking-about-it way. My mother suggested I host a supper club at our home in Brooklyn. It could be a series, we said, with a set number of spots and a first come first serve ticket system. It would allow me to cook and create, and, importantly, it would be centered on bringing together (vaccinated!) people from various, random spheres of my life for a night of good food and great company in a time when it’s become harder than ever to meet new people.
Now, I did end up finding a summer job. Two, actually: one working in creative and ops for NYC restaurant-turned-CPG brand west~bourne, and one interning for food stylist and recipe developer legend Susan Spungen. It’s been an incredible summer to say the least, as I’ve finally been able to work in an industry I can truly see myself in down the line. I’ve been learning so, so much, and am endlessly thankful for the opportunities I’ve been given (a true testament to the notion that everything does end up working out as it should!)
As busy as I’ve been, I was able to give this supper club idea a go twice in the past month. The experience was pure magic, from the week of planning and countless hours of prep work that went into each menu, to the nights themselves, which were full of more laughter, smiles, and support than I ever could’ve hoped for.
The recipe I have for you today is the dessert I served at the second supper club. I wasn’t planning on turning any of this into a blog post, but this Roasted Corn Ice Cream turned out so good I kind of had to. I made it not once, not twice, but three times: once to test, another time for the supper club, and then a third time after I dropped the entire 2-quart container of custard all over the inside of my fridge and kitchen. I wish I were kidding.
Roasted Corn Ice Cream
Adapted loosely from April Bloomfield via Epicurious
Makes about 1 1/2 pints
If I’m serving this for company, I like to dress it up by making it into a sundae of sorts: Think blueberry compote, blueberry meringue kisses, corn nuts (yes, corn nuts!), drizzles of olive oil and honey, and flaky salt. But I can confirm that this ice cream is just as good eaten alone, spoonful after spoonful. I hope you love it as much as I do.
- 3 medium ears of corn, shucked
- 1 3/4 cups whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 5 large egg yolks
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- Heat the oven as high as it’ll go, or turn on the broiler and let it heat for a few minutes. Place the corn on a baking sheet and roast, turning occasionally, until nicely browned in spots. Set aside until cool enough to handle, then use a sharp knife to cut the kernels off the cobs. Cut the cobs in half crosswise and place the kernels and cobs in a large saucepan.
- Add the milk, cream, salt, and 1/4 cup of sugar to the pan with the corn and heat over medium until barely simmering. Turn off the heat and let steep at room temperature for 2 hours, or in the fridge for up to 12.
- Strain the corn cream through a fine mesh strainer, running the back of a knife or a spoon down the sides of the cob and pressing the kernels into the strainer with a spatula to release any lingering liquid. Wipe any remnants out of the large saucepan and pour the corn cream back into the pot.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yollks and remaining 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of sugar. Heat the corn cream over medium low until barely simmering, then turn off the heat and slowly dribble about 3/4 cup of the cream into the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Slowly pour the egg/cream mixture into the pot of corn cream, whisking constantly, and heat on medium low, continuing to whisk constantly so as to avoid curdling the eggs, until the the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes. It’ll bubble and foam, and then that foam will subside and leave you with a custard the consistency of a thick heavy cream. Strain the custard into a bowl or container, whisk in the sour cream, and let cool. Chill until very cold, at least 4 hours (or overnight).
- Churn the custard according to your ice cream machine’s instructions (I used a manual Donvier ice cream maker and it worked wonderfully). Eat immediately, or freeze in a container to achieve a more hard-packed, scoopable ice cream.
To make the sundae pictured:
Add a cup or so of blueberries to a small pot, along with a squeeze of lemon and a drizzle of honey. Cook over medium-low until the berries start to break down and become jammy. Cool completely. To build your sundae, start with a spoonful of blueberry compote, top with a scoop of ice cream, and then drizzle on olive oil and honey. Sprinkle on your toppings of choice (blueberry meringues are great, but the corn nuts are the real game-changers here; just make sure to go for something crunchy), and finish with flaky salt.
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Ann LevineAugust 22, 2021 at 3:14 pm
Seems summer has been a time of productivity and surprise, and the two combined perfectly to make a very creative season. Keep up the great work and good ideas, Alaina.