Do you want to know what my favorite color is? No?
Well then, pull up a chair and I'll tell you all about it.
My favorite color is referred to as the color of love. It is a strong, sexy color. In some cultures this color is associated with good luck, energy, fortune, creativity and joy. And -as if you needed a bigger hint- some of my favorite fruits are intensely painted this color: Tomatoes, Cherries, Watermelon and Strawberries!
What was that? This color is also symbolic of blood, you say? Do I sense a hint of hostility here? Well, there's really no need to see red.
And because I believe blood should be on the inside, I will get right to the point, and tell you what my favorite color is: Black!
You may cease fire.
Just making sure you were paying attention. At least, I'm the first to admit I suck at placating my blogging audience. All right, so red, RED! is my favorite color. Now you can all sleep at night.
By the way, do you know what's red, white, and scrumptious all over?
Crème Fraîche Ice Cream Topped with Homemade Strawberry Jam. Word.
Incidentally, the candied roses are easy enough to make and will be featured in a future blog entry.
Crème Fraîche Ice Cream
Zest and juice of one lemon
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
2/3 cup granulated sugar
6 large egg yolks
1 cup crème fraîche
Before you begin, have ready a strainer, and a bowl resting in a larger bowl that is filled with ice.
In a medium-size saucepan, combine the milk, cream, and lemon zest. Scrape the seeds out of the vanilla bean and add to the cream mixture, along with the pod.
Bring mixture to a boil. Remove from heat and let it sit 15 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk sugar and egg yolks together until mixture forms a ribbon when whisk is lifted. Gradually beat in hot cream mixture. Return to saucepan and cook over moderately low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 3 minutes. Do not let mixture come to a boil, or it will curdle. Strain mixture through a fine mesh sieve. Stir in the lemon juice and crème fraîche. Cool the mixture quickly by putting the custard in the bowl immersed in ice. Once cooled, cover and chill custard thoroughly. Freeze in an ice cream maker following manufacturer's instructions. Makes 1 quart.
Now -to me- homemade Strawberry Jam had always been something I simply purchased and stored in the back of the refrigerator until it spoiled, and the mold grew big enough to break out of my fridge to freedom. I never ate that stuff, and I reckon I bought them only because I got lured by the pretty little jars they came in.
It wasn't until my sister in law (whom I shall only refer to as "Karen" [her real name]) shared a jar of her homemade Strawberry Jam with me that made my tastebuds stand up and take notice. Needless to say, but say I will, I knew I had to try my hand at preserving these lovely little jewels of Summer. Thank you sister "Karen" for your inspiration!
3 pints ripe strawberries, rinsed well and hulled
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 cups granulated sugar
Add strawberries to a 3-quart pan set over moderate heat. Crush strawberries with a potato masher, but try not to purée the berries. Mix in the sugar and simmer gently for 25-30 minutes, or until the mixture has started to thicken. Skim foam from surface and spoon jam into sterilized jars. Seal according to manufacture's directions. Makes five 6-ounce jars.