I come from a long line of ice cream lovers, and then I married one and gave birth to a few more. My love for ice cream was elevated, however, when I discovered Jeni (thanks to my dear friend that actually planned a road trip to a graduation around a stop at one of her ice cream shops). I read her book one day in the bookstore – several chapters of it, no kidding – and then I bought it and read it from cover to cover.
I’ve worked my through almost half of the recipes, and I used some of her base ideas and changed them up a bit for the wine tasting dinner we made the dessert for last fall. This year I added push pops to the mix, and even before the party I was using those to dish up new ice cream flavors each week in our front yard with neighbors and friends.
This isn’t a a new idea for a birthday party – last year I made ice creams to serve for F’s rainbow party. That year I called it a rainbow of ice creams, this year it was ice creams inspired by the market – and so I picked flavors and ingredients that you might be buying at the farmers market these days.
One thing I’ve found along the way is that making good ice cream, with good ingredients, isn’t cheap. Another thing I found when making a ridiculous amount of ice creams for a party is that when you make them in bulk, it’s really not that bad. I sat down one day and made a list of the summer flavors that I wanted to make, I tallied up the cups of whole milk and ounces of cream and cream cheese, the quarts of plain yogurt and the cups of sugar – lots of sugar – and I picked them all up at the store. It was a strange looking assortment – a ridiculous amount of dairy, plus some beets, some corn, lots of berries and herbs, a cucumber, honeydew and some lemon, among other things.
I had some help along the way from a carefully disguised birthday girl.
And I filled container after container with parchment covered ice creams and frozen yogurts. These were the very popular lemon frozen yogurts with blueberry swirls.
By Sunday night my freezer looked like this…
…by Tuesday night it was jammed full to the brim.
I made thirty-five containers of ice cream – roughly 10 oz. (generous) servings, and forty-eight push pops – four colors / flavors of frozen yogurts for the kids, plus some roasted strawberry buttermilk and backyard mint for the grownups, also in push pop form.
We had a few leftovers – no one was brave enough for the beet ice cream (their loss), but everyone tried at least one, and most people sampled others along the way. I really liked them all, but the basil with the honeyed pine nuts and the (surprise hit) cucumber-honeydew-cayenne were probably my summer best picks. And the sweet corn with blackberry sauce, that was a standout too.
F polished off three push pops over the course of the party. I heard her tell her friends “Guys, you can have another push pop. It’s a party, you can have as many push pops as you want.” One of them replied “Well, this is a good party,” and helped himself to another.