Sweet Potato Ice Cream

I did it! I survived the “sink or swim” semester, haha. These last few weeks have been a challenge (to put it mildly) but I put every last ounce of energy into my studies, dedicated all my time, and honestly did as best as I could do. It would be far too easy to agonize over the details: my silly mistakes during a presentation, the rushed report I could’ve done so much better on had I more time, or the exam I probably failed just this afternoon despite three straight days of studying – it’s that last one in particular that’s gnawing away at the back of my mind. But I know I was a strong student this semester overall, that I’ve received positive feedback from my instructors as well as fellow grad students, and that a single failed exam won’t keep me from passing a course.

I made this ice cream a while back (remember the Instagram?) and immediately fell in love. If you like soft, mushy sweet potato, toasted marshmallows, and cinnamon then you’re in for a treat. I kid you not, this ice cream tastes just like sweet potato pie…except colder, of course. 🙂 I know ice cream is not the most obvious dessert choice during the winter months, but I’m from Vermont where we eat Ben & Jerry’s year-round (and still manage this!) so trust me: it works.

A kitchen torch will be handy here if you’re lucky enough to have one, otherwise you can toast your mini-mallows in the oven for a minute or so (watch them closely!). If you use the oven technique, you may want to toast them a day ahead of time. Even with parchment paper my marshmallows clung to the sheet like glue – and yes, I let them cool for an hour first. It wasn’t until I listened to my smarter-half and let them sit on the parchment overnight that I was able to easily remove the marshmallows without becoming a gooey mess. Is that an obvious trick? Well I apologize if it is, it was news to me, haha.

Sweet Potato Ice Cream

(from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home by Jeni Britton Bauer)

Ingredients:

1½   C   peeled sweet potato, cut into ½” cubes

2   C   whole milk

1½  oz.  cream cheese, softened

¼   t   fine sea salt

¼   t   ground cinnamon

1¼   C   heavy cream

1/3   C   granulated sugar

1/3   C   packed dark brown sugar

2   T   molasses

1½   C   toasted mini-marshmallows*

1   gallon-sized Ziploc freezer bag

*Note: Jeni includes a homemade recipe for her Vanilla Bean Marshmallows, which sound fantastic. Since time was of the essence, however, I simply bought mini-mallows from the store – see my recommendation above.

Procedure:

1) In prep: combine the sweet potato pieces and milk in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until the potatoes are soft – about 8-10 minutes. While potatoes are cooking, beat cream cheese with salt and cinnamon in a large bowl until smooth. Prepare an ice bath and place in fridge until needed.

2) Once the potatoes have been cooked use an immersion blender to puree them until smooth (or, alternatively, transfer them in the milk to a blender and blend until smooth before returning the mix to the pan). Add the cream, sugars, and molasses and stir until incorporated. Bring mixture to a rolling boil over Medium-high heat and boil for exactly 4 minutes. Remove from heat.

3) Pour about a third of a Cup of the hot mixture into the bowl with the cream cheese and whisk until the cream cheese has been incorporated. Add the remainder of the base, whisk well a few times to blend it all together, and then immediately pour into a 1-gallon Ziploc freezer bag and submerge in the ice bath. Let the base cool – adding more ice as necessary – until cold (I placed mine in the ice bath and then put the whole thing in the fridge, stirring the contents of the bag every 15 minutes or so to redistribute the heat).

4) Once the ice cream base is definitively cold, pour the mixture into your ice cream maker and follow manufacturer’s instructions. Pack the soft ice cream in a storage container being sure to layer plenty of toasted marshmallows as you go. Press a sheet of parchment paper to the surface of the ice cream before sealing and freezing. Let ice cream proof in the freezer for at least 4 hours before eating.

Beezer’s Notes:

As I mentioned before, this dessert is just like a frozen sweet potato pie. I really should have added some brown-sugar dusted pecans on top and it would’ve been complete, haha. My batch turned out a bit thicker than I anticipated; I’m not sure if it was just from me boiling the base for too long or from the consistency of the potatoes. I didn’t mind, the texture was rich and creamy with little puffs of marshmallows in every scoop, but you may want to add a bit more milk if you prefer a lighter ice cream.

Overall Enjoyment:  ♥   ♥   ♥   ♥

Sweet Potato & Turnip Mash with Sage Butter

I don’t often use this blog to vent. I prefer it to simply be a fun collection of my adventures in the kitchen, sort of a culinary scrapbook, that allows me to share one of my hobbies with others in return for the numerous times I’ve been inspired by them.

These last few weeks have been rough, though.

I’ve had a stack of recipes ready and waiting on my desk; a collection of veggies and odd ingredients taking up space in my fridge. There just hasn’t been much time to cook and the time I do have I’ve spent with good friends and family to try to help lighten my mood. You see, as much as I enjoy my job – and I really do enjoy it most of the time – it can be very emotionally draining. I don’t have to face tragedies so directly as my good friend over at Corn Flakes And Coffee does, I don’t know how she is able to put so much dedication and care into children only to see them slip away at the end, but I do witness the aftermath of tragedies. As a recovery technician for a non-profit tissue bank I sometimes see teenagers, children even, who have no business being in a morgue. And this month there have been more than ever.

After my most recent teenage suicide case I felt my emotions shift from sadness to anger. How can these kids even think of ending their lives when they have yet to experience even a fifth of it? What makes them think that this world is so limiting that there can’t possibly be anything better, anything different, any escape? Why aren’t people listening to them and giving them the support they so desperately need??

So, I started looking into suicide watch groups in my state in an effort to find some way to help prevent these tragedies. While there are some amazing organizations in place to help train teachers, administrators, and the like, there are currently very few local resources for the average citizen. Then, I remembered reading about a national group that can work with volunteers from across the globe to help prevent suicide and promote awareness. After doing a bit more research, I signed up and had my interview today! It was quite long – over an hour – but I passed and am now about to begin my training.

One the big attractions to this program is that, once completed, I will be fully certified in crisis intervention and so will be qualified to help at other organizations outside of this project if I care to do so in the future. I’m so excited to be a part of such an amazing, large-scale effort and can’t wait to become a full-fledged volunteer! 🙂

Now, back to the food…

Sweet Potato & Turnip Mash with Sage Butter

(Eating Well, December 2010)

Ingredients:

1  lb.   sweet potatoes (about 2 medium), peeled and diced

8  oz.   turnips (about 2 medium)*, peeled and diced

3   large cloves of garlic, peeled but whole

30  fresh sage leaves, divided

2   T   butter

1    t   salt

pepper to taste

*Note: I don’t know much about turnips and this is the first time I’ve ever cooked one, but just one of the turnips at my market weighed about 13 oz! Like other vegetables, I’m sure turnips come in varieties so as long as you can get at least 8 oz. worth for this recipe you’re fine.

Procedure:

  1. Place potatoes, turnips, garlic, and 12 sage leaves in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to Medium-low, cover, and simmer for 12 – 15 minutes or until the veggies are tender.
  2. Drain and return vegetables to the pan; cover to keep warm.
  3. Heat butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat. As the butter melts and turns lightly brown add the remaining sage and allow them to crackle and flavor the butter for about 1 minute.
  4. Pour the sage butter – saving the fried leaves for garnish – over the vegetables and smash the mix with a potato masher. Stir in salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Beezer’s Notes:

This is one delicious mash, peeps. If you like sweet potato pie, but wish it were a bit more savory or want a healthy twist on traditional, creamy mashed potatoes this is the recipe for you. According to the source recipe, a single serving of this orange beauty provides 180% of your daily value of Vitamin A! In addition “preliminary research suggests [sage] may improve some symptoms of early Alzheimer’s disease by preventing a key enzyme from destroying acetylcholine, a brain chemical involved in memory and learning. In another study, college students who took sage extracts in capsule form performed significantly better on memory tests, and their moods improved.” So there you go. Super simple recipe with a very impressive name and plenty of health benefits to boot!

Overall Enjoyment: ♥   ♥   ♥   ♥   ♥

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