Usually, during Ramadan we send gifts of food back and forth to the neighbors. Its our thing. Part of how we celebrate the holiday. When J.J. lived down the street from us last year, we took various food items to her as well. This year, we sent over a quart of homemade ice cream.
Last summer, we took a road trip to Columbus, Ohio. What does that have to do with ice cream? Well, when we go on vacation i usually look up places to eat that have been mentioned on ‘The Best Thing I Ever Ate’ show on Food TV. When I looked up Columbus, I came across ‘The Best Thing I Ever Ate – Hot and Spicy.’ The best spicy chocolate ice cream, was called Queen City Cayenne ice cream from Jeni ‘s Splendid Ice Cream, in Columbus Ohio.
We visited Jeni ‘s that trip twice, sampling different flavors each time. Every time we were in the vicinity of a Jeni ‘s location (I ‘m talking within an hours drive..) we went. The more I learned about Jeni ‘s Ice Cream, the business and the mission, I became a bigger fan. It ‘s not just the flavors, it ‘s because Jeni is committed to use the best local ingredients that are to be found in the state. If the strawberry crop is bad this year, that means no Roasted Strawberry Buttermilk ice cream. No mint? Then, no Backyard Mint ice cream.
So after our 5 th time there last summer, I was surfing the net to get my ice cream fix on home delivery. I ‘ve always been a bit of an ice cream snob, but now that I ‘m conscious of the taste versus calorie net worth, I don ‘t bother with low quality ice cream. I was happy to find that there was a small market about 20 minutes on the other side of town that offered a small selection of Jeni ‘s pints. We drove out, stocked up and went home. As my stash dwindled, I scoured the net for the recipes, not wanting to pay for something (a recipe) that I could get for free. I dusted off my ice cream maker and set about making a few batches with the copykat recipes I found online.
That sustained us through the fall, and earlier this year when we went on our first road trip of the spring, made our way to Jeni ‘s once again. I tasted the flavors that I had made the previous fall, and I quickly learned that something was missing. When we returned home from that trip, I ordered my Jeni ‘s ice cream cookbook. In comparison, there were critical steps missing from the copykat. I ‘ve read the scientific explanations for the ingredients (from the book,) I have the exact recipe that they use in the ice cream kitchens, and I can reproduce most of my favorite flavors on demand.
I say most, because the mint patch in my yard is spearmint, and I need to rip it out and grow some high quality peppermint if I ever want my Backyard Mint to taste right. Oh, and I ‘m trying to find a source for a rhubarb plant so I can grow my own rhubarb for the Cardamom Lime Rhubarb yogurt. The rhubarb is our favorite so far with Whisky Pecan in a close second.
So, when Ramadan began on a day that had a high of 100, I thought the perfect treat to begin our 30 days of food exchanges was a batch of homemade ice cream. I tweaked the recipe of course, leaving out the spirits, but one day led into another, and we ‘ve not seen anything come back across the fence.
I wonder if I made some sort of faux pas. The children have voted on following up with chocolate chip cookies. If the weather cooperates long enough for me to turn the oven on tomorrow, and we will send over a dozen or two.