I had a root canal this morning (or rather the bulk of one, before the endodontist discovered a crack – a sign that ultimately I’ll lose this particular tooth that has worked so hard on my behalf for so many years) – at any rate, my face is now thawing out and aching, and I’m using my oral misery as an excuse to make ice cream. (I foresaw this yesterday and tossed the bowl of my ice cream machine in the freezer.) Going out for some would necessitate driving and talking, and while I’m sure Mike would be happy to make a run for me, for the past month I’ve been stopping at my sister’s doorstep and plucking a sprig of lemon thyme from alongside her massive cherry tomato plant, taking a sniff and thinking that it would make some mighty fine ice cream.
The base of this ice cream is 1 cup heavy cream, 1 cup half & half and a big spoonful of honey. It makes just a small batch, but you could use the same technique to flavour any basic ice cream recipe. To extract the essence of lemon thyme I steeped the cream by bringing it to a bare simmer in a saucepan, then tossing in a small handful of fresh lemon thyme, pulling most of the leaves off the stems to release more flavour. If you take it off the heat and let it cool in the pan, then strain it, you’ll wind up with lemon thyme-infused cream.
You could do the same with mint (or chocolate mint!) or sprigs of rosemary or lavender, or slices of ginger; in any case swirl in a big spoonful of honey – about two tablespoons’ worth – let this part be dictated by your sweet tooth. (Or your sore one.)
Make sure it’s cold before you pour it into your ice cream machine, and you’ll be rewarded with a citrusy herbal ice cream that just might be unique enough to be left alone by everyone you live with – for you to eat all by yourself.