When Life Gives You a Metric Shit Ton of Lemons

2019 might have been the time for lemonade, but if there’s ever been a year for upping one’s game, this is it. First of all, let’s acknowledge what a miracle it is that we even HAVE lemons in 2020. Especially in Newfoundland, where, not even a hundred years ago, most people would have been gearing up for scurvy season right about now. It’s easy to forget that while some of us have been making sourdough bread and bingewatching our favourite shows on Netflix, people all over the world have been getting out of bed to pick fruit and veg so the rest of us can try and forget the global pandemic by cooking and baking our way into tighter pants. For that, farmers and harvesters and truck drivers and cleaners and doctors and nurses and grocery store workers and cashiers and everybody else who’s been working their way through this shitshow of a year, unable to put their feet up on the coffee table long enough to make it through one whole series of anything, I love you and salute you.

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So, I made a lemon olive oil ice cream that made me feel like I was sitting on a cloud eating lemon meringue pie while wearing a pair of expensive silk pyjamas and it’s too good not to share. Oh wow, look at that, I’m emotional eating my favourite dairy product again. If anyone is a regular reader (hi Mom) then it’s no surprise that ice cream is my jam, and yes of course I’ve made ice cream with jam and now I’ve made it with olive oil. And listen, don’t even make that face until you’ve tried it. I read somewhere that one of the oldest women in the world lived to be 124 by drinking a glass of olive oil a day, so get it where you can! Ok, maybe not here because it is one of those unapologetic ice creams with lots of cream and sugar and egg yolks, but the olive oil definitely fools you into thinking you’re doing something good for yourself. Kind of like voting for a reality TV show host for president. Except eating ice cream won’t lead to the downfall of the world’s most powerful democracy. Anyway. If anyone is looking for me I’ll be hiding in a bunker drinking something stronger than olive oil until January 20th, 2021. 

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Lemon Olive Oil Ice Cream  (adapted from the New York Times Cooking Subscription)

4 large egg yolks
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1 cup granulated sugar
4 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup good quality fruity olive oil, plus more for serving
Flaky sea salt, for serving

Whisk egg yolks together in a medium bowl and set aside. Combine cream, milk, sugar, 3 teaspoons of the lemon zest and kosher salt in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved and mixture just begins to bubble around the edges. Very slowly, in a thin stream at first, pour the warm mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then pour the egg and cream mixture back into the saucepan. Cook on medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, taking care not to let the mixture boil. Strain through a fine mesh sieve into a large bowl.

Mix the olive oil and lemon juice together in a measuring cup, and slowly stream into the egg and cream mixture, whisking vigorously to make sure everything emulsifies (otherwise you’ll get bits of oil that have separated in the ice cream). Whisk in the 1 remaining teaspoon of lemon zest. Chill mixture completely in a bowl set over an ice bath, or in the refrigerator, at least 4 hours, or preferably overnight.

Once cooled and ready to go, give the mixture a good whisk again and churn in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze until firm. Or sneak a little bowl as a taste test beforehand if you like, because it’ll be like a dreamy lemon soft serve. Serve scoops of ice cream with a drizzle of the fruity olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt.

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Without a doubt, the nicest ice cream I’ve ever made. Even my 4-year-old devoured it. Without the drizzle of olive oil and salt on top, although I have my doubts if that would have stopped him. It’s basically an ice cream that’s fun for the whole family, with or without the fancy-fanc. Or be like my next-door neighbour. I gave her a container of the stuff and she told me she loved it so much she’s hiding it from her teenaged son. And this is why we’re friends.

Wishing you clean hands, warm hearts, and full bellies. Stay well, chickens. xo

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