Prep 30 mins Chill 1:30 Eat 2:00
Two of my favorite things are food and classical music. Put them together and you have a magical evening. Attending the Hollywood Bowl is a summer ritual that I have enjoyed for years. Visualize a warm summer evening under the stars eating great food and listening to great music while relaxing with friends. It’s simply a delightful evening, once you brave the traffic to get there! Tonight we were going to hear the Labeque sisters – Katia and Marielle – play Poulenc’s Concerto for Two Pianos. I had never seen them perform before with their two concert grands spooned together on stage, so this was going to be a real treat for me.
In the past, I’ve always had to rush from the office, grab a to-go meal at a restaurant and meet my guests at the assigned time. But no more. Rushing out the door is still a ritual, but usually because I’m packing up my picnic basket/cooler with my home-cooked meal. I take great pride in coming up with a menu that will please my guests and it usually makes the people in the seats around us envious. The comment I usually get is, “Wow! You’re a Hollywood Bowl Pro!” I gladly share my cooking secrets with our neighbors, but guard our food!! We generally eat a three-course gourmet meal, while our neighbors are munching on their chips.
Tonight it was just me and my sweetheart, so I decided to make one of his favorite dishes, Grilled Ratatouille over Grilled Polenta. I knew this would travel well. Then with a moment of recklessness, I noticed the peaches in the refrigerator which would go with the freshly made peach ice cream I had in the freezer. Would I dare to bring ice cream in my picnic basket? Since it was just the two of us, I decided to give it a go. The weather had cooled down, so that was a plus. I counted the time from out of the freezer and into our mouths as three hours. (Drive to bus-time on bus-eat cheese & crackers-eat main course-listen to music-eat dessert at intermission) Could I keep it cold that long? I reasoned that the home-made ice cream is always icy when you first bring it out of the freezer. If I wrapped it in a plastic bag with a frozen ice pack next to it, buried at the bottom of the cooler and placed the cold bottle of wine and water on top of it, it would be just right after three hours. Right? Well, it worked! It was perfectly softened – the stage that ice cream gets when the cream is cold and solid, but when you put it in your mouth, it melts onto your tongue. Heaven!! I scooped the ice cream out of the tub onto my peach halves. It was a beautiful thing!
I spoon fed my sweetheart the remainder of the peach ice cream as we cuddled together and listened to the Three Cornered Hat by Manuel de Falla performed by the LA Philharmonic under the baton of Spanish conductor, Juanjo Meno. We delighted in him dancing to this music that encouraged you to get up and clap your castanets together. Looking back in our sparsely filled section, I catch a couple entangled together in a longing kiss of romance under the stars while their 5-year old daughter taps out the beat. It was one of those moments when you think, “It’s all right in the world – Life is beautiful”.
Peach Ice Cream
1 pound fresh peaches
2 1/2 cups whole milk
6 large egg yolks
1 cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1. Make Custard: In large heavy saucepan, heat milk to just below a boil. While milk is heating, whisk together egg yolks and sugar in a medium bowl. Once milk is heated, pour a small amount (about 1/2 cup) of milk into the egg bowl, WHILE WHISKING. You want to continue whisking, so that the heat of the milk does not make scrambled eggs. Once mixed together, pour in more and more milk, as you whisk. Once all is whisked together, pour it all back into the saucepan. Bring mixture just to a boil on medium heat, whisking CONSTANTLY. Remove from heat and pour into a bowl and refrigerate for 1-2 hours or more.
2. Once you have the custard in the refrigerator, peal peaches. Bring a pot of water to boil. Cut an x into the base of the peach with a paring knife. Plunge the peaches into the boiling water for 30-60 seconds. Remove immediately and plunge into cold water. The peel should come off easily with a paring knife. Set aside until all peaches are peeled.
3. Cut peaches in half, remove pit, slice and place into food processor. Puree until smooth. Add peach puree and 1 cup heavy cream to the custard and stir together until combined. Continue to refrigerate.
4. Once custard is cold, you can freeze the custard in an ice cream maker, according to the manufacturer’s directions. You can serve the freshly made ice cream immediately or transfer to an airtight container and freeze until you are ready to use. Freshly made ice cream will become very hard when frozen. To serve, remove from freezer about 20 minutes before you want to serve, so that it softens and becomes scoopable.