For ice cream that is. Or when you come within seconds of burning your pine nut praline. At $22/ lb, it was a big risk but what else to put in sweet basil ice cream? If you haven't heard of Jeni's Ice Cream please come out from under that rock and buy this book....
Our first batch was sweet basil and honeyed pine nut ice cream. Basil from my garden, infusing a mixture of whole milk/cream cheese and a touch of corn starch. Jeni has made artisanal ice cream possible for the home cook. And before you run out and buy that $500 gelato machine you have been lusting after--she recommends the Cuisinart Ice-20. At <$50 on Amazon, there will be plenty left over to buy your pine nuts.
I brought this batch into work where it was demolished quickly. The flavor eluded most people, but when I said, "basil," you could see the light bulbs come on.
My mint plant got a good haircut for our next batch. Backyard Mint--we augmented with crushed miniature oreos. Mint has a more delicate flavor, necessitating a longer infusing time. Truly wonderful. Sophie wants to make the ice cream terrines next. Jeni says the ice cream will keep for a week or so in the coldest part of the refrigerator so you can make several different flavors for the terrines over the course of a few days. On the Thanksgiving menu is the Roasted Pumpkin 5-spice Ice Cream and maybe the Cherry Lambic sorbet. I haven't found an ice cream that I don't want to make in this book. Organized by season, with a section for mix-ins/toppings and sundae suggestions.
I am not going to list any recipes in this post because if you want to go down the homemade artisanal ice-cream path you need this book on your shelf. And a treadmill.