We return to New Jersey tomorrow morning. Of course, I still have the rest of the week off stretching in front of me, but still. No more beaching. No more barbecue. No more napping on my sister’s insanely comfortable living room couches. No more barbecue.
And no more barbecue.
Because I am a naturally good-hearted person and because I like to stay on my sister’s good side so I can impose on her hospitality for another week next summer, we made dinner tonight so they wouldn’t have to worry about it. Aside from putting up with us for eight entire days, which is enough to make anyone cry uncle – Kerry, I know you secretly hate my books and computer shit all over your living room coffee table – they work like work is going out of style. Full time job for him, two small businesses for her, kids who are really grownups yet remain underfoot and stupidly stubborn basset hounds, all while dealing with life’s other vicissitudes like bad backs, a mole-infested lawn and relatives who do not know when they’ve overstayed their welcome.
I took dessert into my hands, because Brian is many wonderful things, but a dessert-maker he is not. North Carolina is still flooded with flavorful stone fruits, so I decided to dust the cobwebs off their ice cream maker and do a honeyed-peach Greek frozen yogurt spiked with Ice Wine. Which totally crabs off the Lebovitzian blueberry fro-yo of a few weeks ago but we are about TASTE here. We have no time for minor copyright infringements.
I whizzed 3 huge, plump, near-to-bursting peaches with some honey, sugar, a few good glugs of Ice Wine (a dessert wine made from grapes that have been allowed to freeze on the vines; it usually has lovely complex layers of floral, peach, plum and caramelly flavors) and two little tubs of Greek yogurt. Full fat, because this is a night of celebration! And a night of tricking people into thinking they’re eating ice cream and not fro-yo, because fro-yo has never shaken off the bad reputation it got a few years back (or its terrible nickname, which I will persist in using anyway.)
Actually, Brian did play a key role in the creation of this dessert but in his Rocket Scientist capacity, not as culinary handmaiden. (Yes: He is an actual Rocket Scientist. Very handy to have around.) I’ve never used a KitchenAid ice cream maker and could not for the life of me figure out how to attach the ice cream paddle to the mixer. The instructional manual with diagrams was helpfully located nowhere near the mixer itself, so I watched an online video with a perky KitchenAid representative showing me how “simple” it is to attach. Of course, this did nothing but make me feel like a complete dolt so I called Brian; sometimes it really does take a Rocket Scientist.
He was also unable to instantly figure it out (which made me feel slightly better), but using his advanced Rocket Scientist brain was able to deduce something I could not: the instructional manual would likely be available online, stored away somewhere in this exciting, horrifying, informational, complicated tube-like structure we call the “internet.”
So he found it, and figured out how to attach the beater in roughly 0.2 seconds, and away we went. Yogurt was churned, stored away in the freezer and spatulas duly licked.
Meanwhile, the hounds lurked. Literally.
One thing that I cannot do, which I believe is #43,581 out of ten bajillion, is take a good picture of any frozen dessert product. An ice cream sandwich, maybe I could do. A scoop? Not so much. Just wanted to get that out of the way up front. Also, my whole family was staring at me while I scooped and shot so I was a little camera-shy, which amused them to no end.
We are a family who enjoys laughing at the pain and hardship of others; just ask anyone who’s ever married into the family. It’s in the blood, it can’t be helped. We’ve all inherited it from my father, who was unable to tell a horrifying story about a playmate poking his eye out with a rusty stick he’d found in the gutter without snort-laughing to the point of near asphyxiation. (I may have gotten some of the details a little off. But then again, this would have been in the 1930s, so maybe not.)
<end justification for this sub-par photo which does not do the final product justice>
Two out of two basset hounds would have agreed, had they been given any, that this was damn good frozen yogurt. Everything worked the way I wanted: the full-fat Greek yogurt gave it an almost ice cream-esque richness, the honey and Ice Wine boosted the flavor of the peaches, and the use of honey kept it from being exclusively sugary-sweet and gave it more depth of flavor. And though my family mocked me – with love – for not having made tuiles to accompany it, I knew they all enjoyed it.
Thus I bid adieu to North Carolina and return to the real world, where a two-lane road with a speed limit of 45 is not considered a “highway.”
Honeyed Peach Frozen Yogurt
3 large, fragrant peaches
1/4 good honey (I used tupelo)
1/4 Ice Wine (Lillet Blanc would also be nice)
14 oz. Greek yogurt
Put all ingredients in the blender (take the pits out of the peaches first, duh). Blend until smooth.
Press the mixture through a fine mesh sieve to get all the peach skin bits out. Or don’t, if you don’t care.
Freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Scoop into some tupperware and freeze for 3-4 hours before eating.