Of the many things I fell in love with while in Greece, olive oil might be the most memorable. Every restaurant and cafe table had a bottle of it. It was probably locally sourced, as the mainland was absolutely covered in olive trees.
To be honest, I didn’t ask many questions in Greece. If someone recommended a beach, we went there. If they gave me cookies, I ate them. If there was a bottle of olive oil and nothing to eat it with, I drizzled it onto a plate and dipped my fingers in it… and if there wasn’t a plate, I resisted the temptation to pour it directly onto my tongue.
Needless to say, I was absolutely shocked when I got back to D.C. and discovered that my weight hadn’t changed at all — oh, the agony that led up to the calculated and anxiety-filled two seconds of fluctuating numbers — probably because my entire diet in Greece consisted of beer, cocktails, and Greek salads. At some meals, Silje and I would split moussaka or some other local dish.
But for the most part, it was all salads and all yogurt, all the time.
I didn’t bring the iPad with me on vacation. Thankfully, because I was able to at least limit my over-connected tendencies. Why give myself more than two mediums to read work emails on, right? The only downside of leaving the iPad at home was that I didn’t have my normal magazines, which I only really read on the iPad.
Side note, if you have an iPad and you don’t subscribe to the Bon Appetit or Martha Stewart Living iPad apps… please change that immediately. Especially if you’re a sucker for impeccable design and super interactive buttons. I’m amazed by absolutely every issue.
ANYWAY… when I got home, I came across this recipe for olive oil flavored ice cream in Bon Appetit. As Shaeda would say: cosign.
Olive Oil Ice Cream, from Bon Appetit
1 3/4 cups whole milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 cup, plus 2 Tbsp. sugar
4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (the stronger and more olive-r, the better)
Preface: I did bring back a ton of olive oil from Greece, but many of them were gifts. The bottle I brought for myself was strong, but not as strong as a bottle that was gifted to me — and it was purchased at a French market in D.C. that only happens once a year.
I did learn a LOT about olive oil last night from my new roommate, Emily, who walked our dinner guests through the ins and outs of olive oil pressing and the flavors to look for. If you can find a bottle of domestic first-press olive oil, that would be absolutely ideal for this recipe — when tasted by itself, you’ll feel a slight burn in your throat. That’s how you’ll know it’s top quality.
First, heat the milk, cream, salt, and 1/2 cup of sugar in a saucepan — bring to a simmer, and stir with a whisk to dissolve the sugar. Once the cream starts simmering, remove from heat.
In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks and 2 Tbsp. sugar vigorously, until they look a pale yellow — about 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in a 1/2 cup of the hot milk mixture into the bowl of yolks. Gradually combine the yolks into the saucepan, and cook and stir over medium heat until it’s thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon (2-3 minutes.
Strain the custard through a fine mesh sieve, and let chill completely — my favorite method is to prepare an ice bath in a mixing bowl (salt water + ice) and then pour the custard into a Ziploc bag, which I douse in the ice bath. Your custard will be chilled in a matter of 10 minutes.
Once cooled, whisk in your olive oil. Pour into your ice cream maker, and prepare according to manufacturer’s instructions.