I had the pleasure of chatting with Ina Garten yesterday and asking her a few questions about home cooking and the recipes in her upcoming Barefoot Contessa book, How Easy Is That? Fabulous Recipes & Easy Tips. That comes out in October, and we'll have more details for you then (it is fabulous in that effortless, gracious Ina Garten way).
But I also had to ask her: What's your favorite ice cream? Here's what she said — it may surprise you!
Her favorite ice cream is: Vanilla!
She laughed when I asked her this, and she said, "I love anything that has vanilla in it." She also said that she thinks that a really good vanilla ice cream is deceptively difficult to make. I asked her if she had a favorite brand, and she said, "Häagen-Dazs is amazing. Ben and Jerry's. Also, Ciao Bella makes a great vanilla ice cream."
Ina has a marvelous ice cream in her new book: Ultimate Peach Ice Cream. Peach ice cream is always a flavor I find disappointing; it never seems to capture the fragrance of true peach essence. Garten agrees, and she says that she has tried so many recipes and none were right — until now. She found that many peach ice creams use almond to enhance the peach flavor, but in her opinion the almond competed with the peach. So she asked herself what flavors she enjoyed with peaches. She said she really liked the orange of Grand Marnier, and the taste of Sauternes, and so she worked them into this recipe. It looks rich and amazing; I can hardly wait to try it out!
I also asked her about her ice cream eating habits. Garten said that she likes the ice cream soft — straight out of the ice cream maker or, if it has been frozen already, a little microwaved before serving. She explained that she doesn't like it hard as a rock; the mid-ranges of temperature are where we can taste flavor the best. Not too cold, not too hot.
And finally, I just had to ask her what kind of ice cream maker she uses. She laughed and said she hardly knew — she has been using it for so long. She put the phone down and rummaged about in the pantry for a moment, then came back and said that it is a Cuisinart. "A freeze-the-bowl model?" I asked — surprised, as I expected her to have some super-fancy chef's quality gelato machine. But no, she has the same sort of ice cream maker that most of us have, and she uses it all the time.
That makes me even more eager to try out that peach ice cream recipe!
(Image: House Beautiful)