I remember in elementary school, way back in the early 1990s, how huge the New Kids on the Block were. There was a girl in my class who owned every piece of merchandise the New Kids were selling. Their faces were plastered all over her bedroom, including her pillows and bedspread. Creepy!
I’ll be honest – I wasn’t a fan back in the day. I thought they were super cheesy. I’m weird that way – I’m never into what’s currently popular. I’m actually kind of repelled when someone is insanely huge. I’ll fall in love later but not at the moment. I was the same way with the Spice Girls and Britney Spears. I couldn’t stand them during their heyday but now, years later, I can totally appreciate their charm.
While I didn’t listen to NKOTB when I was a teenager, I adore them now and I can admit that without any shame or embarrassment. To prove my adoration, I went to the Package Tour in Vancouver on Wednesday night. They were here last year with the Backstreet Boys and at that time I was like, meh, I don’t need to see that show. This time they were here with Boyz II Men so that totally clinched the deal. The Husband and I are crazy Boyz II Men fans. Their music played such an integral part of my younger years. I listened to End of the Road and Motown Philly incessantly in grade 7. Their “II” album that came out in 1994 was incredible. All my memories of awkwardly dancing with boys, our hands on each other’s shoulders and our bodies at arms length have On Bended Knee, Water Runs Dry and I’ll Make Love To You running in the background. To this day, I still cry when I hear Mama or 4 Seasons of Loneliness.
Boyz II Men brought it hard – they are just as good now as they’ve ever been. I was disappointed because they didn’t perform long enough – they only sang six songs (the aforementioned End of the Road, Motown Philly, On Bended Knee, Water Runs Dry and I’ll Make Love To You plus Yesterday) and then they were gone.
Next up was 98 Degrees. Sorry boys, but I’ve never been a big fan nor am I one today. They sounded fine but compared to the phenomenal act that preceded them, they really fell short. Their songs weren’t that great and their dancing was laughable. Like the Husband said, it looked like they walked off the street and just started performing. Why their set was longer than Boyz II Men I’ll never understand (I suspect it’s because they’re cheaper).
NKOTB was awesome. And they performed for 2 ½ hours. I really got my money’s worth. I didn’t know any of their newer music so it was just a matter of putting up with the stuff they’re trying to shill on us before we got to the real reason we were there. Give me Step by Step, I’ll Be Loving You Forever and Please Don’t Go Girl!
Am I embarrassed that I know all the words to these songs and was screaming like a maniac for a few hours at men who were popular 25 years ago? Hell no.
It was such a fun walk down memory lane. I felt like a kid again…until the realizations that my wrists hurt from clapping, my throat was hoarse from screaming and I was exhausted by 11 p.m. reminded me that I’m an old lady. It was a night of pure unadultered fluffy summertime fun.
You wanna know what else is pure unadultered fluffy summertime fun? Ice cream. And I don’t know why in the hell it took me so long to make my own. I’ve been ogling ice cream makers for years now but I don’t have the space to store one. Recently, it seems that every blog I read is featuring no-machine recipes so woot woot! My girl Kayle, aka The Cooking Actress, just posted a round-up here of amazing ice cream recipes using this incredibly simple yet effective technique. I plan on making all of them this summer!
Our Sunday Supper theme this week is preserving the harvest – all the incredible, fresh, vibrant summer produce that we only get to enjoy for a brief period every year. A number of people are making jams (jealous because I’ve always wanted to make jam!) so I figured I’d go a different route. Because, seriously, what better way of preserving something delicious like a local British Columbia blueberry than suspending it in ice cream?
Blueberry Ginger Compote
1 1/2 cups blueberries (I used berries I had previously frozen but fresh should work too)
juice from 1 lemon
a few slices of ginger (more or less depending on how strong you want the ginger taste – or none if you don’t like ginger)
cornstarch slurry (instructions below)
1/4 cup brown sugar
Cook blueberries with ginger until the liquids release. Mash the blueberries a bit and add the brown sugar. Squeeze in the juice from one lemon. I used a bowl and scooped out some of the hot liquid from the blueberries. To that, I added two teaspoons of corn starch and stirred it together to make a slurry. Add the corn starch mixture into the cooking blueberries and stir. Allow to come to a boil and you’ll see the compote thicken. Take off the heat and allow to cool completely. You can place it into the fridge or freezer to speed up the cooling process.
I’m going to be honest here. This was another epic fail for me. I made the base for the cheesecake ice cream and I over-whipped it. I got it to the perfect consistency but I kept going at it until the cream cheese started to separate from the whipping cream. At that point, it was ruined. Unsalvageable. Epic.fail. And because, again, I made it so late I didn’t have time to wait for another block of cream cheese to soften so I made my ice cream without it. I’m going to give you two recipes, one with the cream cheese and one without. The one I ultimately made for today’s post is sans cream cheese *sad tear rolls down face* but it’s still delicious and I’m still calling it “cheesecake” because I added graham crackers!
Cream Cheese Ice Cream Base
7 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temp
1 can sweetened condensed milk (14 ounces)
2 cups cold whipping cream
2 tsp vanilla
Cream the cream cheese until it’s smooth and fluffy (I used the paddle on my stand mixer but a hand mixer works just as well). Still mixing, slowly pour in the condensed milk, making sure it’s fully incorporated and there are no lumps. Stop your machine periodically to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Switch from the paddle to the whisk attachment if you’re using a stand mixer. Pour in the whipping cream and vanilla. Mix together with a rubber spatula or spoon to incorporate all the ingredients before whisking. Whisk on medium high speed until semi-stiff peaks form when the beater is lifted.
This is where I went wrong. I whisked for about 5-10 minutes and at one point, there were soft peaks when I lifted the whisk out. It was creamy and luscious. I tasted it and it was amazing. I then, against my better judgment, continued whisking and that’s when disaster struck. Don’t be like me, people! Stop when the mixture looks fluffy, has increased in size, and there are soft peaks. At this point, pour half the mixture into a freezer safe container. Dot the top with half of the blueberry compote. Cover with the remaining ice cream mixture and dot with the remainder of the compote. Using a knife, swirl the compote with the ice cream mixture. Place into the freezer for at least 6 hours or until firm.
Vanilla Ice Cream Base
*this is the one I made for this post*
1 can sweetened condensed milk (14 ounces)
2 cups cold whipping cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
graham cracker crumbs, for topping
Pour the can of condensed milk, whipping cream and vanilla into a large bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer. Mix together with a rubber spatula or a spoon. Using the whisk attachment, beat on medium high until the mixture has increased in volume and medium firm peaks form when the beaters are lifted. Pour half of the cream mixture into a freezer safe container and dot with half of the blueberry compote. Cover with the remaining cream mixture and dot with the remaining compote. Using a knife, swirl the compote into the cream mixture. Freeze for 6 hours or until firm.
*Note: The berries will be a bit icy if you eat the ice cream straight out of the freezer. I didn’t mind!
Seriously people, it’s that easy. I can’t believe I haven’t made ice cream this way a thousand times already. My waistline is quivering in fear because I know of this magical technique. This ice cream was so freaking good. It’s smooth, rich and not overly sweet. My taste testers said they could detect the condensed milk and they loved it. The berries with their subtle ginger flavour worked perfectly with the ice cream and the graham crackers I crumbled over top provided a much welcome contrast in flavour and texture. If I didn’t bring this to my mother-in-law’s, I would’ve eaten the entire tub.
Now I need to learn how to make jam. Thankfully my Sunday Supper family has me covered because there’s a plethora of incredible jam, canning and preserving recipes in this week’s line-up. Check out all the goodies below:
Apricot Ginger Jam from Happy Baking Days
Banana Jam from Killer Bunnies, Inc
Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream from Gotta Get Baked
Blueberry Lemon Basil Jam from Daily Dish Recipes
Candied Watermelon Rind from What Smells So Good?
Fig and Strawberry Jam from Jane’s Adventures in Dinner
Mixed Berry Rhubarb Jam from Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
Mulberry Jam from Curious Cuisiniere
Quick Peacharine Chutney from Shockingly Delicious
Pineapple Upside Down Cake Freezer Jam from Cookin’ Mimi
Strawberry Butter from The Urban Mrs
Other Outstanding Recipes:
Fireweed Jelly from The Foodie Army Wife
Flavoured Butters from Small Wallet, Big Appetite
Gravlax from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
Corn Cob Jelly from Blueberries and Blessings
Deep South Dilly Beans from Eat, Move, Shine
Fermented (Sour) Pickles from Growing Up Gabel
Fire Roasted Salsa from Peanut Butter and Peppers
Hot and Spicy Giardiniera from The Messy Baker
Hot Italian Giardiniera from Healthy. Delicious.
Jalapeños en Escabeche (Pickled Jalapeños) from La Cocina de Leslie
Oi Kimchi (Korean Cucumber Kimchi) from kimchi MOM
Refrigerator Dill Pickles from Country Girl in the Village
Spicy Sweet Tomato Chutney from Food Lust People Love
Traditional Escabeche (Pickle) from Basic N Delicious
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