Friday, July 11, 2014

Lemon gelato brings diversity


lemon gelato | PHOTO CREDIT: P-G Matuszak
lemon gelato | PHOTO CREDIT: P-G Matuszak

Lemon gelato brings diversity to your diet, adding a new flavor outside of the routine chocolate and vanilla.

There is nothing wrong with chocolate or vanilla ice cream. Both are tasty treats many Americans enjoy. For the uninitiated, that is all gelato is — a type of ice cream. This one blends some healthy elements you can use as an excuse for the indulgence. Diversity is nothing less than experiencing new things, broadening your experiences outside of that pigeonhole you so often find yourself. Lemon gelato is a culinary cultural exchange that is part of why America’s melting pot culture is so wonderful.

Lemon Gelato

Equipment

An ice cream maker designed specifically for gelato is preferred. But they can be costly.  A cheaper, standard ice cream maker will suffice. If the current economy makes even that less costly option unaffordable, there are other options.

DSC_1892One option is an “ice cream ball”. These come in varying sizes. On warm days, they can serve two purposes. First, they are like toys you and your family and friends can toss around. The drawback is you have to open it up after 10 minutes of play, stir the ingredients, then play consistently again for 10 minutes. You may even find you have to repeat that cycle a few times over. Younger kids, and some adults, may loose interests in rolling and tossing the ball around before the treat freezes thoroughly. Gelato can take up to an hour of churning and freezing time.

Another option is to use a stock pot filled with ice and rock salt as your outer “freezer”. You place a large sauce pan with the gelato batter into the ice bath. You stir constantly with a silicon spatula until the batter reaches consistency. It can take an hour to 90 minutes and may require adding additional ice a few times over. Still, the treat is worth the effort and the wait. (This technique can work for many other ice cream recipes as well).

Ingredients:

For approximately 48oz (1 1/2 quarts) – about 8 6 oz. servings
Heavy cream – 2 cups
Egg – 1 at room temperature
Coconut oil – 1 tbsp
Vanilla – 1 tsp
Sugar – 1 tbsp
Greek yogurt (plain, vanilla, or honey) – 1 cup
Lemon juice, strained – 6-8 lemons  [time saving alternative — Frozen lemonade concentrate – 12 oz can
 Nutritional Quick Facts: per 6 oz serving – approximately 33g carbohydrate (31 from sugar), 5g protein

Directions:

DSC_1887In a small-medium sauce pan combine 1 cup of heavy cream, egg, and vanilla. Wisk these together until well blended. Add sugar and coconut oil, place over low heat. Stir with a silicon spatula until the mixture comes to a light simmer and sticks to the spatula. Make sure the coconut oil melts completely and is well blended into the mixture. The idea is to reduce some of the water and partially pasteurize the egg. The mixture should have the consistency of a thin custard. Remove from heat and let cool (in the refrigerator is fine) for 10-20 minutes.

In the freezing sleeve of the ice cream maker, or your sauce pan after the mixture cools, if not using an automated ice cream maker, combine the other cup of heavy DSC_1890cream, lemon juice and yogurt. If using a sleeve, add in your “custard” mix and stir well. For an additional touch, you can add some zest from your lemons. Take the peel to a micro-plane and add about a tablespoon to the batter.

DSC_1888

Freeze the batter according to the manufacturer’s directions in your ice cream maker. The batter takes 45-50 minutes to reach a thick, “soft serve” consistency. Once at that point, pour the gelato into a resealable plastic container and place it in your freezer. While it is ready to serve fresh from the maker, 20 minutes in a freezer will help the mixture set into a more traditional gelato consistency. Also, it is usually wise to store uneaten ice cream in a freezer.

If entertaining, serve with a leaf of fresh spearmint as a garnish.

Healthy Benefits

The lemons provide some benefits that some tend to overlook. First, each serving contains approximately the recommended daily allowance of the anti-oxidant vitamin C. Vitamin C is not a cure for the common cold, at least not directly. It does help fight inflammation and boost the immune system, especially when coupled with zinc, vitamin A, vitamin D, and other anti-oxidants. C can also help retard aging, helping the skin maintain some elasticity. It is also beneficial for eye health.

The yogurt and heavy cream supply your body with calcium. Calcium helps the body produce electrolytes vital to nerve health and function. It helps bones regenerate and repair. It is necessary for red blood cell production (red blood cells are produced by bones).

Previous articles discussed the benefits of the medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) in coconut oil. Beyond the physical health benefits, the small amount in the gelato helps provide  a small amount of enjoyment. The coconut oil, when mixed well into the batter, helps give it that smooth, creamy texture we all love.

Diversity

These days there is a lot of rhetoric about diversity. The problem is that many of those same people claim we need to accept and understand other cultures seem to want some form of separation between people of this culture and people of that culture. America has long been regarded as the “melting pot” culture. Even in colonial days, people from varied ethnic, religious, and cultural backgrounds settled into a new, homogenized society. That blending has formed the greater American culture.

We are the culture of pursuing prosperity, religious freedom, apple pie, pizza, chili, ice cream, baseball, and NASCAR. Our “American pastime”, baseball, is a melting pot evolution of cricket. American football evolved from rugby. Basketball is a wholly American invention. The hamburger evolved from German cuisine. Our incorporation of new elements from other cultures into our greater culture is part of what made America great. We need to return to that very practice.

Instead, though, modern proponents of so-called “diversity” actually work against it. They want there to be no real “American culture”. They want separate collectives of segregated cultures based upon artificial demographic markers. Dark complected people of African descent are not called “American”. They are hyphenated “African-American”. Homosexuals, et. al., are the “LGBTQOPZ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Pedophile, Onanist, Zoophile) community”. Individuals are no longer assessed by their individual merits and accomplishments. Each collective is told they need some special privilege it is artificially entitled to — manufactured “rights”. It undermines the very fabric of the meaning of the term “American”, the only collective to which we all belong.

In contrast, it would be better if we shared cultures, taking the best parts of each and incorporating them into the American culture while tossing out those parts that hinder prosperity and morality. While some ponder this, those who embrace the “melting pot” culture will enjoy some American Bistro cuisine (blends “old world” meals with “new world” ingredients) topped off with some lemon gelato for dessert.
Health and happiness, from my mouth to yours.

Disclaimer: The author is not a medical doctor nor a currently registered dietitian. The information provided in this article is for entertainment purposes only and is not meant to be interpreted as medical, nutritional or health advice. Please seek the advice of an expert before starting any new diet or exercise program.