Saturday, February 13, 2010

Snow Ice Cream & Orange Peel Candy

Snow Ice Cream? Orange Peel Candy? Let me explain:
When my brother and I were kids, a rare treat was snow ice cream. We'd take a large bowl outside after a fresh snow and scoop it up and bring it inside to Mom. She'd quickly add milk, cream, sugar, vanilla, and who-knows-what-else and make us each bowls of fresh snow ice cream.
Does anyone do that any longer?
I remember vividly when we stopped. We were warned in the 1950's that atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons could easily contaminate the snow with radioactivity. So, fearing cancer or other illnesses, snow ice cream became something that was no more than a memory.
A few years back we resurrected the recipe. No more atmospheric tests and the pollution levels otherwise seemed low enough to give it another shot. I remember how much Dad enjoyed it.
Then, a few days ago, Mom came to the back door while I was out shoveling snow. "If I give you a bowl, how about scooping up some clean snow for me?" she asked.
Soon enough we each had a large helping of snow ice cream. I ate half right away and finished the rest at bedtime with dark chocolate syrup. There were even two more small bowls left and we had those yesterday.
But that's not the end of our long forgotten recipes. Here's another: Candied Orange Peel.

Here's a picture of Mom preparing the (6) oranges (we bought ten naval oranges for $2). She peels them and removes the white pulp. The peels go into salt water (1 tablespoon of salt to 4 cups of water); the peels are held underwater in this solution with a plate (or something heavy enough to keep them submerged). This is left overnight. Then the peels are drained and washed.
Next step: Drain and rinse. Cover with cold water and bring to a boil. This is repeated three times (it removes most of the bitter and chemical taste from the peels).
Then use scissors to cut the peelings into strips. These peels (about 2 cups worth), sugar (2 cups) and 1/2 cup of water are placed in a saucepan and heated until the sugar dissolves.
When they've cooked enough, the peels will get translucent. Drain and roll in granulated sugar. Dry on a rack (or on a paper towel). This makes 2 to 2.5 cups of candied orange peel.
Here's what the final candy looks like:

Bright and colorful, the candy is sweet and a little bitter at the same time. One thing is for sure: a small piece is enough at one time. It's a strong candy!
So, now for a good cup of hot coffee - dark and strong - and a nip of a candied orange peel and I'm all set for a pleasant winter evening at Pinehaven.