Most people know that Val always ran a pretty tight ship. Bedtimes were almost always respected. You made your bed in the morning and did your "list" of jobs before going to the beach, Don't even question it. But when it comes to ice cream and "sweets", that's when she still bends the rules and often.
It wasn't until I lived in Boston in my early twenties that I learned of her weakness. I would arrive home on every day off I had during the summer months with dirty laundry in had. Usually, I went to the beach and then out to the bars until all hours with my friends. Sometimes I opted to stay in at night after a long day in the sun. I enjoyed an evening of having my parents all to myself since I grew up as the middle child with someone older or younger constantly vying for their attention. We ate dinner at the picnic table in the back yard and lingered until dark or at least until the mosquitoes came out. But it was on the nights my father worked late that the truth came out. Val would say,
"I don't feel like cooking, let's go to Smitty's for dinner."
Music to my ears. I salivated in anticipation and thought about the ice cream flavors I would choose.
"You drive and I'll treat." She grabbed her purse and we were out the door.
We dined al fresco, sitting under the tall oak trees at a weather worn picnic table. There was enough of a breeze off the pond next door to keep the bugs away. I indulged in two scoops. Coffee Oreo so rich in coffee flavor you swear it will keep you up all night and amaretto cherry chip with huge chunks of semi-sweet chocolate chips and dried cherries set in almond flavored ice cream. Val had her usual: a hot fudge sundae with thick fudge over chocolate chip ice cream and topped with fresh, homemade whipped cream, chopped walnuts and a cherry, of course. Smitty's Homemade Ice Cream in East Falmouth,MA is hands down, her favorite.
I now live only four miles away from my parents in East Falmouth. Instead of having Val cook for me, on numerous occasions I have taken over and cooked the barbecue chicken or another one of my mother's famous recipes while she and my father pay a visit to my house. But there are some nights when my husband works late and I am feeling too tired to make dinner after chasing after my two young children on the beach all day. That's when Val rescues me by saying,
"Get the kids in the car. You drive and I'll treat."
Here's a yummy alternative if you can't get to Smitty's. You will need an ice cream maker. I bought one at Wal Mart.
Coffee Ice Cream With Heath Bar and Honey Roasted Peanuts
5 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups cold heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons instant coffee
3 smashed Heath bars
1 cup honey roasted peanuts
In a double boiler over simmering water, mix the egg yolks, milk and sugar. Stir and cook until the mixture coats the back of a metal spoon and becomes the thickness of custard. Transfer mixture to a bowl and refrigerate for up to eight hours until it is completely cold.
Start up ice cream maker. Quickly mix together cold custard, cold cream, vanilla and instant coffee. Add to ice cream maker and mix according to manufacturer's directions (about 25 minutes) until ice cream is formed. Manually mix in Heath bar and peanuts. Immediately transfer ice cream into an air tight container, cover with plastic wrap and seal with top (to prevent freezer burn). Chill for up to eight hours until solidified.