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Di Billick

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After the churn of a lost season, it’s come to this

A curated activity to fill the White-Sox-shaped void in your life

Happy Tuesday, White Sox fans.

For candor’s sake, my heart hasn’t been into reading about, watching, or being constantly let down by the White Sox organization. The Chris Getz promotion to general manager was the cherry on the shit sundae, and since then, I’ve dropped off the face of baseball Earth.

I even geared up for a Tuesday morning column last week, took out my notes, and gave myself five hours to write something. Nothing came.

Forcing creativity out of desperation never works well, and if it does, it’s often about a spiritless topic, or channeled from the brain of an indifferent author. I refuse to fake it, for you or anyone. You’ve been through enough already this season.

I used to watch every single White Sox game, but haven’t tuned into even a minute since the management change. I’ve stayed off White Sox social media, and haven’t had the heart to read any of the brilliant (and likely scathing) columns from my South Side Sox colleagues. I don’t care about any baseball right now, which is highly unusual. (Side note: Dad, I’m mad at you for telling me the Cubs have a fucking wild card spot right now. I’d have preferred to stay ignorant.)

There’s been nothing of satisfaction to fill the baseball void, aside from the normal day-to-day auditioning, writing, video game breaks, and cooking (that’s my usual October through March during the offseason). I’ve lost the passion for baseball, and it hurts.

Luckily, I’m grateful to be able to wake up every day in a neighborhood I adore, in a condo in the sky among the plentiful White Sox fan neighbors, overlooking the city that brings me mostly delight. So, in the spirit of all things Chicago, and to bring you original content from the heart, I’m sharing with you my homage to the city — in ice cream form.

I’ve been making a lot of original ice cream lately, which I’ve branded “Di Scream.” I enjoy infusing a crème anglaise base with different baked goods that I’ve made from scratch: cinnamon roll infusions with pieces of the inside of the roll and a cream cheese swirl, margarita cheesecake, pepperberry (vanilla base infused with black peppercorns, strained, and mixed with a macerated strawberry coulis).

Cooking is a prodigious hobby of mine, and many of my recipes are original. However, Di Scream is branded, but not for sale. I make it for friends, because branding shit you’re proud of is precious, and that, in and of itself, is part of my brand.

So here it is, my Chicago Mix Di Scream. It’s a lightly sweetened crème anglaise infused with Garrett’s Caramel Corn, then strained and churned, and swirled with Garrett’s Cheese Corn. Is it weird? Maybe. Is it delicious? Fuck yeah it is.

Chicago Mix Di Scream: 19/10, highly recommend
Di Billick

2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
4 egg yolks
¼ cup sugar
Pinch of sea salt
1 teaspoon good vanilla extract
75% of a small Garrett’s Caramel Corn tin
75% of a small Garrett’s Cheese Corn tin

Ice cream machine
Instant-read food thermometer
Bowl of ice and salt and a gallon freezer bag, if you want to speed the cooling

Begin by separating your eggs and setting the yolks aside in a medium bowl.

Separate your eggs.

Combine the heavy cream, milk, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan. Over low heat, stir occasionally until the sugar is dissolved, but don’t allow it to come to a boil.

Turn off the heat.

Beat the egg yolks. Temper the eggs by taking ½ cup of the heated milk mixture at a time, and slowly stream it into the yolks while whisking. You’re doing this slowly so you don’t end up with scrambled eggs, which would be nasty, so have patience with this. Do this gradually until you’ve streamed and whisked about 2 ½ cups of the heated milk mixture into the yolks.

Now slowly beat your tempered egg yolks into the saucepan, whisking as you combine in the same way you just did.

Now that all of it is in one place — the saucepan — turn the heat on low again. You’ll be stirring often, because you need to heat this whole thing evenly. You’re trying to thicken this to the perfect consistency for ice cream, which is when it coats the back of a spoon, or 170° F. Make sure you stir or whisk it where you’re taking the temperature from so you can be accurate.

Once the mixture reaches 170° F, remove the saucepan from the heat, and stir in 1 teaspoon of vanilla.

Place your strainer over a large bowl and pour your crème anglaise through that, so you can catch any of the nasty-ass scrambled bits of egg that may have formed. There will be a few tiny bits, probably.

So now that you have this hot liquid, it’s time to get nuts. Pour the Caramel Garrett’s into the crème anglaise, stirring to mix it all up. It will make a sound like the sound popcorn makes when you drench it in butter at the movie theater. Holy shit, it smells amazing. That’s how it’s going to taste.

Please trust me.

By the way, the reason for the small amount of sugar in my crème anglaise base is because of the sugar content in the caramel corn. If you use this base for other things, you may want to increase the sugar to ½ cup.

Once it’s nice and stirred, we’re going to let it sit in this crème anglaise like a tea bag, infusing its flavor slowly, until it’s cooled. If you want to speed along the process of cooling, you can fill a very large bowl with ice and salt, and set it aside. Then pour your caramel corn crème anglaise into a sealable gallon freezer bag and seal it tightly. Set that shit over the ice, where it will cool way quicker, and pop that big boy in the freezer.

The impatient method.

Once it’s cold, and not before (because churning while it’s still hot will make more ice crystals, and no one wants that), it’s time to strain it.

Pour the cold mixture through the strainer. The dead bodies of the caramel corn now look sad and afraid, and that’s good. That means we’ve sucked away all that delicious caramel, and infused the crème anglaise with the popcorn flavor.

Dead caramel corn corpses

I press the kernels with a spatula so I don’t waste any of that precious infused ice cream mixture, but you don’t have to. Discard the solids.

Pour the mixture into your ice cream maker. Mine took about 30 minutes for a hard soft serve. Once mine was finished, I mixed in the cheese popcorn slowly at first, but once I tasted what it was like together with the ice cream, I went a little apeshit and put almost the whole tin in there. It’s so salty and cheesy, and the ice cream somehow tastes exactly like caramel corn, but better since it’s an ice cream infusion. I put it on top of the emotional pain, and it was nice.

Legitimately the best ice cream I’ve ever tasted.

So this is what it’s come to. Ice cream recipes. I don’t have the heart to say, “Go White Sox,” at the end of this, because I just want them to GO. I want Reinsdorf to walk on that pier near the playpen that’s always inundated with dangerous waves. I want Chris Getz to not know his mic is on during a press conference and accidentally confess to the nation that he’s an enormous piece of shit. I want to watch baseball again with my friends. I want to believe in my favorite team again and not settle for watching football in baseball’s stead.

I want the nightmare to be over.

But until then, ice cream.

Fuck the Cubs.

Chicago Mix Di Scream

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