"That's possibly the worst idea I've ever heard," she said.
Michelle didn't use these words lightly. She didn't say this when I'd suggested we visit a theme park staffed by 108 dwarfs, or hand-feed live chickens to hungry tigers, or train to become Chinese taxidermists.
But Michelle has her limits, too.
She draws a line at Philadelphia Cheesesteak Ice Cream.
We were about to watch Rambocky X, that legendary double-feature of Rocky VI and Rambo IV. ("A sexagenarian fighter leaves retirement for one last bout, and who knows how it'll end! Well tonight, in back-to-ripped-back awesomeness, it ends TWICE!!!") There was homemade rice ice cream, avocado ice cream and even darling scoops of mango sorbet, but those only represented Thailand and Burma: the countries of Rambo IV. They left nothing for poor Rocky VI. Not the way Philly Cheesesteak Ice Cream would.
"Why don't you just make Rocky Road?" Michelle demanded.
"Wha? That's not Philly. We need something Rocky would actually eat!"
This was uncharted territory. Like Rambocky, I was an explorer. I was a fighter. It was going to be awesome.
(Cue training montage.)
Slicin' tenderloin (Won't be long now!)
Cookin' in Karo (Getting strong now!)
Meltin' dairy (Gonna fly now!)
Mincin' sweet meat (Flying high now!)
"This is going to be a disaster," Michelle warned before she went to bed. Okay, she didn't actually say those words, but I could feel them. Had she voiced her thought, she would have added, "A disaster of historic proportions."
I nodded, furiously mixing and stirring. There was no way this was going wrong. It was too important.
And it went right. Oh how right it went.
Nuggets of sharp cheddar cheese mixed with crunches of sweet beef, all settled in a gorgeous Philly-style ice cream base. I took a bite, and gasped. "Spectacular," I announced, even though Michelle had long since fallen asleep. I took another bite. "AMAZING!" She still didn't wake up. Oh, well.
Granted, it was weird. But it was also something like the greatest weird taste sensation of all time. It was Americana. It was Sweet Jeez! It was Philadelphia!!!
It was glorious.
Except for a cheesesteak itself, I don't think there could be anything better than this.
Heat the oil over medium heat, and cook tenderloin until lightly browned.
Add 3T Karo syrup, and cook until well done. Allow to cool, then mince finely. Set aside.
In a new pan, melt the shredded cheddar with 2T cream over medium heat. Allow to cool to a firmish malleable glop.
Mix 1-3/4 cups of milk, 1-1/4 cups of cream, 2/3 cup sugar and 1T light corn syrup in a big pot. Bring to a boil, and let bubble away for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Mix 2T milk and 4t corn starch in a small bowl, and whisk into the hot milk mixture. Heat up again, and boil for another minute.
Mix 3T cream cheese and 1/8t salt in a big heat-resistant bowl.
Slowly pour hot milk mix into the cream cheese, whisking away. Cover and cool in the fridge.
When cool, pour milk mix into an ice cream machine and whir away. Chuck in the candied beef bits at intervals. When it’s expanded, and about 3/4 done, start adding the small nuggets of cheesiness. Don’t do this all at once, but at regular intervals.