Set a medium bowl in a large bowl of ice water. In another medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks with 1/2 cup of the sugar until pale, about 3 minutes.
In a medium saucepan, combine the cream, milk, salt and remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and bring to a simmer, whisking until the sugar is completely dissolved. Whisk the hot cream mixture into the beaten egg yolks in a thin stream.
Transfer the mixture to the saucepan and cook over moderately low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the custard is thick enough to lightly coat the back of the spoon, about 4 minutes; don’t let it boil. Pour the custard through a fine-mesh strainer into the medium bowl in the ice water. Let cool completely, stirring frequently. Refrigerate the custard until very cold, at least 1 hour.
Pour the custard into an ice cream maker with flavorings, if using, and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer the frozen custard to a plastic container, cover and freeze until firm, at least 3 hours.
In a large saucepan, combine the cream, salt, and a 1/2 cup of the sugar. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring gently, until the cream just starts to steam. Off the heat, stir in the lemon verbena sprigs, and steep for 10 or more minutes.
In the meantime, separate out your egg yolks (reserve the whites for omelets or meringue) and, in a medium-sized bowl, whisk with the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar. Set aside.
Remove the lemon verbena sprigs from the cream mixture, and reheat over medium-low heat until everything is starting to steam and small bubbles form along the edge. Whisk a quarter cup of cream into the yolks, and then add several more scoops of warm cream to temper the yolks before you add then to the cream. When the yolks are warm, slowly whisk them into the hot cream mixture. Continue cooking the cream mixture over low heat for five minutes, or until it thickens enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. If your egg tempering resulted in any chunks, or if you’re an ice cream purist, you can strain the mixture through a mesh sieve. (I am a lazy sort, and wouldn’t think of dirtying my strainer unless I absolutely had to.)
Remove from heat, stir in the buttermilk, and chill in the fridge for three hours. If you’re in a hurry, set the bowl of custard over an ice bath and it will chill in an hour.
Process ice cream according to your ice cream maker’s instructions, spoon into storage containers (I use covered glass loaf dishes) and then cure in the back of the freezer for at least three hours. Serve with an herb garnish, or maybe a slice of fruit pie.
Whisk together first 3 ingredients in a large heavy saucepan. Gradually whisk in milk and half-and-half. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, 8 to 10 minutes or until mixture thickens slightly. Remove from heat.
Whisk egg yolk until slightly thickened. Gradually whisk about 1 cup hot cream mixture into yolk. Add yolk mixture to remaining cream mixture, whisking constantly. Whisk in vanilla.
Pour mixture through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a bowl, discarding solids. Cool 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Place plastic wrap directly on cream mixture; chill 8 to 24 hours.
Pour mixture into freezer container of a 1 1/2-qt. electric ice-cream maker, and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. Let stand at room temperature 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus more for baking dish
6 large eggs, room temperature, separated
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted
1/2 teaspoon salt
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and set a kettle of water to boil. Butter a shallow 2-quart baking dish; coat with granulated sugar, tapping out excess.
In a large bowl, whisk egg yolks with granulated sugar until lightened in color. Whisk in melted chocolate; set aside.
In a large, clean bowl, using an electric mixer on high, beat egg whites with salt until soft peaks form. Whisk 1/3 of whites into chocolate mixture. Add remaining whites, and gently fold with a rubber spatula just until combined (do not overmix).
Transfer batter to prepared baking dish. Set dish in a roasting pan, and pour enough boiling water into pan to come about 1 inch up side of dish. Bake until puffed and just set (center of cake should barely move when jiggled), 25 to 35 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes; dust with confectioners’ sugar just before serving.