How to Make Homemade Lavender Ice Cream

Lately we’ve had a ton of eggs, lemons and lavender, so I decided to make lavender ice cream.

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My wife got me an ice cream maker for Christmas.  I can’t believe how much time has gone by without me trying it out yet.  The ice cream maker is an attachment for our KitchenAid Mixer–a gift from her old boss. To make ice cream you have to freeze the attachment.  Well, our freezer is always jam packed with food, so in order to make ice cream I first had to eat some of the food from the freezer to make room.

I am loosely following this Martha Stewart recipe.  Assuming your starting with an ice cream maker that’s ready to go (aka has been in the freezer at least overnight) it will take about 10 hours for you to go from raw ingredients to deliciously-worth-the-wait ice cream.  It’s a pretty active process for about 15 minutes, and then its a lot of waiting.

Here are the ingredients:

Whole Milk

Heavy Cream

Sugar

Lavender

Honey

Egg Yolks

Begin by warming 2 cups of whole milk, 1 cup of heavy cream, 2 Tablespoons of Lavender and 1/2 Cup of Honey over medium heat. Don’t heat it too fast and don’t let it boil.  Stir in the lavender and heat until the honey is well mixed with the cream.  Just before it boils remove from heat and let it steep for 30 minutes.

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Of course in the midst of making this I was interrupted by a very clingy baby–so the lavender got to steep for over two hours.

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Once the lavender has sufficiently steeped in the cream you’ll want to remove most of the lavender from the batter, I like to leave a few pieces to add color and to remind us that its lavender.  Once you remove the lavender place it back on the stove and heat it on low heat, taking care not to let it boil.

Now its time to add the eggs.  Do this by first beating the eggs in a mixing bowl with a dash of salt.  To the egg mixture slowly add one cup of the lavender steeped cream, whisking the eggs as you SLOWLY pour the hot cream in to temper it.  Once its all in, slowly pour the egg mixture back into the rest of the warm milk.  Again whisking the whole time you slowly add the cream.  Once its fully mixed pour the mixture into another mixing bowl.  Let this cool covered for three hours.

Once three hours have passed its finally time to use the ice cream maker.  Add the batter to the bowl, assemble to the mixer and let it whirl on “Stir” for 20-30 mins, or until the machine is struggling to keep mixing.

And now the final step.  (Feel free to taste test at this point).  Scoop the ice cream out of the ice cream maker and into a container with a lid.  Keep this in the freezer for at least 3 hours.  Wait patiently.  Enjoy!

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4th of July Burgers 


Growing up in Wisconsin our 4th of July celebrations almost always meant grilling out at the park or in our back yard. The smell of grill smoke is part of my memories of summer days with family and friends. 

As a kid I never really liked the burgers my parents made. My dad made a meatloaf style burger and likes his burgers very thick. He would add onion, egg, and crackers to the meat and roll up a thick 1/3 lb burger.  I would often choose a hotdog over a burger. 

A few years ago I discovered this homemade Umami burger recipe and ever since then I have loved grilling my own burgers. Here’s our adaptation for four 1/4 lb burgers:

1lb lean ground beef

1 Tablespoons Fish Sauce

2 cloves Crushed garlic 

1 teaspoon Sugar

1/2 teaspoon white pepper

Mix it all together by hand, let sit at least 30 mins. Shape into four patties. Grill at 400 degrees for about five mins on each side depending on the thickness and desired doneness. 

How to Cook Kohlrabi Greens

This year about half of the plants in my garden came from the nursery dumpster.  I regularly get up early in the morning or stop by just after they closed to see what was in store for me.  I ended up with some plants that I am less familiar with, including kohlrabi.  I had bought Kohlrabi at the farmers market before, but it never came with the greens on it.  The greens are totally edible and when prepared well they are delicious!

Here’s how to cook the greens:

1. pull the greens off of the bulb

2. remove the stems by cutting or ripping the green part away from the woody stems

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3.  Cook the greens for 2-3 mins in boiling water to soften them.

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3. Remove the greens from water, drain well, place in pan for sautéing, add oil of your choice–I used Toasted Sesame Oil here.

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4.  Add spice and seasonings of your choice.  I added some pine nuts.  Salt also goes a long way!

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5. Serve warm or add to a cold salad.

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Trader Joe’s doesn’t make the grade for Organics. . .but its easy on the wallet

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With food and nutrition it’s never easy to decide what is the best way to eat, or the best place to buy your food, because it all depends on what is important to you and your different priorities as a consumer.  Last month, in reference to a question about vitamins and supplements my doctor told me “If they don’t have it at Trader Joe’s, you probably don’t need it.”  I guess that means that my doctor doesn’t think that I need to consume organics, because Trader Joe’s leaves much to be desired with respect to healthy Organic selection. All of the food in the picture above (plus four pre-made salads for my partner) was $89.  Which sounds like a lot when you look at it, but I usually spend a lot more at TJs.  The reason that I spent so little is the small selection of organics that TJs offers (I should add that I am not eating refined grains and sugars so organic chips and cookies and all that don’t make it into the cart).  With respect to meat–they only carry organic chicken and ground beef–no organic lunch meat, pork, or any other kinds of meat, so that makes the most expensive area pretty easy, but also pretty boring if I am going to last long on this Organic kick.  For fresh veggies they also leave a lot to be desired in my opinion–they don’t have a lot of the “super foods” that I have gotten used to–Kale, Brussels sprouts (which they do carry seasonally), chard, beets, brocclini, etc.  So I went with more conventional and less nutrient dense veggies that they do offer–lettuce, corn, cucumber, and pea sprouts.  (I will have to supplement this as the way that I usually eat this won’t last me a week–which is why its great that we signed up for a new CSA!–more to come on that later) Then there’s the Organic coffee–decaf and regular because I am cutting back on the caffeine. Organic dark chocolate because some indulgences are a must. Strawberries and grapefruit as “dessert” and pickles and beef jerky as an impulse buy.  Oh yeah and I picked up this small bottle of organic olive oil for 5.99.  It’s pretty pricey, but I do sauté a lot of veggies so I will need it–and it’s still cheaper than organic butter.

So I’ve gone on and on about what Trader Joe’s has for organic offerings, but it’s still not clear why I am doing this?  I have decided to “go organic” for as long as I can for many small reasons that seem to accumulate into a big feeling that this is the right way for me to go.  First, my diet soda habit was getting out of hand, and nothing I do seems to help me curb it.  Second, I had a conversation with my friend last week about food addictions, and how are bodies are beholden to the food industrial complex–like actually addicted to it.  She told me about how she goes on cleanses as a way of resisting this food system, and taking on a new embodied approach to food and whole living.  I guess you might call going organic a “cleanse” but I hope that it lasts longer than most of the cleanses that I have done (a week)!

There are a ton of benefits to eating organic–namely you cut out lot of the chemicals that we ingest everyday in America and there is some evidence that organic food has more nutrients.  Pesticides in conventional foods have been shown to reduce fertility, so going organic is good not only for reproductive potential but with all that we are learning from epigenetic research its good for your future kids even if you’re not making them right now.  There’s some evidence that pesticides and GMOs cause weight gain.  In any case what is most important is that there is a lot of evidence that the food produced by the global food industrial complex is not good for us, so it’s probably better not to eat it!

Thanksgiving 2011

I am so late posting these that I seriously thought about posting them next year.  Instead I decided to post the pictures now and wait until next year to post a full menu with recipes for each dish.  These turned out wonderfully, so much so that my mother-in-law said that this was her best Thanksgiving EVER!  (Also, for those of you who were wondering after this week I have officially gained back all of the weight from the 6 weeks @ 1200 cals experiment–it only took me 5 weeks!)

First the table and appetizers:

 

The Bird.

Picking fresh rosemary

The pumpkin pie. Made from scratch, from a real pumpkin.

 

Let’s Make a Date Muffins

I decided to whip up some of these Let’s Make a Date Muffins for pre-Thanksgiving breakfast and snacking. I decided not the follow the Epicurious recipe by omitting the streusel top because I wanted to make them a bit lighter given the amount of food we have planned for later in the day. They turned out great! Here’s some pics of the process:

these are the ingredients needed
pitted dates soaking in boiling water