This post is part of Linda G Hill’s “Stream of Consciousness Saturday” — Click and read, click and join in! Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “almost.” Use it however you’d like. Have fun!
I’m doing my SoCS about halfway through the day today because I was busy making…*Almost* too much ice cream. But…is there really such a thing as “too much ice cream?” I mean, it’s frozen. You can keep it in the freezer for, you know, a while. If it lasts that long. I’m putting the dates on all of them just in case.
So what’s up with the ice cream? Actually, I think I can blame this on France. Yes, it is definitely France’s fault that I have *almost* too much ice cream in my freezer. You see, when we were in France, we were so inspired and amazed by all the local markets which sold in season and local products that when we got back home, we started to make good on the promise we’ve been making to ourselves to become “locavores” as much as we possibly can, anyway. Real food is good! But sadly, we are getting overwhelmed by industrially produced, chemical-laden, injected, homogenized, hormone-filled, junk food in this country. Some of it is, quite frankly, delicious. But it’s also scary to see what is happening to our bodies, our local farmers and our land because of it. If we don’t start protecting our real food, I am afraid it could disappear. In fact, a friend of mine recently recommended an interesting book on the topic called “The Dorito Effect” by Mark Schatzker. I’m about a third of the way through it…I’m *almost* done 😉
I think we have *almost* covered our bases in our attempt to “eat local” as much as possible. Local dairy – check. Local beef and pork – check. Local eggs – check. Local farm cooperative for veggies – check. Everything else I just try to buy organic or as “real as possible.” Except for occasional junk food fixes and eating out, I think we’re set to do pretty well. I’m not the “pioneer-girl-back-to-the-farm-nouvelle-homesteader” type, but I want to support local farmers, and I love to cook. So that’s how far I go. In general, I have no talent with plants or animals, and no real desire to live in the country and learn to raise either one. I just want to show the people that do, that I appreciate them.
In any case, about the ice cream. As part of our attempt to support local foods, etc, we bought a share in a local dairy farm for raw milk and cream. I guess drinking raw milk is somewhat controversial, because it is illegal to sell in the state of Colorado. However, if you own your own cow or you are part of a cooperative, you may drink this milk. We found a lovely farm not too far from us which sells shares as a cooperative, and we took the tour. It’s a family run farm which has been in this particular family for nearly 100 years. We saw the cows and the milking and storage facility and the farmer and his family told us about their farm. These cows are loved! They eat organic grass all summer long, and in fact, they never eat grains. They are cared for as cows should be, and in fact are “happy cows.” It was clear to us that the farmer uses no chemicals on his grass, as we watched his 4 and 8-year-old sons romp in this very grass. They milk gathering and storing procedure is very impressive, very clean, and he explained the whole process to us. I have a lot of confidence in “our” farm! The milk is, in fact, delicious, although if you’re accustomed to pasteurized, homogenized, additive-laden milk, it’s quite different! It tastes like…milk, but fresher, a little more earthy, or grassy, or…hmmm. I can’t really describe this taste, but if you could taste it you’d know it was “real.” It’s still full of all the good nutrients that are inherently present in milk before we take them away in processing and put in additives to make up for the loss. It has probiotics, those “good” bacteria that create stuff like yogurt and which aide in digestion. It has enzymes that help us digest the milk sugars, all kinds of good stuff. There’s a ton of information “out there” on why it’s better. All that being said, you must be careful to find a reputable source if you want to try this. The farm we use lives up to the highest standards and goes through rigorous testing to prove it.
What’s that? Oh yeah, the ice cream. So, with the grass plentiful and the cows happy, they produce extremely rich milk, including a ton of cream! In fact, we have purchased a share of cream in addition to the milk that we get every week. My new hobby is trying to figure out ways to transform this rich cream into…delicious stuff. Now, here is a problem: Cream lends itself to a lot of applications that can adhere to one’s hips if one is not careful. So the logical thing to do is to make things that will freeze well and can be eaten a bit at a time during the year. Apparently the “surplus” of cream happens in the late spring and summer as the cows go out to pasture and eat the lushest grasses. So…what freezes well? Butter freezes well, and is quite a useful item in baking and cooking and what-have-you. I have made butter.
But, oh, yes, ice cream! I found the most amazingly simple recipe for ice cream, which I have taken the liberty of using as a base for experimenting with interesting flavors, or as I recently learned, one says “parfums” in French. I could stop taking the cream share, but I think that I am not quite done experimenting with the ice cream. Plus, the butter is really good, and I have made quiches and custards and other yummy things as well. I’m not sure exactly how bread pudding made with extra-rich cream, farm-fresh eggs, and home-made bread fits into a “healthy” diet, but at least I know the ingredients are pure 🙂
Ice cream experiments:
1. Started with chocolate. Amazing.
2. Vanilla bean. Beautiful, pure, milky sweet goodness.
3. Coffee-with-chocolate-caramel-swirl. The flavors are right on, but I really need to figure out a technique for creating a “swirl.”
4. Cardamom-almond. My husband’s idea. Turned out pretty good!
5. Nectarine. Because we had nectarines. It tastes pretty much like peach ice cream because who can tell once it’s chopped up and frozen? It reminds me of when my dad used to make ice cream when I was little. His favorite was always the peach. Certain fruits are meant to go with cream, and peaches/nectarines are one of those.
6. Anise-with-candied orange peel-and-ginger. This was today’s “experiment.” I candied the orange peels myself, added some crystallized ginger, and 4 drops of pure anise oil to my base. I think it went well! It’s the ice cream you would want with Christmas dessert. Namely, Bizcochitos, the “official” cookie of the state of New Mexico. Yes, my home state has an official cookie. New Mexico rocks.
7. Strawberry. Now I have made the “big three” – Chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry, and I can make a neapolitan sundae.
My husband thinks I need to be *almost* finished, because he thinks we have *almost* too much ice cream, but I think maybe we just have *almost* enough, and there is a long way between *almost enough* and too much. It’s ok to have ice cream for dinner, isn’t it? No? Well, maybe I need to invite some folks over for an ice cream tasting party, what do you think?
What flavor is next? Who knows? I’m taking suggestions, chers lecteurs.