Saturday, January 10, 2009

Strawberry ice cream rapture

Now that I've posted a non-food related blog, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to return to my current all-consuming passion.  No, silly.  Not Shane.  Ice cream!

Haven't you learned?

Now, normally I'm a buy in season sort of girl, but I just can't get over my strawberry-almond smoothie addiction.  Thankfully, Trader Joe's sell 16 oz. packages of organic strawberries at $2.69 a pack.  We go through three or four a week and I figured it was time to put my ice cream maker to the test. 

There is nothing I love more than a good strawberry ice cream.  Unfortunately, after learning that strawberry ice cream is flavored with a solvent, I haven't been able to look at a pint without shuddering. 

Enter Ellie's fourth birthday andCuisinart.  She specifically asked for chicken noodle soup (a perfect opportunity to try my hand at homemade egg noodles), 'ferganic (organic and yes, she insisted it be organic) bread, cupcakes she could decorate herself with her nifty little cupcake decorator and strawberry ice cream. 

I didn't follow a recipe, but the resulting product inspired visions of summer and rapturous sighs. I'm rather embarrassed to tell you that I licked every spoon, bowl and kitchen aid mixer attachment clean.  I didn't save one bit for Shane...and I am nearly as passionate for him as I am ice cream.


Rapturous strawberry ice cream

Defrost one 16 oz. bag frozen organic strawberries.  Organic berries will taste fresher and better than conventional.  Trust me on this.

Puree in blender.

Place in mixer with two egg yolks (from pastured hens), 2 cups raw or non-homogenized, lightly pasteurized organic heavy cream, 1/4 cup agave nectar, 1/4 cup maple syrup, 1 Tb. arrowroot powder* and a pinch of salt.  Mix thoroughly. 

Place mixture in ice cream maker and process according to directions.  Transfer to container and freeze at least four hours before serving...if you can resist that long.

 There you have it.  Easy.  Quick.  Heavenly.  As a bonus, it is solvent free.

 * Arrowroot powder is a healthy, unrefined alternative to cornstarch.  It works beautifully as a thickening agent in gravies and puddings.  In ice cream it prevents crystallization.   Arrowroot is available at well-stocked grocery stores and health food stores.

Res⋅o⋅lu⋅tion: the mental state or quality of being resolved or resolute; firmness of purpose

The holidays are over.  The cookies are eaten.  The Christmas tree is on the curb- or perhaps in the basement- and it is again safe to go to the mall.  The end of the holiday season is marked by regret or, for some, relief.  After a month of Christmas music, frenzied baking marathons and days of rearranging the house so that new toys have a home, I usually find myself limp, exhausted and slightly heavier.

It doesn’t take long for a realization to perk me up, though. 
It’s a new year! 

Time to make a resolution.

It’s no secret that I am a list-maker, organizer and chronic self-improver.

A resolution is right up there with starting a new diet, learning a difficult craft or implementing a painful exercise regime.  Resolutions are almost as enjoyable as organizing my spice drawer or reading a 300 page book on the benefits of lacto-fermented foods.  I’m sure your internal voice is reading that sarcastically.  Please, don’t.  I really do enjoy those things…just as I enjoy making resolutions.

I love beginnings.  I love the challenge of mastering something.  Unfortunately, once mastered I become bored.  That leaves me with a dusty treadmill in the basement, a stack of ethnic recipe books, nine unfinished novels and exactly three knitted scarves.

This year I’m doing something different. 

Forget about reshaping my upper arms, learning a new language or forcing Shane to give me voice lessons.

I’m going to do some housecleaning.
No, not that kind of housecleaning.  That’s been done…repeatedly.

I’m talking about the spiritual kind. 

Most Christians know Corinthians 13- the “love” chapter.

After all the flowery, heartfelt declarations of what love is there comes a verse many people skim over.


When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.

1 Corinthians 13:11

Now is the perfect time for some introspection. 

Come on.  It’s not that hard.  Sit down somewhere comfy, grab a steaming cup of jasmine tea (or coffee) and think about the previous year.  What childish sin issues do you see crop up again and again?

Be brutally honest.  Despite what your mother told you, God is the only one that can hear your thoughts.

Does a pattern of immaturity emerge? 

Do you find yourself slipping into gossip?  Greed?  Fear?

Have you dishonored your parents or pastor?

Do you lose your temper with your children or your patience with your spouse?

Do you hold onto grievances and refuse to extend forgiveness?

Your secrets are safe from public display.  However, one of the drawbacks of being a writer is that my secrets are fodder for essays and blogs.  I have no qualms about being an example.

Despite my wonderful husband, beautiful children, healthy body and many hobbies, I find myself complaining…often. 
Actually, it’s quite embarrassing when you think about the horrific things I’ve seen.

Children dying of cancer near Chernobyl.

Lepers begging for money- and perhaps a touch- in Bangalore.

A prostitute being beaten by a pimp in New York City.

Native Americans forgotten by the country in South Dakota.

And yet, despite these things, I still manage to complain about our inability to afford a mini-van.  I complain about my saggy couch.  I complain about my kitchen being too small, my calves being too big, my husband’s car being too messy (well, really about my husband being too messy) the neighbor’s being too close, and Shane’s grandparent’s being too far. I complain about not being able to perfect a tour jete, still living in Ohio, and the fact that Whole foods does not carry grass-fed beef anymore. 

You get the point.

In my immaturity I have developed a habit of sin that is degrading the life God has blessed me with.  Instead of offering effusive thanks, I snub my nose and tell  Him it isn’t good enough.

Do you do that when you compare your neighbors brand new SUV with your twelve-year-old Chevy?

Do you do that when you look at your aging husband and wish for someone with a six-pack and hair?

Do you do that when you malign your sister in Christ or criticize the elder’s decisions?

Each of us can think of an attitude or two we have that is immature.

This new year let’s not only put away a list of superficial resolutions, let’s also put away a childish behavior or two.