Strawberry Ice Cream!

The blog has risen back from the dead. Or from the bed on vacation. Either way, the blog is back for summer lovin’ and has a ton of fun ideas to share with you! To kick off the summer (technically started at the solstice, though we been feeling it a while) I thought something refreshing and stereotypically summer was in order. What first comes to your mind when you think of summer? For me, it’s my childhood pool days, arts and crafts and, most of all, ICE CREAM. The thought of ice cream just gives you the feels. There are no bad memories associated with it. Walks on the beach, late night snacks with grandma, laughing with friends, sharing with the S.O., pool parties. It’s all of those feelings and memories rolled into a single, edible, magnificent form. But enough of me being sentimental, let’s move on to the good stuff.

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It’s best when it’s all melty like this, no?

I find this recipe extra-amazing because it needs only 4 ingredients! The fewer ingredients you need for something, the better. Your wallet benefits, your body benefits, and your free time (less cleanup) benefits; win, win, win. So ever since I read about banana based ice creams it’s about all I eat. Unfortunately for those of us who were not blessed by the dairy gods, we cannot always fully enjoy ice cream in its purest form (obviously I cheated anyway). But I am here to tell you bananas are the perfect substitute for all that cream and sugar. The flavor is pretty easy to cover up (unlike coconut bases), you don’t really even need to cover it up because banana goes with every flavor, it adds natural sweetness, and when frozen it gives a beautifully smooth and creamy texture. So you’re taking out some bad and putting in some nutritional good. Plus you can eat all you want without feeling gross! Physically or emotionally.

Here I’ve provided a strawberry flavor, but really you can add in whatever frozen fruit or other goodies you can imagine. Like the ice cream flavor, there are endless possibilities of toppings too. Coconut, granola, basil, chopped cashews, chocolate chips, and fruit are a few ideas to get your brain rolling. Get crafty with it.

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Ingredients

Makes 1 cup

  • 2 bananas, chopped and frozen
  • 1/2 cup strawberries, chopped and frozen*
  • 2 Tbs. heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla or agave

*Get this at the farm!

How To

1. To freeze the fruit, chop and lay flat on a cookie sheet in the freezer for a few hours.

2. Add the frozen fruit to a food processor and pulse until mostly combined.

3. Then add the cream and vanilla, pulse until fully combined and creamy.

4. Add a few extra frozen strawberries for fruit chunks in your ice cream. [Optional]

  • Pro-tip: If you don’t have a food processor (or if it conveniently breaks on you), you can use a blender, you will just need some patience. Mix the ingredients in the same order as above, but do it in small batches. Spoon out the first batch into a bowl and freeze while you continue on the next. Repeat.
  • If the 2 Tbs. of heavy cream is too much for your body to handle, or if you’re vegan, I hear you can use coconut cream in place of this. Alternatively, you can use a milk of your preference and add extra banana pieces until desired texture.
  • Adjust the amount of strawberries to taste.

Mint Limeade

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This mint-infused limeade hits the spot on a hot day! After much searching for the perfect limeade recipe, I ended up with nothing. Every recipe calls for way too much sugar and too few limes, leaving you only with sugar water and questions like “did I forget to add the lime juice?“. Here I’ve made a limeade that is strong in the lime department and is not too sweet. Plus the mint adds a really nice depth to the drink.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 lime juice (~15 limes)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 5 cups H2O, plus 1/2 cup
  • Mint*

*Available at the farm today!

How To

1. Dissolve the sugar with 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan over medium heat to make a simple syrup, then let cool.

2. Mix the simple syrup with the lime juice and remaining water.

3. Massage a large handle of mint to release its flavors and add to the limeade. Allow the mint’s flavor to mingle with the limeade for 15-30 minutes before serving.

4. Serve over ice.

  • Pro-tip: I like to use Truvia baking blend as a sugar substitute, but that is just a personal preference.
  • Pro-tip: You may find you need to adjust the ratio of sugar and limes based on your preferences. If you would prefer a sweet limeade over sour, reduce lime juice to 1/2 cup.
  • Pro-tip: I like to store my homemade drinks in mason jars to keep them fresher for longer.

Microfarm Update

Hey Guys,

I’ve had two things on my mind. One, summer is almost here. Yay, whoo, temporary freedom from stress. Then I remember everything that needs to be done before we’re actually at that point, and I die a little inside. Maybe like some of you, I am in denial about the latter. Yeah no it’s cool, watching one more hour of Neil deGrasse Tyson talk about the universe won’t hurt since my paper isn’t due until Friday. *repeat*

I know your schedules are even crazier than mine, but I would love to see y’all come to the workdays this week. There is so much to be done at the microfarm. This week I went for the first time (oops) in the last month and I was blown away by how much everything has grown. I mean everything, not just the crops. From the nice zinnias we have everywhere to weeds, everything in between has flourished, and we need your help to keep it under control. Thanks to everyone who has been helping out recently! We could not do this without you.

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Snap Peas

Beets

Carrots

Carrots

Carrots

Our last workdays of the spring semester will be this week, pending weather. But don’t be sad, because you can still come out during the summer! This will begin May 24th, and workdays will be Wednesday 5-8 pm and Sunday 9-12 pm. There are a lot of volunteer and leadership opportunities available, so please message us if interested. Sundays will be particularly fun because there will be opportunities to harvest and deliver to the HOPE farmers market. I’ll be here all summer so come buy produce from me, meet your farmers, and let me know if you’ll be here taking classes all summer too so we can hang out and cry together.

Finally, let me know if there is anything you would like to see on the blog. Any recipe ideas? Anything you’re wanting to learn more about? Let me know, I would love readers’ input. Godspeed as you journey through the last week of classes and finals week.

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Spinach and Artichoke Dip

I wish we lived in a world where meals were not one large entrée, but instead made up of multiple appetizers. I live for appetizers. If I’m ever excited for an event or party, it’s because there will be a smorgasbord of little yummy things. If I find out apps will not be provided, I seriously consider not going. One of my favorite appetizers (or meals, in my case) is spinach and artichoke dip. Warm dips are the ultimate comfort food, especially if they have cheese. Mmmmm. I mena it has vegetables in it, so it’s healthy, right?

Who knows how many variations of spinach and artichoke dip are out there, but this recipe is what my family makes at get-togethers. It calls for a package of frozen spinach, but you can buy some fresh, organic spinach at the farm and make your own frozen spinach using this nifty tutorial.

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Ingredients

Makes 2 quarts

  • 1 14 oz can marinated artichoke hearts, drained
  • 1 10 oz package frozen spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 8 oz package cream cheese, softened

How To

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Chop artichokes and set aside.

3. In a medium sized bowl, blend the spinach, mayonnaise, cheeses, sour cream, and cream cheese.

4. Gently fold in the artichokes and transfer to a 2-qt greased baking dish.

5. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until golden. Serve warm with chips or crackers.

  • Pro-tip: I like to use smart balance mayonnaise, light sour cream, and fat-free cream cheese to cut down on the heaviness.
  • Pro-tip: To drain frozen spinach, place on a paper towel. Then roll it up length-wise and ring out like you would a wet towel over the sink. You may need a few paper towels.

Happy Earth Day!

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Happy Earth Day, friends! To celebrate in a delicious and educational way, I thought I’d make some compost cupcakes. Ok, ok, don’t leave just yet-these are made with chocolate and coffee to look like compost, not actually made with it. But, PSA: You should compost. Did you know that most of the waste in landfills is compostable food scraps? Most of what we throw away can be put back to direct use in our environment. Think how much cleaner our earth would be if we all composted! By the way, you can bring your compost to the microfarm, just be sure to look over what can and cannot be included. Here is a super nifty diagram to help get you started.

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Moving on to the cupcakes now… I tend to post healthy recipes using what we have at the farm, but every once in a while you gotta break the rules. The base is a rich chocolate cake and its topped with coffee buttercream frosting, crushed Oreos, and a herb “sprout”. Both the base and the icing are from Baking Book from Cook’s Illustrated. This is no store bought mix, and you may not go back to buying them after trying these cupcakes. It’s more fun, anyway, making them from scratch.

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Ingredients

Makes 12 cupcakes

Chocolate Cupcakes:

  • 3 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 3/4 hot, brewed coffee
  • 3/4 cup bread flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 6 Tbs vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp distilled white vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Coffee Buttercream Frosting:

  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • A pinch of salt
  • 4 sticks unsalted butter, softened, cut into quarters
  • 3 Tbs instant espresso powder

Decoration:

  • ~10 finely crushed Oreos, just the cookie part
  • Mint or oregano stems

How to

For the cupcakes:

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees, making sure the rack is in the center. Line a muffin tin with paper liners.

2. Place chocolate and and cocoa powder in a medium heatproof bowl. Pour the hot coffee over the mixture and allow to sit, covered, for 5 minutes. Whisk gently and place in the refrigerator to cool completely, about 20 minutes.

3. Whisk the flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl. Set aside.

4. Whisk the oil, eggs, vinegar, and vanilla into a cooled chocolate mixture until smooth. Add flour mixture and whisk until smooth.

5. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups. Bake until just firm to the touch, 17-19 minutes, rotating the muffin tin at the half way point.

6. Allow to cool in the muffin tin on a wire rack for ten minutes. Then take the cupcakes out of the tin and allow to cool completely on the wire rack.

For the frosting:

1. Combine the eggs, sugar, and salt in bowl of a stand mixer and set the bowl over a saucepan containing 1 inch of simmering water (but not touching the water). Whisking gently but constantly, heat the mixture until thin and foamy, registering about 160 degrees.

2. Fit a stand mixer on medium-high speed until light, airy, and cooled to room temperature, about 5 minutes. Reduce speed to medium and add butter one piece at a time (After adding half the butter, buttercream may look curdled; it will smooth with additional butter).

3. Dissolve the espresso powder in 3 Tbs warm water. Add to the buttercream mixture after all the butter has been added and increase speed to high. Whip until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Let the frosting sit at room temperature until softened, about 2 hours, then whip until smooth.

To assemble:

1. Dollop a couple of tablespoons of icing in the center of the cupcake. For a more rustic look, don’t spread on the entire surface of the cupcake.

2. Dip the iced part in a bowl filled with the crushed Oreos to coat.

3. Make a little plant out of a mint stem and stick in the center of the cupcake. Voilà!

Pro-tip: Use a 1/3 cup measuring cup to pour the batter in the muffin tins. It should come just below the edge of the cup. This is the perfect amount per cup for this recipe-the cupcakes rose but did not overflow.

Pro-tip: Check on your cupcakes one or two minutes before the minimum time needed to bake. This ensures they won’t get burned.

Pro-tip: This icing is dang good, but admittedly, a lot of work. Any icing recipe will do.

Pro-tip: To be even more earth friendly don’t use cupcake liners! But be sure to butter the heck out of your cupcake tin. Using a non-stick spray is usually not enough when it comes to baking.

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As a side-note, I think the movie Interstellar is a terrific motivator for living sustainably and creating environmental change (the good kind). If you haven’t seen it, go watch it now! It’s only, like, my favorite movie. Here are some additional resources on how to be environmentally friendly and its benefits :)

Weekly [Non]Update/Fruit Salsa

Because there has been so much rain recently, there is not much to update you on at the farm. One thing I can tell you is we have a ton of great produce growing out there! Things are growing at an exponential pace. Check out our Facebook page to see some of what’s being harvested. But because I have so little to offer you update-wise, I thought I’d give you a yummy recipe in recompense.

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Looking for something unique to take to your next Game of Thrones potluck? This is a fun and fruity take on classic chips and salsa from Spend with Pennies’ blog. It’s a mixture of strawberries, apples, kiwis, and raspberries and pairs perfectly with cinnamon sugar pita chips. Just make sure you buy multiple bags of these because I singlehandedly ate the whole bag while working on this post. Oops :)

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Ingredients

  • 1 lemon
  • 2 granny smith apples
  • 2 kiwis
  • 1 lb strawberries*
  • 1/2 lb raspberries
  • 1 Tbs brown sugar
  • 3 Tbs preserves (I used black raspberry)

*Get at the farm!

How To

1. Peel and finely chop the apples, then cover with a few teaspoons of lemon juice.

2. Peel and finely chop the kiwis and strawberries, then mix with the apples.

3. Add the raspberries, brown sugar, and preserves and mix. Be sure to break up the raspberries with the spoon as your stir.

4. Allow to sit for ~15 minutes before serving.

Pro-tip: Coating apples with lemon juice prevents them from browning as quickly.

Pro-tip: You don’t have to use preserves-I used jam. Honey would be another good substitute.

Spring Herb Popovers

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What do Spring, traditional English culture, and Simon & Garfunkel all have in common? Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, stop anything and everything you are doing to listen to this magical song that will be stuck in your head for the rest of the day. Anyways, in celebration of these three wonderful things I decided to make popovers flavored with these four fresh spring herbs. Using all four herbs at once would be an overload of flavors, so I paired the sage with rosemary and the parsley with thyme, splitting the batter in half to make two flavors.

If you’ve never had a popover, it’s a hollow and airy roll made from an egg-based batter. The popover tray (and you must use a popover tray, not a cupcake tin) is filled only less than half full with the batter, but they puff up and pop over the edges of the tin. They can be savory or sweet, usually eaten with butter or jam. When eaten fresh out of the oven they are out of this world.

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The recipe here is adapted from Barefoot Contessa Parties! by Ina Garten, the queen of simple, yummy food.

Ingredients

Makes 12 popovers

  • 1 1/2 Tbs unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour, sifted
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups milk at room temperature
  • 3/4 Tbs fresh sage, finely chopped*
  • 3/4 Tbs fresh rosemary, finely chopped*
  • 3/4 Tbs fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 3/4 Tbs fresh thyme, finely chopped

*Get this at the farm!

How To

1. Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees F and thoroughly grease the popover tin with butter.

2. Once the oven is heated, place the (empty) tins in the oven until ready to fill.

3. Whisk the flour, salt, eggs, milk, and melted butter until smooth. The batter will be thin.

4. Pour half the batter in a separate bowl. Mix the sage and rosemary into one bowl and the parsley and thyme in the other.

5. Take the hot tray out of the oven and fill with the batter, less than halfway in each tin.

6. Bake for 30 minutes and DO NOT PEEK. Enjoy immediately after serving.

  • Pro-tip: Use a popover tin. Some recipes say a cupcake tin can be used, but just no. In my experience the batter overflows into a nasty mess. Popover trays are taller and provide the right height for the batter to rise.
  • Pro-tip: A rule bakers tend to stick by is to use whole milk. I’ve made these with various types, including non-dairy milks, and whole milk gives the popovers the ultimate light, puffy texture you want. If you only have 2% on hand, that will work too, but whole is best.
  • Pro-tip: Use fresh herbs! This makes all the difference in any dish. Plus, the flavors are much stronger in fresh herbs compared to dried, so you won’t have to use as much.
  • Pro-tip: If you must use dried herbs, increase each by 1/2 Tbs.
  • Pro-tip: Do NOT peek. This is essential and can be applied to any baking you do. The temperature change from opening the oven door, no matter how brief, throws everything off and causes whatever it is you’re baking to fall.