Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Peachy Keen Ice Cream

I got some peaches this week from "the peach guy". If you lived in my town you'd know exactly who I'm talking about. He's the guy with a roadside stand and all he sells is peaches. Every year from about mid-June till the end of August, he sets up his tent on the side of a busy road, sells only peaches, and is know as "the peach guy". Well I heard from various people that the peach guy had great peaches this year. So of course I had to go check it out. The peaches are really great this year, everything you want in a peach, sweet, peachy, and totally delicious. If you lived where I live or anywhere at all in the South, then you'd also know that it's been about 1000 degrees for several weeks now. Ok, that's a slight exaggeration, it's just felt like it 1000 degrees. It's been too hot for cooking much of anything. Uncooked, cold or frozen are the only appetizing foods to me this time of the year. What better to do with fabulous fresh peaches, then to make some ice cream.
I usually turn to David Lebovitz and The Perfect Scoop,  when I'm looking for a great ice cream recipe. He's my "ice cream guy." I especially like his fruit based ice cream recipes because they let the fruit be the star. I wanted an ice cream that would let these peaches shine. His peach ice cream sounded like a winner and didn't involve much actual cooking so no need to stand over a hot stove. That was definitely an added bonus!

Peach Ice Cream
(Printable recipe)

Source: David Lebovitz, The Perfect Scoop, adapted

4 large ripe peaches
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup 0% fat Greek yogurt
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
A few drops of freshly squeezed lemon juice.
Beautiful ripe peaches!
Cut into chunks
Peel the peaches, slice them in half, and remove the pits.  Cut the peaches into chunks and cook them with the water in a medium, nonreactive saucepan over medium heat, covered, stirring once or twice, until soft and cooked through, about 10 minutes.
Adding the sugar

Remove from the heat, stir in the sugar, then cool to room temperature.
Puree the cooked peaches and any liquid in a blender or food processor with the yogurt, heavy cream, vanilla, and lemon juice until almost smooth but slightly chunky.
Turing it into ice cream!

Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If you want firmer ice cream, remove from ice cream maker and freeze for several hours or overnight.
The original recipe called for sour cream, but I had Greek yogurt on hand and substituted that for the sour cream. I think it gave the ice cream a nice tangy flavor. I also topped mine with some chopped pistachio nuts. I love the salty crunch they add to the ice cream.
I don't know how the term "peachy keen" came to be, but it means something is really wonderful and I think it describes this ice cream perfectly!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

What I did this summer...

This past week marked the beginning of the school year in our area. I remember those first day of school jitters well. I could never sleep the night before and in the morning my stomach would do somersaults. I could never eat breakfast on the first day of school. It was partly anticipation and partly pure terror. Would I get in Ms. Soandso's class? Would any of my friends be in my class? In other words, there were a lot of unknowns. One seeming constant however, was the obligatory first day assignment of sharing with the class "What I did this summer". I sort of dreaded this assignment. I mean it was summer. What I really wanted to say was "I didn't have to go to school!" But they wanted more... Ummm, welllll, lets see...well "I went swimming", that was always something fun I could throw in. What I didn't share was that in between swimming in an actual pool, there was a lot of playing in the yard with the water hose and maybe slidding on some black plastic. "I played with friends." There again, it was mostly with my sisters, but also doesn't sound cool, at all. "Oh and we went to the beach!" Score! Very cool. Only it was usually just for the day, at the end of which we'd pack into the car and drive 90 miles back home. We were exhausted, sticky from salt water, sunburned, and with sand in some very uncomfortable places, but who needed to know those details. Yup, I'd had another great summer! So in honor of the first week of school, I thought I'd share what I did this summer, well part of it anyway.
At the beginning of the summer I blogged about the farmers market that I manage.Well the summer has flown by and we have ended another successful year at our market. It's a lot of work, in sometimes extreme heat, to run a farmers market. However, it's also so rewarding it to see our local community get excited about buying local grown and produced foods and merchandise and knowing the impact it has on our farmers livelihoods.

Lots of fresh locally grown produce 

One of our blueberry farmers sampling another farmers watermelon...it was as good as it looks!

Oats rolled while you wait.

Beautiful cut flowers

Farm fresh eggs

Home baked goodies

Cooking demos
Live music
Handmade pottery
  Handmade soaps

Art projects for the kids

  It was a great summer! To see what I did with the rest of my summer, see my previous post. So what did you do this summer??

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Home Again!

Our Alaskan adventure was a blast. This was our first cruise and I guess I never realized how much they feed you. Constantly. I don't think we every actually had a chance to even get hungry before another meal rolled around. The food was good but the best part of being on the ship was having someone at your beck and call at all times, for whatever you needed. Want coffee at 7:30 in the morning? Just ask. Want cheese and fruit as a pre-dinner snack? "Coming right up." Need extra towels? "I'll be right there." That was AWESOME! I never knew I needed a butler, now I'm wondering how I could afford one all the time.

Alaska is beautiful and we were blessed with good, albeit cold, weather during our entire trip. Apparently any day that it doesn't rain is a beautiful day in Alaska. It was cold by our Southern standards, however. Highs in the upper 50's pretty much describe an Alabama winter! We didn't complain. It was a great break from the sweltering summer heat at home.
The rugged natural beauty of Alaska is almost impossible to describe. Even photos don't really do it justice. It's impossible to capture the breathtaking 360 degree views. Gorgeous snow-capped mountains that seem endless. The incredible blues of the glaciers. The sight of eagles in flight. All of which must be seen to really appreciate their amazing beauty. Oh and then there are the whales! A-ma-zing! The humpback whales calling to their calves was one of the highlights of the trip for me.

After our week cruise was over, we went to visit my parents. They were living in Alaska for the summer, volunteering at a camp. I'm glad we got the opportunity to see more than just the touristy part of Alaska. The cruise was fun but at the stops there would be anywhere from 2-5 cruise ships docking and unloading. These tiny towns of 900- 2000 in population, are suddenly inundated with up to 10,000 people! I know the tourist mean money in their economy, but at times there were simply too many people for these small towns.
Spending a week with my parents in a more remote area, we were able to get a sense of how real Alaskans live. We meant some neat people. One of the families we meant, lived in a house that could only be accessed by boat or ATV. They lived in a beautiful log home which they generated all there own power for through water and wind. They invited us to their home one evening for dessert. They served us delicious homemade rhubarb pie. It was outstanding!  I loved getting to see how other people live. They truly live another life and I'm not sure I could do it, but we enjoyed getting to know this family.
This is their home. The rhubarb she used in the pie is the green plant growing by the house.

This is the view from their front porch...wow!

Although you can't capture the wonder that is Alaska fully in a photo, we gave it a great effort. I think we came back with 500 plus photos! Thank God for digital cameras!! So here are just a few of those photos. If you get the chance to go to Alaska, take it! It's worth it!