Tag Archives: gardening

Chef Philip’s Arugula Ice Cream

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As you know we are about to start our La Fortezza Workshop season. We have the most wonderful Chef, Chef Philip Meeker. You may have seen him on previous blog posts from last fall’s La Fortezza Workshops. He’s a cool guy that speaks Italian and drives a stick shift, but mainly he is super creative with local ingredients. So we all love him.

Today I am sharing one of his recipes. When he told me about it, I just had to share. With the last of the arugula popping up in our garden, it’s perfection for this time of year. Stay tuned for more of his recipes coming up as we cook for and with our workshop attendees. Buon Appetito!

Arugula Ice Cream or in Italian, Gelato di Rucola

Chef Philip says, “This time of year there’s a lot of fresh arugula at the market. Buying it from the farmer is a totally different experience than getting it at the store. The nutty and peppery flavors that you get from farm-fresh arugula are as striking as any herb which to me is a great indication that it would go well in a gelato just like rosemary or basil would. But what to pair the gelato with depends on whether you use cane sugar or glucose to make it. If you use glucose, the sweetness will be so minimal that you can use it in salad, like a carpaccio di fragole (a.k.a thinly sliced strawberries) with balsamic, fresh arugula and olive oil. And don’t worry: while glucose may sound fancy and hard to get, the light corn syrup you use for pecan pie is mostly glucose.”

Arugula Ice Cream

You will need:
– 1 ¼ cups heavy cream
– ¾ cups whole milk
– 1 ½  cups sugar (or glucose or light corn syrup)
– ¼ cup cornstarch
– 3 cups puréed arugula (about 3-4 bunches of field arugula)
– pinch of salt plus salt for boiling arugula
Note: There is no acid in this recipe because it will destroy the green color

Blanching and Puréeing Arugula:

Prepare a bowl of heavily iced water. This will be used to immediately cool down the arugula after it cooks. Bring a saucepan full of water to a boil. Salt the water lightly. Throw in the arugula and let it cook for three to five seconds. Remove it from the boiling water and immediately plunge it into the ice water. As soon as the arugula becomes ice cold, about 20 seconds, put it into a blender. Don’t worry too much about water that stays with the arugula as it goes into the blender. This will help the arugula blend into a smooth purée. Add a couple of ice cubes to the blender before starting to ensure the arugula won’t heat while blending which will allow the beautiful green colors to be , preserved. As you blend the arugula to a purée, add water and ice to the blender as needed to ensure the arugula has enough liquid to blend. Store the arugula purée in the fridge until you are ready to add it to the ice cream mix. Keeping it cool will ensure that its color will stay green and that the flavor won’t weaken.

Making Ice Cream Base:

To make the base of the ice cream, heat ½ cup of the whole milk plus the heavy cream in a small saucepan on high heat along with 1 cup of the sugar. Stir occasionally to make sure that it doesn’t stick to the bottom. In a bowl, mix together the remaining sugar and cornstarch with a whisk (mixing these two ingredients together ahead of time helps avoid lumps). Mix in the remaining milk.

When the dairy-sugar mix in the saucepan comes to a boil, mix a little of it in with the cornstarch mix. Then pour the entire contents of the bowl into the pot. Put it back over high heat. Mix it slowly while it comes to a boil. When the contents of the pot boil, mix it rapidly, carefully scraping the bottom to avoid scorching. The mixture needs to boil for 1-2 minutes until it lacks a starch taste.

Afterward, pour the mix into a sealed container, and store in the fridge to cool down.

Once cool, whisk the arugula into the dairy mix along with the salt. Spin in an ice cream maker to make ice cream.

*Tip: Make sure the arugula mix has enough salt in it to make it have maximum sweetness but not enough to make it taste salty instead of sweet. You do this by adding salt to the mix, little by little, tasting as you go. It will bring out the nutty, peppery flavor of the arugula.

*Suggestion: Create new flavor profiles by using other herb purées, such as parsley, mint, or tarragon. If a herb seems like it might lack flavor, steep the herb in the dairy mix after the dairy mix comes off the heat. Remove the steeped herb before it starts to turn color to something dead looking. I generally do a five-minute infusion.

Grazie mille, Chef Philip!

xx

Photo credit: Philip Meeker

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Spring Gardening Tips & Tricks

Today I'm discussing spring gardening tips and tricks. I've been scouring my favorite publications, and I thought I'd share what I've been learning.

Hi Everyone! I’m Nicole, Annette’s web-manager. I am back today to discuss spring gardening tips and tricks. When Annette talks about the fruits and vegetables she grows in her garden, I am always inspired. So, this year my husband and I are getting a head start on a garden of our own.

We actually pulled out the Farmer’s Almanac and did quite a bit of research about not only what grows in the spring, but what grows in Georgia. So far, we’re set on planting okra, peppers, and squash (mostly so I can make stuffed squash blossoms).

Today I'm discussing spring gardening tips and tricks. I've been scouring my favorite publications, and I thought I'd share what I've been learning.

I’ve been scouring Pinterest along with some of my favorite publications, and I thought I would share a little bit about what I’ve been learning about spring gardening. Consider this post a great starter resource that combines Martha’s knowledge with Real Simple’s ease.

Today I'm discussing spring gardening tips and tricks. I've been scouring my favorite publications, and I thought I'd share what I've been learning.

Tips and Tricks for Spring Gardening

  1. You can start planting carrots, radishes, and spinach now without worrying about that last lingering frost. Apparently these veggies can withstand light freezing temperatures, but make sure to cover them if it gets too cool out.
  2. Spring is also a great time to plant potatoes. They might be a fun item to plant around St. Patrick’s Day! I love red potatoes, and I am already dreaming of whipping up Annette’s Ligurian Pesto Pasta with green beans and red potatoes.
  3. At home soil tests can tell you a lot about what you’re working with. Martha recommends taking several samples and then using your discoveries to apply different fertilizers.
  4. Remember your zone. It will help you know when and what to plant.
  5. Don’t forget to prep your garden tools and gloves. Besides actually locating them all, remember to clean them all. You can use soap and water and give them a good scrub. Toss those old garden gloves in the washing machine, or simply buy new ones all together.

Is anyone out there a master gardener? I would love to hear your tips!

xo, Nicole

Images by Deborah Whitlaw Llewelleyn & Annette Joseph

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Inspiration Monday~Gardens that are Inspiring my Today Show Segment

I admit it I am obsessed with terrariums and indoor gardens lately. I have never loved plants indoors, but of late I have been seeing the most amazing indoor gardens, where? Well, everywhere from my wholesale florist to the west elm catalog. As you know I love flower arranging and all I can surmise is that I am mesmerized with these little pieces of living art because it is an other way to express perfect composition in a contained area a glass vessel, wooden container, or ordinary mason jar.

I hope you will join me on February 27th on The Today Show, where I will show you what I have been working on. These unique indoor gardens will have you inspired to try it yourself and bring a little green into your dreary February and March. I will be on in the 9:00 hour probably around 9:45 a.m. watch for my live tweets. I hope I am on with Savannah, I just adore her. xx

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