Summer time is ice cream time. It’s also fresh fruit and vegetable time, and drippy watermelon time, and real lemonade time. It is the perfect time for vegetarians to rejoice, and the perfect time for non-vegetarians to add more veggies to their diets. In short, it is summer, and now is the time to fill your tummies with all the good produce that comes from the earth. And, of course, some ice cream!
This year, my garden is empty and resting. The soil gave me some trouble last summer despite treatment and fertilizer, so I grew some grass in the fall, added a healthy dose of nutrients and some organic soil and more, and this summer, I am letting it rest. It is tired. It has provided me with bounty for four decades, so a year of rest and rejuvenation is called for.
And, yes, I am sad about it, but good farmers do this and rotating crops and fields help the soil stay healthy. So I will shop organic farmer’s markets this summer and enjoy what they have grown. I also love that my supermarket turns to all local produce in the summer and increases its organic offerings. My local farm also grows wonderful tomatoes, so I will get them there for the summer and look forward to my own next summer.
As I think about how we eat according to the seasons, I am often struck how absolutely necessary that was in the early years of our country. In the winter, settlers relied on what they could trap and what they had salted. In the spring, summer, and fall, feasts were abundant as crops grew beautifully. Those in the south had no such problems.
It was the same in Europe and Russia, where my grandparents came from. My grandmother told me of the milkman who came around even in the cold weather, but not when it snowed, and the chicken man who brought chickens every Friday. She told me that she had carrots, onions, and cabbage in the winter, but nothing else that was green. Her first taste of broccoli was in America, as were her first tastes of so many other vegetables. I could not imagine that, but I do remember a time when we could not get apples in the spring or summer, and oranges only came in the winter. How times have changed!
So, get out those veggies and fruits and then make some ice cream. I hear that there is now avocado ice cream, garlic ice cream and more! I admit that I prefer my veggies separate!
Avocado and Eggs Breakfast (Dairy)
4 large eggs
2 Tbsp. butter
2 to 3 shallots, minced
4 to 6 large mushrooms, sliced
1 bunch chives, minced, about 2 to 3 Tbsp.
2 to 4 oz. cheese of your liking. I use Monterey Jack or cheddar.
4 to 5 small cocktail tomatoes, sliced.
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
OPTIONAL: Your favorite hot sauce — Sriracha, salsa, or any kind you like.
OPTIONAL: Add anything you like, such as smoked salmon, peppers, broccoli, zucchini, garlic, etc.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Set aside.
Heat a skillet and add the butter. When bubbly, add the shallots and cook until translucent and a bit golden. Add the mushrooms and cook until they have reabsorbed their liquid.
Break the eggs into a large bowl and beat until frothy. Add the mushrooms and shallot and mix well. Add the chives and salt and pepper and mix well.
Cut each avocado in half and remove the pit and skin. Scoop out a generous hole in the avocado so that there is a shell about 2/3 of an inch thick.
Place the shell on the prepared baking pan so that the avocados rest against the sides or are stable in some way.
Add the beaten eggs to the pan with the mushrooms and cook until partially cooked, but still liquid in places. Add the cheese and mix well. Immediately scoop into the avocados Top with the sliced tomatoes and place in the oven. Cook until bubbly, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve with your favorite hot sauce. Serves 4.
Mocha Fudge Chunk Ice Cream (Dairy)
1 cup ice cold whole milk or half and half
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. espresso powder
2 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder. Dutch process works best.
2 cups ice cold heavy cream
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
4 Tbsp. jarred fudge sauce, your choice (I prefer bittersweet), slightly warmed
1/2 cup chopped semisweet chocolate or chocolate chunks
Place the milk, sugar, espresso powder, and cocoa into a bowl and mix until the sugar is dissolved and the cocoa and espresso fully incorporated. Scrape the bowl as needed.
Add the heavy cream and vanilla and mix well.
Pour into your ice cream maker and follow the directions for a soft serve ice cream.
Heat the fudge just until it is of pouring consistency.
When the ice cream is complete, remove the mixer and pour half into your freezer container. Drizzle in half the fudge and half the chocolate. Use a knife and swirl the fudge and the chips. Add the remaining ice cream and repeat with the fudge and the chips. Cover and freeze until firm. Makes one quart.
Pineapple Upside Down Strawberry Ice Cake (Dairy)
1 to 1-1/2 pints strawberry ice cream or frozen yogurt softened to spreadable consistency (you can use vanilla or any other flavor you like)
1 pint strawberries, sliced
1 to 2 Tbsp. sugar, less if the berries are very sweet
6 to 10 slices canned pineapple from 1 to 2 cans. Juice reserved.
1/3 stick butter
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
12 maraschino cherries
2 cups unbleached flour
2-1/4 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
4 large eggs
1-3/4 cups sugar
1 Tbsp. pure vanilla extract
1 cup whole milk
1/3 cup butter, softened, at room temperature
1/3 cup canola oil
Spoon the ice cream into the prepared spring form pan. Smooth into a thin layer and place in the freezer. Let freeze several hours or overnight. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Lightly grease two 9-inch cake pans and set aside. Line a 9-inch spring form pan with plastic wrap and set aside.
Slice the strawberries and place in a bowl. Sprinkle with the sugar, mix gently and set aside.
Melt the 1/3 cup butter and add the brown sugar. Mix well and spread over the bottom of one of the 9-inch cake pans. Remove the pineapple slices from the can and reserve the juice.
Place one whole slice in the center of the pan. Cut the remaining slices in half and place them in a wheel around the center slice. Place a cherry half, cut side down in the center of each curved spoke and in the middle of the center slice. Set aside.
Place the flour, salt and baking powder in a medium bowl and gently whisk to blend. Set aside.
Place the eggs, sugar and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer using the whisk attachment. Beat until thickened and the mixture falls in thick ribbons when the beater is lifted, 3 to 5 minutes.
Add the flour mixture and slowly mix in to the eggs. Meanwhile, place the milk and oil in a small saucepan and heat to a low simmer. Remove from the heat and add the butter. Mix until melted. Slowly pour into the flour egg mixture. Mix, scraping often, just until completely blended. Pour into the two pans, place in the oven and bake until golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.
Place the layer without the pineapple on a serving tray. Slice a thin layer off the top of the cake to remove the domed center. Place a single layer of the strawberries on the cut top of the cake. Drizzle a bit of the syrup over the berries.
Unwrap the ice cream layer and set it over the berries. Press gently to set the layer.
Invert the top pineapple layer over the ice cream and press gently to set the layer over the ice cream. Serve immediately. Serves 10 to 14.