Blackberry Ice Cream with Balsamic Glaze: aka totes cheating on my Paleo

Blackberry ice cream with aged balsamic glaze. Storage containers from Williams Sonoma, designed by my very lovely friend, Amanda.

Blackberry ice cream with aged balsamic glaze. Storage containers from Williams Sonoma, designed by my very lovely friend, Amanda.

I totes cheated. I totes cheated badly. I didn’t want to, but I had exactly 3 reasons I cheated on my dairy-free, no refined sugar life.

  1. I wanted to

Because honestly, you only need one reason to make Blackberry Ice Cream with Balsamic Glaze: because you want to. But you really get pushed over the edge if 3 things happen on Sunday:

  1. You realize it’s blackberry season and find the freshest blackberries from JSM Organics in Monterey County, CA
  2. The shop that sells aged balsamic vinegarWe Olive, just happens to be on your walk home (if you walk 0.6 miles the other way and then come 0.6 miles back)
  3. Those two ingredients BEG to be set up on a Sunday night double date with your friends, cream & sugar

And so, I cheated. Blackberries are in season and they pair amazing with fresh, organic cream. Aged balsamic vinegar reduced with sugar provides an unexpected salty topping for your fresh ice cream. Get ready to cheat and like it, because here’s the delicious recipe.

Simple ingredients for the entire recipe: vanilla, sugar, fresh blackberries, aged balsamic vinegar, and fresh whipping cream

Simple ingredients for the recipe: vanilla, sugar, fresh blackberries, aged balsamic vinegar, and fresh creams

Blackberry Ice Cream with Aged Balsamic Glaze

A few notes before I start, since I’m digging the bullet points today (product of a successful Monday at work).

  1. Ice cream generally has few ingredients, so make those ingredients count: buy the best and freshest. If you are buying your blackberries from Costco (Mom!), you’re doing it wrong
  2. Your ice cream maker, unless you are blessed to have the $300 version, must be pre-frozen and your ingredients must be cold. Give yourself time to do both properly
  3. Drink a Coyote Canyon Sangiovese while you make this recipe. It pairs perfectly and I needed 3 bullet points to feel valid about this whole bullet point thing
Fresh blackberries from JSM Organics and aged balsamic vinegar from We Olive

Fresh blackberries from JSM Organics and aged balsamic vinegar from We Olive

Ingredients

For Ice Cream:
2 1/2 quarts     blackberries
1c                      sugar
2c                      whipping cream
2c                      half & half
2tbs                   vanilla
1tsp                   salt

For balsamic glaze:
1/2c                  aged balsamic vinegar
1-2 tbs              sugar

Make the Ice Cream
In a medium sized bowl, smash or partially puree blackberries. I keep mine partially chunky, but you can opt to puree and strain if you prefer a smoother, seed-free ice cream. Macerate berries with sugar, which is just me using a fancy, chefy word to explain the process where fruit is broken down, sugar is added, and then naturally those berries further break down to release juices and their natural sugars.

Lookit me, I'm maceratin'

Maceration: not a dirty word

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, warm the whipping cream and half & half. Add vanilla, salt and macerated berries. Simmer on low until flavors meld, about 15 – 20 minutes.

Half & half, whipping cream and vanilla makes pretty saucepan art

Half & half, whipping cream and vanilla makes pretty saucepan art

Add berries to the mixture and watch everyone make friends

Add berries to the mixture and watch everyone make friends

Cool in the refrigerator overnight (best) or in the freezer 1 hour. Follow ice cream maker instructions to finish ice cream. Here are my photos from the Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker. The bowl has to be frozen overnight, then the recipe must be split and made in 2 batches. Simply put, add base and run ice cream maker for about 20 minutes, then freeze for an additional hour. From start to finish on the ice cream:

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Ta-Da! Perfect, summery, fresh blackberry ice cream. Now to make the perfect salty topping…

Make the Aged Balsamic Glaze
In a small sauté pan over medium high heat, gently boil the balsamic vinegar until reduced to about half the original liquid remains. Add sugar to taste (careful, it’s sticky and hot). After sugar has dissolved, turn down low and let simmer for approximately 10 minutes.

Original amount of balsamic vinegar

Original amount of balsamic vinegar

Reduced vinegar

Reduced vinegar

A tip on thickness of your glaze: the more you reduce and the longer you simmer, the thicker the glaze becomes. However, it will further thicken when cooled. 10 minutes seems about the right amount of simmer time to slightly thicken and then cooling will take care of the rest. Drizzle cooled balsamic glaze on finished ice cream and enjoy, noting all bullet points of the reasons you like this:

  1. Because you made it
Blackberry ice cream with aged balsamic glaze. Storage containers from Williams Sonoma, designed by my very lovely friend, Amanda.

Blackberry ice cream with aged balsamic glaze

 

Compound Butters, Butter from Scratch, and How I Met Your Butter

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From Left: Old Fashioned, Maple Bacon, Apricot Tarragon, Lavender Honey, Lemon Parsley, Harissa Mint, Pinot Mushroom

Compound Butters, Butter from Scratch, and How I Met Your Butter

Today I made butter. Lots and lots of butter. And then I made compound butters. And then I ate butter. Sounds complicated (I mean, other than the eating part)? It’s not! Butter and compound butters are so easy to make that I will never buy store bought again. Ok, maybe during the holidays when I’m making 7 dozen Linser Heart Cookies, but otherwise I’m making it myself. Homemade butter is so fresh, so creamy and compound butters add so much depth of flavor to any dish.

Now, I can’t take credit for the actual butter recipe, which is from a recent Bon Appetit article. There is also an excellent article on homemade butters from http://www.thekitchn.com here that explains why/how you do everything to make your own butter. So while I do want to show you the process of making butter from cream and how to infuse cream, today’s post is primarily for compound butter. 

What is compound butter? It’s a really fancy name for “butter that has stuff in it”. And you can use it on anything. It’s kind of like bacon – it just makes everything better. I put sweet compound butters on toast, pancakes & sweet potatoes. Savory compound butters are fantastic for finishing meats (automatic sauce!) or on grilled bread. Below I’ve included a list of compound butters recipes as well as my suggestions for how to use them. 

But first, let’s make butter from scratch!

Lavender, Honey, Sea Salt Butter & Original Cream Butter Recipe

This recipe is to make Lavender, Honey & Sea Salt butter, but if you want to make original cream butter, simply (a) don’t infuse the cream with lavender and (b) don’t add honey. I mean, duh – right? 

Two things about making butter. One, use the BEST ingredients you can find. There are so few ingredients that every one matters! The cream is the main component, so spend the big bucks and your time to find the best available. If I could milk a cow myself for it, I would. But I don’t have a cow in my San Francisco apartment. Yet. Two, this recipe cultures the cream, which is a process of adding a cultured ingredient (it can be yogurt, creme fraiche, or in this case buttermilk). It sits for at least 12 hours on your counter, so plan accordingly. You can make the butter without the cultured ingredient and therefore not have it sit overnight, but it’s nowhere near as tasty!

Thanks to Bon Appetit for printing the base butter recipe. 

Ingredients:
1 pint high quality heavy cream
3 sprigs lavender + 2 tsp dried lavender flowers, minced
1/3 cup buttermilk
honey
salt
(I used Pink Himalayan salt from Portland Homestead, which is a store I love so much it makes me want to move to Portland)

First, infuse the cream by GENTLY warming the cream with the lavender on LOW heat. Do not allow the cream to boil or separate, and if you see a film forming, remove from the heat. Infuse to taste. This takes about 20 minutes or until your friend, Rhianna, says “this tastes like body soap.” Let cool completely.
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In a separate bowl, mix in the buttermilk and a few pinches of salt and cover. Let sit on your counter for 12 hours and up to 24 hours. The longer it stands, the “sharper” the taste will be. Once cultured and thickened, pour into a standing mixing bowl and place in fridge for 30 minutes. Allowing to cool assists in the separation of fats and liquids.

Ok are you ready!? Because this is the fun part. Set up your standing mixer with the beater attachment and cover with plastic cling wrap. Why? Because when the fats and liquids separate, the liquids will literally fly all over your kitchen. I know this because I’ve done it. Mix on HIGH for about 6-8 minutes until the butter clings to your beater and liquid flies all over the plastic wrap, NOT your kitchen.

Cultured, thickened cream

Cultured, thickened cream

Mixed about 4 minutes, the cream will start to thicken more

Mixed about 4 minutes, the cream will start to thicken more

Wheeee! Liquid has separated and flung itself all over the plastic wrap!

Wheeee! Liquid has separated and flung itself all over the plastic wrap!

Butter!

Butter!

Place the butter in a strainer and begin to “wash” the butter. This process is pouring ice water over the butter and kneading it or smooshing with a spatula to separate the remaining buttermilk from the butter.
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In a bowl, mix in the dried lavender, honey and salt to taste. Ta-da! You have homemade lavender honey butter!
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Note: compound butter can be stored in parchment paper in the fridge for about a week or in parchment paper and a freezer bag in the freezer for about a month. 

And now, for more compound butter recipes….

These recipes assume you’ve either bought your own store bought butter (gross) or you’ve made the above butter WITHOUT steeping with lavender and salt or you’ve made butter and altered the cream with bourbon per the below (mmmm bourbon).

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Ingredients for the different compound butters below

 

Lemon Zest, Parsley, Sea Salt
Uses: Finishing sauce for fish, lamb, pork, sauteed greens or chicken. No special preparation is required. Simply zest lemon, mince parsley and mix in butter with sea salt.
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Harissa, Mint, Lemon Zest, Sea Salt
Uses: Finishing sauce for lamb, chicken, topping for glazed vegetables, on roasted potatoes, added to grilled bread with avocado. No special preparation is required. Zest lemon, mince mint, add in harissa and sea salt. Harissa is very spicy, so add just a bit at a time.
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Apricot & Tarragon
Uses: Top muffins or use as finishing sauces on scallops, chicken or halibut. In a saucepan, boil apricot slices, 1/3c water and 1tbs sugar until apricot dissolves. Let cool and mix with butter and minced tarragon.
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Pinot Noir, Sauteed Mushrooms, Coffee Salt
Uses: Steak, steak, steak, and steak. It’s not that you can’t use it on other things, but it’s just so good on steak that I never want to imagine those two apart Reduce pinot noir (a fancy way of saying bring wine to a boil then simmer until at least 1/2 the liquid is drained off), sauté mushrooms in butter. This butter will take you a while to mix because the waters in the wine do not want to play with the fats and oils in butter, but keep at it – they’ll eventually make friends.
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Lavendar, Honey, Sea Salt
Uses: top scones, grilled bread, biscuits, or on roasted sweet potatoes. Recipe above.
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“Old Fashioned”: cherries soaked in bourbon & sugar, orange zest with bourbon butter
Uses: Top scones, toasted english muffins, pancakes or warm apples. BEFORE making butter, simmer 1/2 cup to a full cup (yes! this much!) bourbon in a saucepan until the alcohol burns off. You’ll know it’s burned off when you smell it and your nose does not do that “woaaaah that’s bourbon!” thing. Let cool and add to cream. Make butter as normal. Note, because you’ve added a liquid, this is a little trickier to separate using a stand up mixer. I used a food processor, which separates the fats and liquids nicely. It requires more “washing” with ice water and has a different consistency. But it is SOOOOOO worth it.
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Candied Bacon and Maple with Bourbon Butter (see above for bourbon butter)
To make candied bacon, dice bacon, sprinkle with brown sugar and a little maple syrup. Place in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes until baked and crispy. Note, this will stick like hell to whatever you put it on so don’t put it on your favorite (or your mom’s favorite) pan. And don’t put it on aluminum foil like I did. It’s just a bacony, aluminumy mess. 
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Tada! You have seven new butters with multiple uses for each one. Now it’s time to taste….and eat! What compound butters do you like? Leave comments and your recipes as well! Special thanks to my friends, Rhianna and Bennet for letting me force-feed them butter on chicken and bread this week!
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