in my kitchen, around the farm
Being that I dubbed 2023 “year of the home” (as in my bodily home and the home that one gets to live in), I’m looking at the title here and thinking maybe it should say “in my home, around the farm”. What do you think? Should I be including the projects o’ beautification around my home?
This week has been a busy one. We’ve been getting ready to head out to Virginia to celebrate our eldest daughter’s wedding. She married a Virginia fella’ last year, but this will be the big shindig celebration. It’s going to be outside, on her husband’s parent’s farm, with live music and a goat roasting and cows as backdrop. Could it be more perfect? No, it could not. The best part is the wonderful son-in-law we’ve been so blessed to welcome into our family. His side of that family are also lovely, warm humans. Not too many get to tell that story and we are so grateful that we do.
So, in preparation to leave a farm at the busiest time of the farming year, we’ve had to almost backtrack on many of the spring preparations we’ve done. Our farmhand was unable to watch the farm so we have a new farmhand with little experience. Because of that, we’ll be taking the cattle off rotational pastures and bringing them into a back field where they will have to eat hay for a week. The complaints will be loud and profuse, I know it, but such is life when beloved humans get married. All of the ducks, geese, chickens, turkeys, and sheep will be fenced into their outdoor, winter accommodations. The point is to keep predators from waking up to the fact that there’s a green farmhand on the premises and the meat shop is open.
Amongst the departure tasks remain the every day spring tasks. I’ve been busy canning the first of spring’s offerings. I just finished my 34th jar of asparagus and I’m officially closing that endeavour for the year. I made my normal version and then decided to do a dozen bottles with a bit of a kick using some homemade gochujang. I haven’t been able to taste-test those yet, but I’m certain they’ll be good.
Of course, we are now full on into ice cream making season. This is THE time to make homemade ice cream. To everything a season and spring and summer, when the cow’s milk is naturally sweet from the quick growing forages around our home, is it! I make all of my ice cream now and throughout the summer. The deal is that half is eaten and half is squirrelled away.
Like I’ve said before, there’s a few different ways to make ice cream. I prefer the custard based version for the texture it affords. This gives the dense, creamy ice-cream that we all love. But I also like a straight up, raw cream base which I find nutritionally superior. Another version we all love is using kefir. The kefir produces a much lighter, icier version that is so refreshing. You can also use real buttermilk for the same effect.
No matter what version of ice cream I make, I’m starting the same way: I put a whack of egg yolks in a bowl, add in a pinch of salt, my sweetener (honey or maple syrup is all I use), and some organic, ground vanilla bean. I whip that all up with a whisk. The next part is where I deviate depending on what I want to do.
If I’m making a truly raw ice cream with only full, heavy cream, I pour in the cream. If I’m making an infused, flavoured ice cream like mint or some type of flower or evergreen or something, I will soak the plant in the cream for a couple of days before using. If I’m making a custard based ice cream, I warm the milk/cream on the stove and go from there. If I’m making a kefir ice cream, I add a two to one mix of homemade raw kefir to raw heavy cream to my egg mixture.
It’s really important not to over-stir the ice cream when using full, heavy cream or you’ll be on your way to making butter. I use my hands to gently stir because, truth be told, I use my hands to do everything in my kitchen and that’s why my food tastes so good. How do you put love into anything if you don’t touch it?
Here’s an example of a strawberry kefir ice cream I made this week and a yellow rose,