Lavender Ice Cream


More and more lavender farms are popping up all over the South. So with that in mind I share this easy lavender ice cream:

½ cup heavy cream
1½ cups buttermilk
¾ cup sugar
2 teaspoons dried lavender buds

equipment: Ice Cream Maker

In a large bowl, whisk together the cream, buttermilk, and sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the lavender. Cover and refrigerate for 12 hours or longer if you want a stronger lavender flavor.

Strain out the lavender and discard it. Freeze the cream mixture according to your ice cream maker’s instructions.”


Olive Oil Ice Cream

  • 1¼ cups heavy cream
  • 1½ cups plus 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 large egg yolks
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
  • Flaky sea salt, such as Maldon
  • Special Equipment: Immersion blender

Add the cream and milk to a double boiler or a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of gently simmering water. Whisk in ½ cup of sugar and the salt and stir until they have dissolved. Warm the mixture until you see steam rising.

Meanwhile, prepare an ice bath in a large bowl. Set aside.

In a medium bowl whisk together the egg yolks with the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar until uniform. While whisking, add a splash of the hot mixture to the yolks. Continue to add the hot mixture, whisking it in bit by bit, until you’ve added about half.

Add the yolk mixture to the remaining dairy mixture in the double boiler. Set the heat under the double boiler to medium and cook the custard, stirring continuously and reducing the heat to medium-low as necessary, until steam begins to rise from the surface and the custard thickens enough to coat the back of the spoon. Hold the spoon horizontally and run your finger through the custard, if the trail left by your finger stays separated, the custard is ready to be cooled.

Strain the custard into a bowl.  Using an immersion blender, blend the custard until emulsified. Set the bowl over the prepared ice bath and stir for 5 minutes, or until the custard has cooled. Transfer the custard to a quart-size container, cover, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Pour the chilled custard into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Churn the ice cream until the texture resembles soft serve.  Transfer the ice cream to a storage container and freeze until hardened to your desired consistency.

Serve the ice cream topped with a drizzle of olive oil and a few flakes of sea salt. The ice cream will keep, frozen, for up to 7 days.


Culinary Fun Fact: Making herb or compound butters

Chop fresh herbs with slightly softened but still cold butter. Once the herb is well mixed into the butter, form the butter into a rough sausage shape on a sheet of wax paper and roll it up tightly. Twist the paper at the ends in opposite directions to tighten the shape.

Wrap this in aluminum foil to help it hold its shape and to keep the wax paper from coming away from the butter. Freeze for up to a year; refrigerate for up to a month.

Cut into slices and use it to top grilled meats and seafood or to whisk into other sauces.

“Chico Hot Springs (Pray, MT)” Inspired Spinach Salad Dressing


  • 4 bacon slices
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 3/4 teaspoon Italian herb blend
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons half and half
  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh spinach in bite size pieces
  • 2 1/8 inche thick onion slices
  • 1 hard boiled egg, sieved

cook bacon and crumble. Blend mayonnaise, Italian seasoning, garlic and sugar.  Add oil and vinegar, the half and half.

Toss spinach and onion in a large bowl with enough dressing to taste.  Sprinkle with bacon and egg.

Culinary Fun Fact: What is clarified butter?


Most simply clarified butter is butter with the milk-solid proteins taken out.  These proteins are what cause the butter to burn at low temperatures. If you’re sautéing with high heat or for prolonged periods and don’t want the butter to burn you’ll need to use clarified butter.  It’s truly a simple procedure.

To Clarify Butter:

Melt the butter in a heavy-bottom pot and let it sit for 15 minutes.

With a ladle, skim off the froth that has formed on top of the butter and discard.

Lift off the melted clear butterfat, the clarified butter, with a ladle, leaving the water contained in the butter, now useless, in the bottom of the pot.

Or Simpler yet:

Cook unsalted butter in a heavy-bottom saucepan over medium heat until it froths, and the froth begins to settle.

As the froth settles, you’ll see white specks in the butter.  When they turn to brown and adhere to the bottom and sides of the pan  strain the butter through a paper towel, coffee filter, or fine mesh strainer into a bowl.


Anchovy Butter


Anchovies are one of the most misunderstood ingredients out there. People literally fear these little morsels.  They are vital though for a traditional Caesar Salad and they have a multitude of other uses besides being a despised pizza topping. This butter is a great accomplishment on a steak, chicken, tossed in pasta and even on some strong flavored fish such as salmon.  You can soak the anchovies in white wine or milk to reduce the saltiness if desired

1 1.75-oz tin of anchovy fillets
1 Pound of butter, softened
2 shallots, finely chopped
½ cup chopped flat leaf parsley
½ cup pimentos, diced

In the bowl of a food processor with a steel blade, place all ingredients. Pulse until ingredients are uniformly distributed throughout the butter.

Lay a 16-in length of waxed paper on a clean work surface. Place all the anchovy butter ⅓ of the way up the paper. Fold the end nearest you up over the butter and roll to form a uniform 2 inch cylinder. Tightly wrap ends. Wrap again with plastic wrap and place in freezer.

Cut 1/2 inch off the cylinder and place on your grilled medium-rare steak or other uses.

French Cheese Organization


Fresh cheeses – Like fromage frais, cheese curds that can be either chunky or smooth.  Cheeses that are just a few days old.


Soft, bloomy rind cheeses – Like Camembert, Brie, Coulommiers, and Neufchâtel. These cheeses are somewhat elastic, ranging from firm when they are unripened, to tender when they are fully ripened. These cheeses take on an aroma of ammonia when they are overripe.


Soft, washed-rind cheese – Like Livarot, Maroilles, Pont l’Évêque, and Époisses, these cheeses are washed with anything from naturally colored brine to beer, wine, or even tea. The longer these cheeses are aged, the more intense their aroma.


Pressed cheeses – Uncooked and cooked, St. Nectaire, Cantal, Salers, Laguiole, and Morbier are among the uncooked pressed cheeses.


Blue or “parsleyed” cheeses – These cheeses can be made with cow, sheep, or goat milk. Penicillium is injected into them.


Cooked, pressed cheeses – These are mountain cheeses that can age for up to many years. The milk is heated, then curdled and pressed into a mold. Once out of the mold they are salted, sometimes by being floated in a salt brine, then carefully aged. Comté, Beaufort, Gruyère, Abondance, and Emmenthal are all members of this family of cheese.


Goat cheese – These are small cheeses, because goats give up to just two liters of milk per day. They range from very soft and wet to elastic and creamy to extremely hard. They offer a wide panoply of flavors, and those that have aged to a firm hardness can be used in place of Parmigiano Reggiano.


Fromage fondu – These aren’t really cheeses, but a cheese product made from melted cheese and other ingredients, including whey, powdered milk, and other substances. These are low-priced dairy products, and often used industrially. They count, however, as a family of cheese.


Ricotta Cheese


1 gallon whole milk, not ultra pasteurized
1 teaspoon citric acid dissolved in 1 cup cool, nonchlorinated water
1 teaspoon cheese salt dissolved in 1⁄2 cup cool, nonchlorinated water
1–2 tablespoons heavy cream

Pour in the milk, the citric acid and the salt solutions, and mix well without touching the bottom of a chilled pot.

Heat the milk to 185–195 degrees, do not boil. At 180 degrees stir occasionally to prevent a skim coat from forming on top of the milk.

When the curds and whey separate, turn off the heat. If the whey is still milky at 195 degrees, increase the heat another 10–20 degrees.  If the whey remains milky, add more citric acid solution a little at a time, stirring gently until you see a clear separation. Allow to set for 10 minutes.

Ladle the curds with a slotted spoon into a colander lined with butter muslin. Tie the corners of the muslin into a knot and hang the bag to drain at 72–86 degrees for 30 minutes, or until the cheese reaches your desired consistency.

Remove the cheese from the bag and place in a covered container. For a creamier consistency, add the cream at the end and mix thoroughly.

Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Easy Cream Cheese


2 Quarts  light cream
1⁄4 teaspoon calcium chloride diluted in 1⁄4 cup cool, nonchlorinated water
1 packet direct-set mesophilic starter culture
Cheese salt

Heat the cream to 86 degrees. Add the calcium chloride solution and stir well to combine. Sprinkle the starter over the surface of the milk, wait 2 minutes for the powder to rehydrate, then stir.

Cover and let set at 86 degrees for 8–12 hours, until a solid curd forms.

Gently ladle the curds into a colander lined with butter muslin. Tie the ­corners of the muslin into a knot and hang the bag to drain at 72–86 degrees for 8–12 hours, or until the cheese reaches your desired consistency.

Place the cheese in a bowl and add the salt and herbs to taste, if using.

Pack the cheese into small molds and place in the refrigerator until firm, usually a few hours. Store in the refrigerator wrapped for up to 2 weeks.