I Scream for Good Ice-Cream

DSC_0118

Raspberry Goat’s Milk Yogurt Ice-cream with Fresh Peaches

This was so fun!  And, dang is it HOT in Atlanta!   My car temperature is reading 100 degrees.  Throw in the humidity and we need to eat some ice-cream to cool things off a bit!

So, I am also reminiscing of France today in this heat.  Not because of the heat but because of the ice-cream.  One of the first things I wanted to buy after my trip to France and cooking with Patricia Wells was an ice-cream maker.  I immediately bought the ice-cream maker back in October and now, 9 months later, it is finally getting some great use.  Patricia’s ice-cream is what made me want to own my own ice-cream maker.  The flavor is like nothing you could ever buy in the store (or at least nothing I’ve ever tasted).  The tangy goat’s milk yogurt brings me right back to Patricia’s beautiful Provençal yard overlooking the grape vines and olive trees.  Smells, tastes, breezes… what wonderful memories.  Now, I can make more great memories right here in Atlanta with my own family and loved ones while making and eating ice-cream.  I am feeling extremely grateful for the experience, Patricia, and to be able to enjoy it back home with all of you.

We can’t always be in France but we can surely eat more ice-cream.  This one especially because there isn’t a lot of sugar and no cream.  You can also experiment with different flavors.  Being from the south, we will be adding peaches to our next batch!

One thing to remember!  Go ahead and have your ice-cream base frozen.  It really takes a good 12 hours to freeze completely.  I forgot to do this and had to wait a full day before digging in.  It did make the experience that much better but I am terrible at being patient.  If I don’t have to wait, then why would I? Now, my ice-cream base stays in the freezer patiently waiting on me to make that next batch of yummy, cold ice-cream.

DSC_0105Raspberry Lemon Goat’s Milk Yogurt Ice-cream

Ingredients

1/2 Pint Fresh Raspberries

1/4 cup Simple Syrup

1 teaspoon Lemon Zest

2 cups Goat’s Milk Yogurt

3 lg egg whites

1/3 cup Ginger Honey (or plain honey)

Directions

First you will need simple syrup.  If you don’t have any on hand it is super easy to make.  Add 2 cups sugar to 2 cups water.  Simmer this down to a somewhat thick syrup.  Actually, my last batch wasn’t that thick, but still does the job.  It will take about 15-20 minutes.  Patricia adds a squeeze of lemon to hers, as well as do I, but it is not necessary.  Store your extra syrup in a jar in the fridge for another time.  It will keep for a month (or so).

Take 1/4 cup simple syrup and raspberries and simmered them for just a minute or two to break the raspberries down.  Strain your raspberry infused syrup with a sieve to separate the seeds.  Put this aside to cool. While the syrup cools, beat your egg whites in a mixer until stiff peaks form.  Fold in your yogurt, lemon zest, honey and cooled raspberry syrup.  After everything is mixed together, pour into your ice-cream maker.  Then, the ice-cream maker does the rest!  Viola!  And this is how memories are made!

Now, you may say, goat’s milk yogurt?  Don’t judge until you’ve tried it, as I tell my children.  It is addictively good.  Even the Goose likes it.  She says it tastes like a raspberry cheese cake.

Now, I am contemplating.  Is this an ice-cream or a sorbet?  I will have to google the difference another time or you guys can answer that question.

Wherever you are, hot or cold, in France or Atlanta, I hope you are making great memories and enjoying your summer.  Here is to ice-cream on hot days.  Cheers!

 

Advertisements

My GPS Guardian Angel

IMG_5464

Patricia Wells – Monday Lunch

I have flown for over 8 hours, been on a train from Paris to Avignon and rented a Fiat that I am driving to Vaison la Romaine.  Not only am I unsavy on technological stuff but I don’t speak any french.  I am really just now getting comfortable saying Bon jour and Merci.  So when I set up the GPS to guide me 40 miles to this beautiful place that I can’t pronounce, I was a little frazzled.  I just began doing everything the GPS said to do.  She directed me in with no problems.  She even spoke english!  I am forever grateful GPS Angel.

When I say, I hope I make it back home in two weeks, I really hope to be coming home.   If for some reason I am not home when I should be, please know I am lost.  Please call reinforcements.  I must look like a deer in headlights but frankly, I don’t give a damn.  I am having the best time and meeting some of the most wonderful people.  This experience has already surpassed what I could have imagined.  Tonight, I dined with 10 of the most amazing people from all over the United States, Canada and France.  Patricia and Walter Wells are two of the most down to earth people I’ve ever met but yet they exude brilliance and authenticity.  I want to absorb every word they speak like a sponge.  I love the fact that they are teaching these cooking classes as a team.  Both of them used to be journalists which I also find so magnificent.  Another one of my own aspirations that one day I will write something worth reading.  HA!   For now, I will do it for fun!

One of the things we all have in common here at Patricia’s  is the love of great food.   And, we get to sit under the Provençal Stars with a breeze of the Mistral and bottles of fabulous wine and talk about how we all came to this one spot in Chantanduc.  One of the students said what I was thinking – “it is like our souls have known one another and came here to congregate under the stars”.  This whole experience really is spectacular.

IMG_5488

Selfie in the Fiat

I personally wish that I could freeze frame moments because I don’t want to forget or miss any of this experience.  It is more than I could have wished.  I am super proud to say, I am doing it even though I have doubted my decision.  I have felt I couldn’t afford it, that I couldn’t get away from the girls, that I couldn’t leave my cooking in the states.  The list was long but I didn’t listen to the nah sayer in my mind (and some who said it to me) because I am doing it.

I can’t imagine how foolish I look here in Vaison la Romaine trying to pronounce anything in French.   But everyone has been so helpful and kind.  A father even hopped on his daughter’s bike as his family was walking and he led me to the driveway of Patricia’s home.  Her driveway is almost a mile long.  And, don’t believe a word people say about snobby french.  They may be in Paris but they aren’t here in Vaison la Romain.  Again, warm hearts all around.

I want all the Mom’s and women that may be reading this to please give yourself something wonderful.  Whether it is a trip by yourself for a weekend, a week trip with your significant other, a two-week trip with your children, a month summer trip with all the family.  This trip took three years to make happen and the planning and anticipation of the trip was just as much fun as the trip.  I know I am a better mother and person for it.  Not to mention, a better cook.  Here’s to saying  “Life is too short, I am doing this!”   Au Revoir!

 

 

Whispers That are Hard to Ignore

The Best Staff Ever!

The Best Catering Team

I knew that 2014 was going to be a great and exciting year, but I had no idea it was going to be this good so early on.  We had a wonderful wedding that we catered on the 4th.  I love catering weddings.  I love it down to the smallest things.  They can be so intimate and it is, by far, one of the most important times in someone’s life.  It is such an honor to be asked and trusted  to help someone make their special day so wonderful.  Everyone enjoyed the food immensely and came back for seconds and thirds at the buffet.  One gentleman said he hadn’t had food at an event this good in a long time.  I was on cloud nine.  The very night the wedding was over, I received another email from a bride wanting to meet about catering her wedding.

It finally feels like I am back on track.  When I lived in Charleston I had a whisper in my ear to go to culinary school at Johnson and Whales.  I was not only accepted but asked to join an advanced program.  I was thrilled and scared.  The fear overruled the thrilled.  I ended up giving it up and moving to Athens, GA.  I was young and didn’t know my strength or courage, yet.   I didn’t fight for it.  I easily gave it up because if I had tried, I might have failed.  My young ego didn’t want to be seen as a failure.  Failure doesn’t scare me anymore and neither does what people think of me.  Lord knows, I have failed at many things up to this point.  However, I have learned failure is not trying.  You never fail from trying because you gain knowledge.   Maybe the knowledge is “I don’t want to do that again”.  Sometimes God, the Universe, whatever you want to call it, has had to push me.  I look back on experiences and think, that hurt, but it was the best thing that could have happened.  We all have that whisper in our ear that urges us to go forward in our lives.  It takes courage, strength and being patient.  I don’t think patient was in my vocabulary until this journey began.  Now, I say it with almost most every breath.

I have dreamed of going to cooking school for many, many years.  I have had my eye set on one particular place in France for over three years.  Patricia Wells has cooking classes that she offers in Paris and Provence.  I wrote the name of the school on a sticky note three years ago.  I wanted to see it when I thought about spending money on something else, like shoes.  I stuck it right next to my computer.  I turned down many vacations with girlfriends because I knew that I wanted to put that money towards this trip that I truly desired.  Now it is coming into fruition.

I am more than elated to write, I am going on that trip to France to take a week long cooking class.  I am not going with anyone- just me, my passion and love for food.  Yes, it scares me.  What if my pipes burst again from some cold snap and I need to spend money on that?  What if someone gets sick?   What if, everyone that loves me and knows me supports me to go?   What if everything works out beautifully?  I’ll never know unless I go.  I am excited for the challenge of learning another language, of being in another country and finally doing it.  I am following my dream and nothing feels better than that.  It is never to late to follow anything your passionate about.  Well, unless your dead and then it is probably too late.  It wasn’t the right time for me to go to school in Charleston.  I had a toddler and a 6 week old baby.  At the time, I was living that dream and wouldn’t trade that for any cooking school in France.  Timing is everything and there are whispers for that too.  We know when the time is right because everything feels right and we can no longer sit still doing nothing about it.

Today, I want to share my Lentil Soup Recipe.  Every time I make it, there seems to be a whisper of France.  While we are making it, let’s turn on Edith Piaf and we will feel like we are already in lovely Paris.

Ingredients

1 cup french green lentils

Whole onion diced

3 cloves garlic minced

3 large carrots, peeled and chopped

2 celery stems, chopped

baby portabella mushrooms chopped (1 cup)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 16oz can of diced tomatoes

6 cups water or broth

1 rind of parmesan cheese

Directions

Sauté your onion, carrots, celery, and garlic in olive oil until slightly soft- about 5 minutes.  Add your lentils, tomatoes, broth or water, and parmesan cheese rind.  Simmer this for around 30 minutes.  Salt and pepper to taste.  The parmesan gives a meaty flavor so if you don’t have broth, you really don’t need it.  The flavors are excellent and the soup is very rustic, delicious, healthy and simple.  Double the recipe and have some during the week.  It only gets better as it sits.

I hope that after you chop your vegetables, you can simmer your soup, and smell all that goodness fill your home.  Then, curl up with a good book or magazine and start to dream.  Winter is for being still and dreaming, and letting go of any past pains.  Spring will be here soon enough, and those new buds will be coming up.  Sitting still is sometimes uncomfortable for me because I like to go and I love the warm sun.  Winter can be depressing and cold!  However, keeping still for a few moments can give us the opportunity to dream.  Then we can plan out those dreams.  And then, we can live them.  Here’s to living every one of our dreams in due time!  Bon Voyage!

me