Monthly Archives: June 2017

Blue Spruce Ice Cream

**Ice cream maker needed for this recipe**

Spruce tips prime for picking!

Have you ever looked at a spruce tree and thought, “yummy, those needles look delicious!”?  If you haven’t, you might have that thought after trying this recipe.  Spruce tips give ice cream a very unique and elegant flavor, something unlike any other food I’ve ever had before.

Foraging for spruce tips is easy, but like all foraging, it needs to be timed just right.  The tips in these pictures were found in the middle of May in Minnesota.  Depending on weather, it will fluctuate slightly every year.  It’s easy to see when the tips are forming and ripe for picking.  From a distance, you will see an off-color at the tip of each branch compared to the rest of the tree .  As you get a closer look, you will look for a brown, papery film that is falling off some of the tips.  The tips should not be opened up very much and will feel much softer and pliable than the other needles, which are hard and spiky.  If it is not the right time of year for harvest, start noticing where the nearest spruce trees are located and store that in the back of your brain until spring.

Spruce trees are not native everywhere in this area, but they are often planted in yards for privacy, protection from the elements, and year-round greenery, which can make harvesting very convenient… especially if you have one in your own yard, like I do!  It’s not harmful for the tree to pick the tips, but you shouldn’t harvest all of them… which would be pretty difficult anyway unless you are 20 feet tall.  Any spruce tree can be used for this recipe, but according to those that have tried different types of spruce tips, they recommend Blue Spruce.  I’ve only tried Blue Spruce, but feel free to experiment with others and let me know what you think.

From a distance you will notice discolored tips at the end of each branch

Ingredients:
1 can coconut cream
1/2 cup honey
6 egg yolks
1/4 t. salt
1/2 cup Blue Spruce tips

Method:

  1. Add everything except the Blue Spruce tips to a pan and heat until steaming, but not boiling. Whisk the entire time.
  2. Pour everything from the pan into a blender and add the spruce tips.
  3. Wait for everything to cool to room temperature before blending.
  4. After blending, pour the mixture through a fine strainer and into your ice cream maker and operate your ice cream maker and blend until desired consistency.  (The last time I made this recipe, I kept the spruce tips in.  It just gave a fluffier texture than regular ice cream, but still very delicious and I’ll do it again unless the tips aren’t extremely tender)
  5. Eat immediately or spoon the ice cream into single-serve size cups and put into freezer.
  6. When you want to eat the ice cream that has been frozen, remove and let sit out for 15 minutes before enjoying so the ice cream can soften to a more ice cream like consistency.  These 15 minutes seem like forever!

Spoon the ice cream into freezable container and freeze for later enjoyment

Strawberry-Basil Mojito

Somehow, summer always knows it is supposed to arrive after Memorial Weekend.  Here we are, the weekend after Memorial and the once the cool, rainy days have turned to steamy and dry! Oh ya baby, bring on the summer!

This years kick-off to summer started with a 4-wheeling trip to Hurley, Wisconsin with two of the Goldies and their counterparts.  We had a great time filled with laughter, cocktails, 4-wheeling, and of course lots of iron ore!  While the days leading up to our trip were cool and rainy, in true Goldie fashion the weather cleared just long enough for us to enjoy our outdoor adventure.  If you like 4-wheeling Wisconsin is super 4-wheeler friendly;  they have miles of trails set up and welcome the vehicles in most any small town.

The gang! This was our “before” picture, we had so much fun that we forgot to take the “after” one!

To make a long story short, we had a FANTASTIC time and hope to do the same thing again next year.

Of course there was some mud and Shane had to get involved!

The weekend following our kick-off was a laid-back one.  I spent the weekend doing chores around the house and just plain enjoying the hot, hot, hot days!  The weather inspired evening outdoor cocktails.  I REALLY wanted a Mojito but I didn’t have any mint; so what did I do? I got creative of course!  I remembered that I had some frozen organic strawberries from my local food co-op and some potted fresh basil.  The two quickly came together in harmony in my new summer favorite: Strawberry and Basil Mojito!

The Drink:

2 oz White Rum

3-4 Basil Leaves

2-3 frozen Strawberries (they wouldn’t need to be frozen)

Lime LaCroix Water

Stevia or other sweetener of choice (optional)

Method:

In a short glass muddle the basil.  Add the ice, strawberries and Rum and then fill the remainder with LaCroix.  I like a bit of sweetness so I add stevia.  Some people don’t like stevia so feel free to add whatever sweetener your heart desires.

It was a glorious summer evening in Harris, MN!

The hot weather lead to lazy dogs!

Shane didn’t want to come inside:)