Fresh Mint Ice Cream with Honey Caramel Sauce

We’ve been having some crazy weather here in Oklahoma. Tornadoes, thunder storms, rain, and more rain. Last evening, however, the sun split the clouds in two and the wind blew them away to the east.

Today is gorgeous. One of those days I always want to bottle up and save forever like an expensive flask of Italian wine – just to know I’ve got a nice day to uncork anytime I want. (Argh! I’m such a control freak! :)

I’ve been out doing yard work – mowing, weed-eating, and weeding the strawberry patch, soaking it all in – never getting enough. After the work is over, I’m going to finish off the mint ice cream I made last night.

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If you’ve never tried fresh mint (yep, the green stuff that grows like crazy! ) ice cream then you are in for a treat!

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Our mint comes back every year and tends to wind it’s way into the cracks and crevices of the green house, along with the Bermuda grass that is SO hard to control. I think mint and Bermuda are best friends…or at least closely related. They have the same behavioral patterns anyway.

IMG_9731At least mint tastes good!

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Anyways, you’ll need about one cup of mint leaves for this recipe…

  • 2 1/2 c. whole milk
  • 1 1/2 c. cream
  • 1/4 c. raw honey or 1/2 c. sugar (or more to taste). If you don’t care for a slight honey flavor in your mint ice cream, go with the sugar. My personal preference is sugar in this recipe, but then it’s not as healthy that way.
  • 1 c. mint leaves
  • pinch of sea salt

Combine everything together in to the blender and blend away.

IMG_9762Line a bowl with a large tea towel and pour the blended mixture in, making sure there’s plenty of towel left hanging over the edge.

IMG_9767Gather up the corners and let the liquid drain into the bowl. Be sure to squeeze out the very last drops of minty flavor. It will be a bit brown toward the end.

It’s ready to churn. I use a 4 quart Cuisinart – the kind that has the frozen bowl. Very handy for small amounts.

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Oh yum! Using the suggested honey amount in this recipe makes it just barely sweet, which is perfect for drizzling on some caramel sauce made with honey!

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You’ll find that recipe here @ CDKitchen.

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And there you have it…the perfect sunny day dessert.

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Top with strawberries if you like…

Or shave some dark chocolate over the top.

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What variation do you have in mind?

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A Profusion of Parsley – Pesto Anyone?

So, we’re getting ready to head out of town tomorrow. The morning was spent in the garden mulching everything, putting cages around the tomatoes, and picking what produce could be picked. Peppers and parsley…and more and more parsley. What do you do with buckets of parsley when you’re going out of town the very next day???

I decided to make Parsley Pesto to freeze and, since we’re going out of town – hence cleaning the frig out – I used feta cheese in place of the usual Parmesan. However Parsley Pesto with Parmesan has a better ring to it than Parsley Pesto with Feta. If you serve it with pasta it’s even more preferable.

So, if you find yourself in our position, pick up the parsley, pull out the processor and plunge into the pesto making procedure!

Pardon my alliterations, really.  I can’t help it.

Parsley Pesto

8 c. fresh parsley

2 cloves garlic

1/4 c. feta cheese

1/2 t. salt

1/4 c. olive oil

1/4 walnuts

Pulse parsley in processor until pulverized. (See! How else would you word that sentence with such precision?!!) You may have to chop half the parsley before adding the other half in order for it to fit.

Add remaining ingredients and pulse profusely.

One great thing about parsley pesto is that you don’t have to worry about it going brown on you like pesto made with basil does. And the great thing about pesto is that it’s SO versatile. Here are some variations for your perusal. Just pick one or two (or more!) items from each category and combine to create your own unique flavor.

Greens – kale, spinach, oregano, basil, parsley

Cheese – feta, Parmesan, goat cheese, blue cheese

Nuts – walnuts, pecans, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds

Oil – olive, safflower, walnut, sesame

Garlic – hmmm…no good substitute for garlic. Sorry.

Another great thing about pesto? It freezes really well. I like to freeze mine in quart sized Ziplocks. Press all the air out and flatten pesto as thin as possible. This way, it thaws in minutes if you forget to pull it out of the freezer. Just dunk it in some water for even faster thawing.

So, while I was whipping this up, I decide I needed to look up parsley to see what kind of nutrient punch it provides. Here’s what I found out from www.nutrition-and-you.com

  • Parsley contains many health benefiting essential volatile oils that include myristicin, limonene, eugenol, and alpha-thujene.
  • The essential oil, Eugenol, present in this herb has been in therapeutic use in dentistry as a local anesthetic and anti-septic agent for teeth and gum diseases.
  • Parsley has been rated as one of the plant source with highest anti-oxidant activities.
  • The herb is a good source of minerals like potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, and magnesium.
  • It is rich in many antioxidant vitamins including vitamin-A, beta-carotene, vitamin-C, vitamin-E, zea-xanthin, lutein, and cryptoxanthins. The herb is also an excellent source of folates.
  • Fresh herb leaves are also rich in many essential vitamins such as pantothenic acid (vitamin B-5), riboflavin (vitamin B-2), niacin (vitamin B-3), pyridoxine (vitamin B-6) and thiamin (vitamin B-1).
  • It is probably the richest of the entire herb source for vitamin K; provides 1640 mcg or 1366% of recommended daily intake. Vitamin K has been found to have potential role in bone health by promoting osteotrophic activity in the bones. It has also established role in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease patients by limiting neuronal damage in the brain.

Here’s the point – take pleasure in your parsley, people. It will provide you peak performance potential!