Ice Cream Week Wrap-up

Ice Cream Week Wrap-up

Figgy Ice Cream by Modern Day Forager

Well, this week has been an interesting one, here at MDF…who would have ever thought that the trials and tribulations would be so overwhelming with a little local blog?  Every week we strive to bring the best we have to offer, blended with the best the valley has to offer, wrapped up in a pretty little package we call Modern Day Forager.

A novice to the food styling and photography world, (“recipe dude”) as I am called, can tell you, this blog is no small undertaking.  When I suggested ice cream as a theme, (in my infinite wisdom, I thought that ice cream in the valley of the sun, in the dead of summer, sounded like a great idea) my partners, to their credit, didn’t bat an eye.

Sunday, our first day of shooting was a BIG disaster, to say the least.  Heat, sun, humidity, me reacquainting myself with making ice cream, my renewed ice cream skills and techniques (hadn’t made scratch ice cream in about 10 years), had devastating effects on our results.  I can tell you from personal experience, Traci and Heather can do the impossible and come together to make just about any photo look good but when these “oh no I’m melting” photos did not pass their litmus test, it was back to the kitchen for me, and we re-shot everything the following day and boy are we glad we did.  (Plenty of shots for out take week)

First up, was our chocolate stout ice cream, now my new favorite, because of it is rich chocolaty taste and creaminess.  For me, it coated my mouth in all of the right places and but had a slight bitter hoppy finish that lingered, which is just how I like my beer.  Next, we tackled Traci’s grown up take on the old-fashioned ice cream float.  The flavors were inspired by a close friend, brew master and Master Cicerone Brian Helton’s house made chocolate stout, that we tried about a year ago and still talk about to this day.

Number two on the list, was our figgy ice cream; we chose this one to bring one of our favorite fruits to the table and use the fig all the way from beginning to end.  In order to really bring out the fruits flavor we incorporated AZ Bitters Lab Figgy Pudding bitters and to fully appreciate the texture we added even more fresh figs for their seediness and complexity.  Bitters in ice cream, come on, oh yes, we did!!!

Number three, and our final ice cream was, pink peppercorn goat cheese.  We had to bring a savory ice cream into the mix that really exemplifies one of the things we like to do at urban table.  The goat cheese brings a mild delicate creaminess with a whole lot of tang, while the pink peppercorns bring a very slight peppery finish with the addition of floral notes.  We couldn’t just leave it alone, we had to push it a little farther, so we stirred in pieces of honey comb and drizzled honey in the batch for just the right amount of sweet and savory, it really pushed the boundaries and it became a winning combination for us.

To finish up this theme of ours, Heather took over the writing reins and shop girl, to introduced us to an old school ice cream machine, reminiscent of one she used as a child.  She shared the two books we read in preparation for ice cream week, both of which are great resources, (I am a big fan of the Humphry Slocombe book and took inspiration from it when writing the recipes), and finally she gave us a link to Joy cones, the perfect cone for our chocolate stout ice cream.

We sure hope you enjoyed this as much as we did!  Please send us your feed back here or on our facebook page.

Figgy Ice Cream by Modern Day Forager

Modern Day Forager


Shop Girl for Ice Cream

As we wrap up our week of ice cream we wanted to give you a few things we love for making this wonderful treat.  Memories come flooding back about summers of our youth.  Many a summer was spent gathering up supplies to make our fresh churned ice cream. Boring but was always the favorite, vanilla.  Sometimes adding miniature chocolate chips.

It was never super hard and would melt very fast on a hot summer day.  It always seemed at the time to take forever to make it, adding the crushed ice around the outside of the aluminum freezer.  Adding rock salt to help it melt and then adding more.

The first bite was so satisfying and worth every minute of the time it took to make it.  This first item reminds me so much of the summers when my daddy would say, ‘Let’s make some ice cream.”


We found this on Wayfair.  There are many newer and less labor intensive models to choose from but this reminds me of what we used growing up.  This is sure to add many wonderful memories for you and your family.

If you need inspiration about what flavor of ice cream to start with, we would like to suggest a few books on ice cream.


Chronicle Books



Not only are the photos fun to look at but the recipes are delicious as well!

If you want to jazz up your homemade ice cream offerings you can get fancy with what you serve it in.   We love pretzel cones.  The Chocolate Stout Ice Cream would be so wonderful in these cones.


Joy Cone

There are so many special memories about ice cream for us.  I can remember visiting grandpa and him making peppermint ice cream.  He would take the giant candy canes and smash bits of it to add to the sweet vanilla cream.  I haven’t had anything like it since.  We would love to hear about your ice cream memories.

Pink Peppercorn and Goat Cheese Ice Cream

Pink Peppercorn and Goat Cheese Ice Cream

Recipes by Rj of Urban Table
Photo Styling & Art Direction by Traci of Urban Table
Photography & Art Direction by Heather of Heather Gill Photography
Pink Peppercorn Goat Cheese Ice Cream by Modern Day Forager

A sweet  indulgence!  Goat cheese and pink peppercorns are the perfect match for our MDF wheelhouse.  They fit the criteria of being out of the box, something we would want to make over and over again and something we would want to serve and share with everyone.

When thinking about this recipe we had a lot to consider, first, we needed a goat cheese that would not be overly  strong, but something light and delicate, a mild cheese that still could hold its own, yet, still had some zip and tang.  For us, it had to taste like a rich and creamy cheesecake.

Pink Peppercorn Goat Cheese Ice Cream by Modern Day Forager

Next, we added  pink peppercorns, which by the way, are not really peppercorns at all, they are dried pink berries from a rose shrub.  Who knew?  These lil pink pods are packed with spicy floral notes that add real depth to the ice cream, and a little bit of attitude and at the same time add some bite and chew.

To push it over the edge and make it MDF worthy, we went all out and added lil chunks of rich honey comb to really make this icy goodness stand out,  and with that, we just knew, we had to add the addition of  drizzled honey into the ice cream mix, for a sweet mouth feel and a sweet finish, and boy oh boy, this sweet freeze will surly keep you coming back for more.

Honey Comb by Modern Day Forager



  • 4 ounces good quality fresh goat cheese, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoons pink peppercorns, coarsely ground (we use mortar and pestle)
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup honey comb, diced
  • 3 tablespoons honey drizzled in end product


  1. Place goat cheese, honey and peppercorns in a large bowl and set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan, warm the milk and sugar.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks.
  4. Slowly pour some of the warm milk mixture into the egg yolks, constantly whisking, to temper the eggs.
  5. Return the mixture to medium heat and continue whisking until the mixture thickens and coats your spatula well, pour it through a sieve onto the goat cheese, honey and peppercorns, stir until the cheese is melted and smooth.
  6. Stir until cool over an ice bath or chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator.
  7. Freeze it according to your ice cream maker’s manufacturer’s directions.

Transfer to a freezer safe storage bowl, stir in honey comb pieces, and drizzle honey and combine, then cover and freeze for at least 2 hours.

Pink Peppercorn Goat Cheese Ice Cream by Modern Day Forager

Modern Day Forager

Chocolate Stout Ice Cream + Float

 Chocolate Stout Ice Cream + Float
Recipes by Rj of Urban Table
Photo Styling & Art Direction by Traci of Urban Table
Photography & Art Direction by Heather of Heather Gill Photography
Chocolate Stout Ice Cream by Modern Day Forager

No matter what your age, we think there is something really satisfying, watching creamy rich vanilla ice cream being scooped into a tall chilled glass and then the anticipation of  ice cold root beer being poured over the scoops, to create a old fashioned soda fountain float.  It’s what comes next, that is one of the best parts of this old school treat, there is the foam, the spill over and if that wasn’t enough, the top off of root beer, plus the nifty straw you get to stir, swirl, slurp and sip your icy glass of goodness.  Does it get any better?

Chocolate Stout Ice Cream by Modern Day Forager

We think not!   We replaced the traditional vanilla flavor of the ice cream and churned out our own milk chocolate stout ice cream.  To build the float, we added some stout to our chilled glass giving us better control when we added the scoops of ice cream and the splash of beer, making a thick head of foam and overflow but not making a huge mess.  The result was a extremely rich, thick, malty (with hints of hoppy bitterness), that really complimented the intensely flavored ice cream, creating a truly decadent dessert.  Who says the kids have to have all the fun this summer…?!?


  • 7 ounces milk chocolate, grated
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla bean
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup chocolate stout
  • pretzel pieces, to taste, as garnish


  1. Place chocolate pieces in a large bowl and set aside.
  2. Warm the milk, sugar, vanilla bean and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk egg yolks, then slowly pour some of the warm milk mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, to temper the yolks.
  4. Then add the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.
  5. Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat,  scraping the bottom as you stir, once the mixture thickens and coats the spatula, pour it through a sieve on to the milk chocolate, stir until the chocolate is melted and smooth.
  6. Whisk in the cream and stout.
  7. Stir until cool, over an ice bath or chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator
  8. Freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.


Ice cream

Pour about half the stout in your chilled glass, (this will allow the ice cream to set up and you will have better control) followed by a large scoop of ice cream, then add a second scoop on top of that, add a splash of the stout to cover all of the ice cream to get a thick head of foam, add your favorite straw and serve immediately.

Chocolate Stout Ice Cream by Modern Day Forager

Modern Day Forager

I scream, you scream, we all scream, for ice cream

Vintage Ice Cream Shoppe by Modern Day Forager

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream

Recipes by Rj of Urban Table
Photo Styling & Art Direction by Traci of Urban Table
Photography & Art Direction by Heather of Heather Gill Photography

Vintage Ice Cream Shoppe by Modern Day Forager

We all yearn for the days of the ice cream man, and our favorite quintessential summer time treat.  Well, we are here to tell you it is easier than you think, to churn out handcrafted artisan ice cream that tastes like an old fashioned summer.  We are pushing the flavor boundaries this week, while celebrating National Ice Cream Month with a few frosty and icy goodies we came up with.

Vintage Ice Cream Shoppe by Modern Day Forager

So here is our inside scoop, and  boy did we have fun.  We started with all-natural fresh ingredients and made our ice cream in small batches.  To ensure even more quality, we used our local sources and farmers, which gave us a better end result.  So no matter what your age, these recipes will make you as happy as when you were a kid,  running down the street with a big old grin on your face, your pocket change and crumpled up wad of dollar bills in hand, to be the first in line to get your favorite frozen novelties.


Modern Day Forager
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