Figgy Ice Cream

Figgy 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
Figgy Ice Cream by Modern Day Forager

One of the reasons we took on ice cream this week is that we have been noticing a trend in the ice cream world, that ice cream never seems to taste enough like what it claims to be, or fully embraces the characteristics of the ingredients being used.  We wanted to see if we could change that and focus on showcasing and highlighting the ingredients from beginning to end.

Figgy Ice Cream by Modern Day Forager

So here is the scoop with our recipe, we have packed it full of fig flavor from fresh figs and figgy pudding bitters in the ice cream base and then finishing it off by garnishing the freshly churned ice cream with even more fresh figs, taking advantage of their wonderful texture, that combines the chewiness of their flesh, the smoothness of their skin, and the crunchiness of their seeds.  We think this says summer loud and clear.

Ingredients:

  • 20 + 2 fresh organic black mission figs, diced
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons fig bitters (we love AZ Bitters Lab Figgy Pudding Bitters)
  • 3/4 cup sugar

Directions:

  1. Place 20 diced figs in a medium saucepan with milk, cover and cook over medium heat, until tender, about 8 minutes.
  2. Add the sugar, and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the figs are jam like, another 10 minutes.
  3. Purée the mixture with bitters in a food processor until smooth.
  4. Stir until cool over an ice bath or chill thoroughly in the refrigerator.
  5. Freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  6. Sprinkle with diced figs and serve.

Figgy 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…?!?

Ingredients:

  • 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

Directions:

  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.

Ingredients:

Ice cream
Stout

Directions:
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.

Enjoy!!!

Modern Day Forager
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MDF’s Icy Melon Granita

Cantaloupe Granita by Modern Day Forager

ICY MELON GRANITA

Our version of a childhood summer revival with a twist, a little bit more sophisticated and all grown up.  Chill out, cool down and make the most of your long hot days.  Using white and orange cantaloupe makes for a very fragrant and well-balanced combination.   The addition of basil and the spicy, salty, sweet sugars really liven up this recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup filtered water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups cantaloupe chunks
  • 1 1/2 cups white cantaloupe chunks
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • curry sugar, didi’s sugars for the spicy component and for the salty and sweet component we used “martini” from go lb. salt rim-licks.
  • chiffonade of basil

Directions:

  1. In a small saucepan, stir the water and sugar over low heat just until the sugar melts.  Let cool completely.
  2. In a blender, puree the cantaloupe with the syrup and lime juice.
  3. Strain puree into a bowl through a fine mesh sieve, pressing through with a wooden spoon.
  4. Transfer the puree to a shallow container and place in freezer until frozen around the edges and slushy, about 30 minutes.
  5. Using a fork, stir the granita every 20 until it is completely frozen, about 1 1/2 hours.  Just before serving, fluff granita with fork.
  6. Scoop into bowls, sprinkle with curry sugar and garnish with chiffonade of basil.

Cantaloupe Granita by Modern Day Forager

Our good friends Liz and Aaron Eckburg own a great company, go lb salt which is a local salt bar here in Arizona and boy, do they know their stuff.  We highly recommend their website, there is a wealth of information, along with a user friendly online store,  filled with everything you could possibly need, and if that wasn’t enough they offer classes as well.   Check them out at golbsalt.  We also used another favorite resource of ours for this recipe, Didi Davis’s Food Sugar Blends.  This is a great source for all things spicy, salty and sugary, and they focus on small-batch handmade productions.  Check them out at salttraders.  So many new ways to play with your food.

Cantaloupe Granita by Modern Day Forager

Recipes by Rj of Urban Table
Photo Style & Art Direction by Traci of Urban Table

Photography & Art Direction by Heather of Heather Gill Photography

Modern Day Forager

Selecting, Storing and Preparing

Melon Week on Modern Day Forager

Every Saturday during melon season, I was asked the same question over and over;  “Could you select a melon for me?”  “How can I tell if a melon is ripe?”  “How do I store this at home?”  So let me try to arm you with the information you need.  First of all, one of the great things about shopping at your local farmers market is that most, not all, of the farmer’s at the market grew what they are selling, that being said, the melon was picked ripe, there are degrees of ripeness to be sure, but the melon is certainly eatable.  The problem comes in when the farmer or a grocery store purchases melons that have to be trucked to their final destination.

Melon Week on Modern Day Forager

 Selecting Melons:

Cantaloupe – Good quality cantaloupes will have a lot of  webbing on the skin, it will have a yellow/orange color and be slightly soft on the stem end.  If the cantaloupe is not ripe enough to your liking, store at room temperature on your kitchen counter or in a loosely closed paper bag for one to two days.

Honeydew – High-quality honeydew melons should be a creamy color and the skin will almost feel waxy when ripe.  They will be somewhat firm with a bit of softness at the stem.

Watermelon – Great tasting watermelons will be firm, even-shaped and heavy for its size.  The easiest method to judge ripeness is to look at the spot where it laid on the ground, that should be a darker yellow, and the rind overall should have a healthy sheen.  Watermelons do not ripen any further once they are cut from the vine.  Most popular watermelons are round dark green or dark green striped.  The light green oval shaped are usually not as sweet and red on the inside.

Seedless Watermelon– Like seeded watermelons, seedless watermelons will be firm, evenly shaped and heavy for their size.  Remember seedless watermelons are not seedless, instead of the large black seeds; they have the small white seeds that some people consider edible.  (I do not)

Storing Your Melons:

Uncut melons can be kept at room temperature for two to four days.  Ripe melons can be refrigerated for an additional 5 days.  Cut melons should be placed in a covered container and refrigerated for no more than three to four days.

Preparing Melon:

Melons taste wonderful just as they are.  Although, we are going to play around with them this week (that’s what we do.)  We like cantaloupe sprinkled with salt and a little black pepper, the combination is amazing, wrap them in prosciutto or any cured meats, blend the flesh and add the juice to anything, perfect addition to any fruit salad. Watermelon is wonderful with salt as well, we also like honey and lime or balsamic vinegar.  Let us know your favorite way to enjoy melons and we will pass them on to our readers.

Melon Week on Modern Day Forager

I hope that I was able to shed some light on the picking a melon question, please comment here or on facebook if you have any other questions on choosing a melon or any other farm fresh fair for that matter.

Melon Week on Modern Day Forager

Modern Day Forager

Melon Week (oh by the way, this is week # 9 for us)

Melon Week

Melon Week by Modern Day Forager

Celebrating the simple pleasures of summer, we are giving melons top billing this week here at Modern.  Summer melons are vibrant, fragrant, extremely versatile and bursting with fresh flavor.  Just one taste and you will sure to be hooked and stay cool all summer long with the season’s “hot” essentials.

 We have come up with a few questions we would love for you to answer

What is your favorite thing about summer?

What is your favorite summertime meal?

What are you reading this summer?

How do you stay cool and make the most out of these long hot days?

Relaxing by the pool, beach or are you having a big summer adventure?

Melon Week by Modern Day Forager

We love hearing from you, it is one of the best parts of our day.

Modern Day Forager

Grandma’s Donuts

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Recipes by Rj of Urban Table

Photo Styling & Art Direction by Traci of Urban Table

Photography & Art Direction by Heather of Heather Gill Photography

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Donut or Doughnut …no matter how you spell it, there may be nothing more satisfying to put in your mouth than a hot and fresh one of these old fashioned, hand-cut pieces of fried dough.

Ingredients:

  • • 4 cups flour
  • • 1 cup sugar
  • • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • • 2 tablespoon baking powder
  • • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • • 1 cup milk
  • • 2 eggs, beaten
  • • 1 quart oil for frying

Powdered sugar and/or cinnamon sugar (I liked to switch off, while grandpa stuck with plain dunked into his coffee)

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Directions:

Pre-heat oil in a large Dutch oven or pot to approximately 375 F.

Combine flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and nutmeg.

Stir in milk and eggs.

(This step was done by hand on a large floured cutting board in grandma’s kitchen) Divide dough into easy to work with portion and spread out to about 1/4 inch thickness.

Cut out donuts (Grandma use two biscuit cutters to cutout donuts. She did not make donut holes so she just kept re-using the center piece.)

Once you have cut out all your donuts drop them into hot oil, just a few at a time. Fry about 3 minutes, turn and fry for about 3 more minutes or until golden brown.

Drain: (Grandma always tore a brown paper bag and set that on a plate to drain the donuts… never really a necessary step since my grandfather and I ate them as fast as she could make them, which always created plenty of giggles.)

Sprinkle with powdered sugar, cinnamon-sugar, or neither, just plain.

Eat and enjoy! 

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Modern Day Forager

Strawberry Shortcake

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Recipes by Rj of Urban Table

Photo Styling & Art Direction by Traci of Urban Table

Photography & Art Direction by Heather of Heather Gill Photography

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Strawberry Shortcake

Ingredients:

4 cups fresh strawberries – tops cut off and sliced thinly (remove 1/2 cup and mash)

1/2 cup sugar

Directions:

Combine 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup crushed strawberries.  They will be syrupy.  Add this to the remaining sliced strawberries.  Serve over biscuits and top with fresh whipped cream.

Whipped Cream

Ingredients:

· 1 cup heavy cream

· 1 tablespoon confectioners sugar

· 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract

Directions:

In a large bowl, whip cream until stiff peaks are just about to form. Beat in vanilla and sugar until stiff peaks form.  Make sure not to over-beat, or you will have butter.

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We used the biscuits from yesterdays post.  In case you didn’t catch it here is the recipe again.

Gran’s biscuits are all gussied up with macerated strawberries and old fashion whipped cream.  Change up the ingredients and embellish with 1/2 cup of crumbled bacon and 1 cup of buttermilk to the dough and now you have a rich and creamy savory biscuit

Grandma’s Biscuits

Ingredients:

1/2 cup leaf lard, cold and coarsely chopped plus more to grease pan

2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast

1/4 cup of warm water (105F-110F)

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon coarse pepper

3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 cup yogurt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425F.  Grease baking sheet with lard and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water, let stand until it becomes foamy (5-10 minutes).
  3. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, pepper, cream of tartar and baking soda.  With a pastry blender or two knives, cut the lard into the flour mixture until pea sized coarse crumbs form.
  4. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, add yogurt and yeast all at once and carefully toss with a fork until just moistened, careful to not over mix.
  5. Flour your work surface; roll out the dough to 3/4 of an inch thickness using a rolling pin.
  6. Cut the biscuits using a 2 1/2 inch round biscuit cutter.  Gather trimmings re-roll and cut.
  7. Place biscuits 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheet.  Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.  Leave to cool for 5 minutes on wire rack, serve warm.*** For a MDF take on Grandma’s Classic ***Replace vanilla extract with balsamic vinegar or any of your favorite extracts and/or bitters, then for an urban table twist try a chiffonade of basil.

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Modern Day Forager

Simple Freezer Jam

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Recipes by Rj of Urban Table

Photo Styling & Art Direction by Traci of Urban Table

Photography & Art Direction by Heather of Heather Gill Photography

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We don’t know about your grandmas’ but ours made freezer jam every summer. We remember picking the fruit for grandma to use, she really didn’t get many since we were allowed to eat as we picked, but that was half the fun!

If you don’t like to can, this is for you.  Freezer jams use less sugar and you if you prefer you can omit pectin.  We are giving you 2 recipes today – one with pectin and one without.  We used Ball products for this jam, they have great plastic containers and we have always had success using their pectin for freezer and canned jams.

Freezer Jam – with pectin

4 cups strawberries or peaches (any fruit – peeled (if needed) and crushed)

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 package of freezer jam pectin

Combine all ingredients and put in plastic jars.  Let them set up for 30 minutes before putting them in the freezer.  Put one in the refrigerator a couple hours before you want to use.  And how simple that its no cook.

We love to eat this jam on homemade bread!  With fruit being just about perfect right now, this is something you could do tonight and use this weekend.

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Our grandmothers would never have made mango lime but we would!  So for this one we put super ripe mangos and fresh limes without pectin together.

Freezer Jam – without pectin

4 cups mangos – peeled and crushed

Juice and pulp from 4 limes – we used a citrus reamer

1 1/2 cups sugar

Combine all ingredients in a medium sauce pan and cook on low for about 30 minutes.  Let cool for a bit (8-10 minutes) then add jam to plastic jars (we used Ball) and let cool completely before adding lids and transferring them to the freezer.  You can also cool them in a water bath if you like to speed up the process and keep them out of the danger zone, 40-140 degrees.

You can substitute almost any fruit with this.  We chose mango and lime together not only because its tasty but also because the lime helps with the natural pectin that is lower in mango.  Both of these recipes  would double well if you want to make a larger quantity.

We would love to know if your grandmother made jam.  Did you get to help?  And if so, what part did you play?  Please connect with us in the comments or on our Facebook page.

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Modern Day Forager

Peach Cardamom Crumble

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Recipes by Rj of Urban Table

Photo Styling & Art Direction by Traci of Urban Table

Photography & Art Direction by Heather of Heather Gill Photography

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We are pretty sure that you have had crumbles and cobblers before but we are guessing that you haven’t had anything like this!  We have added basil, balsamic vinegar and cardamomnot your grandma’s summertime crumble!

Peach Cardamom Crumble

Ingredients:

Base

6 white peaches, pealed and diced

2 Tablespoons loosely packed brown sugar

1 Tablespoon white balsamic vinegar

1/8 teaspoon cardamom extract (we used lc finn’s cardamom extract)

1 teaspoon fresh chiffonade of basil

Crumble

1/3 cup old-fashioned oats

1/3 cup loosely packed brown sugar

1/3 cup all purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon cardamom

1/2  teaspoon citric acid

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Place peaches in a greased 9 X 13 baking dish or 6 greased ramekins. (If using ramekins place on a baking sheet) Sprinkle with brown sugar, white balsamic, cardamom extract, salt, pepper and basil. Toss to coat, set aside.

In a large bowl combine oats, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, cardamom, citric acid, salt and pepper then mix until combined. Now add softened butter and mash with a fork until crumble is formed then sprinkle over peaches.

Bake 15 minutes then rotate and bake an additional 15 minutes or until crumble is nicely browned.

You can serve immediately or at room temperature.

We love it with ice cream or a dollop of crème fraiche.

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Modern Day Forager