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Strawberry Bergamot Ice Cream

First post with the new camera?  What do you think?  Image improvement?  I hope so.  Forever a work in progress but I'd say these are lovelier by leaps and bounds.  Having a blasty blast over here and eating like a queen in the process of figuring it out.  Just in time too because the gorgeous 4th of July spread dreamt up by the incomparable Jenny Cipoletti of Margo&Me goes live TODAY on MyDomaine and I'm so excited about it.  It was a dream collaboration.  Taking a backyard 4th of July BBQ from kitsch to class was the challenge and bright red berries played a major role in bringing the Independence Day color palette not only to the table but to the whole aesthetic.  

Ultimately we went with the shortcakes and they were perfect but this ice cream could have been a solid contender for the final course.  Last weekend at the market I picked up what I thought was mint but it was actually fresh bergamot, that herb in Earl Grey tea that makes it smell like floral-y Fruit Loops.  Ingredients like that are an automatic yes on a Saturday morning.  

The whole week of the shoot was FULL of sweet little unexpected surprises.  What had basically turned into a 36-hour workday culminated in a late-night delayed flight to LA with a suitcase full of rhubarb, blowtorches, and tweezers in tow.  My best friend picked me up at the airport.  Sometime around midnight we got to our place for the night and downed some cereal before washing our faces, brushing our teeth and squeezing every last moment of sleep in before having to be re-packed and out the door in presentable form by 8am.

The next morning we crept out before our hostess was awake and rallied around LA in search of coffee and a handful of last minute groceries.  For the rest of the day I cooked my face off in a fashion blogger’s West Hollywood kitchen realizing midway through the day that I was still wearing the shirt I’d slept in the night before.  So much for presentable form.  Hair and makeup yes but somehow there’d been no time to change.  A solid first impression I’m sure.  It was such a blast though and after several days of tedious ad work it was refreshing to do something more…creative.  

Turns out the bulk of the shoot was happening at dusk making my original plan for a 9pm departure impossible.  Imagine our elation when friend Allison called to say that she was, “…checked into the Marriott in Manhattan Beach with extra space if ya’ll wanted to stay and hang for an extra night.”  

They’re few and far between for sure but have you ever had one of those days (and in this case one of those weeks) where everything just kind of falls into place both time and task-wise?  Things you didn’t even realize you needed to have fall into place for the sake of success and sanity.  Extra measures of grace, humor, and provision subtly and seamlessly worked their way into the everyday from unexpectedly short security lines to extra good coffee in the morning to securing front row parking everywhere we went, not to mention the last key-cial container of butane in a 2 mile radius of our location.  Once wrapped we shamelessly and quite gleefully rummaged through a pile of designer discards in the corner of the living room like two homeless vagabonds picking through the compost at The French Laundry.  Basically everything was a win and we walked out with armloads full of free stuff we could never actually afford in real life.  Did you know that Salvatore Ferragamo makes body lotion?  I didn’t either.  When we were finally all packed out into the car it was around 11pm and after a quick stop for snacks we ended up on Allison’s hotel doorstep around midnight.

The next day we worked all morning in our ath-leisure wear from a cluster of corner comfy chairs in the lobby overlooking the golf course.  We ordered coffee, set out an indoor picnic spread from our Whole Foods run the night before, and took a poolside break in the afternoon.  That evening before we went to celebrate a successful shoot at Gjelina, a restaurant in Venice Beach whose cookbook Al and I had been obsessing over for awhile.  It’s not often that restaurants live up to the hype I don’t think but this meal was extraordinary.  The food?  Amazing.  But the rosé?  Oh my.  Idlewild you guys.  The 2015.  We’re planning a trip to Healdsburg to get our hands on some asap.

All this to say, it was an extraordinary week.  And I have extraordinary friends.  Ones that will stick their necks out there at most any cost in order to open doors and help me take full advantage of every opportunity to do what I love, like this collaboration.  Midway through the day Corey got on the phone to handle my mom’s flight details for her (later on she’d be on the phone handling my own) while I torched the chicken and put the pie in the oven.  At one point we were in hysterics after a ten pound bag of flour went plummeting silently out the fourth floor window exploding into a questionable-looking white powdery mess all over the sidewalk.  We were exhausted.  Faking it through and through with the bold aspiration of eventually somehow making it (whatever that looks like) and selfie-ing all throughout the day so in the future we’d be able to remember, “that one time…”  There’s nothing like having people that are unconditionally in your corner.  They are a gift.  Their support and encouragement is invaluable and an unexpected mini-vacation with them was the sweetest end to all the crazy.

At the end of the day I just want to make really beautiful things with people that also just want to make really beautiful things and know how to hustle to make it happen. This was that.  It’s opened up a whole new world of ideas on collaborative possibilities between the worlds of food and fashion.  Food for Style.  Isn’t that cute?  I think it has potential.


Strawberry Bergamot Ice Cream

This recipe is a very slightly adapted version of one from a darling little book I assisted on years ago called I Scream Sandwich! by Jenny Schacht.  Her ice creams are thickened with tapioca starch instead of eggs making them a bit more affordable and more forgiving on the stovetop.  Win win.  I subbed sheep's milk cream and yogurt for the traditional dairy here.  Either will work.

Method

Whisk together the tapioca starch and lemon juice in a small bowl and set aside.  In a saucepan set over medium heat stir together the strawberries and sugar until softened, about 5 minutes breaking up the strawberries with your spoon.  Add the tapioca mixture to the berries and cook, stirring constantly until thickened, about a minute.  Remove from heat.  Use an immersion blender or food processor to partially puree the mixture leaving it a bit chunky.  Cool to room temperature and then refrigerate. 

In a medium-sized saucepan combine the cream, sugar, and salt.  Bring to a bare simmer over medium-high heat stirring to dissolve the sugar.  Remove from the heat and add the bergamot.  Allow it to steep for 20 minutes.  In a large bowl whisk together the tapioca starch and the agave.  Pour 1/2 cup of the cream into the agave mixture and whisk until no lumps remain.  Strain the remaining cream into the agave and discard the bergamot.  Return the cream to the pan, set over medium heat, and stir constantly until it reaches a simmer.  Cook until the mixture thickens to the consistency of a thick sauce, about 2 minutes.  Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature.  Stir in the yogurt and refrigerate until very cold.  

Line a standard loaf pan with plastic wrap.  Transfer the cream, the strawberries, and the loaf pan to the freezer 30 minutes before spinning.  Freeze the cream mixture in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions, adding the strawberries when prompted.  Pour the mixture into the chilled loaf pan, cover directly with plastic wrap and transfer to the freezer until set, preferably overnight.

Ingredients

2 teaspoons tapioca starch
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 cups strawberries, hulled and quartered
2 tablespoons sugar

1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup packed bergamot leaves
5 teaspoons tapioca starch
1/4 cup agave nectar
1 cup full fat yogurt
2 tablespoons lemon juice