Summer is Finally Here

Yesterday and today are the first two days that have actually felt like summer to me.  Here it is the 29th of June and I am just now feeling like summer has started.  Yesterday was a great day, my wife, daughter and I were able to play in the yard go to the farmers market and take the boat out for a nice evening ride around the lake.  The weather here in Minnesota has been a little odd this spring and summer.  We have had day above 100 and days below freezing all in the last two months and have had lots of rain.  All of that has taken its toll on the farmers, I really look forward to this time of year because I can usually count on getting some great fresh produce from the farmers markets.  Unfortunately the weather has caused a delay in most of the fruits and vegetables that I would normally get this time of year.    Yesterday when I was at the farmers market pickings were a little slim.  usually this time of year I can count on seeing some small cucumbers or peas or onions but yesterday all they really had was some fresh herbs and rhubarb.

I was happy to see that my favorite honey lady was out and had plenty of honey for sale.  The only other thing that was there were strawberries, and they looked beautiful.  Sow we picked up a couple of quarts of strawberries and headed home.  My wife didn't know what she wanted to do with these strawberries but we now had a bunch of them and our daughter was eating them as fast as we could wash them and  cut them up for her.

The idea of a jam came up on many occasions and I might have been convinced to make a jam, but these strawberries just looked to good to throw into a jam and let sit around the rest of the summer.  Short cake would have been good but its not really a 2 year old friendly dish, my daughter would have made a mess of that in a hurry.  Then the thought of ice cream came up and I knew what I was going to do.

Homemade ice cream is without a doubt the single most gratifying thing, I think, anyone can make.  Even the most basic vanilla ice cream when made at home is better than any store bought ice cream I have ever had.  This strawberry ice cream only has six ingredients in it and could not be any easier to make.

2 cups roughly chopped strawberries
1 pint heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup agave nectar plus two tablespoons
a pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract

Mix together the cream, milk, salt and 1/2 cup of agave nectar, stir this together then add the vanilla and  chill in the fridge for 1-2 hours.   Chop the strawberries and get rid of the stems, then mash half the strawberries with a fork or potato masher.  Mix all the strawberries together with remaining 2 tablespoons of agave nectar and shill in the fridge for at least one hour.  pour the cream mixture into the ice cream maker and run according to the manufacturer's  instructions.  When the cream starts to get thick,  the consistency of a milk shake, add the strawberries and continue to freeze.  when the ice cream is done put it in the freezer for 2-3 hours and then enjoy.

That is all it takes to make a sublime strawberry Ice cream that will make you smile, and because there are only six ingredients you can splurge a little and by the very best ingredients you can find.  I guarantee you that if you take the time to make your own Ice Cream just once, you will think to yourself every time you eat ice cream, why don't I just make this at home it would be so much better.