The April Post

Yep, it’s April…here’s what has been going on!

We moved into our new, larger, better, beautiful, spacious, new-equipment filled creamery!! Did I mention it’s spacious? And beautiful? We have our walk in freezer, a new 6 gallon ice cream maker (compared to the 1.5 gal I had before), and a new 100 gallon pasteurizer (used a 30 gal before)…I guess you could say we are growing up a bit. In a good way! I will do another post for a complete tour.

Our new walk in freezer. Set a cool -20 degrees. Pun intended.

freezer

This is before the pasteurizer was completely installed. Dang! Check out that beautiful stainless steel…

past

Isn’t it funny how things change? Three years ago if you would have told me that I would consider a stainless steel piece of equipment ‘beautiful’, I would have called you crazy. And would have said something along the lines of, “Um, equipment? A pasteurizer? What does that do?”.  Yep. Things change.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

This past weekend we attended the Earth Day Food and Wine Fest. Remember last year we had the ‘run of the sheep’? Oh, you don’t? When our sheep escaped and ran through the middle of the entire festival? With Wade chasing after it with a lasso?

Ya…. well needless to say, we didn’t bring sheep this year. But we did give the folks something just as memorable: CHAMPAGNE FLOATS! We paired our Raw Honey Ice Cream with Domaine LeMieux Apple Champagne. It was a hit.

earthday

I highly recommend you serve champagne floats at your next dinner party. DO IT.

On a non-creamery-related note, and for my shameless pet photo, here is Lucy and I at the ranch last week. I think she is smiling more than I am!

alexis.lucy

Can’t wait to share some more big news with you next month…. and I WILL post a tour of the facility soon!

Stainless steel admirer,

Alexis

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The February Blog

My name is Alexis Negranti and I have been an absent blogger. Confession complete.

So you may think that because I’ve been an absent blogger that it’s our slow time around here…well I hate to tell ya, but you’d be wrong! I’ve been traveling every week for meetings. I’ve probably seen more of California in the last month than I’ve seen in the last year. True story. To fill you in a little bit, the end of April marks the anniversary of our ice cream being on the shelves for one year. I know, I can’t believe it either! Anyway, we are doing a little {BIG} re-launch this April (and getting our ice cream into a store near YOU!). But more on that later.

I’ve also been writing cover letters (thank goodness for my communications classes in college!), sending out samples, and filling out promo-schedules. Oh, you don’t know what promo-schedules are? Well I didn’t either. That was until at the end of an important meeting last week I was asked if I could send them my ‘promo-schedules’ for this upcoming summer by the end of the week. “Of course, not a problem” was my response, in my most nonchalant, I do these all the time tone. Like what?! What was I thinking? I didn’t have the slightest clue what that was. Fake it till ya make it…I guess?! And I did make it. Sent them those promo schedules this afternoon. I’ve never been more happy creating and filling out a ginormous, overwhelming spreadsheet in my life.

Aside from boring office stuff….

We also are creating another label and will be making cheese. This is because I needed one more thing to do. Oh, and because the cheese is amazing.

This past weekend, Wade and I had a fun date night in and sampled the new cheese(s). And had wine. It was fabulous.

cheese.plate

Have *ewe* (sheep humor never gets old) heard about our new CHOCOLATE ice cream? Yep. The rumors are true! Chocolatey, creamy goodness and still less than 7% fat. And just in time for Valentines day. It’s really good, you should probably try it.

chocolate

Ohhhhh yes.

And our number one seller, Salted Brown Sugar. When we say handcrafted, small batch…we meant it!

sbs

No blog of mine is complete without at least one shameless photo of at least one of my animals….

Vivian. My, thinks-shes-a-ranch-dog, plays outside Shih Tzu, who proceeds to take residence on the top of the couch. It’s no wonder my house only stays clean for 2.3485 seconds at a time.

vivian

Seems like I’m on a once a month posting schedule (sorry, I’ve got schedules on the brain!). Hopefully I will get to more posts…if not, consider this the February blog!

Busy Blogger,

Alexis

Salty Brown

Salty Brown. What a fun name! If you miss out, it would be such a shame! (I feel like I could break out into song here… but I will spare you…for now.).

I have been wanting to make a salty/sweet ice cream for awhile now, but just have not found the right combination. Until last week. The creamy richness of the brown sugar, paired with the, well, saltiness of the salt is just sensational (or saltsational!). I crack myself up.

Just look at that beautiful swirl. Shameless plug BEGIN: What is great about our ice cream is that the flavors our rich and full, with a light creamy mouth-feel, but the finish is still very clean. You don’t get the fatty feel on the roof of your mouth because all our ice cream is less than 7% fat. Oh, you didn’t know that? Well you heard right, less than 7% fat. Shameless plug END.

Look how light and fluffy it is! With it’s soft caramel color and it’s saltsational (couldn’t help myself) flavor, it is perfect. Perhaps I should write an ode to our ice cream…

We are serving this up at Farmer’s tonight and Saturday, and it’s already on a couple menus and going fast. Oh, and I should mention that our online sales are just around the corner.

Enjoy!

Alexis

F.O.T.M. {Fresh Mint}

So now that it is officially past the middle of the month, I figured it was time to share the August F.O.T.M. (flavor of the month).

{FYI: this photo does not do this flavor justice. It is a beautiful light, light green with tiny flecks of REAL fresh mint. And it’s REAL good.}

This month the F.O.T.M. Fresh Mint. I knew the month of August would equal mint ice cream because Wade’s birthday is in August and his favorite ice cream is mint. It just makes sense.

Anyway, I am calling it fresh mint, because that’s what I use. But it really should be called neighbors mint. Why? Oh, because when I first made the ice cream I forgot to get mint at the farmers market so I walked on over the the neighbors property, helped myself to the mint, and walked on home. I was trying to be stealth (figuring I would just give them some of the mint ice cream and all would be forgiven) but my menagerie of dogs (4 of them–Vivian the Shih Tzu, Bonnie and Clyde the Pyrenees, and Lucy the border collie) all followed me over there. Then my neighbors menagerie of dogs (all 5 of them) started barking at my menagerie of dogs and suddenly there was an even larger menagerie of 9 dogs all barking and playing. So much for my quick and quiet getaway.

Back to the point…Fresh Mint tastes like just that. It’s a little bit sweet and a lotta bit refreshing. And apparently people are loving it… we went to the Farmer’s Market last night and Fresh Mint was the first to go!

Oh! And by the way we are going to do the Saturday morning market in San Luis Obispo starting…tomorrow! Hope to see you there.

 

Beating the heat with the refreshing F.O.T.M.,

Alexis

 

{roasted} summer vegetable & quinoa salad

It’s been hot here. Like really stinkin’ hot.Yesterday was up to 106. I should mention we live in an extremely old farmhouse with zero insulation which means that by about 1 PM our house is approximately the same temperature inside as outside. So I have been savoring the cool mornings, with iced coffee in hand.

Yesterday morning I made this salad (while it was still cool in the kitchen) knowing that it would be nice and chilled by the time 6 PM and 106 degrees rolled around. I just used what I had on hand, and it turned out delightful.

{roasted} summer vegetable & quinoa salad

2 cups prepared quinoa (Israeli Couscous also works : Trader Joes)

1 medium onion

1 yellow squash

1 cup cherry tomatoes (any small tomatoes will work)

8 oz crimini mushrooms

1 red bell pepper

1/2 cup basil/cilantro/parsley (whichever you have available)

1 T lemon juice and 1 t zest

1 T white wine vinegar

olive oil

salt & pepper

_ _ _ _ _ _

Set oven to BROIL

Wash and slice vegetables (chunky = good). Leave tomatoes and mushrooms whole. Chop herb of choice.

Place squash, tomatoes, and bell pepper on baking sheet. Toss in 1-2 T olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in oven for 5-10 minutes (tossing at least once during roasting) until vegetables are lightly browned.

Meanwhile, in medium saucepan heat 1 T olive oil and saute onion and mushrooms until soft.

In a large mixing bowl, combine quinoa and all vegetables. Toss in chopped herb, lemon juice/zest and vinegar. Add more olive oil, salt, and pepper if necessary.

Let cool in refrigerator 2-3 hours. It’s easy, beautiful and most importantly tasty.

MY NOTES:

– any fresh vegetables will work

– use as a side for any grilled meat

– this was enough for 2 with plenty left-over, easily doubled or tripled for crowd

– goes great with a big cold glass of white wine…just saying

Trying to stay cool….

Alexis

F.O.T.M. { Organic Blackberries + Vanilla Beans + Rosemary }

F.O.T.M. = Flavor Of The Month. I am calling it F.O.T.M. (pronounced fo-tum) because it is way more fun and easy to say than the drawn out F–L–A–V–O–R   O–F   T–H–E….you get the point.

So F.O.T.M. it is.

We start Thursday Night Farmer’s Market in Downtown San Luis Obispo next Thursday night. Woohoo! (Everyone is as excited as we are…right?!?)! To celebrate we wanted to do something special, so we have decided on making a new, special flavor with in-season ingredients for each month. The F.O.T.M. will only be available at the Farmer’s Market or online (oh yes, we are launching online sales sooooooon…..!). That flavor will only be available through us and will only be available for one month…like I said, it’s special! And once it’s gone, it’s gone.

So yesterday I created the July F.O.T.M.

I was given the most delicious, sweet, and tangy organic blackberries earlier this week from a local berry farmer; this is where my inspiration began. I knew I wanted the tang of the blackberries to pair with the sweet creaminess of vanilla beans. Blackberry Vanilla Bean. And it was good. But I wanted something more interesting. Another layer of flavor, something that would give it more depth. (It had to be perfect…it is the first F.O.T.M.!!!). I was thinking about adding lavender. But I realized I didn’t have any lavender. Dang. So I went outside the creamery and saw my rosemary plant (one of the FEW things that are surviving in my garden…). And the first F.O.T.M. was born.

Lets just say WOW.

{ Organic Blackberry + Vanilla Beans + Rosemary }

And not only does it taste A-MA-ZING, it’s really beautiful. Dark purple berries, vanilla bean and berry seeds. Nice.

What I love most about this flavor is it’s complexity. When you take your first bite you immediately get the sweet vanilla. Then you get the tangy berries. And lastly you get the hint of the herby rosemary.

I may or may not have eaten half a pint of this while writing this post. And I may or may not have more of it after dinner. Or before dinner. Or for breakfast tomorrow morning. Or on top of a rosemary shortbread cookie. It’s called quality assurance people…so it’s my job?

I could really get used to this F.O.T.M. thing….

Alexis

{salted} Five Egg Brownies

We have 15 laying hens. 15 Hens + 1 egg each = a heck of a lot of eggs each day. I have been forced to get clever with our egg consumption. Hard boiled eggs for snacks and salads, egg sandwiches, fritatas and quiches.

And because fifteen eggs a day isn’t enough, I bought four chicks the other day. My explanation on buying more chickens to Wade: they’re Araucanas honey! what? It’s the breed that lays green and blue eggs …I don’t have any Araucanas. I need blue eggs! I HAD to buy blue egg laying chicks… Wade had no response.

Aren’t they cute?

Back to the eggs. Here is a recipe for brownies. By making these I hoped to redeem myself and prove to Wade there are tasty ways to use eggs other than omelets and boiled eggs. I think my strategy may have worked…

These brownies are moist, tasty and above all use a whopping FIVE eggs!  Try these. You won’t regret it. And I serve mine with our Vanilla Bean ice cream. Is there anything better than warm brownies and ice cream? Oh, and the salt on top makes these like, the best dessert ever!

Please note: while melting the butter and chocolate in a saucepan, do not attempt to multitask and feed your dogs. The mixture will burn and you will have to start all over again. This is only hypothetically speaking of course.

{salted} Five Egg Brownies

Ingredients:

1 3/4 sticks butter (salted)

8 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips

2 c sugar

5 eggs

1 t vanilla extract

1 c flour

1/2 c cocoa powder

1 T instant coffee crystals (optional but recommended)

1/4 t sea salt (plus more for sprinkling on top)

Make It:

Preheat oven to 350

Line a 13 x 9 inch pan with parchment paper (make sure paper goes up all four sides).

Melt chocolate chips and butter on med-low heat in a saucepan. Don’t walk away- it will burn! Once mixture is melted and smooth, set aside and let cool for a few minuets until it reaches room temperature.

Once at room temperature mix sugar and vanilla into chocolate mixture. Whisk in eggs (one at a time) and mix well after each egg. Now add in the flour, cocoa and salt (and coffee crystals, if using). Whisk until smooth.

Bake for 25-30 min. They are done when middle doesn’t jiggle (technical I know). When you pull them out of the oven (still hot) sprinkle with a pinch or two of sea salt. Let cool and enjoy!

Click brownies for a printable version.