Saturday, July 26, 2008

Ice Cream on Market Day!

Another beautiful morning at the Portland Farmer's Market. One of the biggest joys of my life is helping teach the kid's cooking class at the Saturday location downtown at the Park blocks. A gaggle of kids and local produce - usually involving lots of sugar at 10 am - is a surefire way to kick off a weekend. Today we made hand-rolled ice cream!

It was truly ingenious. We used empty paint cans, one small and one large, and gorgeous, simple ingredients. Sugar, local cream, and some more of the amazing Oregon berries that have invaded my culinary repertoire this week.

It's amazing to see all my favorite food bloggers churning out recipe after recipe of gorgeous berry desserts, and I've especially been drooling over all of the ice cream and sherbet recipes so popular this time of year. Alas, I have no ice cream maker! Today's class definitely solved that problem. We marched through the market, collecting cream from Norris Dairy, berries from a few wonderful vendors, and hazelnuts from Freddy Guy's, then we got to work. The kids stirred sugar, vanilla, and cream together, and poured the concoction into the smaller can.

They dropped in berries, cookie crumbles, and nuts to their hearts' content, and the cans were hammered shut. The larger cans were then filled with ice, ice cream salt, and frozen rocks (which would stay as cold as ice but wouldn't melt - hooray for science!) and closed up tightly.

Then came the fun part - the rolling! We made it a competition to keep them interested for the fifteen minutes it would take for the ice cream to solidify - the group with the best form won cute chef hats - and they had so much fun.

The result was some of the best ice cream I've ever had. Thick and rich, with the fresh berrries swirled through, and it only took a half hour from start to finish - including picking out the ingredients. I love being able to talk about local, fresh foods with the kids and getting them excited about cooking. To see them run up to their parents after class and beg to buy fruits and vegetables to try new recipes at home - that's why I do what I do. Plus, they are about as cute as can be.

All in all, a fantastic market day. I spent the rest of the morning taking photos for the PFM website - I'm the market photographer as well - and enjoying the sights, sounds and smells of the local harvest. Looking aroung, the berry is very much the celebrity of July, but plenty of other crops are entering their peak season. The early peaches are especially delicious this year, carrots and beets are coming out in all their jewel-toned glory, and the whole market smells like fresh herbs. I picked up some beautiful heirloom tomatoes that I'm enjoying right now with just a touch of fleur de sil, a gift from a market volunteer. I'm not one to spend twenty dollars on artisan salt, but I'm certainly enjoying the luxury.

I'll leave you with the recipe for the delicious ice cream we made. I hope you have as much fun as the kids and I did. Recruit some youngin's around the neighboorhood and make it a party!

Eat well!
Hand-Rolled Ice Cream
1/2 pint organic heavy cream
1/2 pint organic half and half
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup rock salt
Mix ins: berries, cherries, peaches, chocolate chips, caramel, cookie crumbles, pretzles, anything and everything!

Tools: Small pebbles, small paint can with lid, large paint can with lid

Stir together cream, half and half, vanilla, and sugar. Pour into small can and add additional mix-ins. Seal TIGHTLY. Put a few inches of ice in the large can and place the small can inside. Cover with pebbles, rock salt, and more ice - up to the top - and seal the large can. Roll back and forth for 15 minutes - approx. 500 rolls if you want to count. Open up your cans and enjoy summer!


  1. How did Portland come to have so many beautiful food blogs?? Wow...those things my boyfriend said about the Portland food scene and the farmer's market are all true!! And I thought they were just the biased and exaggerated opinion of a native Portland-er!! Thank you for the recipe for hand-rolled ice cream!!

  2. Wow! This is ingenious!! I love it, what a great way to get the kids involved in fresh produce... I might just have to try it myself, as a big kid...

  3. This ice cream looks fabulous and lots of fun! Where did you find the clean (unused) paint cans? I am having a group of adult guests over on Friday, but I am guessing they will enjoy this as much as the kids, but I am reluctant to use left over paint cans, even carefully washed, because I am concerned about toxic residue. We have great! farmers markets here in Madison WI and I would love to use the summer produce in ice cream.


  4. Dory - we bought them new at the hardware store, for three dollars a pair (1 small, 1 large). Good luck!!!