Peach ice cream, Apple Tarts and Packing for Spain






















Peach ice cream, Apple Tarts and Packing for Spain.

Caramelized Peach Ice Cream on a hot summer day can only make your world a better place.

If that’s not a loaded title I’m not sure what is. These last days of summer have been packed with activity.  My four kids couldn’t wait to start school yesterday.  I’m still wondering if it is to get back to their friends or to get away from their parents.  Summer seems too short and far too long at the same time!  Our end of summer treat was Caramelized Peach Ice Cream.  It was sweet, gooey and creamy.  A great combination.  You can scroll down for the recipe and add it to your family favorites.  My kids have gotten a bit out of control with their ice cream making this summer.  My third son is really into it and keeps asking to try to make chocolate peanut butter ice cream.  It’s on the list.

We also have been enjoying the local farmers markets. Check out the french apple tart we brought home from our last farmers market trip. We’ve been trying to experiment with beets and will have a few new recipes for you soon featuring this totally misunderstood vegetable.

On the first page of this blog I explained that this was a project for my family.  For my kids really, to document the foods they have grown up with and the events, friends and happy times that we have shared around the food.  At times I struggle with letting my images tell a story.  Often times I feel like I fall short on this. This first collection is a great example.  What does our peanut butter cup snack, wheat berry salad and beets have in common? What story am I telling with these images?

To hone my skills in lifestyle photography and story telling I am heading to Astei Spain.  Basque Country.  There I will meet 8 others from around the world…literally, to learn more about preparing, styling and photographing food in a way that tells a story.  Our teacher is Aran Goyoaga, Food Writer, Stylist & Photographer for the beautiful and award winning blog  

I am over the top excited to travel to Spain and France to learn from someone I so respect.  I am also humbled that my sweet husband made these arrangements for me to attend this class.  He is willing to hold down the fort for 4 kids and a ever shedding dog, juggle the schedules of his own demanding job and 4 kids in 3 different schools schools, sports, meals and extra hugs and kisses in my absence.  WOW.

When I return I hope I will have plenty to share.  Until then….



1 cup whole milk

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

1 vanilla bean, split and scraped

6 large egg yolks

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

1 pound ripe peaches (about 3 medium)

3/4 cup sugar



Combine milk and cream in a medium saucepan. Add vanilla seeds and pod. Bring mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally; remove from heat.

Whisk together egg yolks, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Gradually whisk in half of milk mixture. Pour egg-milk mixture back into pan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, 6 to 8 minutes.

Pour custard through a fine sieve into a bowl set in a larger bowl of ice water; discard vanilla pod. Let cool, stirring occasionally. Cover and refrigerate until cold, at least 1 hour; custard base can be refrigerated up to 2 days ahead.


Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, lightly score bottom of each peach with an X, using a paring knife. Add peaches to boiling water and blanch until skin is pulling away, about 1 minute. Transfer to a bowl of ice water. When cool enough to handle, peel and pit peaches. Cut into 1/2-inch pieces.

Combine peaches and sugar in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until just caramelized and syrupy, about 20 minutes. Let cool completely. (You should have about 1 1/4 cups.)

Chill a loaf pan in freezer at least 10 minutes. Freeze and churn custard base in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions. Add peaches at end of churning and churn 5 more minutes; transfer to pan. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze until hardened, at least 2 hours; ice cream can be frozen up to 2 weeks ahead.

Other times it’s best to leave it up to the professionals.  The FRENCH.  Oh ya french pastry.  oo la la yum.  I’ve probably just insulted an entire culture.  Sorry!

There’s something about the mistique of french cooking that is timeless, especially the bake goods. In 12 days I will be there to experience it first hand.  For now The sisters at the St. Roger Abbey in Vernon Hills are my go to French connection.  Today we tried the fresh apple tart.  It was fantastic.  We highly recommend it!

Every Thursday at our local Farmers Market they have a table set up and the Sisters sell their pastry in the heat of the summer in full habit.  It looks like they would just melt in the heat with all the layers of material but never the less they are always smiling and seem happy to be there.  I wonder if it’s the bounty of french pastry spread out before them.  I’m sure it has a great deal to do with the fact that every ounce of their baking skill and sales is part of their mission for the Lord.  When you purchase these Monastery handcrafted Cakes, Cookies and Specialty Gourmet Products, you actually have a share in this work of charity. Check them out at



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