Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Pine Creek Nursery - Tastes from the Garden

It was Michelle Newell that introduced me to Pine Creek Nursery via a Facebook post. I practically drive by it every day but never really noticed it before. I decided to visit one day after work a few months ago and picked up a few flowers for a container. While there, I signed up for their mailing list and I got my first newsletter a few weeks ago. They have lots of events from concerts to dinners.  Mark took me to their "Tastes from the Garden" four course meal (technically it was five courses) for a late birthday present. The dinner was outside, straight through the store on a lovely stamped concrete patio. They have a hardscaped stage surrounded by flowers and trees where they must have the bands play. There were several tables set up with place settings topped with a bouquet of rosemary and lavender. We didn't notice until we left that there were name tags on the tables so we didn't actually sit where we were supposed to but apparently the table we sat at was not reserved because it didn't have one on it.
Place Setting Pine Creek Nursery Outdoor Stage

Each table was served a plate of homemade artisan bread with a bowl of compound butter which didn't count as one of the courses. It wasn't gluten free bread so I didn't eat much of it but I did have a little taste just to try it and it was good. Soon after the bread was served, someone from Gregarious Cellars came by with a bottle of white wine. It's not a winery I've ever heard of and probably very few people have. As far as I know the only place you can get it is at the nursery. They have a tasting room there that's open Sat/Sun 12-5. Mark and I are not fans of white wines but it was the first wine that was brought around. You get one glass with dinner and we wanted to save it for a red so we didn't get a full glass of the white but we did get a taste and we were pleasantly surprised. It was probably the best white wine we've had. It was a 2011 Roussanne wine which is a French grape that I'd never heard of. It was so good that Mark bought a bottle on the way out. Even though we really enjoyed the tasting of white we both decided to try the Syrah which is my favorite red wine and it didn't disappoint; it had a strong pepper finish which is just the way I like it. We also got a glass of the red blend which was also good but we both liked the Syrah better.
Fresh Artisan Bread Gregarious Cellars Roussanne

Chef Aaron Brown presented each dish and answered questions about each one. After everyone was served he would also go around to each table answering more questions and asking how everything was.
Chef Aaron Brown

I enjoyed everything and most of the dishes were presented well with the exception of the main course. It wasn't very consistently plated and if it were me I would have presented the chicken on top of the bed of rice. Mark's was plated with the chicken and rice on opposite ends of the plate with about 2 inches separating them. Most of the dishes were made from scratch (except for the yogurt) and most of the ingredients were local (except for the chicken) with most of the vegetables coming from Willie Greens Organic Farm in Monroe.
Grilled Vegetables with Beef Chorizo Green Salad with Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette Ceviche Chicken and Rice with Dill Cream Sauce Berries and Vanilla Yogurt

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Dairy Free Mint Ice Cream Recipe

Dairy Free Mint Ice Cream It's been hotter than heck in Washington this summer so when I saw this recipe for Mint Ice Cream in the last issue of Paleo Magazine I had to try it. This is my newest magazine subscription and I'm really enjoying it and the recipes section of each issue. Each recipe is a full page and includes a nice photo too. They do recipes rights!

Not only is this ice cream dairy free but it is also refined sugar free. It's sweetened with honey and stevia and tastes amazingly like the mint ice cream I grew up with and you'd never know it was dairy free. It does have some odd ingredients in it which makes it the healthiest ice cream you've probably ever had. Spinach and avocado don't sound like ingredients that belong in an ice cream but it works. It's what gives the ice cream it's minty green color. Mint chocolate chip was my favorite ice cream when I was a kid and haven't had it in a long time so it brought back some nice memories.

The recipe called for adding chocolate chips but since Mark doesn't eat chocolate, I left them out and topped mine with cacao nibs and the new gluten free version of Bob's RedMill Honey Oat Granola which doesn't appear to be available on Amazon yet but can be found on Bob's RedMill site.

I'm not only posting this recipe for you all but also for me so I can find it easily and make it again!

Recipe: Dairy Free Mint Ice Cream

Adapted from Paleo Magazine's June/July 2014 issue: Mint Chip Ice Cream
Yield: approximately 1 pint (4 servings)
Total time: 35 minutes

1 medium ripe avocado, pitted
1 14 oz can coconut milk
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
2 cups fresh spinach
1/3 cup honey
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
10 drops liquid stevia

TOPPINGS (optional):
cacao nibs


1. Scoop avocado flesh and remaining ingredients into a blender, except toppings, and blend until smooth and creamy.
2. Transfer to an ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer's instructions.
3. Serve immediately and add toppings as desired or freeze in an air tight container until ready to serve. (Thaw 20 mins at room temperature before serving
If you are looking for a good container for storing your ice cream, I highly recommend these containers by Zak Designs. I have two of these that I bought for an ice cream social and they kept the ice cream frozen longer than the others.