For the love of ghee and screaming for ice cream 

What happens when you blend ghee, honey, turmeric and coconut milk together? Magic.

Ever heard of PaleoFx? IN a nutshell, it is a conference that has everything to do with food, health and wellness. The world comes together for three days to listen to renowned speakers and experts on nutrition and body optimization. Some of the best speakers were found in the exhibit hall too. Friday and saturday, I hit all the booths and spoke with all the vendors. I learned their stories and what makes each of these participating companies special.

I met the most knowledgable man when it comes to ghee and spices while attending PFX17 in Austin Texas. Sandeep Agarwal and his family have been making ghee for 5 generations. They know their stuff. Everything is made by hand in small batches to ensure the utmost in quality. They make their ghee as they would make it for their own family. The heart in their logo is all about the love they put in their products. What does this have to do with ice cream you may be wondering. I will get there eventually. I promise.

In case you don’t know what ghee is, it is grass fed butter that has been clarified to remove all but trace amounts of casein and lactose. Ghee is a nutrient dense food that can be enjoyed in everything from daily cooking to coffee to ice cream. Yes, ice cream. That’s where I come in.

Sleep was elusive to say the least while attending this event. My head was buzzing from all the information I was taking in and the ways to implement everything I was learning in my own world. Saturday night, as my eyes were finally closing, the thought of ice cream and ghee popped into my head. It wasn’t unlike the old chocolate and peanut butter commercial from way back. I couldn’t wait to get to the Palmer Conference Centre.

I left the Pure Indian Foods booth on Sunday with a jar of the Coconut Ghee and visions of ice cream dancing in my head.

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Honey turmeric ice cream:

  • 20 ounces of room temperature full fat coconut milk (cold will cause the ghee to solidify in chunks)
  • 1/4 cup of honey
  • 2 tablespoons melted Coconut Ghee (I used Pure Indian Foods)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon of Vital Proteins Gelatin (provides amazing texture and gut-healing properties)
  • 1/4 cup boiling water (to dissolve the gelatin)

Pour the coconut milk, honey and ghee into a blender and process until smooth. Dissolve the gelatin in the boiling water and whisk in the turmeric. Add the dissolved gelatin and turmeric to the coconut milk and blend again unit completely incorporated. Place in the fridge to cool for approximately an hour.

Quickly blend again prior to adding the mixture to the ice cream maker. Freeze according to manufacturers instructions. My Cuisinart machine took about 25 minutes.  If you prefer your ice cream more of a soft-serve consistency, dig in. Otherwise, transfer to a glass loaf pan and freeze for a couple of hours for firmer ice cream. Let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes to make scooping easier.

I sprinkled mine with some Wild Hibiscus Flower Pyramid Salt Flakes just before eating. Truth time? I had this for breakfast right after my faTT coffee.

 

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Beach days and honey roasted carrot soup 

You never know when inspiration will strike.

I am fortunate enough to live approximately a 12-14 minute walk from a beach. Yes, I have timed it. Have I mentioned this before? I never tire of the view and I never take it for granted. People travel great distances to see the ocean and I have it practically in my backyard. Even in the rain, it is a beautiful ting to behold.

Let me take you there.

There is no one else at the beach. It isn’t tropical white sand. The beach here is predominantly rocks. That is ok because they are easy to walk along to get to your final sitting area. The rocks also act as a deterrent to a lot of folks, so that helps keep it more private. The best things always require a bit of work, wouldn’t you agree? A few minutes along and you find the perfect little alcove below the overhanging trees. You are sheltered from winds and are less visible if anyone else happens along the beach. You set up your chair beside a large flat rock to act as your table.

You are sitting at the beach (in the shade) sipping some cold brew coffee and snacking on all the good snacky snacks you packed. An eagle is circling overhead, then dives down and plucks a fish from the water right in front of your eyes. He returns to the nest, which is situated somewhere overhead, with his treasure. In the distance, a seal is bobbing up and down in the tide. You play a minor game of guessing where he will pop up next. In your head you are thinking Marco Polo and wondering if he is doing the same. Secretly, you long to see the dorsal fin of an Orca break the water.

The only sounds to be heard are those provided by Mother Nature. She really knows how to work her symphony. The tide is relentless. The continual sound of the waves releasing their energy to the shore is hypnotic. That is punctuated by the calls of the seagulls and geese. You close your eyes and breathe in the fresh salty air. You could almost fall asleep because you are so relaxed and at one with the universe.

Carrots. Roasted carrots. Honey roasted carrots. Turmeric, honey roasted carrots. Soup.

Your eyes fly open and you nearly dump your coffee in an attempt to put notes to paper as it were (ok, in reality you are pecking away on your phone) before the ethereal vision of this soup leaves your relaxed brain forever.

You feel content having written down your idea but can no longer remain in a tranquil state because you want to try the recipe your brain has gifted you. You quickly pack up your gear, look around, ensure nothing is left behind and head home.

The roasted carrots on their own were pretty darn delightful and by all means stop there and enjoy them as a side dish. However, sometimes you just want the comfort of soup.

Honey roasted carrot soup:

  • 6 large carrots, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon ghee (I love Pure Indian Foods ghee. I had the honour of meeting Sandeep at PaleoFx 2017)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 cups chicken stock (home-made is best)
  • 1/4 cup full fat coconut milk

Preheat oven to 350.

Peel the carrots and trim the ends. I left mine whole. Cutting them up would shorten the oven roasting time. Mix the ghee, honey, turmeric, garlic and salt and pepper and baste over the carrots. Roast in the oven for an hour until fork tender. Put them aside to cool slightly.

Once the carrots have cooled enough to handle, puree them using a high powered blender or food processor. Slowly add the stock to the carrot puree. Make sure you are allowing any built up steam to vent as you are doing this. We don’t want any burns or soup explosions. Return carrot puree and stock to a large pot. Stir the coconut milk and heat to desired temperature.

Taste for additional salt and pepper.

Vegan: swap the chicken stock for veg stock, coconut sugar for honey and coconut oil for the ghee

 

Which came first? The chicken or the egg?

This question had plagued mankind for a long time. A really long time. This can get one into all kinds of deep and philosophical conversations about evolution and genetic changes.

Does it really matter though?

We have eggs and we have chickens. That’s all that counts, right?

Having said that, all eggs are not created equal. A quick read of the grocery store shelf provides you the opportunity to purchase caged, cage-free, free-range and pasture-raised eggs. I just wanted to buy some eggs. The choices can make your head spin. What’s the difference? I’m glad you asked.

I had the opportunity to attend PaleoF(x) 2017 in Austin Texas. This annual event is where the Paleo world comes together to listen to speakers, witness fitness demonstrations, take part in yoga sessions and walk the exhibit floor with some phenomenal vendors. The folks running the booths are not just there to hawk their products. Every person I chatted with was passionate about their product and company. They were willing to spend the time to explain the science and the stories behind their products. A lot of the Paleo commercial consumer goods were born of personal need. These stories were moving to say the least.

One booth had a gal cooking up some eggs. I stopped because they smelled so good. Plus, the t-shirt she was wearing made me smile. C’mon, isn’t this cute?Girls-on-Grass-ladies-front_1024x1024

I relished the humble scrambled egg she handed me. It was cooked in their grass-fed pasture-raised butter. A match made in heaven. I had to know what made these eggs so great tasting.

I interviewed Amanda (on the right) from Vital Farms about the difference between the types of eggs.

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Me: Hey Amanda, we all love eggs but it can be overwhelming at the store trying to choose between all the types available to us. Can you break down the difference between them?

Amanda: Hi, of course! The easiest analogy is that cage-free is like four human beings living in a bathtub. That’s the amount of space the birds have. They have removed the cages but haven’t given the chickens any more space.

Me: Wow, that is really cramped living space. Do free-range chickens have more space? Is it really as free as we want to believe?

Amanda: Not exactly. Free-rtange is the equivalent of two humans living in a bathtub. They have slightly more space than the cage-free birds. They should have outdoor access but is is regulated.

Me: How does Vital Farms differ with their pasture-raised chickens?

Amanda: Pasture-raised is the highest quality you can get in a grocery store. It is like one human living in approximately a 10×10 area. Each bird has 108 square feet of open pasture. The way we set our farms up, the barn is in the middle. The farm is broken up into different sections and we open up two sections at a time for three weeks. We then rotate the birds through the different parts of the fields so they are constantly vegetating on fresh grass, bugs, worms and grubs. Because they eat what we call “nature’s salad”, are exercising and getting fresh air, it creates an egg with more nutrients. This is healthier for the birds and healthier for us.

Me: What can you tell me about the farmers?

Amanda: We partner with small family farmers. We have over 100 farm partners now. The average size of our flock is about 5,000 hens on 2 1/2 acres. Our farmers practice respectful stewardship of the chickens, animals and farms they keep. They believe in the full circle of the cycle.

If you live in an area that carries Vital Farms eggs and butter, lucky you. Go support them. If not, well, you now have a pretty clear picture of the living conditions of egg-laying hens. Think about it. Would you want to live in a tub with three other people?

The decisions we make as consumers can change the way farming happens. We need to support farmers and companies who respect and properly care for their crops, flocks and herds. Bottom line? Choose pasture-raised when it comes to eggs and butter.

Oh and of course I got a t-shirt.