There’s nothing quite as wonderful as sharing a meal with people you love.
Joe and I were fortunate enough to do exactly that on Sunday. We drove out to the country to visit long time friends, Helen and Leonard. It’s a trip we don’t make often enough.
We arrived to find an inviting dinner table set with the bright colors of summer, each plate garnished with a bouquet of fresh herbs tied in earthy raffia.
Helen and I share a love of many things, one of them being food & cooking. I was her Sous Chef in the preparation of a nourishing & delicious meal while our husbands relaxed on the couch, talking about manly things like cars and sports.
Like me, Helen was also born with the gift of being an incredible teacher. She talked to me throughout the entire process, giving me her best hints and tips. I soaked them all up.
I often call Helen and ask her how to do something. Whether it’s a marinade or a gardening project she always has an solution for me. Many times she’ll say that I was the fourth or fifth person to call and ask the same question. So, I began urging her to start a blog. It took a couple of months but she’s now at Miz Helen’s Country Cottage sharing her wisdom. If you want to know about herbs, gardening, or just good cooking stop by, do a little reading, and make sure to say hello.
Enjoying Helen’s Homemade Pickles
With two food bloggers cooking the meal, there were pictures being snapped all evening long. It’s just another thing that we both love.
Helen’s menu –
- Fresh Greens Topped with Dilled Pickle Pot Yogurt Dressing (recipe soon to come…)
- Homemade Pickles
- Fresh Baked Bread (for Joe & Leonard)
- Rosemary & Thyme Roasted Pork Loin with Mango Salsa
- Herb Roasted Summer Squash & Sweet Potatoes
- Peach Ice Cream – sugar-free!
- Lemon Ice Cream – sugar-free!
- Raspberry Peach Crisp (made by me – recipe will be in my upcoming book)
Did you notice that Helen made not one – but two – sugar-free ice creams? This is the first time since going gluten-free and sugar-free that anyone, aside from my husband, has joyfully and purposefully made me dessert. I held back tears of joy while we all enjoyed our Raspberry Peach Crisp topped with ice cream.
There is a deep place inside me that was healed that day. Those of you that are gluten-free understand all too well what it feels like to excluded from joining in. But to be able to be a part of, to share the same food as everyone else, is a moving experience.
Helen has a way of loving people like that.
The only thing on the menu I couldn’t eat was the bread – and Helen wasn’t going to bake any. I insisted that she make it for our husbands and they both agreed that Helen’s homemade bread was something they’d rather not go without. Can you blame them?
Helen took my vanilla bean ice cream recipe and made it her own – it’s egg-free and doesn’t even have to be cooked. Just make sure to let the gelatin bloom fully before adding it to the other ingredients.
Texturally, it’s much like a fruit sorbet. I love the lightness of the flavor and texture. It was heavenly with my Raspberry-Peach Crisp and made a perfect ending to a more than perfect meal.
- 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
- 1½ cups whole milk, divided usage
- 2 cups half & half
- Pinch of salt
- ½ cup light agave nectar
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon pure lemon extract
- Zest of 1 lemon
- In a small bowl, mix the unflavored gelatin with ½ cup milk and set aside until the gelatin blooms.
- In a larger bowl, mix the remaining 1 cup of milk with the half & half, salt, agave nectar, vanilla extract, lemon extract, and lemon zest.
- Add the gelatin mixture and combine well.
- Freeze according to your ice cream freezer directions.