Not Without Salt » dessert “Where would we be without salt?” - James Beard Wed, 26 Aug 2015 18:04:58 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Black and Blue Semifreddo with Toasted Oat Crumble Fri, 31 Jul 2015 16:25:05 +0000 Read more »]]> Black and Blue Semifreddo // Not Without Salt Black and Blue Semifreddo // Not Without Salt

Song of the Builders

by Mary Oliver

On a summer morning

I sat down

on a hillside

to think about God -

a worthy pastime.

Near me, I saw

a single cricket;

it was moving the grains of the hillside

this way and that way.

How great was its energy,

how humble its effort.

Let us hope

it will always be like this,

each of us going on

in our inexplicable ways

building the universe.

Black and Blue Semifreddo // Not Without Salt

After enough pleading Grandma would agree to let me go visit Grandpa in the barn. I didn’t grow up on the farm so visiting the cows was thrilling, until she made me wrap plastic bags around my shoes so I wouldn’t get them dirty. For some reason that was enough to stall my trip out to the barn to visit Grandpa while did his morning milking.

I’ve grown up since then and relished the opportunity to go get my shoes dirty and visit some cows a couple weeks ago. The city horizon faded into rolling hills dotted with barns; some run down and out of use and others, like the ones on the Werkhoven Dairy, filled with milk-producing cows.

While on the farm we learned that cow is queen. Andy Werkhoven along with his son and daughter spend their time managing the comfort and care of their cows. Ultimately every decision they make is for that purpose because if she isn’t happy they are out of a job. “The more comfortable cows are, the more milk they make. There is no drug in the world that will produce more milk if it’s not a healthy or comfortable cow.” And in farm life, where the margins are so slim, every drop counts.

Black and Blue Semifreddo // Not Without Salt

Black and Blue Semifreddo // Not Without Salt

Black and Blue Semifreddo // Not Without Salt

I walked away from our farm tour with my mind reeling. From the great lengths they go to care for their cows; large airy barns with a calculated mix of grains and corn, sand beds for better aeration that get cleaned every time the cows go to the parlor to get milked (three times a day), to the astonishing science behind their digester project where they take the waste from the farm and turn it into something good.

“The anaerobic digester utilizes manure from the cows and co-digests pre-consumer food waste to make energy (enough to produce electricity for as many as 300 homes), thereby keeping the air and water clean, protecting salmon streams, keeping the dairy operating and creating Grade A compost.”

For me, the most poignant part of this trip was to have a deeper appreciation for the cream, thick and pale yellow, I pour into my coffee every morning. For the butter I slather on bread with great abandon and the whole milk that cools our oatmeal or softens our cereal.

The day after our trip I found myself in a familiar spot; the grocery store. Standing in front of the milk case I stood in awe and admiration for what was in front of me. As a mom of three young milk drinking children I so often grumble at the price of a gallon of milk. That day I reached for the gallon produced by a local dairy and appreciated it deeply because I know the care, the cost and the passion that went into it.

Black and Blue Semifreddo // Not Without Salt Black and Blue Semifreddo // Not Without Salt

Farming is an incredibly difficult job, one that must be fueled by passion because there’s no fame, no accolades, no large paychecks coming to the hands of the farmer who operates a small family dairy but we need them desperately.

I started this post with Song of the Builders by Mary Oliver. It’s been running through my mind over the last few weeks when I call into question the value of my day to day work. Whether it’s putting away the dishes, again, loading yet another load into the laundry, writing up a recipe, or snapping a photo of my lunch. When the “whys?” whisper in my ear I reply, “I’m building the universe.” Because in some way I am. We all are.

These farmers are too. Behind the plastic carton that carries our milk is a family who passionately cares for their cows and puts all of their effort into every drop because they too are building the universe. We rarely think about calf nutrition, corn crops, cooling down the herd in this crazy heat we’ve been having, where the waste goes, but the farmers do.

When Shauna asked the farmers at the end of our day with them; “What’s the one thing you want us to tell everybody?” They responded, “Drink milk and appreciate where it comes from.”

Consuming dairy has never been hard for me. As a granddaughter of a dairy farmer I’ve rarely shied away from cream and butter but now I hold it with higher esteem, appreciating its value and all that happens in order to ensure that my coffee is sufficiently capped, my cookies are crisp with butter and my summer berries have a billowy cream-filled bed to land

Black and Blue Semifreddo // Not Without Salt

This post was sponsored by Washington Dairy. As always, the words, images and recipes are mine.

If you are interested in learning more about the Werkhoven Farm or more on Sustainable Farming check out these great links for more information:

Sustainable Land

Cow Care

Werkhoven Dairy

The Digester

Black and Blue Semifreddo with Toasted Oat Crumble

Serves 6 to 8

1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar

2 cups blueberries

2 cups blackberries

zest and juice from 1 lemon

4 eggs

1 cup heavy cream

1 vanilla bean (or 2 teaspoons vanilla extracto)

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Lightly spray a loaf pan with pan spray and line it with plastic wrap. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan over medium high heat add 1/2 cup sugar in an even layer. Watch it closely as it melts and caramelizes. Carefully stir the sugar as the edges start to melt. Continue to caramelize until all of the sugar is melted. It should be a deep copper color and will smoke a bit. If some of the sugar starts to get too dark you can remove the pan from the heat, give it a stir and then continue to cook.

Add 1 cup of each of the blueberries and the blackberries. This will make the caramel seize and harden. Reduce the heat to low and cook until all of the caramel has once again melted, about 5 to 7 minutes.

Stir in the remaining berries.

Set this aside to cool.

In the bowl of a mixer whisk the 4 eggs until they lighten. On medium high speed slowly pour in the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar and continue to whip until very light, frothy and about tripled in volume.

Whip the cream with the vanilla seeds or extract to soft peaks.

Add the slightly cooled berry caramel mixture to the cream and mix using the whisk. Add the eggs and mix, again with the whisk, until just combined. Take care not to knock too much of the air out.

Add this to the prepared loaf pan and freeze for 4 hours or until firm.


1 cup flour

1/4 cup oats

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

3 tablespoons sugar

3/4 stick/ 6 tablespoons cold butter cut into small pieces

Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl combine the flour, oats, salt, cinnamon, and sugar, Add the butter and blend until the mixture holds in small clumps when squeezed.

Add the crumble to the baking sheet. Pinch together some of the dough so there are some large pieces in there too.

Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve the semifreddo on a bed of crumble.

Cap with whipped cream if you’d like.

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Sour Cream Cherry Ice Cream Wed, 08 Jul 2015 22:26:40 +0000 Read more »]]>

Sour Cream Cherry Ice Cream // Not Without Salt


My grocery list:




It was suppose to be a quick stop. I just needed a few things for a cheese platter but what I walked away with was a flat of blackberries, a couple pints of blueberries and raspberries, two bags of cherries, a few pounds of apricots, and some plums for good measure.

“Pick me! I’d be great in a pie.” They all seem to cry.  “Just think how much you’d love me all sweet and turned into jam when you’re slugging through the gray months?” “You’ve waited so long so see me! How could you possibly walk away?”

And with those convincing arguments they were in my cart. They win every time you know, and I’m always glad they do.

On the drive home I scheme grand plans for my haul. First the apricots will be pie; easy on the sugar and heavy on tartness. The blackberries demanded their fate be jam with a bit of cinnamon for warmth. The plums were meant for Gabe: I know he loves them. The cherries; TBD.

Sour Cream Cherry Ice Cream // Not Without Salt Sour Cream Cherry Ice Cream // Not Without Salt

At home the plans quickly vanish as my children descend on my haul like fruit flies. Without haste I stash a couple of pounds of apricots for pie (it’s my favorite) and tuck one the bags of cherries deep into the fridge, out of the reach of little hands.

No jam is made, just happy berry-stained faces enjoying one of the many sweet perks of summer.

After their feasting, I return to the kitchen, quietly pluck my hidden bag of cherries from the fridge and dream of ice cream.

I want something tart, easy, and loaded with chunks of sweet cherries. For the tartness I add sour cream and fresh lemon. For the ease I opt for a yolk-less base remembering a recipe I recently saw where Nigella used sweetened condensed milk in the base which added thickness, richness and sweetness, of course.

With ice being the enemy of ice cream I cook the cherries with a bit of sugar, vanilla and lemon to let the vanilla infuse the mixture and to boil out most of the water in the fruit so they don’t ice over in the freezer.

The base is thick and as you would imagine; quite creamy. It’s tangy and sweet but that sweetness mellows in the freezer. I added a splash of Amaretto for good measure. Kirsch would be lovely here too.

It’s so thick in fact, I wonder if churning is even necessary. Or perhaps this a great base for semifreddo. If you’re up for a bit of recipe testing report back and let me know how it goes. I’d make the recipe again but we’re out of cherries.

Our first round we sandwiched between Muscovado sugar cookies but with the next scoop I wanted chocolate so a simple chocolate sauce was made and round two became an afternoon sundae. After all that we went out for pizza because it’s summer and sometimes that means all your kitchen energy is used up making ice cream.

Sour Cream Cherry Ice Cream //  Not Without Salt Sour Cream Cherry Ice Cream // Not Without Salt


Sour Cream Cherry Ice Cream

1 pound pitted and quartered cherries

1 vanilla bean, seed scraped

scant 1 cup/ 6 ounces sugar 

Juice from 1 lemon

Pinch salt 

2 tablespoons Amaretto

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1 16 ounce container sour cream

1 cup heavy cream

In a medium saucepan combine the cherries, vanilla seeds and pod, sugar, salt, and lemon juice. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and let it gently boil for 10 minutes. The cherries will soften and the vanilla will permeate the mixture. The boiling will remove some of the water from the fruit and intensify the flavor.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the Amaretto. Remove the vanilla pod.

Let this mixture cool for about 10 minutes before mixing it, in a large bowl, with the sweetened condensed milk, sour cream and heavy cream.

Thoroughly chill the ice cream base before churning according to your manufacturers instructions.

Once churned place the ice cream in the freezer to completely set-up, at least 4 hours or overnight. 

Bittersweet Chocolate Sauce

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa

1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips or finely chopped chocolate

Pinch salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

Combine the sugar, water, cocoa, chocolate chips, and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium low heat, whisking constantly. 

Let the sauce gently simmer until everything is well combined. 

Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.

Cover and refrigerate or use right away.

After refrigeration you’ll need to warm the sauce gently before serving.

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Salted Peanut Caramel Ice Cream Bars Fri, 05 Jun 2015 06:19:25 +0000 Read more »]]> Salted Peanut Caramel Ice Cream Bars // Not Without Salt Salted Peanut Caramel Ice Cream Bars // Not Without Salt

I’m sitting on the couch surrounded by a pile of boxes, the table is littered with a plate of brown apples and a vase of dead peonies, the sink is filled with dishes and there are traces of chocolate on nearly every surface in the kitchen. Tomorrow is the last day of 2nd and 1st grade for my boys and it is also the one week mark until we need to be out of our house and into our new home. If I stop to think about it all I quickly get overwhelmed with the details and logistics surrounding all the changes happening. But if all I do in the midst of this is sit and let the stress smother me then I am also failing to take a moment to see all the good in it as well. We’re moving! It’s summer! We’re healthy, alive, and eager to fill our days with trips to the beach, camping, fruit picking, bike riding, lemonade selling, grilling, and everything in between.

As I lamented my to do list to a friend I also mentioned to her that I’ve had it in my head to make a homemade version of one of my favorite frozen indulgences; the Snickers ice cream bar.

“Do it!” She proclaimed, suddenly making the task feel doable and down right necessary. “You have so much to celebrate, it seems like the perfect way to do so.”

The ice cream bar project was so far down on the list of priorities that it didn’t even manage to make it on to the list but that nudging was a subtle reminder that life is full of endless to do lists. Rather than wait for life to slow down long enough for us to celebrate I want to set aside the other tasks, let the boxes lay empty for a bit longer and create the sort of recipe worthy of such a celebration.

These bars require a bit of wait time and have multiple steps that can get a bit messy but I assure you that no matter how they look in the end they will be unforgettably delicious. Our tray of ice cream bars are sitting in the freezer waiting for us to officially mark summer when the boys get home from their last day of school.


Salted Peanut Caramel Ice Cream Bars // Not Without Salt


There are a few more things to note that are also worthy of celebrating. First of all, that very wise friend who encouraged this recipe has become an official member of team Not Without Salt! I’ve made many mentions of my friend Julie Hubert as she has been very influential on this site, in the cookie endeavors and as a very close friend. We just went ahead and made the partnership official. She is in charge of many things; one of which is to make sure I don’t go crazy – it’s a big task.

Secondly, I am thrilled to announce a very fun event that Julie and I are hosting along with Marx Foods. They recently started carrying the NWS cookie mix and to mark the occasion we are hosting a fabulous contest and event. Six local bloggers were given our cookie mix and asked to go crazy with it. They will be posting their recipes to their blogs and we’ll select two finalists. The finalists are invited to our event (open to all!) on June 30th where we’ll sample the recipes and eat loads of cookies. Be sure to check out the participants blogs to get the recipes!


Tending the Table

Rustic Joyful Food

Culinary Concoctions by Peabody

Outside Oslo


Farm Girl Gourmet


Check out the event page for more details and to R.S.V.P. to the event. 

And finally, I apologize for those who have been having a hard time getting a copy of the book. Date Night In, is now back in stock once again!! Thanks again for all the support.


Salted Peanut Caramel Ice Cream Bars // Not Without Salt

Salted Peanut Caramel Ice Cream Bars

makes about 20 ice cream bars

These indulgent treats are reason alone to celebrate. If you want to skip straight to the celebrating and not mess with dipping them in chocolate you can simply cover the caramel layer in chocolate and serve with a fork. If that's the case you won't need as much chocolate as I recommend here.

Next time around I may try dipping in this magic shell recipe to make the chocolate a bit easier to work with but I do love the thick, bittersweet coat this recipe gives. With ice cream, caramel and chocolate it's really hard to go wrong.

1/2 gallon vanilla bean ice cream

8 oz/ 1 cup / 230 g sugar

6 oz/ 1/2 cup / 170 g Lyle’s Golden Syrup (or corn syrup)

1/4 cup water

6 oz/ 3/4 cup / 170 g heavy cream

2 oz/ 4 tablespoons / 60 g butter, soft

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

2 cups roasted and salted peanuts

2 bags dark chocolate chips or finely chopped bittersweet chocolate

2 tablespoons canola, rice bran oil or coconut oil

flake salt, optional

Line a 10x10-inch (or 9x9-inch) square pan with parchment paper in the same way you would when making brownies - with two pieces overlapping each other and a bit of overhang on the sides. This will make it easier to get the bars out of the pan later. Use a bit of non-stick spray to adhere the parchment to the pan.

Let the ice cream sit out until soft and can easily be spread in the pan. Spread into an even layer and then freeze until completely firm, about 2 hours.

While the ice cream is firming up prepare the caramel.

For the caramel: Combine the sugar, golden syrup and water in a large saucepan. Stir gently to combine then wash off the sides of the pan using water and your clean hands to feel if any sugar remains on the side. If stray bits of sugar fall into the caramel it can cause the caramel to crystallize so it’s important to make sure all the sugar is in the bottom of the pan mixed with the water.

Place the lid on the pan and put over high heat. Having the lid on during the first few minutes of boiling creates condensation that further helps to wash away any sugar that may be left on the sides of the pan. After 5 minutes remove the lid and let the caramel continue to boil until it reaches 300 degrees F. If some of the caramel starts to color you can gently swirl the pot to combine.

Add the cream and butter once it has reached 300 degrees F and then continue to cook until the caramel reaches 235 degrees F. Remove from the heat and stir in the peanuts.

Let the caramel cool completely before topping the ice cream with the caramel.

Melt the chocolate with the oil in the microwave or over a double boiler.

At this point you can simply pour a layer of chocolate over the caramel if you prefer to keep things simple and don't mind serving this dessert with plates and a fork. If you want to dip the bars I find it easiest to add a bit of chocolate on top of the caramel layer then flip the bar over, resting the chocolate and caramel on a metal spatula. Hold the spatula over the bowl of ice cream then spoon over the melted chocolate letting it drip down the sides. Carefully paint the sides with chocolate using a spatula or other utensil until all the surfaces are covered.

Finish with flake salt and freeze until firm.

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Cornmeal cake with blueberries and maple whipped cream Fri, 14 Sep 2012 16:58:07 +0000 Read more »]]> “Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”
― Epicurus

My tendency is to live from one project to the next, marking my life with goals, successes and the trying process of reaching those goals. Ambition in and of itself is not bad but what I find is that the constant desire to want something that I don’t yet have robs me of truly enjoying what I have now.

Recently I watched the documentary entitled, Happy. It looks at various cultures around the world and how happy they are. I’m not certain how one can measure happiness but as the images of dancing villagers in a remote tribe, a rickshaw driver in India who has “nothing” by our cultures standards, and a group of older women on a remote Japanese island who gather daily to converse, play games and build intricate origami creations it’s quite easy to see that these people are truly happy.

My first thought when watching the film is that true happiness comes when you concern yourself with the happiness of others. All of these people live in community. They support one another, celebrate with each other and carry one another’s burdens.

When a wave of sadness hits me I tend to analyze my emotions and my life extensively. “Why am I feeling this way? What do I need to change? What can I do to be happier?” Not bad questions but did you notice all those “I’s” in there? I make it all about me. Rarely do I reach out for help and more importantly, rarely do I concern myself with the happiness of others as much as I obsess about my own happiness.

Days after watching the movie and reflecting on my own need to change my attitude and my desire to find more joy in my days I realized that a change in attitude requires more gratitude. It helps that it rhymes.

When expressing gratitude my energy is spent focusing on all the good in my life. Making others happy by thanking them for their presence in my life inevitably fills me with great joy. Taking a moment at the end of a long day to think about what I have to be thankful for today can do nothing but alter my attitude for the better.

A big reason why I’m writing this here is to give myself some accountability. When I write it then I’m more likely to do it or keep doing it. And also I wanted to start the gratitude here with you people.

I’ve said it before but it bares repeating at least a few times a year – thank you. Thank you to those of you who come here and leave here silently. I appreciate you taking the time to stop by and spend some time with me.

Thank you to those of who comment. I’m not very good at responding to comments but that is no reflection as to what they mean to me. I read every single one and I value their affirmation and encouragement more than these mere thanks can express.

Thank you to those who write personal emails. I’m humbled by your generosity and willingness to reach out and encourage me in such an incredibly powerful way.

Your continued support along this journey is often what powers these pages. You are what keeps me coming back here and propels me further.

Thank you is not enough but it’s a start and I feel better for having said it.


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Cornmeal Loaf Cake

adapted from Bon Appetit 2006

This hearty cake is perfect for sweet syrupy berries and softly sweet cream. It's also perfect in the afternoon with a bit of tea or coffee. The crunch of cornmeal and sweetness of honey mark its uniqueness and leave you lingering in the kitchen slowly cutting away at the golden loaf. I find the texture improves after the first day. 

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
5 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Butter and flour 9x5x3-inch metal loaf pan.
Whisk flour, cornmeal and salt in medium bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat butter, sugar and honey a in large bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time beating constantly, then beat in vanilla. Scrape down the sides of the bowl the mix again. Add dry ingredients and mix just to combine. Finishing mixing by hand as to ensure everything is well combined.. Transfer batter to prepared pan.
Bake cake until brown on top and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour.
Cool cake in pan 15 minutes. Turn cake out onto rack and cool completely.
Can be made 1 day ahead. Wrap well once completely cool and store at room temperature.

Maple Whipped Cream

I don't care for too sweet whipped cream but if you want more sweetness and more maple flavor feel free to add as much maple syrup as you'd like. I don't imagine you needed my permission but it's there no matter.

1 ½ cups heavy cream
2-3 tablespoons maple syrup

Combine the cream and the syrup and whip until soft, billowy peaks form.

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