Amy Vitale, co-owner of Tables, which I review this week, knows how to use a whisk, sauté pan and chef's knife. But as it turns out, this talented chef has quite a green thumb, too. In the backyard garden of the Park Hill home she shares with Tables co-owner, chef and spouse Dustin Barrett, Vitale has nurtured peaches, apples, zucchini, rhubarb, tomatoes, cucumbers, potatoes, beets and herbs -- all of which have found their way onto the restaurant's menu.
"We try to do as much as possible," says Vitale, who hopes to add a greenhouse and "greenroof" atop their garage so they can grow even more.
Here is her recipe for Tables' Garden Mint Ice Cream, which is sure to please both gardeners (because it uses so much mint!) and dessert-lovers alike.
Tables' Garden Mint Ice Cream Recipe from Amy Vitale, Tables
Ingredients 1/3 quart plus 1 cup mint, cut into chiffonade (thin slices) and loosely packed 1 ½ quarts milk 1 ¾ quarts cream 3 cups sugar 2 ¾ cups egg yolks
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Whisk the mint, milk, cream and sugar over high heat until sugar dissolves, then stir every few minutes until the mixture comes to a simmer. Reduce heat to low. Whisk the egg yolks, off heat, in a bowl. Adding one cup of hot cream at a time, pour cream into yolks and stir well, then add another cup and so on, until you have used half the cream. Add this egg-cream mixture back to the pot and cook for a few minutes, stirring constantly, until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. Pour into a rondeau pan or stock pot set in an ice bath and cool completely. Store in the refrigerator overnight. When ready to prepare, strain out the mint, then fill a 4-quart ice cream mixer three-quarters full and mix for 25 minutes. Scoop into a separate container and fold in the remaining 1 cup mint.