When I moved to Boulder almost six years ago, I was a virgin to the organic, local and crunchy West Coast vibe that wafts over the Rocky Mountains. Being from the much less breezy South, I grew up eating very well, but was not at all familiar with the pleasure of doing so consciously.
I was squatting at my best friend's place at the time working, essentially, for beer at a craft brewery and was in total awe and admiration of the Colorado lifestyle. My roommate happened to be the head cheese maker for a local creamery and subsequently had access to fresh, raw goat's milk, which he brought home occasionally for personal use. I was hesitant to try it at first (looking back I can't imagine why), but when I did, its sweet, tangy richness awakened the western spirit in me. I could actually taste the grass from the farm in the milk, and for the first time, I felt connected to the source of my sustenance. I fell in love with goat's milk that day.
Sadly, my buddy no longer works at the creamery, meaning I no longer have a milk guy, but In Season Local Market carries some good stuff from the unfortunately-named Mini Moos and Kids Too goat dairy. It's not raw (something that would be illegal in this country according to the FDA), but pasteurization aside, it's creamy and refreshing. That, combined with rising temps and the fact that a friend just bought an ice cream maker, convinced me to make some vanilla ice cream with it.
I grabbed a handful of rhubarb from Grant Family Farms, thinking a rhubarb compote would make a nice tart topping, and a sixer of Upslope Brewing's Brown Ale, knowing that an ice cream party for guys would require some beers to loosen the mood. I figured a sweet brown ale would pair well with fresh goat's milk.
It took more prep time than I usually invest in the kitchen, but making your own ice cream isn't complicated -- and it's well worth the effort. It was beautifully thick and creamy, and lingered in the mouth with a slight tanginess from the goat's milk. The rhubarb was the perfect accompaniment, subtly fruity with a strong tartness that brightened the dessert without overpowering it. The brown ale was like drinking an adult version of root beer with the vanilla ice cream, wonderfully fizzy, and the roasted malt complemented both the rhubarb and ice cream with its toastiness.
We pounded the ice cream in no time flat and raised our glasses to a perfect Colorado summer evening, and to many more to come.
Here's the recipe:
2 pounds rhubarb, chopped 1 1/4 cups sugar 1/3 cup water
1. Combine all ingredients in a large pot. 2. Bring to a boil, stirring often until sugar has dissolved. 3. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer until rhubarb starts to fall apart (about 20 minutes) 4. Remove from heat and let cool. 5. Transfer to a lidded container and refrigerate overnight
Goat's milk vanilla ice cream
This requires an ice cream machine, a rarity in most kitchens, but for around fifty bucks, you can get a good one.
Yields one quart
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2 cups goat's milk 1 cup heavy whipping cream 1 cup sugar 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1. Combine all ingredients in a large pot over medium-low heat. 2. Stir to combine. 3. Cook slowly over low heat, about 20 to 30 minutes. Do not let it boil. 4. Remove from heat and set aside to cool 5. Transfer to a lidded container and refrigerate overnight. 6. Following the instructions, freeze mixture in an ice cream machine until it reaches a thick, soft-serve ice cream-like consistency 7. Top with compote and serve.