Sometimes flavor inspiration comes from the places we’d least expect it. This one was inspired by a salad. Specifically a spinach, walnut, strawberry and bleu cheese salad with balsamic vinaigrette. I mentioned to my wife how much I liked this particular salad, and she said “you should make an ice cream flavor out of it”. So I did. Or at least, my best interpretation of it. Minus the spinach.
That’s as good as the story gets. Strawberry season is upon us, so it was perfect timing to put this puppy to the test.
Starting with these gorgeous strawberries from Svihel farms in Foley, MN, that we picked up at our neighborhood farmers market, the Midtown Farmer’s Market
I opted to bypass the balsamic altogether, and instead smoke the strawberries and make a preserve out of them to add a different dimension to the flavor.
Onto the smoker they went..
Once they were finished with their applewood smoke bath, they were cooked down into a preserve to be swirled into the ice cream.
Then, the Fairbault Bleu Cheese. If you follow us at all, you know we’re no strangers to cheese, and the cave aged Fairbault Dairy cheeses are spectacular. This particular one is relatively mild, semi soft, and rife with wonderful moldy veins. Perfect for ice cream.
The St. Pete’s Select went into the ice cream as small chips and chunks so it is almost a secret dimension to the flavor, but doesn’t overwhelm it.
Finally, walnuts. At first I thought I’d add them in as plain salted walnuts, but at the last minute I decided to candy them, so they went into the ice cream with a salted toffee coating which gives them a little extra crunch.
The finished ice cream is rippled with the smoky strawberry preserves, studded with crunchy, salted and candied walnuts, all offset by little bits of bleu cheese. It’s a wild ride.
Like to try some? As we do every week, we’ll be giving away two pints of this flavor. Just leave a comment on our facebook page to be entered into the drawing. If you don’t have a facebook account, leave a comment right here on the blog. We’ll draw two winners on Friday afternoon (6/15/2012) at 4pm and will announce them on our facebook page (or email you if you’re comment resides here). Our only conditions are you must be able to pick it up here in Minneapolis, and be willing to give us a little feedback that can be shared with everyone else. Good luck!