Confession Wednesday- Grudges

I hold a grudge. I do. I can’t help it. I know it is negative, immature, counterproductive, that it doesn’t resolve anything and that it keeps me dwelling on the past instead of moving on and having a positive outlook on the future. Blah blah blah. I hold a grudge because I can’t help it even if I want to.

The root of my grudges (NO, I don’t have that many) is, put simply, feeling like I got screwed. And the real grudges occur when I feel like I got screwed after I gave ample opportunity to fix the offending behavior. That’s when it hurts- when I want you to fix it, when I don’t want to develop the grudge and the opportunity to fix it is missed.

I am willing to get over it and be made happy. I think that should count for something in weighing my grudge-holding ways. My standard is not high- at all. It simply requires some remorse, even a silent acknowledgment of being wrong or at least not being exactly right, and my belief that the offense will not be repeated.

But don’t get me wrong. I don’t retaliate per se, not most times. I remove myself from the situation never to return again. I take my business, my friendship, my feelings, my loyalty–everything I was pouring into the relationship to better, more deserving, greener pastures. And I share my experience whenever it is appropriate.

It has been almost three years since my last dinner in a restaurant I loved, Potager. We knew all of the staff and they knew us. It was familiar, close, cozy. We had gone there for years, nearly once a week, sometimes popping in for dessert or a glass of wine, other times for a three hour dinner, sometimes with friends or family, other times just the two of us.

That evening we were with another couple. Long story short- the nitty gritty of it really isn’t that interesting – we weren’t happy with one of the appetizers, lamb ribs (too grisly), and one of the main courses, a halibut stew (let’s say it was our mistake to order fish in Colorado, but that didn’t make us any happier). What followed was a (rather aloof and perhaps arrogant) argument over whether the fish was fresh or the ribs grisly. We paid, left, never to go back.

The reality is that I didn’t want to leave like that. I didn’t want to not come back. I wanted them to make it better and they couldn’t- it is simply not in their nature and culture to fix it, to admit that perhaps the customer who comes back every week and never complains may be right…even if you really think they are wrong. It doesn’t make them a bad restaurant. It simply makes them a restaurant incompatible with me, with my idea of being in the pleasing business, and with my sense of rewarding customer loyalty. That’s all.

We had lots in common- visits to the Boulder Farmers Market and an appreciation for simple, fresh, seasonal dishes. I love what they do- supporting local farms and producers, aiming for sustainability, treating their staff right, lasting in the harsh business that is food. I don’t suggest to anyone not to go there. At times, when it seems like a fit, I certainly recommend it for its simple food and loose, laid back environment. The food is at times spectacular, not exactly consistent, with solid bets – the chicken and braised greens- always on the menu with seasonal iterations and the devastatingly delicious chocolate pudding (so good the thought of it makes me want to cry!). So, when asked, I say, go and check it out. But if you want to know when was I there last, I have to be honest- three years ago. And likely not going back soon.

That, however, does not stop me from making the luscious, rich, and tenderly flavored goat cheese ice cream, a recipe found in the Colorado Organic Cookbook.

Tarragon-Infused Goat Cheese Ice Cream, a Potager recipe- adapted

Ingredients: 1 quart heavy cream, 5-6 large tarragon sprigs, 2/3 cup Haystack Mountain goat cheese, 4 egg yolks, 1/2 cup sugar.

I know what you’re thinking- tarragon??? That was, at least, my thought. I have never been a huge fan. It tastes right in some dishes, but it isn’t exactly something I seek out and putting it in ice-cream?…like the goat cheese was not weird enough. But I took a leap and it was totally worth it.

Place the cream into a non-reactive pan and warm up to a very gentle simmer on low heat. Don’t boil- it makes the ice cream grainy. Turn the heat off and add the tarragon sprigs and goat cheese. Gently stir to allow the goat cheese to melt at least slightly. Cover and let the flavors to infuse for 30 minutes.

Whisk the sugar into the egg yolks in a separate bowl until they turn slightly thicker and more pale yellow than they started out. Reheat the heavy cream mixture gently and turn heat off before it reaches a simmer again.

Caution- you are making a custard. This, as I said before, is delicate business. On the bright side, the cheese does help providing some natural thickness and body to the mixture.

Slowly and gently temper the egg yolks ladling one half of the cream mixture in, whisking constantly. Slowly and still constantly whisking pour the egg/cream mixture into the rest of the cream mixture and turn the heat on low. Keep stirring with a wooden spoon until the cream is thick enough to coat the back of the wooden spoon leaving a nice clean trace if you run your finger through it.

Remove the tarragon and chill until completely cool over a bath of ice. Pour into the frozen bowl of your ice cream maker and turn it on for about 20-25 minutes. Or do whatever your ice cream maker instructions tell you to.

Put it in the freezer for maybe another hour. It is best still somewhat soft over this strawberry rhubarb crumble or just dazzle it with a few fresh raspberries.

Photography by Jennifer Olson.

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  • ಌLeyla

    I very much like your blog. It has made me crave a berry tart! :-)

  • Bethany

    I love this ice cream! Thanks for making my mouth water…I could eat ice cream for breakfast after this post! Love your writing and the beautiful recipes you feature.

  • lemonsandanchovies

    What an intriguing combination of flavors–especially for ice cream. I really need to break open my ice cream maker and start experimenting so I can eventually graduate to something sophisticated like this.

    I do hear you on the restaurant disappointment. It's a pity when that happens, isn't it.

    Thanks for sharing this beautiful ice cream recipe.


    I am intrigued along with lemonsandanchovies, and inspired to create something equally as interesting sounding!

  • The Cilantropist

    This sounds so unique, I am sure eating it would be an unforgettable experience! Fortunately you were able to replicate the recipe at home, as it is definitely unfortunate that you had such a bad experience at one of your beloved eateries.

    I might have to give this recipe a go, sans ice cream maker… ! I will let you know how it turns out. :)

  • tasteofbeirut

    This is a wonderful and highly original ice-cream; I for one think that tarragon pairs well with goat cheese. gives it some zing and fragrance.

  • The Mom Chef

    I'm amazed at how well the creaminess of the ice cream comes out in the photo. It looks delicious.

  • krissy @

    wow, i can simply imagine the creaminess of this ice cream! i've heard how certain cheeses can be quite a remarkable ingredient to incorporate into ice cream…. i'll have to give this concept a try this summer. time to bust out the ice cream maker!

  • Andra

    Leyla- I'm always happy to provoke a craving :)

    Beth- your experience with this ice cream gave me the courage and inspiration to make it- thank you!

    Lemonsandanchovies and Krissy – good idea on breaking out the ice cream maker! I have loved mine since i got it as a gift from my best friend for Christmas. This recipe is what I'd consider easy because the custard comes together quicker than others- the cheese thickens the consistency considerably.

    Islandvittles- I was intrigued too :) Thanks for stopping by.

    Cilantropist- if there is an ice cream recipe that can work without the icecream maker, it is this one. Get the custard thick and freeze it. It will turn out great.

    Tasteofbeirut- you are right about the tarragon- I will certainly try to use it more often after this experience.

    MomChef- I have to give it up to my friend and food photographer Jen Olson on the images. She works magic on showcasing the best qualities in food.

  • Chef Dennis

    wow…what an incredible ice cream….goat cheese…I love goat cheese…..
    I understand how you feel about that restaurant. In my restaurant days, I never argued with a good customer, I always fixed what ever was wrong….sometimes just acknowledging it was enough….but you don't argue, you don't deny, you just make it right…..I do hold grudges too, nothing vendictive , but just as you say….
    I have a favorite saying that my wife is tired of hearing from one of the Godfather Movies…"Your dead to me Fredo" actually it was Dennis Miller doing it on SNL that made it so funny to me!!….
    Hope you have a great weekend!

  • Andra

    Oh God Dennis- I laughed out loud reading your comment. Hilarious. I will keep Fredo in mind :)

  • Baking Barrister

    This sounds so bizarre! I can see a mascarpone ice cream–but goat cheese? I'm looking for the KitchenAid ice cream attachment, so this will go on my list.

    And Andra, if you can do a custard (which I always manage to turn into egg soup), you can certainly get over your baking anxiety disorder. And name your MacBook Pro. It's only proper.

  • Hilah

    What an original, fantastic idea! My husband decidedly does not like goat cheese but I wonder what he'd think about this. He does love ice cream…