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Afghan Saffron & Cardamom

Flavors | posted on November 5, 2015

I am so excited about this new flavor of ours.  Before Victory Garden, I used to develop recipes and host an online cooking show called Kitchen Caravan.  We produced different episodes on healthy cooking, inspired by how other cultures eat around the world.  One of our episodes was about the Saffron harvest of Herat, Afghanistan.  I loved learning about Herat’s importance in agriculture, when it was considered the “Pearl” of the ancient region of Khorasan.  The rich agricultural surroundings allowed the city to thrive, and be resilient to bad governance and pillage.  It also helped it become a leading center in culture and the arts.  At the time, we didn’t have access to saffron from Afghanistan, we were just inspired by the romantic notion of it.  A little while ago, however, I was flipping through a magazine and came across a write-up on Rumi Spice, a Chicago-based veteran-run company that works with Afghan farmers to produce and import saffron from Herat.  I was so excited when I read about this company.  The main issues facing Afghan farmers is that they are incentivized more to grow pot and poppies for opium than food, thus being controlled by the Taliban.  Rumi Spice works with farmers to grow Saffron, the world’s most expensive spice, which gives them more returns than growing the drugs.  It also allows them to have control over their own harvest.

Saffron2

Saffron is a very special and unique spice.  It comes from a purple crocus related to the iris, which blooms in the Fall.  The spice is actually the stigma of the flower, with each flower producing three stigmas every season.  The filaments are hand-picked, which as you can imagine, makes it a laborious production. Saffron is therefore both expensive to produce and to consume.  However, it is worth it.  The scent of saffron is quite subtle, though once you recognize it, you will always feel its presence.  Saffron is a requirement for any Spanish paella and risotto milanese.  Lately, I have enjoyed it in a few restaurants that have used it in tomato sauces.  My favorite form, however, is in any milk-based desserts.  It just gives it a certain something that underlies everything else in the dish, and elevates it to another level.

Afghan Saffron from Herat

Afghan Saffron from Herat

Saffron Cardamom may not seem like a unique flavor here at Victory Garden.  Our Queen of Persia is basically the same flavor, though we add rose essence.  I purposely left this flavor as only two ingredients, so that one could really sense the high quality of the Afghan Saffron we are using, as well as how beautiful the marriage of these two spices is.

For more information, please watch this video produced by Rumi Spice.  


Pumpkin Spice

Flavors, Hard packed Pints, Ingredients | posted on October 19, 2015

Every Thanksgiving we put Pumpkin Spice in the soft serve machines – it just seems like one of those flavors that everyone wants.  I have never been an avid pumpkin person during the fall, as I am equally satisfied with apples, pears, quince, and bourbon.  But Pumpkin Spice Everything is a fun game to play this time of year, and I didn’t want to sit on the sidelines watching anymore.  For the spice part we use Quatre Epices – a combination of four spices usually used for pates and other charcuterie.  The two previous years we used black pepper, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves.  I wanted to try another variation on the blend that I had heard of, so this year we switched it up.  We use black pepper as the base note, and add cinnamon, allspice, and mace.  A fun fact is that mace is actually what is wrapped around nutmeg (in what is called “blades”- two spices from the same plant.  I am loving this combination so far.  It is spicy, peppery, subtle, and exotic all in one.  You can purchase some Pumpkin Spice in the store or online.

PumpkinSpice3


Coachella Date

Flavors | posted on September 4, 2015

Our Date hard packed flavor has evolved through many different nomenclatures.  It was Date Oasis, Date Yogurt, and now we are settling in on Coachella Date.  The date and yogurt flavor was inspired by the delicious rich, velvety texture of dates, which do well with a hint of tang from yogurt.  My grandparents lived outside of Palm Springs for the last 10 years of their lives, and I remember driving through the Coachella Valley, seeing the date shake stands on the side of the road.  We do indeed use Coachella dates for this flavor, and add a touch of orange blossom to lighten them up a bit. If you haven’t tried it, get it next time you are in.  The word indulgent will take on a whole new meaning for you.

DateCollage copy


Salty Peanut Ice Cream

Flavors, Hard packed Pints | posted on August 13, 2015

I haven’t blogged in a really long time, and so I wanted to start off this post with an apology.  There have been little posts in my head that I think of and then never get to.  As much as I love shopping at the farmers market and sharing my little recipes with my readers, this season I haven’t had much time for sharing.  Anyway, this Summer has been quite busy here at the shop, and we have been streamlining our offerings so that we can be more efficient, and do what we do best- make delicious goat milk ice cream.  I have been spending more time trying out new flavors of our hard packed ice cream, and working on getting them into stores.  Our most recent flavor is one of my favorites (we all know, they are all my favorite, but hey).  We are offering a Salty Peanut made with old fashioned peanut butter and salted peanuts.  I love peanut butter ice cream for no better reason than the fact that it just tastes so good.  But I prefer it with salty peanuts to give it that slight savory crunch.  I had a delicious chocolate peanut butter ice cream recently at the Oyster Club in Mystic, CT, and when I got back to the City, I felt the driving force to make me try out a peanut butter flavor.  We ship our ice creams now from our Shopify site.  We hope you order some if you don’t live near our shop.

Salty Peanut Goat Milk Ice Cream

Salty Peanut Goat Milk Ice Cream

 


Honey Rosemary Ice Cream Pints

Flavors | posted on June 22, 2015

A few weeks ago I took a baking class at Haven’s Kitchen, because I had never been there before and was dying of curiosity.  I also hadn’t been feeling very inspired as of late, and needed to change things up in my routine.  I signed up for a baking class with Shuna Lydon, who is now baking at Bakeri.  I really enjoyed everything that she taught us, but most especially her honey and hojicha ice cream.  For the ice cream, she reduces honey to both lessen its sweetness, as well as bring out its natural bitterness.  It was one of the most delicious ice creams I have ever had.  It was intense, strong, and really bitter.  I wanted to try my hand at an intense honey ice cream as well.  I made mine with Tremblay Apiaries Wildflower honey, which I reduced and infused with Keith’s Farm rosemary.  I mixed in bitter chocolate chips to the final product, because I love the combination of honey and chocolate, I love the combination of rosemary and chocolate, and I love the combination of honey and rosemary.  The three ingredients go swimmingly well together in this lovely ice cream, that we are proud to serve in our pints, both in the store and online.

 

HoneyRosemaryHP


#NameOurVanilla Contest!!

Events and Occasions, Flavors, Hard packed Pints | posted on June 11, 2015

Victory Garden needs a new name for our Vanilla ice cream, and we are asking our customers to help us find it!

Did you know that vanilla is the second most expensive spice after saffron?  That is because it only comes from one type of orchid, which has to be hand pollinated under ideal conditions in order to produce this exotic spice.  What is so plain about that?  Absolutely nothing, we say!

We are using Mexican vanilla beans from the region of Veracruz, Mexico, where vanilla originated.   A flavor as delicate, exotic, and classic as Vanilla deserves a special title. Especially one as delicious as ours.  We take a lot of pride in the origins of this renowned spice and we want to celebrate it with a special name provided by our wonderful community of goat milk ice cream lovers! So please help us #nameourvanilla.

Here is how it works:

Step 1: Think of the best vanilla name in existence.  It should scream “Vanilla is not plain”, “Viva Mexico” (optional), “Vanilla is the best flavor ever”, “You gotta try this vanilla”!

Step 2: E-mail it to us at , submit it in the store with your name and contact info, or post it on our Instagram feed @victorygardennyc, on our Facebook page /victorygardennyc, or on twitter @victorygardenny.  If you go social, be sure to include #nameourvanilla

Step 3: Wait till June 30th

Step 4: Win a whole lot of goat love. If we like your name best we’ll put you, our Vanilla Victor, in our Goat Notes newsletter and send you a free shipment of our ice creams (including a pint of  the newly named Vanilla).  We will even include the newest edition of our Victory Garden T-shirt!


Cheesecake Sundaes

Flavors, Soft Serve, VG Special Sundaes | posted on April 24, 2015

Our spring Cheesecake Sundae is flying out the door.  We top our goat butter graham crust with your choice of soft serve, perfectly tangy poached rhubarb, and stewed strawberry sauce.  The result is a combination of flavors and textures that hit a home run.  To make this sundae even more amazing, this week we will be serving our cheesecake soft serve.  This creamy and rich flavor is made with goat cheese, quark, and yogurt, making it the perfect base for some fruit toppings.

CheesecakeSundae


Fennel Pints

Flavors, Hard packed Pints, Ingredients | posted on April 16, 2015

Fennel is in my top 10 favorite flavors of our ice cream.  I love desserts with anise, and the fennel flavor that we do encapsulates the wonderful versatility of this refreshing vegetable.  We cook down about a dozen bulbs in some olive oil and goat butter, then combine them with fennel seeds that we toast and grind, as well as some fennel pollen.  The result is fennel heaven.  Since we are now able to offer hard packed versions of our flavors in our freezer, we will be offering some of these more popular flavors for the fans who miss it after it is gone from the soft serve machines.  We have about 2 dozen pints of this VG classic.

Fennel Ice Cream

Fennel Ice Cream


Spring Sundaes!

Flavors, Smoothies, Soft Serve, VG Special Sundaes | posted on April 9, 2015

Since the Winter we have started offering a rotating specials menu with four sundaes available all season long.  This allows you to come in and enjoy them at leisure, and for us to be able to offer them on a more consistent basis.  Our Spring Specials menu is up and we are sooo into our selection for the season.  We brought back the Superfruit sundae, as well as our Cheesecake Sundae, which were both quick flashes in the pan.  My personal favorite is the Sesame Mucho, Miso Lovely.  It reflects one of my favorite flavor combos: salty, tangy miso and bitter, smooth tahini.  Also new is the Giardino Vittoria, inspired by the delicate flavors of an Italian spring.  For our Ritual we have a Spring Health Smoothie loaded with energizing ingredients, and we have a Fennel Cake for our VG Baked fans.  See our pics and descriptions below.

CheesecakeSundae

Cheesecake Sundae: Poached Rhubarb with Vanilla, Strawberry Sauce, and Goat Butter Graham Crust.

 

MisoCaramel

Sesame Mucho, Miso Lovely (staff pick)!: Sesame Miso Brownie, Miso Caramel, and Halva Cream

 

GiardinoVittoria

Giardino Vittoria: Candied Pintenuts, Bitter Orange Drizzle, and Fennel Pollen in a Fennel Seed Cone

 

SuperfruitSundae

Superfruit Sundae: Almond Butter Cardamom Sauce, Blackberry Acai Sauce, Goji berries, Mulberries, Hemp, and Flax

 

Spring Health Smoothie: Spinach, Lime, Cashew milk, Cilantro, Mint, Bee Pollen, Dates, Banana, and Coconut Oil

Fennel Cakes: Pistachio and Almond Flour, Aniseed Syrup


Orange Blossom Time

Flavors, Hard packed Pints, Ingredients, Seasonal Beverages, Smoothies | posted on March 16, 2015

Every year when the weather starts to change, and Spring starts to creep in, I am always haunted by a deep sense of nostalgia.  I can never pinpoint exactly what the nostalgia is for, but it is there, burdening me all Spring long.  My favorite way to cure my feelings is through orange blossom and neroli.  There is something about the floral that reawakens and recenters.  I shower with neroli body wash, I make cocktails with orange blossom and kumquat, and at Victory Garden, we make orange blossom vanilla ice cream.  We have always made this flavor, as orange blossom is as connected to my brand as goat milk.  The combination of orange and cream is not new, it exists in our culture as it does in many others.  Our orange blossom smoothie, after all, is modeled after the Dominican shake, morir soñando, or to die dreaming.
Last week we received fresh orange blossoms from California and made a real version of our Orange Blossom Vanilla.  The blossoms are subtle, yet intoxicating.  We recommend this with a touch of orange marmalade boiled down with some water. These pints are only available for what we have in stock.  We hope that you pick up a pint and you too, die dreaming, of how delicious this Mediterranean creamsicle is.  Enjoy!
Orange Blossoms from California

Orange Blossoms from California


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