Strawberries and Cream

comments: 95
















After I made the lemon ice cream I remembered that I am obsessed with frozen custard. How could I have forgotten that I am obsessed with frozen custard? And by frozen custard I mean specifically the kind they sell in the middle of Illinois. With lots of eggs. It doesn't really exist out here, far away from cornfields, fireflies, and summer nights that stay so hot you go to bed hot and you wake up hot. Inspired by this recipe, I set out to attempt it (but even eggier, because I like eggs) when we had friends 'round for dinner Saturday night. I think I got it.

Frozen Custard like You Get in the Middle of Illinois

1 1/2 cups half-and-half
1 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean
7 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups heavy cream

With a sharp paring knife, slit the vanilla bean lengthwise down the center and scrape the seeds into a medium saucepan. Add the bean pod itself and the half-and-half to the pan and warm over low-medium heat until it just barely simmers.

Whisk egg yolks and sugar by hand or using a stand mixer (I used the mixer). Slowly pour a very thin stream of the hot cream into the eggs while continuing to whisk; this will temper the eggs and keep them from scrambling. Continue to pour the cream in a thin stream until half of it has been incorporated. Transfer the eggs/sugar/cream back into the pot with the rest of the cream. Heat on low-medium (do not overheat here, or you will still scramble the eggs) while whisking continuously until the custard is thick and smooth, like pudding. Remove the vanilla bean and rinse it off; let it dry and put in a mason jar with some sugar which will give you some yummy vanilla sugar in a few days.

Prepare an ice bath: Fill a 9"x13" baking pan halfway with ice cubes. Find a smaller pan or a bowl that will fit inside of the 9"x13" baking pan. Place the smaller pan or bowl in the larger baking pan and nestle it into the ice so it doesn't fall over. Gradually add the heavy cream to the custard in the saucepan and whisk the mixture until it is smooth. Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into the smaller pan or bowl that is in the ice pan. Let it sit there (you can stir it occasionally) until it is cold. (I do it this way because I don't have that much room in my fridge and I don't want to heat up my refrigerator trying to cool this stuff off.) It will take a couple of hours for it to get cold. Following the instructions for your ice cream maker, spin this into delicious frozen custard, serve with fresh June strawberries, and eat it up. You can transfer it into another container (with a lid) and freeze it if you don't finish it right away. But I think this is best when it's just out of the ice-cream maker.

As far as ice-cream makers go, I know nothing, but I took Amanda's recommendation last summer and bought this one, and it is wonderful. Ice cream in thirty minutes (though you do have to freeze the bowl overnight, at least).

Speaking of freezing, the mornings dawn quite cold and the afternoons heat up to almost 80 degrees. It reminds me of Montana, where I walked to school every morning wearing a heavy sweater, then left it in my office by afternoon when it got to about 90. At some point (when I ran out) I had to bring the truck to school to retrieve the gigantic pile of sweaters in the office because I couldn't carry them all home. We've been changing clothes here twice a day. I cleaned out my dresser and closet this morning. I usually do this twice a year, in spring and in fall. I think I'm the opposite of a hoarder. A reverse hoarder. If I don't have space in my spaces I get very uncomfortable and twitchy and huffy. I can't stand it when every empty space is filled. It leaves no room for inspiration to strike. In spite of my tendency to shed (and I don't think I really have that much stuff anyway), everything I own is completely disorganized and ridiculously wrinkled at the end of each six months. I'll have socks, dresses, pants, underpants, tights, and a bathing suit all in the same drawer. Dresses, in a drawer. It's really weird. Well, my closet is the size of a small bathtub, with two pretty much unusable shelves above my head which hold, for the most part, an empty computer box, one of those gigantic plastic foot spas that you plug in to make your feet jiggle (for about five minutes until you get sick of it), four gigantic pleather purses, and my English riding hat, none of which I ever use but can't seem to part with. Though now that I mention it I think I'll go right back upstairs and get those purses down immediately. I guess there are just some days when I literally stuff whatever is in the clean laundry basket into the most empty drawer, slam it shut and call it done. I don't know why I do that but I always have done. (Speaking in Britishisms now, since watching about eight episodes of Restoration Home over five days.)

Speaking of, I'm embarking on a new (old) decorating trend: Early '80s country. Everyone I've mentioned it to (two people) is appropriately horrified. "You mean like my ex-husband's parents' house?" Probably!!! I'll keep you posted. ;)


Um, please don't go country 80's. (though if anyone can pull it off, it's you.)
And the pleather purses. WTF, right? Why does every woman have a plethora of them? For me, it's second hand sales and handmedowns from people who knew better.
My closet is a little bigger than s bathtub, but I am so not into clothing it all gets shoved in the same shelving. Dresses, shorts, pants, shirts. It makes life more exciting I guess.

Early eighties country? Haha! Can't wait. My grandma got some kind of country home magazine in the eighties, it was so awful. I grew up on that and Reader's Digest in the summers. I would have marathan reading sessions where I read "The Drama in Real Life" section out of every issue.

Thanks for the Restoration Home Rec. I really enjoyed Colbrook Farm!

I have a walk in closet that's half empty and that suits me just fine! Jeans and black turtle necks for winter and 6 pair of capris and a dozen t shirts in assorted colors for summer. I love keeping it simple. Can't wait to see what's up with 80's country decorating.

Alicia seeing photos of Amelia enjoying the simple things in life is crazy, when I see her I remember seeing photos of myself enjoying all the same things, I thank my mom everyday for the simple things she showed to my brother and I growing up. Thanks Mom and I'm most certain that Ameila will be doing the same to you when she gets my age. Thank You for letting me glimpse back in time...

I envy your small closet and pared down clothing, even if it is messy and disorganized. I was quite proud of myself when I walled off half my bedroom with commercial garment racks (on wheels, of course--I want nothing in my house anymore that can't be rolled to a different location) to use the space as a dressing room. It's full to bursting with stuff I never wear but can't get rid of because I haven't worn it yet.

Since you mentioned it again, i just have to thank you for the link to Restauration Home! I have been sick at home for the last few days and have been watching every episode I can find on youtube. I love it! It is so delightful and I can´t believe what these people are taking upon themselves, so impressive, and there is always a happy ending! And I love your blog, reading it is like a vacation to a happy, beautiful place. Thank you!

There's a place in Vancouver (on the main drag) that makes frozen custard. I don't know if it's even close to the mid-west version... Might be worth a try. Lots of fun things to see there too.

80's country, huh? I want to see your take on it...but I was just thinking, gee whiz...I need to get rid of those decorative birdhouses, they re so 80's country! Will you be stencilling geese on your kitchen walls? Hanging up peg racks with little wooden things dangling off of them? You can see I have been there, done that. If anyone can pull it off though, it is you Alicia.
And now I wnt to go to Milwaukee and have Kopps frozen custard right now.

Oh. dear. lord. Stenciled geese. Pfaltzgraff Yorktowne. Oak as far as the eye can see....

but I'm with you on frozen custard!!! nothing else compares to that flavor and creaminess. So good. So summer. mmmm.

I should see if my mother still has the cross-stitch sampler she made in 1984 for the dining room, which proclaimed "MAKE MINE COUNTRY" :) One thing I miss a lot living in the southwest is Kohr Brothers custard. I'm glad to hear there's a good recipe for something similar.

Yay! I love when people are horrified by design ideas. I love it when someone follows their heart and goes with what they love and what works for them instead of what the trends say we need to do.

Besides, I think you have impeccable design taste. Everything I see I love.

The picture of the bbq table... I can feel the heat in the air and smell the burgers. So fun!

Hey, I don't think we ever saw your pantry cupboards?! I would love to see what you did (or didn't do) there! I'm getting ideas on what to do myself there... LOVE the new website, and everything! :)

I hope I am not kicking myself for getting rid of all my 80s country stuff when I see what you do with it!

Early 80s country? Do you mean like Laura Ashley? I worked for LA for some years and I always think your home has that look anyway. Rich, calming colours with a traditional feel of home.
My darling Doe kit arrived this week, thank you very much. I will keep it for a while so I can look forward to making her.

Jean x

I remember my house growing up in the early 80's was a lot of mauve and slate blue, and white geese decor...ha ha. Then my mom was really into hanging straw hats with baby's breath and silk flowers. Also a lot of grapevine wreaths and cross-stitched you mom!I don't know if I'm ready to go back to that, but I sure am interested to see your 'new' take on it!

We are going to Wisconsin, and our children have never been introduced to frozen custard... adding it to *the list.* Next, I will be pestering you for Portland suggestions and must-do items, because that road trip is happening this summer, too. If you say '80's Country' then it must be good. I was just folding freshly laundered Polyanthus print sheets... love my Laura Ashley florals!

80s country makes me think of Holly Hobby but was that 70s? I loved her so.

Isabella says: June 10, 2014 at 11:37 AM

Oh, 80's decor. I think they called it "Duck on a Stick." I'm sure I had my fair share. (Dating myself) I do still love any kind of Moses Eaton stenciling, though.

I believe I have seen each episode of Restoration Home now, even the one year updates. I loved watching them and many thanks for the heads up. Speaking of Britishisms, have you noticed that so much is "brilliant" across the pond?

Adrienne says: June 10, 2014 at 11:47 AM

Oh gawd, at the time my mom totally redid our house in 80's country, new furniture, wallpaper, everything... and then my parents got divorced and we moved. Still I have vivid memories of spending a lot of time looking at wallpaper samples and such, I actually enjoyed it.

Your writing is pure magic and brings me so much joy.

80's decor? Really? I am feeling very conflicted on the inside.... All I can think of is that country blue and geese wearing kerchiefs. Please don't go there. I'm not sure I can take it. I can't go back to that again... ugh.

I will hang on to the hope that whatever direction you take that it's more along the lines of Little House and Holly Hobbie. Yes, that must be it.

My stomach still feels a little queasy. I feel like I need to call someone and talk about this....

thank you, dear, sweet, alicia. this frozen custard is going to get me through my day.
buying the ingredients not in my fridge on the way home. thankfully my freezy thingy is in freezer just waiting to transform something liquid into something sublime. xoxo, i

Oh Alicia, I'm thinking ducks and geese and dusty rose and country blue. And that horrible lace. Yes, I am absolutely horrified. LOL

I'm a reverse hoarder too. And I think we have the same closet, except I share it with my husband. We share a dresser as well. After 21 years of marriage, you don't need a separate drawer for the sexies . . . bc there aren't any sexies . . . LOL

LOVE your blog (as always) and loving, loving the new look. Thank goodness the redesign came before the early 80s revival.


I had early 80's country in a previous home and it was so cozy and warm and inviting.
I think it was my forte..:) Pine doors.. Tole painted fireplaces by a local artsist..
Anyways..I still love it..But it's not mine anymore..
The last move 12 yrs ago..made me go a different route..
Love it too..
I think I have just always loved our homes.♥
Like you do.
I love that spot in your garden with the wall peaceful..and the succulent hanging over the bpwll..
Nothing like Hellman's:)
Gotta get my Cusinart out and do the ice cream thing.
She's just the cutest flower you know.

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at