When it comes to ice cream, pastry chef Carrie Summer really has her priorities straight. "Instead of buying a new car this year, I bought a Pacojet," she said, referring to her newly acquired Swiss-tooled toy, the Rolls-Royce of frozen dessert makers.
"All the top chefs are using it," she said. Including her.
Summer is the sweet side of the Chef Shack, the street food standard-setter, and during the past several weeks she's been putting her investment to excellent use, producing small-batch, super-luscious, locavore-minded ice creams using Minnesota family farm-raised cream, eggs and honey.
Right now she's turning out a tangy vanilla (made using goat's milk from Poplar Hill Dairy Goat Farm in Scandia, Minn.), an intense chocolate and, my personal favorite, beet. Yes, beet ice cream, its sweetly mellow flavor a direct contrast to its vivid, attention-getting fuchsia color. "Those naturally sweet vegetables make great ice creams," Summer said. "I'm doing carrot next, and I'll definitely be making use of corn in a few weeks." Summer makes each oversized scoop into a little street fair in a cup, dressing it up with a colorful sprinkle of crushed almond macaroons, a burst of thick whipped cream and a parchment-thin, powdered sugar-dusted tuile. "Simple is good for me, then I go and do a five-step ice cream," she said with a laugh. "Oh, well. You know me and my garnishes." RICK NELSON
Chef Shack (www.thechefshack.org) ice cream ($5) at the Mill City Farmers Market (2nd St. and Chicago Av. S., Mpls., 612-341-7580, open Saturday 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.) and Kingfield Farmers Market (43rd St. and Nicollet Av. S., Mpls., 612-823-4550, www.kingfieldfarmersmarket.org, open Sunday 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.).