A Birthday Sundae, A Birthday Surprise

To my darling Frenchman, on his 28th birthday,

As you read this, you are fresh off a fourteen hour flight from Argentina: The tail end of a double business trip that took you far away for the better part of two weeks. But now you are home, perhaps puttering to the coffee machine, or scolding me for not watering the succulents, or racing a line of kisses across my collarbone, razzing “Pepé Le Pew!” into my ear—-or any one of a thousand, small deeds that constitute our life together.

I am grateful for the nearly five years I have known you. I am grateful for what we have together, for what we’ve built, unhurriedly, imperfectly, one day at a time. We’ve fashioned a partnership with firm foundations, you and I, and that simple, essential, stupendous knowledge gives me courage every day, and makes all things seem possible.

I love you so very, very much, sweet chéri. I love you so much, in fact, that I have been lying to you for the better part of five months. Can you forgive me? (Since you are still quibbling about that itty-bitty non-event wherein I told you I was buying two small shelves from Ikea to “organize” our apartment, already filled to the brim with (my) (kitchen) things, but then actually went ahead and bought three, not-exactly-minuscule shelves and then asked you to construct them for me, this remains to be seen.) Read more »

Dulce de Leche and Jam Ice Cream

dulce de leche and jam ice cream

Well here’s a bit of news: tomorrow, I board a plane and leave for eight days in sunny Buenos Aires, where The Frenchman is currently business tripping. This voyage popped up somewhat last minute, but as I’ve never been to South America before, and as it’s winter here, and as–who says no to a trip to Argentina?–, it seemed prudent to aprovechar de la situación.

My other exciting semi-announcement is that I’m working toward making Spring Lake Creamery a real live business. I attended a fair this past weekend, and while it was ten degrees below zero thanks to a defunct radiator, the handful of eskimos willing to eat frozen dessert while also frozen themselves seemed to enjoy what they tried. I am continually adding to my list of Winter 2013 flavors. Slowly, I’m working toward making this ambition a reality.

This recipe is a nod to both my upcoming trip, and to my potential ice cream future. Read more »

Peach Melba

peach melba, header

When I was small, my family frequented a restaurant that (now I think upon it) offered a rather old-world array. (An appropriate continuation from last week’s old-world dessert soliloquy.) I distinctly remember Steak Diane–a towering portion of filet mignon bathed in buttery pan gravy I now know was amplified by garlic, shallots, Worcestershire, brandy, and cream. It felt so luxurious, to eat steak so thoroughly sauced. A generous showering of chopped parsley was all that interrupted the dish’s monotonous brown.

And then there was dessert. Peach Melba, served in a giant red wine glass. One slick orb of peach, at least two scoops of vanilla ice cream, and many running, garnet rivulets of raspberry coulis. Here is what I remember: swooning over the tart brightness of the raspberry sauce, contrasted by the creamy sweetness of the ice cream. How gorgeous the dessert looked, when the ice cream melted into the raspberry. Read more »

Cherry Chocolate-Chip Ice Cream (Sandwiches)

I would like to take a minute to talk about the Frenchman’s familial home. Since we just returned from a sojourn there, now seems an appropriate time.

The home is actually three small houses, which form a periphery around a bean-shaped swimming pool and a terrace. The property is bombastic with vines and flowers, their geneses and medicinal qualities neatly labeled on slate squares. A closed well is painted the baby blue of the region. In warm weather, lunch and dinner are verbose, lingering affairs set at the colorfully-laid terrace table, protected from sun and drizzle by a canopy of fanning grape leaves. Read more »

Strawberry Popsicles

Some of you may have noticed a bit of a lapse in recipe posting as of late. This is due to the fact that I am about to graduate from my Master’s program (exciting), and my attentions have been thusly diverted with things like terrifying thesis-readings, employment searches and retrieving my cap and gown (brown velvet trim, really?).

While I don’t have time to blather on as I usually do before a recipe, I wanted to post something regardless. Here are the essentials: Read more »

Maple Ice Cream with Tipsy Raisins and Candied Cashews

Holy batman, this is delicious ice cream. I mean, seriously, criminally tasty. I am not trying to toot my own horn here, but I really need you to know—this one’s a keeper.

I am the first to admit that my previous ice cream attempts may have left something to be desired. I know that the heavy pounding of cinnamon, star anise and cardamom I gave my chocolate and spice was not, perhaps, the best. It’s all right. And let’s not dwell on my celery endeavor, which while it fulfilled Food52’s contest requirements, has also made it so I cannot stand the taste or smell of celery.

This though, this is a whole different situation. Read more »

Spiced-Cherry Chocolate Ice Cream

For my birthday this year, Paul took me to Craft and we did it up: oysters, suckling pig and a big red wine. To end the meal, we ordered a slew of ice creams engineered by Craft’s pastry chef/genius, Jenny McCoy. Her ice cream is like nothing I’ve tried before (and trust me, I have sampled my fair share of ice cream).

She makes a kiwi ice cream that not only tastes exactly of kiwi, but manages to capture the texture and bite of a kiwi too. It’s insane. When I decided to finally dust off the ice cream maker my sisters gifted me a few Christmases ago, I scoured the interwebs for some of her recipes. I found two, and this is what I learned: balanced proportions of cream + sugar + whole milk + egg yolks = deliciousness.

I also consulted David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop, and then I was off to the races. Although my first few attempts were flops (I was determined to use bar chocolate at first.…mistake), I eventually reached something I loved. By the last batch, I achieved my aim: airy, creamy, must-consume-immediately ice cream. Read more »