Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Strawberry Rhubarb Snap

I heard this story about rhubarb the other day on NPR. This farmer in Pennsylvania says most Americans are dismissive when it comes to rhubarb. Another fellow in the story even goes as far to say, "I'll probably just buy it and let it rot in my refrigerator."

I found this outrageous! Who could be so effin' cruel as to ignore celery's red headed cousin?

"Why," I thought, "I've cooked rhubarb hundreds, well, dozens of...huh. Actually, never." Which is weird because I went through an En Vogue listening, cinched jeans wearing, pie making phase in the 90's. Surely some rhubarb must have made it into the mix. Nope. Never. Not a once. I think I was a little intimidated by it. Well, intimidation be damned!

The next day I bounced over to the Union Square green market and scored a bunch. In the radio story, the farmer says he makes a sauce with rhubarb and maple syrup then pours it on ice cream. So that's what I did. I paired it with strawberry ice cream so it would mimic the perennial favorite, strawberry rhubarb pie. Alas, something was missing.

The syrup gave the rhubarb sauce a woodsy, earthiness while the strawberries 'n cream were 100% sun-on-your-cheeks summer. It needed to come together. It needed....

A ginger snap! Et voila, harmonie!

Oh, snap.

Strawberry Rhubarb Snap

1 c chopped rhubarb
1/4 c maple syrup (or more to taste)
1/4 c water

Place all ingredients in a saucepan and cook down until the rhubarb melts. Sauce will be slightly thick and pulpy and good. Serve with strawberry ice cream and a ginger snap.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Traditional Tuesday: Strawberry Ice Cream

This installment of Traditional Tuesday gives up the light pink love to the strawberry. This is a recipe of eggless simplicity that needs no introduction. I will say this much - this recipe guarantees friendship. I gave some to my neighbors the other day and though I don't speak Spanish and they don't speak English, it's nothing but warm fuzzy smiles in the hallway now.

Strawberry Ice Cream

1 lb fresh strawberries
1 1/2 c sugar
1 1/2 c whipping cream
1 1/2 c cold water
dash of lemon juice
  • Chop cleaned strawberries into quarters.
  • Place berries, sugar, water, and juice into a blender and blend until completely liquified.
  • Whip cream until slightly thickened.
  • Combine strawberry mixture with cream
  • Freeze as indicated by the ice cream manufacturer's instructions.

It's a fact:
3 out of 4 dime store divas prefer strawberry ice cream.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sunday Spice - Masala Chai Ice Pops

A small, neighborhood Indian restaurant - red tablecloths, bright lights.  RAINA, African-American, late 20's, sits at a table with her LAME EX-BOYFRIEND, British, late 30's - the kind of guy you'd look at at think, "Wow, how did he get such an awesome, nice, smart girlfriend?"  

A WAITER, East Asian, mid-40's,  in a red waiter's jacket, approaches the table, clears the remains of a thoroughly enjoyed meal.

Can I get you anything else?

A cup of chai, please.


Yeah.  Chai. 

Waiter snatches the remaining dirty plates from the table and brusquely heads towards the kitchen. 

What was that all about?

I'm drunk.

Raina looks over at the waiter.  Dirty dishes still in hand, he has joined a group of other uniformed servers.  He shares some angry words with them then tosses his chin in her direction.  All the waiters crane their necks and look at her.
Is it just me or do those guys hate me?

I am whack and have 
nothing interesting to say.

The waiter approaches.  He slams a cup and saucer in front of Raina.  It's plain black tea with a lemon and a side of milk.  It could have come from a diner.  Waiter gives her a fake smile.

Here's your chai.

Oh, no.  I wanted the 
milky, you know spicy, chai.

Waiter rolls his eyes and walks away.  Raina turns to Lame Ex-Boyfriend.

What did I do?

He doesn't answer and, without making eye contact, slowly nudges the check in her direction.


That was a completely true and unbiased scene out of the movie version of the story of my life.  You know, the one that only plays on the giant screen in my head.  So, other than the obvious fact Halle Berry would be a perfect casting choice, what have we learned?  

Well, I think it's fairly obvious chai means plain ol' tea - nothing more, nothing less.  A friend's mom taught me that if I want what Americans call "chai," I have to ask for "masala chai."  That one word would have saved me so much attitude from the ENTIRE STAFF of that place.  Jeez.

On the bright side, now when I'm in an Indian restaurant in NYC and I ask for masala chai, I get mad respect. 

Anywho, today's inspiration comes not from London but from lovely, wonderful, absolutely delicous Jackson Heights, Queens where the masala chai flows like a sari.  Take the 7, E, F, or (if the stars are aligned just right) the G train to 74th and Roosevelt.  There are two spectacular East Asian markets in the vicinity: Patel Brothers and Apna Bazaar.

At Patel Brothers, I bought garam masala, star anise, and cardamom seeds.  At Apna, I got Horlicks and Digestive cookies.  Oh, the next few editions of Sunday Spice are will be cray-zay, my friends.  Cray-zay.

I used the garam masala in this recipe though I am not all together sure that is "correct."  I mean, it's my blog and I'll make mistakes if I want to but, you know, it would be nice to get it right.  Eh, all of life's an experiment and they tasted good to me, my boyfriend, and my next door neighbor, so here we go!

Masala Chai Ice Pops
3 tablespoons Garam Masala 
2 cups milk
5 tablespoons sugar
4 teaspoons loose black tea (asssam, English Breakfast, or keemun for a smokier taste)

Combine everything except the tea and bring to a boil.  
Remove from heat and add tea.
Let steep for 4 minutes.  
Let cool to room temp then pour into pop molds.

Rocket ice pop molds from Tovolo, cute but too phallic in photos.  So...

I had to do extreme close ups...

and eat the top before snapping these pictures.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Scoops: Stop thief!

The Turkey Hill Ice Cream company has a blog - who knew? 

Must say, it's surprisingly bueno. The Ice Cream Journal has recipes, give aways, and - this is my absolute favorite - advice! From the July 16th post:


I love your pints, especially your Chocolate Mint Moose Tracks pints. I nibble on it a little at a time, but it never lasts more than few days because my husband always eats it all. How do I keep my husband from stealing my Moose Tracks?!

I should preface this by saying that I’m not a professional marriage counselor, but I am an ice cream expert, so that sort of qualifies me to tackle this thorny issue.

I’ve heard of special combination locks you can put on your pints to keep would-be thieves out of your Moose Tracks, but I’m going to suggest a much more diplomatic solution here. (I’ve been married for many years, I know all about marital diplomacy!)

I’m assuming you’ve already tried talking to him about it and that hasn’t worked. Next, I’d suggest maybe buying separate containers of Moose Tracks  one for him and one for you. But I’m guessing he’d probably polish his off and move on to yours.

I guess if diplomacy doesn’t work, you could try something a little sneakier. Maybe you can store your pint inside a larger ice cream container he’s sure not to go prying into. Or bury it in the back of the freezer under some frozen peas. He’ll never look there.

High-larious! We should all

To check out the Ice Cream Journal, click here!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Popcicle Flash Drive


Popcicle hard and flash drives are here to quench the thirst of your inner Hello Kitty and I'm like, "About time!" How utterly fantastic would it be if you showed up to some high powered presentation or another and butst this out of your briefcase? Nobody in the coorporate world would ever take you seriously again. And perhaps that's okay.

Scoops: Ice Cream on the Move

Two very exciting bits of news in the world of the ice cream mobility today.

Uno - Diary of a Wimpy Kid, a series hilarious of comic novels for young readers, is doing a promotion from an ice cream truck. Jealous! Read about it here.

Dos - The
man made extravaganza known as Water Taxi Beach (djs, bands, sun, fun) on Governor's Island will now be graced with ice cream tricycles, courtesy of Blue Marble. Read more here.

Interesting note - The city of New York bought Governor's Island for one dollar from the federal government. Yes, the ice cream costs more than the island. I feel there is some sort of parable, some hidden lesson in this. I'm just not sure what it is...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Fashion District: Buttons

Stroll around the Fashion District and you will see...


Gold buttons, silver buttons, buttons with stars.

Buttons shaped like flower and buttons in purple, blue, black and pink.
Put the right buttons together...

and you can make a panda bear...

or a button mouse with his button spouse.

Buttons on an awning means, "Buy your buttons here!"

And the big button and needle look...

like like they fell from the sky.

My little buttons of galletas and sweet cream look...

and taste big.
Try some!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tuesday Traditions

I bought a new book!  Read that with a whole bunch of sarcasm because I'm always buying books.  

Anyway, this one is called Recipe of the Week: Ice Cream: 52 Easy Recipes for Year-Round Frozen Treats published by John Wiley and Sons.  One ice cream recipe per week?  Sounds like a good idea to me. It's written by Sally Sampson and ol' Sally's recipe for week one is as basic as it gets: Sweet Cream.  

I am embarrassed to say that not only had I not heard of this, the concept had never even occurred to me.  Sweet Cream is basically flavorless ice cream and therefore the basis of all ice cream.  This is where it starts kids.  This is the genesis.  And so it is a perfect place to start a new series, Tuesday Traditions.  Or Traditional Tuesdays.  Or Tuesdays are for Tradition.  I dunno yet.  You tell me.

Anywho, I am looking to hone my skills at the beginning and every Tuesday, I'm going to do just that.  We're talking the basics - strawberry, chocolate, and vanilla, et al.  It's my nature for me to jump in with the exotic stuff but without learning to crawl, you'll be an awfully wobbly walker.   So, let's learn to crawl, shall we?

Sally Sampson's Sweet Cream

1 1/2 c whole milk
1 1/2 c heavy cream
1/4 c sugar syrup 

Place the milk, cream, and sugar syrup in a bowl and whisk well.  Transfer to an ice cream maker and proceed according to the manufacturer's instructions.  

Sugar Syrup 

Place 1 c white sugar and 1 c water in a small saucepan and cook, over medium high heat, until the sugar has completely dissolved, about 3 minutes. Set aside to cool, cover and refrigerate up to 1 month.

Sally suggests thowing in broken cookies or cake or candies during the last few minutes of churning.  Or, use as a substitute for whipped cream when serving with cake.  Well, ladida!

Sweet Cream with Fresh Blueberries

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sunday Spice: Chili-Lime Sorbet

Oh, this mother packs a punch. This, my dears, is spicy good like a Bloody Mary or a decent burrito. Not for the kiddlies, but the grown ups will adore it.

Chili-Lime Sorbet

1 c sugar
1 small fresh red Serrano chile, seeded and finely chopped
6 large limes
1 egg white
Zest of 2 limes
  • Place the sugar, 1 1/4 c water, and the chili in a saucepan over a medium heat and stir occasionally until all the sugar has dissolved. Bring to a boil, romve from the heat, and add zest. Set aside to cool then chill.
  • Squeeze the juice from the limes and add to the syrup.  Put the mixture in your trusty ice cream maker and churn until thick. 
  • Beat the egg white until just frothy.  Add to churning sorbet.
  • Remove from machine and freeze for 4 hours.

Happy National Ice Cream Day!

Ask not what you can do for ice cream, 
but what ice cream can do for you!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sunday Spice - Cinnamon Ice Cream

Oh, long gone are the days when I couldn't say it - cimmanem.  And forgotten are the years when the homophonic similarities between it and "synonym" made me giggle.   But has my love for cinnamon dwindled?  Nope, never, getouttahere.  

Welcome, dear readers to the first installment of Sunday Spice - where I will bring on the spice cream as well as the herby gelato, and the peppery pops.  Why?  Because Sundays need spice.  Sundays can be hard if you no likey your job or you are nursing yesterday's hangover or you wish you could rewind to Friday and do it all again...

Fear not the inevitability of Sunday for I am here to help.  

Do I think I'm some sort of doctor, administering what feels good where it hurts?  No.  Not at all, though I think it's cute you'd even go there.  Am I a drug dealer, getting you what you need to get by?  Don't be absurd.  We're talking dessert, here.  Truth be told, I'm more like Mother Theresa, doing really important things for those in need...of sweets.  Isn't there something about sugar being close to godliness?

Anyway, Sunday Spice, here we go!

This recipe comes from none other than David Lebovitz.  Instead of shaking ground cinnamon into the custard, he has us infuse the milk with cinnamon sticks.  If you have never tried this, I urge you to give it a shot and see the difference.  Ice cream with cinnamon powder is great.  It has cinnamon.  Cinnamon with a milk infusion IS cinnamon.  I don't know how else to say it.  It's perfectly incorporated into the ice cream the way air is incorporated into ice cream.  It's just in there.

David Lebovitz's Cinnamon Ice Cream

1 c whole milk
1/4 c sigar
pinch of salt
Ten 3-inch cinnamon sticks, broken up
2 c heavy cream
5 large egg yolks

Warm the milk, sugar, salt, cinnamon sticks, and 1 c of the cream in a medium saucepan.  Once warm, cover, remove from the heat, and let steep at room temperature for 1 hour.

Reheat the cinnamon-infused milk mixture.  Remove the cinnamon sticks with a slotted spoon and discard them.  Pour the remaining 1 cup cream into a large bowl and set a mesh strainer on top.

In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks.  Slowly pour the warm mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.

Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scrapping the bottom as you you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula.  Pour the custard through the strainer and into the cream.  Stir until cool over an ice bath.

Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Ice cream on the fire escape.  So Brooklyn.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Ice Cream Truck Music Drives Me Crazy

Ice cream truck music drives me crazy.  Seriously.  Besides, I think the ice cream truck drivers in my neighborhood are selling more than frozen goodies.  I can only think of a few products that one would sell on a residential block after midnight and none require egg yolks.  Also, many of them play this song that starts with a lady from Long Island asking, "HELLO?"  The tune then goes on to feature a car honking and a policeman's whistle blowing.  Sorry, if you don't know it, you ain't gonna here it here.  I just can't post it.

What you will hear here are some modern takes on ice cream truck music.

On his album "Songs for Ice Cream Trucks," Michael Hearst brings the sugar...

...while Queen Frostine brings the spice:

Queen Frostine Ice Cream - Music

Thursday, July 9, 2009

People's Pops

The dudes I admire over at People's Pops had lovely article and even a recipe on Tasting Table today. Check it out here. But I have to admit, a recipe for 40 is a little, uh, ambitious for most of the folks at home!

Friday, July 3, 2009

What to do with leftover egg whites?

Perhaps you noticed a slice of cake next to that  buttermilk ice cream in yesterday's post.  Just in case you didn't, here's another look.  

My food "styling" look like The Ploughman's Lunch 
at a some pub in the English countryside.  I'm into it.

Yes, I baked something other than a potato - terribly rare.  But, my goodness, you just have to do something those leftover egg whites!  This ice cream adventure has made me feel just awful about tossing egg whites.  And to be clear, I don't ever plan on tossing them.  I plan on doing something amazing with them and then they sit in my fridge for so long that the choice becomes I either get rid of them or start charging them rent.  So, I Googled the issue and got a recipe from Nami Nami.

The measurements are metric but it looked so delish that I went out and bought a scale that does metric conversion and, oh, baby, is it ever worth it!

Egg White Cake
6 large egg whites
250 g caster sugar
160 g plain/all-purpose flour
1 heaped Tbsp potato starch or cornflour
1 tsp baking powder
100 g melted butter (just under a stick), slightly cooled

  • Whisk the egg whites with 2 Tbsp of sugar until thick and pale and very foamy. Mix the rest of the sugar with flour, potato starch and baking powder, then sift into the egg mixture and fold in gently.
  • Finally fold in cool melted butter.
  • Pour the batter into a buttered bundt-form and bake in a pre-heated 180 C oven for 30-40 minutes. Test for doneness with a wooden toothpick.
  • Cool slightly before turning out of the cake tin.
Thanks, Nami Nami!

The Kitchn at Apartment Therapy offers instructions for making meringue, macaroons, angel food cake, egg white omelets, and a Gin Ramos fizz here.  

Waste not want not!

National Ice Cream Month!

Woo-hoo - July is National Ice Cream Month!  Who knew?  Since I'm not sure what one does for National Ice Cream Month, I went to the website of the International Dairy Foods Association.  Surely, they would have some insight on the rich history and annual celebration of one of life's least addictive pleasures.

In 1984, President Ronald Reagan designated July as National Ice Cream Month and the third Sunday of the month as National Ice Cream Day. He recognized ice cream as a fun and nutritious food that is enjoyed by a full 90% of the nation's population. In the proclamation, President Reagan called for all people of the United States to observe these events with "appropriate ceremonies and activities."


Okay, we need to do some thinking here.  
  1. I propose instead of National Ice Cream Month, we call it NICM and pronounce it to rhyme with "lick'em."
  2.  One should use July as a time of exploration and reflection.  Find new flavor!  Step out of your comfort zone with toppings!  Make your own cones!  If you think jalapeno ripple fudge is the love stuff of the future well then, by golly, go for it! 
  3. Give the gift of ice cream all month long.  Yesterday, I gave the woman who owns the laundry mat down the street from my house two scoops of honey vanilla in paper cup with a slice of cake.  It made her smile and, of course, her smile made me smile.  Sure it was a little awkward because I didn't have any plastic spoon but the point is, why have a "sense" of community when you can actually be a community?  She had a spoon inside so hesitate not.  Give someone a scoop of happiness today!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Van Leeuwen's New Flavor

Remember when I took the class with Ben Van Leeuwen and we made Earl Grey Tea Ice Cream?  Well, word on the street - and by street, I mean Grub Street, the daily food blog over at New York Magazine - is that Earl Grey Tea flavored ice cream will be hitting the shelves soon.  

I'm not trying to brag or anything but, uh, I totally have that recipe.


There was a time when the look of the high tech restaurant had spread through New York like kudzu.  You know the spot - a spacious place with white melamine chairs, orange seat cushions, bluish lighting, square plates of pad thai,  and a DJ in the corner spinning drum and bass.  Well, those days are over.  Unless you're in college.  College students find that sort of thing not only "exciting" but "exciting!"

For the last five years or so, Brooklyn cafes, bars, and restaurants have been on a frenzied pursuit buying old mirrors and sourcing hard to read fonts in an attempt to have their places feel like a cross between a depression era pharmacy and a shop in the 1880's that sells nothing but twine. 

Don't get me wrong - I like this look.  A little overdone, perhaps, but the tone on tone browns, caramel lighting, and strange meats on menus works for me, whether I order the strange meat or not.

So when a restaurant bears the moniker Buttermilk Channel, I'm thinking "buttermilk" is just another one of those old-fashiony historical buzzwords that keep popping up like apothecary, dry goods, larder, chattel, tap room, and speakeasy.  Maybe that's because I never use buttermilk.  To me it's something one of the Walton kids may have asked for in a glass and was then reprimanded for being so fancy.   Additionally, like vanilla extract, I think of buttermilk as a very bad tasting thing that has the power to makes something else taste very good.  That something else, of course, is either pancakes or fried chicken and that's about it.

Yeah, well, I was totally wrong.  Let me count the ways.

I Was Wrong Part 1: The Buttermilk Channel is a mile long tidal straight between Brooklyn and Govenor's island.  According to legend, the straight got it's name from the days when dairy farmers would cross the water and the currents were so strong that "it could churn milk into butter."  Or perhaps it's comes from the practice of walking the cows from Brooklyn to graze on the island when the tide was low. 

Historical map and photo of Buttermilk Channel.

I Was Wrong Part 2: Buttermilk Channel the restaurant has a calm, cozy, quiet feel that doesn't look totally modern nor like a general store.  Actually, it feels pretty timeless.  And to start the meal, they serve popovers  which were the very first recipe I ever tackled on my own!  

The scallops were divine.

I Was Wrong Part 3:  Buttermilk tastes mighty ice cream!  You knew I had to try it.  It gives the custard a perfectly lemony, sour taste that is similar to the cream cheese ice cream but not as sticky.  It's light, perfectly pairs with baked goods or fresh fruit, and yes, it does taste rather old fashioned.  
Being wrong never tasted so right!  

Buttermilk Ice Cream
1 cup heavy cream
6 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups buttermilk

  • Heat cream to nearly boiling in a small sauce pan. 
  • In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar togetherk.
  • Slowly pour heated cream into the egg and sugar mixture, whisking constantly. 
  • Return mixture to pot and cook, stirring constantly, over medium-low heat until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
  • Pour mixture into a clean bowl and stir in buttermilk. 
  • Cover and refrigerate until chilled, about an hour.
  • Prepare in ice cream maker per manufacturer's instructions.