Recently in Dessert, Candy, Ice Cream, Etc.
Monday, April 7, 2014

tangerine champagne sorbet

tangerine champagne sorbet

I might have just figured out a loophole in this whole no-drinking-on-the-job thing. Suppose it’s a weekday, mid-afternoon, and you need a bit of a pick-me-up. You might be working in an office somewhere or, like me, at home. But unless your job is to review cocktails and spirits, it’s unlikely that you’re going to fix yourself a drink midday. Life, for better or worse, isn’t an episode on Mad Men, and if it were, you’d probably be drinking whiskey or vodka straight or on the rocks.

But, what if someone handed you sorbet with the same ingredients that go into a mimosa? You’d have it, and no one would ever even think ill of you.

You have David Lebovitz to thank for that. I’m just a humble messenger.

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Thursday, October 17, 2013

île flottante with coconut crème anglaise

Ile Flottante with Coconut Creme Anglaise

As I mentioned before, my life, as of late, has been revolving around crème anglaise which is hardly a bad thing. First it was for a recipe I was testing for a cookbook; then it was for Andrew Scrivani in a kitchen session that involved many, many eggs; then it was back again in my kitchen with more crème anglaise for one of the cookbooks (and that’s not even involving the ice cream book!) At one point in time there were four cartons of eggs in my fridge.

I’ve always liked making custards and have found the process of tempering eggs and slowly thickening the custard on the stove to be a meditative, soothing process. So, the last few egg-yolk-milk-and-cream-rich weeks have hardly been a struggle. The biggest problem I’ve had to face

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Monday, February 11, 2013

hot chocolate and marshmallows

plop

I sure talked a big talk when I claimed to be making Valentine’s Day dinner for Andrew and me. And I bet all of you fell for it hook, line, and sinker. But in reality this year, our first Valentine’s Day as a married couple carries a bit of irony with it. Instead of a quiet just-the-two-of-us-at-home meal, Andrew will be speaking at his alma mater in Boston. What could possibly be more romantic than climate geeks stealing flirty looks, gazing into each other’s eyes, or even possibly meeting their soul mate while listening to my one and only explain the patterns, the trends, the connections between extreme weather and climate change? Exactly – absolutely nothing.

My parents and Andrew’s parents are coming to the talk – they’re forbidden from asking questions. Also, they are to sit in the back, lest their parental instincts take over and they start mouthing “Enunciate! Straighten up!” to Andrew. We’ve got this under control.

Flowers? Who need’em! Just talk dirty-climate to me.

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Monday, September 10, 2012

amazing chocolate pudding

chocolate pudding

Hello there. Sorry for vanishing into the void, but I’m back. Sort of. August was a blend of crazy, busy, and sad. I won’t get into the sad, but there was a lot of travel between New York and Massachusetts and not of the happy variety either. Amidst the travel and gaining two additional roommate for a few weeks in August, I submitted the manuscript I co-wrote with Chef Forgione. The recipes alone were over four hundred pages. How I got it done, I’m not sure entirely, a lot of it had to do with a generous friend and her home office.

While it’s taken me three weeks to tell you about chocolate pudding, I hope you forgive me. I’ve been feeling a little stretched as of late, despite a relaxing week in Wellfleet where I diligently ate oysters and chased them down with beer. It feels like a far away memory now. I could, easily, have spent a whole month out on the Cape and hope to do so someday soon.

Most recently I had made chocolate pudding to justify my dessert-for-dinner excuse. I had a filled cavity from earlier that morning and could hardly open my mouth. Applesauce seemed too boring. And it was too warm to contemplate mashed potatoes. Rice pudding, delicious as it is, required chewing. Naturally, the next possible choice was chocolate pudding. Obviously, right? Right??

Everyone I know likes chocolate pudding. Even people who are ambivalent towards chocolate, like chocolate pudding. But here’s the rub: some of most of the recipes were far too rich and far too sweet for my palate. In doing a bit of research I found that many of the recipes use egg yolks, and while I’m all for yolky richness, I like my chocolate pudding to have singular, clean chocolate note. Less of a custard, more of a pudding, if you will.

Whenever I crave chocolate pudding, it’s impossible for me not to recall a certain disaster that once befell an apartment I was renting on the Upper East Side. Back then, I used to be a big fan of Swiss Miss chocolate pudding snacks, which I purchased weekly at my local Gristedes. At the time, I was working for a certain investment bank where my hours were long and my teammates were not very nice. When I had initially accepted the position, it was to do x, y, and z. I was, instead, relegated to the tasks no one wanted to do, and in the end just about everyone on the team came in at 9 and left at 5; whereas I had to be in at seven thirty in the morning and left well after nine o’clock at night. On most weekends I spend at least one day in the office. It was some time ago – I was very meek and didn’t know how to speak up for myself. Thankfully, I’ve become much better at this.

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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

peach ice cream with sour cream and black pepper

peach ice cream

Oddly enough, one of my favorite things to do in the kitchen is to temper eggs and make egg custards. Funny, how something that made me anxious just few years back is now a favorite activity in the kitchen. My fear caused me to resist egg custard-based recipes for years, until I finally bit the bullet, gave it a try, and found that it’s really not so terrible or difficult.

Tempering isn’t exactly rocket science, but it is slow, measured, deliberate, patient. So if drizzling hot cream while whisking it into eggs makes you crazy just thinking about it, tempering might not be that enjoyable to you. I, on the other hand, find it meditative, much like focusing on your breath in yoga. Tempering requires that you make fast friends with your custard, one trickle of hot cream at a time, turning eggs into a lush, golden-hued, velvety fluid.

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

strawberry basil sorbet

one giant scoop

For many of us Memorial Day signifies the official start of Summer. And while our calendars tell us that Summer doesn’t really kick off for another few weeks, in my mind it has already arrived. Strawberries have arrived at the farmers’ market.

I look to strawberries to signal Summer’s approach, and as soon as they appear at the farm stand, I proclaim it to be summer and proceed with all kinds of strawberry shenanigans. Last year they were added to a blueberry pie (technically making it strawberry blueberry pie), were introduced to buttermilk granita, and folded into a dimply buttermilk cake. The year before, they played a leading role in a shortcake production.

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