Recently in Dessert, Candy, Ice Cream, Etc.
Thursday, May 12, 2011

roasted rhubarb with vanilla and rose syrup

roasted rhubarb with vanilla and rose syrup

These days, if you find yourself at the green market, you’ll hardly remember the cold days that are not-so-long behind us. Gone are the Saturdays when our only options were tubers and root vegetables. Suddenly the market is alive! There is plenty of green, new scents, new stalls. The overwintered leeks, the delicate new salad greens, asparagus, ramps! In no time we will see (and smell!) the first of the strawberries – these will be truly magical weeks when you’ll be tempted to eat your berries before you get home from your weekly trip.

But favorite spring moment at the greenmarket isn’t when I spy the first strawberries of the season, or the first green spears of asparagus. It’s when I find rhubarb, green with hot pink hues, firm and sturdy, piled high. Most people grab a few stalks satisfied with their bounty, but me – I get several pounds at a time, greedily stuffing my bags with the tart fruit.

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Sunday, April 17, 2011

matzo toffee with almonds and sea salt

matzo toffee with almonds

We’re in the thick of it here with Passover preparations. Andrew’s mother is at the butcher’s picking up kosher meat for tomorrow’s seder. We caramelized shallots this morning – they will be combined with roasted asparagus come tomorrow. There will be two types of haroset at the table. And tomorrow night Andrew’s family will host over thirty guests for a festive and boisterous first seder.

I like to think of Passover as an Jewish Thanksgiving – a loud, boisterous affair that, on the one hand, is big and chaotic, but on the other hand, has a linear order – what happens when you have to follow a script of sorts. In this case, it is a Haggadah. We will read from it, then we will eat, the read some more, and so on.

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Thursday, March 17, 2011

malted guinness chocolate ice cream

malted chocolate guinness ice cream

I like to joke how I was Irish in my past life. Something about that country has a constant pull on my heart. The literature, the poetry, the musical cadence of the speech, the whiskey, sad Irish songs, and of course, Guinness. They all feel as familiar and like-home to me as if I’d actually spent time there. It feels like all those things are in my bones, the way Russian things feel – like they’re second nature.

I first tried Guinness with my friend Alex, who came to the US by way of Moscow and now lives in the UK. Alex is a good egg, as one would put it. We go back all the way to fifth grade. And it’s amazing to look back and say you’ve been friends with someone for 22 years, continent divides and all.

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Saturday, February 12, 2011

chocolate-covered strawberries

glossy and chocolatey

For this Valentine’s Day, we’re keeping it simple. There will be no fancy dinner at a candlelit restaurant, no scheduled seating time. Instead we will be having a simple, quiet meal at home. I can’t think of anything more romantic than sharing a meal with my favorite person. Just the two of us, some food, wine, and excellent conversation.

red and lush
schaffenberger

Given that it’s our first Valentine’s Day together, we’re both a bit awkward about the whole thing. On the one hand, we want nothing more to show our love for one another. On the other hand, both of us, separately, always regarded Valentine’s Day with a bit of indifference. In my single days (and believe me I’ve spent many a Valentine’s Day single!) I never felt odd about not being one to receive flowers, chocolate, or not having a date.

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

maple frozen yogurt

maple frozen yogurt

I can’t quite focus, my mind is all scattered and fragmented. A nasty voicemail left at work this morning threw me off, and I am feeling a bit of out of sorts. Like the music is playing but I can’t quite keep the beat. You know that feeling? I’d like for it to stop. And this is why I need to get the message across right away. That spoon above is full of something delicious – maple frozen yogurt. And you must make it soon. Maybe to sit on top of these. Because they go excellently together. I know this because that’s how we had ours.

maple frozen yogurt

Look, I know that it’s mid-November and that you might have retired your ice cream machine for the season, and I know what you’re thinking about homemade ice cream: all that waiting and planning ahead is just a bit too much around this harried time of year. I’ll be honest: this ice cream takes time. There are egg yolks to temper and a custard to chill. But this maple frozen yogurt – nothing to it!

First of all, this isn’t quite ice cream, nor is it quite frozen yogurt. It’s a bit of both, straddling both names and ideas. Secondly, it takes mere minutes to prepare, an hour to chill, and then the whole mess goes into the ice cream machine to emerge half an hour later as a glorious frozen maple ice cream. Or frozen yogurt. Whatever you want to call it. This is so easy and requires such minimal hands-on time, you could do the whole endeavor on a busy weeknight after getting home from work.

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

nutella ice cream

Nutella Ice Cream

We are a household that respects its dessert. To me, it’s the period at the end of the sentence, a conclusion of sorts. You wouldn’t want all your sentences to end in ellipses, would you? Well, lack of dessert, even something as small as a morsel of chocolate, leaves me feeling unsettled as if my meal is incomplete. Like forgetting my cell phone at home – I feel a little disoriented when that happens. That “period”, the conclusion so to speak is missing. Andrew, thankfully, is of the same dessert persuasion. We revere our dessert, and we rarely turn it down. During our first dinner together, despite being full, we still decided to share our dessert, an apple cobbler, thus cementing our commitment to that portion of the meal.

eggs

So, here’s how this all went down with this Nutella ice cream. Labor Day Monday, while Andrew and I were perusing our respective RSS feeds (nerds!), I David’s post about Fenocchio’s ice cream in Nice, the very same place I wrote about when I made the ice cream that might still be the finest frozen creation to emerge from the Sassy Radish kitchen. I told Andrew about my trip through France after graduating college, making my way down to the French Riviera, walking around Nice and discovering Fenocchio entirely by accident. I showed him David’s pictures, “Should we find ourselves in the South of France, you know where we’ll be going.” Andrew wasn’t really paying attention, his eyes were fixed on a particular picture, “Yeah, I would be all over that Nutella ice cream.”

yolks, sugar

A light bulb went off in my head – why wait until we go to France (which, let’s face it, might not be be for awhile – suppressed sob), when we can make our own Nutella ice cream tonight – just in time for dessert? Why else would you bother having your ice cream bowl permanently hanging out in the freezer, taking up precious space, if instant gratification is not to be entertained? Lucky for me, Andrew puts up with my whims of cooking frenzy, and willingly eats and suggests future cooking projects. It works out rather well – I get to play in the kitchen, and he’s always ready to sample whatever experiments (good or bad) to come out of there.

pale yellow

Twenty minutes later, the custard was cooling in the refrigerator. Which brings me to the following: homemade ice cream is within anyone’s reach. While might sound silly to take up precious freezer space with a giant bowl, if you like ice cream and buy it regularly, it’s worth trying to make ice cream at home. decent ice cream makers are fairly affordable, and with minimal hands-on time, you could be making your own. I promise you won’t believe your taste buds – the flavors will be cleaner, brighter, stronger; the texture – creamier. And there’s no end in sight to how many combinations you could create!

gently pour custard almost ready

Also, there’s something lovely and old-school about making your own ice cream. It’s almost a journey back in time when things were simpler and a little slower. A time when we weren’t drowning in email, social media, and a thousand television channels. When burgers and bagels were smaller, and “super-sized” meals didn’t exist. Homemade ice cream, somehow, reminds me of that time. Funny thing is, I don’t even eat that much of it, but when I do, homemade beats store-bought by a landslide.

hazelnut evil

The custard takes only a few minutes to come together; chilling time, of course, takes longer – but if you have half an hour to kill in the morning, you can make this and forget about it until dinnertime. Right before you make dinner, pour the custard into the ice cream bowl, affix your machine parts, and turn the machine on. It’ll purr, hum, and make satisfied growling noises until your ice cream is ready. And when you scoop that ice cream into your bowl, your dessert is no longer a period – it’s an exclamation point.

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