Thursday, July 30, 2009

Salted Caramel Ice Cream

It all started last year when Husband and I went to Seattle. My friend, Christy introduced us to the wonder of salted caramel ice cream from Molly Moon's.


Then, last week, I was reading Bites and noticed a comment from another reader who'd made salted caramel ice cream at home. At home! But then I looked at the recipe and was a bit daunted.

However, Saturday morning, during our usual early-morning trip to the farmers' market, we discovered a farmer there selling milk and cream. From his very own farm (Rebekah Grace Farm)! So I got a big bottle of heavy cream and I was on my way.

I've never made caramel before and it was actually the scariest part for me. I was terrified both of undercooking and burning it. Somehow, though, I came out perfect. Again, the recipe from Gourmet magazine is here but I made a few adjustments:

1. I added another half cup of milk and about a palmful of sugar
2. I used fleur de sel
3. I did not pour the mix through a sieve--I put it in a bowl and mixed it with my stick blender until smooth and creamy. Worked like a charm.

But when I make it again, I will make the following changes:
1. Cut it down to just one egg [ETA: don't do this]
2. Use 2 cups of whole milk and just 1 and 1/4 cups of heavy cream [the recipe can stay the same, just use the cream that's NOT mean to use to churn butter, and you'll be fine! ha!]

...because holy shiz, that stuff is RICH. Too rich. I mean, you can hear the sound of your arteries clogging. It is one of the most delicious things I have ever made in my whole life, but I can take just one bite. The husband, of course can eat a regular serving. Stomach of steel, I guess. The stuff is so rich that even the cat can't handle it. He loves the heck out of it, but it wreaked havoc on his little tummy (and our carpet). No more ice cream for Eddie.

Next up? Chocolate.

Monday, July 20, 2009

The fruits of my labor

I could tell you about some wonderful things I've cooked lately. Maybe share some sorbet or frozen yogurt recipes, but I'd rather complain about my garden again.

This tiny little guy--about the size of a mini Roma--is the only thing I've grown to fruition. The only thing that has avoided being devoured by critters. It's a "Sugary" variety of tomato. It looks and tastes a bit like a Bradley. It was good. I wish I had about fifty more.

And this? This is one of the pumpkin patches growing in the discarded mulch behind my office building. It gets no proper attention and has no protection from critters, yet it thrives. The pumpkins are already jack-o-lantern size. I also discovered today that the watermelon vine now has tiny baby watermelons on it. The are so very cute.

Meanwhile, back in my garden, the only gourd that ever progressed is a cucumber. Most of its fruit ended in a stage that looks like a small yellow caterpillar. Very sad. Though last I checked, there was one that had survived into the fetal stage. We'll see how long before something eats it.

Also, the husband reports some sort of gourd growin in our compost pile. Make that "compost" pile. It's really just a pile of food scraps at the back of my property that I've done nothing with to make it into compost. And by mistake, it contains cat poop, so nothing growing there is fit for human consumption. Story of my life. Anyhoo, I don't know what it is because, well, I have a husband now so I don't have to go back there. I like that quite a lot.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Why he's a vegetarian

Excellent post. Just excellent.

In a way, I respect people who hunt and fish, who know what goes into the production of their food. Because so many people don't want to think about it. They just want their meat nicely cut and cleaned and in a handy container. Though I am disturbed that people can take the life of an animal for fun, for sport. I simply just don't believe it's right or necessary.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

A food memory

Out of nowhere the other day, I thought about Carnation Breakfast Squares. And for several days now, I have been craving them.

For those who don't know, they were a food of the 70s. Nutritionally, they were maybe a step up from Little Debbie Snack Cakes, perhaps because of marketing magic and a little boost of vitamins. Regardless, they were always stocked at my grandmother's house and I can still sense the taste of a vanilla Breakfast Square on the tongue of my memory. They were small and came two to a pack. I recall being allowed to eat just one for breakfast (though I ate two during visits when my mom dropped me off in Paris for a week or two--gotta love grandmothers). I didn't like the chocolate; just the vanilla. And they were actually a bit dry, but there was a coating of vanilla frosting and a thin smear of vanilla creme in between two layers of cake. I don't recall them actually tasting like vanilla. Or looking much like vanilla, either--the color of the squares was sort of gray.

Breakfast Squares moved along to the big pantry in the sky well before my grandmother did (so long ago that an image can't even be found by the Google). I remember the first time there weren't any Breakfast Squares at my grandmother's house. I was confused and disappointed. I think neither my mother nor my grandmother understood my attachment to those squares. They were genuine comfort food; they tasted like happiness.

I would love to have one now, though I suspect even if they were still around, they would not be as good as I remember. I think they'd only taste that good if I were eating them in my grandmother's kitchen. And thirty years ago.