True statement: I will follow the Sedaris siblings (ok, at least David and Amy) anywhere they lead me. David decides to stop using human characters and to form his tales as animal fables? I mean, I’ll miss the family dirt, but I’m game. Dude could write the alphabet and I’d read it cover to cover. His sister, Amy, decides to shed her fat suit (you’ve seen “Strangers with Candy,” right? RIGHT?) and transform into the hostess with the mostess? Then I guess it’s time to throw a party. There are few people I think could actually take Martha Stewart down, and Amy Sedaris is one of them. And yes, I’d pay to see that fight.
We’re doing a joint post today in honor of S’s 19th birthday. S was home last week for spring break from college, so there were plenty of food requests on his part. “Will you make that dank macaroni and cheese with blue cheese and bacon you made Dad and G?” he asked. “And will you make my birthday cake?”
The answer, of course, was yes. My days of making our children’s birthday cakes (or ice cream pies in our case) and special meals are dwindling. And it makes me just a little sad. The last 26 years of my life have circled around our children, seeing to their needs, helping them grow, watching them take flight and sometimes fall. They have been the earth to my moon, steady in their place as I revolved around them. Read the rest of this entry »
Rachel here: When we decided to go gung-ho blueberries for this post, I immediately thought of trying to make lemonade. I’ve been pretty into lemons and limes as of late and with a hot weekend ahead of us, nothing seemed better than having a large cold pitcher of sweet and tart blueberry lemonade on hand. After spending most of yesterday outside, often with an ice-cold glass of this drink in hand, I can say I was totally right. Next time I’m thinking I’ll try using raspberries and limes…
2 c. simple syrup (1 c. sugar, 1 c. water and a little lemon zest cooked until water is clear)
2 c. blueberries, pureed
2 c. lemon juice (10-12 lemons)
8 c. water
Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher, stirring well. Let chill for a few hours. Serve over ice (if people are finicky, then strain as you serve to remove blueberry bits…I, personally, love the evidence of the fresh fruit). If you have drinkers who would like their lemonade a bit sweeter, moisten and then dip the rims of their glasses in demerara sugar. Also, John would like you all to know that this stuff tastes great with some whiskey in it. I have to say that I’m inclined to believe him.
Janet here: I went with blueberry wonderfulness as a compote. I decided to make the compote and then show you two things to do with it: warm over ice cream — fabulous! — and as a center in muffins — also very tasty.
Serving it with ice cream is obvious: Make the compote, scoop the ice cream, dig in. End of delicious story.
For the muffins, my idea was that they would be a little like jelly donuts except muffins. I have to tell you my theory didn’t exactly work — the compote spread randomly throughout the muffin — but they were tasty nonetheless.
Put 1 1/2 cups berries in a saucepan with the sugar and water. Cook until the berries burst, stirring occasionally. Add 1 cup of berries and cook, stirring regularly, until the spoon is coated with the sauce.
Pour over whatever you want, such as ice cream,
Blueberry Compote Muffins
the compote obviously
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 1/4 cups milk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
1 1/4 cups sugar
Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Line muffin tins with paper liners.
Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Stir with your hand until combined. Add the eggs, milk and melted butter, stirring until just combined. May be lumpy. Add the sugar and combine.
Put a large dollop (tablespoon) of batter into each muffin cup. Add about 1 tablespoon of compote. Add another dollop of muffin batter. Bake 25 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean and the tops are golden brown.
We are very happy to introduce Caroline Barrett, a food blogger — you can catch her musings and terrific recipes at Table for 5, one of our faves — and a mother who tries to find creative ways to feed her growing family. We’ve been a fan of her blog and her writing for a while, so we asked her to do a guest post for Food for Thought Thursday. We love what she’s written about and can completely identify with both the need for something sweet after dinner and the sneakiness dilemma. Enjoy!
Janet here: We are not a family of cake eaters. Did that start because I’m not a cake eater and never made them, the same way we never had soda in our house growing up so I never developed a taste for soda? Who knows, but whatever the reason, we have homemade ice cream cakes for birthdays… and they barely last a day.
I’m not sure where I got the idea to make an ice cream cake (or perhaps more accurately, an ice cream pie) but once I did, the path was set. The way it works, each birthday person can pick the kind of ice cream and whatever mix-in they want smushed in. Depending on the birthday child, it’s been anything from M&Ms to Reeses Peanut Butter Cups to Heathbars (and sometimes all of them). This recipe is absurdly easy (and fun to lick the bowl afterwards). Hope you enjoy!
Homemade Ice Cream Cake
20 oreo cookies, smashed
20 (give or take) small Reeses Peanut Butter Cups, smashed (or whatever you choose)
2 pints of ice cream (coffee is a favorite at our house but again the choice is up to you)
Put the ice cream out to soften.
While it softens, mash the oreo cookies in a bowl. I use a pestle but a covered hammer could work too.
Place the cookie “crust” in an 8 or 9 inch pie pan, making it level. Make sure there is enough for the sides. (You can always add more mashed cookies if you need more.
Mash the smush-in of choice in the same bowl. When you’ve got enough, add the softened ice cream and mix up some more. Spread into the pie pan and put it in the freezer for at least an hour. (It will be hard to wait but worth it.) Serve it up!
Rachel here: So, as evidenced by my mom’s cake, ice cream was the theme for this post and, as evidenced by the fact that the picture right above these words is a picture of sorbet, I strayed. Oops! I’m pretty sure my mom’s used to my, shall we say, interpretations of guidelines at this point. But anyway…
The reason I made sorbet was that, well, I wanted to. I keep getting really excited at the grocery store when I see California berries at a reasonable price in the middle of winter and, though I could have made ice cream with them, sorbet seemed to honor their magnificence just a bit better since the fruit stands on its own more (don’t get me wrong, though, I adore ice cream). For the last few weeks I’ve noticed gold raspberries and I’ve been meaning to try them and so I picked some up (along with some red raspberries and some strawberries…I wasn’t kidding when I said I keep getting really excited at the grocery store) and embarked on my very first sorbet making adventure. You can follow me along this delicious path using the recipe below and substituting whatever is local and fresh in your produce department.
1 c. granulated sugar
1 c. water
juice from one small lime
3 c. gold raspberries
3/4 c. red raspberries
1/4 c. sliced strawberries
Make a simple syrup with the sugar, water and lime juice. Don’t know what simple syrup is? It’s a syrup that is quite simply made by heating the sugar and water (and, in this case, the lime juice) over the stove until the sugar dissolves. Mmmm…
Place in fridge or freezer until quite cold (but not frozen).
In a food processor, break down your berries until smooth. I’ve heard that some people like to then strain the seeds out of this berry concoction, but I like evidence of the fresh fruit I’ve used so I left them in. If you don’t have a food processor, I am going to post a little alternate recipe below that should turn out just fine. Back to this version, though…
Place the berries in the fridge and chill until quite cold.
Combine berries and syrup in a pourable container. Set up your ice cream maker/attachment (don’t have one? No big deal with sorbet. Just put your well mixed berries and syrup in the freezer, checking on it every 15 minutes or so and fluffing it up so you don’t get ice crystals until it’s a good texture for you) and let it work its magic. Put your sorbet in an airtight container and freeze for at least 2 hours before serving.
So, you don’t have a food processor. It’s ok, I didn’t always. I got one this summer when John and I got officially hitched. It’s awesome and sort of like having a kitchen b*tch, but I’m sure I don’t need to rub your face in its wonders. So, what you should do instead is take half of your simple syrup and combine it with 1/2 c. lemon juice. This should taste like sweet lemonade. Now just mash or chop up your berries and mix them into this. Everything else you need to know from here it posted in the main recipe above. Enjoy!
Janet here: Ice cream has figured large in my life since I was a child, so it’s no surprise it’s the stuff behind a lot of memories in the family my husband, Peter, and I have created. The question is where to begin talking. With the memories I have of Sunday Sundaes in my childhood? With homemade ice cream trips with the neighborhood kids when we picked my father up at the train in New Jersey? The list goes on.
After a lot of discussion, Rachel and I decided to kick off what will likely be the first of many ice cream posts (stay tuned for tomorrow’s on homemade sorbet and homemade ice cream cakes for instance) with a place that has a special spot in our family’s collective hearts: Donnelly’s Ice Cream in Saranac Lake, NY. They don’t have a website but you can click here for a posting and photo on this Adirondack blog about this special spot.
My husband and I came together over two things: Pride and Prejudice and the Adirondacks. I’ll leave Mr. Darcy for another day, but our time in the Adirondacks has been a repeated treasure year after year. We began with our honeymoon in Long Lake and continued soon after with annual summer vacations with our growing family. It was during one of our first summer visits there that Peter and I discovered we also shared a Donnelly’s love. He had gone there for years as a child and I first discovered Donnelly’s while making the long drive to and from New Jersey to St. Lawrence University. Donnelly’s was also a wonderful way to end a long day of hiking. With the exception of a cold Michelob, licking a soft-serve cone and staring at the mountains across the road after hiking is really as good as it gets.
The allure of Donnelly’s is in part its simplicity. A small shed on a dairy farm, they serve up one flavor and one flavor only each day. They also only make soft-serve. I like that no-nonsense approach. It’s about eating the ice cream, not some frou-frou experience. And it’s about slowing down and savoring the moment, one of many such moments that make family vacations so great. Yes, the big trips are memorable, but these small moments, a cool lick of chocolate and vanilla swirl, are really the best.
Rachel here: Oh, Donnelly’s. Just the mention of the name makes me struggle not to buy a plane ticket and fly east. Nestled amongst the beautiful Adirondack mountains (the place where we spent nearly every summer of my childhood) the mere thought of Donnelly’s conjures feelings of relaxation, silliness and fresh air. No matter how old we were, my brothers and I were always able to get along in the name of a trip to Donnelly’s (admittedly, we generally got along better as kiddies when we were in the Adirondacks…the mountains gave us perspective even then), always willing to spend a little bit longer in the car if it meant a pitstop at the yummiest, creamiest, freshest soft-serve ice cream stand we’ve ever known. With only one flavor served a day (a conviction which has always impressed me), when G and S were little we could only go on certain days because they weren’t up for the “nut surprise” day or whatever. This led to a few smug private trips to Donnelly’s by me and a parent to which I can vividly remember returning to the cabin by the lake and gloating, “I had Donnelly’s and you didn’t” only to pause melodramatically before revealing that I had had pistachio and vanilla swirled together, something that for reasons that remain mind-bloggling to me, didn’t appeal to my brothers.
I think what felt so fun, besides sort of being at Donnelly’s whim in terms of what kind of ice cream we had, was that my parents were just as enthusiastic about Donnelly’s as we were. When you’re little it’s the rare event that generates equal enthusiasm amongst all of your family’s ranks and yet when we’d pile in the car, or take the detour, towards Donnelly’s there was an effervescence that could be felt emanating from each one of us. This kid-in-a-candy-store delight continues to this day. We all laugh when it’s too hot and our ice cream slides off the cone (only, of course, because it means we get to go in and get another, thereby ensuring just a little extra ice cream consumption), we stand around and lick and giggle and reminisce and look at the mountains around us. These are timeless moments, moments in which I feel connected to every summer past standing in the same spot with my family, like some sort of constellation or connect-the-dots. I am both 10 and 20 as we sit on the bench in front of the tiny store, and I couldn’t be happier. Thank you, Donnelly’s, for giving my family a place to pause year after year (oh, and sometimes day after day when we’re in the Adirondacks) and, of course, for making such fantastic ice cream.
Do you have a favorite ice cream memory? Or maybe you’ve been to Donnelly’s. We’d love to hear.