Monthly Archives: May 2012

Ice cream for breakfast

Mint Chip4

Confession #1: I had ice cream for breakfast. Confession #2: It woke me up more effectively than my coffee did. I’m not sure if this speaks to my coffee-making skills, or to this cloudy Seattle morning, or to the minty blast of the ice cream itself, but I’m awfully tempted to credit this last thing. Toothpaste comes in mint flavor for a reason, I suppose.

Do you know Molly Moon’s? It’s an ice cream shop in Seattle. Only, it’s not just an ice cream shop. It’s sort of an institution here. It’s where we took Graham for his first ice cream cone. It’s run by the effervescent miss Molly Moon Neitzel (yes, that’s her real name), who, it so happens, graduated from Boise High School, just like me. (When I sat down to interview her once for a Seattle Weekly story, right when the shop opened, I was shocked to realize I knew her.)

It’s been my go-to spot for excellent ice cream for years. But until her cookbook came out, I didn’t realize Molly Moon’s makes Philadelphia-style ice cream, which means it’s made without eggs (not with steak and cheese, although I’m sure someone with freshly pulled wisdom teeth and a craving has looked into that). I’ve been avoiding eggs, so homemade ice creams had sort of fallen off my radar. But this. This is a book I could freeze my way through, one recipe after the next. This weekend, I made this minty number, a take on her “Scout” mint ice cream (made with Girl Scout thin mints), plus her cappuccino ice cream, which tasted like a frosty version of the Vietnamese coffee I order at my local pho spot.

So what’s the upside, besides ice cream for breakfast? Short of pouring cream directly into your ice cream maker, Molly Moon’s ice cream doesn’t get any easier to make. Which could be a problem, if you’re feeling pessimistic. I just see it as a reason to put heavy cream and an extra bar of good Theo chocolate on my regular shopping list.

Mint Chip Ice Cream

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream (PDF)
Recipe adapted from Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream (Sasquatch, 2012)

This is Molly Moon’s recipe for her famous “Scout” Mint Ice Cream, which is (in my humble opinion) the world’s best minty ice cream, studded with the Girl Scouts’ thin mint cookies. My version uses pure dark chocolate in place of the cookies, because I failed to save any this year. Perhaps next year I’ll follow Molly’s buying habits; she purchases 325 boxes of those addictive discs (from every girl she buys from!) every year to make Scout for her shops–a total of over 5,000 boxes!

Makes 1 to 1 1/2 quarts

1 cup whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup sugar
Pinch of kosher salt
2 teaspoons peppermint extract
1 (3-ounce) 70% dark chocolate bar, such as Theo Chocolate’s, finely chopped

Put the milk, cream, sugar, and salt into a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking occasionally to dissolve the sugar. Before the mixture has come to a boil, remove from the heat. Pour the mixture into a shallow pan or bowl and place in the refrigerator to chill thoroughly, 1 to 2 hours.

When the mixture is cold, stir in the peppermint extract. Pour it into an ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer’s instructions. During the last few minutes of processing, add the chocolate pieces. (Make sure you include all the chocolate dust.) Using a rubber spatula, transfer the ice cream to an airtight glass or plastic freezer container. Cover tightly and freeze until the ice cream is firm, at least 4 hours.

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Filed under dessert, egg-free, gluten-free, recipe

Moving forward

On Wednesday, I was driving to a doughnut shop with my grandmother. The previous night she’d been present at the launch party for Pike Place Market Recipes, and there in the car, sun streaming in, we somehow found ourselves talking about whether chutzpah is passed down from generation to generation, like long eyelashes or nice feet. Of course, she’d never use that word; June is the antithesis of a Jewish grandmother. She called it resilience, I think.

And then, to illustrate her point, she started talking about poetry. I warned her that if she was expecting me to participate in the conversation, she might need to reconsider, because my knowledge of poetry is sketchy at best. But I did have one excellent English teacher, in the twelfth grade. His room was plastered with quotations students had painted on the walls over the years, and one, in particular, spoke to me that year. I carried it around in my head for ages, to ski races and biology exams. So perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised when June quoted just that one, verbatim.

Invictus
By William Ernest Henley

Out of the night that covers me,

Black as the pit from pole to pole,

I thank whatever gods may be

For my unconquerable soul.



In the fell clutch of circumstance

I have not winced nor cried aloud.

Under the bludgeonings of chance

My head is bloody, but unbowed.



Beyond this place of wrath and tears

Looms but the Horror of the shade,

And yet the menace of the years

Finds and shall find me unafraid.



It matters not how strait the gate,

How charged with punishments the scroll,

I am the master of my fate:

I am the captain of my soul.

Redux: Life is not about tripping and falling into a bubbling vat of Cream of Wheat. It’s about a graceful dive into whatever pool awaits, performed with as much moxie as one can muster.

I don’t know how often June thinks of that poem, but it’s back on my radar, for sure. These days, it feels like everyone I know has a pool waiting. It’s a book proposal. It’s chemo. It’s a sick child. It’s one of a whole host of things, all different, which for whatever reason may be daunting or frightening or annoying or downright terrifying. For some people, it’s just life in general, and really, that’s enough on its own. Everyone has their thing.

For the last (almost) decade, my pool has been lupus. Sometimes the whole pool dries up, and I almost forget it’s there, but this is not one of those times. This is a spring of new IV treatments that give me heroine addict arms, and lifting my child carefully, and trying to find a pair of earrings that are easy for me to put in. I hate that it hurts to type, and that when I wake up in the morning under a cloud of brainstorm, I pause for a second before opening my computer, weighing whether I’m ready to move my fingers that much. But it’s also been an extremely happy, exciting time. (Did I tell you? I wrote a cookbook, and I love it.)

So on mornings like this one, I sit quietly on the couch—my child has been sleeping past six recently, for reasons I don’t understand but won’t question—and warm my hands on a cup of coffee. Then, I write, because moving forward is almost always the best option.

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Sweet Things

Fran's Gold Bar Brownies 2

It’s been a sweet, sweet week here in Seattle. Pike Place Market Recipes is here, filling my days with delicious details. Today, just a quick snapshot or two–one, up there, of Fran’s Gold Bar Brownies (PDF), the rich, gooey, almond-caramel brownie recipe by Fran Bigelow, of Fran’s Chocolates, that appears in the cookbook. Below, a look at events and book signings in the weeks to come, and sweet words others have said about the book. Enjoy.

UPCOMING EVENTS

Tuesday, May 15th: Appearance on New Day Northwest, on KING5

Monday, May 21st at Book Larder, 6:30 to 8 p.m., free. With Jill Lightner, editor of Edible Seattle: The Cookbook.

Tuesday, May 29th at Elliott Bay Book Co., 5 p.m., free. With Molly Moon Neitzel and Mark Klebeck.

Sunday, July 1st at Pear Delicatessen & Shoppe, time TBD.

HAPPY MENTIONS

Review on About.com
GastroGnome’s book review
CakeSpy’s heart-shaped honey-cream biscuits, inspired by the book
Review on Seattle Met’s food blog, Nosh Pit
And this post by Gluten-Free Girl. This, people, is why I write recipes. If a recipe meanders its way into inspiration (fennel syrup!), I consider it a success.

Chopped Chocolate
Recipe for Fran’s Gold Bar Brownies, from Pike Place Market Recipes (PDF)

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A jam for jamming

Rhubarb Jam

It would be lovely, I suppose, if every stalk of rhubarb shot up clean bubble gum pink throughout, and if it stirred up into a jam the color of nail polish, and if (while we’re dreaming) it could in no way, in any quantity, poison anyone. The rhubarb I buy at the store is like this, but the stuff in our backyard—rhubarb reliably misshapen, strangely sized, and half-buried in dead leaves—is not really all that pretty.

This year, I hacked it all into pieces any which way, piled it into a roasting pan with a cup of sugar and a cinnamon stick, and roasted it for almost two hours, until the foam had subsided and a thick, gooey jam had begun to stick to the sides of the metal.

My rhubarb jam wasn’t even close to pink, and somehow, this feels like a shortcoming. But while it roasted, I put my kid down for a nap, tagged up on a deadline, made myself coffee, answered email, and made dinner. Oh, I brought the mail in, too. I was jamming, people, in more ways than one. And right now, balancing a book release and a new lupus treatment and a traveling husband and the kind of sunny Seattle weather that makes me want to lie prostrate in the back yard, I can’t think of anything more beautiful than a jam that doesn’t require actual attention.

This is one of those. There’s chopping and mashing and scooping and smashing, but you won’t need an ounce of glamour to make it. You don’t need a recipe, even-just four pounds of rhubarb, a cup of sugar, a cinnamon stick, and a bit shy of 2 hours at 400 degrees, stirring every so often. Call it jam, or compote, or stuff, even. It doesn’t matter what you call it. I pile the roasted rhubarb stuff on yogurt, and eat it after Graham goes to bed, when the house is silent, and I want the last part of the day to sweeten anything sourish that’s happened during the daylight hours.

This stuff sweetens life just enough.

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Filed under Breakfast, fruit, gluten-free, Pike Place Market Recipes

What Does “Eating Locally” Really Mean, Anyway?

In Seattle, eating locally can be almost unnaturally convenient. I order online, and in the dead of night, a burly man (or maybe it’s a woman— I never see the delivery person, so I wouldn’t know) hoists reusable grocery bags from his truck in the rain, eases open my creaky screen door, and slides local kale and cheddar onto the porch, usually without even waking the dog. For breakfast, I sauté the greens and pile them over last night’s roasted potatoes, then top them with a blanket of cheese. It melts while I make more coffee.

It’s a locavore’s dream, living here. But a couple of years ago, I started to wonder: What does it mean for this food to be “local” if I made no part of the transaction with an actual human being? And what is “local,” anyway, besides the descriptor all foodwise upper middle classers are supposed to put in front of everything we eat?

Continue reading the story at GiltTaste.com

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My Market

Last week, I was prowling the Pike Place Market’s sidewalks with my husband and sister. Out of nowhere, Jim tugged up a memory of being a kid in Maine, reading Tom Robbins. The book’s characters were teenagers, skipping school to sit at the Market in the rain, floating little paper boats down the steep gutters lining Western Avenue. We’d just been at World Spice, buying New Bay, their freshly-ground version of the Old, and there on Western, he seemed to be putting today’s Market together with his own Market, the one created in his brain in Maine in 1993, or whenever it was.

I looked at him like he was nuts, of course. Doesn’t everyone connect the Market with food first? (Answer: No.)

The thing is, when it comes to the Pike Place Market, everyone has their own memories. That’s part of what makes the Market so magical.

Over the course of this month, friends and bloggers will be sharing their own Market memories–why they went there, what they tasted, and how they brought the Market home. Join us by sharing a short Pike Place Market memory below, or blog about it, and paste the link below (or notify me at @onfoodandlife).

Oh, and that up there? That’s my Market, as of last week. Looks pretty tasty, doesn’t it?

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