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Of Fathers, Husbands and Vanilla Ice Cream

Wednesday, 11. June 2014 5:26

A vanilla ice cream that husbands and fathers are sure to love -- if not everyone else on the planet.

A vanilla ice cream that husbands and fathers are sure to love — if not everyone else on the planet.

 

My husband likes to joke that I married my father.

And it’s true — they are uncannily alike in many ways.

My Dad couldn’t get enough of cop shows on TV. Neither can my husband.

Both like to eat and run. I’d barely have time to swallow the last spoonful of dessert at a restaurant, before my Dad would be jingling his car keys and pushing his chair back to head home. My husband, as much as he hates to acknowledge it, has been known to do the same.

My Dad also liked nothing better than to end a meal by indulging in a scoop of ice cream. He’d go to the freezer, take out the tub and carefully fill a coffee cup, before digging a spoon in, contently. If there’s no ice cream in our house, my husband will feign wanting to go for a walk, just so he can stop by the neighborhood ice cream shop on the way home.

Their flavor of choice? Vanilla. Always.

Me? I usually zero in on the Chunky Monkey, the Sicilian Pistachio, the Basil, the Strawberry Balsamic. Anything but vanilla.

I never understood why, when faced with so many more unusual flavors, anyone would choose vanilla.

But now that I’m older, I get it.

You always hear how the tell of young chefs is that they’re prone to adding as many ingredients and techniques on one plate as they can. But as chefs mature, they pare back, realizing that simplicity is not only harder to execute, but also in the end if done well, more meaningful and memorable.

The same with vanilla ice cream.

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Category:General, Recipes (Sweet) | Comments (9) | Author:

Rah-Rah for Raspberry Almond Bars

Friday, 6. June 2014 5:26

My freezer is a repository of odds and ends, a treasure chest packed with the promise of delicious culinary endeavors to come.

Rinds from parmesan wedges saved for hearty vegetable soup pots in the days ahead.

Over-ripe bananas tucked away for spur-of-the-moment banana bread-baking.

Heels of bread for making crumbs to dredge chicken thighs in.

And for this recipe.

“Raspberry Almond Bars” appealed to me because they make use of almond flour (also found copiously tucked away in my freezer) and bread crumbs. In fact, there’s no need to measure out any all-purpose flour because the batter gets its foundation from the former two ingredients, plus a generous amount of eggs. The recipe calls for 6 extra large eggs. Since I only buy large ones, I just upped the number of those to 7 for this recipe. It also calls for superfine sugar. You can just whirl regular granulated in a food processor to make it finer. Or truth be told, I just used the regular granulated as is without a problem.

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Category:Fruit, General, Recipes (Sweet) | Comments (10) | Author:

A Glutton for Butter Mochi

Wednesday, 21. May 2014 5:25

Butter mochi -- my downfall.

Butter mochi — my downfall.

 

Last week, I gorged myself.

And I blame Chef Jeffrey Stout for it.

You see, after a recent trip to Hawaii, I happened to post a photo on Facebook of a unique sweet treat that I enjoyed there that was quite new to me: butter mochi.

Stout, former chef of Alexander’s Steakhouse in Cupertino who’s now building his own restaurant, Orchard City Kitchen in Campbell, did what any self-respecting chef would do when he spied the photo and sensed my longing — he emailed me a recipe for it.

Curses!

It was far easier to make than I thought it would be. When I tried a piece, I immediately ate a second, then had to restrain myself from reaching for a third.

Chef, what have you done!

The recipe comes from Stout’s neighbor, Taryn Esperas, who has been known to make this for neighborhood block parties, where it’s always one of the first things to be gobbled up.

It’s cake. But not. It’s custard. But not really. It’s sort of its own delightful hybrid.

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Category:Asian Recipes, Chefs, General, Recipes (Sweet) | Comments (14) | Author:

My On-Again, Off-Again, On-Again Love Affair with Coconut

Wednesday, 30. April 2014 5:25

Coconut banana macadamia nut -- a taste of Hawaii in your own home.

Coconut banana macadamia nut — a taste of Hawaii in your own home.

 

As a teen, I fell for coconut.

Hard.

I’d bake sticky coconut macaroons, shower vanilla frosted cakes liberally with the snowy shards, and stir in as much shredded coconut as humanly possible into the batter for my favorite Morning Glory muffins.

But in my 20s, all of that stopped. I turned my back on coconut.

Maybe it was my young adult self trying to assert a more grown-up palate. Or the reaction to way too many Mound’s bars or supermarket German chocolate cakes early on, both of which had the nasty habit of rendering coconut nearly sickly sweet.

In any event, coconut and I parted ways. For a long, long time. I went out of my way to avoid the stuff, picking around the lone coconut bonbon in the See’s candy box or turning up my nose at any dessert that dared include it.

But a few years ago, ever so slowly, that flame for coconut was rekindled.

Koloa Coconut Rum mini bottles -- a souvenir from my recent trip to Kauai.

Koloa Coconut Rum mini bottles — a souvenir from my recent trip to Kauai.

Maybe it started when I succumbed to a sublime wedge of coconut cake at the cute-as-a-button Hominy Grill in Charleston. Because if you’re in Charleston, how can you not eat coconut cake?

Or all my recent trips to Hawaii, where coconut something or another can be found on every menu around.

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Category:General, Recipes (Sweet), Spirits/Cocktails/Beer | Comments (8) | Author:

Pumpkin Spice Mini Cakes That Are Maxi Moist

Wednesday, 18. December 2013 5:25

Pumpkin and eggnog in one moist little treat.

Pumpkin and eggnog in one moist little treat.

These cute little cakes combine two of the holiday season’s most beloved ingredients: pumpkin and eggnog.

“Pumpkin Spice Minis” is from the cookbook, “Cake Simple” (Chronicle Books) by cookbook writer Christie Matheson, of which I received  a review copy.

I took the liberty of swapping out the buttermilk in the cake recipe and the milk in the glaze recipe for eggnog instead.

Eggnog’s inherent richness is even too much for me at times just gulped straight. So, I prefer baking with it instead.

Organic Valley eggnog for the holidays.

Organic Valley eggnog for the holidays.

That’s just what I did when I recently received a sample of Organic Valley eggnog. Made with organic eggs and milk, plus fair trade sugar, vanilla and nutmeg, this is a decadent tasting eggnog. A quart is $3.49 at most Whole Foods stores.

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Category:General, Recipes (Sweet) | Comments (10) | Author: