Ice cream flavored with a toasty tasting Japanese product.
When my husband heads to the store to buy ice cream, I just roll my eyes.
Because he always gets the same flavor, no matter what.
In a world of Chunky Monkey, Tin Roof, strawberry cheesecake, Vietnamese coffee and more, he reaches for vanilla. Every single time.
Oh, he’ll tell me that he might get something different this time.
But of course, he never does.
So I am left to my own devices — to make my own. And in my mind, the more distinctive, the better.
That’s why when “The Perfect Scoop” (Ten Speed Press) was revised and updated recently, I couldn’t wait to pore through my review copy. The original frozen desserts bible by food writer and popular blogger David Lebovitz, who worked at Chez Panisse for a dozen years, was published a decade ago — when I didn’t yet own an ice cream machine. This time around, I was ready. Boy, was I, to make something creamy smooth and unique.
Fresh figs — in all their glory — in a perfect tart.
Figs are a rather stealth fruit.
For those of us not lucky enough to have our own backyard fig trees, we forget the candy-sweet, sticky, plump fruit have two seasonal harvests a year here — in June-July, and September-October.
As such, they rather sneak up on us. There we are, ogling the strawberries, plums and nectarines at the market, when all of a sudden out of the corner of our eye, our attention gets hijacked. “Are those figs?,” we find ourselves asking silently, as we hurry over to investigate. Sure enough, they are baskets bulging with the gorgeous purple or green figs.
A Jell-O for adults only.
When sommeliers and Champagne producers admonish people to drink bubbly more often rather than just for the most special of occasions, they probably didn’t have this in mind.
In fact, when a publicist sent me a sample of the Taittinger Prestige RosÃ©, I was almost afraid of telling her how I planned to enjoy it.
Yes, in a grown-up version of Jell-O.
But when I spied the beautiful and super easy recipe in the new “Tartine All Day: Modern Recipes For The Home Cook” (Lorena Jones Books/Ten Speed Press), I couldn’t hep but want to try it.
The cookbook, of which I received a review copy, is by Elisabeth Prueitt, co-founder with her husband Chad Robertson of San Francisco’s beloved Tartine Bakery and Tartine Manufactory.
Whether topped with jam or fresh fruit, these little tartlets are irresistible.
Anya Fernald is probably best known for being the co-founder and CEO of Belcampo Meat Co., the world’s largest sustainable meat company, which owns everything from its animals to its own slaughterhouse to its own stores and restaurants where its meat is sold.
But leave it to me to get a review copy of her new cookbook “Home Cooked: Essential Recipes For A New Way To Cook” (Ten Speed Press), and to not make a meat-focused recipe, but a dessert one instead.
Because, yes, that’s how my sweet tooth rolls.
That’s not to say the book isn’t filled with tantalizing carnivore dishes. Having had the pleasure of eating Belcampo’s fare on a couple of occasions, I can attest that you taste the impeccable quality of the meat from the get-go. Because Belcampo raises its own animals, it makes a point to use every part so that nothing goes to waste. The recipes reflect that in everything from “Seared Lamb Heart Crudo” to “Chicken Hearts Cooked in Brown Butter” to “Toma Cheese with Green Herbs” to “Pork & Pepperoncino Sausage.”
But when Fernald writes in the book that “Jam Tartlets” is one of her most requested recipes, how could I resist?
Strawberries get blanketed by a super crisp topping.
Strawberries hold a trove of memories for me.
Of whipped cream-slathered, fresh strawberry layer cakes that my Dad toted home from Chinatown bakeries for a special treat.
Of bowls of berries hidden by a mountain of aerosol-spurted whipped cream my parents would sometimes indulge us with for dessert in summer.
Of aching quads after my girlfriends and I once spent an afternoon at a u-pick, plucking our own super ripe, juicy berries from rows of lush, low-lying plants.
And of the consternation my older brother felt when he tried to grow them in our own backyard, only to have the bugs gnaw away at most of them.
But in many ways, one of the most profound remembrances I have is not of the berries themselves, but of the small, green crisscross plastic baskets they come in.
Strawberries from the farmers market in their iconic basket.
Whenever I bring the berries home now from the farmers markets and empty them out of of their containers, I can’t help but think of those baskets.