NYC

Strawberry Ice Cream

When I worked at Restaurant Daniel I was in charge of the Ice Cream station. This meant I made and churned all the ice creams - and got to taste them all straight from the machine. If you're an ice cream lover (like me) and have never had fresh ice cream straight from the machine you are truly missing out. So simple, So divine. It's really pretty easy to make your own batch - and you can make exactly what you want flavor-wise. I whipped up a batch of Strawberry after asking my son what kind we should make. Now strawberry is certainly not my favorite flavor. I'd order Vanilla over Strawberry.  I also would've liked to put some other things in it - maybe coconut or balsamic? - but being the good natured Mother that I am I gave him his simple Strawberry. And really - his praise after trying it made me thankful I didn't try to sneak anything else in. No - this isn't Vegan... I'll work on that recipe next... I am, after all, a classically trained Pastry Chef! Went back to my roots on this one!

Strawberry Ice Cream

  • 11 ounces Strawberries
  • 1 Tblsp Lemon Juice
  • 3 Tblsp Sugar
  • 4 ea Egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup Sugar
  • 1 ea Vanilla Bean, cut and scraped
  • 1 1/2 cups Heavy Cream
  • 1 1/2 cups Half and Half
  • dash Salt
  • dash Cake Spice *
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In a bowl toss strawberries, lemon juice and sugar.

In another bowl whisk together egg yolks, sugar and 1/2 cup of the heavy cream. In a saucepan put the rest of the heavy cream, half and half, salt, cake spice and vanilla bean over medium heat.  Bring almost to a boil. ‘Temper’ the hot cream mixture with the egg mixture by adding some of the hot cream to the eggs while whisking. Add egg mixture to saucepan and slowly heat while using a rubber spatula. You are making an anglaise here (which is delicious on it’s own!) and want to be careful not to over cook and ‘scramble’ the eggs. Stir well and use this trick to tell if it’s done: lift rubber spatula out of pot and draw a line across it with your finger – the mixture should be thick and hold the line. Pour into a bowl and chill.

Puree strawberry mixture in a blender. Add anglaise to your ice cream maker and turn on. My machine has a little window to pour extra ingredients into – so I poured the strawberry puree once it started processing.

*from Penzey's : cinnamon, star anise, allspice, ginger, cloves

Potato Leek Soup

I meant to make the Sunflower Pate - but that didn't happen. Do you ever find yourself walking down the produce isle and grabbing things instinctively with no apparent reason? Well, that's what happened to me. Maybe I was thrown off because the store was packed with blizzard preppers - or maybe I was divinely guided to those leeks. Growing up my Mom always had packs of potato leek soup on hand. Knorr - the yellow and green pack - a flash of nostalgia and comfort in a cup. Texture, Taste, Color. I see her in her pink and purple robes. Intense 80's makeup.

So I find myself chopping and throwing things in the pot. I've never made potato leek soup from scratch. Would it add up? Ginger, celery and a dash of turmeric. I've accepted that pretty much everything I make is bold and slightly Indian in persuasion. I clean the leeks really well - because who wants sand in their soup? The smell of sauteing onions and leeks fills the house. That old 50's house wife trick - sauteing onions before their husbands got home from work to make them think they'd been hard at work in the kitchen. It works for me. I'm in the zone of chop - dash - stir. A trance of actions that leads me to my destination. It's not a chosen destination - it's a moment by moment unraveling.

It worked. I got that bliss in a bowl.

POTATO LEEK SOUP

  • 4 Tblsp Olive Oil
  • 2 ea Leeks
  • 2 ea Celery stalks
  • 1 ea Onion, medium
  • about 4 cups Water
  • 6 ea Red Potatoes, small, diced
  • 4 ea Garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2" Ginger, fresh, chopped
  • 1 tsp Oregano
  • 1 tsp Thyme
  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp French Four Spice (white pepper, nutmeg, ginger, cloves)
  • 1 tsp Pepper, fresh cracked
  • 1/2 tsp Salt

4qt pot

Clean leeks well. Chop leeks, onion and celery. Don't worry about them all being perfect or a specific size - you're going to be pureeing them! Heat oil in pot - add chopped leeks, celery, onion. Saute for about 5 minutes. Add water, diced potatoes, garlic, ginger and spices. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 30 minutes. Turn off heat. Puree with a hand blender or in a blender. Serve with a scoop of greek yogurt, fresh pepper and grated cheese. (dayia cheese if vegan!)

The Granola Bar

I love granola bars. It's really the perfect food. Kind of like a banana except that a banana can get smushed too easily in your bag. Ready at a moments notice when you're hungry and there's no good food around or you just don't feel like stopping to get some. There it is. Waiting for you in your bag. The granola bar. A great thing for kids too. As a Mom it feels like your doing some worldly good deed when you feed your kids good food. That it will somehow prevent them from having a melt down and fill them with the important nutrition needed to face the world. Assuming that it's not filled with sugar, which most of them are, because then you will be doing yourself and the world a great disservice and laying the tracks for a meltdown that most certainly will happen in the near future.

So my epiphany came to create just such a bar from a recipe I used to do at Heaven. The fruit and nut bar... but how about if I added some Kale and then dipped it in chocolate? I know, the chocolate has sugar in it... but maybe I can get around that too....

I've done dozens of recipes at this point - perfecting just the right balance of sweet and healthy. We're all looking for that 'treat'. A small indulgence - especially when you're on a 10 day cleanse or when you're having a long day of battle of the wills with your toddler.... So with those two thoughts in mind last night I came up a raw cacao kale bar! It may sound intimidating or unappetizing - but let me tell you - I basically made a brownie that happens to be healthy.... SERIOUSLY! I fed them to a group of cleansers this morning and it was all rave reviews (maybe they were just grateful to have something other than steamed veggies and salad). But then I fed them to my 3 1/2 year old son this evening  and he wanted more, more, more, more (as he likes to say...).  So I'm happy. I've managed to sneak greens into his diet AND have a delicious treat to eat. I've also managed to finish this post - The first part I wrote over a year ago. My how time flies.

Now I don't have to go through the effort of coating it in chocolate - it's already in the bar. And we can continue to love our fruit and nut bars just as they are and I can stop caring that Duncan doesn't like them.  

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And did I mention that all the bars are gluten free, vegan and maple sweetened? Bonus. 

Easter

Why is easter about colored eggs? Why are all holidays about food? Comfort. Gathering. Community. Some greater purpose. Calling family. Well Wishes. My mom says she's trying to stay calm. Holidays freak her out and put pressure on an already fragile composition of nerves. So she goes on a 7 minute rant about the immediate stress in her life and wishing people would die. Sounds morose, I know. But that's what happens. Total honesty. On the raw leading edge where no filters exist. I juggle it with a grain of salt and go back to my beautiful blue eyed son who is staring at me through the most angelic eyes. Holidays are about the kids. That's what everyone I called tells me today. People who's kids are all grown and they are living on their own now. You can hear it in their voices - missing that carefree happiness that engulfs the little ones that so often leaves the grown-ups. But back to the food. Any excuse to make a meal - make a cake - make a moment in time stand still. A mushroom omelet with jalepeno cheese. Home fries. Baguette slathered in fig jam. Strong french press coffee. A perfect meal. I'll settle for store bought Easter candy for dessert - no time to make a cake these days. There's something nostalgic and fulfilling about York peppermint patties and Reese's peanut butter cups.

Happy Easter.

Cookies.

I've got cookies on the brain. So simple. So good. So versatile. Endless combinations of ingredients - though I must say the basic chocolate chip cookie is still my favorite. It's like wrapping your favorite blanket around yourself - a moment where all is right in the world and nothing can change the pure simplistic goodness that envelopes my being. I'm walking down the street - chocolate chip cookie in hand - and with every bite I take all my temporary problems of perceived confusion melt away. I get more pep in my step and whatever I was thinking about before this cookie is magically solved and transformed. At least for the moment. Yes, the power of the cookie. I see it in my son too. The two year old temper tantrum? Tell him you have a cookie. He may just change his mind about kicking and screaming for no apparent reason. I know, it's bribery starting at a young age. But hey, sometimes we just need some positive motivation.

And here's the other thing about the basic chocolate chip cookie recipe - you can come at it like a chef and depending on your mood throw in different ingredients. My friend asked me to whip up a batch of cookies for him the other day and I threw in cocoa powder, cinnamon, walnuts and cayenne pepper. Bliss. I know that takes them to the level of a chocolate-chocolate chip cookie. But my point is to experiment and take the plunge. If it goes terribly wrong you can always grind them up and use it as a crust for something else. Add more butter and layer it in a cheesecake. The possibilities are endless. It mirrors life in that way. It's all in your hands. Create your own perfection.

I grabbed an oatmeal raisin cookie the other day. Perfect balance of crisp butter crunch and soft chewy raisins. It was definitely an oatmeal raisin kind of day. Chocolate chip would have been too intense. It was morning. The first thing I ate. There's a cookie for every mood. Figure out your mood through a cookie. Stir the batter, scoop it out, bake it in the oven and ENJOY. That's what life is about, no?

 

A night.

I'm playing catch up.... Time rolls on and things I've meant to do don't get done until they seem irrelevant and I think about not doing them at all.But I have some fun pics from this night and I figured why the hell not. It was September 11th and it was beautiful. I got to wear an amazing Chanel dress, eat delicious food and laugh with some fun people. My favorite comment of the night came from the person seated next to me - Waiter: "Would you like some bread?" Guest: "Oh no, it doesn't go with my outfit!" Ah, Fashion....

Thanks to my super amazing friend Ali Kavoussi. It was for Muse Magazine hosted                                                                       by Marina Abramovic at the Gramercy Park Hotel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*some photos here are from Billy Farrell Agency