And I Can Cook, Too

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

July 28, 2006

The Secrets in the Celery

Our week in Cape May came to a close, and my husband and I were back to Delaware to visit with sister Amy. Amy is the mother of the aforementioned 2 year-old, not to mention a person in her own right. While in Cape May, I’d noticed that 2 year-old Caspian was strangely attached to a stuffed toy that looked like a stalk of celery, but with legs and a face. I came to learn that “Mr. Celery” is the mascot of Wilmington’s baseball team, the Blue Rocks. For reasons known only to Caspian and that special little fairy that makes small children do adorable things, Caspian had developed a Mr. Celery obsession. Mr. Celery was all he thought about. And all he talked about. The child carried the toy everywhere, periodically threw his arms in the air and shouted “Celery!”, wiled the hours away babbling “celerycelerycelerycelerycelerycelerycelerycelerywoohoo!” Naturally, I was curious to discover what the celery fuss was about. Upon the discovery that there was a Blue Rocks game the following day, I insisted that we go and get to the bottom of the Mr. Celery Mystery.

We arrived at the stadium, bought our tickets, went inside and found our seats. Noting that two of the reasons people go to baseball games in the first place are for the hot dogs and beer, Amy and I took off for the snack bar. Along the way, we ran into Amy’s friend John, who as it happens works at the Blue Rock Stadium. Ten minutes later we were comfortably situated in a skybox and enjoying complementary refreshments. I felt we’d discovered the first clue to the celery appeal. As we watched the game (the Blue Rocks were getting their butts kicked but I digress), I delved a little deeper into the celery lore. Hard as it is to believe, turns out choosing a stalk of celery to be a professional athletic teams’ mascot started out as a joke! Years earlier, the stadium had hosted an “Eat Five A Day” campaign, and the organizers had left their vegetable costumes behind. During what I can only imagine to be a rather uneventful Blue Rocks game, a couple of ball boys dared another one to put on the celery costume, wait until the Blue Rocks scored, and go out and run around on the field. The daree complied, and a star was born. You see, it’s not just my nephew. Wilmingtonians of all ages, shapes, and sizes love Mr. Celery. As I was mulling over the celery phenomenon, there was a shout from the skybox balcony. The Blue Rocks had scored! Mr. Celery was on his way! We crowded to the front of the box, our eyes peeled on Celery Lane. Mr. Celery did not dissapoint. He came running onto the field, his arms in the air, singing “Woo-Hoo!” along with that song that goes “Woo-Hoo!”. He high-fived a couple of folks in the front row, and then he was gone. At that moment I understood. I wanted him back. I no longer cared if the Blue Rocks won, lost, or how they played the game, I wanted to jump up and down with a crowd of thousands shouting “Woo-Hoo!” to a stalk of celery.

I did not get what I wanted. The Blue Rocks were soundly defeated and Mr. Celery was gone. Dejected, we left the stadium. But not before I stopped off in the gift shop to buy myself a “Property of Mr. Celery” tee shirt.
July 25, 2006

You MaybeBaby Seated

It was my mother’s birthday, and although she enjoys fine dining, she wanted to find a restaurant that would accommodate everyone from her daughter, the chef, to her grandson, the two year old. She chose a family style Italian place within walking distance of our Victorian. We arrived at the restaurant, and Megan, (now a solid 30 months pregnant) and I were the first in the door. We approached the receptionist and gave her the name of the reservation. Without looking up, she said, “We’re not ready for you. You have to wait outside.” “Can we wait in the lobby?” I inquired, moderately concerned that Megan’s baby could fall out at any time, and nobody wants to be born on a New Jersey sidewalk. “Nope” she responded, still not looking up, “You have to wait outside till we’re ready for you.” Had she looked up, she might have noticed the two empty chairs directly opposite her, which if occupied, would provide the perfect pedestals from which to fix upon her a steely glare. Megan and I most certainly did. Not more than a few moments later the receptionist felt the four holes burning into the top of her head. At long last, she looked up at the 36 months pregnant woman and the overly protective sister she’d ordered to leave the building. With a speed I wouldn’t have previously thought possible, she assessed the situation and said somewhat meekly “Your table is ready”.
July 23, 2006

And The Blue Cheese Ribbon Goes To…

On the night of my mother’s actual birthday, we go out to a restaurant. The rest of the Cape May week, however, my siblings and I take turns cooking for the whole family. We all love to cook, and although I won’t go so far as to say it turns into a competition, we all aim to impress. With the help of my husband, who had finally finished his D.C. business and was firmly back in vacation mode, Megan, now 18 months pregnant and frankly starting to feel uncomfortable, went the keep-it-simple-stupid route and served a delightful Brat-fry with deli salad sides. Amy Jo went berserk with homemade bread, and butternut squash soup. Delicious. Beth quickly countered with panko-crusted crab cakes with mango salsa and blue cheese potato salad. I don’t know how it happened, but I somehow got out of cooking altogether.

Blue Cheese Potato Salad
1lb. Bacon, thick cut & pepper crusted
1 Red Onion, halved and sliced 1/2 inch thick
3 Lbs. Red Potatoes, quartered
1/2 c. Mayonnaise
1/2 lb. Blue Cheese, crumbled or grated
S&P to taste

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a frying pan over medium heat, render the bacon until it is just crisp. Remove the bacon and drain on a paper towel.

Using the bacon fat, lightly grease the bottom of a baking dish. Line the bottom of the dish with the potatoes and onions. Brush with a little more of the bacon fat, and salt & pepper to taste. Roast the vegetables until they are cooked through and starting to brown, about 30 minutes. Remove and allow to cool slightly.

In a bowl large enough to fit all ingredients, blend the mayonnaise and the blue cheese. Add the potatoes and onion. Crumble the bacon and add. Mix and serve warm.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

July 21, 2006

Babe in Toymatoland

After 24 hours in Delaware, it was time to head off for the main event of the trip: my mother’s birthday week in Cape May, New Jersey. Every July, my mother rents a Cape May Victorian large enough to house the entire family. We spend the week playing on the beach; going for leisurely strolls around town, and of course, eating. Sister Megan (now quite visibly 11 months pregnant)and I hopped into the minivan with the rest of the family and we were off.

Now I’m not normally one to extol the virtues of New Jersey, and I get plenty of beaching, strolling, and eating well right at home in Hawaii, but Jersey does have one thing Hawaii does not: Big, Bold, Beautiful Hothouse Tomatoes. I’m not talking the kind of tomato you throw in a bowl of iceberg and put ranch dressing on. I’m talking the kind of tomato that takes the stage, gets the standing ovation and wins the Tony. I’m talking about the kind of tomato that makes you see god. On our way into town we stopped at a roadside produce stand and I loaded up. The plan was to eat a tomato a day, and how hard could that be?

My plan was a complete success. Each day for lunch, I made myself the most incredible tomato sandwich known to mankind. You’d think I’d have gotten tired of them after two or three days, but no. They were so good that I ate them five days in a row and on the sixth day I wanted more. Seven days of a Hothouse Tomato Sandwiches. It was so easy. The only hard part was keeping everyone else’s grimy mitts off my tomatoes.

The Most Incredible Tomato Sandwich Known To Mankind

2 slices Multi-grain Bread, toasted
As much or little mayonnaise as you want, and because I am still thoroughly entrenched in my bossy streak I command you not to use Miracle Whip.
Small bunch peppery green, like arugula
1 slice Creamy Havarti Cheese
The thickest slices of ripe New Jersey Hothouse Tomatoes you can get your mouth around, and if you really want this sandwich you will figure out a way to get your mouth around the whole damn tomato
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

I will not insult you by assuming that you don’t know how to assemble a sandwich.
July 20, 2006

The Expo’s Aces With Me!

Leaving my husband to go about his business in D.C., I hopped a train to Delaware to visit sister Megan and attend the Delaware Today Best of Delaware Food & Wine Expo. As if the allure of an evening of free food & drink wasn’t enough, the event was being held at Dover Downs, Delaware’s largest casino. This was going to be fun.

We dined on oysters with lime sorbet, panko-crusted pan fried catfish, roast tenderloin with an orange-cranberry reduction, grilled scallops on garlic mash drizzled with truffle oil, foie gras, and pate’. We tasted wines, beers, margaritas, martinis, and a surprising variety of blue drinks. Well, I did. My sister had no cocktails as she was 8 months pregnant. Everything was delicious.

As we were leaving, we decided to spend 20 minutes trying our luck at the casino. I plopped myself down at a video poker machine and started dropping quarters. Hand one: nothing. Hand two: nothing. Hand three: nothing. Discouraged, I decided to give the machine one last try before moving one. I dropped in the maximum number of quarters, and the machine dealt the cards. Two aces. Figuring that a pair was better than nothing, I held the aces and pushed the “draw” button. A seven, and ace, and another ace. Four aces. Free food, free drink, four aces, and $250 in quarters.

That, my friends, is how to play the game.

Friday, January 26, 2007

July 18, 2006

I Don’t Think She’s Selling Houses

Immediately following Boston, my husband and I were back in D.C. and back at our favorite French spot, Bistrot du Coin. After a delightful dinner of Gratinee de Halles, Casserole de Lapin à la moutarde, and of course a delightful Chateauneuf du Pape, we decided to stop at the bar for a nightcap. Sitting on the other side of me at the bar was a rather strikingly good looking young woman. She said she was a real estate agent, we mentioned that we’d hoped to move to the city earlier in the year, and soon the three of us were actively engaged in a friendly conversation about the merits of D.C., specifically the restaurants, more specifically this restaurant, and even more specifically this restaurants martini’s. One nightcap turned into three, and then an unusual thing happened. She stopped talking to my husband. Rather completely. She continued talking to me. And by “continued talking”, I mean issuing complements complete with subtle touches to my hair and knees. Delighted, my husband immediately ordered another round. The real estate agent continued to flirt and flatter and my husband continued to observe until I realized that I needed to get back to the hotel before I face-planted into the bar. The real estate agent suggested that we get together the following night, and began digging in her purse for a business card. That’s when things got really strange. She didn’t have one. She didn’t have one in her purse. She didn’t have one in her wallet. She didn’t have one in her briefcase. She didn’t have one in her car. She was a real estate agent without a business card. This was when it occurred to my husband that she was perhaps not in the business of selling houses. Completely oblivious to the fact that we were sitting in a bar, and therefore most likely surrounded by bar napkins, and, well, possibly pens, I determined that whatever the “real estate agent” had planned for the following night was not in the cards. With friendly hugs we bade farewell and stumbled off to our hotel. I’d like to say that on the way home we talked about the merits of the Gratinee de Halles, but my husband was too busy still being delighted to talk about food.

At risk of demonstrating poor form by posting two soup recipes in a row:

Gratinee de Halles
(French Onion Soup)

¼ C. Unsalted Butter
8 C. Combination of Yellow Onion, Sweet Onion, and Leeks, all julienned
2 Tbsp. Garlic, minced
1 C. Dry Sherry
1 Tbsp. Thyme
1 Bouquet Garni (a cheesecloth bag containing a few bay leaves, 5 or 6 whole peppercorns, and a few sprigs of fresh parsley, tied shut with a string)
½ G. Beef Broth or Stock (home-made is best, but store bought will get the job done)
1 C. Gruyere, grated

In a stockpot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add 1/3 of the onion blend, and sauté for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add another 3rd of the onion blend, and repeat. Add the last 3rd of the onions, and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the garlic, sauté for two minutes more, than add the sherry. Scrape the bottom of the pot to deglaze, and allow the sherry to simmer until it is almost completely reduced. Add the thyme and the bouquet garni and sauté for two minutes. Add the beef stock and bring to a boil. Reduce and simmer for 20 minutes, allowing the broth to reduce a little. Pre-heat your broiler.

Ladle the soup into ovenproof soup crocks. Top each dish with a sprinkling of the cheese. Place the soup crocks on a baking dish, and put it under the broiler until the cheese is bubbly and just starting to brown.

At further risk of demonstrating poor form by continuing to be bossy:

Do NOT put croutons in this soup! Or a big hunk of bread!?! Instead, serve this soup with a lovely baguette.
July 14, 2006

Concert Etiquette

It was the final night of the Microsoft Worldwide Conference, and the closing event was a private concert by the rock group Train. After a game of twenty questions during which my husband swore six ways from Sunday that there was absolutely no way I was going to be escorted out of this particular event, and meeting and befriending a Microsoft employee who had given me her card and promised to throw her employee badge over the fence should I be barred from entry, I donned my rock clothes and boarded the bus to the concert. Microsoft and rented, fenced, and lined with armed guards the city’s Fanuiel Hall and Government Center districts. And I thought they’d taken the Go-Go’s seriously. We arrived and I entered the venue without incident.

Food and beer trucks surrounded the concert floor; but far more impressive were the generator-operated port-o-potties. Each port-o-venue housed 4 individual stalls, and each stall was paneled with a faux oak finish. Two faux marble sinks came complete with real linen napkins and real human attendants. It was the nicest public restroom I’d ever seen.

My husband and I grabbed clam rolls, chowder, and a couple of beers, and waited for the concert to begin. The lights dimmed, the stage began to vibrate, and then it began: “Meet Virginia” and TRAIN. The crowd went wild!

Then I looked around. The crowd stood still. Perfectly still. Perfectly still and perfectly quiet. There was only one person in this crowd of 10,000 people with their hands in the air, and that person was me. This struck me as slightly odd. “Honey,” I asked my husband, “what’s going on?” (That he could actually hear me proves the oddity of this rock concert scenario). “You are the only person here who isn’t a computer geek” he informed me, pointing to a guy in a three piece suit, his arms crossed over his chest, surveying the band as if he were on guard, “They don’t know how to have fun. All they do is work on computers. That guy hasn’t had a night off in seven years.”

Despite the rather non-concert like surroundings, I was determined to have a great time. For the very first time in my life, I wanted to be in the mosh pit. We carefully wound through the crowd to the front of the stage and discovered that there wasn’t one. Content to simply be close to the band, my husband decided that I should stay right where I was while he went off for a couple more beers. Shortly after he left, I felt a tap on my shoulder. “Excuse me,” said an angry looking blond in a Microsoft shirt, “the next time you’re going to find a place to stand, would you mind going he other way around?” I considered her request: the next time I was in Boston for the Microsoft World Wide Conference, attending the closing night Train concert and trying to get to the front of the stage, would I mind going the other way around? “Okay!” I said. This was clearly not the answer she was going for. Over the music I could hear her huff and chuff, and comment to her companion about rude concert guests. I concluded that she had never actually been to a concert before, and opted to ignore her. My husband returned with our beer, and noticed that there was a man diminutive size standing directly behind us. “”Would you like to stand in front of us?” he offered, much to the dismay of the chuffing blond. Further adding to her ire, my husband and I enjoyed every second of the rest of the concert, hands in the air and all. Finally, as Train was playing their last encore, I felt another tap on my shoulder. “May I at least get my picture?” the same girl asked me, clearly not realizing the true purpose of a rock concert. “Okay!” I said, clearly not realizing what she was actually asking for. Ah, well, at least I was being agreeable.

The concert ended, and my husband and I made our way back to the bus. As we were leaving, we passed by the row of port-o-potties, and I decided to make one last stop. It was at this time that I discovered the only flaw in the potty design. The front door opened in, and the door to the interior stalls opened out. With the glee of having seen a wonderful concert and consumed a couple of beers, I swung the front door open. And promptly slammed it into the door of the person already in the stall trying to get out. “Dammit!” she screamed. “Sorry!” I called out, and the front door opened. Out came my angry blond friend, with a look that said one thing: “You followed me here, you waited for me, and you smashed a port-a-potty door in my face. You bitch.”

I’d never killed someone’s concert rush before (I kind of liked it).

Because I tell everyone this is a food blog here is an excellent recipe:

New England Clam Chowder

½ C Unsalted Butter
1/3 Lb. Bacon, small dice
1 C. Sweet Onion, medium dice
½ C. Celery, medium dice
¾ C. Yukon Gold Potato, medium dice
2 Gloves Garlic, minced
3 C. Shucked Clams (canned clams are great and easy)
2 Qt. Heavy Cream
1 QT Milk, full fat
1 Pt. Clam juice (you can get it in a bottle)
Dash Hot Sauce
S&P To Taste

In a stockpot, render the bacon until it is just crisp. Remove the bacon and drain all but about 1 Tbsp. of the fat. Add the butter and melt. Add the onion and celery and sauté until just beginning to become translucent. NO! You can’t sauté the onion and celery at the same time you’re cooking the bacon! If you try, your bacon will NEVER get crisp! Add the garlic, sauté for one minute. Add the potatoes, clams, ½ the cream, the milk, and the clam juice. Bring to just a simmer. Do not boil. Simmer for about 20 minutes, and test the potato for doneness. Taste, and season with hot sauce, salt, and pepper. Everyone likes chowder at a different thickness. If your chowder is too thin, simmer a little more to reduce the liquid and thicken the cream. If your chowder is too thick, add more cream until it is your desired consistency. NO!! For the sake of all things holy!! Don’t even consider mucking with this recipe by adding a roux or some other starch based thickening agent! If you do, you will NEVER EVER be allowed to go to New England! And the Patriots might win another Super Bowl!!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

July 13, 2006

So Good It Oughta Be Illegal

Getting kicked out of the Go-Go’s concert did have one positive side effect. My husband felt so guilty that he let me pick the restaurant. Big mistake. I chose Legal Seafood’s, one of Boston’s most famous, and pricey, restaurants. My husband did not blink an eye, he simply told me to get that dress back on. Seated and a cozy table in the oak paneled room, we ordered martinis and perused the menu. In an extreme breach of dining out etiquette, we both decided to get the same thing: the boiled lobster dinner. When our meals arrived we switched to Pinot Grigio and dug in. The corn on the cob was crisp and sweet, the boiled potatoes were perfectly cooked and deliciously seasoned, and the Caesar salad was crisp tender romaine hearts with an actual house made with real anchovies dressing. But the star of the meal was the Maine Lobster: sweet, melt in your mouth tender, with just a hint of the sea. My husband and I didn’t talk about anything. We were too busy eating.

Excellent Maine Lobster

See recipe for Lobster Melts. Follow until lobster has been boiling for 10-15 minutes. Do not chill. Serve whole, hot, with nutcrackers, cocktail forks, drawn butter, and lemon wedges. Wear bibs, drink wine, have fun.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

July 12, 2006

No Go-Go For You Girl

The Microsoft World Wide Conference was hosting a reception for their partners featuring that classic band, The Go-Go’s. Because my husband is a “preferred partner”, he had guest passes to all conference events. I put on a dress, and off we went-went.

We arrived at the event to find an actual red carpet lined with what by all accounts was a hired cheering section. As we watched, a group of clearly not rock stars got of a bus and were enthusiastically applauded as they entered the building. “Whom are they cheering for?” I asked my husband, not trusting the entire set up. “They’re cheering for us, honey!” he replied, and took my hand and led me down the red carpet. We smiled and waved to the enthusiastic crowd and proceeded to the party.

Suddenly, a hand clamped down on my shoulder. “I’m sorry ma’am,” an official looking woman with a very large badge and a walkie-talkie said, “This is strictly a no guest event”, and escorted me back down the red carpet and out of the building.

Of course I smiled and waved at my loyal fans the entire way out.
July 11, 2006

Flattery Will Get Me Fish

With my husband off at the Microsoft World Wide Conference, I was left with moral dilemma: where in Boston to treat myself to lunch? The obvious answer was the Ye Olde Union Oyster house, touted the oldest restaurant in the city. I arrived at the restaurant and immediately discovered the perfect place to sit: the oval bar in the front of the restaurant with a view of the window that allowed me to people watch over my lunch. Tending bar were Jimmy and Donny, or rather, “Jammy” and “Dahnny”. Both were good Irish boys from the south side of the city and boy were they happy to see my red flowing locks waltz in and sit at their bar. Within moments I had complimentary “tastings” of clam chowder, shrimp cocktail, and clams on the half shell. As I happily enjoyed the oysters on the half I’d actually ordered, Jammy paraded by with a live, five-pound Maine lobster. I was so impressed with the size of the beast that I was more than willing to overlook the possibility that Jammy might be compensating for something. Over beautiful fish and chips I enjoyed such flatteries as “Here you go, beautiful”, “It would never rain in this city if we had girls like you here”, and “Here. Have another beer. On me.”

It was the best lunch I’d had in months. Jammy and Dahnny, I salute you.
July 10, 2006

Oh, Wouldn’t It Be Lobsterly!

Our search for Boston cuisine took my husband and I to Vox Populi, a smokin’ hot restaurant in the heart of the Back Bay. Over Peppered Tartar, Salted Roast Beets, and Lobster Melts, we talked about how great it was to really be back on track as a couple. We talked about how exciting it would be to live someplace like Boston. We talked about how wonderful it was to be spending time with family the following week. But mostly we talked about the Lobster Melts.

Kristin’s Lobster Melts with Gruyere

Big, Crusty Bread, such as ciabatta or brioche, sliced thick (one slice per serving), toasted.

Tarragon Aioli

1 Large Egg Yolk
1 Tbsp. Fresh Tarragon, finely minced
1 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
1 Clove Garlic, finely minced
1 dash Hot Sauce
2 Tsp. Dijon Mustard
1-1/2 C. Vegetable Oil
Salt & Pepper to Taste

Make a ring on the counter with a damp dishtowel. Place a medium size bowl in the ring. In the bowl, combine all ingredients except the oil, salt and pepper. Mix with a whisk to thoroughly blend. Whisking constantly, very slowly drizzle the oil into the bowl. If you can see the oil “sitting” on top of the egg, you are adding too much at a time. Continue until all the oil has been added. Salt & pepper to taste.

Maine Lobster

1-1 Lb. Live Maine Lobster per two persons being served
1-2 Bay Leaves
5 Whole Pepper Corns
Pinch Salt
1 Tbsp. Lemon Juice

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add everything but the lobster. Throw the live lobster in headfirst, and cover the pot. DO NOT WORRY! The second the lobster is in the water it is in shock and cannot feel a thing. DO NOT BE FREAKED OUT! The high-pitched screeching noise you hear is not the lobster screaming! Lobsters do not have vocal chords. The noise you hear is steam escaping the shells. Boil for ten minutes and remove from water. Plunge into an ice bath to chill. When cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the shell and coarsely chop. Avoid the temptation to eat it right there and then.

To Assemble the Lobster Melt

Spread a tbsp. of the Tarragon Aioli on each piece of toast. Top with half the lobster meat. Cover the lobster with slices of Gruyere. Either place under the broiler or place in a toaster oven until the cheese just starts to get brown and bubbly.

Serve warm with a light mixed green salad with Dijon vinaigrette.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

July 9, 2006

Gutten taag! Quack Quack!

Whenever we visit a new city, my husband and I like to engage in exactly one extremely cheesy tourist activity. In Boston, that activity was the Boston Duck Boat Tour, the “original” duck boat tour. We boarded our bright lavender duck boat and awaited the arrival of our host. A few moments later “Sven” climbed on board and we were off for the Boston Duck Boat Tour of a lifetime. Sven was about 55 years old, had curly blond hair down his back and a handlebar mustache to die for. He was wearing a kilt, strappy leather boots, a sheepskin vest, and a Viking helmet. As we drove throughout the city streets, Sven informed us that Bostonians absolutely LOVE it when tourists on the duck boats shouted “Quack! Quack!” at them. He encouraged us to endear ourselves to the local population by being the loudest duck boat they had ever heard. Our cue to quack was Sven shouting “Gutten taag!” Which of course made perfect sense. “Gutten taag!” Sven shouted. “Quack quack!” we shouted back every time we saw a Bostonian who appeared to be in a less than sunny mood. By the time we drove the boat into the St. Charles River the city was ready for a Boston Tourist Tea Party.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

July 8, 2006

A Perfect Arrival Plan

My husband and I arrived at our Boston hotel exhausted, stiff, and cranky. Immediately after check in I spoke with the concierge and arranged for a couples massage. In the room. In an hour. Two and ½ hours and much groaning later we were able to be civil again.
July 7, 2006

My Mile High Club

Because he was flying on business and I was flying on miles, my husband and I were traveling separately to the east coast and meeting up in Boston. Because he spends most of his life on a plane, my husband can usually manage a first class upgrade. Needless to say, this left me bitter and resentful. He was going to enjoy complimentary champagne, while I was going to not enjoy water infused over cooked chicken glazed with something vaguely teriyaki-like and limp green beans. Ever the opportunist, I determined that there was nothing I could do about my seat, but there was something I could do about my dinner.

While my fellow economy class travelers were busying themselves with overcooked mushy spaghetti topped with a sauce made of processed cheese food and a individually wrapped oatmeal cookie that had been baked fourth months ago, I whipped out my picnic of pate de foie gras, creamy havarti, sliced apples, grapes, and beautiful stone ground whole wheat crackers. I bought my own damn champagne.
July 1, 2006

Cuckoo for Coconut

My husband and I returned to Hawaii and had exactly 10 days at home before we re-boarded the plane and took back off for a month on the mainland. During our 10 days, we wanted to be sure to find some time to spend with the gang. We decided on Thai food, and invited everyone over. Clever Kenny offered to bring desert, and promptly borrowed my ice cream maker.

My version of Kenny’s delicious Coconut Ice Cream

2 c. Coconut Milk
1 c. Brown Sugar
6 Egg Yolks

In a small pot over medium heat, bring the coconut milk and sugar to a simmer. Stir to dissolve the sugar. In a mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks until they are slightly fluffy. Temper the egg yolks by adding a ¼ cup of the hot coconut milk and whisking quickly to avoid cooking the eggs. Continue to add coconut milk, ¼ cup at a time, until the egg yolk mixture is warmed through. Pour the egg mixture into the pot with the rest of the coconut milk. Stirring constantly, bring the mixture back to a simmer and continue to cook until it is think enough to evenly coat the back of a spoon. Do not boil. Pour the mixture back into the bowl and put it in the refrigerator to chill. Follow your ice cream makers’ manufacturer’s instructions to freeze the ice cream.

PS: If you taste your mixture before it goes into the freezer, it should taste a little too sweet. The freezing process causes the ice cream to lose some sweetness. So don’t panic. Unless your mixture doesn’t taste sweet at all. Then do panic. And run screaming in the streets to Baskin Robbins.