photos by gluttonforlife
Because summer is not over yet. Because ice cream is an essential luxury. Because nothing beats homemade. Because when you go to the heart of darkness, you need a reason to turn back. There is something about the cold, slippery, creamy sweetness
of ice cream that triggers a very primal lust—one that must be satisfied every now and then.
I confess to having made frozen treats more than a few times this summer. I blame Jeni, the ice cream temptress whose book, Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams At Home
, lays bare the art of eggless ice cream
. I made her backyard mint (with mint from the garden) and goat cheese with roasted sour cherries for ice cream sandwiches at our July barbecue; her eye-opening black coffee; her inspired sweet corn with blackberries; and I added fresh white peach puree to her classic vanilla bean for a summer favorite. I could not resist tinkering with her Darkest Chocolate Ice Cream in the World. By adding my own spin to the decadent blend of cocoa powder, bittersweet chocolate and brewed coffee, I wound up with something I just have to share with you. It's sinful, in the best possible way.
photos by gluttonforlife
I am not so different from the beasts of the field and forest. Even in this heat, and with all of summer's bounty making it seem that we will never lack for food, we're thinking ahead to those cold, barren months. The squirrels are stockpiling pinecones, the mice are hiding seeds, and I am preserving fruits, vegetables and herbs in a variety of ways. I buy so much fruit at the local farmers market that I am officially known as a good customer and receive certain perks. This week that meant 10 pints of free raspberries deemed too soft to sell but really in absolutely perfect condition. That very same day I cooked them down and put them up—their sweet essence, garnet hue and soft, floral fragrance stowed away for a wintry delight. I've done the same with yellow plums, apricots, gooseberries and strawberries, so I've got quite the collection going in my basement. And it would be my pleasure to share some of it with one of my readers. Just leave a comment before Sunday the 29th at 6pm, and I'll select a winner at random to be announced next Monday the 30th.
It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas. Around here, that's signaled by the annual frenzy of caramel-making that kicks in right after Thanksgiving. A gorgeous snowfall helps, and the strains of Misa Criolla, a traditional peasant mass, and Handel's Messiah are never far behind. Joanne, the lady at our local post office, was in awe of how many packages we mailed out today (around 100, some we hand-deliver) and was curious about how the tradition got started. I actually started making the legendary caramels in the late '90s to give to clients, but the line between clients and friends has blurred over the years, and the word has spread far and wide. It's not just that they are deliciously addictive, but that they are made by hand and with love, and that they appear year after year around the same time. This notion of tradition is so important to us, especially around the holidays. It's rather poignant for me because, with both my parents dead and no children in our house, traditions can seem a bit, well, pointless. Sometimes I am gripped with the sad realization that there will be no one to carry on what I do, but then I rally and realize that's all the more reason for me to do whatever I can, in the best way possible, right here and right now—and to share it with as many people as I can, including you.
what a glorious sight to see first thing today
If any cookie can be said to have a cult, it would be Tate's. G was an early convert, after discovering them during his summers in the Hamptons. The original Tate's Bake Shop
opened its celadon-green doors more than 20 years ago in Southampton. Founder Kathleen King eventually capitulated to the near-hysterical demand for her insanely crisp and addictive chocolate chip cookies (and other divine baked goods), and they can now be found at select, discriminating retail venues, as well as the brand's online store. Through a coincidence that I prefer to think of as destiny, I wound up practicing yoga with someone who works with Tate's and, learning of G's love of the cookies and sad intolerance of gluten, he very generously sent us a large box of their gluten-free products! Frankly, we did not have high hopes. Gluten-free versions of things so very rarely live up to the originals. But these? Just as good
. No less than a miracle.