Miss Ginsu: About/Bio

 

Mission: The Ice Cream Smore'wich

As the last big weekend for summer grilling approaches, what's the ultimate summer dessert? The ice cream sandwich? The s'more?

I had a thought this week... why not combine the two? Behold: The Ice Cream Smore'wich!

Ice Cream Smore'wich Blueprint
Click in for the full-size version

I've done a bit of (rich, tasty, chocolaty) experimentation, and I'm here to tell you, there's the fast and easy way, and then there's the longer (but rewarding) way. Your choice.

Ice Cream Smore'wich — The Easy Way

You'll need:
Graham crackers
Chocolate fudge sauce
Vanilla ice cream
Jumbo-size marshmallows
Plastic wrap or wax paper

1. Select two graham crackers and slather one side of one graham cracker with chocolate fudge sauce (or go crazy with Nutella, if you're so inclined).
2. Open a carton of your favorite vanilla ice cream and cut or portion a 1" slice of the ice cream to match the length and width of the remaining graham cracker base.
3. Place the ice cream slice/portion atop the remaining graham cracker base and move both graham crackers to a tray or plate in the freezer to chill.
4. Use a skewer/stick to toast the marshmallow to your liking.
5. To assemble, gently compress the cooled toasted marshmallow between the chocolate fudge and the ice cream-layered graham crackers. Return the completed smore'wich to the freezer for 15 minutes to firm, then wrap snugly in plastic wrap or wax paper and keep frozen until ready to consume.

ice cream smore'wich

Ice Cream Smore'wich — The Homemade Way

First, you'll need homemade graham crackers. Rather than repainting the Mona Lisa, I will merely refer you to Smitten Kitchen's Awesome Graham Cracker Post.

For the chocolate fudge sauce layer:
Simple Chocolate Fudge Sauce (Makes about 3 cups)

1 cup chopped 60% chocolate (or good quality chocolate chips)
1/2 cup butter
2 cups confectioners' sugar
3/4 cup milk or cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or brandy
1/8 teaspoon salt

Combine the chocolate and butter in a medium-sized saucepan. Melt over medium-low heat, stirring to blend. Add sugar, stirring until dissolved. Gradually blend in the milk (or cream). Cook, stirring constantly, for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat, stir in the vanilla (or brandy) and salt. Serve immediately or store, chilled. (Can be rewarmed in the microwave.)

Finally, the toasted marshmallow ice cream:

Although the Torani company makes a very exciting-looking Toasted Marshmallow Syrup, I wasn't able to secure any for this test. Instead, I've gone with a classic ice cream base with a toasted marshmallow swirl.

Toasted Marshmallow Swirl Ice Cream (Makes 1+ quart)

For the Toasted Marshmallow Swirl:
15 large-sized marshmallows
1/2 cup milk or water

Place the marshmallows and liquid in a heavy-bottomed sauce pot and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the marshmallows melt and the sauce attains a rich brown color (about 20 minutes). Add a little hot water if the mixture seems too thick and scrape the edges and bottom well to pick up the caramelized sugar.
When the sauce is thick and caramel colored, remove the pot from the heat and allow it to cool.

For the Ice Cream Base:
2 free-range eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk

1. Whisk the eggs 1-2 minutes.
2. Whisk in the sugar.
3. When blended, pour in the cream and milk. Blend well.
4. Pour this blend into your ice cream machine and prepare as directed.
5. When the ice cream is very thick and nearly ready (about five to ten minutes before completion), fold in the toasted marshmallow sauce.
6. Pack the ice cream into pints and freeze overnight.

To assemble the homemade Smore'wich
1. Select two graham crackers and slather one side of one graham cracker with chocolate fudge sauce.
2. Slather a thick portion of the ice cream across the length and width of the remaining graham cracker base.
3. Gently compress the coated sides of both graham crackers together. Wrap the sandwich snugly in plastic wrap or wax paper and keep frozen until ready to consume.

While my toasted marshmallow swirl ice cream is pretty tasty, it's not quite as toasty as I'd like it to be.

I still want to try out the toasted marshmallow syrup, but in the meantime, if anyone knows a foolproof method for getting that rich caramelized flavor into ice cream, please let me know in the comments!

Have a lovely long weekend, and happy eating!
Miss Ginsu

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9.01.2009

On Bulding a Bombe

At culinary school, we spent one whole class period making bombes, and it was a wonderful experience, although I've noticed it's not polite to talk about that sort of thing in public.

People can't hear the silent "e" at the end of bombe, so one risks being labeled a terrorist. Thus, it becomes necessary to modify the word on each utterance... "pastry bombe" or "ice cream bombe" or "bombe cake" or something of the sort.

The bombe glacée is a traditional French confection made with a cake dome that encloses a mousse or ice cream center.

You don't see them that often, and that's a shame, because it's fairly easy to construct a bombe.

I find that the mousse variety holds up a bit longer at room temperature, but the ice cream bombe seems to make people (particularly small people) squeal with delight.

To get started, you'll need a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan with a raised edge and a large, deep metal or glass mixing bowl. (Mine is from K-Mart's affordable Martha Stewart line)

The construction of a basic bombe works like this:
1. Bake a flat, flexible cake layer. (I used the chocolate genoise recipe for this.)
2. Cool the cake and and cut into pieces/strips.
3. Line the metal mixing bowl with plastic wrap and then line with the cake pieces, cutting smaller shapes (as necessary) to fit in all the spaces and make a single, uniform layer. This process is like making a cake puzzle across the inside of the bowl.
4. Pack mousse or softened (but not melted) ice cream into the empty space atop the cake, cover the entire bowl with plastic wrap or parchment and freeze 5 hours (or overnight).
5. Optional: Cover exposed ice cream top (cake bottom) with a quick chocolate ganache and let harden for 30 minutes in the freezer. This is just to seal up the bottom, but it doesn't show, and it's not necessary.
6. Using the plastic wrap lining for leverage, invert the bombe on a platter and quickly frost or ice it and/or decorate it. Return the bombe the freezer until it's time to cut and serve.

To illustrate, here's a bombe, still in the chilled bowl with the hardened ganache spread across the top.

Bombe in the Bowl

Observe the inverted, undecorated bombe here (you'll note the white ice cream crevices where the cake pieces fit together).

Bombe Cake (unfrosted)

And the frosted bombe here...

Bombe Cake (frosted)

The lovely Suzy Hotrod kindly documented the before and after bombe photos, so toques off to her for making this funny little cake look professional.

I do recommend avoiding the lowfat ice creams for this project. They're often very airy and whipped, making them melt too quickly for use here. But that aside, you can really use whatever ice cream you like. I went with plain old vanilla but most anything you enjoy will work fine.

Cheers!

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3.14.2009

Pistachio Carrot Cake & Saffron Ice Cream

I was planning to write on a different topic today, but when you're inspired, sometimes you have to go where the wind blows you.

Today, the wind was blowing in the a pale green direction, and I'm not talking St. Patrick's Day here (although a person certainly could, were a person so inclined).

The inspiration of the day? Pistachio Carrot Cake & Saffron Coconut Ice Cream. Oh yes. We're just that crazy around here.

My coworkers joined forces for a boffo birthday cake combination, and it turns out, this one's not too difficult for mere mortals to pull off.

Pistachio Carrot Cake with Saffron Coconut Ice Cream

Whack! Pow! Suzy Hotrod cranked out a standard carrot cake (with gooey cream cheese frosting), but she threw an extra cup or so of chopped pistachios into the batter and saved another handful for sprinkling around the top. Easy, nutty, tasty... and green!

Meanwhile, back at the Bat Cave, Kate whipped up a coconut ice cream, but used a hint of saffron for its sunny hue and unmistakable flavor.

Pistachio Carrot Cake with Saffron Coconut Ice Cream

Together, they're like Batman and Robin... a dynamic duo. But don't take my word for it... try for yourself.
Pistachio Carrot Cake (Makes a 13" x 9" cake)

For the cake
4 eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup apple sauce
2 cups sugar (all white or half white/half brown)
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
3 cups grated carrots
1 cup chopped pistachios

For the Frosting
1/2 cup butter, softened
8 oz cream cheese, softened
3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract or lemon juice
1 cup chopped pistachios (for garnish)

1. Heat oven to 350° F (175° C). Grease and flour a 9" x 13" pan and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, oil, applesauce, sugar and the two teaspoons of vanilla.
3. Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon, then blend into the wet ingredients. Stir in carrots and pistachios.
4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
5. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely. (Or simply leave in the pan and frost the top.)

For the frosting: In a mixing bowl, whip the butter, cream cheese, confectioners' sugar and vanilla or lemon juice. Beat until smooth and creamy. Frost the cooled cake and sprinkle reserved pistachios across the surface.

Saffron-Coconut Ice Cream (Makes about 1 1/2 quarts)

1 cup milk
1 pinch saffron threads
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 (14 ounce) can cream of coconut (not coconut milk!)

1. In a saucepan, combine 1/2 cup of the milk and the pinch of saffron. Heat just until milk is hot, but not boiling. Stir and allow the mixture to steep 10 minutes before moving to the refrigerator to chill completely.
2. Strain out the saffron threads (optional) and whisk together the chilled saffron milk with the remaining 1/2 cup of milk, the cream and the cream of coconut.
3. Freeze the mix using an ice cream machine or attachment, then pack into pints and harden in the freezer for at least 5 hours (or overnight).

So then, what have we learned today? Pistachios are yummy. Cake and ice cream are yummy. Distribution of labor is totally yummy.

Good lessons, indeed. I think that about does it for today. See you back here at the same Bat Time, same Bat Channel.

Cheers!
Miss Ginsu

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3.10.2009

Day 24: Candy Cane Crunch & Shortbread Stars

This post marks Day 24 of Miss Ginsu's 2008 Advent Calendar. To find other days and other projects, use the calendar page to navigate.

Merry Christmas Eve!

If the weather outside is frightful, the first thing you're thinking of might not be ice cream. But die-hards (like me) think about ice cream year-round — the holidays are no exception.

I haven't done an ice cream recipe in a few months, but I wanted to make this one a little more snazzy and festive for Christmas Eve — thus, the addition of those stripey little canes. And yes, I'll admit it: I have a small candy cane obsession.

Candy Cane Bonanza

Candy Cane Crunch Ice Cream

Candy Cane Crunch Ice Cream (Makes 1+ quart)
Base
2 free-range eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk
Add-ins
1/2 cup candy canes (crush in a plastic bag with a jar or mallet)

1. Whisk the eggs for 1 to 2 minutes.
2. Whisk in the sugar.
3. When blended, pour in the cream and milk. Blend well.
4. Pour the mix into your ice cream machine and prepare as directed.
5. When the ice cream is very thick and nearly ready, five to ten minutes before completion, blend in the crushed candy canes.
6. Continue freezing to desired texture.

If you've been reading closely, you'll recognize this dough as the vanilla version of the Peppermint Snowflakes from Day 19. Since the dough can be made ahead and refrigerated (or even frozen and thawed), these cookie cut-outs are pretty convenient to make on the fly.
Sugar Cookie Stars (Makes about 2 dozen — just enough for you and Santa)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 egg white + 1 Tbsp water, beaten together
White or colored sugar for decorating
1 star-shaped cookie cutter

1. Heat oven to 350° F.
2. In a mixing bowl, cream the sugar and butter together. Add the egg and the vanilla extract.
3. In a separate bowl, sift together the salt and the flour.
4. Blend the flour into the butter mixture.
5. Flatten the dough into a disc or a square, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour.
6. Divide the dough, leave one portion in the refrigerator, and roll out the other portion between 1/4" and 1/8" thick on a floured surface.
7. Cut out stars with the cookie cutter and place them about 1" apart on ungreased baking sheets. Brush the cookies with the egg white/water mixture and sprinkle with sugar.
8. Bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes. Cool for 3 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack to cool fully.

Now, you could cheat on all this if you find yourself pressed for time... just use a pre-made cookie dough for the stars, then mix crushed candy canes into a softened pint of regular old vanilla ice cream and refreeze it.

Ice Cream and Star Cookie

Serve a festive scoop of Candy Cane Crunch ice cream with a Sugar Cookie Star stuck in the side as a jaunty garnish. Then leave a few more stars on a plate alongside a glass of milk for Old Saint Nick.

Happy Holidays!
Miss Ginsu

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12.24.2008

Mad for Mascarpone (Ice Cream)

When you have a machine that makes ice cream, unexpected combinations are apt to happen. In addition to the standard chocolate, vanilla and fruit flavors, you're bound to want to experiment with other things in your kitchen.

One finds one's self enjoying rhubarb ice cream. Bacon Ice Cream. And even... cheese ice cream.

To be honest, J and I first encountered cheese gelato in the form of formatgelats at the Formatgeria La Seu cheese shop in Barcelona. The flavors there were enchanting. Musky blue cheese gelato, cabra gelato... they'd certainly be stellar with rich fig jams or dried apricots. Maybe even a nice dessert wine, like a Sauternes.

I did some experimenting of my own in the realm of frozen fromage on returning home. And, as you might expect, cheese ice cream is a bit tricky. Too much ruins the ice cream texture. The cheese must be creamy, not grainy. And the flavor really shouldn't be too bold.

Sweet, creamy blues were nice. Some of the fresher goat cheeses worked well in ice cream form. The ricotta ice cream was very nice. And then, there was the mascarpone ice cream.

Mascarpone Ice Cream on a Chocolate Brownie
Mascarpone Ice Cream on a Chocolate Brownie

Admittedly, using mascarpone for a cheese ice cream is almost cheating. Though it's referred to as a triple-cream cheese, I've never found mascarpone to be much more than a lush, silken dairy spread. It's creamy. It's rich. But is it really cheese?

No matter. It's a lovely spread for fruit breads and a great recipe additive for ice cream, as it turns out.

Mascarpone Ice Cream

Thanks to its outrageous fat content, the texture of this one varies from standard ice creams. It's almost... fluffy. My boss actually said this was his favorite of the homemade ice creams he's tried, because while home freezers tend to make ice creams a bit icier, this recipe leaves no room for ice crystals.

Also: I know this will come as a big shock to you, but... yes, this ice cream is, indeed, stellar with berries and sweets such as the chocolate brownies in the photo (up the page a bit).

Keep in mind this is style of ice cream base that uses uncooked eggs, so be sure to use good, fresh eggs from a reliable farmer.
Mascarpone Ice Cream (Makes about 1 1/2 quarts)

2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
16 oz mascarpone
1 cup cream or half & half
2 cups milk
1/2 tsp salt

1. In a mixing bowl, whisk the eggs with the sugar until light.
2. Beat in the mascarpone until the mixture is smooth.
3. Blend in the cream, milk and salt with a whisk.
4. Freeze the mix using an ice cream machine or attachment, pack into pints, and harden in the freezer for at least 5 hours (or overnight).

Cheers,
Miss Ginsu

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8.13.2008

FoodLink Roundup: 06.30.08

Cupcake's Link Roundup
Last week, Cupcake was located out in San Francisco's über-tasty Ferry Market. Where in the world is Cupcake this week? Post a guess in the comments.


Best North American food festivals
Can't make it to Buñol, Spain for La Tomatina? Check for a food fest closer to home.

10 Tips for Homemade Ice Cream Success
Some solid advice for making sure you have success with your homemade ice cream.

Choux City
Oh, tasty little pastry, choux have stolen my heart.

Frybread
"A powwow won't function without frybread."

Pollinator Partnership
Awareness of and research for colony collapse disorder. Save the bees!

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6.30.2008

FoodLink Roundup: 05.26.08

Cupcake's Link Roundup
Last week, Cupcake was located out at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. (Go, Hazard, go!) Where in the world is Cupcake this week? Post a guess in the comments.

Inside the chef's larders
Uncovering the grocery products that UK chefs love.

A Caucasian cheese circle
"Even the best cheese cannot change everybody's attitudes overnight."

Carrotmob Bargains for Eco-Friendliness
A nice demonstration of the utility of consumer pressure.

That's Gross: Bread Head Bakery
Bread art. Not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach.

The BYOB Hero
A delightful-looking sandwich option for a food-deprived district of Manhattan...

Why low-fat ice cream melts faster
Deciphering ice cream additives with science! If my high school chem teacher had run this kind of experiment, I might have paid more attention in class...

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5.26.2008

Scoop of Nutella Bacon Swirl?

After the resounding success of the bacon cake, I knew we had to try bacon ice cream as an encore.

One of the best (or maybe I should say, most dangerous) kitchen gadgets an ice cream freak can have is, of course, an ice cream maker. It's like setting a meth junkie up with a home lab. I own the attachment kit for my KitchenAid mixer, and I use it. (More often than I should, honestly.)

Peanut Butter Bacon Crunch

But how else would I answer important questions like, "What's tastier: Peanut Butter Bacon Crunch or Nutella Bacon Swirl?" And what would the Mellow Maple Bacon blend taste like?

My go-to guide for homespun ice cream happiness has always been Ben & Jerry's Homemade Ice Cream and Dessert Book. Chock-full of goofy cartoons and ice cream anecdotes, I've found it to be simple, playful and inspiring, and it's well-fingerprinted from many episodes of hands-on enjoyment.

I'm going to do three bacon ice cream recipes herein, and you'll note that they're largely the same. As it turns out, once you get the hang of ice cream, it's pretty simple to whip up your own crazy variations. Frankly, I'm convinced that experimentation is half the fun.

Bacon & Peanuts

For my ice cream adventures, I usually start off with the B&J sweet cream base #1, which is a simple 4-ingredient blend that you don't have to cook. I trust the eggs I get (they're organic, free-range eggs) but if you don't know where yours come from, you might want to think about using a base recipe that involves some cooking.
1. Peanut Butter Bacon Crunch Ice Cream(Makes 1+ quart)
Base
2 free-range eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk
Add-ins
1/3 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup peanuts, chopped
4-5 bacon strips, fried crisp and minced

1. Whisk the eggs 1-2 minutes.
2. Whisk in the sugar.
3. When blended, pour in the cream and milk. Blend well.
4. Add peanut butter and whisk out any lumps.
5. Pour blend into your ice cream machine and prepare as directed.
6. When the ice cream is very thick and nearly ready, five to ten minutes before completion, blend in the chopped peanuts and bacon.
7. Continue freezing to desired texture.


Nutella-Bacon Swirl

2. Nutella-Bacon Swirl Ice Cream(Makes 1+ quart)
Base
2 free-range eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk
Add-ins
1/3 cup Nutella (or another chocolate-hazelnut sauce)
4-5 bacon strips, fried crisp and minced

1. Whisk the eggs 1-2 minutes.
2. Whisk in the sugar.
3. When blended, pour in the cream and milk. Blend well.
4. Pour blend into your ice cream machine and prepare as directed. Meanwhile, mix the bacon bits into the Nutella.
5. When the ice cream is very thick and nearly ready, five to ten minutes before completion, fold in the bacon-y Nutella.
6. Continue freezing to desired texture.


2. Mellow Maple Bacon Ice Cream(Makes 1+ quart)
Base
2 free-range eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk
Add-ins
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
4-5 bacon strips, fried crisp and minced

1. Whisk the eggs 1-2 minutes.
2. Whisk in the sugar.
3. When blended, pour in the cream, milk and maple syrup. Blend well.
4. Pour blend into your ice cream machine and prepare as directed.
5. When the ice cream is very thick and nearly ready, five to ten minutes before completion, blend in the bacon.
6. Continue freezing to desired texture.

Around the office there was enormous love for the Peanut Butter Bacon Crunch, although one of my supervisors was partial to the Nutella-Bacon Swirl.

Once you bring bacon bits into your ice cream, the possibilities seem endless. Maybe Bacon-Pecan Buttercrunch? A sundae of Roasted Apple Ice Cream with bacon and caramel bits? What about Bacon, Peanut Butter & Banana? (The Presley Special, perhaps?)

J was sweet enough to gift me with an enormous box of pint-sized ice cream cartons scored from a restaurant supply store on Bowery. You can use other containers, but trust me: if you really get into ice cream making, you'll want to make sure you can push off gift pints on friends. If you're not a New York local, never fear... any place that has restaurants is going to have a restaurant supply store nearby.

Cheers!

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5.13.2008

All-American Road Trips: Denver

Rocky Mountains, Colorado

The Big View

Flanked by mountains and ringed with highways, it's easy to get lost in Denver's strip malls, chain restaurants and outer-ring developments, but once you find your way to Colfax Avenue, you're on the road to dining with the locals.

I was suffering from a dreadful cold on the trip, so we didn't get out to the bars at all, but there were a couple of spots that came highly recommended by my buddy Alex (a former Denverite):

My Brother's Bar: "A classy spot with fantastic burgers (try a JCB burger)."

The Cruise Room: "If you're staying right downtown this is a good bet for cocktails, though the crowd can be a bit obnoxious on the weekend."

The Bites

Jack Daniels Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Just blocks from the Botanical Garden, Liks Ice Cream is a friendly neighborhood joint that features homemade ice creams and sorbets alongside umbrella-shaded outdoor seating. If you're not up for ice cream, the iced coffees and chai seem like a good bet. I had the Jack Daniel's Chocolate Chip, which tastes lightly alcoholic and quite creamy... very much like an iced Bailey's.

Though it's not exactly a cafe, I'm a book junkie, so the Tattered Cover gets a happy mention. Good coffee, tasty-looking pastries and, of course, books! They have several locations, but why not go to the historic LoDo locale? It's huge, comfy, welcoming and chock-full of high-quality staff picks to help you snag a winner or two among the hundreds of selections on the shelves.

Pete's Kitchen

Serving 24 hours daily in a slightly seedy stretch of Colfax Ave, Pete's Kitchen is a classic greasy spoon. My friend Alex recommended it for the chicken-fried steak. The "how ya doin' hon?" staff all seem sweet and genial, if harried. Pete's has been an institution since 1942, so you're here as much for the history as for the gyros platter with fries.

Side Dishes at Domo

If you don't make a reservation, you're going to endure a long wait at Domo's country-style Japanese restaurant. But the lobby is large, the decor is warm and engaging, and you can spend a few minutes walking through the various rooms and gardens. I didn't get a good sense of their fish craftsmanship, but their Wankosushi(TM) combo helps to offer sushi newbies an easy way to navigate various classics by offering a pick-three (or pick-five) small-plate option that arrives with miso soup and an array of kitchen-selected side dishes. It's filling, fun and approachable.

Tacos Platter

El Taco De Mexico strikes me as the kind of place that once featured great food at fantastic prices, but now that it's been listed in a few national publications, they've raised the rates a bit. That said, it's still a good lunch spot. The neighborhood seems like one that's recently been reclaimed by a handful of small, arty businesses, so it's nice for a little post-taco stroll. Order in Spanish or English. The staff is fluent in both. You'll sit with the locals, sip horchata and chew your burrito or tacos in a busy, but tidy, diner booth.

The Takeaway

Denver, Denver everywhere, but I never once saw a Denver Sandwich. The classic Denver Sandwich is essentially a western-style omelette on bread. If you're going low-carb, just skip the bread and eat the omelette. This would also be nice with a slice of cheddar or a spicy pepper jack melted across it. Mmmm...

Denver Sandwiches (Serves 2)

4 eggs
2 Tbsp milk
1 Tbsp butter, melted
Dash of salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup ham, diced
1 green onion, sliced thin
1/4 cup green pepper, diced
1 Tbsp olive oil
4 slices good-quality bread

1. Beat the eggs, milk, melted butter, salt and pepper together until blended. Add the ham, green onion and green pepper.
2. In a heavy frying pan or skillet over a medium flame, heat the olive oil.
3. Pour the egg mixture into the pan, creating an even layer.
4. Cook about 3-5 minutes, lifting the edges to allow excess egg run underneath.
5. Run a spatula around the edges of the pan to loosen the eggs. Turn the omelette carefully, and cook another minute or two on the other side. Slide onto a plate and cut in half.
6. Toast and butter the bread, using half of the omelette for each sandwich.


Tattered Cover Book Store
1628 16th St
303.436.1070

Liks Ice Cream
Liks Ice Cream Parlor on Urbanspoon
2039 E 13th Ave
303.321.2370

Domo
Domo on Urbanspoon
1365 Osage St
(Just off W Colfax Ave)
303.595.8256

Pete's Kitchen
Pete's Kitchen on Urbanspoon
1962 E Colfax Ave
303.321.3139

El Taco de Mexico
El Taco de Mexico on Urbanspoon
714 Santa Fe Dr
303.623.3926

Cheers,

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4.30.2008

Rhubarb! Five ways to master spring stalking

Is rhubarb-eating some kind of shibboleth? I'm just wondering. I merrily bought a pound at the farmer's market this weekend and brought a strawberry-rhubarb pie into work yesterday.

I was a bit shocked to discover that a significant number of my coworkers (all of whom were folks with city childhoods) had never tried the stuff. I felt invisibly branded a country mouse, apt to dine on field greens and ditch weeds.

Of course, I'm from a place where the rhubarb runs wild. It sprouts up in the countryside every spring, always in the same places. It's tough to kill. I knew haters who repeatedly mowed right over it without the slightest success in subduing it.

I figure, (apologies to Annie Proulx), if you can't kill it, you got to eat it.

As for me, I've always looked forward to rhubarb season with glee. In childhood, it was my favorite pie (though I might be swayed to the charms of fresh peach pie these days), and the households of my memory all contained rhubarb preserves of some kind.

Find yourself wandering bewildered with an armful of blushing fresh rhubarb stalks? Lucky you! In just five simple steps, I'll make you a master stalker. Wash 'em well, and let's proceed to make:

1. Pie!
I used the strawberry-rhubarb recipe out of the Cook's Illustrated: The New Best Recipe." Seemed like a quality pie, but if you're looking for something a little different:

Rhubarb Custard Pie
2 cups fresh rhubarb, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 cup sugar (all white or use half brown... your choice)
2 egg yolks (save the whites for a meringue top)
1 Tbsp AP flour
1/2 cup cream
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp cold butter (cut into four pieces)
unbaked pie shell

Toss cut rhubarb with half the sugar. Macerate (allow to sit in the sugar) 10 minutes. Mix the remaining sugar with the flour, egg yolks, cream and cinnamon. Pour rhubarb into an unbaked pie shell Pour cream mix over rhubarb.

Distribute butter on top and bake at 350°F for 1 hour. Whip reserved egg whites at high speed to make a meringue. Spread meringue over baked pie, and briefly return to the oven to brown. Cool on a wire rack.

2. Crisp!
I kind of prefer crisps to pies anyway... less fuss with the pastry. More crunchiness on top. I'm still seeing the "Rome beauties" at the farmers' market, and they're great baking apples. This is a nice transitional recipe, since it uses the last of last fall's apples with the first of this spring's rhubarb.

Gingered Apple-Rhubarb Crisp
1/3 c sugar
1 Tbsp AP flour
1 tsp grated fresh ginger root
2 cups apples, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 1/2 cups fresh rhubarb, cut into 1-inch chunks
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp butter, melted

Combine the sugar, 1 Tbsp flour and ginger root. Toss with the rhubarb and apple pieces. Place in a greased baking dish or casserole. Combine brown sugar, oats, flour and melted butter. Sprinkle over the rhubarb-apple mixture. Bake at 400°F 30 to 40 minutes. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

3. Chutney!
Chutneys are a great way to use rhubarb in savory dishes. Fantastic with pork, chicken, duck, venison and, of course, curries.

Rhubarb-Currant Chutney
4 cups fresh rhubarb, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
2 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
2 Tbsp minced fresh garlic
1/4 cup chopped fresh shallots
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1/3 cup dried currants or raisins

Combine vinegar, brown sugar, salt, pepper, shallots, fresh ginger, garlic, coriander seeds, ground ginger and mustard in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook 5 minutes. Stir in rhubarb and currants. Simmer until rhubarb is just tender (10-15 minutes). Remove from heat and cool 10 minutes. Taste for seasoning and adjust with a little sugar or vinegar as needed. Refrigerate (or freeze) until ready to use.


4. Sauce!
This is so easy I'm not even providing a recipe, really. Put about a cup of rhubarb (chopped in 1-inch pieces) into a saucepan with enough water to cover the 3/4 of the fruit (a cup or so) and about 2 Tbsp sugar. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and -- stirring occasionally -- simmer about 25 minutes or until rhubarb is broken down and the mixture looks thickened. Add a pinch of salt and taste the mixture. Does it need to be brighter, more tangy? You might add a little lemon juice. Is it too sour? Mix in a little sugar. Voila! Sauce!

5. Ice Cream!
You could pour that sauce over ice cream, of course... or you could put it in the ice cream. That's what I did this weekend. It's yummy. Like rhubarb pie a'la mode without the crust.

I used the simple Sweet Cream Base recipe from the Ben & Jerry's ice cream book and my Kitchenaid ice cream attachment to do this. I'm not big on a lot of weird doohickeys (New York City kitchens are not known for spaciousness), but if you already have a Kitchenaid mixer and like experimenting with ice cream, I truly recommend this particular doohickey. It's a lot of fun.

Add about a cup of sauce to this recipe of Sweet Cream Base and make the ice cream as directed for the machine you're using. Make sure the sauce is not just cool but COLD when you add it. Otherwise you'll put your machine through a lot of extra stress and — even worse — you might ruin the ice cream.

Sweet Cream Base (from "Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream & Dessert Book")

2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups heavy or whipping cream
1 cup milk

Whisk the eggs in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in the sugar, a little at a time, then continue whisking until completely blended, about 1 minute more. Pour in the cream and milk and whisk to blend.

Makes 1 quart

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5.17.2006

Hot Lovin'



Hot and cold and sweet all over. My precious. My love. The one that's never done me wrong. My hot fudge sundae.

The HFS has been around (since 1906). He's been been there (born at C.C. Browns, a Hollywood Boulevard ice cream parlor on in Los Angeles); he's done that (Kellogg's introduced Hot Fudge Sundae Frozen Pop Tarts July 8... consider me extremely skeptical).

Make mine the classic. Dress him up with crushed nuts and hold the cherry, please.

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8.21.2004