Tag Archives: Ice cream

Road food

I’ve always been one of those people who forms travel plans around food. Even while I’m eating at one great local haunt, I’m planning my next fantastic meal. Some call that a food obsession, I call it culinary tourism.

As many of us are traveling this weekend, this post is a tribute to some great out-of-town food I’ve enjoyed this summer.

First up, this funny little place in Greensboro, N.C. The line of silver-haired Southerners with sweet accents was out the door. I heard one guy order 1 lb. of barbecued pork, with a side of hush puppies.

"Try our salad"

I ordered the fried pork sandwich, weighing in at about 5 lbs. on a buttery biscuit with some wilted vegetables making it “healthy.” Had I finished it, I probably wouldn’t be here to tell the story.

A few weeks later, I was on a North Carolina road trip. Along the way, we stopped in Asheville to meet up with some college friends at the Sunnyside Cafe (I think that was the name). Cari got this amazing fried-green tomato sandwich:

I, of course, was on a health kick, so I ordered this cobb salad, with the best maple-syrup bacon I’ve ever had:

We had to support the North Carolinian microbrews, of course…

Jack of the Wood - Asheville, N.C.

Foothills beer in Blowing Rock, N.C.

Last meal was in Boone, N.C., at an organic/hippie breakfast place that I loved. We had the eggs florentine:

And this really yummy fruit/granola bowl:

Even more recently, I enjoyed a family dinner in Spokane, Wash. at The Queen of Sheba, a new Ethiopian restaurant in the old flour mill. It was one of those places with no utensils and you use that fermented spongy bread to sop up the curries. So tasty and spicy. This plate had the lamb, beef and chicken. Note the boiled egg!

More curry was on its way.

We also enjoyed sweet-potato fries. Glad these exist.

The evening ended at one of those boutique ice cream shops with crazy flavors. I had molasses, which tasted like gingerbread cookies!

Hope you all are enjoying your summer, friends! xoxo


Rhubarb-raspberry sauce

This episode of the Rhubarb Challenge (No. 4) is a bit of a cheat: the boiled-down syrup from when I made rhubarb-ginger bread pudding. Alas, it is a delicious ice-cream topper, as I found out…

Rhubarb-raspberry sauce

  • 1/2 c. seedless raspberry preserves
  • 1 lb. rhubarb, fresh or frozen, cut into chunks
  • 1/4 c. water
  • 1 T orange zest
  • 1/2 c. sugar

Combine preserves, water and sugar in saucepan and heat over medium until sugar is dissolved. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Stirring occasionally, boil until rhubarb breaks down, 10 min. Strain into a bowl, then pour liquid back into saucepan and boil, reducing to 1 c. Let cool or drizzle it immediately over vanilla ice cream.

Go on, indulge.

This would also be delicious over pancakes, waffles or in a milkshake. The rhubarb is tart and the raspberries are sweet – quite a nice combination.

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Pumpkin ice cream sandwiches

Like a pumpkin-spice latte in dessert form!

Like a pumpkin-spice latte in dessert form!

So far on the pumpkin challenge (my one-person challenge to make a new pumpkin recipe each week from now until Halloween), I’ve made the chocolate-pumpkin tart. Recipe No. 2, also courtesy of Martha, is her pumpkin ice cream sandwiches.

I must say that I’m continually impressed by my ice cream-making skills since I moved to The South. I don’t know if I’m just choosing better recipes or the milk is creamier here, but the ice cream always comes out thicker, almost frothy, and so, so smooth.

However, I did have some hiccups. Let me chart out this multi-day baking experience:

Day one: I made the ginger-molasses cookies. I had all the ingredients on hand, so I made the dough one night when I had the time. They needed to chill overnight.

Day two: I got up early after a late night at The Opera House (dive bar in W-S) so I could bake the cookies and make the dulce de leche, which you need for the ice cream. Dulce de leche takes two hours to cook (sweetened condensced milk stirred over a double-boiler).

My rental oven bit back by burning the entire bottom sheet of cookies = trash. Luckily, I had 12 perfect cookies on the top sheet. I just love that gingerbread smell…


Finally, I decided that the dulce de leche was done. It had been cooking about 160 minutes.


Next, and this is still day 2, I made the ice cream custard, which included heating, cooling, reheating, then mixing milk, cream, cinnamon, eggs, sugar, pumpkin puree and cloves. And the dulce de leche. I poured the custard into what I would soon realize was only a partially-frozen ice cream bowl (fail). I poured the custard out of it and put the ice-cream thing back in the freezer.

Later that night and after another five-hour experience (pot roast), I thought the ice cream thing would be ready….it got part of the way there, but then melted again. Fail! For those who don’t have an ice cream machine, here’s what: you need to freeze the mixing container that you pour the custard into. When it spins, the custard freezes evenly. But you need to freeze that thing at least 24 hours, especially if you live in a hot, humid climate.

Day three: After work, I attacked the ice cream situation again. This time: success! After the ice cream firmed up in the freezer, I scooped it, sandwiched it between the ginger cookies and froze everything again.

The ginger cookies taste like a gingersnap crust for a pumpkin pie or something. I like that crunchy texture with the creaminess of the ice cream. Watching Top Chef has taught me that dishes should have complimentary textures, so I think this is a win.

Until I noticed that the container holding my ice cream was covered in cat hair. How does she do it??!?

Kitty, eyeing the rainbows on the wall

Kitty, eyeing the rainbows on the wall

Crazy chocolate ice cream


The first time I had a Mexican mocha was in college.  It was at a little coffee shop called Tony’s, next to the Harris Street Cafe in Fairhaven, Bellingham. I loved the spicy flavors mingling with the chocolate. It gave you an extra kick with your morning joe.

This ice cream is like a frozen Mexican mocha. Rich, almost like chocolate pudding, and spiced with cinnamon and just a hint of cayenne pepper.

Thank goodness I followed the directions (a random site I found online) to not overdo the cayenne. When you make the custard, it won’t taste that spicy. But something happens when you freeze it – now the spice hits you at the back of the tongue and continues down the throat. It’s an odd sensation – creamy, cold cream with that peppery kick. Unlike any other.

I recommend this recipe for anyone with a weakness for chocolate and a desire to be brave in the kitchen. As with all ice creams, making it takes a lot of steps, which can seem like a pain in the ass. But much of the work happens in the fridge or freezer, so it’s not like you are glued to your stove.


1 c. heavy cream

1 c. whole milk

1 c. skim milk

2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder

1 vanilla bean, split with the seeds scraped out and set aside

2 eggs

1 c. sugar

1/8 tsp. salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

Heat milks in a saucepan over medium heat and whisk in chocolate until melted. Slowly whisk in cocoa powder until combined. Add vanilla bean and seeds, bring to a simmer, remove from heat, cover and let sit for 30 minutes.

Remove the vanilla bean and reheat over medium-low. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs, sugar and salt. Temper the egg mixture with a cup of the hot chocolate, then whisk all the egg mixture into the saucepan.

Cook the entire mixture over mexium low, stirring constantly, around 10 min. It will look thick and shiny. It is done when it coats the back of a spoon in a thick sheath, or gets to 170 degrees.

In a large bowl that you can fit in your fridge, combine the cinnamon and cayenne. Resist the urge to add more cayenne! Strain the chocolate mixture into the large bowl and whisk to get rid of any clumps. Place a piece of plastic wrap against the top of the liqiud to avoid a skin forming and chill it in your fridge for at least 4 hours, or overnight.

Once chilled, pour the custard into your prepared ice cream maker and freeze per the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to a freezer-safe container and let the ice cream finish firming up.


This would be delicious with some whipped cream, or along with some vanilla ice cream for a contrast. Enjoy, friends, if you dare!