• wedding buns

    Those buns, the ones my aunt had me help her make for the wedding, were delicious — my mother got all swoony over them — but in the moment, I didn’t think much about them. I was too busy making them while keeping half an eye on the three-ring circus that was the wedding prep.

    But back home, reader Peggy asked for the recipe, and then when my aunt sent me the recipe, I decided that I probably ought to make them for myself. I mean, they were good, and I liked my aunt’s method: how she mashed in the room-temp lard and butter, added a bit of whole wheat for interest, substituted folding-and-stretching for kneading, smooshed down the buns and then brushed the tops with egg wash and sprinkled on the sesame seeds. 

    adding room temperature lard and butter to the sponge

    Immediately after mixing in the flour, the dough will be sticky and marbled with streaks of fat.

    My aunt and I had a whole bunch of back-and-forth over these buns. Here are the takeaways.

    Takeaway One: This recipe is a hybrid combination of standard bread, the sourdough method of rising and stretch-and-folds, and brioche dough.

    Stretch…

    And fold!

    Did you catch that? NO KNEADING.

    After a series of stretch-and-folds, that are alternated with breaks to allow the dough to rest, the dough will lose its stickiness and feel thoft and thupple.

    Takeaway Two: If using raw milk, heat it to 180 degrees and then cool it back down to lukewarm, because, my aunt explained, raw milk contains an enzyme that inhibits gluten formation (or maybe the yeast’s rising), I did not know this!

    Takeaway Three: Be gentle with the final risen dough so as to not cause the gluten to seize back up. 

    Takeaway Four: I told my aunt to add salt to the wash, because that’s what we do in the bakery, and then after the wedding she read an article that explained how the salt keeps the egg washed bun tops from getting sticky, yet another little fact I didn’t know! 

    I made the buns to go with the potato soup we were having for dinner, and the leftovers I split in half, leaving a hinge on one side, and then bagged up in old hamburger bun bags.

    Now I’m inspired me to make these buns on the regular: hamburgers, hot dogs (I’ll just make long ones), sandwiches, pulled pork, etc.

    It remains to be seen whether or not I can stay abreast of our bun usage.

    homemade buttah, mmmm

    Wedding Buns
    Adapted from my aunt’s recipe. (Check our her cookbook here!)

    If doubling the recipe, use 3 regular eggs. (For the wedding, my aunt and I made four double batches.)

    for the dough:
    2 cups milk
    1½ cups water
    ⅓ cup honey
    2 small eggs
    2 tablespoons yeast
    1200 grams bread flour (1 cup of which is whole wheat flour), divided
    4 ½ teaspoons salt
    ¼ cup soft butter
    ¼ cup soft lard

    for the topping:
    egg wash: mix together 2 egg yolks, a couple tablespoons of cream (and/or water), and a pinch of salt
    sesame seeds, optional

    to make the buns:
    Heat the milk to lukewarm and then pour into a large mixing bowl, along with the water, honey, eggs, yeast, and 615 grams of the flour (1 cup of which is the whole wheat flour). Let rest for 20-30 minutes, or until bubbly. 

    Once the dough (the sponge) is bubbly, stir in the fats, pressing them against the side of the bowl with the back of the spoon to help them mash in. Add the remaining 585 grams of bread flour and the salt. Stir well, until mostly incorporated. The dough will still be quite sticky, and you may see lumps of fat. This is fine!

    Cover the dough with a towel and let rise at room temperature. After 30-45 minutes, or when the dough is noticeably poofy, lift and fold the dough, lifting and folding once from each side. Repeat the lift-and-fold two or three more times over the course of several hours. Once the dough seems more uniform, and a bit less sticky, let it rest, undisturbed, until it’s doubled in size.

    Gently pour the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Cut the dough into 85 gram portions and shape into rolls. Place the rolls on a parchment-lined baking pan (if using half sheet pans, it’s 15 rolls per pan) and let them rest briefly to relax. Once the dough has relaxed, press it flat with your fingers. 

    Cover the trays of buns with a towel and let them rise for about an hour. When the buns are puffy (they will still look a little gnarly), brush them with the egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds, if you’d like.

    Bake the buns for 16-20 minutes at 350 degrees, rotating at about the 10-minute mark. Leftover buns can be split, bagged, and frozen.

    Yield: about 28 buns

    This same time, years previously: church, for my birthday, the quotidian (9.30.19), hey-hey, look who’s here!, you’re invited…, welcome home to the circus, the myth of the hungry teen, the quotidian (9.29.14), chocolate birthday cake.

  • three days of birthday

    Saturday morning, my husband and I went on a hike, my one (main) birthday request.

    According to the website, it was a three-hour hike but we made it to the top in thirty minutes. (True, I was moving at a rapid clip, ignoring my husband’s pleas to slow down already, but we weren’t going that fast.) It was the most crowded hike we’ve been on ever, including our trip to Acadia (because of the rain, we pretty much had the place to ourselves). We leap-frogged hikers the whole way up the mountain, and when we got to the top it was swarming with people: people taking selfies, people telling stories, people eating.

    We found a little spot off to the side where I could eat a sandwich and my husband could stare into the middle distance, but then we didn’t stay long. 

    Instead of hiking back down the way we came, we took another route, hoping to avoid the crowds.

    Which we did, mostly, but then we had to hike two miles back on the busy road which, ironically, had far more people (all in cars) on it than the trail did, ha. 

    My mother had invited us over for supper that night, so I spent the afternoon not prepping for supper, which was half the fun.

    She’d made a mountain of food and what a feast it was! Chicken and rice, collards (perhaps my favorite part of the meal), green beans, and slaw. I piled my plate high and then straightaway scarfed it down.

    For dessert, she’d made the most delicious cake: nectarine and cream. It was as good as it looks. Maybe better.

    My mom’s one request was that no one do the dishes, so after the meal we just sat around the table and visited. It was lovely. 

    The next morning my husband left while I was still in bed to track down my breakfast request: 1 glazed sour cream cake doughnut. When I came downstairs, my younger son had set up the breakfast things: 5 boxes of captain crunch (all the flavors because he knows that’s my favorite junk cereal), bread and jam for toast, and granola, even though all I asked for was the doughnut.

    (But we’ve been snacking hard on the captain crunch — it makes for a great movie-watching snack.) 

    Coffee in hand (the mug was a gift from my mother), I trailed my husband down to the shed for the morning milking, and then I spent the rest of the morning doing fun computer work. My older son (my daughter-in-law was on a work trip) popped in to wish me a happy birthday, and to deliver their gift: a gorgeous handmade mug. 

    The lunch hour was rushed so we last minute decided to switch plans: leftover potato soup instead of chef salads. Everyone showered me with gifts, and then we drove into town for Ultimate. 

    When we got home, the whole house smelled of chocolate — my younger son had baked a cake and was putting the finishing touches on it. I showered and then, free of all chores and responsibilities, I curled up on the sofa and let people serve me my popcorn and apples. My older son stopped by again and we visited for awhile out on the porch, and then he left and my phone dinged with a text from my brother of his family singing Happy Birthday.

    When my younger son came home from rehearsal, we watched a Schitt’s Creek together, and then he blasted music over the big speaker and I danced freakishly all over the downstairs until we woke my younger daughter and she yelled at us to TURN IT DOWN. 

    And then my birthday day was over and I still had the chef salads and cake to look forward to…

    Which means I managed to stretch the goodness to last three whole days, hip-hip!

    This same time, years previous: getting shod, pointless and chatty, 37, she outdid herself, the skirt, warm feet and golden crosses.

  • the quotidian (9.26.22)

    Quotidian: daily, usual or customary;
    everyday; ordinary; commonplace

    Want to hazard a guess?

    This homemade butter is growing on me. I’m pretty much hooked (addicted, possessive, etc).

    Grape jelly yet and then I’ll be done.

    Parbaking: even thrice-rolled, the bakery pastry scraps are still over-the-top poofy.

    Mash ’em down and carry on.

    Like so.

    A real meal.

    The after-dinner kick-back.

    Coffee tag-team appreciation.

    This Tuesday’s YouTube video: cuajada!

    Dishing up the cold sides.

    Drying the eggs so they don’t stick to the carton because that (apparently) bothers her.

    Playing the role of Benjamin in Alice Parker’s opera “Singers Glen”.

    Wordle: some days it’s a struggle.

    This same time, years previous: Italian chop salad, what we ate, evening feeding, the quotidian (9.26.16), home cut, on quitting: in which I have a come-to-Jesus moment, the run around, a jiggle on the wild side.

  • chicken chica

    For awhile there, my younger daughter was obsessed with getting ducks. We discouraged that idea, though, since we don’t have any water on the property. So then she switched her focus to chickens. She wanted a variety of breeds because her goal, she said, was to have multi-colored cartons of eggs. That plan, we said, was a little more doable. 

    Over the last number of months, she’s been buying assorted kinds of baby chicks and then raising them — first in a cage in the barn and then, once they’re big enough, she transitions them out to the coop. 

    She’d fixed up the coop, shoveling out the poop, putting down a bed of shavings, making a new ramp, rigging up a little drop-down door on a pulley. Each morning when my husband goes down to milk, he opens the door, and each evening she closes it.

    Aside from my husband letting them out in the morning, all the chicken care is my daughter’s responsibility. She buys the feed and collects the eggs, and she’s religious about tending them. She has 18 hens right now, and just a couple weeks ago, she came home with five more chicks, Rhode Island Reds this time. They’re supposed to lay large brown eggs.

    I don’t much like chickens, and I can’t say I understand her fascination with them, but I gotta admit: some of these birds are downright lovely. The colors and patterns are picture-book worthy. 

    The eggs, when they started rolling in, were eensy small, but now they’re more closer to more regular sized. (Just this morning my husband found one in the sink in the milking shed, plugging up the drain.) Currently, she gets about 13 a day, but the number is rising steadily. The deal is that we pay full price for the eggs but we also get dibs on them, since we’re providing her with the hen house, fencing, and land. As long as she makes sure we’re stocked, she’s free to sell them to whoever. It’s a pretty sweet deal.

    For both of us.

    P.S. Did you know that my mother wrote a children’s book about chickens? It’s about my brother and his flock of chickens back when we were living in West Virginia. The illustrations are so playful, and in the story, I’m “the girl” — check it out!

    This same time, years previous: a kitchen tour, a bakery shift, the quotidian (9.23.19), a day in the life, stop and sink, test your movies!, simple roast chicken.

  • weekend wedding party

    This past weekend, my husband and I drove up to Pennsylvania for my cousin’s wedding. It’s still a novelty, you know, hopping in the car and jetting off by ourselves. After returning home, I commented to my husband that travel doesn’t feel like such a big deal now that we don’t have to haul kids and all their attitudes and paraphernalia. We can stop for coffee and doughnuts, if we want. Stay out late, if we want. Pop in to visit other friends, if we want. With the kids mostly grown, we have margins: financial, emotional, etc. It’s nice. 

    We stayed both nights at my girlfriend’s house. When we arrived, they had a fire going, and mint tea and ginger cookies waiting. And candles everywhere, lighting up the dark.

    It was magical, an excellent start to the wedding weekend.

    Soon after my son’s wedding back in December (at which my aunt had walked in the barn door and I’d immediately thrust a tub of greenery into her hands and ordered her decorate NOW), I’d texted my aunt that we could come up early to help prep, if they wanted. Now that I knew how much work a wedding was, my compassion was in full swing. 

    She’d have me help with the rolls, she said.

    When we showed up Saturday morning, my aunt was zipping around the kitchen and two of the four (double) batches of dough were already started. For the rest of the morning and into the afternoon, I (along with some others) spent the next few hours stirring in the flour, stretching and folding the dough, shaping buns, brushing buns with egg wash, and baking buns.

    All the while, the screen door opened and banged closed as people trooped in and out with question after question for my aunt. Do we have more roasters? Where are the ladles? We only have half the dishes! How do you spell so-and-so’s name? Can we have these chairs? What do you want me to do with that? Where do I put this?

    But for all the activity, there really wasn’t much to do. I mean, there was a ton of stuff to do (clearly), but they had so many people helping that it didn’t feel too terribly busy. 

    Weirdly enough, I didn’t spy a single list. Think about it, people — no lists. All those volunteers, all those tasks, and they just . . . happened. As a consummate list-maker, I do not understand this. Sorcery, perhaps?

    All the excitement and energy gave the whole place a wonderful buzzy feel. So much family. So many friends. So much beauty. So much joy. My aunt and uncle are makers and doers — they are made for this type of thing — and while I knew they were stressed and tired, it was also clear that they were having fun. Loads of fun.

    Take, for example, frog and toad.

    My aunt had the stuffed animals somewhere and then at one point she got the idea to turn them into a bride and groom and so she sewed them some outfits and stuck them in amongst the flowers. 

    And my uncle was in his glory, tending the pig he’d raised for the event.

    It was some pig.

    Pork butt, anyone?

    The weather couldn’t have been more perfect and every time I walked from the house kitchen to the up-on-the-hill kitchen, I’d feast my eyes on the beauty. The baskets of pies. The stone patio. All the little nooks and crannies crammed with potted plants and decked out with twinkle lights and jars of candles. 

    The ceremony was held down by the creek.

    At one point, the bride and groom worked together to split a log using a hand-held saw — an example of the push and pull of a relationship and working together. Afterward, guests got to try it out for themselves.

    I didn’t take many photos of the evening. Just of my girlfriend and me…

    And of the grandmother of the groom because I thought she bore an uncanny resemblance to Queen Elizabeth.

    For the most part, I was too busy having fun, visiting and eating — I had seconds of the pulled pork, slaw, gourmet potatoes, and baked beans, and slivers of four different kinds of pie (the pecan made my eyes roll back in my head) — and then there was the dancing. I’m not much of a dancer (at all), but I’ve reached the point where it’s not worth it to let my inabilities and inhibitions prevent me from having fun so I danced by myself and I danced with my son, the groom, some random dude, and even, for a few minutes, with my husband.

    At one point I dipped out of the tent to go to the bathroom but then they played Sweet Caroline and I had to come running back to snatch a little video clip so I could send it to my Caroline. 

    The end.

    This same time, years previous: cottage cheese, saag (sort of) paneer, family night, the unraveling, black bean and veggie salad, historical fun, the big bad wolf and our children, in defense of battered utensils, candid camera.

  • fruit crisp ice cream

    Now that we’re down to one cow, I have a problem: I don’t get enough cream to make butter and I have too much cream to use up in everyday drinking. My solution? Ice cream!

    (I’ve always been a good problem solver.)

    Now listen up. If you want to elevate your ice cream, focus on the add-ins. I don’t just mean cocoa powder for chocolate, or espresso for coffee, but the actual chunks, or thick swirls, of deliciousness that you create for the sole purpose of making ice cream even more wonderful than it already is. 

    I’m only just beginning to understand this. Currently, I’m obsessed with fruit crisp ice cream.

    I made a batch of crisp crumbles for this very purpose: a pan of buttery, gently-spiced crisp crumbs that I baked, stirred to break up the pieces, and then transferred to a half gallon jar in the freezer. Layered with the vanilla ice cream and fruit, these crisp crumbles soften a bit, but not all the way. It’s perfect, I think — a little soft with a distinct crunch. 

    some of these chunks are a little too big

    My mother says she maybe prefers her ice cream with granola sprinkled on top immediately before eating. Which is good, yes, sure, of course. But granola on ice cream is two things eaten together. This is three separate parts joined to make one: a fruit crisp ice cream. It’s entirely different, I think.

    And with this version, there’s the added fun of digging for the good bits. I always know I’ve landed on a good ice cream when I find myself stanging at the island, double — triple, quadruple, doz-iple — dipping despite my family’s cries of outrage. 

    Getting the fruit right for this ice cream was a challenge, and it’s still in process, to be honest. See, the main problem with fruit in ice cream is that the fruit gets icy. I’ll be savoring the luscious creamy ice cream and then — bam — my mouth gets hit with a chunk of hard, fruity ice. No thank you.

    Cooking the fruit seems to help (like I did in the blueberry swirl version), but when I made a black raspberry version (cooking the berries with sugar and a little cornstarch), the berries were still a bit icy.

    Then my mother suggested I add gelatin. She pointed out that we used to make fruit popsicles when I was a kid, and the fruit was always icy, but if we made jello pops, then it wasn’t. So I made the ice cream again, this time with a red raspberry sauce, to which I added a teaspoon of gelatin — and it wasn’t icy! (Though maybe red raspberries just aren’t as icy as the black ones, or I cooked them harder than the black ones? Not sure. More testing is needed…)

    Anyway. For now I’m going with it. Cook (or roast) the fruit with sugar, add a bit of gelatin, and use that as your fruit add-in. 

    Fruit Crisp Ice Cream
    Adapted from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams At Home, by Jeni Britton Bauer.

    To watch me make the vanilla ice cream base, go here.

    1 recipe of Jeni’s vanilla ice cream (get the eyeball-it version here)
    2-3 cups of cooked fruit (below)
    1-2 (or more!) cups crisp crunchies (below)

    Layer the ice cream with the fruit and crunchies. For added eye and flavor appeal, I like to stir some of the fruit into the ice cream and then marble the flavored ice cream with the plain vanilla and fruit sauce. Press a piece of wax paper on top and freeze the ice cream for 4-6 hours before eating.

    for the fruit (blueberry, raspberry, strawberry, cherry, rhubarb, peaches, etc, or a combo)
    2-3 cups of fresh or frozen fruit 
    ½ -1 cup sugar (don’t skimp on the sugar)
    1 teaspoon cornstarch, if the fruit is extra saucy
    1 teaspoon plain gelatin

    Cook the fruit and sugar (and optional cornstarch) over medium high heat. Let it bubble a bit. If it’s extra juicy, let it cook down and thicken a little. Remove from heat and sprinkle the gelatin over top. Let it rehydrate for a couple minutes and then stir in. Chill the fruit in the fridge. 

    for the crisp crunchies
    1½ cups flour
    ¾ cup brown sugar
    ⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
    ½ teaspoon salt
    2 sticks butter
    1½ cups rolled oats

    Using your hands, mix everything together until sandy crumbs form. (If using a food processor, pulse everything together but the rolled oats. When combined, pour the mixture into a bowl and add the oats. Squeeze the mixture a few times to combine.) 

    Spread the crumbs on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 20-35 minutes, stirring once or twice to break up the chunks (the biggest chunks should be no larger than a kidney bean), and to make sure they brown evenly. 

    Cool to room temperature before transferring to a lidded container and freezing. This makes enough crisp crunchies for 3-4 batches of ice cream.

    This same time, years previous: the quotidian (9.13.21), the brothers buzz, what they talked about, the quotidian (9.14.15), playing catch-up, chile cobanero, cinnamon sugar breadsticks.

  • the quotidian (9.12.22)

    Quotidian: daily, usual or customary;
    everyday; ordinary; commonplace

    Yay Pizza.

    Pig food: not all my cheeses are a hit.

    Breakfast: sourdough everything bagel, cream cheese, olives.

    Lunch: gas station store bread, tomatoes, mayo, S&P.

    Fact: white ceramic plates were created for the sole purpose of showing off berry jewels.

    And toast was invented so we’d have a place upon which to spread red raspberry jam,
    (which is now my husband’s favorite jam, he says).

    It took me 15 years, but I’m finally conquoring my fears.

    [pounds chest] Watch out, people.

    My little raspberry patch friend.
    For weeks, Mildred has not moved from her spot.

    At the outdoor theater: wine for one, cheese for 2 (plus), olives for the world.

    Labor day, with friends.

    Winter is coming.

    This same time, years previous: the cheesemaking saga continues, Coco, lemony mashed potato salad, the quotidian (9.12.16), what writing a book is like, the good things that happen, making my children jump, whooooooosh.

  • seven fun things

    I’ve been craving sourdough bagels so I made some.

    I changed the recipe a little — whey instead of dried milk powder, half the wheat gluten, molasses instead of barley malt syrup. To one batch I added cinnamon and raisins; the other batch I made into plain and everything. I’d forgotten how simple the recipe is, which was a nice surprise. Bonus: they made the whole family very happy.

    So on the off-chance you’re looking for a weekend baking project, there you go.

    ***

    I’ve never worked in a restaurant kitchen, but I’ve heard, according to people who have, that this show is about as real as it gets. 

    And then I watched it and was like, Seriously? Kitchens are like that? So I asked one of my fellow bakers who’s had a bunch of kitchen jobs and she was like, Oh, it’s real all right. I used to cry almost every day after work. What the heck?! (Thank goodness Magpie — diner and kitchen — is definitely not that sort of restaurant.) Anyway, my husband and I tore through the show and now he says “behind” when he crosses behind me in the kitchen. 

    ***

    Not a fun thing (but it could be . . . because readers might leave lots of good comments and then you’d get ideas, too): I need a good book.

    So I can lose myself like this kid does.

    Help me out?

    ***

    I first saw these mesh food covers on Gavin’s YouTube channel. I thought they’d be too clunky, or else they’d float away in the slightest breeze, but then the flies started getting to me and I decided to give them a try. 

    Turns out, they’re pretty darn wonderful! I use them to cover my cheeses while they’re air drying, but I also plop them down on anything else that needs protection: pies, bread, a plate of food set aside for a working child. My pack came with six — I keep two accessible in the kitchen (they cumple-fold like umbrellas) and store the remaining ones as backup for when these eventually break, or to share with friends. Because you never know when someone might need a food umbrella.

    ***

    If you haven’t yet seen it, check out this 8-minute NYTimes opinion video piece about journalist and author John Hendrickson and his disability: stuttering. 

    Take the time to watch it.

    ***

    One of my friends shared this story (Katie the Prefect by Joe Posnanski) on his Facebook page, saying, “I have used this specific piece of writing for many years in my nonfiction unit in ninth grade English. It is very much worth the time!” I don’t usually read recommended-on-Facebook articles, but I’d just made myself a cup of coffee so I decided to give it a go. Maybe it’d be good?

    And it was good. Very, very good.

    ***

    I watched this little clip about making croissants the French way, curious to see how it differed from our method at Magpie.

    Turns out, our method is actually quite similar, though we brush on the egg wash, not spray it, and we have to pound out our butter blocks by hand. (Oh, to have access to ready-made, flat rectangles of butter!)

    ***

    Happy weekend, friends!

    P.S. This weekend, my husband and I are hitting the theater hard. First up, opening night for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime in Winchester. I loved the book (I’ve never seen the show), and my co-star from Outside Mullingar is playing the father, hip-hip! And then the next night, we’re going to the opening production of Give Us Good at Silk Moth Stage. Some of our friends are meeting us there, and I’m taking cheese and wine for the pre-show live music/picnic time.

    Can’t wait!

    This same time, years previous: some big news, has anyone made grape liqueur?, a hernia, hip-hip!, home again, the proper procedure for toweling off after a shower, outside eating, calf wrangling, regretful wishing.

  • Mint Chip Ice Cream That’s Almost Exactly Like Turkey Hill’s!

    It’s been a long week, and yes, I realize it’s only Wednesday (or was, when I started writing this post), but my latest cheesemaking project is defeating me (going entirely to hell in its not-yet-blue handbasket), I’m still dealing with my ongoing existential angst (just because I don’t write about it doesn’t mean it’s not happening), and then, to top things off, I made a lime ice cream that tastes like vomit.

    Thank goodness I’ve figured out how to make a mean mint-chip ice cream.

    At least there’s that

    A few things about this ice cream.

    The Mint: Don’t put too much in, but don’t put in too little, either. The first couple times around, I used only 4-6 drops of peppermint oil. This last time I used more like, oh…20? A quarter teaspoon? Start with 12 drops and taste your way to perfection.

    The Dairy: I don’t really measure (sorry). I aim for 3-4 cups total, generally 2 parts cream to 1 part milk, but you can do whatever you want: a mashup of evaporated milk, some half-and-half, yogurt or sour cream, etc. Your fridge is the limit.

    The Green: You gotta color the ice cream base. I tried it without the green food coloring and it wasn’t right. Don’t argue. Do it.

    The Chocolate: I’ve been putting in larger shards of chocolate but my younger daughter just bought some Turkey Hill Mint Chip and check out how pebbled their ice cream is:

    Next time I’m a-gonna chop that chocolate up fine.

    While this ice cream base is more complicated than some, keep in mind that once you make it a couple times it will become almost second nature (as does any recipe, if you make it often enough). I’ve been making so much ice cream recently that, except for the sugar and cornstarch, I no longer measure any of the ingredients. My theory is: use enough cream and it’ll turn out fine. (Unless you use old cream and ruin an entire cheese, or add too much lime concentrate and turn the ice cream into a pile of cold vomit. In those cases, no amount of cream will fix things.)

    Mint Chip Ice Cream That’s Almost Exactly Like Turkey Hill’s!

    I recently posted a video of me making this ice cream base, if watching cooking videos is your jam. (In the video, I used the base to make a blueberry swirl ice cream.)  

    2 cups cream (half-full quart jar)
    1 cup milk (raise the level in the jar to three-quarters full)
    ⅔ cup sugar
    2 tablespoons corn syrup (a brief pour)
    1½ ounces cream cheese (a lump)
    ⅛ teaspoon salt (2 pinches)
    4 teaspoons cornstarch in a couple tablespoons of milk
    15-25 drops of peppermint oil
    a few drops green food coloring
    1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (several fistfuls)
    2-3 teaspoons coconut oil (a blob)

    Put the cream, milk, sugar, and corn syrup into a kettle, heat until boiling, and then let simmer-bubble for 4 minutes. 

    Whisk the cornstarch with a little milk and add it to the hot cream-milk mixture. Boil for another minute and then remove the kettle from the heat.

    Put the salt and cream cheese in a small bowl. Add a little scoop of the hot milk and whisk until smooth. Add the creamy cream cheese mixture back to the pot. Add the peppermint oil, tasting until it’s the right amount of minty. Add the green food coloring until it’s as green as you want it.

    Chill the base for 5-8 hours (if you want to speed things up, set it in a pan filled with cold water and ice), or overnight.

    Right before churning the ice cream, put the chocolate chips and coconut oil in a double boiler and heat until melted, stirring frequently. Spread the chocolate on a piece of parchment and then transfer to the fridge to chill. 

    Churn the ice cream. When it’s almost done, chop the chocolate into bits (or break into shards) and add about half of the chocolate to the maker while it’s running. When the ice cream is done churning, transfer it to a container, layering in the remaining chocolate as you go.

    Freeze the ice cream for 3-5 hours to firm up, and then dig in!

    This same time, years previous: Southern sweet tea, blueberry muffins, the quotidian (9.1.14), caramelized oat topping, why I don’t teach my kids science.

  • growing boy lunches

    On this particular day, my younger son came home from work at noon because he had an early afternoon follow-up doctor appointment. This was what he fixed for himself to eat.

    Sandwich Number One:

    Sweet Lebanon Balogna with lettuce and tomato, mayo, and tons of mustard (always tons of mustard) on an oatmeal sandwich bread that I’d test-baked for the bakery.

    Sandwich Number Two:

    Leftover bacon cheeseburger from the night before, with garden stuff and condiments.

    Sandwich Number Three:

    A single piece of bread stuffed with balogna, ham, etc.

    And then we went to his follow-up doctor appointment where we learned he weighed five-pounds less than he did the week prior and he’s now 6 foot 4.

    This same time, years previous: the quotidian (8.31.20), at home, crunch week, the quotidian (8.31.15), the new bakery, walking the line, my mornings.