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Posts Tagged ‘David Lebovitz’

I seem to like the ice cream shops with the long lines.  The wait doesn’t bother me; in fact, it allows me to do other things like imagine which ice cream flavors the strangers in front of me are going to pick.

Haha, I am not sure what thoughts other people think of in these long lines waiting to see the flavors, but I usually try to imagine why people pick the ice cream that they do.  I think that the combination of choices is slightly telling of the personality they have or the mood they are in.

Some marry the tried and true flavor combinations together like coffee and chocolate.  They seem simply satisfied with something they know will be good, or maybe they need that jostle of caffeine because they are caffeine fiends.  Hey, this is spoken from a recovering caffeine addict ;)

Then, there are those ice cream flavors we try on a dare or a whim.  If you asked us a few hours later, we may not pick that flavor again.  I mean, who would try eating the herbaceous basil ice cream if you had other more delectable and normal choices?  FYI: basil ice cream is delicious with its delicate anise notes and works great as a palate cleanser.  Who knew?

And then there are other flavors that lie somewhere in between that spectrum of weird and boring.  For the curious but not ambitious, it’s the perfect harmony of trying something new without fretting whether that flavor would be the unsavory scoop of ice cream that will have to be swallowed down fast.

At least, that’s where I stood with the idea of toasted coconut ice cream.  What is toasted coconut ice cream supposed to taste like anyway?  Is it more toasty or coconut-like?  Is it like a fabulous coconut cream pie in ice cream form?  Well, if it even resembles Tom Douglas’ coconut cream pie, I am sold.

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I think it is summer.  The makeshift flats of berries glistening at each facade and the piles of shucked corn husks at the market have been insisting it’s indeed summer, but the zephyrs–the ones greeting me on the lunch strolls to and from the office–haze the fruition of such an idea.  Summer, it argues, is completely absent.

Perhaps, that is the case every year in the Bay Area, as the heat lunges forward sprinting during the final months of summer.  However, this time around, I keep thinking about hot tea, cinnamon-laced desserts, and knee-high boots.  Sometimes, my mind ventures off to things involving chocolate and bourbon or chocolate and chili.  Am I embracing the crisp nonchalant wintry air too early?

My taste buds lusts for the spicy pungency of autumnal sweets.  I blame the weather for my current obsession with ginger.  This ice cream bridges that fantasy of an autumnal wonderland and the reality that it is indeed summer.  Something spicy yet cool for the palate!

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It is always funny (and revealing) the kind of quotes we choose to remember from elementary school.  One friend confessed to remembering who “sprouted” first.  For whatever reason, my memory of my second grade teacher revealing what she thought was a perfect gift was withstood the test of the time.

“Dried apricots!  They’re better than candy!”

I remember how my second-grade brain couldn’t fathom her answer.  Not chocolate, not jewelry.  Dried apricots!  However, I tried to be open-minded and got myself a generic supermarket bag of dried apricots to understand her penchant.

To my dismay, my second-grade self felt that they were a step below raisins!  Dried apricots were definitely wrinkly, often sour, and usually not as flavorful as their non-dehydrated counterparts.  Ick!  At least, raisins are sweet!

That lack of flavor in the supermarket kinds kept me away from dried fruit for the longest time.  However, after the granola-making experience, I could never hate dried fruits again.  In fact, I adore dried fruits now because the sweetness and flavors become more concentrated as the fruits dry!

Anyway, in my “study of dried fruits, I was intrigued by the David Lebovitz comment about the superiority of dried California apricots.  In fact, that note is clearly set out in his ingredients list in The Perfect Scoop.

That comment in and of itself lured me to this ice cream.  Oh yeah, I like pistachios too :P

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I am having a tiny problem getting started on this bake sale menu.  As you can see, it’s all set.  However, I need to test the recipes since most of them I have never tried before!  Unfortunately, it’s a lot to do, so I am starting to feel unmotivated.

For now, I am trying to be honest with myself and getting through one recipe at a time.  Baby steps!  Maybe once I get this project started, it won’t seem so bad.

Then, I received Ready for Desserts in the mail, and in my excitement, I nearly forgot about my bake sale project.  I guess that’s what happens when you see all these food bloggers trying out all sorts of interesting recipes in his book, and I wanted to too!

As I was thumbing through the book, I noticed that he had an intriguing recipe for green tea financiers.  Although I have never made a financier before, the idea of a little grassy green cake rolled in white and black sesame seeds sounded adorable.  Plus, it would be within the bake sale theme!  Off, I headed into the kitchen.

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Apple Spice Cake

Lately, I have been thinking about a possible menu for my bake sale.  (FYI: it’s tentatively called “Sweet Lychee” until I can think of a name that isn’t so saccharine and feminine.)  Almond cookie.  Black sesame cake.  Lychee pate de fruit.  That kind of thing.  The quirky fun stuff people don’t see in Asian or Western bakeries.  I like the idea of dreaming up different flavor and texture pairings :)

The thing is that I am worried that people won’t be able to appreciate that kind of whimsical play in their food.  When I gift food for people whether it’s homemade or bought, I take great care in heeding to all of the person’s personal preferences.  I am the kind of person who holds back on the sugar, reduce the amount of frosting, and offer freshly whipped cream on the side.

As much as I realize people are entitled to personal preference, it’s honestly hurtful to see people take my gifts and make faces, as they do things like scrape off the frosting because they think it’s disgusting.  I mean, try taking one bite of the whole package as intended!  After that, I don’t mind you scraping off the frosting if it’s still too much…

Over the past year of gifting people random baked goods and learning to understand what kind of preferences Asians have with their cakes and desserts, I have noticed one particular spice seems to send people over with arms flapping.  I have never seen people so easily excited over the presence of cinnamon in a baked good.

“No cinnamon!  Absolutely no cinnamon!”

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According to the Wall Street Journal, macarons may be the new cupcake.  To be honest, I wouldn’t mind supporting that trend since I do not really find cupcakes to be all that.  Sure, they have got the adorably piped buttercream frosting piled on high and its little ruffled liner, but I am not a frosting kind of girl and I prefer a cake with a more tender crumb than the typical cupcake base. Besides, macarons are fun to eat with all of their flavor combination and filling varieties!

As much as I adore macarons, I do not believe that macarons going mainstream would be much of a success since macarons are extremely temperamental cookies.  They just taste funky if all of the macaron components are not there!  Yes, macaron making is down to a science because they are that fussy!  Thus, there are many food blogs spouting off advice about how to avoid macaron pitfalls.  However, that still didn’t make this project any easier.   Of all of the things I planned on making this week, this was by far the hardest thing I have had to make.  Actually, this is the hardest thing I have had to make.  Period.  I thought my general meticulous nature would make my macaron experience slightly less painful, but I was wrong

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