Dirty secret: I don’t like Thin Mint cookies.
Yeah, I don’t know why. I’m not a big mint person to begin with, though I like Samoas but really don’t like coconut. When it is time to buy Girl Scout Cookies each year (or twice a year depending on what troop sells them when), I order a box of them for The Wife because, well, she does like them. (Side Note: I really like the cranberry-white fudge cookies this year.)
(Second Side Note: For all of the propaganda about how selling cookies is an educational experience for girls, which of course is bullshit because you mostly buy them from parents of girls, I think there ought to be a lesson on economies of scale, and supply and demand. This year’s order, which I placed through the mother of a child in The Kid’s preschool, was $4 a box and probably had 1/3 of the cookies as they did 10 years ago.)
(Third Side Note: Have you ever met the mother responsible for being the troop’s “Cookie Mom?” Go ahead and ask them what it’s like to be Cookie Mom and see what the reaction is. It’s okay, I’ll wait and then drive you to urgent care because they are so beaten and damaged after the experience that they may strike you.) Continue reading Al Dente Frozen: Thin Mint Ice Cream
Combining a hazelnut-chocolate spread with hazelnuts seems a little redundant. It isn’t.
Have you ever had a hazelnut? I don’t mean “Have you ever scooped Nutella straight from the jar and jammed it in your mauw?”, or “Have you ever ordered hazelnut coffee?”. I mean: “Have you ever consumed a hazelnut?” They don’t taste like anything. They tasted like a nut. No, seriously. Continue reading Al Dente Frozen: Nutella and Hazelnut Ice Cream
I posed the following question to The Wife: “What kind of ice cream do you want me to make? I could do peanut butter again.” Her answer was peanut butter cup, but the way she said it was more like a six-year-old being offered the choice of candy or cake for dinner.
When it became clear that I was making peanut butter ice cream again, I decided we were in need of an upgrade. The last batch of ice cream was made with Target or Wegmans (I can’t remember) store-brand reduced-fat creamy peanut butter. This time around, I wanted something that was not so processed or chemically-dulled; something with a strong peanut flavor; something more…real. So, Smucker’s Natural Peanut Butter it was. Continue reading Al Dente Frozen: Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream
I was originally going to make lime-basil ice cream because, well, why not? By the time I got to Wegmans to procure ingredients, the fascination with herb ice cream had worn off. I’m not entirely sure why, but I decided that I wanted sweet.
During my produce department meander, I found myself in front of the banana shelf. The stack of ripe and browning bananas were calling out for me. So, I answered.
Bananas and ice cream are not exclusive to banana split sundaes. (Side note: Invented by David Stricker in Latrobe, Pa., the original banana split was topped with pineapple. My question is why?) While my go-to at the ice cream stand was a cherry milkshake, I more often than not order a banana and chocolate ice cream shake. Why it hasn’t been adopted by the major ice cream makers as an ingredient is beyond me. It’s cheap, plentiful and easy to process. Continue reading Al Dente Frozen: Banana Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream
Admittedly, I had been hesitant to try Laci’s Tapas Bar though I don’t know why. Small plates restaurants are either very good or very bad, with no middle ground. On one side there’s the Meddlesome Moth in Dallas, Tex., which was listed on Eater.com‘s lists of best and hottest restaurants in the metroplex when I visited last winter. On the other is a recently opened restaurant in Syracuse’s Armory Square that has received the same anecdotal review from everyone I have talked to: the food is ordinary and the service is terrible and borderline rude.
Laci’s opened in its current location on Hawley Avenue in 2010, after its owners moved their operation from Eastwood’s Palace Theatre. The historic house it sits in is the former Pascale’s Bake House near Catherine Street. I’m glad I did make reservations for 6 p.m. on the evening of our visit, as the restaurant would be packed with a line by the time we walked out a couple of hours later.
Continue reading Laci’s Tapas Bar, Syracuse, N.Y.
For Thanksgiving dessert this year, I thought I would do an ice cream that went with the apple, pumpkin and gluten-free peanut butter pies that were on tap. While shopping with The Sister, I suggested a straight vanilla bean option. I was scolded, in the middle of the produce section, for being boring.
“Why not something festive like…cranberry?”
The thought of cranberry ice cream had crossed my mind, but I figured it would be roundly panned by the crowd. I said as much, to which The Sister told me to mix it with something. “Do cranberry and orange, or cranberry and ginger, or cranberry and ginger snaps.” The first two didn’t really sound appealing, but the last was something I could do gluten free, in case The Kid wanted some.
Continue reading Al Dente Frozen: Cranberry and Ginger Snap Ice Cream
The Kid responded “Yes” when I asked if she wanted me to make her ice cream last weekend. When I asked what kind, she said purple. Pink ice cream, which was the request from the previous week, wound up being strawberry ice cream. Easy enough. But, purple stumped me.
Apparently, I was sleep deprived or suffering from post-concussion syndrome because it took me a good 10 minutes to figure out that I could make purple ice cream with blueberries.
After about a year of making ice cream with my little Cuisinart-brand maker, I’ve found that frozen fruit works much better than fresh when making ice cream. The partially-defrosted fruit is sturdier when whisking by hand or churning in the machine, and the fruit is more consistent throughout the year than a pint of fresh berries.
In the end, the ice cream was pretty good and The Kid was more interested in the whipped cream than the purple ice cream. Continue reading Al Dente Frozen: Blueberry Ice Cream
Our first trip to Moro’s Table was more than two years ago, which means that plenty of time has passed between visits to write about it. The Kid is a pretty big barrier to getting back to a place like this, as is a total lack of planning. Every time we have tried to get a reservation here, a lack of advance planning — defined as more than three days — has precluded us from getting a table.
The changes to Moro’s Table have been slight and primarily to the menu. It’s narrower than before. Previously, 10 or so main courses highlighted a menu of a dozen sushi rolls and as many appetizers. Our visit on a recent Saturday night presented a seasonally-adjusted menu of six entrees (all but one available as a small or large plate), four sushi rolls and five appetizers, plus salads and four different preparations of mussels.
The completely full dining room was dimly lit and full of chatter. Our waitress was outgoing and understanding of my desire to not have any attention drawn to my birthday. A moderately-priced but impressive wine list was skipped in lieu of a pomegranate martini for The Wife, an Ommegang Rare Vos for me, and a Coors Light for The Aunt.
Continue reading Moro’s Table, Auburn, N.Y. (II)