Wednesday, May 22, 2013

coffee ice cream with cacao nibs

It's unofficially summer.

We sort of skipped spring altogether. It's so hot in our tiny attic bedroom that it's hard to sleep at night. But I never do in the summer. There's too many reasons to stay up. All I want is to travel, eat ice cream, drink beer, and visit with friends. Everything else is an obstacle.

I kicked off my summer trips last weekend with an impromptu trip to Cincinnati to help my very talented friend, Jodi, to help her at a craft fair. Although, I was only there for a short time, I really enjoyed the city and will be passing through again in a few weeks.

I can't wait for more adventures. I already have plans to go to northern Michigan, to explore caves in Kentucky, to go to Pitchfork in Chicago, and to hold our annual craft camp in teepees in Ohio.

I have also started making homemade ice creams. I refuse to break down and buy an ice cream maker, so I'm sticking to no churn recipes for the time being. When I was in Cincinnati I picked up a growler of cold brew coffee from The Coffee Emporium. I had never seen a growler of coffee before. What a cool idea! I used that to make this coffee ice cream and it was stellar.
  coffee ice cream with cacao nibs

coffee ice cream with cacao nibs

recipe from The Vanilla Bean Blog
  coffee ice cream with cacao nibs

Monday, May 20, 2013

new music monday

If you haven't listened to Acid Rap yet. You are seriously missing out. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Lemongrass Udon Soup

There is something about a bowl of noodles that's inexplicably comforting.

For me, udon tops the list. Biting into those thick, chewy noodles is the food equivalent of falling into a bed made with a giant comforter and so many down pillows that you feel you are sinking. A bowl of udon soup is the perfect compliment for a melancholy mood. The kind that is painful

but beautiful too

so you sort of bask in it while it's around. Those are the sort of days when a noodle shop is the most splendid thing you've ever seen. It's better still if it's raining. You watch the fragments of light caught in drops sliding down the window. You are lost in the steam from the bowl in front of you.

My udon is never comparable to the stuff found in a good noodle shop.  And the noodle shops here aren't comparable to the noodles I had in Japan. Old men hanging around a counter. Picking out your bowl from a vending machine that shoots out colorful chips. Not knowing what you are ordering, but certain that it will be amazing.

I just found out that my dearest friend is coming to Michigan from Japan on holiday this summer. It will be this first time back since he moved there 7 years ago. I am elated. I only wish he could bring me a bowl of noodles in his suitcase.

Lemongrass Udon Soup

Lemongrass Udon Soup

Recipe adapted from Food, Pleasure, and Health

4 cups of vegetable broth
1 package of udon noodles
4 scallions
1.5 tbsp fish sauce
1.5 tbsp soy sauce 
1 lemongrass, chopped
5 cremini mushrooms, sliced
bean sprouts and cilantro, to garnish

In a medium sauce pan bring broth, scallions, lemongrass, fish sauce, soy sauce, and mushrooms to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes. Cook the noodles seperatly according to package instructions. Add cooked noodles to broth and serve. Garnish with bean sprouts and cilantro.

Lemongrass Udon Soup

Thursday, May 2, 2013

earl grey tea loaf

A few weekends ago I went on a bit of a Virginia Woolf kick. I have never read any of her novels, though I intend to. But I'm currently engrossed in reading her letters, which are collected in six volumes. I picked up one of those as well as a book of correspondence between Woolf and Vita Sackville-West, with whom she had a love affair which simmered into a friendship.

The letters are enchanting, from both women. I can't stop reading and re-reading passages more beautiful than anything anyone could ever say. And I can't help but feel a yearning to be privileged and English in some other time. As if it would make me a better writer or more desperately in love. Take this passage from a letter from Virginia to Vita.

I try to invent you for myself, but find I really have only 2 twigs and 3 straws to do it with. I can get the sensation of seeing you—hair, lips, colour, height, even, now and then, the eyes and hands, but I find you going off, to walk in the garden, to play tennis, to dig, to sit smoking and talking, and then I cant invent a thing you say—This proves, what I could write reams about—how little we know anyone, only movements and gestures, nothing connected, continuous, profound.
It's Perfect.

At the end of that rainy, English weekend I made an Earl Grey tea loaf, which seemed fitting. I am terrible with conversions, and completely botched the correct measurements for the tea loaf. Somehow it turned out well enough, but I won't bother with sharing my flawed directions here. I found the recipe on Vanillyn.

Earl Grey Tea Loaf
Earl Grey Tea Loaf