Friday, June 22, 2007

Cheating on David Lebovitz

I still hold twooo wuv in my heart for David Lebovitz. We gave his French vanilla ice cream recipe a try a couple of days ago (and not so coincidentally, it’s pretty close to the Chez Panisse CafĂ© recipe for vanilla ice cream), pitting it against Ben & Jerry’s vanilla in a taste test. Lebovitz won handily. The children, er, testers, smacked their lips contentedly, and then had the home-made vanilla in sundaes topped with strawberries from our garden. There may not be enough strawberries in our garden for gelato, but there are enough to make a nice sundae topping.

But the thing is, when I made strawberry gelato yesterday… I used a gelato recipe from someone else.

I know, I know. How can I say it’s twoooo wuv and then lustfully check out someone else’s frozen goods? Um… because I can. And also, with the Incredible Eating Nephew around for a few weeks, food has got to be manufactured as often as possible, which makes cookbook loyalty nearly impossible (for me). I made the kids (including the Incredible Eating Nephew) meatballs last night. His plate literally could not fit more food. I stacked his bruschetta in a corner so it could fit in with all the meat. I really should have taken a picture of the impressively piled plate. He ate it all. And had dessert (cherry pie from the Dahlia bakery. I don’t do lattice tops, although you can't quite tell in the photo that the pie has a rustic lattice top).
Food production and procurement is close to constant. I bought the pie (half gone. And I bought it yesterday) because I knew I was making strawberry gelato, and didn’t have time to do all of it (and for me, making gelato is more fun than pitting cherries and farting around with pie crust). The Perfect Scoop does have a couple of gelato recipes, and it does have some strawberry ice cream… but the thing is (and hopefully the blog police won’t see this bit, because it would cause quite the scandal), I mostly like gelato better than ice cream. My method of sight-seeing in Rome is highly oriented towards which monuments are near the gelaterie I want to go to (Pantheon? Cremeria Monteforte or Giolitti. Santa Maria in Trastevere? Fontana della Salute. Porta d’Ottavia? Pica.). And I’m going to Rome in the spring (Rachel Ray maddeningly abuses exclamation points, but it’s going to be hard not to excitedly type a few too many as I close in on this trip), so I can see which gelaterie are maintaining standards (yay! Yum!). Marcella Hazan knows a thing or two about making gelato. I use the recipe in Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking as a guideline for my strawberry gelato. And, oh, with strawberries in high, high season (seriously, check out the blurry picture. Those berries are ripe), it’s close to impossible to make anything but sublime gelato.

While I was trying to keep us awash in food yesterday (unsuccessfully- I think we can only make it as far as tomorrow without another grocery run), I bought the kids peanut butter sandwich cookies at the Dahlia Bakery. They like pie, too, but my son was having a friend over, and sometimes, there's nothing to get an after-school get-together off on the right foot like a good cookie. These were like the best version ev-ah of girl scout peanut butter sandwich cookies (which are, in turn, like nutter butters, only tasty). Why are there three halves instead of four? Only three kids. And the beauty of younger children is that they were so pleased just to have a cookie that they didn't think to add up the number of halves and realize that they only had 1.5 cookies laid out. I ate the fourth half, very happily, and said nothing.

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