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Once upon a time, in an apartment on the other side of the river, I made Honey-Peach Ice Cream as a Long Distance Kitchen recipe.  It was August, and I’m sure the weather was pretty much the opposite of a cold, rainy March day, and something cold and sweet and peach-flavored was just the thing.  I made it at the same time as the Banoffi Pie, as you can see in the pictures.

Apparently I tend to make desserts in clusters.  Feast or famine!  The recipe comes from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking, and you can also see Bronwen’s results here.

Here’s the method: you chop up half of your peaches and cook them with honey, then puree them once they get soft.  You do a pretty standard ice cream custard with milk, cream, sugar and egg yolks, then stir in your puree.  Once the whole thing has chilled, you do the ice cream maker thing and you dice the remaining peaches.  When the ice cream is just about done, toss in the peach chunks.

I used nectarines, which Dorie mentions in her “playing around” tips as not needing to be peeled (I’m lazy, and they might have been riper than the peaches when I went to the store).  They were pretty tasty but they weren’t amazing, and that might make a difference.  Another thing is your preference for smooth ice cream versus fruit chunks – I’m more of a smooth gal, so if I made this again I might puree ALL the fruit.  As Bronwen noted, it did get a little frosty – there was a sort of distinct textural difference between the icier bits and the heavy feel of the cream on your tongue.  Tasty, but not lick-your-bowl amazing.

(Please note that I have a bias towards chocolately ice creams and was trying to extend myself by introducing more fruit to my ice cream maker – I haven’t made one yet that won me over from the chocolate camp).

My parents host an annual Turkey Dinner in May – they cook a couple of turkeys and the traditional sides (stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy) and then they invite a ton of people over on Memorial Day weekend.  Guests can participate in the side-dish contest, which has evolved into a side-dish-and-dessert contest (I once took home the grand prize rubber chicken, and once the not-nearly-so-fun hat in the shape of a Thanksgiving table).  This year I had some stale bread and extra milk sitting around waiting to be used up, so I killed two birds with one stone by assigning this bread pudding as a Long Distance Kitchen recipe and then bringing it to the turkey dinner.

The recipe comes from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours (and you can find it online here). I’d never made a chocolate bread pudding before but it sounded great.  The only thing I changed in the recipe was omitting the (optional) raisins or cherries – although thinking about it now, cherries might be pretty tasty.

I’m not sure if I used too much bread or what, but the whole thing turned out to be not quite as gooey as I’d hoped.  I may have also used a crustier bread – a baguette, if my memory serves – which probably soaked up more of the wet ingredients than it ought.  The result was a little too much bread and not enough pudding.  Next time – and I’m sure I’ll try this one again – I’ll stick to one of the breads that the recipe recommends (brioche, challah, or white).  I blame this failure entirely on myself and not the recipe.  I know I’ve used baguette in other bread puddings, but perhaps they had more liquid to compensate.

Mmm, just thinking about this recipe months later makes me want to try it again – and perhaps whip up a sauce to serve with it.  It would also be delicious warm with a little vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.  No pictures exist – I was too busy trying all the other side dishes and desserts to take pictures – but you can read Bronwen’s recap and see how hers turned out (smart girl used brioche).

I chose this recipe for Long Distance Kitchen back in April (I swear this is the last April recipe and then we can move onto May, a month where we took a break for a few weeks while Bronwen was out of town).  I love bundt cakes because they look impressive with so little effort, plus they’re easy to transport when unfrosted.  I think this was my first attempt at a bundt cake from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours, although I’ve made several others (including that oh-so-delicious chocolate sour cream bundt cake that I documented a while back).  And just a few weeks ago I tried another of Dorie’s – the Nutty, Chocolaty, Swirly Sour Cream Bundt Cake, which had a nice coffee-cake-ish swirl to it.

But let’s get back to that Mocha-Walnut Marbled Bundt Cake (click for the recipe from the Tuesdays with Dorie project), which I know I made and devoured even though I don’t have any proof.  It’s one of those recipes that takes a few different bowls and plenty of “add a third of the dry ingredients then half of the milk” type of instructions.  The effort pays off in a dense walnut-flavored batter swirled with the coffee and chocolate batter.  And even though I don’t have any memory of what I did with the cake – secret eating?  Sharing with friends?  Warmed up with ice cream on top?  Devoured in a day?  – I do remember that it was tasty and something I’d make again, with a nice balance of flavors between the nuts, chocolate and coffee.

A few weeks ago I was visiting Bronwen and we cooked up yet another cooking scheme – this time we’re calling it the long distance kitchen.  Basically, once a week we each send eachother a recipe, and we’ve got a week to try it.  The trick is that today is the first day of Lent – which means no meat or dairy products until Easter, which is April 4 this year – an early one AND on the same calendar as non-Orthodox churches.

Not only do we want a project to do together, but it’s also a great way to be forced to try new recipes.  Being vegan just makes it more of a challenge.  But of course, this is nothing compared to some of our past food experiments.

We did a few trial runs over the last few weeks, using non-Lenten recipes while we still could, and I’m here to report on the results.  I send a recipe every Saturday, and Bronwen sends one every Wednesday.  For the first Saturday, I gave two options that fit with the “let’s eat dairy while we still can!” spirit.  My first recipe was Dorie Greenspan’s Coco-nana Bread, from her Baking book, which handily used up some bananas that were on the verge.  It made an enormous loaf, which was nowhere near done in the suggested baking time.  By the time the center was done, the edges were a little dry.  Solution?  Heat it up and serve with a scoop of ice cream melting into it.  Delicious, but I might try making either cupcakes or two small loaves with the batter if I make it again.

The back-up option I gave was homemade pizza dough – something I love to do.  It makes pizza nice and cheap, you can do your own toppings, and it makes great leftovers for lunches.  The dough is super easy as long as you remember to start it the night before you want to eat it – I use the Now or Later Pizza recipe in The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion, and I topped mine with mozzerella, salami, mushrooms, and sweet onion and red pepper that had been pre-cooked a bit – delicious, but no photos.

Bronwen’s first recipes were “some v-day-ish red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting” and/or Mushroom Soup.  Shockingly for me, I went for the mushroom soup and skipped the cupcakes (that has got to be a first).  My only modification was to use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth (we’d passed Meatfare Sunday by that point, so I went vegetarian).  It was delicious and quite creamy, and my celery and carrot ended up as tiny little chunks that made a nice contrast to the mushrooms.  I always forget how easy soups can be – I’ll make this one again once that pint of cream is an option again.  It also reheated nicely for lunch the next day, but again, I never managed a photo.

My second week’s recipe was for buttermilk pancakes – I used Martha Stewart’s recipe, which has been my standby for the last few years, and ate them with dollops of Greek yogurt and a drizzle of maple syrup.

September 2021

Flickr Photos