Annie Eats World

Will travel for food.

Annie Eats Dark Chocolate Guinness Ice Cream

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I made a fresh batch of dark chocolate Guinness ice cream to take over to the boys for dinner. The boys – also known as The Running Gays – are a group of health-conscious athletes who are best described by the meme-card below.

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Naturally, when I brought out the half gallon of ice cream, as quickly as everyone’s eyes had widened with excitement so did their hands shoot up in defense.

“Oh, I – I’m okay.”
“Wow, you MADE ice cream? Sure, I’ll try a tiny bit.”
“I would, but I’m so full.”

I didn’t take it personally. I packed a half gallon, fully expecting a lukewarm reception. But everyone was gracious and sampled the ice cream to be polite. The ice cream went around the table once as we chatted and again as we continued the conversation. Then suddenly, someone returned the empty container to the middle of the table. The ice cream was gone. From freezer to table, it took about eight minutes for them to finish a half gallon. Even my brother liked it, which was pretty wild since he’s the grown version of Mikey, the Life cereal kid. He doesn’t typically like chocolate or beer or getting fat.

The point of this story is really just self-validation. Now, on to the technical stuff.

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This recipe is primarily an ice cream and secondarily a milkshake. If you’re planning on finishing it in a couple of days, keep it as an ice cream. If you’re going to store it longer, make shakes, instead. Homemade ice cream is like a breeding ground for ice crystals. A couple of days will turn velvety ice cream into a granita. So, if by some unholy miracle, there’s any left over beyond five days, add a tiny bit of milk and make a milkshake!

For boring and detailed notes, scroll past the recipe. Otherwise, just trust me.

Guinness Dark Chocolate Ice Cream
My recipe was adapted from The Kitchn (via David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop).

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I needed more chocolate because I doubled the recipe.

8 oz. good quality dark chocolate chopped

6 large egg yolks
1 C whole milk
1/2 C sugar
A pinch of salt
1 C heavy cream
1 – 11.2 oz bottle of Guinness
1 tsp vanilla extract

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Check it out, my apron has a tiiiiny little pocket for my phone. 

Prep:

1. For best results, freeze your ice cream barrel(s) for at least 48 hours. If the instructions say something less, the manufacturer’s probably lying to you.

2. Roughly chop the chocolate and put it in a bowl big to hold all the ingredients. (It’s supposed to be finely chopped, but it doesn’t really matter for this recipe.)

3. Put a fine strainer over the chocolate bowl. Set aside.

4. Separate the yolks from the whites – the yolks into a medium sized heat-proof bowl and the whites into tupperware for the fridge. (I save the whites for macarons or egg-white omlets and the egg shells for my garden.) Whisk yolks together. Set aside.

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FYI, best hot chocolate EVER.

Cooking

1. Put the milk, sugar, salt in a medium saucepan. Warm on stove.

2. Whisking continuously, slowly ladle the warm milk mixture into the yolks to temper them. Keep whisking or you’ll end up with a boiled eggs mixture that’ll trigger your gag reflex. Ladle approximately ¾ of the milk mixture into the yolks. Then, scrape the tempered eggs back into the saucepan.

3. Stirring constantly, cook yolk mixture over medium-low heat. You can use a thermometer to bring it up to about 160-170 F/71-77 C (a tip from another David Lebovitz recipe) or you can wing it and warm the mixture just until it thickens enough to coat a spoon/spatula.

4. Once it’s the right temp/consistency, pour the custard through the strainer over the chocolate. Stir mixture until the chocolate’s melted and the mixture’s smooth.

5. Whisk in cream. Then add the Guinness and vanilla.

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How do you like THAT? A lot, I hope, because it was difficult to simultaneously cook and take that many pictures of myself cooking. 

6. Put the mixture over an ice bath, stirring every half hour until cooled … or ‘til you run out of ice.

7. Pop mixture in fridge. Chill overnight (~12 hours).

8. Follow ice cream maker’s instructions. Notes: Let the ice cream churn 10 minutes longer than whatever the instructions say for a creamier texture. Do not fill the barrels more than ¾ full during the churning process.

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Ta daaaa: ICE CREAM!

When serving, take the ice cream out to thaw for 10-15 minutes, depending on how long it’s been in the freezer. 

A few notes about homemade ice cream:

I love making ice cream. I love eating ice cream. I love thinking and talking about ice cream, but the texture is so damn delicate. Ice crystals start cropping up as soon as it goes in the freezer. Then, the process of thawing and re-freezing exacerbates the problem. Much as I hate to admit it, in the absence of stabilizers and specially calibrated freezers, it seems impossible to preserve the quality of homemade ice cream. It means I have to finish off the ice cream I serve as quickly as possible … at least that’s what I tell people. I suppose packing smaller batches of ice cream so I only thaw bits at a time works as well … but it’s not as fun.

Annie Covets CARROT CAKE

Taco Temple, Morro Bay, CA

It’s Friday, which means I get to share one thing I’ve been having sexy dreams about: Carrot cake. It may sound boring, but this is not any ol’ carrot cake. This carrot cake has a brown sugar crumble (which, I think, is just brown sugar) on top. 

This beast of a cake is from Taco Temple in Morro Bay, California, a sleepy little town best suited for retired folk and people in rehab. 

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Speculoos vs. Cookie Butter

Okay, so, I have to apologize to… myself (and the three people who read this blog) for skipping a substantial post last week. I got swamped with work from a web series I’m producing. But that’s no excuse. This blog is supposed to be an exercise in keeping a consistent writing schedule. So, I promise to do better to keep up one substantial post and a Friday Covet List every week. Now, on to the post!

Two weeks ago, I wrote about Nutterloos and decided to continue with my love affair with Speculoos with a taste test!

About Speculoos

First a cookie, then a spread, soon a reality show. This magnificent duo lived life relatively paparazzi-free in the States until 2011 when Trader Joe’s introduced their store brand “Bistro Biscuits” (unabashedly similar to the European brand Lotus). Now, they’re the Kardashian of imported cookies, only more palatable and understandably famous.

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Annie Covets Ponche Segoviano

My friend, Kat, and I were in line at one of Segovia’s most famous bakeries for the province’s pride and joy: ponche segoviano. There was one older gentleman in line ahead of us. Just one person between us and this cake made of sugar, marzipan, and wild dreams. Kat and I were stoked. We had just come from an expensive and disappointingly mediocre lunch with cochinillo (Segovia’s famous suckling pig) and cordero (the lamb, lesser known but equally pricey). So, we were excited to make up for it by gorging on dessert.

Segovian chotchkies - a little cruel and very cute.

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Annie Covets Nutterloos

There are two things I love in my dessert life: Peanut butter (not shown above because you should already know what that looks like) and Speculoos cookies. Yesterday, I put ‘em together and created the preternaturally delicious lovechild of European and American traditions: NUTTERLOOS. (Admittedly, that’s not an attractive name. If you’ve got a better portmanteau, let’s hear it. Until then, it’s Nutterloos.) It’s like a better, uppity-er Nutter Butter. As a pb addict, this was the perfect snack. 

For all the peanut butter addicts of the world …

Instructions:

Take two Speculoos (or off-brand Speculoos) cookies. Slather on the right amount of pb for you. Put another cookie on top to make a sammich cookie or put pb on the other cookie and eat it open faced. Pour yourself a glass of (rice, soy, flaxseed, almond, goat, hempseed, peanut) milk and dip it.

I brought a couple Nutterloos to Alice Chung, a fellow pb addict. She gave it her approval! So, peanut butter addicts, go forth and get ‘em, get ‘em! 

Annie Eats (Peanut Butter) Pancakes

The other day, I woke up with an intense craving for pancakes. It was a familiar feeling, but one I haven’t had in a while. (For example, once I woke up from a gravy dream where a giant gravy boat floated by. For a week, all I ate was country gravy.) I knew the only way to restore productivity in my life was to indulge my craving. So, I made pancakes. For two meals. But before I get into the pancakes, let me first bore you with a relevant but gratuitous personal story. 

When I was a first-year undergrad, one of my housemates introduced me to chocolate chip snow-capped (which just means “buried in too much powdered sugar”) pancakes. If it weren’t for the butter and maple syrup, you wouldn’t even know there were pancakes under the mountain of powdered sugar on my plate. We had a lot of pancake meals. I’m talking several times a week for the first year of college. Those were good times.

Martha Stewart’s Pancake Recipe

To rid myself of my demons, I tried out this Martha Stewart recipe. To no one’s surprise, the pancakes turned out fluffy and scrumptious and there was just the right amount of salt. Good job, Martha.

Quick note update: The easiest way to cook pancakes evenly is to use an electric griddle. I just use a pan because I don’t like racking up kitchen chotchkies. The problem with pans is that pancakes come out a little two faced - half cooked/burnt, half doughy. The trick is to rotate the pan, and take it on and off the stove. That was your useful lesson of the day. Here’s another: If you’re shallow and pretty pancakes are important to you, use a ladle or some measured way of dispensing the batter.

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Annie Covets Scone

Left: Bea’s of Bloomsbury. Right: Sacred Cafe

London’s a lovely place. But let’s be real, for what you pay to be in that city, the food could be much better. One of the handful of English treats I HAD to have everyday was scones and clotted cream. I could slather on buckets of clotted cream on to anything. I all but spooned globs of that better-than-butter goodness like porridge while I was in London. In L.A., the closest you’ll get to a scone worthy of your money is Chado. I should visit them soon.

Annie Eats Avocado Pesto

I hate tossing out food, especially expensive food. It’s counterintuitive to how I was brought up. Yet, somehow, I only manage to eat half of the avocados I buy. The rest either end up overripe (edible, but not as enjoyable) or rotten (inedible, but I attempt to salvage it nonetheless). I think, subconsciously, I’m still the eight year old girl who saves all the red gummy bears for last because they’re the best ones. The problem is that avocados don’t save as well as gummy bears.  

      

Luckily, I broke the cycle this time. Yup, this time I came across this recipe re-blogged by The Actor’s Diet (via A Cozy Kitchen) in my news feed and jumped on it. The original recipe serves two and calls for ingredients in that collage above (garlic & pepper not shown). I more or less quadrupled the recipe (don’t judge) and added sugar snap peas and faux sausage.

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Annie Covets Campfire Pie

Today, I’m starting Covet List Fridays where I post a picture of something worthy of coveting. Pretty simple.

Cindy Pawlcyn’s Campfire Pie. It’s like an Oreo s’mores PIE topped with “Almond Ding,” which, I think, is just an uppity way to say crack-toffee.

There are two ways to get this pie. One, go to Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen in Napa. Two, make it yo’self. If you try to make it yourself, here’s your fair warning: It’s time consuming, messy and delicate. I threw out three batches the first time I tried it. (The bad batches weren’t edible. I know because I tried to eat them.) Even Cindy’s kitchen threw out a batch when my friends and I visited.

Happy coveting!

Annie Eats Carbs

After climbing the duomo of the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore and getting treated to graphic depictions of hell, we left for our last supper in Firenze. Because everything was delicious, there’s really no need for me to taint this post with words. 

Trattoria il Contadino: A Wonderful Study In Carbohydrates.

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Good Ol’ Flo 2.0

I’m home in the States now, but I actually have some time (and the internet connection) to post. So, let’s flashback to a time when the days were unpredictable, exciting and delicious.

We thought they were serving gelato for breakfast. They weren’t.

Moving on …

Osteria Buongustai, another Georgette-recommended restaurant, was completely empty when we walked in. This made me nervous, but it seemed every restaurant we wanted to try was closed. So, Osteria Buongustai, by virtue of being open, was the winner.

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Sweet, sweet home

Reflections & notes on Europe to come, but first, I’d like to share a “welcome home” anecdote.  

      The Mom: Annie? You’re home!

     A: Yeah, Mom! Miss me?

     *HUG*

     TM [surveys her daughter]: Haha, you did not lose weight.

     A: No, mama. We ate a lot of bread and cheese. 

     TM: I would think you would lose weight with so much walking. Ok, I go to sleep, now. Good night.

Be it ever so humbl[ing], there’s no place like home.

Annie Eats Brownie - An interlude to Good Ol’ Flo 2.0

In case there was any doubt how dedicated I am to my craft (of eating), Jeff and I nearly missed our train from Paris to London trying to get to the Marche-Raspail farmers’ market.

(Notice the blur around me as I sprinted through UK customs, hastily answering questions like, “Why are you visiting London?” and trying to avoid potentially suspicious answers like, “Not terrorism, that’s for sure.”)

Luckily, I work best under pressure, especially when it’s motivated by food. We made it in time to board with four minutes to spare. That was enough time to stow our bags just as train left the station. Score. 

This is how we passed the time on trains. Notice the crisscross of wires. This picture-caption is more parenthetical because it’s completely irrelevant to anything in this post. I just wanted to give you a peek into our glamourous (when in the UK, recklessly insert “u” in wourds) lives in economy class.

Anyway, let me back things up to a story in keeping with this blog. 

You see, it’s like this: My friend, Linda The Jet-setting Sommelier, told me Marche-Raspail has “the best brownies in Europe.” This, of course, meant that I had to eat them. So, with 1.5 hours left before we needed to check in at Gare du Nord, we rushed to this famed farmers’ market against prime church traffic on Sunday morning.

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I know, I’m incredibly behind in my updates. I am currently in Paris (France, not Texas). Our days have been jam packed with things to eat and see and little time to do much else, including sleep. I promise to update as soon as I get some breathing room and/or a reliable internet connection.
Let this picture act as an I.O.U. Up next: Good Ol’ Flo 2.0, Venice, Ventimiglia, Marseille, Lyon and PARIS.

I know, I’m incredibly behind in my updates. I am currently in Paris (France, not Texas). Our days have been jam packed with things to eat and see and little time to do much else, including sleep. I promise to update as soon as I get some breathing room and/or a reliable internet connection.

Let this picture act as an I.O.U. Up next: Good Ol’ Flo 2.0, Venice, Ventimiglia, Marseille, Lyon and PARIS.

Good ol’ Flo 1.0

First off, a quick thank you to Georgette June’s restaurant recommendations and Alice Chung of ¢hung ¢hange who tapped into her vast social network of gourmand friends. Andy and I benefited from Georgette’s advice at least twice.

The Santa Maria Basilica duomo coquettishly peaking through the narrow streets of Florence. 

Florence, Firenze, Flo - whatever you call this charming, crumbling city - was our favorite stop so far. Strange because my friends had only bad things to say about it. Maybe our expectations were low, maybe we were drunk off three scoops of gelato (twice a day), but we didn’t understand the bad press with quaint little Firenze.

Sure, Firenze wasn’t as alpha-male as Rome or as (Rico) Sauve as Venice, but the food was good and everything was within walking distance. Sure, Andy and I did cover most of Florence on foot in three days with multiple visits to the duomo. Still, it was three glorious days whirling with: prosciutto, gelato, wine, gelato, Jesus and wine, gelato, Duomo, gelato, cheese, gelato, art, you get the idea. 

Il Cernacchino was one of Georgette’s recommendations.

The women behind the counter and Georgette’s article recommended the chicken liver. Of course, this meant that I had to eat it. And thank god I did because it was very good. Rich, salty and smooth on warm, crispy toast. It reminded me of the days when my parents sent me to school with pate and mayo sandwiches. It was a time before words like “cholesterol,” “saturated fat” and “health” were a part of my family’s consciousness. Good times.

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