FRET 9 … plus mint stracciatella

June 9th, 2008 · 37 Comments

(if i’m going to whine, ice cream is the very least i can offer…)

dear readers…  ceF is 2 days shy of turning one year old and well, i must tell you that as much fun as this is, in the short time that we’ve known each other i have recklessly and pitifully packed on some serious poundage. i have tried to be better about keeping it all in balance, but to date am failing miserably. i have tried to do all the things i know to do. but i am weak in the face of good food. 

to keep us all entertained here, i have been also trying to achieve some semblance of excellence with my cooking. ok, maybe excellence is going too far. but i am aiming high, and honestly, most of the time we’re eating pretty well here at kitchen central. but i’ve still got a lot to learn, and that means practice. and repetition. using it or losing it. and this tends to involve churning out a fair amount of food if you ever want to call yourself a cook.  and i aspire to that…

right now i’m in santa monica for 3 weeks. and guess what? i’m not going to any great restaurants or cooking. i’m in semi-radical cleansing mode drinking fresh juices and eating fruit and plain salads. as in vegan raw without the frills of nuts or seeds or oil or seasonings of any kind.  as in yes, you’re right this is not easy – and no, i don’t recommend you do this.  unless you want to. which you probably don’t. and man, i so do not blame you. because if i could find a way to eat the way i wanted to eat all the time, and not look and feel toxic, i’d be all over it.  you see, i am the quintessential plate cleaner. i love to eat and i can pack it away but good.  but i am terribly vain – and that’s a tricky combo to balance. so here i am – paying for my salty high-caloric intake.  because the fat lady has sung and it’s time to pay the piper. 

interestingly enough, the older i get the more he charges – the little flute playing bastard…

but to keep the blog fires burning, i have a few things that i recently whipped up and then stockpiled, knowing i’d be away from the kitchen.  and this is one of them.  fresh mint custard ice cream with pralus 75% chocolate.  i used david lebovitz’s recipe for the ice cream, always adding an extra egg yolk as a sacrifice to whatever god that thomas keller worships (i do believe he uses up to 12 yolks in his ice creams).  and then i went a little too heavy on the chocolate because well, one bar is 3.5 ounces and david calls for about 5 ounces (i don’t have the book with me) and i think i may have used over 1 1/2 bars.  but next time i think i’d stick to the one, as that’d be plenty. this batch was a bit heavy on the chocolate. not that it’d hurt your feelings, because the chocolate is so spectacular and plays well off the minty custard…  but still, live and learn.

the fresh mint is steeped in the warm milk/cream mixture and then the custard is made and chilled. to make the stracciatella, you add the melted chocolate in a steady stream at the very end of the churning process, keeping the chocolate away from mixing blade.  being a stracciatella making virgin, i did a so-so job… but it was really very, very awfully good. and i guess one day i will have to try again. and again. but not for a little while.

my inner child had hoped for the ice cream to be a bit on the greener side - but when thinking about the steeping/straining process, it seemed unlikely that the leaves would give up much color. but david had promised an emerald hue and dear readers, that just was not happening. also and for the record, i’m not a huge mint fan. and now i know why. because most mint things that we buy are made with some kind of extract that is way not my thing. this ice cream was minty, but subtle. it tasted real, because it was.

and i’ll be posting here and there, but for now, i’ve gone west to where the ‘beautiful people’ are. to where you are pretty much always – comparatively speaking (to like, anywhere) - too fat, too old and too poor.  i kind of never "got" LA but i want to.  and i am willing to love LA – if it will let me.  i will hang by the beach and soak up the califiornia vibe and then i am back to nashville for a night, only to take off the next day to nyc to do my usual thing – which totally revolves around food.  and as one might imagine based on my last trip home, i am still going to dine quite well. and so this is when i will get to practice balance. and then i get to practice even more balance a week later in chicago at alinea and trotter’s.

so, it’s looking like if all goes well i will be one helluva balanced woman come july.  and then i will throw a party and invite you and i will make this mint stracciatella for everyone and only eat one scoop.

which brings us back to all of you summer loving, ice cream eating people out there.  why not go and make yourself this minty custardy ice cream?  it is truly wonderful.  the recipe is in david’s book and if you’re an ice cream aficionado and don’t own it, i urge you to get it.

and oh by the way – if there is a next life? 

i am so coming back as a person with the metabolism of a hummingbird…


Tags: chocolate · FRET · ice cream

37 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Julie // Jun 9, 2008 at 6:14 pm

    Happy blog birthday. I’ve enjoyed your year.

    And you’re most right about the piper
    and “the older i get the more he charges – the little flute playing bastard…” Oh.So.True.

    Enjoy your cleanse? No, that can’t possibly be the appropriate thing to say. How ’bout, looking forward to your return.

  • 2 Nicole // Jun 9, 2008 at 6:27 pm

    Good luck with your cleanse. Today is my year anniversary and I also have packed on pounds this year – not good! Must work out more.

  • 3 Diana // Jun 9, 2008 at 6:54 pm

    1. You’re beautiful.

    2. I was just about to say I’m going to endure a similar situation – three weeks of cleansing – then I realized I would be in the armpit of the world, living in a dorm room with nothing more than a microfridge. So, for all of us, soak in your surroundings!

  • 4 Mary Coleman // Jun 9, 2008 at 6:58 pm

    Have a wonderful time! You’re not missing anything’s H o double t HOT!!!
    By the way, the ice cream looks divine.

  • 5 Kim // Jun 9, 2008 at 7:44 pm

    Claudia-Happy One Year. Sounds like fun these next few weeks; LA, Chicago, New York……Good for you on the cleansing. Hard but it is good stuff eating raw. This Friday I am heading to Connecticut for almost 3 weeks to visit family myself, miss the North and looking forward to it. Bringing my ice cream maker and David’s book. Great photos.

  • 6 Jennifer Hess // Jun 9, 2008 at 7:45 pm

    I’m sooooo very bummed out that we won’t be able to meet up in NYC this trip. Next time, though, I should have some vacation time available and will take the train down, darn it!

    Happy year, and happy travels!

  • 7 Peter // Jun 9, 2008 at 8:53 pm

    I just did a sort of fast/cleanse thing (though much less restrictive) and it made me feel much better. I think the key is to let the blog reflect what you really eat, not have what you eat be for the blog.

  • 8 cookiecrumb // Jun 9, 2008 at 9:16 pm

    (Peter) What he said. Yes.

    Claudia: Cleanse away, but don’t guilt out.
    Vegan-raw. Ha ha. :D
    Come back.

  • 9 Vincent // Jun 9, 2008 at 9:37 pm

    Happy anni Claudia… as for balance – I don’t think I’ve ever spoken with someone closer to finding it.

  • 10 Meg // Jun 9, 2008 at 9:45 pm

    A love of food and vanity. I hear you.
    I’ve been scrutinizing my muffin-top (nice on an actual muffin, not so nice on a person) and realizing that exercise alone is not going to make that thing shrink. I gotta say, though, I don’t think we’ll like you better or worse because of the numbers when you step on your scale. Just sayin’. (And no, I can’t take my own advice there.)
    Good luck with 21 days of austerity. At least it’s a time of year when loads of great produce is coming in. Are you going to go surfing?

  • 11 Brittany // Jun 9, 2008 at 10:28 pm

    Claudia- know that you are in good company.
    Food blogs can be devistating to ones figure, as I am learning. Good idea with the whole cleansing thing. Let me know how that works for you. It sounds really lame. Lame but effective.

    Mint stracciatella with an extra yolk.
    You bitch.
    You know how I love the yolks.

  • 12 Ethel // Jun 9, 2008 at 10:45 pm

    Time sure has wings. Can’t believe it’s your blog’s 1 yr. anniversary. Is it possible to stay thin and healthy and be a real foodie at home and love eating in fine restaurants????? So damn hard. Your writing,cooking, photography and style are things that make you one special gal. Enjoy your travels and stay healthy.

  • 13 lifeinrecipes // Jun 9, 2008 at 10:45 pm

    Ooooh, have a great time! Happy 1 year. I totally get
    the need to cleanse, but it is so tricky when the passion to cook and eat fully and completely exists.
    Can’t wait to hear about New York.

  • 14 Chris // Jun 9, 2008 at 11:42 pm

    the little flute playing bastard…

  • 15 kitt // Jun 10, 2008 at 1:49 am

    I feel hungry just reading your post. No cleansing for me, nuh-uh, no way. Good luck with it. Hope you accomplish all you want to!

  • 16 Mal Carne // Jun 10, 2008 at 7:31 am

    Happy anni.

    Although I’m in the opposite situation as you (I’ve lost 30 lbs in the last year), I feel that I should be eating better and stand at the brink of going vegetarian for a while. No meat, no fish, just things that grow from the ground (and possibly bacon – bacon isn’t meat, is it?).

    Good luck with the cleanse and smack that little flute playing bastard the next time that you see him – or maybe the next walking charicature of LA that happens to cross your path.
    Gratifying either way.

  • 17 We Are Never Full // Jun 10, 2008 at 7:38 am

    I try and balance by eating salads for lunch or trying to do a bit better for dinners during the week. Vegan raw diet? i’d rather fucking die and die fat and early, I think. Good luck w/ it all! and have FUN if you can w/ the cleanse. maybe after a week of cleansing you’ll be ready for some beef?

    Oh and I’m going to LA in August, so if you do decide to eat normally again and have any suggestions, I’d love it!

  • 18 RecipeGirl // Jun 10, 2008 at 8:08 am

    I hear ya on the food/fat/old part!! I’m on the quest right now as well. Fortunately, I’m just low carbing it so that I can still enjoy some tasty recipes. The toughest part is NO WINE. I’m going crazy with that one. Every day at 5pm I’m a little grouchy.

    Good luck!!

  • 19 Becky And The Beanstock // Jun 10, 2008 at 8:10 am

    A whole year! I just got on board here so I hope it’s many more years of your delightful writing voice and gorgeous recipes.

    I have to say I envy you the cleanse. it’s not the kind of thing that goes well at home — too many reasons not to stick with it. So enjoy the down time and may that juice start tasting really good to you soon!

  • 20 The Urban Eater // Jun 10, 2008 at 8:43 am

    Ha! Ha ! Ha!
    You could be like me. A model who didn’t eat, marries an awesome chef. Her price to pay? 60 lbs for true love. I’m staring at my thighs as I type. If only I had put down the white truffle cream sauce or the braised short ribs.

    Happy Anni. Have fun in plastic town.

  • 21 Natalie // Jun 10, 2008 at 9:47 am

    What good timing for cleansing! Summer bounty is what is yummy now anyway.

  • 22 Heather // Jun 10, 2008 at 9:50 am

    Raw vegan cleanse? Sounds crunchy.

    Good luck with all that. Weight gain is a bitch, but doesn’t have to be an inevitable part of aging.

  • 23 evil chef mom // Jun 10, 2008 at 11:39 am

    Raw? Oh lord, if I ate like that I’d be a bitch on wheels! Good Luck… Happy Birthday to your blog and soke up all the beautiful California sun and smog.

  • 24 Melissa Rhinolegs // Jun 10, 2008 at 12:32 pm

    oh my. alinea? so. jealous.

  • 25 Stephanie // Jun 10, 2008 at 1:20 pm

    This morning I put on my favorite pair of work slacks and realized they’re a little snug. Ughhhh! Why does all the tasty food have to be so bad for my ass? I’m definitely going to have to pull out the Cooking Light for a few months to fit into my summer dresses.

    Happy blogiversary!

  • 26 lisa // Jun 10, 2008 at 1:30 pm

    Happy Anniversary! Believe it or not, raw food can be delicious and enjoyable in its guilt-free-ness. (But, that’s based on an occasional lunch at the raw food bar at Whole Foods not three whole weeks of it.) Good luck.

  • 27 NOBLE PIG // Jun 10, 2008 at 3:48 pm

    Happy B-day Blog…enjoy LA!

  • 28 democommie // Jun 10, 2008 at 4:04 pm


    Bon Voyage!

    I am resting after having my left knee scoped this a.m. and trying to stay off me feet, but I’ve got some leg quarters in my teensy Welbilt oven and some ‘tater salad in the fridge–so, I’ll be packing on some pounds m’self, over the next few days.

    Wave frm the plane as you go by.


  • 29 Kevin // Jun 10, 2008 at 6:33 pm

    Congrats on one year! The stracciatella ice cream sounds like an interesting way to make ice cream. I will have to try it.

  • 30 Lauren // Jun 10, 2008 at 7:15 pm

    happy blog bday!

  • 31 Laura @ Hungry and Frozen // Jun 10, 2008 at 7:33 pm

    Nice one on your blog anniversary/birthday. I totally hear what you are saying though, why is my intense love of food and cooking combined with a sluggish metabolism? A raw vegan diet certainly sounds interesting…good luck :) and that ice cream looks gorgeous, I am not into minty flavoured stuff – makes me think of eating toothpaste – but flavouring it with actual mint does sound subtle and lovely…

  • 32 Marc @ No Recipes // Jun 10, 2008 at 10:18 pm

    Happy 1 year anniversary! I’ve only been at it for 3 months, but at the rate I’ve been gaining I’ll be buying 2 seats on a plane by my 1 year anniversary.

  • 33 White On Rice Couple // Jun 11, 2008 at 3:03 am

    Oh you’re in SM! If you head down further South a bit, come down to our place! Lets get together and we’ll make ya some of that stuffed squid!
    Happy B-Day to your blog! Glad to have found you!

  • 34 alisa // Jun 11, 2008 at 7:49 am


    I’ve been reading your blog for a little over a week now, and I just wanted to 1)congratulate you on your anniverary; and 2)tell you how much I enjoy reading:0) I struggle with my waistline and loving food as well, and I find your blog really truthful and down to earth.

    I hope you don’t mind, but I’ve linked you on the favorite food blog section of my blog!

    please keep doing what you’re doing; it’s an absolute pleasure to read:0)

    very truly,

  • 35 jim voorhies // Jun 11, 2008 at 11:57 am

    food is too much of a joy to eat to get all stressed about the results of eating. besides, you’re gorgeous.

  • 36 melissa // Jun 11, 2008 at 3:56 pm

    Aww, you’re only an hour away from me. Damn.

    I don’t really love L.A. I don’t even drive up from OC very often; instead, I go south to San Diego. I bet you would love San Diego. It has a vibe and a personality that is so much more beautiful and peaceful than L.A.

    Wish you were eating eating cause I would be able to tell you some fantastic places to go, from hole-in-the-wall to the other extreme. But I certainly understand doing what you’re doing. I am much in need of balance myself. Best wishes to you in your endeavor.

  • 37 Mari // Jun 23, 2008 at 5:14 am

    Have you only been around a year?! I’m dying to know where you’re de-toxing…hahaha! I know the feeling, every June I try to go sugar and alcohol-free for 30 days, unfortunately I didn’t do that this year, and I’m sure it’ll catch up with me. :-P
    When I make David’s French vanilla I use extra large egg yolks…hmmmmmmmmm.

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