You can’t buy happiness but you can buy ice cream. Whenever we’re in the mood for scoopfuls of creamy, ice cold delights, we head to Oakland’s Fentons Creamery – the oldest continuously operating creamery west of the Mississippi. Founded in 1884 by Elbridge Seth Fenton, it’s the birthplace of flavors like Toasted Almond, Swiss Milk Chocolate and Rocky Road! With Fentons’ 120th anniversary just around the corner, Todd and I took a tour of their in-house production facility, where over 50 flavors are made and mixed by hand. Batch by batch. And what better way to end a visit than with one too many sundaes of gargantuan proportions? So good and so classic. Put an ice cream spoon in me!
Before our trip to Florence, I told Karen the first thing we had to indulge in was Neapolitan pizza. And of course, a heaping plate of mind blowing truffle pasta. There is something about Italian pizza that many, including me, have tried to emulate – but have fallen short. But that sure hasn’t deter me from testing pizza dough recipe after pizza dough recipe, searching for that perfect crust. I’m excited to share that artisan baker Ken Forkish‘s “Same Day Straight Pizza Dough” formula comes pretty darn close.
I should warn you that Ken’s recipe is pretty tedious compared to some of the recipes I’ve used in the past – especially when it comes to the mixing part. The physical part of making the dough actually doesn’t take long at all – it’s the amount of time you’ll need to let the dough rest throughout the process that requires a bit of pre-planning. But the fermentation allows the dough to develop some amazing flavors, making this pizza dough recipe my favorite thus far.
I’d prefer not to curse here on the blog – but this recipe is *&$#%@ de-li-cious. I first heard about the infamous Aperol spritz back in the day from my best friend Adam who wouldn’t shut up about the damn things. Perhaps I was jealous that he had been to Italy and I hadn’t. Frankly, I just wasn’t into sipping anything that didn’t contain rum and/or Coke. Quite a bit has changed since then. I’m married, I have a big fluffy dog, and I carry a concealed mini-bottle of Aperol on me at all times (it’s a great conversation starter). So when Erica and Karen came home from Florence raving about their new favorite cocktail, the Aperol spritz, this time I was prepared. As you’ve probably noticed, I’ve been on a frozen kick lately (I blame summer) so a float was the logical move to make. So if you’re a fan of Aperol, Prosecco, sorbet or all of the above, do yourself a favor and give these a try!
Start by making the Aperol sorbet. If your ice cream machine requires any prep, such as freezing the machine’s base, be sure to do so in advance.
A few weeks ago, Erica and I went on a short trip to Florence to have some fashion fun with Luisa Via Roma. It was my first time in Italy ever and I just fell in love with Florence– I mean, who doesn’t? It is just so damn charming, from its quaint bridges to its narrow cobblestone streets. Everything is so old world. So picturesque. My art history undergrad-self was giddy at the Uffizi. And of course, there was food– as much as we could stuff our faces with in 72 hours. There was gelato, panini, and pasta . . . and lots of espresso along the way. Some of these shots were taken when Erica and I were wide awake (from jet lag) and ready to go at 6 a.m. The city, which is usually packed with tourists, was empty and quiet. It was perfect. Florence, I’ll be back again!
I am hunched over in the back corner of Peet’s Coffee here in Berkeley, sipping an almond milk cappuccino (whaaaat?) and I am overwhelmed with emotion. Perhaps I am excited about the holiday weekend – a chance to escape with my wife and Grizzly up to the tranquility of the Sierras. Or maybe it’s simply the gin martini I had for lunch. Probably both. Regardless, it’s sure to be a fabulous Fourth of July – full of food, drinks and family.
So I went a little bonkers. Perhaps I should have passed on the midnight iced coffee. But given the fact that lately the temperature of my bedroom has me sleeping on the hardwood floor with Grizzly, something had to be done. And then it hit me, like an oversized dodgeball to the face . . . snow cones!! And not just any snow cones, but cocktail snow cones (come on, you know me). My last snow cone was likely consumed at the circus some time in the early ’90s, so I knew I had some work to do. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve given them a chance – a taste here and a slurp there. After all, I am married to a sugarholic. It’s just that they’re just always so sweet – and it’s that fake-syrupy sweet! It’s almost as if there’s some obscure law that states that all snow cones must be doused in rainwbow cough syrup. Not in my house, and certainly not in my bedroom! So I got fresh with it. Fresh strawberries, blackberries, limes, mango, and everyone’s favorite . . . pineapple. And of course they had to be spiked. However, feel free to keep them unleaded if you prefer. Ice, sugar, fruit and booze – what’s not to love? In your face, summer!
A note about ice: if you have a snow cone or shaved-ice machine, use it. There are actually some pretty affordable options out there, and if you plan on making these for a Fourth of July get together, it might be worth it. A good machine will give you a finely shaved ice that is perfect for snow cones. If you don’t use a snow cone machine, you can use a food processor or blender with ice-crushing capabilities to crush your ice as fine as possible.