March 28, 2007

Make Your Own Creme Eggs

Can't find any Cadbury Creme Eggs at the local grocery store? Well, why don't you make your own? This would make making your own Creme Egg Ice Cream very labor intensive, but at least you wouldn't be bound by holiday schedules.

Posted by Doug at 09:08 PM

March 27, 2007

One for the Price of Three

I'm not sure why someone is selling a copy of my book for thirty-five dollars on Amazon, unless that person is a wizard with the power to see the future and imagines that one day, such tokens of my life prior to my career as an Oscar-winning international sex symbol, Olympic gold medalist, and notorious serial killer will be worth something some day.

(Even more interesting, at least to me, is that this copy is described as "used, good condition.")

Posted by Doug at 01:39 PM

March 22, 2007

The Greatest Story Ever Cold

cadburyicecream

For me and many others, the arrival of spring was heralded not by the vernal equinox nor by the springing forward of clocks but by the appearance of Cadbury Creme Eggs in grocery and drug stores. (With global warming messing everything up these days, such material signs might soon be the only evidence of seasonal change remaining.)

It could be argued that Creme Eggs only taste as good as they do because they are available for a limited time. If distance makes the heart grow fonder, then corporate-induced scarcity makes the stomach grow hungrier.

This year I stocked up and hatched (Hatched. Get it?) a plan to take my Creme Egg obsession where it had never gone before. To ice cream.

Chopped Cadbury Creme Eggs

The most challenging part of making this ice cream was breaking the Creme Eggs into pieces small enough to mix into my ice cream maker without jamming the machine and burning out the motor. I knew that cracking the eggs open would result in a useless, gooey mess, so I decided to freeze the eggs first. But whereas a block of frozen chocolate can easily be broken into tiny pieces if hit with a wooden hammer or smashed against a counter top, frozen fondant has the consistency of half-dried rubber cement and does not separate from itself so easily.

After freezing the eggs overnight (and after a failed attempt to smash the lot with the underside of a heavy saucepan) I resulted to chopping the eggs with a chef's knife. It worked perfectly, as seen above, although the friction of the blade caused the eggs to defrost a bit as I worked, so the pieces went back into the freezer after I finished.

The result, using a delicious recipe for double chocolate ice cream adapted from a Williams Sonoma cookbook, was some of the tastiest ice cream I've had in a while. Smooth chocolate ice cream hid chunks of chocolate shell and chewy bits of sugary white and yellow fondant. This is the stuff that I imagine Ben & Jerry's brainstorming meetings are made of. Now, if only we actually celebrated Easter.

Full recipe for the ice cream after the jump. It makes a little less than a quart, and for that amount I used about eight Creme Eggs and garnished the dish seen above with Cadbury Mini Eggs. Get 'em while you can!

Chocolate Ice Cream:

1.5 cups whole milk
1 cup + 1/2 cup heavy cream
4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
Pinch salt
6 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 tsp vanilla extract

Step 1
Combine the egg yolks, sugar, cocoa, salt, and 1/2 cup of the cream in a bowl. Whisk until the mixture is smooth, with no clumps of cocoa powder of sugar granules remaining.

Step 2
Combine milk and the rest of the cream in a heavy saucepan. Cook over medium heat until bubbles form around the edge, stirring frequently.

Step 3
Remove milk/cream mixture from heat. Slowly whisk about 1/2 cup of the hot mixture into bowl with the egg mixture. Whisk constantly until smooth and then pour the entire egg mixture into the saucepan.

Step 4
Cook over medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon until it is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon. This should take about five or six minutes.

Step 5
Put the chocolate pieces in a heatproof bowl (Pyrex, metal, etc.) and pour the hot custard on top. Stir until the chocolate has melted evenly.

Step 6
Using a fine-mesh sieve, strain the custard into another bowl. (Don't worry if you're left with a little chocolate and custard at the end that doesn't want to go through the sieve. Push through what you can with a wooden spoon and forget about the rest.)

Step 7
Add the vanilla and stir well.

PICTURE

Step 8
Place the bowl in a larger bowl partially filled with ice cubes and water. Stir occasionally until cool. (If you've run out of bowls at this point, you can use a large casserole dish or anything larger than the bowl that holds your chocolate custard. You're just trying to cool down the mixture, so even putting a layer of water and ice in your sink would do the trick.)

Step 9
Cover the custard with plastic wrap. You don't want any kind of skin from forming, so press the plastic wrap lightly onto the surface of the custard. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours. (Can be made up to one day ahead.)

Step 10
Pour the custard into your ice-cream maker and let it work its magic. Freezing times vary by machine, but start adding the Creme Egg pieces about 3/4 of the way through the process.

Step 11
Scoop the ice cream out of your ice-cream maker and into a freezer-safe container. Freeze for at least three hours.

Step 12
Garnish with two or three Cadbury Mini Eggs or one Marshmallow Peep. Serve and enjoy.

Posted by Doug at 02:40 PM | Comments (4)

March 20, 2007

The Wedding Podcast Network

Not too long ago I recorded a podcast with The Wedding Podcast Network. It's been posted online in their "Grooms With a View" section, so have yourself a listen.

Posted by Doug at 11:46 AM | Comments (0)

March 14, 2007

Rebbetzins and Outs

I'm quoted in an article in The Jewish Week on rebbetzins, a yiddish word for the wife of a rabbi. (As female rabbis did not exist in the old country, there is no word to signify the rabbi's husband.)

Perhaps the most unintentionally funny line of the piece describes one of the perks of my being married to a rabbi: "he also benefits from her job by increasing his own connection to Judaism and supporting her at public events. " While I always support my wife at public events, I don't remember telling the reporter about an increased connection to Judaism. Anyone who knows my atheistic tendencies might be surprised to read such a sentence.

Posted by Doug at 12:22 PM | Comments (0)

March 12, 2007

NY Times on Wedding Books

Yesterday's Times weighs in on the sheer number of wedding books lining bookstore shelves these days: "the number of wedding titles now stands at 1,200, of which 540 are new since 2002." That's a lot of competition, although I'm reassured by the fact that books for grooms are relatively few and far between.

Posted by Doug at 03:49 PM

March 10, 2007

Professional Photographer magazine

The March 2007 issue of Professional Photographer magazine has a nice little mention of my book.

profphoto.jpg

Posted by Doug at 12:15 PM | Comments (0)

March 05, 2007

The War Against Purim?

So, how did you celebrate Purim this weekend? A little Megillah reading and too much Manischewitz? Or maybe you decided that what Purim needs is to be a little more like Halloween, where any woman can take a blue-collar profession (maid, nurse, police officer, etc.), put the word "sexy" in front of it, and -- voila! -- she has a costume. (I'm assuming the women pictured in the ad below weren't on their way to shul.)

For the non-Jews out there, Purim is a holiday about the near extermination of Persian Jews so of course you'd want to dress like a half-naked fire woman.

Sunday Styles totally missed an opportunity for a trend piece yesterday. (Ad courtesy of last week's Village Voice.)

purimcostumes.jpg

Posted by Doug at 01:46 PM | Comments (2)