Ginger Cookie & Carrot Cake Ice Cream Sandwiches

Ginger Cookie & Carrot Cake Ice Cream Sandwiches

It, in my mind, is already fall. It might be 83° out right now. I might be sitting at my desk downing cold fizzy water and avoiding stepping out of the path of my fan for more than a few moments. It doesn’t matter, because none of this can counteract the mental shift that began last week, when my body sensed a chill in the air and the faint, unmistakeable smell of autumn. It’s that first hint of season change that makes my brain snap out of a its whiny I-am-so-over-summer-and-all-its-oppresive-grossness dormancy and come alive, in an unstoppable way. It feels like every little bit of me is vibrating at an alarming frequency, starting in my synapses, traveling down my spine, and radiating out through the rest of my body. I speak louder and faster. I fidget excessively. I get crazy eyes. I’m so edgy that I actually scream when I catch sight of a stray thread hanging from the dishtowel above the sink because I assume it’s a spider. (A spider that presumably intends to lay eggs in my face, because that’s a thing I’ve been afraid of since I was little — thanks a lot, Alvin Schwartz and Stephen Gammell.)

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Honey-Thyme & Blackberry–Goat Cheese Swirl Ice Cream

Honey-Thyme & Blackberry–Goat Cheese Swirl Ice Cream

There is a lot of berry picking nostalgia tied to my childhood. Having a whole lot of woodsy property meant random wild blueberry bushes and happening upon the occasional tiny little wild strawberries, along with a giant huckleberry bush in a clearing and a decent number of raspberries along the driveway. But blackberries were the most abundant, popping up around the edge of our lawn, all along the driveway and main road, and covering a semi-secret enormous hillside a little ways outside our property line. Which is perhaps why they’ve always been my favorite berry. Strawberries are fleshy and sweet. Raspberries are tart and delicate. But blackberries are intense. They are hearty, seedy things. (I might be among the minority here, but I love berry seeds.) Their appearance means season change is just around the corner. Goodbye gross summer and hellooooo glorious fall. Bring on the sweaters, scarves, and birthday cake.

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Roasted Strawberry & Basil Ice Cream with a Honey-Balsamic Reduction

Roasted Strawberry & Basil Ice Cream with Honey-Balsamic Reduction

Alright friends, bear with me, my brain is operating at far from full capacity today. I probably don’t even need to explain why, as it seems most of my northern hemisphere friends are experiencing similar heat waves at the moment. There is only one air-conditioning unit in the living room, which means I spend the majority of the day with papers flying around on my desk as a fan barely cools me down. But the work day is finally over, and I’ve migrated to the living room with my laptop and a cold drink, and I expect to be feeling a whole lot better shortly. (Especially after I’ve eaten my leftover half of a burrito from last night’s Mexican takeout that I’ve been thinking about all. day. And I will eat that thing stone freakin’ cold while I watch Jeopardy!, because that’s how I roll. TV. Zero effort. Don’t even make me look at a stove right now.)

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Orange & Sichuan Peppercorn Ice Cream with Chocolate Chunks

Orange & Sichuan Peppercorn Ice Cream with Chocolate Chunks

I cannot believe that it’s already Thursday. I attribute the seeming disappearance of the week to the fact that I traveled to NY on Sunday, to house-sit while my parents are away for the next week. If you’re a regular reader, you know that I do this fairly often. It is, in fact, one of my favorite things. My parents take vacations to see family and go to things, and that means me, here in upstate NY, doing the exact opposite. Which is pretty much my ideal vacation. I make a mess of my mother’s usually pristine kitchen on a daily basis. I pick a ton of flowers from the gardens, then quell bouts of paranoia about some of them being poisonous because I think my throat feels funny, and maybe my face feels a little tingly too. (I read weird non-fiction medical books. This is the result.) I don’t answer the house phone. I barely look in the mirror. I wear the same comfy sundress until it actually feels dirty. In short, I have a grand ol’ time. Just me, nature, and a couple of cats.

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Roasted Apricot Buttermilk Ice Cream with Almond Streusel

Roasted Apricot Buttermilk Ice Cream with Almond Streusel

When I was young, I went through a phase where I was obsessed with apricot baby food. Not baby young; we’re talking four-years-old young. My brother (E) was an actual baby at the time, and I would insist on also being served a bowl of baby food whenever he was fed. (I’m willing to admit there may have been other forces at work here besides a love of pureed foodstuff. It’s possible that I was a little bit envious of my new, doted-on, glassy-eyed sibling [who wasn’t even the right kind — I specifically told my mom that I wanted a sister]. And if I wasn’t going to get to play in the baby jumper suspended from the living room ceiling [which E clearly wasn’t capable of utilizing to its fullest potential], then I was at least going to demand that I be given the same treatment as him when it came to food.) So yeah, maybe there’s that. But I recall really enjoying the taste of apricot baby food, specifically. (No matter how fixated I was on making sure this of blob of a baby knew it wasn’t special, there was no way in hell I was eating pureed carrots.) The apricot stuff didn’t just taste of sweet regression, it was kind of downright yummy.

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