When I originally came up with this ice cream, the year was 2009, which seems like a long, long time ago, in so many ways. Absinthe had been banned in France since 1914, blamed for a host of societal ills, even being accused of causing people to go crazy (which has since been debunked; most blame additives added to cheap absinthe, which caused brain damage), and the spirit was revived and legal again, nearly a hundred years later.

Distillers quickly hopped back on the absinthe bandwagon, the green anise-flavored drink revived everywhere, from Switzerland (where it was originally created), to France and California. People went a little crazy again, inventing everything from absinthe gummi bears to absinthe cake. Eventually some of the hoopla subsided as people realized – with its high-proof (many hover in the 60-75% range) – that absinthe was something best enjoyed in small doses. Or in my case, with chocolate.

Continue reading…

When I was a kid and we went trick-or-treating for Halloween, we’re run around the neighborhood, collecting candy from various houses, filling our bags with candy bars, sour bites, an occasional apple (ugh!, for a kid…), and assorted other goodies. Once home, we’d spill our loot onto the floor and commence with some serious trading. The ne plus ultra of candies to get were coconut-chocolate…

Continue reading...

I was talking to someone about cookbooks recently. In the age of the internet, things have changed as recipes became available by the thousands, or hundreds of thousands, online. Some are good and others don’t quite make the grade. Developing and testing recipes ensures the recipe is a good one, or at least will work. But when recipes are churned out, or posted by who-knows-who,…

Continue reading...

Spring is the time of year when new cookbooks land. (Fall is the other.) I check out a lot of them, buy them or get review copies, cooking and baking from them. But it’s always interesting when one cookbook comes along, and as I’m reading through it, I realize that I want to make every single recipe in it. But I should backtrack for a…

Continue reading...

It’s almost pie season. Right now, there’s not much fruit available at the markets, but I’ve had this recipe card lingering in my “to try” folder, and decided the time was right to give it a go. This is a pie I’ve enjoyed at Four & Twenty Blackbird Pie Shop in New York and I had the recipe on a card that was in the…

Continue reading...

I get it. Some people have an aversion to making pie crusts. They’re worried about which fat to use; some recipes insist on butter for flavor, others advocate vegetable shortening as the key to success, and lard has its fans. Then there are the processes of rolling out the dough, and baking it, that makes people pause when they want to make pie. I understand…

Continue reading...

I’m often asked by people coming to Paris what neighborhood they should stay in. The usual “off-the-beaten-path…but not too far from the center” doesn’t help me figure out what fits those seemingly opposing bills. Everything in Paris is pretty close and most places are a 20 minute métro ride away. Like most cities, the good places aren’t clustered in the center of the city. They’re…

Continue reading...

I sometimes joke that if I ever wrote a book devoted entirely to cocktails, it’d be called “Brown Drinks, Up” because I tend to order whiskey-based cocktails when I go out, and prefer those on the bitter end of the spectrum, to boot. My favorite trend in the cocktail world is to put a little picture of the type of glass next to the cocktail…

Continue reading...

I was realizing lately, while packing up to head to another airport, stressing to make sure I had all my chargers, adaptors, noise-canceling earbuds, credit cards, SIM cards, and travel documents, and getting my luggage ready, fastidiously weighing it, and to make sure I wouldn’t have to pay $150 in excess fees, then checking in and getting my seat assignment, then braving the traffic on…

Continue reading...