Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Honey and Brown Sugar Ice Cream

Last week I made Justin his birthday dinner. Yes, we are 8 days apart in age. If I'd been born on my due date, we would've shared a birthday. We're special like that.

For his dinner, I made homemade spinach fettuccine with artichoke pesto, and for dinner we had vanilla olive oil bundt cake. To top off that cake, I kicked it up a notch with some homemade ice cream. Because if you're going to do it, you might as well do it too much.

This vanilla ice cream is decadent. Take your basic vanilla ice cream and add some richness, depth, and a slight caramely-ness.

2 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped (for the innards)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
pinch salt
3 Tbsp honey

1. Warm up all the ingredients in a saucepan until slightly simmering (or just until the sugar has melted).
2. Let the mixture steep on a low simmer for 15 minutes.
3. Cool the milk mixture to room temperature, then chill it in the fridge for at least an hour.
4. Pop it in the ice cream maker for 35 minutes until solid. Freeze.

To the birthday boy, the sweet spoils.


Friday, January 18, 2013

Birthday Dinner

It was my birthday this week! Turning 26 is pretty uneventful, but when you have a husband who can cook like this...

Every day is a celebration.

I love this man.

Happy birthday to me!


Saturday, January 5, 2013

Christmas in Chicago

Justin and I spent the weekend after Christmas in Chicago just for fun. We booked this trip months ago, and I had been looking forward to it so much. We went to Chicago during Christmastime last year and had such a great time, we had to do it again. On top of that, we celebrated being together for 10 years.

Yep. 10 years. We met when we were 15. Adorable, right?

Anyway, we ate some amazing food during the trip. Check it out:

We ate breakfast at Toni patisserie almost every day. Probably the best cappuccino I've had outside of Italy.

They also served some incredible sandwiches, including an award-winning Bahn mi.

Their pastries are out-of-bounds — and just as good as their berry brioche.

To celebrate our anniversary, we went to Riccardo's Trattoria just a few blocks away from Wrigley Stadium. Sorry to sound repetitive, but this was the best gnocchi I've had outside of Italy.

Focaccia with shaved zucchini and tomato

Arugula salad with artichokes and parmesan

Papparadelle with duck ragout
Fettuccine with lobster

Free anniversary tiramisu

We even managed to go to Xoco twice — the Mexican restaurant run by acclaimed Top Chef Master Rick Bayless, and the Slurping Turtle, led by fellow Top Chef contestant Takashi Yagihashi.

Chicarrones with hot sauce
Pork sandwich with pickled onions and tomato broth

Beef sandwich with chimichurri - definitely the winner

Duck-fat fried chicken appetizer from Slurping Turtle 
Aside from the copious amounts of delectables dinners, we had an amazing time exploring the city, geeking out at the Field Museum and Shedd Aquarium, and enjoying the beautiful city lights.


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