I confess to having a soft spot for homemade ice cream cakes. I like them when they include literal cake or when they’re just ice cream in the shape of a cake. This fudgy, incredibly easy version falls somewhere in between those two poles. It features layers of graham crackers as the “cake” component. The crackers absorb some ice cream and soften a bit, giving the texture enough variety to make it interesting. This cake is currently at the top of my warm weather favorites and is perfect for Memorial Day weekend parties.
Rhubarb doesn’t have quite the urgently brief feeling season of, say, ramps, but this recipe still makes me want to shout…quick! quick! make this instantly! Seeing bright pink stalks of rhubarb sticking out of a produce bin at the grocery stores is such a nice solid indicator of spring, isn’t it? The tart with a touch of sweet veggie (I had to look that up, by the way–vegetables for dessert!) feels like the perfect bridge between the weather we are so over and the weather we’re so looking forward to. And in that springtime spirit, even though I had been planning on something chocolatey or cakey to top off a recent graduation celebration for my sweet friend Sarah, rhubarb kept calling my name.
“This is the best cookbook you own, don’t you think?” Ed said as he finished the end of The Food Lab’s pork meatballs with mushroom cream sauce. It was the 24th recipe I’d tested from J. Kenji López-Alt’s book, and yet another plate-licking winner. Ed’s declaration has serious weight, as he is my chief taste tester and has sampled the results from countless cookbooks. So is he right—is The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science the best cookbook on my shelf? I hate to pick favorites, but I can’t think of any other book that’s had so many things I wanted to make, given me so many keeper recipes, and taught me so much.
Back in February of 2015, my sweet sister sent me the cookbook Date Night In, by the author of the blog Not Without Salt, with a note saying “Happy happy Valentine’s Day to my favorite newlyweds! I hope this book is as good as it looks and lives up to its perfect 5-start Amazon rating!” And did it ever–the photos are lovely, the recipes make me hungry, and the stories about the author’s life and relationship so compelling that it reads more like a memoir than a cookbook. I had an immediate case of the kind of life-envy easily inspired by particularly gorgeous lifestyle and cooking blogs (hello there, Mimi Thor). I loved the romantic idea of making a spiffy at home date night a regular thing, and immediately had piles of day dreams about following the example set in the book. But, funnily enough, the only recipe I’ve yet cooked from the book or blog I made just for myself: pasta with walnuts, lemon and herbs.