Easy and sweet, how life should be

IMG_3021

Cannoli always make me happy

A small selection of things I love:

  • cannoli
  • ice cream
  • when things are easy

Any one of these alone would make me happy, but when I found a recipe that combined all three to make no-churn cannoli ice cream? I was over the freakin’ moon!

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a big fan of Plated, the weekly subscription service that sends me detailed, easy-to-follow, illustrated instructions and the ingredients that go with them in the exact quantities needed to turn out delicious and impressive meals. They’ve recently started offering dessert options, which I usually skip because I’m lazy and making dinner is enough effort for me, but when I saw cannoli ice cream I could actually make myself, without a crazy ice cream maker, I had to try it.

I’ve never felt confident enough in any recipe to say I could duplicate it without reading the original directions.  I still consult the box when making mac and cheese and have to Google how long to boil eggs every single time I make them.

But no-churn cannoli ice cream? I now have it down pat!

IMG_3051

I made this! And it was so good and so easy that I’ll do it a million times more!

Crush a bunch of pistachios and break up a couple of cannoli shells. Then whisk a cup of heavy cream for about 5 minutes until it forms little peaks and you feel you’ve gotten the most intense arm workout of your life (or you can use a hand mixer), then add in a mini container worth of sweetened condensed milk and a creamy blob of ricotta cheese and blend together. Next, toss in the pistachio bits and crunchy shell chunks and pour into a mold (like the 8×8 disposable aluminum one Plated so kindly sent me). Cover with a sheet of parchment paper (which Plated also sent me, almost like they know I don’t own any of this stuff and would be lost without them) and pop in the freezer for about an hour until it sets.

Right before you decide to eat your creamy concoction of frozen deliciousness, melt some chocolate and coconut oil in the microwave, or if you’re like me and don’t own one, in a small pot on the stove, and pour the delicious smelling chocolatey syrup all over your ice cream.

So. Incredibly. Eeeeeasy. Why can’t everything in life be so simple and delicious? I want to make this again and again, and have it with every meal and for every person who ever steps foot into my apartment.

Things are hard enough these days if you ask me. We all deserve this.

Extreme decadence

Go big or go home, right? Well, let me tell you, never was that more the case than at brunch this weekend at Norma’s at Le Parker Merdien.

All joking aside, I probably had my caloric intake for a good solid week all in one sitting.  All on one plate. And I’m not exaggerating or kidding in the least bit. It was intense. What I had might very well be the single most gluttonous thing I’ve ever eaten, but it was worth every hour I’ll spend at the gym this week paying for it.

The menu at Norma’s was a wonderland of edible awesomeness. There were chestnut pancakes, foie gras brioche french toast, and mango-papaya brown butter cinnamon crepes among other things.  But for me there was nothing else to get, nothing else to think about, nothing else but those four sweet words: Chocolate Decadence French Toast. (Yes, decadence was actually in the title.)

Norma's Chocolate Decadence French Toast: about 6 inches tall and 6 inches wide. Forget your diet.

Equal parts awe and intimidation filled my head when the waiter placed the chocolate mountain before me. Was this actually French toast made with chocolate cake and not bread? And were there really three spongy, thick slices of it, stacked one on top of the other, between layers of fat, bright red strawberries, topped with a generous dollop of whipped cream, all of it dusted with powdered sugar , sprinkled with whole pistachios and drizzled with valrhona chocolate syrup? Was I ever going to be able to finish this without falling into some sort of sugar induced coma?  Yes, yes and of course yes.

More than just a standard brunch option, the Chocolate Decadence French Toast was just one massive dessert, and because I’m ok with starting the day with a huge quantity of chocolate, I was in heaven. Even though I worked slowly through the huge stack, each mouthful of moist chocolate cake maintained its fresh-from-the-kitchen heat, so that every bite was warm and rich, with the tart sweetness of the strawberries and the nutty crunch of the pistachios only magnifying the deep chocolatey perfection of the french toast.

With the exception of maybe only the “Zillion Dollar Lobster Fritatta” (which is packed with lobster and caviar and costs $1,000), the Chocolate Decadence French Toast was probably the most ridiculous thing to have ordered. Large, over the top, and decadent to the point of obscenity, I can’t think of a better way to have started my Saturday.