Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams

I can not say enough great words about this recipe book.

When I decided to get a new home ice cream maker last fall, I asked my chef friend Emilia if she had any recommendations for ice cream recipe books.  She immediately said – Jeni’s.  Since then – it’s been true love 🙂

The book itself is a joy to read – without even making the ice creams.  She offers a great introduction all about her business and the art of ice cream making.  And then the recipes! She arranges them by season and they are mouth-watering to flip through.  At first, the recipes seem a little intimidating – as they involve cooking the milk/cream mixtures, sometimes making add-ins, etc.  But they really aren’t hard to make at all.

We’ve already made many of them, and, perhaps the best thing, is that the enticing recipes and our success-to-date makes me super eager to try out more.  Our record to date:

  • Banana ice cream with caramelized white chocolate freckles – A complete winner, truly incredible
  • The milkiest milk chocolate – intense and fudgy
  • Queen City Cayenne chocolate – I really liked this and the kick of pepper at the end
  • Ohio State Buckeye – another winner
  • Roasted strawberry – this was good, but a little buttermilk-y for me; although it kept growing on us as we ate more of it
  • Roasted pistachio – yum, yum, and yum
  • Backyard mint – definitely tasted fresh, but for us – it turned out a bit grassy – we’re not sure if we use a different type of mint if that would be different; still tasty and we’re inclined to try it again to see if we can make it better
  • Baked rhubarb frozen yogurt – a nice tart flavor

And our most recent – and a huge favorite – sweet corn ice cream with raspberry

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The other amazing thing about these recipes – is that the texture and consistency comes out perfectly.  We definitely look like pros with these ice creams!

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Nantucket

We have been fortunate enough to have been invited out to Nantucket by our good friend Sarah.  Her family has a cute beach cottage there in Madaket.  We were only able to go out for a quick weekend – but it was still well worth it!

We drove to Hyannis to pick up the Hyline Ferry over to Nantucket.  Since we could only catch the “slow” ferry – we decided to upgrade our tickets to “first class.”  For the $7 or so it cost each of us – it was well worth it.  We sat in a nice lounge type area – with sofas, tables, and a bar – nice views, not crowded – perfect.

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Most of enjoying Nantucket is just relaxing – soaking in the ocean air, eating fish and corn on the cob, enjoying a drink or two.  But we did do a few other things.  One – because marathon training doesn’t wait for fun trips – I had to get my 18-miler out of the way.  Either the heat, humidity, dehydration, or slightly rolling-ness of the path did me in – that was the most brutal 18 miles I’ve ever run.  But once finished, I felt a huge load lifted off my mind and I was giddy like a school girl.

We ate an amazing lunch at Madaket Millie’s – Derek and I both had a lobster salad – so scrumptious with piles of lobster meat.  Then we headed to Cisco Brewery!  We drank beer and cider, and also enjoyed some of the gin drinks from the Triple 8 distillery there.

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Yup – that’s my friend Greg with the hot dog girl.

It just so happened that the weekend we were there, was the weekend of the Nantucket Triathlon.  Somewhat nostalgic – as the first time we came out to Nantucket was the first time they ran the Nantucket Triathlon and we ended up, spontaneously manning a water stop for the bikers (which in concept is sort of silly, as bicyclists can’t really grab cups of water).  This year is the fifth year of the triathlon, I believe – and they’ve expanded.  On Saturday – they held a sprint distance triathlon – the traditional Nantucket tri.  Then they added an Olympic distance triathlon on Sunday.  Since we were running during much of the sprint tri on Saturday, I very much wanted to go out and spectate the Olympic tri on Sunday.

So, Derek and I got up and walked the block over to Madaket Road to watch the turnaround point for the cycling leg.  To make the distance work – they made the course a double loop – so we could see everyone come by twice.

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It’s always inspiring to watch events like this – even more so because the top female was in  like 4th or 5th place overall!

Other than that – we just enjoyed the charm of Nantucket.

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S&P Oyster Company

My dad was in town this weekend visiting and it’s been many years since he’s been in New England.  He has a penchant for seafood, and especially lobsters – so I did some research and found a nice restaurant up in Mystic, CT.  Yes two strange facts – one, that there is no good seafood to be found in New Haven, despite the great restaurant scene and the proximity to the shore.  And two, that Derek and I have never been to Mystic in our six years of living in Connecticut.

But we took the drive up 95 North (that’s Connecticut North – as it really heads mostly East at this point).  And arrived at our destination for lunch – S&P Oyster Company.

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The restaurant is in a beautiful location – just on the river by the drawbridge.  And since we showed up early for our reservation – we lucked out and got a table right by the window.  Excellent!

My dad and Derek started the meal off with some raw oysters.  S&P had six different kinds on the menu – so dad tried all six and Derek had three of them.

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This is where I have to fess up and say – I’ve never eaten a raw oyster.  Just seemed too slimy and squishy for me.  But some wave of courage and adventure overtook me today (and maybe Derek saying that they were really good oysters and not very briny) and I decided to dive in and try my very first.  I ordered two oysters – a Blue Point from Norwalk, CT and a Moonstone from RI.

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The first one (the Mooonstone) I did with their champagne minionette (?) sauce and some lemon – it was ok, but a little salty.  The second – I added some cocktail sauce and I liked it a bit better.  They were fine and edible – but I don’t think I loved them enough to say I would go to great lengths to eat them.  Evidence that I did indeed suck them down:

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For the main course – the waiter (Jeremy) had talked up the local scallops – Stonington Sea Scallops.  So I ordered them and they were accompanied by a corn tamal.  Delicious

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Derek ordered the special seafood trio for the day – mahi mahi topped with mango salsa, a soft taco around some yellowfin tuna, and shrimp risotto (but Derek substituted the Stonington Sea Scallops for the shrimp).

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And my dad?  He ordered the whole lobster, of course!  And looked very happy eating it

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While we were eating – the drawbridge went up and we got to watch the stream of boats pass by:

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I was really impressed by the counterweights on the drawbridge – huge!IMG_1087

All in all – a fabulous meal in a really lovely setting.  Two thumbs way up!  We would definitely come here again.

Norwalk 7 miler

 

Another weekend – another race!  No – it’s not quite that many.  My marathon training plan has a series of tune-up races – pretty much every four weeks – of increasing distances.  This week’s was supposed to be a 10k.  It turns out – there aren’t that many 10k’s around, so I found a 7-mile race in Norwalk, CT that would do the trick.

It’s a part of a summer racing series – small, local races – and super cheap $8 for registration!  Can’t beat that!

The day dawned cloudy – and on our drive down to Norwalk, we drove through a heavy downpour.  Uh oh.  But by the time we got there, it was just a light drizzle – definitely bearable.  And by the time the race went off – it was barely raining at all.

A small gathering – probably like 150-160 people.  Very casual start.

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And of course – this is where it would help to actually run the same races from year to year so that we know the course.  We had no idea what to expect.  This course was a lollipop – out and then a double loop and then back.  However – the double loop was a steep downhill, then towards the beach, then a steep uphill.  Twice!  And the second time through the loop – you do the steep uphill and then turn right towards home – with a gradual uphill the rest of the way.  So suffice to say, my mile 6 split was rather slow.

I went out a little too hard and paid for it towards the end.  But I had a respectable time – not quite what I had hoped for, but within range.  And – we both won age group awards again!  I actually got first in my age group (fourth woman across the line!) and Derek took third in his.  He finished ninth overall!

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Broadkill Beach Club!

 

Our friends Beth and Noel invited us to their beach house in Delaware (near Rehoboth Beach) and we finally decided to take them up on their offer!

We headed down on a Thursday night for a long weekend.  Friday morning – we decided to go stand-by and see if we could squeeze into a tour at Dogfish Head Brewery.  We arrived super early – so we had some time to wander around –

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Draw on their chalkboard…

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And take random pictures of the beer list:IMG_1051 IMG_1052

The tour itself was really informative and interesting.  I’ve been on a brewery tour before – but this was still fun and totally worth it.  They talked about the founding of Dogfish Head, the brewing process (including the patented continual hopping method), and the growth that the brewery is seeing right now.  The set of tanks in the brewing room:

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A crazy number of pipes that take the liquid after the hopping process into vats where the yeast goes to work.

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Finally – packaging – they were boxing up Punkin’ Ale – seems crazy that they would do it so early in the year, but apparently that is the timing they have to follow to get it in the stores by mid-September.IMG_1057

The rest of the weekend was filled with eating, hanging out, and running.  We ate at two phenomenal restaurants.  The first was a tiny non-descript place called Po Boys – really delicious creole food – this was located either in or near Milton, DE.  The second was a Mexican (sort of fusion-y) restaurant in Lewes, DE called Agave.  We had a short wait even in the middle of the afternoon – but we productively spent that time at the bar 🙂

The food here was truly delectable – I had a shrimp dish with mango salsa.  We also tried their jalapeno cornbread – delicious!IMG_1061

Finally – there was some running.  Beth, Noel, Derek and I all entered the local Seashore Striders race on Saturday – it was the Beach Paper Firecracker 5k!  The day dawned humid (but luckily overcast) – but the warm-up indicated that it might be a tough slog.  It was a relatively small gathering (around 200) and it seemed like just about everyone knew everyone else.  The course was very pretty – beautiful houses, shaded roads, and a bit of the ocean to boot.  My goal was to finally run a 5k in 7:30 splits.  It was tough and I always manage a truly impressive look of death by the finish line – but I did it!  23:11 for the 5k (I think that’s like 7:28s).  Knock another goal off of my 50 by 50 list!  A good PR for me (my last PR was 23:59).  Derek also had a huge PR – 20:27 – wow!  That was like a minute fifteen better than his previous PR.  Beth also had a breakthrough run – she matched her previous PR (on a tough humid day) and found a new level of toughness!  Noel was just getting started back into running – so no PR, but a good fight from him too.

Both Derek and I were lucky enough to win age group awards!  He got second in his age group – and I thought I had as well.  But when they announced the age group winners – it turned out I had won my age group!  I think it’s because the fastest person in my age group won the overall master’s.  No matter – it worked out great for me – as they gave me a cool trophy and then said that I was the lucky winner of a $75 gift certificate from a local running store!  I guess every week they randomly select one of the age groups – and the male and female winners of that age group get these gift certificates.  Amazing!  Really capped off a great run for me.

Because just a 5k is not enough – the next day (Sunday), I still needed to get my long run in.  Beth, Derek and I all headed out on what was an incredibly humid, grueling day for various distance runs.  I did manage to complete my 16 miles – but not after I had sweated out my entire body weight in water and been attacked by a frenzy of bugs.  Everything was drenched on me – I am sure I could have wrung out my skirt it was so wet.

All in all – a great weekend!  And yes – the Chippies and even Dumbo joined us for the weekend – can’t have a race without a pep talk from the Chippies!  They ooh’ed and aah’ed about the trophy:

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Branford Road Race

Every Father’s Day – there’s a big 5 mile road race in Branford, CT.  They have a festival on their town green and other fun goings-on.  Derek and I have done this race for the last 3 or 4 years.  It’s a pretty fun race and a big one in the area.

Because they want to tie it in with the festival – the race starts pretty late for a summer race – 10:15am.  That always makes it dicey with the temperatures.  Today’s temps were low 70s – but luckily it stayed overcast throughout the race.  I was using this race as a tune-up for my marathon training plan to see if I’m on track.  It’s supposed to be a 5k, but a 5 miler will do.

I am an “endurance” monster and seem to have mostly slow-twitch muscles – so shorter races are not my strength.  According to my TPL (target pace levels) from Matt Fitzgerald’s Brain Training book – my 10k pace is 7:34 and my 5k is 7:18.  So – theoretically – a 5 miler should be somewhere in-between there.

Now – I know, from how I feel during training and how I’ve run these types of distances in the past – that it was highly unlikely I would get under 7:30 as an average pace.  This race is hilly – gradual downhill in the first 1.5 miles to the waterfront, flat til about 2.5, then a pair of good uphills, and a couple of rollers in the last mile.  Last year – I had finished in 39:03 (7:50s) and the race conditions were somewhat similar.  I feel better trained and felt I could definitely do better.  My real goal was 7:40 average pace – gold goal being anything that looked like 7:3x average pace.  And I would be over-the-moon if I actually ran under my “10k pace.”

We started way too far back in the pack – and the first 3/4 mile was really frustrating.  Tough to get around all of the slower runners, people darting everywhere, lots of erratic running.  Finally at about 3/4 mile, I felt like I was in a pack of runners all running about my pace.

The race was tough – my heart rate got high pretty fast – but I didn’t feel all that bad – so I just decided to go with it.  In the end – I finished in 38:13 or 7:39s.  Yay – PR!  And I hit my main goal of running a 7:40 average pace.  And yes – it’s technically in the 7:3x’s – but when it’s just by 1 second – it doesn’t feel that meaningful!

But I’m happy – that’s reasonably close to my “10k pace” and closer than I think I’ve been in the past.  I think I finished 7th in my age group – so that’s not too bad.  I continue to want to be faster – and I’m improving, but fighting the age curve.  So we’ll see!