Homemade Peach Ice Cream

June 24, 2015

I’ve been living in New York for almost three years now, and I only just realized that there is a Costco not too far from where I live. For some reason, I was under the impression that the only Costco in New York was on 116th and 1st, tucked away in the one corner of the city that is nearly impossible for me to access. When I found out that free samples and obscenely large cheese bricks were only a 30-minute train ride away, it felt like a message sent from the heavens.
I bought a box of these peaches which are so unbelievably delicious, and let them ripen for a couple of days before turning them into even sweeter, more delicious ice cream. Though a bit time consuming, the process is super easy and calls for missed episodes of your favorite show to help pass the time.

Ingredients for the peach ice cream
  • 2 peaches
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 vanilla bean
  • 1 egg yolk

Directions for peach ice cream
  1. Combine sugar, milk, heavy cream, milk, vanilla bean and scrapings, and egg yolk into a saucepan and whisk until well combined.
  2. Cut peaches into large chunks and remove pits.
  3. Place peach chunks into a saucepan with milk mixture. Place on low heat and cook until the mixture reaches approximately 160°F.
  4. Once the mixture reaches the right temperature, remove from heat and blend in a blender.
  5. Run liquid through a strainer, then place in the freezer until it cools to 30°F.
  6. Once your ice cream base has cooled, follow the instructions of your ice cream maker. Generally, after the ice cream is churned, it will still require some time in the freezer to solidify more.

Better Tips for Organizing Your Closet

June 15, 2015

Taking the time to clean and reorganize my closet is a project that is long overdue. When my bed is made and my closet doors are closed, I can easily fool people into thinking that I totally have my shit together. However, when those accordion doors are pulled back, the hot mess truth comes pouring out.
So in the spirit of honesty and self-improvement, I’m sharing my dirty laundry (haha get it?) on the internet for all to see. The real first step of this project is to put on some good music (or maybe pour yourself a tall glass of wine) before taking everything out of your closet.
And when I say everything I mean it (except for my suitcases because they just have more suitcases stuffed inside).
Most magazines say this is the part where you have to try everything on. I think that doing so is a waste of time. Everything that I wear on a regular basis like my jean jacket, my all time favorite pants, and blouses I’ve worn multiple times within the last two weeks I hang up and put back right away. The majority of what’s left on my bed is what I try on. You really have to be honest with yourself about what doesn’t fit…like these high waisted jeans. It takes me a solid 2 minutes to wiggle into them, and I can only wear them when standing because when I sit down, they dig into my flesh and I feel like I’m being severed in half. If it’s too small toss it or else it will haunt you every time you reach past it. Your self-confidence is worth way more than a few items of clothing. 

Also assess what can look amazing with a little help from a tailor. Perhaps something is a little too loose or a bit too long. Those are easy and inexpensive fixes.

And while you’re separating your clothes, find a nice storage bin for things that you won’t wear during the season. I use this trunk I’ve had since my freshman year of college to store my scarves, jackets, and sweaters that won’t be making an appearance during the summer.
Using these great hangers, I keep like things together. Going from left to right I have short sleeve tops, long sleeve tops, light jackets, short skirts, long skirts, pants, jeans, and then dresses grouped by sleeve length. I use my trunk as a little shoe shelf, and squeezed my laundry bag next to it.
In an effort to tackle my chaotic heap of handbags I bought a little metal shelf from The Container Store that fits everything perfectly.
Ever since I did this closet makeover, getting dressed in the morning is a breeze! I open my closet doors and am greeted by all my favorite clothes that fit me perfectly. So maybe if you find yourself saying, “I have nothing to wear” almost every day, try organizing a bit before you hit Macy’s.

Tips for Perfecting the Homemade Cake

June 09, 2015

 1. Bring ingredients to room temperature. This is always the hardest part for me because my desire for baking is usually spontaneous, so planning ahead to take ingredients out of the fridge is never convenient. There are a few tricks though; you can heat the milk in a microwave for a few seconds to take the chill off; place the eggs in a warm (not hot) water bath, and cut the butter into small pieces so they soften faster.

 2. Take the time to sift the dry ingredients. I almost always skip this step. No matter what I’m making, sifting flour is so annoying that I never bother to do it. However, when I really need to be assured that my cake will be perfection, then I’ll go through the extra trouble. If I’m making a delicate genoise or angel food cake, then sifting is a must because it incorporates a lot of air and prevents the batter from deflating as I fold in flour.

 3. Use the best vanilla you can get your hands on, and use a lot of it. Only a couple of years ago did I really learn the difference that high quality vanilla makes. While I wasn’t using imitation or vanilla “essence,” I always chose the cheapest option on the grocery store shelves. Lately I have been using Nielsen-Massey vanilla and Madagascar vanilla beans, and I always add about a teaspoon more than the recipe calls for.
 4. Evenly divide batter between pans. Leveling the cake with a knife is so much easier when you don’t have to cut a big dome off the top (even though it means less cake scraps to nibble on).

 5. Grease and flour pans. I think one of the worst outcomes of making a cake is shaking it out of the pan only to have a big chunk stick to a part of the pan that you didn’t grease properly. In order to avoid this tragic outcome I use a pastry brush to spread butter into the corners, place parchment paper at the bottom, and flour the pan well. I won’t survive if I have to weep over one more cake lost to the battle of a pan without a nonstick coating.

 6. Bake at a low temperature. Baking at a lower temperature for a longer time helps fight against the dreaded cake dome. I chose to bake my cake at 335°F for 40 minutes instead of 350°F for 25 minutes. Since the cake comes out flat, leveling and cutting the cake layers is much easier.

7. Use a cooling rack. Instead of dumping your cake out onto the counter and letting it sit there, place it on a cooling wrack so heat can escape from both the top and the bottom. Doing this helps stop the cake from continuing to bake despite it being out of the oven. When a cake comes out relatively flat, it’s tempting to leave it as is and continue to layer it. However when the layers are not level, there is a greater chance for instability as you build your cake. Even worse than the cake sticking to the pan, is the cake toppling over and falling on the floor.

9. Cut the edges off from around the cake. This step is one that I recently learned after watching Cupcake Jemma on Youtube. I take an item slightly smaller than my cake and use it as a guide to cut off the edges. When you cut into the cake you don’t see any of the darker brown parts from where the cake touched the pan while baking. It’s really just about aesthetics, so if you take issue with wasting any of your cake, you can skip this step.
10. Apply a crumb coat. Crumb coats are the most important part of icing a cake. Without applying this thin coat of icing, crumbs will rise to the top of your icing layers and it just won’t look good.
There you have it! My top tips for creating an amazing cake that will impress everyone as you make blasé hand gestures and say things like, “Oh just whipped this up a couple hours ago.”