kitsch and kin

"You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism." --Erma Bombeck

This blog is mostly about food.


Chocolate mint icebox cake

I should mention first and foremost that I saw Bon Iver over the weekend. And that it’s pouring rain now, as it was nearly the entire weekend. It’s beautiful outside, and I’m so glad that the heat is breaking. A few nights ago I slept with a blanket, and that is a big deal for a lady without air conditioning. 

Let’s see, where to start with this one. I was tasked to make dessert for a family dinner thing. After hearing that my brother wanted cheesecake and promptly telling him there was no way in HELL I was making that (after even being real nice and asking him what he wanted), I realized that my only dessert motivation was to not be hot. 

I know it’s yawn-worthy to talk about the weather—not quite as taxing as me posting pictures of the cat (oh you just wait)—but really, it has been hottttttt here. Not in a go-swimming way, or in a drink-cold-beer-and-grill way, but in a lie-around-in-a-stupor way. It involves wearing loose sarongs and flopping on the couch so as to not move at all, except from hand to wine glass, and also to be exposed to the fan as much as possible. Like I said, we don’t have air. We have heatstroke.

I’m only slightly exaggerating. But all you need to make this dessert is a mixer and only a little bit of time, most of which you are sleeping because it’s resting in the fridge overnight. So, the perfect summer dessert. Heavy whipping cream gets whirled up into beautiful homemade whipped cream. Add peppermint extract for an extra zing. 

The recipe I based this on suggests those thin chocolate wafers—you can usually find them in the ice cream toppings end cap, but not if you are shopping at that bull’s eye store. There, you have to buy Nilla wafers. They’re a worthy substitution, for sure. 

I’m listening to Bon Iver while I type this, and the thought of good winter is so appealing to me right now. I want to wear jeans and a sweater and shoes and socks and drink hot tea and wonder if I need to wear a coat at night. I know that time will come soon enough. 

(To assemble, just layer the whipped cream between cookies and make nice little stacks.)

I used to listen to this album, For Emma, Forever Ago, when I lived in Korea. I would spend most of my Saturdays, especially in the winter, holed up in my apartment eating Korean ramen, listening to music, and feeling so relieved that I could still listen to American music. It was the thing that made it feel the most like home—like I could still connect even if I was elsewhere.

(I made six stacks, four cookies high, I think. Maybe eight. Lay the stacks down on the seam of two pieces of wax paper.) 

There were times when I was there, that I would feel guilty about just sitting in my studio apartment, when there was a whole new country to explore and I only had 52 weekends to do it in. But I wouldn’t have felt that way if I was home, like I had to quickly and intentionally see the entire place I lived in, so sometimes I felt like I was justified in my sitting, because it was attempting home-making.

Other times I felt like maybe I should take that urgency back home and experience home the way I experienced away—more interested, more intent on making meaning. 

(Mold the remaining whipped cream around the stacks, using the wax paper as a guide for the whipped cream, wrapping it around the log of whipped cream. No wafers should be exposed at this point. This step is slightly messy.) 

So, to that end, I don’t think you should waste any time making dessert, because there’s lots of where you are to explore. On the other hand, it’s awfully nice to be home, around family, eating together even when chocolate shavings might be better than chocolate chips, even if you’re already a little bit full before you get to the last part of the meal. 

(After it chills overnight (at least two hours, because you want the cookies to get that nice, cake-like texture), smother the whole mess in chocolate chips, loose it from the wax paper (this is why you put the cake on the seam of two pieces), cut into slices, and feed it to your overstuffed relatives. Don’t bother with getting out clean plates.)