If you’ve never had homemade ice cream, you’ve been missing out on the pure joy of fresh creamy goodness. Imagine, ice cream without all the hard-to-pronounce preservatives and high fructose corn syrup. Ice cream made with wholesome ingredients that you can control. The trouble is, how do you make it without a fancy, counter-space-consuming, not to mention expensive, single use gadget like an ice cream machine?

Easy– time and patience and a little elbow grease.

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Whenever I’m feeling homesick, homesick for my Mizzou friends and the streets of Columbia, or scared about post-grad life, or overwhelmed about anything at all, I want something warm and comforting, but not too heavy; something sweet and a little luscious without that intense need for a nap after consumption. The first time I turned to this recipe was in the spring when the first perfectly ripe strawberries were just hitting the grocery stores and my very last round of finals were looming around the corner. Although the circumstances and settings are different, there’s no doubt that something as simple as strawberries and cream can possess some magical feel-good power to turn that case of the mean reds into something lighter.

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It’s summer! You know what that means, getting friendly with the great outdoors and soaking up a little sunshine. Whether it’s biking, swimming, hiking, or Missouri-style-floating, I bet you’ll want something refreshing and light after being active in the heat. And what about all the family picnics and summer bbqs? What are you going to bring that will satisfy everyone?

My answer: Greek panzanella, a “bread salad” loaded with the best ingredients from summer’s harvest. You’ll find that nothing tastes better than a sun-ripened tomato or the crunch of a bell pepper because right now they are at their peak of freshness and taste. Take advantage of your farmer’s market and make this summer salad for a light dinner or a crowd-pleasing side at your next outdoor gathering.

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My best friend Mallori just got back from a vacation abroad in Germany. As she mentioned the details of her trip, from Berlin to Cologne and to the countryside where her uncle lives, I couldn’t help but ask “But what did you eat?”. Sheesh. Here I am, listening to her amazing European adventure, and all I’ve got is food on the brain. Typical, Kim. Typical. Out of all the types of German fare, there was one thing that really stood out: her aunt’s potato pancakes.

Potato pancakes, or latkes, are usually made to be eaten during the celebration of Hanukkah, but you don’t need to be Jewish in order to enjoy these any time of the year. Swap them out to be used as hash browns alongside a fried or poached egg and a good slice of ham, or eat them alone with a dollop of sour cream and sprinkling of chives (in lieu of the traditional accompaniments: creme fraiche and caviar). Since these are so easy to make and really hearty, you might just sneak them into every breakfast. I won’t tell.

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For spring break, my roommates and I decided to take a road trip to Texas as a last hurrah before everyone graduated and went their separate ways. It was probably the most inexpensive trip, partly because we stayed with Lis’s amazing and charming parents, and the most memory-filled adventure I’ve been on. The week long vacation of sightseeing and relaxing gave us an experience to reconnect and strengthen our friendship.

On the first morning in Texas, I walked out into the kitchen still half-asleep and incoherent to find freshly brewed coffee (a staple in the White family home) and Lis’s mother carefully cutting butter to make cranberry-orange scones for us. Scones are a type of breakfast biscuit which are very common in England and can be savory or  sweet. Flaky, buttery, and warm, the scones she made with love for us were enjoyed perfectly with some good coffee and great company.

When I came across this recipe with fresh blueberries and lemon, I jumped at the chance to make it for our family breakfast, keeping in mind the awesome moments we shared together with Lis’s family in their cozy kitchen.

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Another birthday is here, but what do you do when the birthday girl doesn’t like cake?

You make… what else? Heavenly, heavenly pie. It was Amanda’s birthday, and cake just isn’t her thing. Maybe it’s because pie is just so simple but so very complex: flaky, buttery crust with a tart, sweet, and spicy apple filling. And you know what?

It was just perfect.

The reason why I like this recipe is that the filling isn’t made with flour as a thickening agent. You reduce down all the juices released from the apples into a caramel-like syrup. Deliciously apple, the way it should be. The crust is all butter, which means it’s packed with flavor and no questionable vegetable shortening, which has always weirded me out. Solid vegetable oil by way of hydrogenation? Sounds very un-yum.

But this apple pie, with bright citrus notes balanced with buttery goodness, would make any pie-loving American proud. It’s definitely a keeper and one dessert that would gladly be demolished at any patriotic celebration. It’s even birthday girl approved.

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The semester is quickly coming to an end and for me, graduation is biting at my heels. Don’t get me wrong, I’m really excited to be relieved of all the grueling exams, the carbon-copy lab reports, and the heavily detailed research papers, but it’s kind of hard not to feel bittersweet about the whole transition. In 2 weeks, I’ll be entering the big-bad-real-world and saying so long to my college years, hello nine-to-five and a steady paycheck (hopefully)! If there’s one thing I’ll miss the most, it’s the friends I’ve come to know and love over these past four years. It’s people like them that make a girl feel lucky and even more thankful to call these friends my family.

I’m taking advantage of this time that we have living together. On every Sunday when we were kids, my mother made a big home-cooked dinner and a special dessert for our family. We’d stop everything and gather together around the table to share our weeks and enjoy this meal in the company of one another. Last Sunday, my friends gathered together for our own family dinner… and of course, dessert!

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I know what you’re thinking… Tikka what?! Well the best way I can explain this Indian dish is that it’s complicated comfort food: a rich tomato cream sauce flavored by a huge number of spices, with a garam masala blend containing most of them. The first time I was introduced to it was as a kid, tagging along with my brother to this little Indian restaurant located in the Central West End. Indian is Andy’s favorite cuisine and I remember I was so excited that he shared this special dish with me, his annoying little sister. Walking into the restaurant, I smelled such an exotic scent that I had never encountered before, and with my first bite I was hooked by the warm flavors that had been so foreign to my taste buds.

You can order chicken tikka masala at basically any Indian restaurant. In fact, it’s so popular that it’s the national dish of England…odd, right? Well, as I explain my poor-college-student-woes yet another time, you must know that I have foolishly given into the cheaper sauce imitations you can buy in the grocery store. Brand after brand and time after time I was disappointed. They never had the flavors that brought me back to my memory of first sharing it with Andy. I had almost given up. Almost.

You see, since I knew there were about a billion different spices and flavors involved to make ordinary chicken into chicken tikka masala, I had deemed the dish too complicated to replicate. But, the purpose of this blog was to cook, to cook new things that I had never attempted before. And to cook, I did… once I came across a recipe that fit just right.

I hope Andy will be proud that his annoying little sister succeeded in making his favorite dish.

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If it’s 8pm on a Tuesday, the only place you can find my friends or me is huddled in front of the television watching LOST. It is the last season so each new episode is special, almost sacred, in our hearts and there’s no better way to celebrate before the big show than making and enjoying dinner together. Each meal is usually something we throw together from our fridges and last Tuesday was no different… except with a little help from the local pizzeria.

Not many people know how easy it is to make pizza at home that’s far less expensive and probably more creative than your average delivery pie. Making pizza dough is fairly easy, but you can pick up already made dough from the grocery store or your local pizzeria at a minimal price (we paid a whopping $3.69 for a large pizza dough and a full 20 oz cup packed with provolone cheese). Just scrounge around your fridge for some leftovers or some ingredients from your pantry and be creative! You really can’t go wrong with any toppings. 

Here’s my hodgepodge version of veggie pizza.

 

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Valentine’s day (or Hallmark’s excuse for a holiday according to some of you grouches!) has come and gone but that doesn’t mean Cupid’s arrow hasn’t struck you since. That chubby, flying baby has some serious archery skills– not just on Feb 14 but all year round. If you’ve ever felt your heart race with just a touch, or experienced butterflies in your stomach with just a thought, or imagined that everything looked just a little more beautiful than before, hate to say it, poor sap, but you’ve been struck.

Ah, l'amour! it does have a certain Je ne sais quoi...

So now what do you do? If you haven’t caught the eye of your heart’s desire just yet, perhaps a date underneath the stars, some romantic music and a little dancing, and a night cap with this truly decadent dessert will beat out any potential competition. Hey you ladies, there’s some truth to the old saying that the best way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. And you gents, what girl doesn’t love chocolate? It’s right up there on our list of things we cannot and will not (don’t even ask) live without. Whip up this romantic, heavenly dessert (what the French call pots de creme [pronunciation: Po deh Krehm]) to impress the apple of your eye and before you even have a chance to clear the dishes, they’ll be swooning in no time.

You can thank me later.

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the idea

I've always been a lover of food: it's capability to comfort the hard days, to encourage imagination and messiness in a world of order, to explore different cultures through cuisine, and to weave the invisible thread that brings people together around the table.

I started this blog for myself.

As a college student, cooking became a way to release the stress of impending finals, to be creative when I felt unoriginal, and to breathe life into my sometimes discouraged self.

Each week I'll post a new dish, masterpiece or fiasco, to keep record of my continuing education in food and life.

the student: a foodie who loves to learn

Kimberly Aumer

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