What is the future of publishing?
LOL, how would I know?!
But maybe one thing might be more independently published books, which I am down with if they are all as beautiful as Lark, Cooking Against the Grain by John Sundstrom, chef/owner of Seattle’s Lark restaurant. The cookbook was funded through Kickstarter and produced entirely in Seattle, taking the whole local movement up a notch. The book is beautiful to the extreme, in fact, it is more beautiful than most of what is coming out of the major publishing houses in our country. So there’s that. I think the secret to that beauty is, in part, a singular, very personal vision. Lark tells the story of a way of cooking and interacting with the earth that draws you in and makes you want to be a part of it. It is comprehensive, not only including recipes, but also ways of dealing with ingredients and sourcing food.
Sundstrom smartly divides the book into three “seasons” Evergreen, Bounty, and Mist—each specific to his Pacific Northwest. Even that simple chapter division seems revolutionary in a world of cookbooks that can all start to feel the same. Original voices and extreme beauty? Maybe those are what will keep printed books alive.
You’re not necessarily going to tackle every recipe in the book (some lean more toward restaurant cooking than home cooking), and for those of us outside of the Pacific Northwest, ingredient sourcing might occasionally be tough, but there is enough here you will be anxious to make. And the rest will serve as inspiration. I find the dessert recipes to be particularly accessible and I am looking forward to trying all of them. I started with this relatively simple malted ice cream, which is elevated to dessert-status with the addition of some almond croquant (crunch!). It is such an elegant little sundae that I can imagine finding many reasons to make this again. It is a perfect little end to a meal, and another reason to own Lark.
Between this book and the Dahlia Bakery cookbook (and, you know, Linda), the real question is: how and when am I going to get myself to Seattle?!
Malt Ice Cream (from Lark: Cooking Against the Grain)
- 2 cups whole milk
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 8 egg yolks
- 3/4 cup malt powder (Horlicks or Carnation)
- Kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a medium sauce pan combine the milk and heavy cream and bring the mixture just to a simmer over medium heat.
While the milk mixture is warming, combine the sugar and egg yolks together in a large bowl and mix thoroughly. Prepare an ice bath.
Take the milk mixture off of the stove and while whisking the egg mixture, slowly add 1/2 cup of the hot milk mixture to the egg yolk mixture to gentle heat them. Whisk in another 1/2 cup of the hot milk. Whisk constantly so the egg yolks do not scramble.
Now whisk the remaining milk mixture in the saucepan while slowly pouring the now-warmed egg mixture into the saucepan. Place the saucepan back on medium heat and stir constantly with a heat-proof spatula. Continue stirring until it has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon and has reached 180°F.
Remove the custard from the heat and strain it through a fine mesh strainer into a metal bowl or container.
Whisk in the malt powder and strain through a fine mesh strainer again. Add a pinch of kosher salt and the vanilla extract. Immediately place the bowl into the ice bath and stir to cool down the mixture. Once cooled to room temperature, place the container in the refrigerator and chill completely, preferably overnight.
Churn in ice cream machine according to manufacturer’s instructions.
- 1 egg white
- 2 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 4 ounces sliced almonds
- Kosher salt
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Whisk the egg white until it’s foamy and then stir in the sugar.
Add the sliced almonds and pinch of salt to the sugar and egg white mixture and stir to combine.
Spread the mixture thinly onto a buttered baking sheet (or a sheet lined with a non-stick baking mat).
Bake until golden brown all over and crispy on the edges. Cool completely to room temperature, break up into smaller pieces and store in an airtight container at room temperature until ready to serve.
April 11th, 2013 at 10:26 am
The list of cookbooks I want to add to my collection seems to get longer all the time! Lark sounds amazing, and your ice cream looks stunning. I don’t use my ice cream maker enough (it’s beyond me why). This is looking like the way to get back into the ice cream game…
My hope is that cookbooks don’t disappear anytime soon. Even books that I’ve had for quite a while, like Tender, sometimes take me by surprise by how beautiful they are. I’m not sure that they’d have the same impact on a screen. There’s something important about the experience of printed pages.
April 11th, 2013 at 10:53 am
I collect cook books so although I do buy the odd ebook I still love to read my paper books and treasure them. I think this book looks very good if this recipe is anything to go by!
Megan Gordon says:
April 11th, 2013 at 11:33 am
One vote for Seattle! Come in Sept or Oct … no place I’d rather be during those months. Would be awesome to meet you.
April 11th, 2013 at 12:06 pm
I’d love that, Megan!
Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar says:
April 11th, 2013 at 12:25 pm
This sounds so tasty! What a fabulous idea :)
Caroline Shields says:
April 11th, 2013 at 12:38 pm
April 11th, 2013 at 1:18 pm
You have to love the utter realism of “how would I know?” So refreshing! :) I hadn’t heard of this cookbook before, but it sounds great! Those almond croquants look particularly fabulous–although I think I’d have a hard time not just eating big chunks as snacks instead of waiting patiently for the ice cream to churn.
April 11th, 2013 at 1:20 pm
What do you do if you don’t have an ice cream maker??? I’ve always wanted to adapt these awesome recipes, but I’m not exactly sure how. Any ideas? Thank you!
April 11th, 2013 at 1:22 pm
Eileen- I ate so many as snacks- it is a real risk.
Maddie- Save your pennies and buy an ice cream maker. seriously. The best purchase. you can find them on sale for as (relatively) little as $50. Otherwise, google around and you’ll find folks writing about making ice cream without a machine- but it isn’t as good or easy.
April 11th, 2013 at 2:28 pm
Looks so refreshing! Thanks for mentioning the cookbook, I’ll definitively check that one out.
April 11th, 2013 at 2:45 pm
:D that last line made me so happy! I miss Seattle, and its food scene. It’s all so good. (Dahlia Lounge is maybe my favorite Seattle restaurant?) This ice cream looks great, too. Malt flavor + almond crunch sounds delicious.
Pam @ Sticks Forks Fingers says:
April 11th, 2013 at 4:58 pm
This book sounds like the breath of fresh air I am desiring now. As a Pacific Northwesterner for the last two decades, I can say that for the person interested foremost in food and wine, it just is the place to be. The seasonal groupings of Evergreen, Bounty, and Mist really tell the story in such an elegant way. Looking forward to my purchase of Lark! Thanks for the tip.
April 11th, 2013 at 11:23 pm
There you go again, Tim. Making me need, want, lust after another cookbook. Lark sounds positively gorgeous and amazing. And hooray for wonderful ice cream. Since you seem interested in Seattle, should you visit, check out Molly Moon’s Ice Cream. I made their Scout Mint (why oh why can’t you buy Thin Mints year round?) with my new ice cream maker (which was under $65 and is the gadget use most often after my immersion blender). It was gone in a flash. Thanks for the post.
April 12th, 2013 at 5:42 am
You had me at “almond croquant”. :-) I live in the Northeast, but we have dear friends in Seattle. We motorcycle ride with them every two years, meeting them in Coeur d’Alene, ID, making a loop up through Montana, Lake Louise, & BC before heading to Seattle. A few days there, then it’s time to ride back across the US.
April 12th, 2013 at 12:35 pm
Clean and simple flavors in this one. Can’t wait to give it a go. The Almond Croquant alone has limitless applications. I would put it in salads, top a roast, chop it into homemade fudge, as a cookie topping (shortbread or almond cookie), and on and on…
April 13th, 2013 at 8:14 am
Those almonds are seriously pretty! Have you been to the Pacific Northwest before? When you go, get ready to try the best strawberries. :)
Daniel Choi says:
April 15th, 2013 at 10:37 am
I don’t know about the future of publishing but the publishing company that I am working for here in Toronto is still going strong. Keep up the cool posts!
April 16th, 2013 at 8:45 am
Despite using ebooks I think there will always be a place for printed books especially in the kitchen where spills may occur! I think I’ll be using that almond crunch a lot.
April 16th, 2013 at 1:39 pm
Let me second (or third?) the invitation to get together for a drink, a meal or a visit to any number of farmers’ markets, bakeries, restaurants, brewpubs and bars when you get to Seattle. I just moved here in October, after 25 wonderful years in Chicago, and couldn’t be happier with the change.
LOTS of good food stuff going on here, even outside of my own kitchen, haha (where I just cut into my first-ever wheels of homemade Gouda and Gorgonzola, after a two-month ripening and a great class taught at River Valley Creamery, nearby).
April 16th, 2013 at 4:12 pm
I love the ingredients in this recipe – and as for publishing, I couldn’t agree more!
May 2nd, 2013 at 7:27 pm
The Almond Croquant was a great success for a party I had! They disappeared in a FLASH, oh my goodness. Thank you for the inspiration; I visited Lark last month while I was in Seattle, and every dish was absolutely one of a kind and phenomenal. The restaurant layout itself was unique, with the Chef being right at the front of the kitchen taking the orders from waiters, so you would walk past him on your way to the back restrooms. ha!
May 10th, 2013 at 3:32 pm
that looks amazing! I’m gonna make the almond crunch and put it on everything!