Bicentennial Memories Strawberry Bread

I can’t believe it’s already July 4th weekend. Where is the time going? That’s one thing I hate about getting older, the clock ticks so much more quickly. The other night I was having dinner with a friend who was basking in this time of year; the weeks when her kids are out of school and their summer programs have yet to start. The days are long and warm and more carefree than any other time of year. My own childhood memories of the beginning of summer vacation are less sepia tinged. I remember a feeling of waiting, waiting for whatever plan was set to begin, waiting for the “fun” to start.
There is one summer that was particularly filled with yearning and foot-tapping. 1976 buzzed with the anticipation of celebrating the bicentennial. It was so much a part of the national vibe that when given the chance to decorate our bedroom in the apartment we had just moved into my sister and I chose a red, white and blue bandana motif. And by motif I mean an explosion. The comforters, dust ruffles, shams, curtains, valences and bathroom wallpaper were all in either red or blue bandana. And our towels were red, white and blue! I am still shocked my mother let us have that much control over our surroundings and I really wish she hadn’t. (It was hideous and we lived with it for three years until we were finally allowed to trade bandana for a whimsical floral pattern from the Suzanne Pleshette bedding collection—I begged for it in the store. Seriously.)
The summer plan was to cobble together activities before we all went to LA where my father had to be on business for about a month. Those weeks between school and trip were endless. I had hit that age where playing with my younger siblings felt pathetic and none of my friends were around. I was starting a new school in the fall and that feeling of the unknown was looming in the distance. So I self-medicated with soap operas and People magazine while my brother and sister spent time doing New York-y activities with a babysitter.
Another memory of that summer involves my hair. I had the brilliant idea to cut it all off, you know, so I could start fresh at my new school with a new look. Inspired by Princess Caroline’s short do and of course, Dorothy Hamill’s, I sat in the chair at the BG salon at Bergdorf’s with a friend of my mother’s and asked for a similar style. In fact, I believe I brought the copy of People whose cover had been graced (oops) by the princess just to illustrate my point. Oh my God, why didn’t anyone stop me? Let’s first discuss Princess Caroline’s beauty lineage and acknowledge that she’d look gorgeous bald. My mother is stunning but she’s not Grace Kelly, and more importantly, doesn’t have Grace Kelly’s hair. And neither do I. I also don’t have Dorothy Hamill’s hair. What I did have was thick, bushy, unruly locks that I tried fruitlessly to tame with one of those rectangular hair dryers with the brush attachment. (By the time it grew out we’d changed bandana for Suzanne Pleshette. Yes, it took that long.)
Meanwhile, the big July 4th celebration was Op-Sail, a huge parade of tall ships in the Hudson, and we were invited to watch from the windows of family friends whose place had an incredible view. And this I will never forget. We walk into this Riverside Drive apartment and there on the arm of one of the male guests was the most glamorous woman my eleven year old eyes had ever seen. It was Morgan Fairchild. I had seen her on Search for Tomorrow falling through a glass sliding door (which literally looked like cardboard), sitting in a hospital bed, her whole head wrapped in gauze, with the big question hanging over the storyline: what would she look like when they took the bandages off? Would her great beauty be destroyed?! (No, it would not.) Would she go mad? (Yes, she would.) And here she was in the flesh, quite a lot of flesh actually. She was wearing a white, mini romper (like short-shorts paired with a blouson, strapless top), high white platform sandals and all that blond hair. Let’s just say she got a lot more attention than the Ye Olde Tall Ships sailing on by. What a perfect 70’s moment, right?
After this major highpoint the drudgery of the waiting was even more painful. Weekends were spent descending on some incredibly kind family friends who’d graciously invited a family of five and our terrier to their houses in the country. Even as a pre-teen I hated being a house guest. The children of all my parents’ friends were freaky and none of them matched up with me age-wise. If they were older they thought of me as a child, if they were younger I thought of me as grown-up. I wouldn’t be eleven again if you paid me.

But then we got to LA and things, of course, brightened. Since we were going to be there for awhile, we stayed at an apartment hotel. In the afternoons the pool was full, toys strewn around, lots of splashing. And among the kids was a little toddler named Aisha whose mother would help her walk around the patio. They were staying in the apartment below ours and every day we heard her father playing the piano. One day her mother waved us in and we watched him play in the living room. It was Stevie Wonder. Have you ever? I still can’t believe it and I’m sure I didn’t appreciate the magnificence of the moment at the time. Like most things that happen to you when you’re young, you don’t appreciate them until you’re old.
I’m not sure how in the world 35 years have passed. And in fact if you saw Morgan Fairchild today you might not think that it had. She looks exactly the same! But I am glad that I appreciate my summers since I know they’ll be over in a flash. And I am even happier that I’m not a house guest having to endure other people’s freaky off-spring. But with a holiday weekend coming up I do feel obliged to share a recipe that is really nice to have on hand in the morning for those of you unfortunate enough to be saddled with overnight guests. This strawberry bread makes great use of all the local berries in the stores right now and it smells heavenly as it bakes. It doesn’t have as much butter as a lot of quick breads do but is still super moist from the juicy berries. It’s great with cream cheese and if you want to throw in some blueberries feel free. I plan on lining my serving basket with a bandana or two. And there is your red, white and blue.
Bicentennial Memories Strawberry Bread
From Debbie Cascio-van Hees via Everyday Food, July/August 2004

5 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pan
1 pint strawberries, rinsed, hulled, quartered, and mashed with a fork
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8-by-4-inch loaf pan. In a small saucepan, bring strawberries to a boil over medium heat. Cook, stirring, 1 minute. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt; set aside. With an electric mixer, cream butter, sugar, and eggs in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add flour mixture alternately with 1/3 cup water, beginning and ending with flour.

Fold in reserved strawberries.

Scrape batter into prepared pan, smoothing top. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, definitely 1 hour, maybe a few minutes more (tent with foil after 45 minutes if top is getting too dark).
Cool in pan 10 minutes. Run a knife around edges; invert onto a rack. Reinvert; cool completely.


No Birthday Expectations Strawberry-Rhubarb Galette

So, last week was my birthday and I was determined not to get cranky about it. That was kind of asking a lot of myself because I get cranky every year as the calendar approaches June 17th. I know it’s pathetic to still have any birthday expectations at my ripe age, but I do. Or I did. My goal over this year was to let go of any transformative fantasies I historically associated with celebrating the day of my birth, like somehow my birthday would be filled with balms for every wound. I’d get some magical gift that would instantly solve all of my problems, like a million dollars or a new dishwasher. And then of course there’s the surprise party. I actually hate surprises and would be completely annoyed if I opened a door to the shouts of friends without being prepared (meaning, having a good hair day). Then again, there is a little part of me that wishes I was the kind of person who could relish that sort of thing and bask in all the attention. And maybe that’s really the dilemma. That I look at my birthday as the day, kind of like New Year’s, where I can turn over a new leaf and become someone else.
Last year, after deciding I was being ridiculous about all of this, I was committed to handling my next birthday more gracefully. Despite feeling like the year whizzed by, I think I did do enough work to finally put my special day in the proper psychological place. So, when the date got closer I was able to say honestly, when asked by friends what I wanted to do, “Nothing.” By nothing I meant nothing with them. Not in a mean way, just that I didn’t need to feel like I’d gathered people together to buy me dinner. I hate that by the way. When you’re of a certain age I think birthday dinners with friends should be the financial responsibility of the birthday girl or boy, something I am currently not in the mood to take on. It’s all so embarrassing when you’re with a group and there’s that moment of whispering as someone pulls out their iPhone to divvy up the check while someone else realizes the evening’s accountant counted the person being celebrated and then the check needs to be recalculated. All done in hushed tones and “don’t worry about it” glances to the mortified person who has caused the gathering to occur in the first place.
Anyway, I solved the “What are you doing?” conundrum by opting to spend the weekend with family and friend at my parents’ weekend house. I had just one request: that we all go out Saturday night (the day after my actual birthday) for lobster rolls and strawberry-rhubarb pie at the aptly named “Lobster Roll,” about a 25 minute drive away. I’d already prepared the nieces that I wasn’t going to be baking a birthday cake, the negative reaction to which I was I able to mitigate by telling them they were going to get to go out to dinner to a place that had chocolate chip cookie pie and a playground.
Arriving at the house at 6pm on Friday, with the rest of the gang already assembled, I found my mother preparing a sauce for the fish she was going to be serving for dinner and my sister boiling pasta for the girls. Now, as evolved as I’d like to think I’d become, I still had in mind that Friday was my actual birthday and shouldn’t there be some kind of something for dessert? I did some refrigerator and pantry reconnaissance and clearly, nothing had been planned. “Oh come on, how can anyone bake you something?” Mom responded when I asked if she’d had any dessert ideas.
And right there is the problem when you not only traditionally bake your own cake but also have a reputation for being controlling; you leave no room for anyone to do anything for you and then you get your nose out of joint when they don’t. Again, I refused to give in to the birthday disappointment feelings of yore and took matters into my own hands. I macerated some local strawberries, whipped some cream and topped the lemon pound cake I had asked Rich to pick up at the gourmet store in the city where he was busy buying cheese to bring for the weekend. Friday dessert problem solved and I wasn’t even annoyed.
Saturday was gorgeous and all was going swimmingly when a few things about our plan started to make me nervous. A scan of the restaurant’s website revealed “Live Music Saturdays from 4-8pm!” Oh dear. Somehow my father + Jimmy Buffett cover band=nightmare. You see, under the best of circumstances my Dad has a tendency to orchestrate the environs of all spaces in which he is present. I can’t tell you how many dinners have started with him directing the Maitre d’ to "please turn down the music, turn up the air conditioner and please give us that round table in the corner, thank you." Upon calling the restaurant to secure a perfect table away from the music we were reminded that they do not take reservations. I had already agreed to an early-bird dinner to accommodate the six-and-under set but what if we got there and had to wait? Early-bird turning into night-owl was sure to bring on a meltdown or two. At this point my sister mentioned neither niece had slept well the night before and wasn’t it a shame the restaurant was so far away. Okay, enough. It was time to adjust the plan.
And here is where I was really proud of myself. I easily gave up on the fantasy of lobster roll and the strawberry-rhubarb pie. Instead we went to a nearby seafood place where we could reserve a table outside and eat when we wanted without enduring “Live Music!” Jimmy Buffett managed to accompany our meal nonetheless, over the speakers mounted right by our table. But Dad was completely well behaved and the girls had the run of the outdoor space, gathering pennies to throw into the little fountain and dancing around like good parrot-heads when they got bored with our leisurely chatting. Why didn’t I pick this restaurant in the first place? Because the food is entirely mediocre and they don’t have strawberry-rhubarb pie.
Obviously I was going to need to satisfy my initial cravings. Coincidentally, my friend Marsha emailed me over the weekend wanting to make a date for a lobster roll taste-test at some of the new places that have cropped up all over the city. Done. But I still wanted my pie! Despite all this personal growth I will do almost anything to avoid making a double crust pie, especially when the people at Briermere Farms do such a great job and I know a trip to their place in Riverhead is going to happen in the next few weeks. So I settled on a galette, or free-form tart. That way I wouldn’t have to stress as much but I’d still get that unmistakably sweet, tart, juicy and flaky experience. It really is easy, yes, rustic to look at but definitely hits the spot. I whipped it up as soon as I got back to the city, cut myself a big piece and topped it with vanilla ice cream. Happy Birthday to me. And now I have 359 days to get ready not to care about my next birthday. I’d say I’m making progress.
No Birthday Expectations Strawberry-Rhubarb Galette
Adapted from Food and Wine, April 2004
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Galette Dough (see below) or store-bought refrigerated pie crust
1 pint strawberries, thickly sliced
1 pound very red fresh rhubarb stalks, cut crosswise 1/2 inch thick (Discard leaves-they are poisonous)
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons whole milk
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Preheat the oven to 400°. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. (This is important--the galette leaks and you need the rimmed pan to catch juices or your oven will be a mess.)

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to a 16-inch round 1/8 inch thick. Transfer to the baking sheet; the pastry will hang over the edges. Refrigerate the pastry for 10 minutes.
In a large bowl, toss the strawberries with the rhubarb, sugar, flour, lemon juice and vanilla.
Spread on the pastry to within 2 inches of the edge.
Fold the edge over the filling, pleating it at 2 inch intervals. Lightly brush the dough with the milk. Dot the filling with the butter.

Bake the galette in the center of the oven for 1 hour, or until the fruit is bubbling and the pastry is golden brown. Let cool slightly before cutting into wedges.
Yield: 6-8 servings


1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon sugar
10 Tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
5 tablespoons ice water

Place a large piece of plastic wrap on the kitchen counter.

In a bowl, using a fork, blend the flour, salt and sugar; scatter the butter on top. Using a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour until it is the size of small peas. Sprinkle on the water and toss with the fork. Dump contents onto plastic wrap.

OR in bowl of food processor, buzz flour, salt and sugar briefly just to mix. Scatter butter on top and pulse a few times quickly until butter becomes the size of small peas.

Sprinkle the water, one Tablespoon at a time, pulsing briefly (like 2 seconds) after each Tablespoon. You want the water to be incorporated but you don't want the dough to come together in a giant ball. It should look like small clumps and you want to see the butter. Dump contents onto plastic wrap.
Using your hands, press the flour mixture together to form a dough. Pat into a 6-inch disk, wrap it in the plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight.


Moving Phobia Pear and Stilton Phyllo Cups

When I moved into my apartment I vowed that the only way I’d ever leave was feet first. So far I’ve been true to my word; I’ve lived here for over ten years. Moving is so stressful and awful that I am in awe of people who love to pack and unpack just for the sake of shaking things up. Sure there are those whose lives shift and therefore their housing needs do too. But to those brave souls who just get itchy, I say, “better you than me.”
In my defense, the experience of my last move was so traumatizing that you can’t really blame me for not wanting to uproot my roots. It was a day in which I found myself playing UN peacekeeper between a team of Polish movers and my Peruvian contractor. The contractor was trying to help one of the movers navigate the placement of my new bookshelf unit (a purchase I have since grown to regret) when all of a sudden I heard the worst crack and saw a fault line crawling up the side of one of the shelves. My mouth dropped, my heart raced and my contractor, witnessing my approaching meltdown, started to shout at the mover who shouted back at the contractor—both using their native tongues which meant no one understood anything but the steam coming out of their ears. I was so scared I’d have a crime scene on my hands that I had to drag the mover’s enormous boss from his well-worn seat in the truck fourteen stories below in order to pry the two men apart. Luckily the contractor still had his can of paint and masked the crack. Although now, ten years later, it could definitely use a touch-up and I can’t stop staring at it.
For these past ten years my parents have lived just a seven-minute walk away (I timed it once when my cable went out right before The Sopranos). But this week they volunteered to pack and unpack for the sake of shaking things up and are moving across town. Sweetly, they are returning to the neighborhood they lived in when they were first married. The stories of my mother's early attempts at entertaining are pretty funny but one of my favorites is when she played first-time hostess to her cousin and cousin’s husband. The women were the same age but my mother’s cousin had married at twenty and was living on Long Island. Although my mom married just three years later, her snotty cousin comported herself like she was Sadie, Sadie Married Suburban Lady for those intervening years while casting my mother as pitiful Old Maid (she was anything but, as I learned as an adult). So Mom and (begrudgingly) Dad invited the boring couple over for drinks at their place (“in the city,” as the cousin would have said) before they were all to go to the theater. Mom put out cheese and crackers, Dad mixed drinks and as far as they knew the evening was fine. Until a few days later when my mother heard through the family grapevine that her cousin had reported to my mother's aunt, “She didn’t even serve us a hot hors d’hoeuvre!!” (To really understand how this was communicated you need to imagine someone with the elegant accent of a Fran Drescher and the sneer of a curled upper-lip.) Have you ever? What a witch.
Luckily my parents felt only relief knowing they’d never have to entertain these ingrates again. But that refrain earned a permanent spot in the family private-joke book. Anytime I’m invited anywhere for dinner my mother will say, “Sounds like a great night, but were you served a hot hors d’hoeuvre?” and we’ll crack up. The funny thing is that so many years later Mom actually makes a warm canapĂ© now and again causing her to stock her freezer with various boxes of laminated doughs, the pre-move disposal of which caused her much anxiety. “When are you coming over—I have a freezer full of phyllo dough and you need to take it!!!” (Due to my close proximity I was the only potential recipient of this fragile collection.)
When I arrived at their place I couldn’t get out of there fast enough. My mother was running around like a lunatic as a squadron of men packed up my parents' life, boxes reached to the ceiling, light fixtures were dismantled, walls were bare. There is nothing like the carcass of a soon to be abandoned apartment to give me a stomach ache. (Somehow my father had had the good sense to carve out a little corner of peace where he was reading the Times amidst the mayhem.)
I raced home with my six boxes, the seven minutes being just enough time before they defrosted, where they are now taking up too much room in my freezer. I should add however that they were in the kind of condition completely typical of my mother’s general state of hysteria. They all looked like they’d been opened by a rabid, starving raccoon and several of the phyllo boxes contained only one of the two packs they came with, indicating Mom had purchased a new box without first consulting the freezer as to whether or not she owned any at the moment. And then there were the expiration dates. Anyone up for some freezer burn-infused spanakopita made with "best by September 2009" phyllo dough?
Luckily there was one perfectly intact box of mini phyllo shells which are the ideal carriers for one of my favorite nibbles. They are filled with the best combo—sweet and savory. Sharp Stilton cheese cuts through the warm, slightly caramel-y pears, the pastry cup adds the perfect, delicate crunch and the dried cranberry delivers a pop of much needed color and a little chew. All I need is an invitation to my parents’ new place and in a seven minute cab ride I’ll be serving my parents a hot hors d’oeuvre. And in the meantime, something about this change has me doing a little re-considering. Maybe packing and unpacking for the sake of shaking things up wouldn’t be so bad? Or maybe I should just paint my bookshelves.
Moving Phobia Pear and Stilton Phyllo Cups
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2 Tablespoons butter
3 ripe pears, peeled, cored and sliced
2 Tablespoons pear brandy or rum (optional)
4 ounces crumbled Stilton blue cheese
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

4 boxes 15 piece mini phyllo shells
¼ cup dried cranberries for garnish

Preheat oven to 350
In medium skillet melt the 2 tablespoons butter, add pears and brandy. Stir gently until golden brown.
Remove to bowl and cool slightly. Then roughly chop into ½” pieces.
Transfer pears to medium bowl and add Stilton and nuts.
Meanwhile, place phyllo shells on a baking sheet and bake 3-5 minutes till hot and crisp.
Let shells cool slightly then fill each shell with a heaping teaspoon of the pear mixture.
Garnish with a few dried cranberries and serve.
Yield: 45 hot d’hoeuvres


Kitchen Dreams Strawberry Cheesecake No-Churn Ice Cream

Walking into a Williams Sonoma is a bit like sending me to Temptation Island: I can look but I can’t touch. Really what that means is that I can buy only for others, not for myself. You see, when your kitchen is space challenged, and your purse strings are tightly tied, you need to carefully choose your batterie de cuisine. You must ask yourself which kitchen appliances are necessities and which are luxuries. There is no room at the inn for the superfluous.
It was with more than a little big kitchen envy that I made my last trip to W-S to buy a wedding gift. If “thou shalt not covet thy friend’s All-Clad” was a commandment, my place in Hell would be secure. I should say that my initial feelings when I walked into the store were of the generous and happy sort. I was excited to sift through my friend’s registry, checking out what she still needed and what was “complete.” She is wonderful and so is her fiancĂ© and she loves to cook. In fact, I’m hoping for a dinner invitation. But even after selecting a 13” skillet I found myself lingering wistfully in front of the All-Clad display. You see my baking pans may be mature, but my circa 1989 seven-piece Revere Ware cookware is decidedly first apartment.
My yearning didn’t stop with grown-up pots and pans. They were just the beginning.

My eyes set on the Breville Dual Disc Juice Extractor. Oh, if only I had this $400 magic liquefier I would become a completely different person! I’d ignore the fact that it’s too tall to fit under my counter, join a CSA and start juicing. I’d be one of those people who wakes up at 5AM, runs four miles and downs a glass of fresh squeezed kale, carrot and ginger to start my day. My skin would glow, I’d lose some of my skinny-fat and I’d never succumb to a pecan danish ring again. After sensing the overeager greeter just feet away I figured I’d better stop staring and moved it along.
An ice cream maker! Here we are in the middle of a heat wave and what would be a better present to me?! With summer’s fruits about to fill the Greenmarkets to bursting I’d become my own creamery. I love peach ice cream and it’s so hard to find but with the Cuisinart Supreme Ice Cream maker I’d find it right in my freezer! So what if I could buy 60 pints of Ben and Jerry’s for the price of the 32 pound machine, this ice cream would have my name on it! And then I got to the espresso machines. I’d never seen such sophistication! With just a press of a button on the Delonghi Gran Dama I’d be sipping a cappuccino, easing into the morning while allowing the caffeinated charge to take over and send me with a boom into the day. Think of how much I’d accomplish! I’d finally clean out my closet, file my pile of paperwork and maybe finish my book proposal. Being so productive seems worth the $2500 and two feet of counter space, no? My reverie was interrupted by Overeager Saleswoman’s “Can I show you something?” I demurred and made a right, right into booze-land.
After coveting the Cuisinart Electric Wine Cellar (room for 12 bottles! I could entertain!) I was feeling a little poor-me until I spotted the Margaritaville Frozen Concoction Maker and had a flashback to a hideous dinner party. (I didn’t just risk offending the hostess because she never bothered to retain my name.) I was not a guest. I was acting as sidekick and dessert maker for a chef-instructor friend at a McMansion in Westchester, one of several evenings in which I played this role for a time and not the only one where the lady of the house said, when asked about the workings of her Wolf range, “Oh, I have no idea! I’ve never turned it on!” and screamed for the housekeeper to come and guide us. At this particular dinner Princess Hostess wanted a Mexican theme and had purchased the margarita maker for the occasion. That appliance she’d learned how to use. The other guests (bankers and the women who love their wallets) got so drunk that by the time I began my demonstration of molten chocolate cakes they had disappeared into the media room and all I could hear was the jeering and cheering at some football game. The whole thing left a terrible taste in my mouth. Why couldn’t she use a blender like most people who want to make a frozen drink? Did she really need to use up counter space (and $350) for something she’d probably only remember to crank up on Cinco de Mayo? It seemed so excessive.
When the store manager handed me my gift, wrapped and ready, it was time to say good-bye to my bloated kitchen fantasies and appreciate the way I’ve figured out how to feed myself successfully without all these gizmos. My Braun coffee maker may be 15 years old but it turns out a tried and true cup of joe morning after morning from its perfect little nook next to the stove. And if I’m craving an espresso jolt, there’s a Starbucks on my corner. I hate kale, carrot and ginger juice and if I were the kind of person destined to rise at 5AM I think my inner clock would have figured out how to wake me by now. A wine cellar? The purchase of this mini fridge wouldn’t increase the square footage of my apartment and transform me into the hostess with the mostest. I’ll continue to keep my bottle in the mega fridge and make my way to the bottom one glass per night at a time. I had resigned myself to buying my Haagen Dazs at the Korean market across the street from the Starbucks when I saw this recipe for no-churn strawberry cheesecake ice cream in Leite’s Culinaria, a great culinary website. Somehow by using condensed milk and cream, and allowing extra time to freeze, you wind up with ice cream. This tangy, sweet, fruity and graham-y dessert really tastes like strawberry cheesecake and made use of two appliances I already own and consider necessities—my Kitchen Aid mixer and my blender. Who needs an ice cream maker?! As for the All-Clad, I’d gladly make room for those bright and shiny saucepans. Anyone looking to buy a 20 year old set of Revere Ware?

Kitchen Dreams Strawberry Cheesecake No-Churn Ice Cream
Adapted From Leite's Culinaria, May 5, 2011 via Spread a Little Joy, Kraft 2010


One 8-ounce package Philadelphia-brand cream cheese, softened
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 1/2 cups fresh strawberries, washed and hulled
3 graham crackers, crushed into small pieces

Beat the cream cheese, sweetened condensed milk, cream, and lemon zest with a mixer on medium speed until creamy and thoroughly blended. It may look curdled at first, just keep mixing till smooth.

Scrape it into a resealable container and freeze until almost solid, about 4 hours.
Puree the berries in a blender until smooth.

Beat the frozen cream cheese mixture with the mixer until creamy. Using a spoon or spatula, add the strawberries to the cream cheese mixture along with the graham crumbs and stir to combine.

If you use the mixer for this you will wind up with a uniform, pink look--I prefer the marbled effect. Return the ice cream to the resealable container and freeze until firm, about 8 hours.

Remove the ice cream from the freezer about 15 minutes before serving and let stand at room temperature to soften slightly. Scoop and enjoy.
Yield 1 1/2 quarts.