Tag Archives: ice cream

Weldon’s

It is often asserted that Columbus is the ice cream capital of the world, and while the city has a very good case,  including the rest of Central Ohio does make a stronger argument for ice cream dominance. Weldon’s have been producing ice cream in the same location for 80 years and their Millersport store, overlooking Buckeye Lake would be another jewel in the crown.

My first visit to Weldon’s was a welcome reward for a long, hot bike ride through seemingly endless cornfields. Entering the store you have the sense of stepping back in time: painted wooden benches, an old juke box with three plays for a quarter and home-made ice cream drumsticks. Samples of their many flavors are given on a metal spoon.

The most popular flavors are always available but other flavors rotate. Some like Rocky Shores, Mudd Island and Buckeye Blitz seemed appropriate for the location. I chose brown cinnamon peach and craw dad tracks and was particularly enamored with the brown cinnamon peach and the drip catcher was useful on a 95º afternoon. The brown cinnamon peach was a smooth creamy blend with a good balance of the fruit and spice flavors. The craw dad tracks was a creamy vanilla ice cream with pecans and caramel.

Weldon’s is definitely worth a stop if you are in the Buckeye Lake area and may even justify planning a day trip around. Buckeye Lake, man-made as a feeder lake for the Ohio and Erie Canal, is now a state park with plenty of opportunities for boating, fishing and swimming.

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Filed under ice cream, Ohio

In the kitchen

I know its been quiet on the blogging front, but its been a busy couple of weeks in the hungrywoolf kitchen. The new year brought a new stove which I’m still getting used to. I think it runs a little hotter than the old one and it makes all sorts of disturbing creaking and clanging noises when the oven is on, but at least you can’t put your fingers through the rust holes and it’s a lot easier to clean.

Also new is a shiny kitchen aid mixer and some fun extra toys: the ice cream maker and meat grinder attachments.

The picture shows focaccia dough which I partly kneaded in the Kitchen Aid. I used Nigel Slater’s recipe but left out the olives and used more herbs and garlic instead. It was as foolproof as Nigel said, and really delicious straight from the oven.

I also had my first attempt at ice cream in the Kitchen Aid, choosing a recipe from David Lebovitz’s book ‘The Perfect Scoop‘ for peanut butter ice cream. It was a decent first attempt and future plans include sesame honey ice cream and cafe au lait.

The most welcome new addition in the kitchen has been more storage space: a new shelf, which has considerably reduced the hazard of things falling out of the cupboard. Everything is less crowded and it is much easier to find herbs and spices.

Inspired by Robin Davis and the disarray of kitchen construction, I have been on a mission to use-up, reduce and turn-over. Targets include bags of rice and grains that have been in the cupboard for 6 months or more, jars that have been open too long, anything with freezer burn and all the things I bought thinking that I would use but haven’t. I made a list of all of the meals or dishes we could make based on what we had in the freezer and cupboard and was astounded at how long it was. Our stock pile of squashes from the fall has now been depleted (although there are a few pints of pumpkin puree in the freezer).

Given the weather, a lot of our meals have been soups, curries and stews. The picture is a thai red curry pumpkin soup, a hybrid of a Nigel Slater recipe and Heidi Swanson’s quick fix. Favorites have been Madhur Jaffrey’s chana masaledar (chick pea curry), spicy baked beans (based on the recipe in Earth to Table), and corn chowder made with corn I froze last summer. Not only have we saved a lot of money on groceries and eating out, but the process has been therapeutic. Next on the hit list is brown rice, I’m thinking mushroom pilaf.

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Filed under Gadgets, ice cream, soup

Localicious: Local Foods Week Columbus

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This week has been local foods week in Columbus and while many of us could say that every week is (or should be) local foods week, this week was special. It was special because every day was packed with events highlighting local foods, local producers and the people who are working to promote these things. The week was organized by the Central Ohio not-for-profit organization Local Matters who have a number of great programs in our community and run the Greener Grocer in the North Market.

I attended some wonderful events during the week including the Market to Market Bike Ride, North Market Harvest Festival, A benefit dinner at Alana’s and A Cow to Cone tour at Jeni’s Ice Cream. Coincidentally our Slow Food Locavore Dinner at Otter Creek was also held during local foods week, so it really was a localicious week.

The Market to Market ride was a joint venture between Hills Market in Worthington and the North Market. You could start at either market, have breakfast and then ride down the bike trail to the other market, stopping at various rest stops en route, to be rewarded at the end with Jeni’s ice cream and a goodie bag of coupons. It was a great idea and a fantastic example of local businesses working together. Hills had their Ohio Market day and the North Market had their Harvest Festival, so both were bustling and over 300 people did the ride.

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We chose to ride up to Hills and have their blueberry pancake breakfast. It was really busy but they were churning out coffee, pancakes and sausage. My only disappointment – Log Cabin Syrup. On Ohio Market Day, during local foods week? What a missed opportunity to show off Ohio Maple Syrup. (Ohio is 4th in the country in Maple Syrup production).

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By the time we made it back to the North Market the harvest festival was in full swing. I fought my way through the crowds to the Dispatch Kitchen where I was due to be judging the pumpkin bread competition. I had worked up an appetite cycling, but was still relieved to see that there were only 9 entries in the competition. I’m still recovering from the 39 entry pawpaw competition and I wanted to have room for my ice cream! I was joined by Bacon Camp winner Roland, judging supremo CMH Gourmand and RJ from A Taste from Belgium.

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There was a tie for the second place pumpkin bread and Mary Martineau called for a taste off…. unfortunately it was still 2 votes apiece and Mary threw her hands up and awarded a joint prize. I left them to the pies, ate some ice cream (highly recommend pumpkin five spice with the Maker’s Mark), bought some apple cider and headed home.

Ruby beet and apple salad with black walnut vinaigrette

Alana's Ruby beet and apple salad with black walnut vinaigrette

Dinner at Alana’s is always a treat, but more so when it is for a good cause and you get to enjoy a family style meal with friends. There were ten different dishes and highlights included Bunny B’steeya, pumpkin, bacon and kale risotto and shell bean hummus with buttercup focaccia. A blow by blow photo account of the meal can be found on G.A. Benton’s blog. The wines were from our friends at  United Estates and the dessert was a ‘surprise’ from Jeni’s,  pawpaw ice cream in a waffle cone with her magical caramel sauce.

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Alana does an outstanding job of using local ingredients and her menu always highlights local producers and farms. In this case it was particularly special because several of the farmers and producers who had supplied ingredients were at the dinner.

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As soon as I heard about the tour of Jeni’s I called to book a spot and I am so glad that I did. This rare behind the scenes tour  guided by Jeni was limited to twenty people (the reason became obvious as we squeezed into the kitchen and completely disrupted production) and had a wait-list of 50 plus. Given the 4 pm start time there were a lot of children and it was fun to listen to their comments and questions. For example: ‘my family loves your ice cream so much that we can’t even go to Graeter’s any more’, ‘can we go in the freezer again?’ ‘do you have any cherries?’ and ‘how many bags of sugar do you use a day?’.

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The kitchen is surprisingly small for the amount and range of ice cream flavors they produce. Each of the two ice cream machines makes a batch of 10 gallons and Jeni’s can produce up to 70 gallons a day. The most popular is salty caramel which is usually made first thing in the morning every day. We watched as beets were juiced to color the red hot apple sorbet, pumpkins were washed and trimmed ready for roasting and marshmallows were mixed into the smoky milk chocolate. It was great to see the actual vegetables being used and to know where they came from (in this case Wayward Seed Farm). Of course not all the ingredients are local and we also got to smell the Ugandan vanilla beans that are specially flown in for Jeni’s.

As well as learning more about Jeni’s ingredients, process and philosophy we also got to eat ice cream – right in the kitchen. We had a sundae of freshly made vanilla ice cream and apple sorbet with caramel sauce and whipped cream. We also got a sneak taste of some of the upcoming winter flavors and the exclusive Dean & Deluca flavors including Limoncello with almonds and dried cherries, Goat cheese with cognac fig compote and Norwegian fruit sorbet.

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Everyone from Jeni down seems to be intensely proud of their product and works hard to ensure that customers are happy with every pint.  The attention to detail is impressive from the hand packed pints, to the house-made and hand mixed marshmallows, and the hand written labels and gift cards. The kitchen staff were very friendly even though we were completely in their way and happy to discuss their favorite flavors to eat and to make and how salty caramel is a great breakfast food.

You can see more photos from the tour in Jeni’s blog Salty Caramel.

What did you do for Local Foods week? Did you get scared by the living statue scarecrow? and what are you favorite local foods?

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Filed under Columbus, hills market, ice cream, judging, North Market, Ohio, special events

In the Month of May

I’m playing catch up again, so another month of highlights. It’s hard to know where to start, there have been so many this month. Probably most memorable was my first trip to Yellow Springs. I had heard so much about Yellow Springs but it lived up to the hype, helped by perfect weather over Mother’s Day weekend. It reminded me of Northampton MA, where I used to live. Smaller and quieter but the same crunchy, relaxed vibe. We camped at John Bryan State Park and ate our way through Yellow Springs, hitting Young’s Dairy, The Winds Cafe (dinner), Sunrise Cafe (breakfast) and Ha Ha Pizza (lunch)… and yes we did see Dave Chappelle.

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The Winds alone was worth the trip and I would go back at any opportunity. The food was creative, seasonal and well prepared. I was sold as soon as I saw the cocktail menu (I had a delightful champagne and st. Germain elderflower cocktail) and it just got better from there. The stand-out dish was chipotle lime mashed sweet potatoes with bacon which I have tried and failed to emulate at home. Our table was too dark to get any decent photos of the food, but that just gives me my first excuse to go back. 

The second highlight of the month was what we have come to refer to as ‘Taco TV’. You can read a full report and see more photos of the action on tacotruckscolumbus.com. We were approached by 10TV about doing a feature on Columbus’s taco trucks and were happy to oblige. I was chosen as the spokesperson and we introduced Robin Davis and her film crew to a few of our favorite trucks.  It was a lot of fun and should be broadcast sometime in the next week or two.

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Speaking of favorite trucks – Los Guachos is worth mentioning here. We were alerted to it earlier this month and have been frequent visitors ever since. Unlike any of the other trucks they cook al pastor (marinated pork) on a spit and so it is a cross between a taco truck and a kebab van. It is really, really good. As well as tacos they also serve a gringa which has a layer of caramelized cheese and is one of my favorite food items in the city. On Tuesdays they have 2-for-1 on tacos. You can’t beat that for value and you can’t beat the al pastor. 

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This month we also found two Colombian ‘taco’ trucks offering empanadas and Arepas as their standard fare. It amazes me that with 20+ trucks listed we still keep finding out about new ones. Keep checking taco trucks Columbus to see what’s new.

Sometimes when we are out taco truckin’ we have other fortuitous finds. One such was Chasis Place BBQ, the second mobile BBQ vendor we have found. We had read about this west-side gem on Columbusfoodie and had been keen to try it but were never there at the right time. Imagine our surprise and delight when we found it over on the east side, when we were looking for El Manantial Latino (one of the Colombian trucks).

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When we discovered Chasis we were accompanied by my taco truckin buddy CMH Gourmand – a Kansas City Barbeque Society Certified BBQ judge. The expert Gourmand declared it excellent BBQ, so you don’t just have to take my word for it: this is the real deal. Tennessee style ribs smoked for 3-4 hours over apple or cherry wood, tender and flavorful with our without the sauce.  Chasis Place is opening a permanent take out place on Main Street but it sounds like they will still keep the truck and maybe move it back to the west side.  

Continuing on the BBQ theme – Slow Food Columbus’s cubano pig roast, one of the wonderful food events I went to this month. 

pig roast

You can read all about the china box method of pig roasted and details of the event on the Slow Food blog. The highlight for me was actually the home made ceviche of bay scallops, shrimp and corvina, with a perfect blend of lime, chili and cilantro, it was phenomenal. 

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I used some of the left over bananas and coconuts to made banana bread. I found the recipe for coconut banana bread on the  Orangette  blog and it was one of the best banana breads I have ever had (must be the rum!) I substituted fresh grated coconut and it worked fine. 

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May’s Too Many Cooks event at Wild Goose Creative was a salt tasting with Lisa Dillman (aka Restaurant Widow). Lisa led us through a series of her favorite salts discussing the differences between them and possible uses. The coolest was the Cypriot black lava salt which forms in amazing little pyramid shapes. Taste-wise I liked the sel gris the best. The smoked salt was the most popular that I brought home and the Murray River salt (which reminds me of my Christmas trip to Australia) is definitely the prettiest. The is an awesome photo album of the event here.

I went to two events at the Hills Market this month: their annual Memorial Day weekend salmon roast and a much smaller gathering of people who thought that beer floats were a good idea. The latter was an ice cream social with Snowville creamery. Beer floats may be a strange idea, but root beer floats are not and using a bicycle to churn Snowville cream into ice cream is an excellent idea. The beer floats were surprisingly good. 

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The salmon roast is a huge affair and I imagine a couple of thousand people ploughed their way through the seemingly endless supply of salmon sandwiches. Hills have things well worked out, the line moves quickly, there is music and even free samples of ice cream and other goodies to try while you wait your turn. We rode our bikes up the Olentangy bike trail and enjoyed relaxing on the patio (and in the air conditioned store) before our ride home. I have to admit my highlight was trying Jeni’s strawberry buttermilk ice cream for the first time. 

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Not too many restaurant visits this month, those taco trucks keep us busy. Apart from The Winds the highlights were dinner on the patio at Basi Italiavoted 5th best patio in Columbus (they now serve lunch out there as well). I went to meatball monday to ‘celebrate’ losing my job, it was a perfect setting and a cocktail, good food and good company was just what I needed. I also had my first visit to G. Michaels in German Village. We sat at the bar on a sunday evening and shared some appetizers. Our favorite was sweetbread, chicken liver and bacon skewers over buttermilk grits with vidalia cream. It was both well conceived and well executed and really hit the spot. 

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A few of my other favorite food related things this month:

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  • My new-to-me Weber – thanks Blammo. How did I live without a grill? (and isn’t my yard lovely for eating al fresco)
  • My new (on sale!) Le Creuset – thanks to the North Market Cookware.
  • Jeni’s Mothers Day ‘Brunch in Paris‘ Ice cream flavors –  Only Jeni could have made ice cream a breakfast food! How I long for more toasted brioche ice cream – and why don’t they make the cafe au lait all the time? I much preferred it to the dark coffee they normally have. 
  • Grilled asparagus. My number 1 vegetable this month. 
  • The return of the farmers markets
  • Thurns smoked pork chops (not shown). So tender, so tasty not to mention their garlic brats and smoked trout (pictured). I have written about Thurns before. If you live in Columbus and you still haven’t been there, and you aren’t a vegetarian. Go.  

So that was May. June starts with a ten day trip to England and I will try and blog a little while I am away. I hope to post more frequently over the summer.

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Filed under Columbus, Ohio, slow food, special events, Uncategorized