I recently ran across The Naptime Chef's™ blog and her exciting summertime Ice Cream Festival. You can read more here about The Naptime Chef and her Festival, but I think the interview should speak for itself. (As should the image at left of TNC's Chocolate Malted Milk.)
One thing that I think is pretty cool is that I have been meaning to share some of the recipes from my ice cream party (I know, I know! I will! I will!) and one of the recipes I was going to share was the Coconut Samoa Ice Cream I made for Husband. Mine is pretty easy: Make a coconut ice cream (I used the Toasted Coconut Ice Cream recipe in David Lebovitz's The Perfect Scoop) and add crumbled Girl Scout Samoas (a.k.a. Caramel deLites)...and cooincidentally, The Naptime Chef's latest recipe was also for Girl Scout Samoa Ice Cream!
Scoopalicious: Tell me about the Naptime Chef...
The Naptime Chef: The Naptime Chef™ started in early 2009 because of the birth of my daughter. Nothing throws a wrench in your cooking style like the arrival of a baby, and I was no different. I love to cook and bake, but with an infant I had no time or energy! I would start thinking about dinner at 4:30pm and, totally overwhelmed by the prospect of cooking from scratch, end up ordering delivery instead. It was awful. About three months after she was born I started “reworking” my favorite recipes to figure out how I could make them while she napped and complete them in the evening. After all, my tastes hadn’t changed, I still wanted to eat and make good food! Once I figured out how to make all my favorites I was thrilled. Shortly thereafter I went to playgroup and told my friends about the lasagna I had recently made, they looked at me like I was crazy. I realized that they were struggling with cooking at home so I started The Naptime Chef™ to help them.
I purposely publish recipes that can be prepared ahead of time and completed in the evening, or whipped up on a moment’s notice. I want all home cooks to get excited and realize that is possible to cook delicious food with children at home, you don’t have to give up being a foodie just because you are a parent! Remarkably, many adults with grown children have told me that my work has reminded them of the joys of home cooking, and has motivated them to get cooking again.
The great news is that the site is currently being redesigned and will re-launch this fall with great features like an ingredient “search” bar, a recipe box, printable recipe pages and loads of helpful advice for all home cooks.
Scoopalicious: Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?
The Naptime Chef: I grew up in Cooperstown NY where I learned to appreciate farm fresh food and artisanal food products. I attended Emma Willard (Hey! One of my best friends also went here!) for High School and then Bates College. When I arrived at Bates I was thrilled to discover their commitment to organic produce and recyclable materials. This was in the mid-90's, so they were ahead of the curve. After college I moved to New York City where I live today. My husband and I love the energy of the big city, and our 20-month old daughter enjoys it as well.
Scoopalicious: How did you come up with the idea of the Great Ice Cream Festival 2009?
The Naptime Chef: I love making Ice-cream and so does my friend Nicole, so we thought it would be fun this summer to make a new ice-cream flavor per week. Whenever we are together - our daughters are playmates and we are good friends - we always end up talking about food. So this project seemed like a fun thing for us to do together. We split the duties, each of us tackle recipes independently and then compare notes before they are published. Nicole doesn't blog, she is an event planner and busy mother. Her life is about to get busier, too, she is due with her second baby in September!
Scoopalicious: Who eats all the ice cream?
The Naptime Chef: Honestly, my husband and I. Thank goodness we live in NYC where we can walk everywhere for exercise!
Scoopalicious: How do you decide which ice cream to make when?
The Naptime Chef: At the beginning of the festival we asked people to submit ideas for flavors they would like to see. This gave us guidelines and ideas, it has been a lot of fun to develop new flavors based on requests.
Scoopalicious: What's your favorite ice cream so far?
The Naptime Chef: I love anything with mint so Peppermint Bark ice-cream has been my favorite so far.
Scoopalicious: What's your least favorite flavor? (We'll need you to report back at the end of the project for a final report on these two questions!)
The Naptime Chef: I don't have a least favorite. Yet.
Scoopalicious: What have you learned so far?
The Naptime Chef: I have become ace at making custard and now really appreciate the precision that goes into the cooking it correctly. If the custard gets messed up you have to start over and it stinks.
Scoopalicious: Which ice cream maker do you use?
The Naptime Chef: A basic Cuisinart Ice-20. There is no need for fancy equipment when making ice-cream, this can be bought on Amazon inexpensively.
Scoopalicious: I noticed that recipe number 2 (Chocolate Butter Almond) was based on a recipe from an ice cream maker instruction book. Are most of your recipes based on other recipes or are they from scratch?
The Naptime Chef: I have a vanilla custard base that I use for most recipes and that is my jumping off point. But the Chocolate Chocolate Chip w/ Salted Cashews was based on a New York Times recipe from last summer.
Scoopalicious: How was the peach ice cream? I have never made a peach ice cream that I was happy with. Mine is always icy. Any hints?
The Naptime Chef: The peach ice-cream is amazing! I let the peaches macerate in sugar for a little bit which draws out their juices. Then the juices go in the custard and serve as a natural sweetener and flavor boost. Don't scrimp on the peaches either, only fresh will do! Iciness might be caused by not enough milkfat, be sure to use real cream and whole milk.
Scoopalicious: Your friend Sarah seems helpful, too...how do we get hooked up to her ice cream making hints?
The Naptime Chef: Sarah is my friend from high school on Facebook. If you become her friend, too, you can read her "notes" page and ice-cream recipes! But I am not going to print her last name on a website - you'll have to contact me for it!
Scoopalicious: What's next?
The Naptime Chef: This fall I am planning a Great Apple Festival in celebration of my favorite delicious fall fruits. This winter I think I'll do cookies. It is fun to have a "concentration" by season, and I think my readers enjoy it as well.
Scoopalicious: Anything else you want to tell us?
The Naptime Chef: Never, ever by synthetic ice-cream. Either make it yourself or buy the quality brands that come in pints. Everything else is just filled with silicone!
Thanks so much TNC! We really enjoyed the interview! Keep up the yummy work!