Kristin Appenbrink, Associate Web Editor at Real Simple + Ice Cream Maker
Kristin may just be the closest thing to a modern-day Girl Scout. Crafty, social and of course, always prepared, she espouses a 'can do' spirit that is downright infectious. It's no surprise, then, that this intrepid web editor has managed to turn her ice cream making hobby into a budding side business. When she's not busy creating cool new confections, she's likely connecting the many people in her life to one another - in our case, over a wonderful summer meal!
Read on for Kristin's favorite ice cream spots and her own 'real simple' pantry items!
Please tell us what you do.
I'm the associate web editor for Real Simple, which means I manage all of our social media and our blogs.
Wait! We also know you like ice cream - a lot. Please tell us about Belinder.
Belinder Ice Cream came about on a whim basically. I spent my entire summer making ice cream for an Ice Cream Social blog on Simply Stated (part of RealSimple.com). In the course of a month, National Ice Cream month to be specific, I made eight flavors, four toppings, and blogged about it everyday. I also entered the Ice Cream Takedown, with my Dirty Chai ice cream. It might not have won, but it did gain plenty of fans among my friends. I had a couple of requests to make ice cream for dinner parties, so I figured why not make it a bit easier and put together a site so people beyond my friends and co-workers (the best taste-testers a girl could ask for) could get some ice cream as well.
As for the name, Belinder is actually the street I grew up on in Kansas. So while it's an incredibly common word to me, few people here have heard of it. Plus, I'm a word nerd, and it just seems to have a really nice balance.
A Kansas City girl! Has being a Midwestern girl in New York impacted your cooking/eating style at all?
It's not so much a function of being from the Midwest, but I grew up with a really well-stocked kitchen, both in terms of groceries and supplies. My dad has worked in the restaurant industry for years, so we have the industrial version of just about everything in our house. Luckily he has helped both my sister and I stock our kitchens over the years. The next thing he's sending me is a pasta maker.
Top pantry essentials in your kitchen?
I always keep tofu and veggies on hand. I also keep almond butter and oatmeal in my kitchen at all times.
Who are some chefs/producers you admire?
I really admire Heidi Swanson from 101 Cookbooks, and Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs who run Food52. I think their site Foodpickle is one of the most helpful things on the web.
What are your favorite cookbooks?
While you can't go wrong with Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, I also really love the Simple Suppers cookbook from Moosewood Restaurant, and The Ciao Bella Book of Gelato and Sorbetto cookbook. Their plain ice cream base is almost foolproof.
Can you take us through your ice cream development process? What inspires your flavors?
I spent a good portion of my summer focused on the classics, but with fall I've started to think more about flavors. I'm paying attention to the flavor combinations in recipes I read, dishes I order at restaurants, and meals I make with my friends. Since the greenmarkets here in NYC are winding down, I've been focusing a bit more on sorbets (mainly cocktail inspired ones). And, of course, with the holidays around the corner I've been making peppermint and will be trying my hand at eggnog shortly.
For someone who loves ice cream so much, you've gotta tell us who's tops!
There are so many good options for ice cream in New York City. I haven't tried them all, but I'm partial to Amorino near Union Square and Van Leeuwen in Boerum Hill. Since visiting ice cream shops could be considered "research," I've started a New York City Ice Cream Tour on Foodspotting. Hopefully, I'll be adding more sightings soon.
What are your favorite kitchen utensils or gadgets?
Well, I've had my own KitchenAid stand mixer since I was 17. But my most recent splurge was a cherry pitter from OXO. It wasn't terribly expensive, but so worth the money.
Where do you shop for kitchen supplies?
I love going to stores like Sur la Table and Williams-Sonoma, but I tend to order from Amazon in the end. If I'm shopping for glassware or servingware, Fishs Eddy is top of my list.
How would you describe your food aesthetic/cooking style?
Well, I'm a vegetarian, so aside from my ice cream fetish and love of brownies, I try to cook fresh and healthy.
What are your favorite treats to make at home?
Last year I bought my sister an ice cream maker for her graduation present, and while I was at it, I got one for myself as well. Since then I've been making a new flavor almost every weekend.
Your go-to dish that's sure to draw raves from guests?
If not my brownies and ice cream, it would have to be Corn and Crab Bisque. It's a recipe my family has been using for years, and it came from the cookbook put together by the Junior League of Kansas City.
Tasty hole-in-the-wall you'd be willing to share?
For as much as I love food, I'm actually terrible with restaurant recommendations. But I'm lucky to live across the street from Bedouin Tent, one of the best places for falafel in the city. (Editor's note: The perfectly warm and fluffy pitas pictured were purchased from Bedouin Tent.)
What are your best tips for novice home cooks?
Salt, olive oil, and freshly cracked black pepper make everything better.
What do you like to listen to while you cook?
I normally just turn on Pandora. Lately it's been the Miike Snow station.
Whose pantry(ies) would you like to raid?
I would basically like to spend the day in a magazine test kitchen. Where everything is at my finger tips and the spice cabinet is stocked. That's the one thing I always end up running back out to get - spices that I haven't cooked with before.
What's your idea of a perfect dinner party?
I like things to be simple. It's less about the meal, and more about good company and plenty of wine.
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World's Easiest Falafel and Tzatziki
World's Easiest Falafel and Tzatziki
2 cups dried chickpeas, rinsed well and soaked overnight
1 small yellow onion
1 bunch mint, washed
1/2 bunch cilantro, rinsed and coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic
1 egg (optional)
1 piece bread
2 pinches salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 lemons, juiced
1 cup canola oil for frying
1 cucumber, peeled and seeded
1 cup plain yogurt, Greek style preferred
salt and pepper to taste
1 pkg. pita or flatbread
1. Drain chickpeas and let air dry for 2 hours, or more.
2. Process chickpeas, onion, 2 cloves garlic, half bunch mint, cilantro, egg, bread, salt and pepper, cumin and half the lemon juice on low speed until a thick paste forms. No chunks or your balls will fall apart.
3. Form into patties and let rest while tzatziki is made.
4. Rinse processor and pulse cucumber, yogurt, rest of mint and lemon juice and the last garlic clove on low just until blended. salt and pepper to taste.
5. Fry patties in canola on medium high heat for 3 minutes each side or until golden brown.
6. Serve with warm pita or flatbread.
Thanks again, Kristin, for the perfect summer get-together and peek into your sunny kitchen! Be sure to follow Kristin on Twitter and check out her delicious small batch treats over at Belinder Ice Cream. Those in the NYC-area should sign up for her next Skillshare class, How to Make Ice Cream Without an Ice Cream Maker!