**note from the writer: I believe this blog post would be best if you played Little Big Town’s song “Girl Crush” while you enjoy reading. Thank you.**
I’m not much of a hugger. Never really have been and even there are some people that I never hug even though I’ve known them for over ten years. We just didn’t cross that hug line.
Enter Dana Cree.
I met Dana Cree at a mutual friends house for dinner. I had heard stories of the infamous Dana Cree- working for the Paul Kahan- and how she was taking over Chicago’s pastry scene. Over courses of roasted chicken and god who know’s what else, I decided then and there that I had a girl crush. You see, pastry folk are interesting folk. We love math, think onsies are still funny, feel that word play is a sign of intelligence, and seem to always end our time together showing each other cats pictures. I’m not trying to sterotype anyone here, but if you can check all those boxes- you are most likely a pastry chef. Dana has a very special form of humor- one that when you find someone with it you must capture it for dear life. It’s the type of humor that days later you are in the shower and you start to laugh out loud about something they said a week ago- that shit lasts. As the night came to a close all of our stomachs were aching due to all the laughing and I’m pretty sure I pulled a muscle in my face. We all file out of the apartment making our ways to cabs, buses, and trains when I just walked over and gave Dana a hug. I vividly remember this because she just stood there, limp. I just hugged and hugged and then came to realize maybe Dana wasn’t a hugger either. I slowly released her from my grasp and just shrugged. She got into a cab and I walked to the El.
We have been friends ever since.
**repeat song please**
The darling Ms. Cree has just released an incredible book about ice cream. It is called “Hello, My Name is Ice Cream” and it is a must have for anyone that has licked melting ice cream from their hand. (or picked up a popsicle off the ground since you dropped it and guess what? Still ate it.) What makes this book such a show stopper is the ease in which it reads- you have your science for those of us who want to clearly understand what is going on in our frozen treat and have the power and knowledge to fix any issues that we might come across when creating our own recipes. Then you have the different styles of ice creams that one could create: Philadelphia style, sherbets, custard, and frozen yogurt. Such similar ingredients but such different outcomes makes this homage to the different styles so beautiful. Then you have add in and sauces that talk about texture and how it effects the balance of your ice cream. GENIUS! All while, providing trust worthy recipes that everyone can make! I’ll admit it, I was grinning ear to ear when I ventured into the frozen yogurt section- I literally am making everything into a frozen yogurt. I’m trying out different yogurts- coconut, goat, soy- what is the difference in mouth texture and flavor. I finally settled on making a cucumber lime frozen yogurt with greek yogurt. I wanted a light and refreshing ice cream to pair with my new angel food cake and strawberry dish for this spring at Café No Se. I started juicing cucumbers with the skin on so that I could maintain a bright green color. Using the meyer lemon frozen yogurt recipe in the book- I changed out the lemon juice for cucumber juice and stepped lime zest for only 10 minutes. I was nearly jumping up and down when I mixed the base together as it was a perfect color of pastel green and it stayed that color after we spun it. ( I was afraid that it would lighten to the point of not seeing the color due to overrun but alas, it stayed that beautiful color!) In brief, this book changed my life. It catapulted my creativity to reach farther into the technique of ice cream at the same time enjoying the simpilcty of its nature. Every so often there is abook that I get everyone for their birthday, Christmas, the New Year and 2017 it the book of Hello, My Name is Ice Cream.
For someone who has spent a life time researching and developing recipes that are user friendly, delishious flavors, and interchangeable with other ingredients is truly a gift. I am thankful for the knowledge imparted so that I can improve and learn from their years of hard work. As I finished the last page and closed the book, I felt a little less homesick for my friend Dana back in Chicago. Well done lady. You deserve a big hug.