Robot Coffee

If the last entry was a play on a BiRite classic, this one is a reinvention of one of Humphry Slocombe’s best-known flavors: my version of their Blue Bottle Vietnamese Iced Coffee.


#rivalry (photo by AM)

In SF, Humphry Slocombe is the punk rock analogue to BiRite’s mainstream power pop (how’s that for a belabored analogy?). I actually first learned of them from the New York Times Magazine, because I am not cool. Humphry Slocombe does many weird flavors (although their flavors have gone a bit more mainstream in the last few years, to my mind), many of which I love and many of which I love to make (Rosemary’s Baby and Roasted White Chocolate Lavender among them). Continue reading

GH’s Faux-canelas

An update! HC’s friend Charlie (who got married in the last post, L.A. Story) wrote to tell me that he was looking up a Jeni’s recipe and that it used cream cheese. This would explain the consistency that I found so unusual! (I corroborated this with HC’s friend Joe, who among other things was once a pastry chef, who agreed with me.) Mystery solved — maybe.

On to today’s installment. Bi-Rite is one of the Bay Area’s treasures, a grocery store and ice cream shop with two locations (one near Dolores Park, the other near Alamo Square). The line for the Bi-Rite Creamery can extend down the block, in an archetypal display of our local love for queuing.* I love a lot of their flavors, particularly Crème Brûlée and Brown Sugar with Ginger Caramel, but Ricanelas (cinnamon with snickerdoodles) is also very good.

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L.A. Story

Habeas has been a little quiet lately. You can blame travel, work, and a slight cold. On the upside, the travel took me to L.A. for a wedding over Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend — and allowed me to try a couple new ice cream flavors.

First, I had a fun expedition to Grand Central Market, which has changed a lot since I last went in 2013. There’s an outpost of Santa Barbara’s McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams there, an outfit I hadn’t heard of. I ordered a split* of Cardamom Gingersnap and Eureka Lemon & Marionberries (see below). The texture was good, but I liked the former more than the latter — the lemon wasn’t really working for me.


I hope you guys like ice cream shot with Dutch tilts, because you’d better get used to it.

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Churning and Chilling

This installment is most relevant to those of you who’ve chosen to use the KitchenAid attachment. I’m not exactly sure how the standalone ice cream makers work, except that science is involved.

The KitchenAid attachment comes with four pieces. First, the bowl — plastic, double-walled, with a chemical in between the walls that I believe is also in freezer packs. Never put this in the dishwasher. Also, if you see blue fluid leaking from anywhere, that means the seal is broken and unfortunately you’ll have to replace the entire bowl. Second, a plastic white circle that is the adapter seating for some stand mixer bases. Third, the dasher — which you put in the middle of the bowl. Fourth, the adapter for the top of the mixer, so that the dasher can turn with the motor of the stand mixer.

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Mona’s Lime Sorbet with Candied Ginger


My mom’s reaction to my giving her the credit for my interest in cooking was typical for our family (“Why did you say I was the reason?!”). In our family we’re not great at compliments. As I told her, “You know, some parents would be happy about their children given them credit, even if it wasn’t deserved.”

I spent four years in grad school in Ann Arbor (#goblue) and one of my favorite spots to hang out was Zingerman’s — the famous deli, specialty food store, and café. I spent many hours there studying intellectual property and technology policy. One of my favorite Zingerman’s traditions is that many of their sandwiches are named after different people — something I’m going to adopt here.

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So Basic



In my mind, there are two main types of ice cream bases — those that use egg yolks, and those that don’t (which are based solely in milk and cream). I use the egg yolk version most often. It creates the typical mouth feel we associate with ice cream. Unctuous without greasiness, it’s that smooth sensation you remember whenever you hear the phrase “cookies and cream.”

The downside of yolk-based ice cream is that the flavors you add won’t come through as cleanly as they would with just a milk/cream base. I actually don’t think this is a problem. If you use fresh ingredients for flavoring — spices, nuts, and everything else — I don’t think this is much of an issue. I find dairy-only bases to be too icy and harsh for proper mouthfeel. They lack the proper viscosity.

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Making ice cream is not very complicated, and luckily most of the necessary equipment will already be in a well-stocked kitchen.

The exception to that, of course, is the ice cream maker. There are two main options to go with that I know of. The first, which I have no experience with, is the stand-alone ice cream maker. This is a single use device that literally just makes ice cream. They list at about $100 to $150. Cooks Illustrated likes the Cuisinart Automatic Frozen Yogurt-Ice Cream & Sorbet Maker. That means it’s probably pretty good, given how rigorous they are with their testing.

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Welcome to Habeas Custard

Hi friends!

Like all right-hearted people who eat dairy and eggs, you probably like ice cream. So do I. It’s the classic kids dessert — we all screamed for it, remember?

Unlike cookies, cakes, pies, and breads, ice cream is one of those things that requires a fair amount of capital investment to make at home. But I’m a snob when it comes to most things, and spending money on pints with too many obscure chemical ingredients was becoming a pain. Plus, if you make it yourself, you get to choose your own flavors. And people are incredibly impressed.

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