When I think of summer, one of the first things that come to mind is ice cream.
Photo Credit: victor|bonomi on Flickr
It’s closely followed by day drinking outside with friends, beach umbrellas and pulling my toes through sand wet from the ocean. I spent half my childhood growing up on a beach in Florida, so I’m a total sunbunny. I live for summer.
So, I’m really excited to share that I’ll be partnering with Haagen-Dazs all summer to celebrate (and share) the best summer moments, especially when it comes to food. Last week, I started using the hashtag #HDMoment to share my favorite summer moments on twitter, Instagram and Facebook, and now you can as well.
Every time you use the hashtag to share a summer moment, Haagen-Dazs will donate $5 to a great cause. (More about that at the end of this post.) In addition, I’ll be helping Haagen-Dazs choose the very best summer moments to compile into a free ebook and yours could be among them.
Another exciting part of getting to work with Haagen-Dazs on this is that I also got to hang out with chef and Food Network star Alex Guarnaschelli. Chef Guarnaschelli will be sharing her favorite #HDMoment updates all summer, too. Last week, we talked ethnic food, ice cream and stress-free cooking for a crowd. Keep reading to hear about her perfect summer meal and the surprising spots that make up her list of favorite NYC haunts.
Food Network star, Chef Alex Guarnaschelli of Butter and The Darby. Photo Credit: Bill Durgin
Favorite summer meal if Guarnaschelli has a night to herself:
- Corn, roasted with brown sugar.
- Parsnips. “I know they don’t seem summery, but I’m really all about the vegetables,” Guarnaschelli said.
- Lobster steamed in the shell. “There’s no other way to do it.” she said.
- Lastly, Guarnaschelli loves a whole mackerel, roasted.
Photo Credit: anotherpintplease on Flickr
What if she had friends over on a random Friday night? (Scratch that, there’s no such thing as a chef in NYC with a Friday night off.) Make that a Tuesday?
“I really would enjoy going impulse shopping,” Guarnaschelli said. “If you make a list and the tomatoes aren’t good, then you’ve put yourself in a box. But if tomatoes are good, I’m gonna make something with tomatoes and because my friends are my friends, they’re going to love it. Maybe pick up a cheese plate. Make it easy and take yourself out of the equation.”
Favorite Haagen-Dazs flavors, then and now.
One of the reasons Guarnaschelli got involved with the #HDMoment campaign is because Haagen-Dazs has always been her favorite store-bought ice cream. She said, “I tasted some last month and it tasted the same as when I was a kid. That speaks to the quality of the ingredients.”
Her favorite flavors as a child and today are the same: Strawberry, Chocolate Chocolate Chip and Butter Pecan. (She also enjoys the coffee flavor but prefers it melted so she can drink it!)
Favorite summer moments?
“A lobster roll is an iconic summer moment,” Guarnaschelli said. But the effortless, messy, relaxed vibe of the beach feels like the epitome of summer and being able to be on the beach with her young daughter makes those her favorite moments of the season.
Mixing it Up
While Guarnaschelli loves a good indulgence every now and then, she knows how to keep things on the light side, too. “You can either have a sorbet with fresh fruit or go all out with a triple-decker sundae and it will still taste great. Let’s be real, I’m not eating ice cream 24-7,” she said.
In the mood to mix it up? The chef recommends macerating (mashing up) fresh berries with seltzer water and floating it over a contrasting flavor of sorbet. Try this with fresh raspberries over Haagen-Dazs Mango sorbet.
Favorite Ethnic Food:
Little known fact about Guarnaschelli: Her father that was borderline obsessed with cooking authentic Chinese cuisine. He took Chinese cooking classes when Guarnaschelli was young, then moved on to using cookbooks on his own at home and it developed into having a whole room at home full of woks and soy sauces. Thanks to her father, she seeks out great mom-and-pop Chinese in the city. When it’s done right, it makes her think of Dad.
Favorite Ethnic Eats in NYC:
Cafe China – 13 E. 37th St., Manhattan
“It looks like a library. But it’s really authentic,” Guarnaschelli said. “They do not play around. They keep it street. They make very unusual food. But whatever you do, do NOT have the desserts.”
- Kung Pao Chicken
- Jellyfish Salad
- “Odd” Vegetable Dishes
Izakaya 10 – 207 10th Ave., Manhattan
“They focus on cooked food. They are smaller plates, so the bill may be pricier but it’s excellent and they have great cocktails,” Guarnaschelli said.
I love that she gave my friends at Maharlika a shout out!
“I really love the cocktails there and the food is great, too. I love them,” she says.
111 1st. Ave., Manhattan
(Check out our post about Maharlika here.)
I couldn’t let Guarnaschelli go without asking her for her favorite Food Network moment.
“It was Iron Chef Battle Elk. That’s when I met Bobby Flay, and I was judging. He lost but still said, ‘You are so good at this.'” That was the beginning of an important friendship for the two. “He’s very generous,” she said.
I loved getting to know a great chef. Join us this summer and share your #HDMoment to help a great cause.
Every time anyone uses the hashtag publicly, Haagen-Dazs will donate $5 to The Honeybee Project at UCal-Davis to assist with their honeybee research (up to $25K). Honeybees are in trouble and they account for up to 1/3 of the world’s food supply (not to mention many of the ingredients that make Haagen-Dazs so delicious).The company has already donated $25K to the university in honor of the #HDMoment campaign.
So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and start sharing your favorite summer moments with me! I’d love to hear your favorite flavor of Haagen-Dazs in the comments or on twitter (use #HDMoment to let me know). Mine are strawberry and Dulce de Leche, if you ever want to have me over for a sundae.
Need more ice cream ideas for this weekend? Try these boozy milkshakes.
I love sharing details about upcoming tasty trips and adventures, so you won’t want to miss a bite. As always, please feel free to chat with me on Twitter, join our group on Facebook and keep up with new posts here by subscribing. Request an invite to future Midnight Brunch events here.