More Thai Food, Ice Cream Sandwiches & Survival Living

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Jonathan Gold is a restaurant critic for Gourmet magazine. He also writes for the LA Weekly.

Featured restaurant:
Krua Thai
13130 Sherman Way, North Hollywood 818-759-7998.
Suggested dishes: special pad thai, larb, pad ke mao (flat noodles stir-fried with mint, minced meat, vegetables and lots of chiles), salad with deep fried fish bladders, yen tha pho (vividly pink soup with fermented fish balls)

Other Jonathan Gold favorites:
Renu Nakorn for Issan-style northern Thai food
13041 E Rosecrans Ave, Norwalk (562) 921-2124

Palms Thai
5273 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood (323) 462-5073

Ruen Pair Thai
5257 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood (323) 466-0153

Sanamluang Caf- for the General Noodle's Soup
5176 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood (323) 660-8006

Rodded Duck specialists
5623 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles (323) 962-8382 Satang Thai for southern Thai-style food
8247 Woodman Ave, Van Nuys (818) 989-5637

Paul Johnson is the owner of Organic Express. For weekly or bi-weekly home delivery of organic produce and grocery products, call 310-ORGANIC (674-2642)

Abby Dodge is an editor for Fine Cooking magazine. The June/July issue features a pull-out section on basic cooking techniques and tips.

Ice-Cream Sandwiches
Yields 12 ice-cream sandwiches, each 2 3/4" square

For the soft chocolate cookie:

  • 5 2/3 ounces (1 1/4 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 ounces (1/2 cup) unsweetened, natural cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 3 ounces (6 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup cold milk
For assembly:
  • 1 quart or 2 pints ice cream (vanilla, chocolate, coffee, mint chocolate chip, mocha swirl, raspberry sorbet, or your favorite flavor)
  • 1 1/2 cups press-on garnish (hard peppermint candies, finely crushed; bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped or grated; pecans, finely chopped and toasted; crystallized ginger candies, minced; sweetened coconut, toasted; amaretti cookies, crushed; toffee chips, crushed)
  • Make the soft cookie:
    Position a rack on the center rung of the oven. Heat the oven to 350-F. Lightly grease the bottom of an 18" x13" rimmed baking sheet. Line the pan with parchment to cover the bottom and the edges of the pan's longer sides.

    Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl, and whisk to blend. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with a hand-held electric mixer on medium-high until well blended and lightened in color, about 3 minutes. Beat in the vanilla. Add about a third of the flour mixture and beat on medium low until just blended. Pour in half the milk and beat until just blended. Add another third of the flour and blend. Pour in the remaining milk and blend, and then beat in the remaining flour.

    Distribute the dough evenly over the prepared pan in small dollops. Using one hand to anchor the parchment, spread the dough with a spoon or spatula. Drag a rectangular offset spatula (I like my burger flipper) over the dough to smooth it into an even layer, rotating the pan as you work. Brush or spray a sheet of parchment the same size as the pan with oil, and lay it, oiled side down, on the dough. Roll a straight rolling pin or a straight-sided wine bottle over the paper (or swipe it with a dough scraper) to level the batter. Carefully peel away the parchment. Bake until a pick inserted in the center comes out clean, 10 to 12 minutes. Set the pan on a wire rack and let cool to room temperature.

    Assemble the layers:
    Lay two long pieces of plastic wrap in a cross shape on a baking sheet. Slide a knife along the inside edge of the pan containing the cookie to loosen it. Invert the cookie onto a large cutting board. Peel off the parchment. Using a ruler as a guide, cut the cookie crosswise into two equal pieces. Place one layer top side down in the middle of the plastic wrap (a wide, sturdy spatula will help the transfer).

    Remove the ice cream from the freezer and take off the lid. It's important to work quickly from this point on. (If the ice cream gets too soft, pop it onto a plate and back into the freezer to harden up.) Using scissors or a sharp knife, cut the container lengthwise in two places and tear away the container. Set the ice cream on its side and cut into even slices, 1/2" to 3/4" thick, and arrange them on top of the brownie layer in the pan, pairing the smallest piece next to the largest.

    Using a rubber spatula, gently yet firmly smear the ice cream to spread it evenly. (It helps to put a piece of plastic wrap on the ice cream and smear with your hands. Remove the plastic before proceeding.)

    Position the remaining cookie layer, top side up, over the ice cream. Press gently to spread the ice cream to the edges. Put a clean piece of plastic on top and wrap the long ends of the bottom sheet of plastic up and over the layers and ice cream. Put the baking sheet in the freezer and chill until the sandwich is hard, about 4 hours and up to two days.

    Cut the sandwiches:
    Take the baking sheet out of the freezer. Lift the package from the pan, transfer it to a cutting board, and line the pan with a fresh piece of plastic. Peel the top layer of plastic off the sandwich. (You can leave on the bottom layer.)

    Working quickly with a ruler and a long, sharp chef's knife, score the cookie, dividing it into twelve--three across the short side and four across the long side. Cut the sandwiches, wiping the blade clean as needed. (If your kitchen is very warm, put the pieces back into the freezer to firm, or work with one strip at a time, keeping the rest in the freezer.)

    Garnish the sandwiches, if you like:
    Fill a small, shallow bowl with your chosen garnish and set it next to your work surface. Press some of the garnish onto some or all of the sides of the sandwich. Set the sandwiches back on the baking sheet and return to the freezer immediately. (If your kitchen is warm, keep the sandwiches in the freezer and garnish one at a time.) Once the sandwiches are hard, wrap them individually in plastic and store in the freezer. They'll keep for up to two weeks.

    Christopher Nygeres is the owner/operator of The School of Self-Reliance which offers survival classes all year long, plus classes on identifying native California plants. For more information, call 323-255-9502. Nygeres' book is Extreme Simplicity.