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Ice cream sandwiches to help soothe your post-vacation blues—and to make the rest of your summer better.
What do you cook when you come back from vacation?
When I was growing up, post-vacation food meant eating simple, cheap meals, full of baby spinach or iceberg lettuce or whatever other green thing our local A&P put in its bagged salad section. I ate a lot of bagged salads as a kid—little self-contained sides with perfectly rectangular carrot sticks and a smaller bag-within-a-bag of pre-seasoned croutons. I also went on a lot of vacations, so found this a fine trade-off. (And what else did I know anyway? My idea of eating well was ordering the manhole cover-sized fettuccine alfredo at the only sit-down restaurant in town, just up the road a few klicks from the only stoplight in town.)
Now, I don’t see any reason not to keep the vacation alive when you come home, as in: Why should the fun stop just because the trip did? And besides, we’re going to need something to help us ease back into a life with fewer trees, less fresh air, and, at best, swampier water views. We’re going to need something to help break our fall.
My views from the past week were all shimmering waters and majestic mountains (and I say this having once vowed never to use the word “majestic” in the same area code as the word “mountain,” scarred early on by too many second-grade renditions of “My Country ’Tis of Thee”). Now that they’re not, I’m filling the void with ice cream sandwiches. Why should the fun stop now?
These happen to be made from two of my all-time favorite Food52 recipes—the wonderful focaccia Caroline Fidanza serves at Saltie, and David Lebovitz’s genius chocolate sorbet—two recipes I didn’t even know could try for a love child until they made eyes at eachother at a summer solstice sorbet party. (Each made by a different friend and former Food52 editor—Marian Bull and Nozlee Samadzadeh.)
If you’re shaking your head at the idea of bread and ice cream, I direct you to Mary’s Healthy Ice Cream Sandwiches, or Nigella Lawson’s no-churn espresso ice cream on brioche. These are your gateway drugs.
Next, make these: the chocolatey, salty, olive-oily heaven that will make you feel, if only for a minute, like you’re on the best vacation of your life. They’re a first-rate mess of a sandwich—they will dribble, and drip, and you will end up wearing some portion of them—but they will make whatever view you’re looking at right now (parking lot? dumpster? airshaft?) a little better. Majestic, even.
Makes 12 to 16 sandwiches, depending on the size of the bread you cut
For David Lebovitz's Chocolate Sorbet:
2 1/4 cups (555 ml) water
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup (75 g) unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
6 ounces (170 g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
For Saltie's Focaccia:
6 1/2 cups flour
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
3 1/2 cups warm water
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing and drizzling
Coarse sea salt
Photos by Mark Weinberg