One of the many reasons New Yorkers love their locale is the breadth of culture, music, food, and the 24-7 availability of pretty much anything you need. Being a native New Yorker and chef who has cooked with people from around the world, bodegas have always held a special place in my heart. Whether getting bacon, egg, and cheese on a roll at 6 a.m. or a six-pack for a late night party, you can always depend on hard-working bodega owners to be open, accessible, and, often times, the nicest people to interact with on a daily basis. A pint of ice cream or a pack of Advil is often just 4-5 blocks away, at most. Different neighborhoods around the five boroughs cater to various ethnic and socio-economic demographics, so some will be schmancier than others, or offer ingredients more marketable to the people in their ‘hood (see: konjac noodles). One thing all bodegas have, hands down, is ice cream. Here’s a special, 4-ingredient ice cream cake that I share in honor of Chelsea’s Alaska Market and the beautiful Naha, from Bangladesh, who works all day at the store and goes home to cook her own family a meal at night. If you love Good Humor strawberry shortcake ice cream pops, available at some bodegas, you’ll love this make-at-home version! —Danielle Rehfeld Colen
Lorna Doone shortbread cookies (54 snack size cookies or 4 cups crushed cookies)
Line a 2 1/2 qt. rectangular ceramic baking dish with 3 layers of foil. Make sure the foil covers the sides and corners, and allow some excess to hang over the edges.
Place the cookies in a Ziploc bag, crush with your hands until fine, and place in a mixing bowl. You should have a total of 4 cups of cookies. Remove 1 cup and set aside.
Add the melted butter to 3 cups of crushed cookies and mix well. Place in the bottom of the baking dish. Freeze for 10-20 minutes or until firm.
Using an offset spatula, spread the vanilla ice cream into a thin layer over the shortbread crust. Rinse the spatula under running cold water then use it to smooth the surface of the ice cream. Freeze for at least 30-45 minutes or until firm.
Repeat with strawberry ice cream, and garnish with the remaining shortbread .