The Ice Cream Sandwich Girl

If there’s one thing I want to be known for in the kitchen, it’s my ice cream sandwiches. But in order for that legacy to exist I need to pump up the volume on my ice cream sandwich making. To start, I recently made a batch in honor of Andy’s 25th birthday.  The flavor combination was Goat’s Milk Rosemary Ice Cream on a Milk Chocolate Cookie.

I couldn’t find the exact recipe I was looking for, so I used a recipe I found online as my base and changed a few of the ingredients to create the flavor that I wanted. The whole process was a complete experiment, but I think I really  lucked out in the end.

Here’s how it went down:

Goat’s Milk Rosemary Ice Cream

  • 3 c. goat’s milk
  • 1 c. heavy cream
  • A small bunch of rosemary, 8-10 twigs
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 3/4 c. sugar (split, 1/4 c. and 1/2 c.)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat the goat’s milk, heavy cream, and 1/4 cup of the sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, whisking the mixture until the sugar is completely dissolved. Turn off the heat. Add in 6 rosemary sprigs and let sit in the hot milk mixture for 3 minutes. Discard the springs.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and 1/2 cup of sugar. Whisk a cup of the hot milk mixture into the egg yolks and sugar. This will temper the eggs and help prevent them from curdling in the hot milk. Whisk in another cup of hot milk and then pour the entire mixture back into the pot with the remainder of the milk mixture.
  3. Turn the heat back on medium-low and cook, stirring, until the mixture begins to thicken. Add in 3 new rosemary sprigs and let sit for another 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and strain though a fine mesh strainer into a bowl. Whisk in the vanilla.
  4. Chill thoroughly in the refrigerator. Overnight is best.
  5. Freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions. When the ice cream reaches frozen yogurt consistency, transfer it to a plastic container to freeze thoroughly in the freezer. For sandwiches, I like to transfer the ice cream to a small baking sheet lined with plastic wrap. I cover the top with another layer of plastic wrap and then pop it in the freezer.
Using a small baking sheet is a technique I figured out when I was going through my serious ice cream making phase. I realized that the more you manipulate ice cream, the faster it starts to melt. So if it freezes it at the appropriate sandwich thickness, all I have to do it cut it to fit the cookie when it’s ready for consumption.The cookie recipe was all Martha. You can find it here.
Goats Milk Rosemary Ice Cream on a Milk Chocolate Cookie
To my surprise, the sandwich turned out really well. The flavor of the rosemary and goat’s milk were both apparent and very complimentary. Though next time I think I’m going to try to make a fudgier, more brownie-like cookie so that it doesn’t break so much as you bite into it. And even though I got positive feedback from all my taste-testers, nothing will stop me from trying to perfect the art of the ice cream sandwich. It’s a task I was born to fulfill.
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San Francisco

Last weekend I went to San Francisco for a few days to catch a break from work and to get a feel for a new area. I couldn’t help but measure the city up against the one that I’m just starting to know pretty well, New York. With a map in my hand I started walking through an area called, The Mission district, en route to my hotel. Confused and famished, I waited until I reached Hayes Valley to grab some much-needed caffeine.  I had been dreaming about Blue Bottle Coffee since I bought my plane ticket and today was the day.

The more I explored, the more I realized how different San Francisco is compared to New York. Each neighborhood is very distinct and when you leave it, you notice. What New York doesn’t offer is a scenic drive along the coast and a whole lot of wine country to get lost in. For Andy and me, San Francisco offered us a new culinary playground and we did our best to soak it in.

We started with pastries from La Boulange, made our way to a number of authentic mexican restaurants, and ended each day by sampling the local ice cream.

A few highlights…

We drove out to Sonoma Valley to sample the viticulture culture and take a scenic break from city life.

And the ice cream we had was insane.

All in all, I’d say it was a successful trip. Would I go back? Absolutely…with an appetite.

Dancing Anchovies

It’s no secret that I spend most of my days in New York working in various restaurants. It’s a field that allows you (or sometimes forces you), to move around quite a bit and I have done just that a lot this past year. But now that I am happily grounded in one particular place, I can soak it every detail that sets this restaurant apart from the rest. A major feature is the Mediterranean flavor that permeates every dish in this local, seasonal menu. My favorite so far, you ask? It’s the anchoiade. Anchoiade (pronounced ann-sh-wad) is a dish that originated in Provence and typically includes anchovy, garlic, capers and olive oil. There are plenty of variations of this recipe, but the one that changed my world is a Dried Fig and Almond Anchoiade.  It’s a perfect topping on fresh fish, poultry or gamey meats; it also serves as a great condiment with cheese and crackers. I went ahead and attempted to make the same anchoiade that the Chef makes at the restaurant, taking into consideration that his measurements are all guesses based on the number of times he’s made the dish. Here’s an idea of what goes into it.

INGREDIENTS
yields 2 quarts

  • 1 c almonds
  • 1 qt dried figs (black mission)
  • 10 cloves garlic
  • 8 anchovies
  • 2 c olive oil, plus 1 to 2 tbsp. for roasting almonds
  • 1/2 c sherry vinegar
  • 4 tbsp. pomegranate molasses
  • 1 c parsley leaves (fresh)
  • 2 red onions
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • dash of sea salt and fresh crushed black pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp. local honey

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350*F. Combine garlic and anchovies into a mortar and pestle. Make a paste-like consistency (this is the anchoiade). When I make a quart of this recipe, the anchoiade only accounts for 1/4 c.
  2. Toss almonds with 1 to 2 tbsp. olive oil, a drizzle of honey and a pinch of cayenne pepper and roast in the oven for 15 minutes. When the almonds cool, chop finely.
  3. Take the tips off the dried figs and dice. Dice red onions. Set aside.
  4. Combine almonds, anchoiade, figs, red onions. olive oil, sherry vinegar, and pomegranate molasses. Be mindful between the balance between the sweetness of the figs and pomegranate molasses. To accentuate and not to over power. Be sure to cover in olive oil, that way the paste will last longer. Finish with chopped fresh parsley by batch and a dash of salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Keep refrigerated.

The end result is a tangy, sweet, nutty condiment perfect for impressing any guest.

Dried Fig & Almond Anchoiade

Everything But A Checkered Tablecloth

Andy and I love a good double date. We take the opportunity to entertain pretty seriously. First we develop a game plan, or rather, a menu. Then we assign who will make what. Our latest menu was spaghetti and meatballs served with salad and garlic bread. I know what you’re thinking. This is the most overused, cop-out menu plan EVER. I beg to differ. Our spaghetti and meatballs were original recipes. Andy took on the responsibility of the sauce and I happily offered to make the meatballs.

What Andy put in the sauce, I cannot recall exactly but I do remember how it all began. “Andy, that’s way too many onions.” I said. “You can always add more later if you want to.” The amount of onion Andy put into the sauté pan startled me. I don’t think he’s ever made sauce before, but I do know that it’s a really bad idea to stunt his culinary growth. For the rest of the sauce production, I stayed out the kitchen and hoped for the best.

My meatballs sort of followed my usual recipe, but the pressure was on to satisfy my friends with turkey meatballs, so I put in a little extra effort.

The mix: Ground turkey breast, white onion, pumpkin puree, garlic, salt, pepper, 1 egg.
The method: Mix everything together, form balls and brown on all sides in a pan coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. After the meatballs are cooked on all sides, add a little water to the pan and cover with the lid. This ensures juicy meatballs. Keep adding water and steaming the meatballs until they’re cooked all the way through. I usually do this 3 times.

We served the meal with a mixed green and pear salad and garlic bread.

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Garlic Bread and Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

For dessert, I made a banana pudding trifle. It’s basically layers of sliced bananas, vanilla pudding, and vanilla wafers, topped with a meringue and then baked.

Banana Pudding Trifle

The method: First, line the bottom of a glass dish with a layer of bananas. Add 1/3 of the pudding and then cover with a single layer of vanilla wafers. Repeat the layers until you get to the final layer of pudding. Then make the meringue by beating egg whites until stiff peaks form. I used 2 eggs, but it really depends on how much space you need to fill at the top trifle. Then add 1 tbsp. of sugar. Top the trifle with the meringue, making sure to go all the way to the edges to create a seal. Finally, place the trifle underneath the broiler for 5 to 10 minutes or until the entire top is browned. Other recipes bake the trifle in the oven for 20 minutes, but I prefer this faster method. I also like the pudding to be cold.

Pumpkins and Leaves

I have an interview in 1 hour and 5 minutes. That means I have about 20 minutes to make lunch, 10 to 15 minutes to eat it, and 15 minutes to figure out a killer interview outfit that will compel this General Manager to hire me on the spot.

So back to lunch. I need to make something quick, delicious and fun to eat (I want to keep the mood light). I know I have chicken sausage in my fridge, pumpkin puree and some other whimsical ingredients that will fuel me for this interview.

Without hesitation I fill a pot with water and set it on the stove to boil. Next, I chop up some onions, slice the sausage, and preheat a small saute pan with olive oil. When the pan is hot I toss in the onion and chicken sausage and saute everything until the onions caramelize. Then I add the pumpkin puree and some spices (cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg).

When the water starts to boil, I add the pasta and set the timer for 7 minutes. While the pasta is cooking, I take some of the water and add it to the pumpkin mixture to create a better sauce consistency.

To serve, I combine the pasta with the pumpkin mixture and top it with crumbled feta cheese and coarse black pepper. I even snapped a photo before consuming everything.

…I have to change now. Be back later.

Fall harvest-shaped pasta with chicken sausage, pumpkin and feta

The interview went well, but I will calmly and patiently have to wait a few more days (6) before finding out if I got the job. We’ll see how that goes.

My New York Tastes So Good

Everyone who lives in New York City has their own version of New York. For some, it’s a place for clubbing, meeting exotic strangers and discovering which bars serve the strongest drinks. For others, it’s a dirty, crazy, money-stealing, love-hate relationship. Then of course you have the coffee-drinking, art-going, local-food-loving, bicycle-riding New Yorker who will eventually end up living in Brooklyn. But for me, it’s a culinary playground. My New York is dominated by the restaurant industry and I’m just trying to get in with some of the “big boys” so that one day, I’ll be able to leave my mark on this ever-changing culinary scene.

To start, I’m slowly imposing my food-related interests on my friends in any way that they’ll allow it and so far, it’s working. A few days ago I had one of my good friends over for dinner and a cooking lesson all in one. Inspired by the Fall, we made a roast chicken, baked acorn squash and garlicky kale. And to drink, we had a bottle of Merlot from California (pairing wine and food is still a work-in-progress but I do try).

Cinnamon-Spiced Acorn Squash and Merlot

Roasted Chicken alongside Fall flavors

SQUASH INGREDIENTS

  • 1 acorn squash, cut in half horizontally
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. allspice
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. orange zest (optional)
STEPS
  1. Preheat the oven to 450° F. Lay the two squash halves on a baking sheet cut side up and scoop out the seeds. Season the flesh with the cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and ginger. Top if off with a little orange zest if that sounds good to you. Put a tablespoon of water in the squash so it can absorb it while baking (apple cider works well too).
  2. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until it is fork tender.

KALE INGREDIENTS

  • 1 to 2 tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 4 Garlic Cloves, chopped
  • Kale, a large bunch, chopped
  • 1 to 2 tbsp. Trader Joe’s Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar

STEPS

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add olive oil. Once the oil is extremely hot, add the garlic and brown for 5 minutes.
  2. Next add the kale a let cook down for a few minutes. Add the orange vinegar and flip the kale so that is cooks on all sides (lemon juice works well if you don’t have fancy vinegar). Each time you move the kale around, let it sit in the pan for a few minutes to char. Add salt and pepper to taste.

For the chicken you can find the recipe here from an earlier post.

Ithaca Is Cold

Last weekend I drove to Ithaca in upstate New York to visit Andy and as soon as I got there it was noticeably colder. Oh Ithaca, how you never let me down. Winter is pretty much king is this city; it lasts for a solid 8 months out of the year. Still, the city can be beautiful when it’s snow covered and there are plenty of ways to create your own warmth. This is the exact thought process that went through my mind as I shivered in an oversized sweater in Andy’s apartment, with a firm grip on my cup of tea. And I decided to make a fall granola. Piggy-backing off of my favorite granola recipe that I learned over the summer, I kept the base of the recipe the same and changed up some of the flavor combinations. This time, I wanted to use apple cider as the binder and figured that the rest of the ingredients would fall into place. It went a little something like this…

Cider Syrup

  • 2 c apple cider
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp clove
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp orange zest

Granola Mix

  • 1 1/2 c oats
  • 1 1/2 c puffed rice
  • 1 large apple, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 c almonds, roasted and coarsely chopped
To make the syrup:
  1. Heat a large saucepan over medium high heat and pour in the cider. Let the cider heat for a few minutes and then add the spices.
  2. Lower the heat to a simmer to let the mixture reduce and thicken. I let it decrease to a quarter of it’s original amount yielding 1/2 c for the recipe.
Granola:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Meaure the oats and puffed rice into a large bowl, set aside.
  3. Pour cider syrup ingredients over dry ingredients and stir until evenly coated. Spread mixture on the prepared cookie sheet in an even layer.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove sheet from the oven, stir the almonds and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the granola is golden brown and crisp.
Apple Cider and it’s Granola
The rest of the weekend was a blast. We listened to new music, ate the colors of fall, drank Finger Lakes wine and still had time to go to the Cornell Homecoming Football game. Thank goodness. Andy knows how much I hate to miss a good game*.

*I’m not a sports fan