Monday, October 26, 2009

Milky Earl Grey Sorbet

I am going to admit something that is, perhaps, a little odd. I like British things. Do I make fun of British things? Yes. Constantly? Sure. But that's only because I like everything the country has to offer!

I like those names like Stratford-Upon-Twickwickenhamshire. I liked Fergie waaay better than Diana. I like the way people in England don't seem to mind it if you're super duper drunk. I like chavs and twitchers and bangers and mash. I like Miss Havisham. I particularly like the way a lot of them don't seem too interested in the letter T.
Speaking of T, I am a tea drinker. And yes, I like Bri'ish tea. So much so that I wondered what would happen if I brewed some Earl Grey and mixed up with milk and sugar. Well let me tell you, it is oh, so good. So very good indeed!

Milky Earl Grey Sorbet

2 tablespoons decaffeinated Earl Grey tea
5 cups boiling water
1/2 cup demerara sugar
1/4 cup milk

Place tea and water in a bowl. Steep for one to two minutes making sure that the brew doesn't go bitter. Strain immediately. Add sugar. Let cool over night. Add milk. Freeze in an ice cream maker as per the manufacturer's instructions.

Excellent Idea Alert!

What if there was a band called The British People? They'd be just like the Village People but a thousand times better. They would wear snazzy costumes and do a song to the tune of "YMCA" but change the words so it would be "London, UK." Amazing, right? Bigger than the Spice Girls, right? Bigger than the freakin' queen! God bless her, by the way.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sunday Spice - Star Anise Ice Cream

This, friends, is one of my most successful adventures. Just ask Remy – it was part of her birthday spread. The consistency, the flavor, the fragrance, the color - everything, was just amazing. The recipe is a variation of what I found here.

Why is it a variation? Uh, because I ran out of vanilla beans and the market didn't have any so I subbed vanilla extract. Laziness is the other mother of invention.

Star Anise Ice Cream

2 cups whole milk, or light cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-3 tablespoons
3/4 cup sugar
4 egg yolks
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream

Combine milk and star anise. Heat to boiling, cover and remove from heat. Let sit for 20-30 minutes. Strain the milk through a fine sieve to remove the star anise.

Beat the egg yolks with the sugar. Temper the yolks with the warm milk, being careful not to cook the eggs.

Heat the mixture on medium-low heat, stirring constantly. Do not boil. Bring to nappe consistency, so it coats the back of a wooden spoon. Remove from heat, strain again, and stir until cool.

Whip the heavy cream to light peaks. Fold whipped cream into the cooled custard and freeze in an ice cream machine according to manufacturer's instructions.

This recipe is, as I would write to my 4th grade summer camp friend Laura Barnoski:

2 cool
2 b
4 got 10

Laura. Whatever happened to her? Oh, snap - she's on Facebook. Sweet!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sunday Spice - Cardamom

When I was 18, I moved out of my mom's apartment in Los Angeles to shack up with my then-boyfriend in San Francisco. At this time in my life, I really liked going to the supermarket.

The market was the perfect place to exercise my new found, albeit misguided, freedom. What, you don't think I can live off of Camel Lights and parmesan Goldfish Crackers this week? Watch me. Apparently, moving 450 miles north of everything and everyone I knew to live with a person who was earning his degree in, get this, performance art wasn't quite daring enough. Oh, no. I needed needed Steak-umms and Rice a Roni to introduce the freaky to the deaky. Why? Because I was raised in the 70's on bland, rennetless cheese infused "health" foods before any of that stuff tasted like something you'd feed to someone you loved. Also, I always went to the market stoned.

I was young. It was SF. Sue me.

Anyway, the reason I mention all of this is because I don't really like going to the market that much anymore. Not because I no longer smoke the marijuana but because the market closest to me is cramped and unreliable- sometime they have mint and horse radish, sometimes they you're shit outta luck.

After living in the Bay Area for awhile, one can't help leaning a little towards the foodie side of life. It's simple math: chanterelles outnumber Burger Kings there. And in all honesty, if it tastes divine, why the hell wouldn't you put macerated nasturtiums in your butter?

The need to skip so many trips to the foodlandia is why I'm excited that pantry weather is here and I can start relying on my spices to make goodies. No more hauling ass to Chinatown for fresh fruit for me.

First on the list - cardamom ice cream for Remy's birthday. Happy Birthday, Rem!

This recipe is from Sally Sampson's book Ice Cream: 52 Easy Recipes for Year-Round Frozen Treats published by Wiley.

Cardamom Ice Cream

2 c half and half
1 c sweetened condensed mil
4 tablespoons white sugar
1 tablespoon freshly ground cardamom*
4 large egg yolks, at room temp
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch kosher salt

Place the half and half, condensed milk, 2 tablespoons of the sugar and the cardamom in a small pan and cook over low heat, whisking from time to time, until it is warm.

Place the egg yolks, 2 tablespoons sugar, vanilla extract and salt in a small metal bowl and whisk until completely mixed. Add 1/4 c of the warm half and half mixture to the eggs, whisking all the while.

Continue adding the half and half mixture to the eggs, 1/4 cup at a time, until you have added about 1 1/2 cups. Slowly, whisking all the while, return the now half and half and egg mixture to the remaining half and half mixture in the pan and continue cooking until it just begins to thicken. Do not allow the mixture to boil. Strain into a metal bowl, discard the solids and set aside until it reaches room temperature. Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight. Transfer to an ice cream maker and proceed according to the manufacturer's instructions.

*I did it this way but next time, I think I will do an infusion with the whole seed so it has a little bit of a more subtle taste. That is, I will use the seeds instead of ground cardamom, let it sit for awhile, strain, then continue with the recipe. Perhaps the cardamom that I bought at Patel Brothers is a bit stronger than the one Ms. Sampson uses. Don't get me wrong, it's fine but there is room for less - if that makes any sense.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

There's Corn in the Stuy

About eight weeks back I was walking around Bed-Stuy when I saw this.

Corn. In a cinderblock planter in front of a bodega. Because, people always grow corn in front of their corner shops in the middle of America's biggest city. Wait, New York is America's biggest city, right? Hmm, I always just assumed...

Okay, I Googled it. NYC is America's biggest city. Whew! For a minute there I thought I was overpaying for this tiny apartment to live someplace itty bitty in population like Houston or Beijing.

Oh, but I digress (what's new?).

I thought about finding things in unexpected places and ice cream is one of the last places you'd expect to find corn. But this is all the rage these days. Corn ice cream has been popping up on menus every fall for the last few years. Corn? Popping? Get it? Oh, never mind. Here's the recipe I used from Apartment Therapy's thekitchn and here's the end result:

Did it turn out? Was it any good? Yes and yes. Once you get over the association of creamed corn from the cafeteria at your elementary school. Foodies be damned, someone had to say it.