Showing posts with label ice cream. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ice cream. Show all posts

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Dining with Doug and Karen

A few months back, my Table Set co-host Andy Windak was invited to join TJ Miller as guest chef on the Nerdist podcast Dining with Doug and Karen. They were so impressed with Andy's whimsical and heartfelt spread that they invited him back for another round. And this time, Andy asked me to join him and create a beverage program to be paired with his Breakfast for Dinner menu.

The guest co-host on our episode was Tim Heidecker of Tim & Eric fame and most recently his film The Comedy, making the total three wisecracking comedy folk to please.
No pressure.

We were given Meltdown Comics' green room to stage, where I set up a makeshift bar (which seemed to elicit excitement from the podcast's cocktail-loving producer).

I was most excited to serve the first drink, a shot to be served alongside Andy's amuse bouche. It was the first idea I experimented with once I knew the theme was breakfast, elevated: A Bloodless Mary. The concept is pretty simple, really: Infuse the spirit with tomato rather than clog the glass with thick juice. I picked cherry tomatoes from my garden and steeped them in gin for a week. The resulting liquor was golden and heady with a sun-kissed tomato cologne, bright and familiar on the palate with a lasting umami quality. I mixed the gin with lemon juice, bacon bitters, a dash of Crystal hot sauce, black pepper and celery salt, then served in frosty lemon-pepper ice shot glasses. Instant breakfast party!

Andy's amuse was a delicious Benedict Bite of homemade English muffin, fried speck, poached quail egg, and scratch hollandaise.

For round two I knew Andy was injecting some Latin love, so I mixed up a Dirty Horchata cocktail. Here I infused smoky Mezcal with Stumptown Guatemalan coffee beans, shaken with horchata and cocoa mole bitters until frothy, garnished with freshly shaved cinnamon.

The horchata was served alongside Andy's Chicken & "Waffles" -or- Coq Au Vin Chilaquiles, a composition of duck-fat-fried corn chips, braised chicken, salsa, queso fresco, cilantro, and a waffle fried egg.

What breakfast menu would be complete without the iconic Mimosa? For a seasonal twist I used dry French brut hard sparkling apple cider in place of bubbly. For the juice element I froze popsicles of fresh orange and brown sugar with a rosemary sprig "stick." The brut cider nibbled away at the ice pops slowly releasing and blending the flavors.

The corresponding course was Andy's fish course. He served Shrimp and Grits Poutine - Fish fumet gravy, butter-poached shrimp, grits "waffle fries," and bacon fat rouille.

For dessert I went with a coffee-replacing Breakfast Beer. Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast (oatmeal stout brewed with coffee) enhanced lightly with Amontillado and Pedro Jiminez Sherry, garnished with a Stumptown coffee bean and freshly grated nutmeg.
Andy matched the robustness with his Hallowaffle - A pumpkin waffle, Count Chocula ice cream, maple bourbon syrup, chocolate whipped cream, and maple bacon crumble. As a bonus round he also brought out Booberry and Frankenberry ice creams. Nuts!

Overall I think our creativity was appreciated, though pushing the envelope always results in a few confounding reactions. Listen for yourself and imagine what it all must taste like while listening to other people sip, chew and slurp. (*wink*)

Listen to our episode of Dining with Doug and Karen

Photos by Ted Houser

Friday, August 31, 2012

Recettes Secrètes: Peychaud's Bitters Ice Cream

Friends, note: I keep my promises.

On a recent episode of The Table Set, I divulged my obsession with creating an aromatic bitters ice cream. Peychaud's Bitters, to be exact.
These magical Creole bitters are sweet, floral and fruity; the classic invisible touch in a true New Orleans Sazerac. In ice cream, they add a pretty pink hue - Fitting for this grown-up bittersweet bubblegum confection.
Thinking I was on to something pretty brilliant, I then read in the LA Times that Giovanni Martinez of Sadie LA also created a Peychaud's ice cream that he floats in Pellegrino Sanbitter soda. Touché, good sir. But I say up the ante. Sanbitter is essentially a virgin Campari n' soda, let's call a spade a spade, shall we?
I digress. Back to promises. And a perfect nightcap, in or out of your cocktail.

Peychaud's Bitters Ice Cream

2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup Peychaud's Bitters

If using an automatic ice cream maker, make sure bowl is completely frozen before starting. Whisk the chilled milk and cream with sugar until completely dissolved. Stir in the bitters. Pour mixture into ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer's instructions (should churn for about 25 minutes). Cure in freezer for at least two hours or overnight before serving.

For more classic ice cream social excitement...

Listen to The Table Set: Party Like It's 1899

Monday, December 27, 2010

Super Bon!: Humphry Slocombe

And then one day everything changed.

I began following Humphry Slocombe on Twitter, well, because the voice and vision intrigued me. How could it not? With ice cream and sorbet flavor announcements such as Jesus Juice (red wine and Coke) and Elvis, the Fat Years (banana ice cream with bacon peanut brittle) the balance of whimsy and mouth watering possibility seemed endless. While several local LA institutions such as Scoops have opened doors wide for ice cream play, something about this Humphry Slocombe "character", sense of humor, and -pardon me- balls surpassed its contemporaries. Finally after months of tweet lust, I was visiting the little Mission shop of my dreams.

It was nearing closing time and Humphry Slocombe was warm inside, the aroma of baking berry crisp thick in the air. The cream mongers smiled, rolling their heads back toward the prep area. "Pastries for the morning," they explained, clearly noticing my eyes widen and nose lift in the air.

The case holds about 12 flavors at a time, which rotate regularly. Several in the case included other SF local favorites, such as Boccolone Prosciutto and Blue Bottle Vietnamese Coffee. I tasted the prosciutto first, creamy and not overly sweet, with a soft pleasant pigginess. The Pumpkin Seed and Black Sesame were both appropriately nutty and robust. After several tastes I became too shy to push it, and went without trying the Jesus Juice (sigh).

Double scoop it was - the no-brainer was their signature Secret Breakfast (bourbon & cornflakes). I boldly chose the un-tested Salted Licorice for its mate and prayed for success. While the first bite of Secret Breakfast wooed me with liquor and mellow cereality, after tasting the electric licorice it ceased to hold up. Fireworks accompanied this salted licorice - intense smokiness, tang, and creamy framing made it a near perfect flavor in my mind. I looked helplessly around for a small corner big enough to sleep in, maybe dwell with few belongings. I couldn't fathom leaving here. How could I go on a usual life after this? Another sigh, a wave to the smiley mongers and we were off into the dark.

2790 Harrison St. San Francisco, CA 94110; 415.550.6971
Humphry Slocombe on Urbanspoon

Voyager Bien: Weekending in Urban San Francisco

While I was in the bay area for Foodbuzz Fest last month I had the unexpected pleasure of staying with two of my best friends from the Northwest who had recently transplanted themselves in San Francisco's surly Tenderloin district. The urban dwelling was a far cry from their bungalow in Portland, and a new view of the city for me as well.
Always amazing hosts, a handwritten cocktail menu awaited my arrivial! Casey muddles with the best of them and her Lemongrass Mojito was supreme.
What a welcome.
For morning coffee Catherine (also a blogger) lead me through the drizzle to a nearby outpost of the Mission staple Philz Coffee. The Turkish coffee here is served to go, not in a tiny china cup, and surpassed any expectations. My frothy cardomom blend came topped with a mint leaf and was an aromatic delight.
Exploring the neighborhood by day provided some stark contrasts sans creatures of the night, historical downtown storefronts and sleepy neon signage imbuing the streets with charm.
Wandering into Nob Hill, the Swan Oyster Depot (1517 Polk St.) caught my attention, a line outside on the sidewalk patiently waited for a spot at the crowded bar inside, gorgeous fresh seafood in the window explaining why. On my list for next time...
Down Polk, at the hip dive Hemlock Tavern a lovely lass called Kelly tends bar - One of the city's finest.
 A few BART stops away, we walked the streets of the culture-rich Mission.
I dug the interiors at Therapy's furniture and decor shop.
I always pop into Little Otsu and The Curiosity Shoppe on Valencia for artful gifts.
Upon deciding to make a big pot of pozolé, Catherine suggested a stop at iconic Bi-Rite Market for supplies.
I cursed my full belly when we passed the neighboring Bi-Rite Creamery and Bake Shop, brown sugar and honey lavender begging for my attention...
Another icon delivered a primo afternoon delight - An "original" Irish Coffee at The Buena Vista. Our server was as old as the drink itself, the strong concoction fueling a brisk walk up the hill and all the way back to the Tenderloin.
Back at the homestead, Catherine brewed us each a cup of pick-me-up (so much coffee!) and introduced me to her "patio" - with a world class view. I wouldn't have rather been anywhere else.

Philz Coffee
748 Van Ness Ave. San Francisco, CA 94102; 415.292.7660

The Buena Vista
2765 Hyde St. San Francisco, CA 94109; 415.474.5044

Bi-Rite Market
3639 18th St. San Francisco, CA 94110; 415.241.9760

Bi-Rite Creamery and Bake Shop
3692 18th St. San Francisco, CA 94110; 415.626.5600

Monday, November 29, 2010

Gala Parfait: Making Family, and Pie

Thanksgiving. And for the first time since college I decided to branch off on my own for the holiday, take an active role in the kitchen, and cook. A lot.
The plan shaped up, and by day-of the head count had risen to 20 guests. Achievable? You bet!
In fact, I'm certain it will go down as one of the most memorable Turkey days ever. But every success has a starting place. Ours was with these two crucial elements:
1. Some very generous, flexible, and incredible hosts
2. A Table
Two doors and three saw horses snugly filled the living room of Nicolette and Torsten's cozy Silver Lake cabin, creating one long table. Apropos dried flowers, pine cones, leaves, squash, corn, and candles lined the tabletop. We decided that real glassware, silver, dishes and cloth napkins were important - committing ourselves to semi-permanent dish duty. The mismatched napkins and wine glasses honored the makeshift charm that Charlie Brown has forever graced upon the holiday.
The "kids table"... Outside. (Brrr!)
We lit a fire and slowly began preparations for the casual open-house-style arrival of our guests.
Pleased as punch isn't a saying for no reason - 'Tis the season to start mixing up large batch pleasers! This improvised batch went quick, an effervescent concoction of Sofia Blanc de Blancs, Lambrusco, and fresh cranberries.
Always one to astonish, Torsten's bemusing offering of fresh homemade sushi was quite the belle of the appetizer spread.
I took cues from one of my favorite blogs Banana Wonder and gussied up a plain ol' baked brie with pistachios and golden fig preserves.
By dusk, guests began to gather near the warm hearth while finishing touches were put on dinner. [Read: As we scrambled to get everything warmed in the packed oven!]
All of our friends were brilliant in bringing vibrant dishes to add to the feast, melding the newfangled with the classic: truffled mashers, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes with pecan gingersnap praline, Brussels sprouts lardons, sauerkraut with gin and caraway (recipe), minted pea purée, Knedliky (Czech raised bread dumplings, recipe below), an autumn salad with edible flowers...
The real unexpected treat came in a cast iron pot from Nicolette's neighbor - Homemade authentic Hungarian Ghoulash! The paprika spiked stew of beef, root vegetables, and sauerkraut was served with dense hand-made pinched egg noodles and a yogurt cucumber salad. Spicy and satisfying!
Paired with a supple 2007 Koehler Santa Ynez Riesling, the meal was just perfection.
As we sat around the table after dinner, Nicolette delivered a round of espressos, in boots of course.
After a short walk in the crisp evening air, it was pie time.
Pumpkin cupcakes and a non-baked cranberry cheesecake joined the fleet of pies, along with Nicolette's no-fail milk chocolate hazelnut panna cotta (recipe here).
I made two decidedly Southern pies this year - An old timey brown sugar pie (recipe here) and a decadent Texas pecan & chocolate pie (recipe here).
Because pie is best a la mode, I whipped up a batch of my favorite ice cream, a simple recipe I developed following my last trip to New Orleans with a fistful of rum pralines to put to good use.

Rum Praline Ice Cream
makes 1 quart of ice cream

2 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup The Kraken Black Spiced Rum
4 rum pralines, crumbled (from Laura's Candies in New Orleans' French Quarter - they ship!)

If using an automatic ice cream maker, make sure bowl is completely frozen before starting. Whisk the chilled milk and cream with sugars until completely dissolved. Stir in the vanilla and rum. Pour mixture into ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer's instructions (should churn for about 25 minutes). Crumble pralines into the ice cream during the last minute. Set in freezer for at least two hours before serving.
Last but definitely not least, I want to share the recipe for the Knedliky - which have always been my absolute favorite vehicle for gravy. Growing up in a Czech and Bohemian family, these steamed dumplings were served at every holiday meal, usually in place of mashed potatoes. The fluffy, starchy, steamed slices have become the flavor of home. This was my first time preparing the dumplings, and the recipe below that my sister adapted from various Czech recipes (including Czech It! the Prague Blog) made them come out absolutely perfect.
Note: This made 3 medium sized loaves... About 12-15 servings. The cooked loaves freeze beautifully too!

Raised Dumplings (Knedliky)

1 pkg dry yeast
1 cup milk
½ tsp sugar
1 ½ cups Wondra flour (in the blue can)
2 - 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp baking powder
3-4 slices country white bread
1 tbsp butter

Slice the bread into small cubes (removing the crust if desired).
In a dry non-stick pan, sauté the cubes over medium to med-high heat till they get somewhat toasty. Add pat of butter to the pan and toss with the cubes as it melts. Set aside to cool.

Heat the milk just barely to warm (too hot and the yeast will die) and then add the yeast and sugar. Stir gently to dissolve.

Mix together all ingredients except bread cubes, adding flour gradually until you have a heavier dough. Then add the toasted bread cubes and knead gently with floured hands (or in stand mixer) until combined.

Divide into 3 oblong loaves (each loaf must fit across pot of boiling water, with room to expand). Set on a floured surface, cover with plastic wrap and/or a tea towel and allow to rise for 45 min-1 hour.
Have ready one or two large pots of boiling water (dumplings double in size). Cook 8 minutes covered, then turn over and cook 8 minutes more covered.

Take out dumpling loaves and place on cutting board. Pierce with fork or knife to let steam out. Roll over and pierce again. Cool a bit and slice using bread knife - or, as one recipe suggested, with a piano wire!

*If you make ahead: Boil loaves and let cool…then wrap well in plastic wrap and store in fridge. Day of, slice dumplings and steam to re-warm.
Drown with gravy and enjoy!

Happy Thanksgiving!