Saturday, June 27, 2009

Maple-Bacon Ice Cream

Those who know me, know that I love bacon.  I even own at least one t-shirt proclaiming this fact.  Some friends and I are attempting to experience as many of the tastes of the swine this summer as possible, and here is a piggy dessert.

I imagine that the maple ice cream base would be rather tasty with nuts in it rather than bacon-- I will attempt this in  the future.  A chocolate version may be in order as well.

Maple-Bacon Ice Cream
makes ~1 quart

2 c milk
1 c heavy cream
3 egg yolks
3/4 c maple syrup (the good kind, not the fake kind!)
3 strips of bacon (plus more for eating while you cook)

Ice cream maker
Rubber spatula
Heat-safe bowl
1 quart tupperware

Under 1 hour cooking, 4 hours to chill, 6 hours to freeze.


1. Fry your bacon until crispy.  
2. Place onto paper bag or paper towel to blot off som eof the extra grease and to allow it to cool.  
3. Pour milk and cream into saucepan.  Heat until foamy
4. Meanwhile: Whisk egg yolks with maple syrup until blended.
5. Once milk mixture is hot and foamy, turn heat off. 
6. Pour a small quantity (1/4 c  or so) into egg yolk mixture.  Whisk!  Repeat 3 times until a third of the mixture is in the egg yolk bowl and the eggs are thoroughly tempered.  If you didn't whisk vigorously enough or do this step too fast, the texture of the ice cream will suffer accordingly.  
7. Add egg mixture into milk mixture, and turn on the heat to low.  Continue to whisk and allow the mixture to thicken until it coats the back of a spoon-- this takes about 15-20 minutes on my stove.  
8. Crumble bacon finely and add to mixture.  
9. Put mixture in container and put in ice bath until it is room temperature, and then put in fridge overnight.  Gotta let those flavors mingle and get it nice and cold.  Then put in ice cream maker and freeze for 20-30 minutes or until soft-serve consistency.  Don't overchurn-- your texture will suffer.  
10.  Scrape back into container and freeze in freezer for several hours.

Homemade cheddar

Today I made homemade rennet cheese (basically, cheddar) with rennet Bodger mailed me and the recipe from this page:

It proved to be very easy to follow.  I'll let you know in a month whether or not it worked!  But it seems promising so far. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Tamarind Cookies

Here is some Harebrained Fusion at its best. I was pulling out ingredients for a batch of molasses-ginger cookies a few nights ago, and I had to shuffle aside some currying supplies on my way to grab the molasses. I saw the tamarind concentrate and thought "Hey, this is dark-colored and viscous like molasses is. Why not try it in cookies?"

My proof-of-concept batch was promising but unbalanced. LaBrehm sampled them, prescribed a spicing that worked, and made batch two. The results were delightful: chewy and satisfying, with a lot of flavor but a light citrus character that keeps them from landing too heavily, although I don't promise this will hold if you eat the whole plate at once. For your summer baking pleasure, we give you...

Tamarind Cookies

Cream together:
1 C sugar
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1 egg
2 generous tablespoons tamarind concentrate
Juice and zest from 1 key lime (or half a regular lime)
1 tsp finely-grated fresh ginger
Mix in a separate bowl:
1 C flour
3 pinches ground black pepper
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda

Stir the dry and wet ingredients together to make a wet, sticky dough. Drop tablespoonfuls about 2" apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet and bake until they're set but not crispy (8-10 minutes at 375° F). Cool them on a rack or towel and put them in an airtight container as soon as they get to room temperature; if they're left out too long on a humid June evening, they will absorb moisture and turn from chewy to floppy.

Makes about 3 dozen very thin 3" cookies.

A note about the tamarind: I used Tamicon brand concentrate, which is an extremely thick, dark, smooth-textured, very sour goop that looks a lot like molasses (hence my inspiration for this whole project). It comes in an 8-oz plastic jar with a red lid and it costs less than $2 at every Asian or Indian grocery I've checked, so don't rush to order it off the Internet unless that's how you roll anyway. I've also purchased tamarind by the whole pod and by the brick of pressed, unprocessed pulp. It's possible you'd get a slightly fresher tamarind flavor from these, but you're on your own for concentrate ⇌ pulp conversion factors.

strawberry-rhubarb sorbet

This is truly a made-for-each-other pairing-- the fact that strawberries and rhubarb are ripe at exactly the same time is a minor taste miracle, and even better, a sign that summer is just around the corner.  It's almost July as I post this, but I came up with this a month ago and it was one of the major impetuses for starting a blog.  The other was a cookie recipe that may be posted soon...  So consider this an idea for May 2010 (and beyond!).

Strawberry-Rhubarb Sorbet
makes ~1 quart

3/4 pound rhubarb, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 pint (1 cup) strawberries, de-stemmed
3/4 c water
3/4 c sugar
1 tsp lemon or lime juice

Blender, immersion-blender, or potato masher
Ice cream freezer
Medium-sized saucepan
Rubber spatula

15-20 minutes cooking,  4 more hours till soft-serve, 7 more hours till done.  (total for the math impaired: 11ish hours. Patience is a virtue)

1.  Add rhubarb, sugar and water to saucepan. 
2.  Bring to simmer and keep there for 8-10 minutes, or until rhubarb is soft but has not yet disintegrated. 
3.  Add strawberries and simmer for 5 minutes, or until strawberries are soft and rhubarb is just beginning to fall apart. 
4. Add lemon juice.  (why do this, you say: rhubarb is very tart, can't you just add less sugar? --there needs to be a large amount of sugar syrup to  hold the bubbles in) 
5. Taste. Add more sugar if wanted, it will taste more tart after freezing.  
6. Mash or blend-- I prefer an immersion blender for this task.  If you're using a normal blender, remember that hot liquids expand and do not fill more than half full at once. 
7. Chill in fridge or ice bath until very cold-- at least 3 hours. 
8. Put in ice cream maker and freeze for about half an hour, or until soft-serve consistency,with volume increased and color lightened. If you taste it, it should be filled with small bubbles, which are the key to a creamy texture. 
9. Put into container and freeze in freezer overnight. 

Sunday, June 21, 2009

And hello world

I'm Chris, the other author. Expect to see quite a bit less of me than of the Brehm here, but I will sometimes contribute recipes, photos, and various other kinds of food porn. In keeping with L's mission statement, I hope you will enjoy most of my flavors, but I'll make a couple of disclaimers up front.

First, I want to pay some attention to the other side of eating for all: I want to use flavors from everyone, including some ingredients or combinations that aren't usually found in the All-American Kitchen. Consider the number of people who have stared into their refrigerators (or iceboxes, or goat-skin knapsacks) wondering what to eat; Every one of them did eventually find their meal, and the more of those meals I know about, the more often (barring choice paralysis) I like the results of my own fridge-staring moments. I will try to make these recipes as accessible as I can, but I do enjoy novelty and I hope you'll push your comfort zone to try something strange sometimes.

Second, I'll often be playing the iconoclast. My native cooking style is what you might call Harebrained Fusion, e.g. "What if I made a marinara... WITH LEMONGRASS!?" This wild-eyed approach is where my most memorable dishes, both successful and disastrous, come from. Although I'll limit myself to the successes and do my best to guarantee edibility in the posted version of every recipe, you should always feel free to refine and develop my recipes in the same spirit. Consider ignoring my categories and trying a recipe out of context, or turning a summery fresh-tomato dish into a wintery canned-tomato dish, or otherwise thumbing your nose back at my suggestions. Hey, that's how I do it.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Hello Internet

I've been thinking about the idea of starting a blog for a while.  There's nothing I love more than eating (except possibly for linguistics).  And for the time being, a food-related career is my not-so-secret backup plan if grad school doesn't work out.

I aspire to cook good food for all seasons.  What is tasty in/for the summer is not so great for a winter meal.  Recipes will be labeled for the season, and with the major flavors of the dish.  

I also want to make food that reaches out to everyone-- you will find here both recipes for vegan dishes and those containing copious amounts of butter and bacon.  This will also be tagged (but I hope even the most die-hard carnivore will reach out and try something that just happens to be vegan once in a while).  

I have also been thinking about styles of cooking.  Consider the baker (measures everything carefully, follows a protocol) and the chef (no measuring, the recipe is a guideline and nothing else).  I hope to list recipes for both sides here too.