Sunday, October 28, 2012

White Chocolate Ice Cream

Personally, I'm not a huge fan of white chocolate. Whether you consider it "real chocolate" or not...I don't like the flavor as much as dark chocolate (my favorite!); it's too sweet without any real 'flavor'. However, served with a tart fruit compote (sour cherries, raspberries...) I might find it rather delicious! I did soak some dried cranberries in a simple sugar solution and fold them into the ice cream (photo at bottom)...not bad, especially with a drizzle of dark chocolate fudge sauce. :) 

If you DO like white chocolate though, this seems to be a good recipe -- nice texture, very creamy. And you should buy quality white chocolate that's made with real cocoa butter for the best results, not just any "white baking morsels".

10 oz white chocolate
1 C milk
2 C heavy cream
2/3 C sugar
2 eggs, 2 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla

Rough chop the white chocolate into ½" or smaller pieces and set aside.

In another bowl, beat together eggs and egg yolks, set aside.

Combine milk, cream, sugar, and salt in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring just to the boiling point. Slowly pour cream mixture into eggs, beating constantly to temper the eggs. Return to saucepan and reheat, again bring almost to boiling.

Strain through a fine mess sieve over white chocolate pieces. Stir until chocolate is completely melted and incorporated. Stir in vanilla. Chill 2-4 hours.

Process in ice cream maker according to directions (for about 20 minutes). For a firmer consistency, transfer to an airtight container and freeze.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Caramelized Onion-Apple Tartlets

3 Tbls butter
1 lb yellow onions, thinly sliced
¼ tsp salt
2 Granny Smith apples
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 sheets puff pastry, defrosted just before use
3 oz fontina cheese, shredded
1 Tbls minced fresh thyme leaves

Peel, core, and thinly slice the apples.

Melt butter in large frying pan over medium-high heat; add onions and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft (about 5 min). Add apples and stir to coat. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring often, until onions are medium brown (about 30 min). Stir in pepper and salt to taste. Set aside and let cool (about 10 min).

Preheat oven to 375. Open pastry sheets out flat. Using a knife or biscuit/cookie cutter, cut pastry into desired shapes (squares, triangles, circles...) I used a round, scalloped cookie cutter about 2" in diameter. Arrange them, not touching, on a baking sheet. Place spoonfuls of onion-apple mixture on each pastry base; top with shredded fontina and minced thyme.

Bake until puffed and golden (about 15-20 min). Serve hot.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Potato-Leek Soup with Bacon

This soup tasted good -- especially with the bacon -- but the Culinary Arts students thought it was a little thin...and I agree! We're adding extra potatoes (a few more blended and some extra diced chunks as well) to thicken it up before serving it again. :)

2 Tbls butter
8 slices bacon, chopped
3 leeks, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
8 C chicken broth
4 medium russet potatoes, peeled and ½” diced
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
1 C heavy cream
3 C frozen peas (do not thaw in advance)
½ C chopped scallions

Cook the bacon in a large saucepan over medium heat until crisp (about 8 minutes). Transfer to a paper towel lined plate, reserving about 2 tablespoons fat in the pan.

Add 2 tablespoons butter to pan, then add leeks and garlic; cover and cook until tender (about 5 minutes).

Add broth, 4 cups water, potatoes and salt and pepper; cover and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring just occasionally. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, partially covered, until potatoes are tender (about 10 minutes).

Purée half the soup in a blender (remove the filler-cap to let steam escape), then return to the pot. Add cream and bring to simmer.

5 minutes before serving, add peas. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve with crumbled bacon and chopped scallions to garnish.

Another twist on Potato-Leek Soup: Potato-Leek Soup with Mini Pierogi.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Pickled Beets

I think this recipe came from my grandma Margaret originally. One of my dad's favorites...


about 4 medium beets
2 C vinegar
2 C sugar
1 Tbls cinnamon*
1 tsp whole cloves
1 tsp allspice berries

* If you'd prefer to use cinnamon sticks, one 3-4" cinnamon stick can replace about a teaspoon of cinnamon. 3 teaspoons make a tablespoon, so for this recipe...use 3 cinnamon sticks.

Combine all ingredients except beets in large saucepan. Add 2 cups water. Bring to boil; reduce heat and let simmer while preparing beets.

Clean, trim, and slice beets (or dice them, as you please; smaller pieces will cook faster, of course). Add beets to saucepan and simmer until beets are tender (about 25-30 minutes).

Cool. Beets can be served warm, or chilled.

Leftovers can be canned to preserve for later use.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Blackberry Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream swirled with blackberry syrup. Purchase a quality syrup or make your own...mine here is basically the same recipe as blackberry jam, just not cooked/reduced as long. :)

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

As a general rule, I'm not a big fan of plain vanilla. Too bland; it's okay as an "a la mode" to the main attraction, but even then I often find it unnecessary. But I do enjoy a good vanilla custard...especially if it's made with real vanilla bean, not just vanilla flavoring. So, for ice's a rich vanilla bean ice cream recipe. (Though I still prefer it as an "a la mode" to pie or cobbler, or swirled with another flavor...)

2 C whole milk
2 C heavy cream
1 C sugar
1-2 vanilla beans
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp salt

Beat eggs in medium mixing bowl, set aside.

Combine milk, cream and sugar in a saucepan. Split vanilla bean(s) lengthwise. Scrape out seeds with a sharp knife; add seeds and pod(s) to saucepan. Bring the mixture just to a boil, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; remove pod(s).

Slowly pour half of hot milk mixture into bowl of beaten eggs, stirring constantly (to temper eggs). Add all of this back into saucepan and bring the mixture just to boiling point; don't let it boil. Remove from heat. Strain custard through a fine sieve. Stir in salt and vanilla extract (not necessary if you use two beans) until well combined.

Cover with plastic wrap (directly on top of custard to prevent skin from forming); chill 3-4 hours.

Process the chilled mixture in ice cream maker for 20-30 minutes. If a firmer consistency is desired, transfer to an airtight container and freeze 2 or more hours.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

English Treacle Toffee

I remember treacle candy from when I was in England. One of the stories I read every year with my European Lit class mentions it and I was going to take some to class, but I couldn't find anywhere. Finally found this recipe. :)

1 lb dark brown sugar
8 oz blackstrap molasses
4 oz unsalted butter
2 Tbls water
1 Tbls white vinegar

Place butter, water and vinegar in a saucepan; heat gently until butter has melted.

Add sugar and molasses and allow to dissolve (about 20 minutes).

Boil mixture to a temperature of 280° on candy thermometer. Remove from heat; allow bubbling to decrease.

Pour into a well greased 8" square pan.
When cooled, score surface into small squares with an oiled knife.
When cold, break into squares; wrap in cellophane and store in an airtight container.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Pink Grapefruit Gelato

Ice cream, sorbet, gelato...what's the difference? Check it out here.

1 C pink grapefruit juice
1½ C sugar*
2 C grapefruit sections (pith & membranes removed)
1 C milk
pinch salt

Combine sugar, salt, and juice in saucepan; heat, stirring frequently, until sugar is completely dissolved. Puree grapefruit sections in a food processor or blender; add to sweetened juice. Cool to room temperature.

Pour cooled grapefruit mixture into ice cream maker. Add milk and immediately process in ice cream maker for 20-25 minutes. If desired, transfer to an air-tight container to freeze for a firmer consistency.

* Regardless of how sweet the grapefruit is, you need sugar to keep the gelato from freezing up as hard as a rock. However, more sugar may be desirable if the grapefruit are especially tart.

This gelato is also delicious with just a splash of mint. Add 1 tsp mint extract at the same time as the milk.