Photo by ArtsySF and used with her permission.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Ice Cream Sandwiches

Saturday, August 2 is National Ice Cream Sandwich Day. To celebrate this auspicious occasion, this week’s recipe is cinnamon ice cream sandwiches with oatmeal chocolate raisin cookies. Sorry I am not much of a photographer. I do okay with most things, but ice cream melts so quickly it can be hard to get the shot right before too much damage is done.

You already know the cinnamon ice cream recipe, so I won’t bother to repeat it. You can find it here. The original recipe was posted prior to the worksheet implementation so I feel obligated to provide it for you now.

As for the cookies, they are an adaptation of the Oatmeal Cookies with Golden Raisins and Milk Chocolate Chips from The Sweet Life, by Kate Zuckerman. I added a hint of cinnamon to the cookie to accent the ice cream and changed the process for sizing them to make making ice cream sandwiches easier. Her hint, which holds true for my version is to not use quick cooking oats. I wouldn’t go so far as to use the steel cut McCann’s brand either. It won’t cook fast enough and there isn’t enough liquid to soften that style of oats either. Your best bet is the Quaker Oats can.

Some notes on assembly of the sandwiches -- You are best making the cookie far enough ahead and cooling it completely before freezing the ice cream. You don't want a warm cookie melting your ice cream during assembly. Also, you are best to apply the ice cream right out of your ice cream machine when it is still soft. Be careful not go too far to the edge because once the second cookie is put on top, it will push the soft ice cream down and out the sides some.

Oatmeal Cookies with Golden Raisins and Milk Chocolate Chips:

1 ½ cups of unbleached all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
8 ounces butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 whole eggs, room temperature
1 egg white, room temperature
3 cups uncooked oatmeal
8 ounces milk chocolate, chips, or chopped bar
1 cup golden raisins (about 5 ½ ounces)

1. Heat an oven to 350F
2. Sift the flour into a bowl. Add the baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Whisk to incorporate. Set aside.
3. Cut the butter into rough chunks. Cream in a stand mixer (use the paddle attachment) on medium speed for a minute or so.
4. Add the sugar; beat on medium-high speed for 5 minutes. Scrape down the bowl at least once.
5. Add the dark brown sugar. Beat for 4 more minutes. Scrape down the bowl as necessary.
6. Add the eggs, one at a time, at low speed. Beat until batter looks glossy and smooth.
7. Add the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and oats then roughly incorporate by hand. It will take about 10 + turns. Return the bowl to the mixer and mix on low for 60 – 90 seconds until everything is well combined and nothing looks dry.
8. Add the chocolate and raisins. Beat for a minute or two on low speed to fully incorporate.
9. Line two baking pans with greased (I use butter) aluminum foil, parchment paper, or silicon mats. Spread half of the batter onto each sheet. Make sure that batter stays about 2 inches away from every edge of the baking pan. The cookies will spread you want to make sure they have somewhere to go. Don’t worry this batter is very stiff and holds its shape well when you spreading it into the pan.
10. Bake for 12-15 minutes. The cookies are done when the edges are crisp and brown and a cake tester comes out clean from the middle.
Let the cookies cool completely before removing them from their pans.
11. To make the ice cream sandwiches:
12. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place the first cookie on the foil, top side down.
13. Spread the ice cream on the cookie in an even layer about 1 inch thick. Place the next cookie on top of the ice cream, top side up. Place the assembly in the freezer to harden for a few hours.
14. If you want, trim the edges to get everything even and remove the hardest parts of the cookies. Cut into shapes or bars.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Poll is Back

I know what I want to do this week and maybe next, but I have too many flavors to think about again. Please help me prioritize them by voting on my poll.

Dean and Deluca is offering 9 pints of Jeni's Ice Cream for $100. If you order from Jeni's website it is cheaper. They definitely have some interesting flavors. Has anyone tried it?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Gazpacho with Cilantro Lime Ice Cream

As I mentioned the other day, at least one wholesaler of avocados (Grande Produce) has voluntarily recalled their products due to salmonella. When I called Grande today to inquire about the scope of the recall, I was told that there were (or will be) other recalls of avocados that were farmed in the same area. Apparently, there are 15 or so importers/growers in that region with potentially unsafe products. So I had to scramble to find a new recipe for you. I strongly urge you to take great care when selecting avocados from the market.

I had been looking forward to the combination of gazpacho and ice cream. Bruce Weinstein has a recipe for gazpacho with avocado ice cream in his book The Ultimate Ice Cream Book. I really liked the idea of a more savory ice cream as component of a main meal. Who made the rule that ice cream is only a sweet treat?

For those of you who don’t know, Mrs. Fellow is a trained chef with two culinary degrees. Although she is now a Wall Street tycoon, I still get the benefit of having a well trained chef cook my dinner every night. This is great for my mouth and horrible for my belt line. So naturally, upon receiving a great recipe from Mrs. Fellow-in-law, my wife instantly rewrote it to suit her needs. I was given very little direction about how to approach this ice cream other than the instruction that I must be able to compliment cilantro and that it should be savory. Well, as savory as ice cream can get.

Lime and cilantro are great combination. Don’t let the amount of sugar in this recipe fool you. 1/3 of a cup is plenty to keep things in balance and provide a light sweetness. When it is warm, the custard is very sweet and taste of the lime is overwhelming. Once frozen the cilantro flavor is fully exposed and although you can taste the sweetness, it is not even close to the center of attention.

Here is the worksheet for this ice cream:

The soup is rather spicy. It is excellent on its own, but the ice cream tempers the heat nicely and gives a soothing creaminess to the dish. This gazpacho is left fairly chunky. It certainly isn’t as glamorous to look at, but the texture is more satisfying. Serve this with a salad and a nice piece of fish for a great and easy weeknight meal. What do you do with the leftover ice cream? Eat it. Although it works its magic with the soup, it is good on its own. The flavor is surprisingly light and refreshing.

Cilantro – Lime Ice Cream

1 cup packed cilantro (leaves and stems are ok)
¾ cup whole milk
Grated zest from two limes
1/3 cup of sugar
2 egg yolks
¾ cup cream
Up to 2 grams of salt

1. Put 4 cups of water on the stove and bring to a boil. In the meantime, wash the cilantro well (it is a very dirty vegetable). Once the water is at a full boil, toss in the cilantro. After 10 seconds remove the cilantro and soak it in cold water. This will help to preserve the color. Squeeze out as much of the excess water as possible.
2. Put the cilantro, lime zest, and milk in a blender. Blend on high for about 45 seconds to really break down the cilantro. The milk should turn bright green.
3. In a small saucepan, put the cream, cilantro infused milk, and about half of the sugar and heat to a bare simmer.
4. As the saucepan heats, beat the egg yolks with the remaining sugar and salt.
5. Once the saucepan contents come to temperature, remove the pan from the heat and slowly temper the eggs by adding in small quantities of the hot milk/cream to the eggs. Put all the contents back into the saucepan and return the pan to the heat.
6. Cook, stirring constantly until a candy thermometer reads 175 degrees F.
7. Remove the pan from the stove, strain through a fine mesh sieve (optional). Cool, chill, than freeze.

About 2 pounds fresh tomatoes, rough chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled
½ small sweet onion, rough chopped
2 red bell peppers, rough chopped
1 pound cucumbers
3 ½ ounces of lime juice
¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 cup corn kernels
3 tablespoons, chopped cilantro

1. Place the tomatoes, onion, garlic, 1 pepper, ½ pound of cucumber in a food processor and puree until smooth
2. Stir in the lime juice and cayenne pepper
3. Add the remaining vegetables, season to taste with salt and pepper.
4. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with a scoop of Cilantro-Lime Ice Cream.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Update July 22, 2008

I am a bit annoyed. I had an idea for ice cream to share with you for this week, but the FDA has escalated its war against salsa by striking out at avocados. I had purchased four beautiful Mexican avocados from the local ethnic grocer. The salmonella tainted products are peppers and avocados from Mexico. Hence, it is back to the drawing board. Hopefully, I will be able to find ripe avocados from California (I don't care for the Floridian ones). If not, something will come to me soon.

The next door neighbor fellow is 7 months pregnant and miserable in the heat. To help her out, I am in the process of making her the Roasted Banana Ice Cream from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz. I won't post the recipe because it is the same as his. At the moment it is in the refrigerator cooling. My initial taste indicated that it is very sweet and may be better mixed with a bit of cinnamon and/or maple syrup. I'll tell you more about the final product soon.

Incidentally, July 23 is National Vanilla Ice Cream Day. Please check out my earlier post on the subject and enjoy a bowlful to celebrate the amazing versatility of the world's most popular flavor.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Lemongrass Ice Cream

I guess I have been on a bit of an Asian theme lately. This will be my second recipe in a row using Far East ingredients. I still have a few more in store for you eventually. Reader Lauren asked for an Olympic themed ice cream. So I have been bouncing around ideas. I am also strangely attracted to another David Lebovitz recipe for orange and Szechwan pepper corn ice cream. Lastly, I found this great blog dedicated to Japanese ice cream flavors. There aren’t very many recipes, but if you look through the posts, there are some opportunities for interesting flavor profiles. The wasabi ice cream has caught my attention.

Lemongrass is a great ingredient. It tastes like lemons, but more subtle and without the tartness. The outer layers are very tough. I suggest peeling off just a few layers to get past the really dirty stuff. You have to trim it to lengths of less than 8 inches for use. Be sure to remove enough of the bottom that you see all the layers and not just one or two. Be sure your knife is sharp. This stuff can be tough to cut and dull knives can easily lead to injuries.

This recipe is based on the one in Frozen Desserts by Caroline Liddell and Robin Weir, but I borrowed some of the technique from Pichet Ong’s book, The Sweet Spot. He has a recipe for Lemongrass Frozen Yogurt that looks really good. I found it as I was looking for a dessert for our Asian dinner on Friday night.

Why use the technique from Chef Ong? The finer the mince on the lemongrass, the more it will impart its flavor into the milk. This happens for two reasons. First, during processing, the oils are released into the milk during the mincing process. Second, the remaining flavor is picked up during steeping. The smaller the pieces, the more surface area of the lemon grass is exposed to the milk.

I like the blueberries in the ice cream. Lemongrass flavor by itself gets a bit dull after a few bites. The blueberries work well and keep my tongue from getting bored. Of course, that is just me. You may be different. Also, I like the dried wild blueberries from Trader Joe's. They are always sweet and have more flavor than any other dried blueberry I have ever tasted. They are very small, but their flavor can easily overwhelm. I suggest using them judiciously.

Here is the worksheet:

Lemongrass Ice Cream:

1 cup whole milk
1 cup cream
½ cup sugar
3 egg yolks
1 cup of chopped fresh lemongrass (100 grams by weight)
Dried blueberries (optional)

1. Peel the outer two or three leaves of the lemongrass. Chop off and discard the ends so the remaining stalks are around 8 inches in length. Bruise the stalks by crushing them with the flat side of a meat tenderizer. You can also use the flat side of a chef’s knife and your hand to do this (just as if you were crushing a garlic clove).
2. Place the milk and the lemongrass in a blender and blend to finely chop the lemongrass.
3. Place the milk, lemongrass, and cream into a saucepan. Bring to a bare simmer. Remove from the heat and allow the mixture to steep for 30 minutes so the lemongrass can infuse its flavor with the dairy products.
4. Return the saucepan to the heat after 30 minutes steeping time and as it reheats, quickly mix the eggs and sugar.
5. You know the drill from here. Once the dairy is warm again, slowly add some of it to the eggs. Once the eggs are tempered, add them to the saucepan and cook, stirring constantly until the thermometer reads 175 degrees F.
6. Remove the custard from the heat, strain it into a bowl. Be sure to press the excess dairy out of the lemongrass in the strainer. Cool the mix to room temperature then chill it overnight. The next day, freeze it in your ice cream machine. If you are adding the blueberries, do so in the last minute of the freezing process.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Green Tea Ice Cream with Chocolate Rice Crisps

This recipe is from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz. I have had very limited success with making green tea ice cream prior to using this recipe. The big reason is brewing the tea. In the past I would stick tea bags into the hot milk and cream and let them steep for a good while. I could never get enough tea flavor into the ice cream which probably was due t the nature of the fat in the liquid clogging the tea bag. Mr. Lebovitz's recipe uses matcha, Japanese green tea powder that eliminates this problem.

The advantage of matcha is that it is powdered. This means you are not steeping anything. Just dump it in and stir it up. The other big deal with matcha is that you are actually eating the tea. This means you get more health benefits from the good stuff within the tea.

The disadvantage of matcha is it is very expensive. How expensive? It can run you anywhere from $18 to $40 USD per ounce. Luckily a little goes a long way. There are cheaper alternatives. Some Korean green teas are powdered and less costly, but I have yet to try them.

Mr. Lebovitz's recipe is great, but I really wanted to make it my own. To that end I added the chocolate rice crisps. If you have ever had genmai-cha, green tea with roasted brown rice, than you know that adding crispy rice cereal to the ice cream will enhance the flavor. I couldn't help but add the chocolate too. Think of this as green tea ice cream with dark chocolate Krackle Bars. I incorporated pieces of the crisps into the ice cream. It works well, but I think that the chocolate becomes the star as opposed to the green tea (Mrs. Fellow likes it this way). Next time I make this, I will serve big pieces of the chocolate rice crisps on the side as garnish. When it comes to the final product, either way will work well, it just depends on your taste.

This is the work sheet for the ice cream:

Green Tea ice Cream:

1 cup whole milk
¾ cup sugar
Pinch of salt
2 cups heavy cream
4 tsp matcha
6 egg yolks

1. Put the milk, sugar, and salt into a small saucepan and heat until a bare simmer.
2. Meanwhile, beat the eggs
3. Put the cream in a large bowl and stir in the matcha. Be careful with this step. Matcha tends to clump and if you beat the cream to much it becomes whipped cream. Your best option is to use a small fine sieve to dust some of the tea into the cream, then mix it in and repeat until all the tea is incoporated. NOTE - it will not be very green at this stage.
4. Add some of the heated milk to the eggs and mix gently. Do this a couple more times to ensure that the eggs are properly warmed.
5. Put the eggs into the saucepan with the milk and heat until 175 degrees F. Stir continuously.
6. Strain the custard into the cream.
7. Beat the custard with a wire wisk until frothy, you should notice that it gets a lot greener.
8. Let custard go to room temperature, chill overnight, then freeze in you ice cream machine. Add in the chocolate rice crisp pieces towards the last minunte of freezing in your ice cream machine.

Chocolate Rice Crisps:

8 ounces semi-sweet or bitter-sweet chocolate (I used a combination of both)
½ cup crispy rice cereal (like Rice Crsipies)

1. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler
2. Add the cereal, stir to fully incoporate
3. Spread in a thin layer on a tray and place in the freezer to harden into a solid block of candy.
4. Once frozen, break the block into small pieces.
5. You can also leave them as big pieces and garnish the ice cream as I did in the photograph.

Ice Cream in the News

In case you are in Europe, particularly the UK, Anne Shooter has written a story about how expensive organic ice cream can be and her experiments with making ice cream at home. She also rates some of the more popular brands available across the pond. You find the article in the UK Daily Mail Online.

I have one comment about her article. She implies that the stabilizers and thickeners added to her store bought organic ice cream are not natural. They probably are natural, but not organic. I can't speak for the UK, but in the USA, if a product is made from at least 95% organic ingredients, then it can claim to be "Organic" on the label with qualifying itself by saying, "made with organic ingredients." It would be different story if the label said 100% Organic. In this case, every ingredient must be organic.

For those of us that believe organic is healthier, 95% organic is better than no organic ingredients. Keep in mind that this is a commercial ice cream product. Unlike homemade ice cream, the commercial stuff has to sit in a couple of different warehouse freezers and freezer trucks before getting to the store. Then it has to ride to your home (frequently in the heat of the summer). If you want 100% organic, you are going to have to make it yourself. Personally, I'll take 5% non-organic for the convenience.

Speaking of convenience, the August issue of Bon Appetit magazine has a story on ways to use store bought ice cream to create some original desserts. The recipes look like a great way to save some time in the kitchen and still get a dessert far more interesting than ice cream sundaes.