Friday, December 31, 2010

The Best Vanilla Ice Cream Ever

In my spare time, I search for ice cream recipes.  Though I do love vanilla, I usually search for something more exciting.  UNTIL I found a recipe through food and wine - I was intrigued because the recipe didn't use eggs but claimed to be fluffy and yum.  I'm always game for trying something fluffy and yum.

Vanilla Ice Cream, recipe from Food & Wine

Serves Jyoti only and no one else

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 tbsp. and 1 tsp. cornstarch
  • 3 tbsp. softened cream cheese
  • 1 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. light corn syrup
  • 1 vanilla bean, seeded and scraped
  • 1/8 tsp. kosher salt 
In a large bowl, prepare an ice bath.  In a separate smaller bowl, mix 2 tbsp. of the whole milk and the cornstarch.

In another large bowl, whisk the cream cheese until smooth.

In a large saucepan, combine the remaining milk, heavy cream, sugar, light corn syrup and vanilla bean and seeds.  Bring the mixture to a boil and cook over moderate heat until the sugar dissolves and the vanilla flavors the milk, about 4 minutes.

Turn off the heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch mixture.  Return to a boil and cook over moderate heat until the mixture slightly thickens, about 1-2 minutes.

Gradually whisk in the hot milk mixture into your whipped cream cheese, whisking to combine until smooth.  Whisk in the salt.  Set the bowl in the ice water bath for about 20 minutes (I left mine for about 30 minutes).  I then put my mixture in the fridge to chill for about 30 minutes.

Pour the mixture into your chilled ice cream canister and churn for about 45 minutes.

Ending Notes: Um.  BEST VANILLA ICE CREAM EVER!  We've had my egg nog and sweet potato ice cream in our freezer since Thanksgiving, but this vanilla ice cream hardly lasted a few hours!

Sidenote: Apparently I hit my quota limit for photos and now have to upload through photobucket, which seems to really destroy image quality.  I will find a solution to this, so in the meantime I apologize for the crappy looking pictures.

Holiday Dinner

Our version of Christmas is putting up a tree and exchanging gifts, but we did want to make something fancy schmancy for dinner.  I browsed my mom's Gourmet cookbook to see what type of game we could eat that wasn't turkey.  Squab, quail, duck...and of course we had to include foie gras! Yes! My favorite! So we decided to prepare foie gras, risotto, and cornish hen.

For Christmas, my sister gave me a little lump of black truffle, so we wanted to determine a way to incorporate this into our meal.  We decided to make a mushroom risotto dusted with black truffle, and cornish hen marinated in a black truffle sauce.  My sister wanted to make a lavender creme brulee as dessert since my mom recently purchased a lavender plant, so we had a really delectable meal ahead!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Egg Nog Ice Cream

I don't think I've ever even had egg-nog.  But, for the holidays - why not? I wasn't sure what to expect in terms of flavor, but I am pretty sure that any and all ice cream with loads of egg yolks and full fat dairy products will be hommy nom nom.

Egg Nog Ice Cream, recipe borrowed from Ice Cream: 52 Easy Recipes for Year Round Frozen Treats by Sally Sampson

Makes about 1 quart


  • 3 cups half and half
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh grated nutmeg
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • zest of 1 orange* (I only included a little bit of this - not the whole orange)
  • Vanilla bean, split and scraped (Thanks Mai!)
  • 8 large egg yolks at room temperature
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp. of grand mariner
  • 2 tbsp. of bourbon* (The original recipe called for 2 tbsp. each of sambuca, amaretto, and grand mariner.  I did not have all these on hand, so I subbed in the bourbon, and also cut out most of the alcohol as I was worried about the flavor being too strong)
Place the half and half, 1/4 cup of the sugar, nutmeg, lemon and orange zest, and vanilla bean seeds and pod (now empty) in a small pan and cook over low heat.  Whisk the mixture from time to time and heat it till it is warm, about 175 degrees. 

Place the egg yolks, 1/4 cup of sugar and salt into a medium sized metal bowl and whisk until combined. Add 1/4 cup of the warmed half and half mixture to the egg mixture, whisking the entire time.  Continue to add the half and half mixture, 1/4 cup at a time, until you have added about 1 1/2 cups total.  Be sure to whisk the entire time. 

Return the mixture back to the original saucepan and continue to cook until it reaches about 185 degrees (be sure it doesn't boil!!).  

Once it has reached 185 degrees, pour the mixture through a strainer into another bowl.  Discard the solids and bring the mixture to room temperature.  Stir in the alcohol, and then refrigerate at least 8 hours, but preferably over night. 

Freeze in your ice cream maker according to directions.  I used about 30 minutes here. 

Ending Notes:  So even though I used less alcohol than the recipe recommended, I still felt the alcohol flavor was too strong.  I'd probably just do 2 tablespoons of whatever alcohol I selected.  Otherwise, the texture and flavor of this ice cream were what I was expecting.  I still need to try a normal egg-nog drink and then see how this one compares.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Mulled Wine Sorbet

Another wintery inspiration from the beverage I served at Thanksgiving.  Another drink turned ice cream that is perfect for drinking/eating in front of the fireplace at your chalet in Chamonix (or your digital fireplace DVD).

I made this for the AIF NYYP holiday party at Rahul's place. It accompanied Meghna's cookies as dessert. 

Mulled Wine Sorbet, recipe adapted from here and here

Makes about 1 quart

  • 1/2 of a bottle of red wine - I used Purple Moon Merlot from Trader Joe's.  At $4 bucks a pop, can't go wrong!
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • Juice from 1 fresh squeezed orange
  • Juice from 1 fresh squeezed lemon
  • Lemon zest from that same lemon
  • 2 cloves
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
Combine the sugar, water, wine lemon zest and spices into a medium saucepan and let it simmer over low heat for about 30 minutes stirring occasionally.

Let it cool to room temperature and stir in the orange and lemon juices.  Strain the mixture, cover the mixture and let it chill in the fridge from 4 hours to overnight. 

Churn in your ice cream maker per directions - I churned it for about 20 minutes. 

Ending Notes:  The ice cream was of course very flavorful, and received rave reviews by all taste testers.  I think most testers appreciated the fact that this sorbet wasn't laced with heavy cream and whole milk and just some wine and freshly squeezed citrus fruits.  Try this one before New Years!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Apple-Scented Fondue

I'm telling you.  Fondue is the ice cream of winter.  I think I've made it like 4 times in the past month alone.  I was watching Rachel Ray randomly while waiting for Alton Brown to start and she made this yum looking fondue (well...let's be honest...ALL fondue looks yum).  Asmi was coming over for dinner for some fondue so I figured this would be the best time to try it out!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Candy Cane Ice Cream, Parte Une

Ah, holiday times!  I had put my ice cream maker away for the season, but after our holiday cookie party, where Marya had picked up some Molly Moons, I was inspired to create some holiday ice cream flavors.  Egg-nog (check), gingerbread, spiced cider sorbet, cranberry sorbet and candy cane were all on my list.  And I needed taste testers.  Becca generously volunteered all of SlamFam (her and her roomates).  So I decided to start experimenting.

Candy Cane Ice Cream Parte Deux

So I wasn't totally enamored with the first batch of candy cane ice cream I made.  I liked it...but I didn't love it.  It wasn't candy-caney enough to remind me of my toddler days when I would take the candy cane ornaments off of our fake tree and eat them "secretly" (let's be mom knew what I was doing).  

The next step was to use actual peppermint extract as this I figured this would add the best flavor.  First I started with the basic Philadelphia Style Ice Cream.  I know you have all seen this one mentioned tons of times.  If there were an awards ceremony for my blog, this one would receive honorable mention since I have in fact used it to the start of many of my bases.  In any case, I've included the recipe below if you guys forgot.  

Candy Cane Philadelphia Style Goodness!

Makes about 1 quart

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp. peppermint extract
  • Red food coloring (a few drops)
  • Red edible glitter
Pour 1 cup of the heavy cream into a medium saucepan and add the sugar and the salt.  Warm over medium heat, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved.

Remove from the heat and add the remaining cream, milk and the peppermint extract.

Chill the mixture thoroughly in the fridge.  When ready to churn, freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker per directions.  In the last 5 minutes, drop in a few drops off the red food coloring and use a pastry brush to tap in the red edible glitter.  I churned it total for about 30 minutes.  

Taste testers voted more in favor of this one when compared to version parte une.  I think it was because the flavor was pronounced, and, let's face it, who doesn't love red glitter? 

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Cinnamon Ice Cream

Okay I lied. I brought my ice cream maker back out of hibernation.  For the Holiday Cookie Party, I wanted to make festive themed ice creams.  Cinnamon is the stand-out spice in all holiday treats and drinks, I think I used it in everything from the bruleed sweet potatoes to the mulled wine we drank.  I found a great recipe that let the cinnamon infuse in the custard so the flavor was subtle and went well with all our holiday cookies!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Dumac and Cheese

Over Thanksgiving break, I made my sister a Gossip Girl gift bag that I put together myself.  It included a head band from Bendel's (channeling Blair), white truffle oil (channeling Serena), macarons (and Blair again) and...The New Brooklyn Cookbook (channeling the Humphrey clan + Vanessa).  And apparently since then, this cook book is the cook book to have.  See here and here.

Lo and behold from all the Thanksgiving cooking, baking, cookie party and ice cream making, we had a lot of heavy cream and whole milk left over.  So of course mac and cheese was a logical recipe to make with all our left over ingredients.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Brie and Wild Mushroom Fondue

Fondue night with Kim! Since Fondue will be an on-going winter delicacy, I needed to find another recipe that was more, um, sparkly, than your basic emmental and gruyere.  Yes, I have now decided that I am going to describe food as sparkly when it makes me feel the same way a pair of glittery pink high heels would.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Porcini Fondue

Well it was that time of year again.  Time to put the ice cream maker into a deep freeze (ha - but not for long!) and pull out my fondue pot! So I hosted the first annual fondue pot winter inauguration for the Winter 2010 - 2011 season.  Since this was kind of like opening night for my fondue pot, I neede a scene stealer!  Something fancier than traditional gruyere.  Well I love gruyere, but I think my normal fondue recipe needed something extra.  Like MUSHROOMS!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Holiday Dinner Party Round 3.0

And...Sunday came around.  I somehow found myself at SlamPalace yet again for yet another dinner party.  Poor me! 

I walked into the apartment to find Becca making this amazing chicken and mushroom risotto dish.  So savory and melt in your mouth.  Alyx soon prepared a simple but delicious tomato, basil and mozzarella salad and some asparagus with shallots. 

Alyx's asparagus

Becca's scrumptious risotto!

Inspired by Nina, I brought the mascarpone/honey/pomegranate concotion I had nearly polished off at Lavina's the night before.  Quick and easy - it took me about 5 minutes to prepare.  I actually forgot to bring some honey, but clever us - Nick had a few greek yogurts with honey and he never really uses the honey part, so he generously offered me some to drizzle over my treat. 

Pomegranate Mascarpone Dessert/Appetizer Thing, recipe adapted from Nina
  • 1/2 of a pomegranate, or, if you are lucky, the pre-seeded kind
  • 1 tub of mascarpone (about 3-4 ounces.  I used that purple brand from Whole Foods that is from upstate NY or something)
  • Drizzling of honey or agave nectar
  • Plain baked pita chips
To cut the pomegranate: Cut in half from the top, and then in quarters.  Get a bowl and scoop out the seeds into the bowl.  This can get VERY messy so make sure you aren't wearing your finest whites.

In a small bowl, mix together the mascarpone and some honey (no more than 1 tbsp - but suited to your tastes).  Spread this into a serving dish.  Top with the pomegranates.  Eat with the pita chips (TRUST me this is DELICIOUS).

Bacon Ice Cream

Val and I went on this scrumptious chocolate tour of the LES in the fall.  We stopped at a few really great places, and I came to find out that Dessert Truck has its own STORE FRONT.  How I did not know this sooner is beyond me, but let's just cut to the point.  Dessert Truck had a yummy bread pudding.  On top of that bread pudding was a BACON CUSTARD.  Yes, Bacon.  At first, it sounds gross.  But when you taste it, it has a familiar, homey, sunday morning with pancakes and maple syrup type taste.  The bacon was sweet and complemented the bread pudding sooo amazingly.

So then the wheels in my head stomache started turning.  Cream Anglaise, or custard, is so similar to the batter I make for ice cream.  I COULD TURN THIS INTO ICE CREAM! OMFG.  So then I started discussing with the tour guide as to how would be the best way to do this.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Holiday Dinner Party Round 2.0

My weekend of holiday dinner parties led me to none other than Lavina's apartment for more food and merriment (really, the two go hand in hand in my opinion).  Lavina also invited Nina, Neelam and Manisha and we all contributed something delicious. 

Neelam brought this smooth and savory bean dish topped with sour cream and cheese.  I parked myself right in front of it and shamelessly gobbled it up while Lavina was still cooking. 

Nina brought a suprise dish - surprise because I did not expect some of the flavors to go together at ALL! She made a dish with mascarpone cheese (we all know how much I LOVE this!), drizzled with honey and pomegranate seeds.  Sounds like dessert, right?  WRONG! Well kind of wrong.  Serve it up with some baked plain pita chips (such as Stacey's or Utz) and you have a sweet and savory dish.  So this is actually not only festive, but also a real crowd pleaser because it accomodates everyone's cravings (those who like sweet = me those who like savory = other people). 

Lavina provided the entrees.  First up was the macaroni and cheese which I believe was borrowed from Smitten Kitchen.  Then that was followed by a mouthwateringly spicy red curry with tofu and mock duck.  For those of you who don't know what mock duck is: it is basically faux meat made out of some product I'm not sure of, but is meant to provide protein to vegetarians in whatever dish they make.  Does it taste like real duck?  No.  But I hardly doubt vegetarians would know.  Served with white rice, this dish was better than any of the curries I've had at the various Thai restaurants in New York!  As home-made is generally the case.  Light, non-greasy, and as delicious as it was aromatic.  Nice work, L. 

And of course, yours truly provided dessert.  You know how stores sell dresses, "wear 1 dress 10 ways!"...well I think my ice cream is the LBD of holiday parties.  I took with me the same ice cream I took to Becca's apartment, and all were a hit, especially the sparkly candy cane!  (sidenote: that will now be my go-to recipe any time I feel like Christmas!). 

As if there couldn't possibly be more stuffing my face this weekend...stay tuned for Holiday Dinner Party Round 3.0!  I'm serious.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Holiday Dinner Party Round 1.0

Becca jets to glamourous places such as Indiana and Dallas for work during the week.  So when she is home during the weekend, we like to cook together.  Since it was the holidays and we like cooking for people and eating, she invited Rachael, Michelle, Alyx and Nick.  Well Alyx Nick and Becca live together, so they aren't really guests.  The roomates also got a Christmas tree which we all helped trim in one way or the other (for example, I helped by eating the broken candy canes that could no longer serve as ornaments.  old habits die hard.)

We happily chomped away on our holiday feast while sipping various red, white and sparkling wines (yes all three, just not at the same time).  And if we couldn't get anymore holiday cheer-ier into our systems, we also watched Love Actually after dinner, which, if this isn't a feel good holiday movie, I don't know what is!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Toasted Truffled Cheese Baguette

Last night, I went out for a few drinks with some of my wonderful former colleagues (so much fun!).  Marisa and I also got our Christmas tree, so between both things I didn't really have time to eat dinner.  After a few vodka sodas at the Copper Door and a warm, holiday cheer-inspiring spiked cider at Bua, I wanted to eat a midnight snack and watch some DVR'ed tv before going to bed.  Usually when I come home in this fashion, I make a pita pizza, taking whole wheat pita bread, topping it with mozzarella and maybe some pepperoni. 

But I had a BETTER idea! Earlier in the week, I had picked up some truffley cheese.  I also had some proscuitto lying around and I had some left over black truffle oil from when Kim came over for fondue (to be posted shortly).  My normal MO is to eat cheese and crackers as my dinner while watching Good Eats or The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (don't judge me).  However, tonight, I decided to make a truffled grilled cheese sandwich.  Well, some version of it. 

Toasted Truffled Cheese Baguette serves 1

  • Baguette of choice
  • A few teaspoons of black truffle oil* (I freehanded this to lightly coat the bread)
  • A few slices of Pecorino Tartufello or something similar - you want it to be soft/semi-soft and meltable
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with a small section of aluminum foil. 

Slice the baguette in half (like a hot dog bun).  Using a pastry brush, brush the truffle oil onto both slices of bread.  Line the bread with your cheese slices.

Bake in the oven for about 5 minutes or until you get your desired melti-ness of cheese and the bread is just slightly toasted (ha, no pun intended). 

Ending Notes:  This was probably the most ingenius midnight snack I have EVER made.  Of course you all know how amaz-o truffles are.  And in cheese? Even better! Melted pecornio tartufello + toasted bread = ultimate "grilled" cheese.  I also ate a few slices of proscuitto and then proceeded to watch Millionaire Matchmaker until I scarfed down every last bit of of my gourmet sandwich.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Holiday Cookie Party

Marya and I hosted a holiday cookie party the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  We made all kinds of cookies, and oh my goodness they were all a hit! My sister's cookies especially (of course).  Even Cooper wanted in on the baked goodies!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

Hom nom nom nom nom nom.  That's all I have to say.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Mulled Wine

Mulled wine...because who doesn't want something warm to sip while gorging on turkey and stuffing?

The great thing about this recipe is that it is very simple and really hands off.  And, it tastes great!  Thanks Ina!

Mulled Wine, borrowed from Ina

Serves 8

  • 4 cups apple cider
  • 1 bottle of red (we used cab sauv)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 orange zested and juiced
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 3 star anise
Combine all ingredients in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil, and then lower heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.  Strain and discard the solids. Pour the drink into mugs or wine glasses and serve warm. 

Ending Notes:  VERY aromatic and reminds me of a ski lodge in Aspen.  The flavors meshed together really well and I would make this again on a snowy winter night!  

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Port Cranberry Sauce

I haven't eaten cranberry "sauce" out of a can since like, 2004, when I discovered how amazing homemade cranberry sauce was.  I usually try a new one every year but they all follow the same general theme.  Some are classics, some have some pizzaz.  And, honestly, it is so easy to make, it's practically as easy as cracking open a canned version, but tastes a WHOLE lot better. So next Thanksgiving, or even for Christmas, I'd say try one yourself!