Sunday, July 31, 2011

Foodbuzz 24x24: We all Scream for Ice Cream - a NYC roof top tasting

Who hasnt heard this saying  - "I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream" at least once in their lives - well if you havent then this is your first of millions.
Like so many before me I knew instantly what my proposal was going to be for this months Foodbuzz 24 x 24. Summer heat brings summer fun and what's more fun than ice cream? I will tell you what. Ice cream with grown up flavors, thats what, and if not grown up flavors then dang good ones at that.
For my Foodbuzz 24 x 24 I decided I was going to make a few unique flavors of ice cream - how does 8 out of this galaxy creations sound - then invite a few friends over for a little roof top tasting. So I made some ice cream and I made some ice cream cones and I decorated the rooftop for this special festive occasion. When dont christmas lights make magic out of the mundane?
I started off with a basic vanilla ice cream and added flavors - how else would you do it?
Vanilla Ice Cream 

1/2 cup sugar
dash of salt
2 cups half and half
1 cup milk
1 egg, beaten (you can substitute cornstarch or xanthan gum if using eggs is an issue)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Combine sugar salt and all the milk and half the half and half in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until mixture almost boils then reduce heat to low.

Gradually stir about half of this hot mixture into the beaten eggs to temper then incorporate all together and heat until it thickens stirring constantly, remove from heat and refrigerate 2 hours.

Whip the other cup of half and half with the vanilla flavoring until soft peaks form and fold this into the chilled mixture and pour into your ice cream maker and proceed as per its instructions.

When I had a few batches of vanilla made I then organized my flavors and the chemistry began.
some things from the garden some things from fruit stands
I should mention that "organizing" these flavors involved a trip to the Union Square Farmers Market as well as my garden, fruit stands and the supermarket - all on my trusty red bike. When I narrowed it down to the final 8 flavors - this was the result:
Mint Mojito Majesty is a twist on the mojito (obviously) with a little lime and a little mint and the tiniest splash of rum.
Luscious Lavender will make you wonder why you never had lavender ice cream before now. Aromatic, floral and sweet with the perfume of lavender makes this flavor special.
Mexican Chocolate Chocolate  is just that - Mexican chocolate - complete with the cinnamon and the spices and I added in a little bit of mulato chile just because I can. 
Sweet Summer Peach - just typing that makes me blush and to say it out loud makes me need a cold shower.
Fantastic Figgy Fig gave rum another mission - get it Mission figs - rum with a mission, hahahaha.
Don’t be Blue Blueberry  put a bright blue smile on your face with this blue blast of summer delight.
Lemon Basil Goat Cheese Vanilla takes a simple classic like vanilla and kicks it all the way out to left field with the complimentary tangs of the the lemon basil and the goat cheese - it may not be sweet but it sure is a honey - this baby is all grown up.
Carrot Cake a little carrot a little cinnamon a little cream cheese "frosting" and some "cake" - that is what is carrot cake isnt it? Isnt it? I cant play favorites - just sayin'.
The only way to make these fabulous flavors more fabulous would be to serve them in fresh made waffle bowls and cones rich with the flavors of malt and vanilla and since you are dying to know how I did it I will tell you.

Waffle Cones

2 cups sifted flour
1/2 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract ( I used my home made 
vanilla extract again)
1/3 cup Ovaltine malt powder
1 egg
1 cup water (adjust water until a loose batter is formed)

Preheat waffle iron - if you have the actual waffle cone waffle iron then use that a pizzelle maker works great too but I am using an old waffle iron from Norway that makes heart shaped waffles like this. Mix all ingredients together forming a loose and liquid batter pour thinly into hot iron - you are not trying to make big fat waffles but thin waffles. Cook both sides until brown and quickly form into cones or bowls while hot.

even made a little form for every one to fill out so I could get some focus group feedback.  I asked about mouth feel, texture (texture and mouth feel may seem the same but they are not), flavor and would you buy it - the results were interesting. Stay tuned for the next several posts as I am going to be leaking out each recipe as a blog post and then several detailed posts hinting about the consensus of my marketing survey before I actually post the results thereby milking this idea as much as I can so thats 8 ice cream flavors that would then become 8 separate blog posts....ha ha ha ha, just kidding - dont you hate when people stretch out blog posts like that - I know I do. I will give you the results here and now and the recipe is already there all you have to do is flavor it to your liking.
The over all favorite was the Mexican Chocolate Chocolate.  The creamiest was the Lemon Basil Goat Cheese Vanilla. The one that tasted most like actual carrot cake was the Carrot Cake. Then Luscious Lavender and Mint Mojito Majesty got best of show for most "cultivated" flavors, and while "most cultivated" was not part of the criteria these two shone through and created a category all their own. This isnt to say that Sweet Summer Peach,  Fantastic Figgy Fig, and Don’t be Blue Blueberry werent good rich flavors its that the tasting panel felt they were not exotic compared to the others and everyone would buy every one except the fig - they said it just wasnt figgy enough. So there you have it now go Scream for Ice Cream!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

if you're too cool for school then welcome to the cool school - do you quake for shakes, do you need an i-phone app for frappes then you found the hot spot thats the cool spot

Vanilla Malt - its way too good
Now I want everyone to take out their pad and pencils or uni-balls and filo faxes or i-phones and apps or e- recipes or what ever it is you use to help you in the kitchen because today is your lucky day. If you werent sure you read that right I will repeat - today is your lucky day because today I am going to teach you how to make a classic vanilla malt. Oh you might think its pretty easy but I kid you not you can google recipes for it and if there is a teacher then there must be students.

start with a clean blender
add ice cream and vanilla
time to make more vanilla
add malt
add milk and blend
thick and rich and delicious
step by step visual instructions
too good not to share
I like mine nice and thick and rich and delicious so if you dont like them thick and rich and delicious then this is not the recipe for you.

Classic Vanilla Malted

yield: 24 ounces

16 ounces of vanilla ice cream
8 ounces your choice of milk ( I use coconut milk or soy milk or almond milk)
1/2 teaspoon of good vanilla extract ( I made some here in case you need to know how)
2 tablespoons of malt 

Blend everything until its thick and rich and delicious and pour into two twelve ounce glasses and serve with a straw or two.

You see I have used Osterizer and Silk and Ovaltine in my recipe - I know what you are thinking - they should be paying me for this kind of endorsement but it just so happens that is what I had around the house and I did not feel like taping over the labels so this time they get a little freebie and so do you - yup thats right you dont need to give me 99 cents for this perfect little recipe - I give it to you as a gift - its a win win situation all can now take this and run with it - make it your own!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Flan is Crème Brûlée's latin cousin - flan is a kissin' cousin

my basket of freshly picked salad greens that has nothing to do with flan
Okie dokie folksy wolksies its time for another installment of "this ol' blog" let me see where did we last leave off? Oh I know our hero - me - was extolling those things I extoll about - I mean those things he extolls about (this speaking in third person is tough). My dreams do come true, life is good and everyone is living happily ever after - there the whole thing in a nut-shell. So with all that little hub bub out of the way lets talk flan.

coconut flan with coconut milk
Egg custards of any kind are probably my most favorite desserts and if you know me its probably because it has egg in it, I like eggs, eggs like me, eggs and I have a symbiotic relationship.

coconut flan with coconut milk and coconut whipped cream
Ok lets make some flan and to do that you need a recipe and as much as I despise recipes I am finding that they are important tools of communication between those of us that can cook and those of us that cant. Let me clarify this - some people (me) think outside of the box instinctively so recipes are simply suggestions or guidelines and other people (not me) like to follow the guidelines to a T(ee) because thinking outside of the box makes them nervous, then there are other people (you know who you are)  that realize the vulnerable ones are out there and they want to cash in on it so they make easy to follow apps and what nots to teach people things they themselves are not really qualified to be teaching and this whole vicious scenario gets played out all day long on every social media sight that exists - including right here at ChezWhat? - damn I like to rant...lets just make some flan.

coconut flan with coconut whipped cream

Coconut Flan

7 eggs
1 can of coconut milk
1 can evaporated milk
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups of sugar
pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 325F.  Melt one cup of sugar in a sauce pan until amber in color then pour it into the bottom of one glass 9x13 baking pan. Mix milks and eggs in a stand mixer until light then add sugar and vanilla and mix for one minute. Pour mixture into baking pan and bake in a water bath (bain marie) for 45 -55 minutes or until it begins to set, remove from oven and as it cools it will continue to set. When it is cool to the touch refrigerate for 4 hours or over night. Cut and serve with coconut whipped cream and pour some of the sugar syrup that collects in the bottom of the pan.

Coconut Whipped Cream

1 pint heavy cream
2 tablespoons confectioners sugar
2 tablespoons coconut powder (you can find it in asian supermarkets)

Whip the cream with the sugar and coconut until stiff peaks form - put in a piping bag and serve.

Once you have had this simple flan - no other flan will do, oh and for an added treat spoon over a little coconut milk as well as the syrup and you will be in flan heaven.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Independence Day red bliss potato salad for the 4th of July 2011

Everybody loves a side dish especially when the side dish is potato salad and especially if that potato salad is made by none other than me. This potato salad was many years in the making to get it to its "blissful" state and I will tell you why. I hated potato salad growing up! It had to be the way people were making it. I refused to even try potato salad for many years based on the simple fact that I already decided that it sucked. Then one day in or around the time I was 20 years old or so someone asked me to make "the potato salad" and it was at this point that the epiphany occurred - "from this day forward it will no longer suck" I said to myself.

I would not use huge chunks of over boiled eggs and some sort of "miracle" mayonnaise - no not me. In fact I will tell you my little recipe for 5 pounds of potatoes right now so that you will no longer have to suffer through "that other" potato salad ever again. This recipe has been tweaked through the years to get it to the simplicity that it is today.

Christo's Blissful Red Bliss Potato Salad

5 pounds of Red bliss potatoes cut into bigger than bite size chunks
7 jumbo eggs boiled for 5 minutes - chopped fine
small handful of rosemary
1 tablespoon of dried mustard (Colman's)
1 cup of real mayonnaise
1 small red onion - diced
2 stalks of celery - diced
1/4 cup of finely chopped parsley
Salt and Pepper to taste

Boil potatoes in salted water with rosemary until fork tender drain and cool quickly - once cool mix in everything else and cool some more - thats it - its done.

Find a roof top and enjoy.

We are taking applications for volunteers to clean up and build a nice deck on the roof but until then this is it - so if you want to complain about the graffiti and what not you can be one of those volunteers.

You can start immediately.

The perks are the unobstructed sunsets....

.....and Macy's fireworks in the distance

....and lounge chairs and bbq picnics.
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