Thursday, February 24, 2011

Salted Caramel Ice Cream

I felt a little like Goldilocks trying to make this ice cream. I tried several different recipes to get it "just right". I was trying to re-create the type of caramel ice cream I had while I was in San Francisco. There was the Salted Caramel from Bi-Rite and then the Burnt Caramel Ice Cream from Perbacco that was served with Pignoli cookies. They were both quite rich in texture. I wanted to create a salted and burnt caramel flavor. In the end it wasn't the flavor as much as the texture I really struggled to achieve. The first recipe I tried was way too soft. I think the caramel texture makes it difficult for the custard to set up. The second batch as you might have guessed was too hard. Neither batch was quite rich enough for my taste. When I stumbled across Thomas Keller's recipe for caramel ice cream in Ad Hoc at Home and saw that it had 10 egg yolks I figured it would at the very least it would be rich enough, and it was. This recipe was "just right" in texture and flavor. I'm a bit of a wimp when it comes to making caramel, so mine could have afforded to be cooked just a bit longer to get a true burnt caramel flavor, but it very much tasted like the one I had from Bi-Rite and there is nothing wrong with that.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Lemon and Ginger Madeleines

Let  me start by saying that I have never eaten a "real" Madeleine.  I bought this Madeleine pan over a year ago thinking that I would love Madeleine's, but after making several recipes I came to the conclusion that they just weren't my thing. It is entirely possible I just never found the right recipe. So, if you are a Madeleine officianado, please don't write and tell me these aren't true Madeleine's. If you are a huge fan of lemon and ginger (a lot of ginger) I recommend giving it a try. Just think of them as muffins in a cute package.
This recipe is quite versatile. The first time I made it I went with the original version and made it in full size muffin wells. The recipe is from Orangette. Molly mentioned when she made the muffins they ended up with these strange humps that reminded her of Madeleines. I noticed this as well. So, why not make them in Madeleine pans? Since I only own one 12 well Madeleine pan I make one batch and put the rest in mini muffin tins. If you put one tablespoon of batter in each well the recipe will yield 36 either way. The thing I love about making them this way is they are great little grab and go breakfast snacks. I take a few to work and have them with my morning coffee. The ginger might even give you more of a jolt than the caffeine!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

What to do with Preserved Lemons

Preserved Lemons are everywhere these days. Everyone is making them. My question is...what are they doing with them? When I originally made these lemons I thought I would post the recipe for making them, but I have seen so many posts on how to preserved lemons lately it just seemed a little redundant. One thing I noticed in every one of those posts is that someone left a comment asking what to do with them. The reason I made them is my recent fascination with Harissa has let to a fascination with Moroccan food, which has let to...Preserved Lemons!  The method I used to make mine was from Hunter, Angler, Gardener, Cook. I recommend you head over there if you are still looking to make your lemons, Hank has several methods for preserving as well as some suggestions for how to use your lemons.
For those of you with a jar in hand I will provide you with some of the recipes and resources for what I plan on making with my preserved lemons.



Monday, February 14, 2011

Meyer Lemon and Pistachio Truffles

It is Valentine's Day, so stop by your local chocolate shop and pick up something nice for your sweetie. What if the closest chocolate shop is 300 miles away? Well, I guess you are going to have to make the chocolates yourself.
I really enjoy making truffles myself anyway. There are so many possible flavor combinations. Once you get the basic recipe down, the possibilities are endless. However, this flavor combination was not my own. During my last trip to Anchorage I stopped in at Modern Dwellers Chocolate Lounge to sample some of their truffles. This flavor was my favorite by far. Since I can't buy more for Valentine's Day I had to re-create them in my own kitchen.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Grenadine

Some people make New Year Resolutions to eat right and lose weight. What fun is that? One of my New Year Resolutions was to make more cocktails! That is far more fun to discuss with friends, rather than the latest diet craze. The problem is that I haven't kept this resolution any better than those of years past.
Lately I have found myself bored with beer. We have had the same brands in our local liquor store for years. I think I have reached the end of finding anything new and exciting in the beer world of Fairbanks. When I look at the wall of liquors, it seems that the combination of flavors could be endless. Plus, I kind of like the idea of unwinding with a cocktail at the end of the day. The only problem is that starting a home bar can be expensive, especially when most of the decent bottles of liquor in Fairbanks cost over $30. So, I will start with some of the basics and hopefully jazz things up with homemade liquors and mixers. Grenadine is probably one of the most recognized staples of any bar. The bright red color adds a punch to many cocktails, or in this case a Shirley Temple. Nobody said my resolution was to drink more alcohol cocktails! The only problem is that it is pure corn syrup and food coloring. Homemade grenadine is really easy to make, and adds a little more zing than the store bought kind. The pomegranate juice can be expensive, but I find the stuff in the health food aisle is a bit less expensive than what you find in the cooler section in the grocery store. There are a couple recommended methods for making homemade grenadine and I decided to combine them. This recipe adds flavor along with a bit alcohol to make it shelf stable. When I tasted this I was actually really surprised how much it tasted like the real thing. Well, a little less syrupy, more flavorful version of the real thing. This recipe makes nearly a quart of grenadine, so get a few smaller bottles and share it with your friends as a Valentine's treat.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Meyer Lemon Muffins

It is funny this time of year, Karen thinks I kid when I say her lemons bring sunshine to Fairbanks. If you look at these photos you will see it is true! I look forward to each and every box. Ever since I learned how well lemon zest and juice freezes I usually don't stress about using all my lemons right away. Of course there are always things that I want to make including Lemon Bars when they first come in.
I went and picked up my most recent box from the post office Saturday morning. When I opened the box I knew I had to have some lemony goodness right away!  I thought about making the lemon scones that I usually make for breakfast, but I was feeling like a change. A pure lemon muffin, nothing else to mask that lemony goodness. These muffins fit that description perfectly.

Friday, February 4, 2011

How to Can Mandarin Oranges

This time of year I can't get enough citrus. I am totally in love with these Kishu Mandarins I purchased last week. They are seedless and super easy to peel. I did however get a little carried away order 25 lbs of them. We ate as many as we could fresh. I shared half the box with the folks at work. I had thought all along that I would like to can some of them to use in salads. I thought it would be fairly simple to find directions, but it took some digging to figure out how to do it. Finally I found a great site called Pick Your Own, it is a great resource for anything you might want to can. The process couldn't be much easier and you can use it for any kind of citrus fruit you might have. You can even mix different types of citrus together.
In the grocery store canned mandarins run about $4.00 per can. I'm actually thinking even with shipping I might be saving money by doing it myself.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Hey Hey Hazelnut Scones

Did you know that this coming Saturday is World Nutella Day? Guess what, I'm calling it Hey Hey Hazelnut Day instead. Doesn't that sound a lot more fun? I think so. I made these scones from Askinosie chocolate Hazelnut spread. On the side of the jar it says Hey Hey Hazelnut. Go ahead, say it out loud. You can't help but smile can you? These scones are rich and indulgent and I made them even more so with the addition of bittersweet chocolate chips. The original recipe comes from Baked Explorations. Those guys at the Baked Bakery really know how to make a scone. Perfect for the chocolate lover in your life, they would make a great Valentine's breakfast.  The great thing about scones is that you can make them up ahead of time and freeze them, then just pop them in the oven the morning you want to eat them. So make them on a weekday or for Hey Hey Hazelnut Day this Saturday.

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