Thursday, May 29, 2008

Banana Ice Cream for Beautiful Bones

I ate this whole cup after the photo shoot.
It was 9:30 am.

I am addicted to this ice cream. It's the type of thing that is so good, it makes you want to cry.
Lately I have been fussing around with a roasted banana ice cream for a brownie sundae that will be making it's debut on my menu next week (with hot fudge, rum soaked golden raisins, and salted walnuts.... a single tear of joy rolls down my cheek). There are a plethora of banana ice cream recipes out there, but I couldn't find a single one that appealed to me. That's OK, nothing pumps me up like a good challenge. I wont go into the various different methods I fiddled with, for they will bore you. All you should care about is the final victory (which was my fourth attempt for those who are counting....and for those who are counting- get a fucking life.), which may be my finest ice cream achievement to date.... Please note that I say that a lot.
This recipe is also high in calcium, which makes it a prudent entry for Susan's blog event, beautiful bones- once again, I am submitting ice cream for a blog event. I promise you all more creativity in the future....

No I don't. I love ice cream and relish any chance I can get to eat too much of it.
But seriously, osteoporosis is something we should all try to avoid- especially us ladies, so our beloved Food Blogga is a champ for coming up with this event to promote awareness. There will be all kinds of bone strengthening recipes posted around the first of the month, so be sure to check out her blog for the round up.

start with ripe, yet not mushy naners

macerate with rum and lemon juice

Roast the bananas
...this is probably the ugliest picture ever to be seen on this blog
*hanging my head in shame*

Roasted Banana Ice Cream (recipe can be scaled down. I like to make a shitload)

Roasted Bananas:
6 ripe bananas
2 T Meyers dark rum
1 tsp lemon juice
1 T sugar

Peel and slice the bananas. Toss with the remaining ingredients and let macerate for 20 minutes. Turn on the broiler and lay the bananas out onto a silpat lined sheet pan (or spray a piece of parchment paper with pam) Roast until they begin to caramelize- about 5-10 minutes.

Ice cream base:
3 cups whole milk
6 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup sugar
roasted bananas (see recipe above)

18 egg yolks
1 tsp salt

1 1/2 oz. Meyer's dark rum

Scrape the roasted bananas into a pot. add the sugar, milk, and cream. Bring mixture to a boil, then remove from heat, cover, and let infuse for 2 hours.

Using a slotted spoon, remove the bananas and transfer to a food processor or blender. Puree until smooth, then whisk together with the egg yolks and salt.

Bring infused dairy to a boil and slowly temper the hot liquid into the yolks. Return to the pot and cook over medium low heat, stirring constantly with a heat proof spatula, until thickened (custard should be about 165 degrees). Strain custard into a container and chill. Once completely cold, stir in the rum and churn in a ice cream machine.

Next on The Pie Lady:
Food with colors!


A PS for my Mother: I only swore ONCE in this post.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Petis Fours- want some?

I have a refrigerator full of these things and a husband who hates cake...

Jenn, our anointed sovereign's monthly joust is here again. Do you guys realize that the winner now gets an apron with their blog name on it AND free Tupperware? Not to mention being able to brag to all their friends and a sweet logo for their blog.

At home in my kitchen, I wear a nappy, apron that I stole from a now defunct vegan hipster restaurant where I was once a cook. Complete with stains from curried tofu scrambles and textured vegetable protein sausage of yore.
Just sayin' is all.

Last month's winner and now proud owner of said apron and Tupperware was Elle who chose raspberries, lime, and almonds for our battling ingredients.
The Pacific Northwest is berry country. People in Michigan or wherever can argue this all they want (I have arguments about this all the time with our Michigan-born sous chef. Somehow when the first flat of local strawberries arrives, he sings a different tune.), but it's true. The berries up here are the shit..
....In July.
Needless to say, I was wary of planning a recipe around a sucky California berry. Luckily for me, I'm a genius. Last year, I was able to get my hands on a flat of local black raspberries. I turned them into a seedless compoty-freezer jam type concoction that I still have several jars of.
The Jousting wheels were turning.....
Garnished with the snubbed California raspberries that actually turned out to be really good. Not Washington good, but good.

I had announced on the forum that I would think outside the box and come up with a savory entry.
The compote was wanting to be made into a dessert of some sort. So I entered Petis Fours country- not a zone for pastry pussies. After glazing your 112th teensy little cake, the urge to stab someone can come on pretty strong. I decided to scale down my recipe to a meager 24 petis fours. I ate one- they turned out delicious, and now I have 23 of them sitting in the fridge. Trevor wont touch them with a ten foot pole. They are a pastry- which he hates, and painfully girly. He wont admit to that being a factor in his disdain for dainty little tea cakes like this, but he's not kidding anyone but himself.

Heres how I made the little bastards:
Almond butter cake- sliced horizontally into 4 layers (makes 2 separate cakes)

Shmear with lime swiss buttercream and black raspberry compote

Sammich it together

Cut into quaint little squares, then glaze with lime fondant. Prepare to be doing this activity for a good hour. An episode of Deadwood makes for excellent company while performing this task. Hearing the word cocksucker coming out of my TV makes it so I don't have to shout the profanities myself
I am completely out of steam and cannot type this nonsense anymore. If you want the recipe for these ingredients, here is the link to my post on the forum.
I'm going to bed.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Shameless Plug

Mexican Chocolate Flan with Spicy Mango and Pepita Brittle

Readers who do not live in the Seattle area will find this post to be pretty boring. Sorry. You can just look at the pictures- which, lets face it, suck. I am just never going to be one of *those blogs* where every shot looks like it came straight out of a cookbook, complete with tea towels to match the food and theme appropriate dishes.
I'm busy.
One of these days I'll get around to reading the information booklet that came with the camera. But until then, the stuck up panel of judges at tastespotting can just bite me.

Unless they take bribes(?)....

I guess that little diatribe has been building up since I started this whole blogging thing. Thanks for listening.

But I did not sign on to be bitter. I come here today to give New Urban Eats a shout out, or "NUE" as the cool kids call it, which I most certainly am. This is the third installment of the Seattle restaurant program, the second go 'round for Betty, which would explain why my back hurts, my elbows are throbbing (my future arthritic sweet spot- looking forward to those good times), and when I close my eyes, all I can see are these flans.
You can't afford NOT to eat this

Allow me to further explain the NUE concept. For one month, 20 Seattle restaurants participate by featuring a prix fixe menu of 3 courses for 30 dollars. It's a ridiculously good deal, and it's not just some shitty sub-par plate of gruel the chef threw together to sell at a discount. At Betty, every choice presented to you for the prix fixe dinner can be found on our regular menu- same goes for my dessert options. I guarantee you will walk out of the place uncomfortably stuffed with delicious food.

But I am not going to shove just Betty down your throats, There are other really good places playing along with NUE.
I recently ate at Red Fin, a sushi joint downtown also participating in the event. I had grilled crab legs to start, the chef sushi platter for an entree (fucking huge plate of sashimi and sushi), and honey cardamom creme brulee (oh yeah, a bottle or 2 of warm sake, sadly not included in the discount). It was enough food for 2 people, and a 30 dollar tab at red fin is usually unheard of.
painfully addicting pepita brittle. I get my daily sugar intake 15 minutes after I get to work and start testing this stuff for "quality control"

So in short, Seattleites- get out there and eat! You have exactly 10 days left- well, 8 days- it is not offered on Fridays or Saturdays. We are already having our asses handed to us on weekends. I think we would very likely go insane if we were also offering a prix fixe.
But seriously, times are tough. We all know that. It seems like dining out is one of the first sacrifices one makes when faced with 4$/gallon gas (insert "fuck you dubya" comment here) and a housing crisis, and all the other fretful things going on in the world. But for a brief period, there is some relief from your restaurant bill, should you chose to take advantage of it.

Looking for a recipe?
Sorry. I kind of have to protect myself when it comes to items on my dessert menu. Especially when it comes to this flan, which took me almost the entire month of April to perfect. I will tell you about it though. I infuse the dairy with orange zest, ancho chile, coco nibs, and cinnamon. Later I add good bittersweet chocolate and kahlua. The mango is simply dowsed in chile infused simple syrup. Pepita brittle is nothing more than cooked sugar and pumpkin seeds.
There. Feel better?

Thursday, May 8, 2008

SHF #43- citrus therapy


I must start this post with the caveat that I am having quite the craptacular week. Nothing major or life threatening- just a lot of little annoyances that have been piling on steadily....One highlight I am willing to share includes the tearing of the seat of my pants while I was at work. Nothing like showing your ass to your male co-workers to bring you down off your high horse. Good times.
People with real problems should feel free to tell me to fuck off. Or as my dear husband says after listening to me piss and moan for a day or two- "get over yourself and quit being so pms-ey." God I love that man.

Anyway- I was going to put off my contribution to Sugar High Friday, for a few more weeks so I could focus on some recipes for work. Then I found out Helene, aka Tartlette, aka blogging superstar (I dare you to find a food blog without her included in the blog roll. Yeah, she rocks), was hosting this month and chose citrus as the theme. Citrus is so bright and cheerful. How could it not pull me out of my self-indulgent funk?
My recipe this month is definitely a little ray of sunshine. I morphed a Pierre Herme (also known as God) lemon cream into a citrus brulee tart served with caramel syrup and sugared pine nuts. Those who are unfamiliar with Pierre, or his lemon cream should be ashamed of themselves. Those who are, know that it's basically lemon curd with a pound of butter whooped into it. The final product sets up to a creamy custard-like consistency. I am almost always using it in some form on my menu. Fold in a little whipped cream and becomes a pillowy filling for strawberry shortcake. Sandwich it between layers of lemon chiffon cake, or mix it with mascarpone to dollop on top of gingerbread...It will sexify any thing. I promise.
A pound of butter will make it all okay


This version of the recipe uses the zest of lemons, limes, and grapefruit, and the juice of just lemons and limes. Including the grapefruit juice made it too sweet, so I had to reduce the sugar, but then it wouldn't set up properly....You know a recipe is good when it's been fiddled with about half a dozen times. The final product is the perfect happy medium. It's not too sweet and the three citrus flavors are well pronounced. I served mine in a lemon-cornmeal crust, and the sugared pine nuts are a nice balance to the tang.(I said tang) Now add a crackly brulee top crust, and you have attitude adjustment on a plate.
Citrus Brulee Tart
adapted from Pierre Herme

1- 12" pre baked tart shell

1# good quality butter, cut into small pieces and softened
zest of 1 grapefruit, 2 lemons, and 2 limes
1 1/3 cup sugar
4 oz lime juice
5 oz lemon juice
7 eggs
1 egg yolk

A very useful toy

Place the sugar in a bowl (large enough to fit over a pan of simmering water). Zest all citrus fruits into the sugar. Using gloved hands, rub the zest into the sugar until it is moist and fragrant. Add citrus juice to the sugar as well as the eggs. Whisk to combine.
Place mixture over a pot of simmering water and cook, whisking constantly until it reaches 180-182 degrees on a thermometer. Immediately remove from water bath and strain into a bowl (this both removes any curdled egg and zest and also cools the mixture slightly).
Transfer mixture to a food processor and add the butter, a few pieces at a time with the machine running. Once all of the butter is added, continue processing for 1-2 minutes.
Pour mixture into a bowl. Fold gently with a spatula and tap against the counter to pop air bubbles. Finally, slowly pour into the pre baked tart shell. Carefully place tart in the refrigerator and chill uncovered for several hours or over night before slicing into 14 pieces. To serve, sprinkle each slice evenly with sugar, then brulee it with a blow torch or under a broiler.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

It would have been better with nuts....

It was still delicious, but my sister is anti-nut unless it's an almond or a hazelnut. Both of which were conveniently absent from her pantry shelf. We were going to the store for buttermilk, where nuts are easily obtained. But, no. She was determined to have this rhubarb bread come out nut free. Her kitchen, her rules....fascist.
Lonely lonely rhubarb
That's okay. Lucky for her, this is the most versatile and forgiving quick bread recipe of all time. Plus, she had just given me a really cool rug and a bunch of clothes (my sister Brooke is a clothes whore. Seriously. She was trying to give me stuff that still had the tags on it. Every time I see her, she has bags full of items to unload on me so that she can clear space in her closet for more f'ing clothes. I would suggest an intervention if her illness were not so beneficial to yours that bad? But honestly- In 8 years, the only articles I've had to buy for myself are chef pants and birkenstocks. Pretty much everything else comes from her. And she has good taste to boot.) so I wasn't going to throw down over something as petty as a nut. But walnut fans will be pleased to know that I did voice my opinion...several times.

You have no idea how good this smells. See the scented steam a-wafting out the top? Oh yeah.
Despite all that, I had such a delightful day with the sibling. She and her boyfriend, CK, just bought a house in the ridiculously quaint, historic downtown area of Everett. It's about 30 miles north of the less quaint, more crowded, and much snootier queen anne neighborhood of Seattle, where I live (I still love you Sea-town, you just piss me off sometimes). Everett is the type of town where everybody knows each other. We had brunch at an adorable cafe, where the owner is Brooke's new neighbor. Later, we had pints and salads at the Irish pub where she and CK attend(and sometimes win, cuz CK be all smart and stuff) trivia night once a week. The small town vibe has become foreign to me, so it almost felt like a mini vacation. I also fell in love with Brooke's new, enormous and light-filled kitchen. Complete with a dishwasher (also foreign to me) and a breakfast nook. Like her mother before her, Brooke's whole house is beautifully decorated, one of the umpteen reasons why I refer to her as the "talented one"- but the kitchen and I hit it right off. I refused to go home with out baking something in there for her boyfriend, who would be returning from teaching rock climbing lessons (or something environmental and hippi-ish like that) that night, tired and hungry. I would have found any excuse to play in there, but CK's weary return with a rumbling tummy immediately tugged at her heartstrings.

So, we made rhubarb bread. Here is the recipe. Please note that it is better with 3/4cup of toasted, chopped walnuts. If you are smart, and are adding the nuts, reduce the flour to 2 3/4 cups.
Rhubarb Bread adapted from Kate's mom (for inquiring minds, Kate is my old boss)

1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar (we have discovered that dark brown makes it noticeably superior. But use light if you must)
1 egg
6oz. melted butter
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3 cups flour
2 cups sliced rhubarb

2 T butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar

Sugary-buttery topping.This stuff is basically crack.
Pre heat oven to 350. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, brown sugar, and butter. In a separate bowl, whisk the buttermilk salt and baking soda, then add to brown sugar mixture and whisk to combine. Add the flour and mix until just combined, then fold in the rhubarb. Pour into a greased loaf pan and set aside while you make the topping. In a small bowl, combine the granulated sugar with the 2 T butter. Mash with a fork until crumbly, then sprinkle over the batter. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes, then turn oven down to 325 and continue baking for 20-25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool completely (overnight if possible- it's never possible...) before slicing and wolfing down.
Brookey Likey.

Thanks Norm!