Saturday, March 17, 2007

Happy St. Patrick's Day: Guinness Ice Cream

I thought I would post this recipe in honor of St. Patrick's Day. This is an Emeril recipe that I got off of the Food Network website a couple of years ago. I made it for a potluck and liked it quite a bit. Because I was afraid of it being too strong I did use less than the called-for amount of Guinness, but it ended up being very mild. I think that using the full amount would be fine, but you should always taste as you add and remember that flavors are milder when food is cold.

This yields about 1 quart, or 8 servings.

Guinness Ice Cream with Dark Chocolate-Honey Sauce

12 ounces Guinness Stout
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise (or 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract)
6 each egg yolks
3/4 cup granulated sugar
pinch of salt

Dark Chocolate Honey Sauce
2 cups whipping cream
1/4 cup honey
20 ounces bittersweet chocolate -- finely chopped
2 tsp. vanilla extract

In a large saucepan, simmer the Guinness until reduced by 3/4 in volume, about 8 minutes. Reserve.

Combine the cream and milk in a separate medium-sized, heavy saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the pan and add the vanilla bean halves. Scald by heating on medium until the edges begin to bubble. Remove from heat.

Beat the egg yolks and sugar and just a pinch of salt in a medium-sized bowl. Temper the yolks by slowly drizzling 1 cup of the hot cream into the yolks while constantly whisking the mixture. Gradually add this mixture in a slow steady stream to the remaining hot cream. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until nappe, or when the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon (170F on an instant-read thermometer), about 5 minutes. Do not boil!

Remove from heat and strain through a fine mesh strainer into a clean container. Cover with plastic, pressing the wrap down so that it rests on the surface of the mixture. This keeps a skin from forming. If you already know how much of the Guinness reduction you want, you could add it at this point, but if you don't, it'll be easier to judge the strength when the base is cold. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Remove mixture from the refrigerator and add the Guinness reduction, tasting as you go and whisking until well blended. If you added the reduction before chilling, whisk the mixture anyway to eliminate any separation. Pour into the bowl of an ice cream machine and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze until firm and ready to serve.


Dark Chocolate Honey Sauce

In a medium saucepan, combine cream and honey and scald by heating on medium until edges bubble. Remove from heat.

Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Add the hot cream slowly while whisking, then continue to whisk until smooth. Whisk in vanilla. Let stand until cool but still pourable. If you make this ahead you can rewarm it if necessary by placing the container in some warm water. You can also use the microwave, just keep an eye on it. Serve over ice cream.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Things to Do in Akron, OH: West Point Market

West Point Market

I originally read about West Point Market in The Experience Economy: Work Is Theater & Every Business a Stage. It is now one of my favorite places to visit whenever I’m in Akron. West Point is like Whole Foods taken up a notch. The food is fancy, the wine is abundant, and the atmosphere is ever-so-pleasant. They also have Mrs. Ticklemore's Tearoom.

Akron seems an odd spot for such a high-end grocery store, but it’s apparently been around since 1936. It moved to the current location in 1941, and has been through 6 expansions and 29 remodels.

Cheese Plate

During my latest visit, I purchased the following to create the cheese platter above:

  • Explorateur Triple Cream: A creamy package of slightly salty yum, Explorateur was created by the French in honor of the first U.S. satellite, Explorer One.
  • Cypress Grove Purple Haze Goat Cheese: A goat's milk cheese flavored with lavender buds and fennel pollen. With a name like Purple Haze, how could I resist?
  • Cypress Grove Humboldt Fog: A creamy American goat's milk cheese named for the thick fog that rolls in from Northern California. It's bisected by a thin vein of vegetable ash that makes for a beautiful display.
  • Ubianco Pignolo: Druken Italian cheese made from cow's milk, soaked in Pignolo, and aged in crushed grape skins.
  • Dolci Pensieri di Calabria Fig Ball: Dried figs glazed in molasses and honey and wrapped in fig leaves. Beautiful.
  • 34° Apricot Fruit Paste: Fruity goodness that is spectacular with the triple-creams.

Can Blau 05

I also bought this bottle of Cellar Can Blau 2005. It's a mix of Carinena, Syrah and Garnacha, and it's very good (I love the label, too). I picked up a second bottle at Whole Foods earlier this evening.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Best Fridge Ever!

Flaming Fridge

I'm still working on an overview of my Ohio trip, but in the meantime I thought I'd post about this fabulous refrigerator! I saw this at Lehman's Hardware in Kidron, OH. It was an odd find considering that Lehman's specializes in appliances for the local Amish and Mennonite community, and I'm guessing it was a custom showpiece. It carries a hefty price tag of over $5,000, but wouldn't it go well with that toaster...?

Edit: This refigerator is a custom model made by Heartland Appliances, and retails for $4,995.00. Heartland also creates the appliances for the sets of Desperate Housewives.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Happy Birthday to Me!

Birthday 2007

My 34th birthday was last Friday, March 9th. A friend of mine, Tarik Dozier, who I haven't heard from in a while or seen in years, sent me the following birthday wish:

"Little colorful candles, clearly enough, are the canonical birthday cake topper. So much so, in fact, that any food you put them in automatically becomes a birthday food. Candles in a fruit torte? Birthday torte! Candles in a potato-leek quiche? Birthday quiche! Candles in the partially-decomposed body of a hobo who died of exposure and heart disease? Birthday hobo! And remember, blow out every candle on the hobo or you don't get your wish!" –Lore Sjoberg

I love the quote, and as it was completely unexpected to receive a birthday message from Tarik, it was extra-special.

I spent my birthday with my mom and stepdad in Ohio and just drove home today, so I'm quite tired. A posting frenzy should follow tomorrow...