Combining my interests of music, cooking, recipes, photos and tune talk.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Ice Cream: Blog Disaster Number 1

Drizzly Goodness
The Dish: Chocolate and Salted Caramel Swirl Ice Cream

I should clarify right off the bat; the Ice Cream itself wasn't a disaster, but the process of making it got messy.  People always ask if I edit out any errors or flops before posting on the blog, but that wouldn't be honest now would it?  But I'll get to the disaster later.

Once again, my recipe of choice came from Canadian Living Magazine. Until I got the magazine, the thought of making ice cream without any sort of ice cream maker had never crossed my mind.  But the process didn't seem too difficult and I had the food processor required for the blending part so I figured I would give it a try. The overall time commitment isn't too bad, however with all of the cooling and freezing steps, its ends up putting some restrictions on your day.  I think that's why people buy ice cream makers!

2 Cups Milk
4 tsp Corn Starch
1 1/2 Cups Whipping Cream
2 oz Dark Chocolate
3/4 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Cocoa Powder
1 tsp Vanilla

The first portion involves melting the chocolate in a half cup of the cream.  Use a little bit of the milk to mix together the corn starch.
The rest of the milk, cream, cocoa, sugar and vanilla get mixed together in a pot and then brought to a boil for 4 minutes on medium heat.  This is where the old adage "A watched pot never boils" comes into play.  I had this sucker on the stove for a while and nothing...  I turned my back for a few seconds to grab a drink and the pot erupted like a school child's paper-mache volcano experiment.  Boiling cream is a messy business.  It went everywhere on my stove top including on the element under the pot which instantly burned the creamy, sugary liquid into a black crusty pile of goo.
The disaster relief team jumped into play, Kevin Costner offered to send his extraction machine and the process was back online in a matter of minutes.  I had used a new burner since the full cleanup could not be completed until the first burner was cool.

I was mildly concerned about the proportions being off now that I burned away a portion of my cream mixture, but there was no reason to turn back now.   After the boiling, the chocolate mixture gets added and then refrigerated for an hour and a half or so to cool before being put in the freezer for 2 to 3 hours.  Firm, but not solid says the recipe.

Mine was slightly less than firm, but I proceeded anyway since time was an issue.  The food processor turned my mostly thickened cream into a smooth milkshake consistency.  This is where you were supposed to swirl in the salty Caramel, but this would have just mixed in. So it went back into the fridge for another 4 hours to harden.

After about an hour I finally "swirled" in my caramel.  This was still probably too early, but I was committed to my schedule and took the plunge anyway.

Salty Caramel Sauce Ingredients:
1/2 Sugar
1/4 Water
1/2 Whipping Cream
1/2 tsp Salt

This should be made once you put the cream mixture in the freezer the first time so that there is time for it to cool before mixing it in with the ice cream.

Once the ice cream was frozen, which took way more than the recommended 4 hours, I had a scoop and drizzled it with the remainder of my caramel sauce.  Every bit as delicious as it looks.  Perhaps even chocolatier than the recipe intended due to my reduced cream allotment.

For the effort involved, I probably won't make it again unless by request, but it was a worthwhile experience to know it can be done.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Creamy Beef Noodles

The Meal: Creamy Beef Noodles
The Soundtrack: Retro Dance Party Playlist
The Drink: Rum and Diet Coke

Creamy, Beefy, Noodly Goodness
After a day out biking in the mountains, there was very little left of my legs so I decided on something out of Canadian Living magazine that was in their "Quick and Easy" section.  As was their intended point, pretty much everything you need for the recipe is on hand in a stocked pantry.  I didn't have any evaporated milk and my cheddar cheese supply had long been depleted, so I had to make a quick stop on the way home, but no big deal.

Again with the quick and easy theme, I tossed on an existing play list to rock out to while making dinner as quickly as possible so I could get to the couch.  My Retro Dance Party playlist is a collection of 80's pop hits that you know all the words to and gives you fond memories of one of the very few good things to emerge from that decade: Black MJ, Duran Duran and even Tommy Tutone.

The recipe is direct from Canadian Living.

2 Cloves Garlic
3/4lb Ground Beef
1/3 Cup Flour
1 Cup Beef Broth
1 Can Evaporated Milk
1 Cup Frozen Peas
1 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
1/3 Cup Fresh Parsley
4 Tsp Dijon
Salt and Pepper
1 3/4 Cups Macaroni

Using a large pan, cook the onion in the butter and then add the garlic. Add the beef to the onion/garlic and brown.  Add the evaporated milk, peas, cheese, parsley, Dijon, salt and pepper.  At the same time, boil a pot of water to cook the pasta.  Once cooked, drain and add to the creamy beef mixture.  Mix it all up and it's ready to go.

All in all, its not the best recipe I've made from the magazine, but it was still tasty and super easy to make.

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Monster RAP

The Meal: Ham and bacon Shawarma twisted 'Monster' Rap
The Soundtrack: Matty's rap iPod Playlist

Since variety is the spice of life, we're switching up the theme and adding a guest chef on location for this epic meal.  While visiting Ottawa, we have plans to hit the climbing wall, but as any good climber knows, you need a ridiculously large wrap to kickstart your afternoon to elevate you up the walls.

This is a Matty creation (with some Dave influence) that we had the privilege of eating and I have the privilege of sharing with you, if only in photographic format.  We put this all together at his penthouse suite overlooking the city skyline.

To make the (w)rap pun work, we tossed on his rap playlist which is loaded with Biggie, 2Pac, Common, Jay-Z and even Massari. Which one doesn't belong he quizzed me?

Special Sauce (its Garlic)
The Ingredients:
Pickled Turnips
Garlic Sauce (procured from Shawarma Station)
Whole wheat wraps

The motivation came from a Shwarma style base, but with the idea of adding more and more until it became a monster. This was one behemoth of a wrap and we should be pretty full for the rest of the day.
Inside the wrap
The size, fusion sytlez and ultimately awesome taste lead Matt to proclaim that he's the greatest wrapper of all time! Take that Kanye!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Gateau au Chocolat Fondant

The Celebration: Molly's Birthday
The Challenge: Gateau au Chocolat Fondant de Nathalie
The Tunes: Fleetwood Mac - Rumours

T'was a friend's birthday this weekend and this particular friend is especially fond of celebrating birthdays.  Perhaps when she gets a few more under her belt, she might change her tune.  But for now, she's young so who can fault her for celebrating?
Her request: a birthday cake for the office.  Cakes are typically not my thing.  In fact, I don't think I've ever made a cake that didn't come out of a box and even that was probably only once or twice.  Never really been much of a dessert guy.  Challenge accepted!

The birthday girl was telling me about a Fleetwood Mac tribute album and how good it was earlier in the day.  I don't happen to have this album, however, I do have Rumours, one of the top selling albums of all time. So I thought I would toss that on the ol' turntable.  Start to finish its a great album with virtually the entire line-up making regular appearances on Classic Rock radio stations.  Always a good listen.

As for the cake, I turned to my dessert consultant en Paris and she recommended Gateau au Chocolat Fondant de Nathalie, which is a recipe from Trish Deseine's Je Veux du Chocolat! as mentioned in this blog.
Mountain of Chocolate and Butter
Only a few ingredients so it can't be that hard, can it?

1 Cup Butter
200g Dark chocolate
1 Cup Sugar
4 Eggs
1 Tbls Flour

Using a double boiler, melt together the chocolate and butter.  Once everything is melted and properly mixed, remove from the heat, add the sugar and let it cool for a while.  Add the eggs one by one making sure that they are properly incorporated into the mixture.  Finally mix in the flour.

Pour the mixture into a non-stick 9" pan (or grease up a pan) and cook in the oven at 350°F for approximately 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes the cake should be set.  Turn the oven off and let it sit in the oven for an additional 10 minutes.  Let it cool on the counter and then refrigerate.
As recommended, the cake is best made the day before and refrigerated.

To offset the heavy chocolate (and to add some nice colours), I topped with strawberries.

I believe it was well received at the office.  At least everyone was polite enough to finish it.
Hope you had a great birthday Molly!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Eggs Benny

The Meal: Eggs Benedict

My typical breakfast consists of cereal and milk.  Even on weekends I don't stray too far from the basics unless I go out to eat.  But when I do go out, Eggs Benedict is always one of my top options.  I had some time Saturday morning so I thought I would whip it up at home.

Eggs Benedict consists of poached eggs, ham slices, and hollandaise sauce on top of an English Muffin.
The interesting part is making the sauce. Since I was eating alone, I made the recipe using only a single egg so I didn't have a ton of leftovers.

1 Egg yolk
1 Tsp Lemon Juice
2 Tbsp Butter

Start by whisking the egg yolk and the lemon juice together.  Using a double boiler so that you don't end up cooking the egg, slowly whisk in the melted butter until the sauce is smooth. Easy as pie.

Toast the English muffins, poach the eggs, fry up the meat, in this case a round sausage patty and fry up some hash browns and then assemble.

Load the sausage and egg on top of an English muffin half and then drizzle with the Hollandaise sauce.  Garnish with a little cayenne pepper and parsley and its breakfast time!