Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Frozen Vanilla Custard – Western NY for French Vanilla Ice Cream

If you’re thinking that I’ve already posted a video recipe for vanilla ice cream, I have, but for what I consider a “real” vanilla ice cream, which means no eggs. That’s called an American-style ice cream, and features a cleaner, more pronounced vanilla flavor.

The French weren’t into that. They froze their famously delicious custard, and the rest is history. While I prefer the later, I have to admit they won, since it is the style that dominates the freezer case.

I like to use pure vanilla extract over the whole bean, mostly because it’s easier, cheaper, and always consistent. Having said that, it’s hard to argue against the whole bean, so feel free to go full foodie. Speaking of which, if you don’t have an ice cream maker, there are plenty of “hacks” online that work fairly well.

I would have called this French vanilla ice cream, but where I grew up, this is called frozen custard. It’s traditionally served soft, in cones, but I prefer to freeze it firm. That way, I get French vanilla ice cream, and as it melts, I also get soft-serve frozen custard. Now that’s a win-win. Anyway, stay tuned for homemade cones, and in the meantime, I really hope you give this a try. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 1 quart of Frozen Vanilla Custard aka French Vanilla Ice Cream
5 large egg yolks
pinch of salt
2/3 cup white sugar
1 cup whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
2 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (or one split/scraped whole vanilla bean)

Friday, May 19, 2017

Crispy Fresh Corn Fritters with Crab and Chipotle Lime Dressing – The Other Popcorn

Everyone loves fresh, sweet corn, but there comes a time every summer when you get tired of gnawing it off the cob, which is exactly when these crispy fritters should be made. Sure, you may get splattered with a little hot oil, but I promise, it will be worth it.

Freshly shucked corn is the star of the show here, and we’re going to pack a seemingly impossible amount into our batter. Beyond the amazing taste and texture, I think you’ll be shocked by how a batter this thin, light, and crispy, can hold together so many kernels.

If you don’t know how to remove those kernels from the cob, we welcome you to check out this video to see that very technique. Other than getting your hands on some perfect summer corn, the only other thing you’ll have to decide is how to serve this.

Crab is very nice, but so is grilled shrimp, or even a ceviche, which is how they serve it at the restaurant that inspired this fritter. Regardless of how you top them, or whether you top them, I really do hope you give this great fresh corn recipe a try soon. Enjoy!


Makes about 6 Crispy Corn Fritters:
2 ears white corn (about 1 1/2 cups of kernels)
1 large egg white
1/4 cup ice water
1/4 cup self-rising flour (or 1/4 cup all-purpose flour with 1/4 tsp baking powder and 1/8 tsp fine salt added)
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
* If need be, add a little more water, or cornstarch/flour, to adjust the batter consistency to what you see in the video.
- Shallow fry at 350°F for about two minutes per side
-- Use a seasoned cast iron skillet, as this will stick in a regular stainless steel pan
For the sauce:
1/2 cup mayo
2 teaspoons chipotle
juice of one lime 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Bomba Calabrese – This Pepper Spread is the Bomb, Literally

This amazing Calabrian pepper spread is as delicious, as it is unknown. It doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page. Hey, even I have a Wikipedia page. But, despite the fact there’s not a lot of information available, I believe I got relatively close, and really love how this comes out.

As I said in the video, I like this best served simply on sliced bread, but beyond that, this is one of the most versatile condiments I know. You can toss it with pasta; add it to a sandwich; fill an omelet; top a pizza; use it like a salsa on grilled fish; spice up a potato salad; as well as create the world’s best deviled eggs. Actually, I’ve never made deviled eggs with it, but I know it’d be the best.

I was intentionally vague with the cooking times and temperatures. Basically, once the onion, eggplant, and mushroom mixture is sautéed, you add your peppers, and simply cook until everything is soft and tender, no matter how long it takes. You’ll probably stay between medium and medium high heat, but be prepared to adjust as need be. This is not something we want browning in the pan, before everything is cooked.

Another key is waiting for this to cool down completely, before you finalize the seasonings. We always want to adjust a recipe at the same temperature it’s going to be served at, since that just makes sense. Another thing that makes sense, and a lot of sense, is you giving this bomba Calabrese a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients to make about 4 cups Bomba Calabrese:
3/4 cup olive oil, divided
1/2 yellow onion
1 small eggplant
4-5 large button mushrooms
2 pounds hot cherry peppers (or about 1 pound after trimming)
1 pound sweet red bell peppers (or about 12 ounces after trimming)
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon crushed fennel seeds
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 cup white wine vinegar, or to taste

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Fresh Strawberry Tart – Now with 100% Less Tart Pan

There shouldn’t be a lot of stress involved in making this free-form strawberry tart, since once it’s topped with fresh berries, and thickly glazed, it will look like something from a Paris pastry shop. And, I did say, “look like,” not “taste like,” but that’s not our fault. They have better cream cheese.

If you have a tart pan, go ahead and use it, but going free-form is always kind of fun, and even though we’re going to handle the dough a bit more, that’s not a problem with our almost foolproof buttercrust pastry. Just be sure to build up enough around the outside before you crimp, so that your tart is deep enough to hold the filling.

I joked about this being so beautiful that nobody will care what it tastes like, but of course, that’s ridiculous. Do not attempt this unless you can find some perfectly ripe, sweet strawberries. And when you do, I really hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 6 portions:
1/2 of our buttercrust pastry dough recipe
1 pound fresh strawberries
For the sweet cheese mixture:
8 ounces cream cheese or *fromage blanc
2 tablespoons crème fraiche
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 large egg yolk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest, or to taste
For the glaze:
1/4 cup apricot jam (the clearer, the better), plus 2 teaspoons water, heated until brushable. Let cool a bit before applying.

*Note: my cream cheese was suspiciously thin, so your mixture will probably be thicker, and a little easier to work with.

- Bake tart shell at 375 F. for 20-25 minutes, until golden-brown, fill with cheese mixture, and finish baking for another 20 minutes, or until the pastry is browned, and the filling is set.