Friday, July 11, 2008

Inner Asian: Elephant Spouts and Kung Fu Dumplings

So it's like 5:30 am and I just made Justin's morning coffee and strawberry, banana, orange, and pomegranate smoothie. He leave for work and I sit down with my coffee and check google reader for any updates from my favorite blogs (including this one!) and i see these two posts on Serious Eats. They're awesome. So awesome that you need to read them.

First, this grapeseed oil bottle is SO COOL that it's spout looks like an elephant. I mean, I think should become the next biggest trend. Seriously! So awesome, I would take a photo with the person came up with the idea.

And secondly, I will admit. The movie Kung Fu panda sounded pretty stupid to me. I haven't seen the previews but the title itself is a bit ridiculous. (I know, this is coming from the girl who loves all movies with Amanda Bynes.) But I read this post about a dumpling battle and I think I might have to get to the movie theater pretty soon. The 2.5 minute clip is on there and it's awesome! I can totally relate, especially when we're at Ivy Noodle and there's only one dumpling left. Oh yeah...

Sigh...okay, off to do a practice performance test before "lecture" on community property.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Bar Food 6. Strawberry Ice Cream

It's been a while since I've posted anything. Sorry! Well, the Fourth of July weekend was my last weekend of fun and I've decided that from this point forward, I'm going to be studying extra smart. We'll see how it goes. I've noticed that I'm good at making resolutions but really bad at keeping them.

Anyways, two weekends ago, Justin and I hosted a dinner party for some Yalies and Naval Academy alums. Okay, so the only Yalies were Minh (TD '02) and I with way too many naval officers, but it was a good time nonetheless. All of Justin's college roommates were there and it was extra celebratory because one of his friends had just come home from deployment that very afternoon!

I cooked a little bit here and there throughout the week to accommodate my study schedule. Unfortunately, in the midst of all the excitement, I forgot to take lots of food photos. =( But here's the menu nonetheless and I thought I'd highlight the recipe for strawberry ice cream. Super easy and a great way to take advantages of those super sweet strawberries this summer!


Kettle Potato Chips and Vegetable Crudites with Sun Dried Tomato Dip
Cheese Platter with Gouda and Brie

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
Steamed White Rice
JalapeƱo Cheddar Corn Bread

Cream Cheese Pound Cake
Strawberry Ice Cream
Triple Chocolate Cookies



Makes one quart. The secret to making the best strawberry ice cream is to start with the juiciest, ripest, and most flavorful fruits. When added to the rich custard base during the last few minutes of churning, the chopped berries retain their texture and intensely fruity flavor and punctuate the pale pink ice cream with bright flecks.

2 cups stemmed and coarsely chopped strawberries
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
3 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mis en place. Everything in its place.

1. Puree the strawberries. Put half of the chopped strawberries in a food processor along with 2 tablespoons of sugar. Puree the strawberries until smooth, stopping once or twice to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Set aside the purred berries and remaining chopped berries.

2. Prepare the custard ingredients. Put the milk, ¾ cup of the cream, and the remaining ½ cup sugar in a medium saucepan. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and the remaining ¼ cup cream until they are blended and a pale buttery yellow, about 1 minute.

3. Temper the egg yolks. Place the saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until bubbles form around the edges, the liquid just begins to ripple in the center, and the sugar is dissolved, 4-5 minutes. Do not allow the liquid to come to a boil. Remove from the heat. Begin whisking the egg yolk mixture with one hand while slowly pouring ¼ of the hot milk mixture into the yolks. When the mixture has been blended, start pouring the warmed yolk mixture back into the saucepan, whisking constantly until well blended.

4. Cook the custard. Place the saucepan with the milk and yolk mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, 4-5 minutes. It should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. While the custard cooks it is important to stir it constantly, taking care to reach all areas of the bottom of the saucepan so that it does not scorch or curdle. The custard should come to a bare simmer, with steam rising from the surface and the surface rippling, but it should not actually bubble or come to a boil.

5. Add the pureed fruit and strain the custard. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the pureed strawberries and vanilla extract. Set a fine mesh sieve over a medium bowl. Pour the hot custard through the sieve, gently pressing the liquid through with the back of the spoon and leaving any grainy solids and strawberry seeds in the sieve.

6. Cool the custard. Fill a large mixing bowl halfway with ice cubes and enough water just to cover the ice cubs. Place the bowl with the custard into the larger bowl, nestling the medium bowl into the ice cubs. Let the custard cool, stirring occasionally, until it reaches room temperature, 30-45 minutes. As the ice melts, be sure the water level does not rise to flood into the custard. Once the custard has cooled to room temperature, remove the medium bowl from the ice water bath.

7. Chill the custard. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the custard, which will prevent a “skin” from forming as the custard chills. Cover the top of the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate the custard until it is well chilled, at least 3 hours or up to 12 hours.

8. Churn the ice cream and add the fruit. Churn the ice cream according the manufacturer’s directions. During the last few minutes of churing, when the custard has reached the consistency of thick whipped cream, add the reserved 1 cup coarsely chopped strawberries and churn until just incorporated.

9. Store the ice cream. The ice cream can be served immediately but it will have a very soft consistency and mild flavor. For a fuller flavor and firmer consistency, use a rubber spatula to transfer the ice cream to a plastic freezer container. Cover tightly and freeze until the ice cream is firm, at least 3 hours or up to 2 days. It is best served 3 to6 hours after being transferred to the freezer.