Saturday, April 27, 2013

Chuck Norris loves Gelato? Ergh, this is going to suck...

Okay, I decided that I would use the online slogan-making tool to see if I could get an interesting title for this post. The best it could come up with was "Chuck Norris loves gelato." Which I suppose is true, because gelato is so good, you can't not love it. After a doozy of a day, I decided to run to the grocery store on my way home from work. I was wandering through the frozen foods section, talking to my significant other on the phone, when I spied the section containing the Gelato. Sometime later, with all my sorrows drowned in a pint of the stuff, I was reminiscing about the past, and remembered my own recipe for Mint Straticella Gelato. Gelato is frozen, sweet, velvety textured heaven, Italian for ice cream. Stratticella "torn apart" is one of the common flavors, which is chocolate drizzled in and just mixed up enough to tear the chocolate strands apart, and give it a chocolate chip sort of texture. Gelato, whatever the flavor, is pretty well renowned for its great texture and fresh flavor. Here's how it came to America: Once upon a time, there was a boy who lived in Poland. Being the first-born, he was to be ordained in the Church as Catholic priest. The night before he was to be ordained, he said to the Father Superior, "I want to go back one last time to see my family." The Father Superior granted his request. So the boy left the church, and walked down the road. But he did not go and see his family. Instead, he hop on boat to America! And then he change his name to "Lenn" (we think it was actually Lenski, but we will never know) And on his way to America, he stop in Italy on a hot day. There, a little Italian Mama was selling a sweet, creamy, icy-cold confection. The boy bought some, tried it and begged the little Italian Mama to give him the recipe. Somehow, she obliged him, and he brought it with him to America. And that is how we came to have this wonderful deliciousness in America today. Okay, that's not how gelato came to the continent, but it is how my Great-Great Grandfather did. And that is where I get my crazy from. Anyway, back to my recipe. You will need an ice cream freezer of some sort. For the full recipe, you need one that has a 1/2 gallon capacity. It can be easily halved, and make a more manageable 1 quart batch. An electric powered ice cream freezer will be the least work, and give you the best results, but they are expensive, and really, really freaking loud! Another good, non-electric option, is one of those ball-shaped ice cream freezers that you can roll back and forth pretty quietly. They also aren't too terribly expensive, so a good option for dorm/appartment dwellers. For this recipe, if you use the mint leaves it will give it a delightful, light, bright green color. If you use peppermint extract, it will look just like plain Straticella Gelato.

For the full recipe of Mint Stratticella Gelato, here's what you need:

3 cups Milk
3 cups Heavy Cream
1 ¼ cups Sugar
6 egg yolks
1 tsp peppermint extract *or* 2 cups packed fresh mint leaves
¼ tsp salt
2 tbsp vanilla extract (for the alcohol, keeps it softer and scoopable)
1 cup Ghirardelli’s 60% cacao chocolate, chopped

Here's what you do:

Using Mint Leaves:

1)      Mix milk, cream, sugar, and salt in a saucepan and heat till almost boiling.
2)      Add mint leaves, cover and let stand for one hour.
3)      Strain out mint, squeezing to extract as much flavor and color; add egg yolks, mix, and cook over medium heat until mixture coats back of spoon. Proceed to step 4.

Using Peppermint Extract:

1)      Mix milk, cream, sugar, salt, peppermint extract, and egg yolks in a saucepan and cook until mixture coats back of spoon. Proceed to step 4.

4)      Strain mixture, and chill in ice cream canister.
5)      Add vanilla; make into ice cream according to manufacturer’s directions.
6)      Melt chocolate over a double boiler. Drizzle a bit in a checkerboard-ish patter in the bottom of your freezer-safe container. Put a 1” layer of ice cream in, drizzle more chocolate over it in the same fashion. Keep repeating this process as quickly as possible until you are out of ice cream. Then take a knife long enough to go to the bottom of the container and drag it through the entire thing a couple of times. This serves the tear apart the chocolate strands and give straticella it’s texture!
7)      Put ice cream into the freezer for a few hours to ripen.
8)      Stuff face. Or share some.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Hey, I haven't seen you in FOR-EH-VER!!!

Dear readers, I appologize deeply for the long amount of time that has passed between posts. To make it up to you I am releasing one of my favorites, which I hope will become one of yours too! The recipe is Coconut Shrimp with Spiced Marmalade Sauce. It's a delectable dish, combining sweet, salty, coconut and spices. The flavors of the tropics in a Hauli-approved, somewhat Gringo-esque, I-should-hope-Redneck-approved dish. It's simple to prepare, easy enough that you could let your kids, roommate, or pet zombie prepare, except for the frying. So lets celebrate the end of the semester, splurge a bit, grab some friends, a few virgin Piña Coladas and a cool action film!

*NOTE*--I don't know how to make this more clear: Use the utmost caution! You will be dealing with hot oil. Therefore, wear an apron if you can, don't overheat the oil, or catch it on fire, don't let kids do the frying (two or four-legged.) Just don't burn the house/dorm/appartment buiding down.

For the Coconut Shrimp, here's what you need:

1 bag Raw, Peeled, Deveined, Tail-on Shrimp, thawed (If you can't find them peeled, then it's not hard to peel 'em. Just time-consuming.)
1 bag Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
1 1/2 cups Flour
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt
1 1/2 tsp Vinegar
More Flour to dredge the shrimp in
Oil for frying (Coconut oil is yummy!)

Here's what you do:

Rinse the shrimp and pat them dry using paper towels. Mix the dry ingredients for the batter, stir in enough water gradually to make it the consistency of pancake batter. Add the vinegar, stir thoroughly. Set aside. Heat oil in pan, over medium to medium-high heat. While you are waiting on that, make the sauce. When your oil is hot, dredge the shrimp in flour, dip in batter, shake off the extra, and press on the shredded coconut. Slowly lower into the oil and fry until golden brown on both sides. Drain over paper towel, and hold in a heated oven, to keep the shrimp hot while you finish frying the rest. To serve, arrange on a large plate around the small bowl of sauce.

Spiced Marmalade Sauce:
1 cup Orange Marmalade, or Mango Jam if you can find it
1 tbsp Honey
1/4 tsp Cinnamon

Heat the ingredients while stirring in a small saucepan until the Marmalade or Jam is hot and melted. Pour into a small bowl to serve

For the Virgin Piña Colada you need:

1/4 cup Crushed Ice
2 oz Coconut Cream (Not Coconut Milk)
1 1/2 oz Crushed Pinapple
1 oz Pinapple Juice

Here's what you do:

Whir everything in a blender on high for 30 seconds, or until it's all smooth. Pour into a glass and enjoy!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Welcome to the Himalayas! Snowcone?

Um...yeah, it's still really cold. The grass is determined to green up, despite the fact that the weather is cloudy and there are little bits of frozen precipitation floating around. That being said, I will release yet another cold-weather recipe. 

In Switzerland it get's pretty dang cold. In Switzerland, they also have an abundance of cheese. White cheese, yellowish cheese, cheese from cows, cheese from goats, cheese with holes in it, lots of cheese. With all that cheese to eat and it being really cold, they created Fondue. Which is really good and really hot and really yummy. It can be served with toasted french bread (Baguettes or even Hoagies work great), sliced Granny Smith or Cripp's Pink apples, or blanched veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, artichoke hearts and asparagus. Who can say no to veggies smothered in cheese? 

Here's what you will need for the Fondue:

1/2 pound Swiss cheese, shredded (it's actually called Ementhaller)
1/2 pound Gruyere cheese, shredded
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup dry white wine (white cooking wine will do in a pinch)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp sherry
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp nutmeg, freshly grated if possible
1/4 -1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
Assorted things to dip into the fondue

Here's what you do:

Set up a double boiler. If you don't have one, you can jury-rig one out of a metal bowl that is the same size or slightly larger than your medium saucepan. In a small bowl, coat the cheese in the cornstarch. Set aside. Over the double boiler, bring the wine and lemon juice to a gentle simmer. Gradually stir the cheese into the simmering liquid. The reason for adding slowly is to make it all nice and smooth. After the cheese is smoothly melted, add the sherry and spices. Bring the entire double boiler to wherever you are serving the fondue as it will help keep it hot. You can also use a crockpot to keep it hot and melty. Impale whatever it is you are dipping into your fondue with forks or skewers and enjoy. Suggested beverages are hot tea or coffee with all the normal amenities. Just don't have a big, cold glass of water or something. The fondue will turn to a big, hard lump in your stomach, not that this has happened to me or anything.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Wanted for Fraud: Punxutawney Phil, the Groundhog

Ah, my glorious winter returneth! After a brief glimpse of spring, the weather has relapsed into a wondrous state of permafrost, complete with snow and sleet. Befitting such a day, I have chose chosen to post two of my favorite warm-me-up things, Mayan style hot chocolate, and Cheddar's Restaurant style spinach dip.

For each cup of Mayan Style Hot Chocolate, you will need:

8 oz milk
2 tbsp cocoa powder, preferably Ghirardelli's
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp raw sugar
1 tsp grated almonds
1/8 tsp cinnamon
pinch salt
dash cayenne pepper (if you are brave or like spicy chocolate, feel free to add more)
cinnamon for sprinkling, optional garnish

Here's what you do:
Mix the cocoa, cinnamon and the sweeteners in a saucepan with a whisk. Add approximately 1 tbsp of the milk to make a paste of the dry ingredients and then gradually add the rest of the milk. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly until hot and steamy. Add in a dash of cayenne. Be not afraid, it does not make it spicy, it merely enhances the flavor of the chocolate and helps marry all the different flavors. Then beat it like it stole your wallet to make it all frothy. When you pour it into a mug, it will have a nice layer of froth at the top. Sprinkle a bit of the cinnamon on top and proceed to enjoying the flavors of an ancient Meso-American civilization.

What you need for Cheddar's Spinach Dip:

1 block cream cheese, softened
1 block Colby cheese, shredded
1 block Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded
4 oz Parmesan cheese, shredded
1 package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 cup milk
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1 1/2 tsp salt, adjusting to taste
1 can diced green chilies
1/2 onion, diced
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 1/2 tsp chili powder

Tortilla chips
Sour Cream

Here's what you do:

Melt butter in a medium saucepan, add salt and saute onion until soft. Mix in the flour to make a roux and let simmer until golden. Gradually add milk. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly and let boil for one minute and remove from heat. Stir in cream cheese, spinach, chilies and spices. Adjust seasonings to preference. Pour mixture into a baking dish and sprinkle with the grated cheeses. Bake until the cheese is melted and it is bubbling. Give it no more that 4 stirs with a spoon, you want it to be all melty and stringy. Top with a dollop of sour cream, stick a chip in the sour cream dollop, proceed to gorging on  wonderful, piping hot, cheese-filled  spinach dip of awesome!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Greetings, Hominids!

I now have a blog. Blogs are cool. Or so said the 11th Doctor. Anyway, this is the first installment of my food blog. I am pretty new to to the whole blog kit and caboodle  so have patience with me, my audience. Today we will start off with one of my favorite recipes. It is a simple recipe that I love, Bruschetta. Normally this is good for summertime, but with the weather of late being kinda gloomy and cold, it seems like a good option.

Bruschetta is an Italian dish that is good for an appetizer or a light meal. It is one of those dishes where you don't have to have set amounts of anything and is pretty fool-proof. And it is simply delectable. The bacon fat imparts a nice delicate flavor to the dish and give the bread a nice crunch. Here's a list of what you will need:

A few tomatoes
An onion
1-3 cloves of garlic, depending on preference
1 Baguette, sliced about 1 inch thick, on the diagonal
1 tsp dried Herbs de Provence, freshly crushed
Freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
A few tbsp red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar, if you are adventurous
A few tbsp olive oil
Bacon fat, a generous amount
Salt and Pepper to taste

Here's what you do:

Dice the tomatoes and onion, mince the garlic. Mix with the oil, vinegar, herbs, salt and pepper. Allow to stand at room temperature for about an hour or so. In the meantime, you can grate your cheese and slice the bread. Heat a generous amount bacon fat in a skillet over medium to medium-high heat. You don't want it to be so hot that it smokes! Fry the bread on both sides and allow to drain on a paper towel. Spoon the tomato mixture over it and sprinkle with cheese. Proceed to eating while the bread is slightly warm.