Archive for the ‘Recipe’ Category

A warm obsession

November 5, 2013

I have, for reasons that elude me, become slightly obsessed with hot sauces lately. I like hot sauces; I like hot foods. I have also, as it happens, run out of all the various chili sauces I bought on various visits to Mexico.

It finally only occurred to me a couple of weeks ago, after seeing piles of habenero, serrano, and jalapeno chilies at the farmers’ market, I could actually make these sauces myself. I am a cook, after all. I think I just answered my own question.

So far, after several experiments, I’ve come up with two recipes I like a lot. One features serrano chilies and the second, jalapenos with brightly flavored mint and cilantro.  Each recipe makes about 1 pint.

Serrano hot sauce

20 Serrano chilies, chopped
1 medium white onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1 heaping tsp toasted ground cumin
1 heaping tsp smoked paprika
2” length of dried orange peel
1 tsp salt
2 cups water
½ cup rice vinegar

-Saute onions in oil with salt over medium heat until translucent
-Add chilies, garlic, and tomatoes and cook for about five minutes
-Add cumin, paprika, and orange peel and cook for about three minutes more
-Now, add water and increase the heat until it begins to boil. Reduce the heat back to medium, and let the vegetables simmer away until most of the liquid has evaporated, stirring from time to time
-When the water has largely evaporated, add the vinegar and let simmer for a few minutes more
-Pour the mixture into a blender and whirr it for about 30 seconds until smooth. Now, strain the puree through a wire mesh and transfer the results to a sterile pint jar. It’ll keep in the refrigerator for a few months
-If you’re going to keep it around for a while, process the sealed jar in a boiling water bath for 30 minutes

Green hot sauce

5 medium jalapeños, chopped (and deveined and seeded, depending upon your tastes)*
1 medium white onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp salt
1 bunch mint, stems removed
1 bunch cilantro, stems removed
2 cups water, plus about a quarter-cup more
½ cup rice vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil

– Saute the onions and garlic in the oil, with the salt, in a non-reactive pot until the onions are translucent.
– Add the jalapeños and the quarter-cup of water, allowing to come to a boil. Let simmer for a few minutes.
– Now, add the two cups of water along with the chopped herbs. Stir them up so that the herbs and onions and jalapeños are nicely mixed together and bring the liquid to a boil again. Turn the heat down a bit to a gentle boil and let the mixture cook until almost all the liquid has evaporated.
– Add the rice vinegar and turn the heat to low, allowing all the ingredients to simmer together for three or four minutes.
– Now, pour the contents of the pot into a blender and run on high for 30 seconds.
– Strain the sauce through a wire mesh to remove seeds and fibrous bits, into a sterilized pint jar, and seal.
– This will keep for a few months in the refrigerator or, if you don’t plan to use it for a while, process in a boiling water bath for 30 minutes, to keep it for several months. 

*Note: jalapeños, at least for chili aficionados, aren’t particularly hot but it’s worth tasting them beforehand to see how hot they actually are before committing to a certain number. More important, most of the heat in a chili is found in the white membrane that lines the interior, and then in the seeds. Remove some or all of that, and you tone down the heat substantially. But this is hot sauce so, why would you do that?

 

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Cooking Stock to Enhance Your Social Status

January 2, 2012

At this very moment, I have about six pounds of beef bones roasting in the oven and my kitchen smells nourishing and meaty. I picked up the bones at my butcher’s when I was buying a roasting chicken and some linguiça sausage. The reason? Stock, of course.

Beef, vegetables, and water en route to becoming brown stock.

There are plenty of reasons to make stock. First, there’s the pleasure of telling people you’re making stock which always seems to impress them. Stock? they ask, eyebrows cocked perhaps as they raise you up a notch on their list of People Who Know How to Cook. Your status rises even more when they learn that you’re not simply boiling the dregs of that chicken you had for dinner two days ago but that, instead, you went out and specifically purchased the necessary ingredients for the sole purpose of boiling them.

There is also the fact – nearly as important – that a good stock enhances your cooking. Stocks add depth to soups and sauces or, when reduced, even make for the most simple of sauces in themselves.

What I’m preparing is a brown stock, the color of which is obtained through roasting the ingredients beforehand. In a hot oven, the ingredients caramelize which adds not only flavor but color to the stock. Roast the bones to a nice deep brown and the color transfers gloriously to your stock, enriching whatever you decide to add it to later on. You can roast the vegetables, as well – onions, celery, carrots, for example – adding even more flavor and color although I’m not doing that this time. I want something a little more neutral since I’m making the stock simply to have on hand rather than for a specific dish.

I won’t salt the stock, either, preferring to leave that to whatever dishes I decide to include it but I am adding some seasonings: bay leaves, black pepper corns, a few whole cloves, and a few dried morel mushrooms.

Not to be overlooked, of course, is what is arguably the most important ingredient: water. Cold water. Cold water’s important for a couple of reasons. First, cold water helps to draw the juices from whatever you’ve tossed into the pot (That old reliable, Joy of Cooking, suggests soaking the ingredients in the same cold water before hand to draw out even more flavor). Second, cold water from the tap will be free from many of the odd flavors hot water can pick up as it travels through the pipes to your sink.

How much? The amount of water should be at least equal to the other ingredients. Many recipes will tell you to add enough water to just cover the ingredients; others will tell you to add only a little more, a couple quarts, perhaps. The point of all this, needless to say (and, yet, here I go) is to produce a stock rich with flavor, not something watery and flaccid.

Pot size matters, too. Of course it does. The pot should be large enough to hold all the ingredients so that the liquid simmers and bubbles and flows around them easily. I have two stock pots: a six-and-half-quart and a 24-quart. As six pounds of beef bones, even cut into small pieces, will just about fill the smaller pot by themselves, I’ve chosen to use the larger one. With tremendous presence and self-importance, it occupies a substantial portion of my stovetop, indifferent to whatever need I might have for the other burners. I will roast dinner tonight.

Once all the ingredients are combined in the pot, crank up the flames and bring it all to a boil, skimming off the scum that often develops on the top (There are different opinions about this. If you want a clear stock, the scum must go as it can cloud the liquid but there are nutrients and flavor in the scum, as well, and if you’re not looking for a clear stock – or are simply feeling lazy – stir it back in, I say).

Once it’s reached the boiling point and you’ve decided what you’re going to do with the scum – or not do, as the case may be – reduce the heat to low and leave the stock, partially covered, to simmer gently for a few hours. Maybe even four or five hours. Why not? The liquid will reduce over time and it’s up to you to decide whether you want to replenish it so that you end up with the same amount of stock as the water you began with, or if you want stronger flavored stock, which will be the result of the liquid’s reduction.

Once your allotted time has passed and the stock tastes right, strain it through a fine wire mesh or a couple layers of damp cheese cloth into a bowl and let it cool for a little while. From there, put it into the refrigerator so that the fat will coagulate at the surface and be easier to remove (you can always scrape it off and use it for cooking, adding yet another layer of flavor to whatever else you make). Once that’s done, transfer it to smaller containers of about a cup each and pop into the freezer to be used as needed.

You’ll have a great stockpile of flavor just waiting to be added to future meals as well as the satisfaction of lording it over others.

Relatively Easy Brown Stock

  • 6 pounds raw beef bones, cut to 2-to-4-inch pieces
  • 4 quarts cold water
  • 2 to 3 carrots
  • 2 yellow onions
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 2 to 3 bay leaves
  • 8 whole black peppercorns
  • 4 whole cloves
  • Olive oil

Heat oven to 400 degrees

  1. Rough-chop the vegetables into a few pieces each – don’t bother to peel them – and, along with the beef bones, in a large bowl drizzle with the olive oil and toss until everything is coated. Transfer the mixture to a large jellyroll pan or some other large sheet with raised edges (otherwise, the oil and juices from the bone and veg mixture will drain onto the floor of your oven thereby destroying your credibility as A Person Who Knows How to Cook) and place in the middle rack of the oven. It’s important to keep all the ingredients spread out in a single layer so they brown rather than steam, as they will do if they’re piled together.
  2. Let the mixture roast for about 45 minutes to an hour, depending upon how brown you want them to be. When done, remove from the oven and transfer to a large stock pot.
  3. Scrape the brown bits and crunchy pieces from the pan and put those into the pot, too. Snack on any particularly appetizing looking morsels of meat or vegetables as you do so. You’re the cook; this is your right.
  4. Add the water and seasonings.
  5. Bring to a boil, skimming off the scum that may rise to the surface. When the liquid is at a full boil, reduce the heat and let the mixture simmer for the next four or five hours.
  6. When done, drain the liquid through a fine wire mesh or through a couple layers of damp cheese cloth into a bowl and let cool. Scrape off the fat that rises to the surface and transfer the stock to smaller containers that can be frozen. If you choose not freeze the stock, you can keep it in the refrigerator for about three or four days.

Kimchi Pupusas

November 14, 2010

김치 푸푸사, 철판에서 신선한.

So, I’m staring blankly into my refrigerator debating between scrambled eggs or the last cupcake, left over from a potluck the night before, and the fact that it’s past noon and I still haven’t eaten is beginning to weigh on me.

Then I see the bag of masa preparada – corn flour mixed with lard – and I begin thinking that scrambled eggs with fresh tortillas might be the way to go. The fact there’s an unopened package of queso fresco in the refrigerator, too, means that idea sounds better and better by the moment and then, just behind the carton of my housemate’s almond milk, I spy the huge jar of kimchi I made over a week ago and now has just become ready to eat.

Of course, I come to the logical conclusion: kimchi pupusas.

There are some obstacles to overcome: I still don’t have the skill for making tortillas correctly. My tortilla press, purchased on a trip to Mexico a few months ago, hasn’t exactly been conducive to making perfect tortillas – not yet, anyway – and I’ve never made pupusas. No matter.

I decide to go for the gusto and begin work. I chop up a chunk of the cheese into smaller pieces, and then place them, along with a forkful of kimchi, onto patted rounds of masa which I then cover with another round. I press them together, sealing the edges, and then begin frying them on a hot, greased skillet.

After just a few minutes cooked on either side, they turn out beautifully: golden and warm. When I bite into the first one, however, I’m underwhelmed.

They’re too thick, damn it, but I can taste the potential. The sharp, spicy bite of the kimchi – along with sweet heat from the ginger – are a lovely contrast with the crispy masa and the bland bites of queso fresco but I should have made them thinner than I did. The correct way would have been to tuck the ingredients into balls of masa in which I’ve formed a small depression, and then enclosed with the edges of the ball. Then I should have rolled them out so they were only about two thirds as thick as the ones I made.

I should have chopped up the kimchi more, beforehand, as well. There’s nothing quite like pulling an entire leaf of steaming hot, spicy cabbage with your teeth and having to catch it with your fingers before it lands in your lap.

And they were, at the very center, a little gummy.

No matter. Now that I believe I know what I did wrong, I’ll try it again later.

A Little Respect for the Pock-marked Old Woman

February 20, 2010

For several years now I’ve had a lovely little thing going with Mapo tofu, that quintessentially Sichuan dish of chilies, tofu, and minced pork. In truth, it’s difficult to narrow down just what about it appeals to me: bold flavors, wonderful textural contrasts, and its simplicity are all points in its favor. Of course, there’s more than that happening in a dish of the stuff. What every truly great dish has – and Mapo tofu is surely one of the great dishes of Chinese or even world cuisine – is a good background story. Without that, it would still be wonderful but it wouldn’t be great.

Sometime late in the Qing Dynasty, according to various stories, a widow known as Old Lady Chen ran an inn on the outskirts of Chengdu. Author and expert in Sichuan cuisine Fuchsia Dunlop writes Old Lady Chen was the wife of the restaurateur who owned the inn. In any case, her customers were the laborers and poor merchants who couldn’t afford to stay at the nicer places in the center of town. Her own story was no less poignant, however. Her face was ravaged with the scars of small pox and she was forced to live outside the city as a result.

Serve Mapo tofu over freshly steamed rice.

The inn was located between a tofu maker and a butcher who specialized in lamb. Some of Old Lady Chen’s customers were cooking oil merchants and so she combined the three ingredients along with the chilies that are so popular in Sichuanese cooking to produce a dish that gained notoriety. Stories say Mapo tofu became so popular people traveled long distances just to try it. Given what she must have had to endure as a result of her scars, it’s nice to think she enjoyed both prosperity and respect as a result.

The name of the dish, incidentally, is taken directly from Old Lady Chen. Ma is short for “mazi” which means pock-marked as a result of small pox. “Po” means “old woman”. Put them together and you have Pock-marked Old Woman’s Tofu. The name belies the great pleasure of the dish; yet another contrast.

Mapo tofu is a sensual adventure: crisp morsels of pork pair up with soft, smooth tofu in an oily – but not greasy – bright, red sauce. The spicy but gentle burn of chili stands up against the blandness of the tofu although neither is overwhelmed or overwhelming. In fact, the heat of the chilies is a perfect complement to the unassuming flavor of the tofu. In this particular dish, tofu doesn’t need to be fried beforehand or marinated in anything to give it flavor. It readily absorbs the chili-laden oil that forms the framework of the sauce but it isn’t saturated. In a way, the deep flavors of the sauce really allow the tofu to present itself simply for what it is and it comes off beautifully. Once the dish is finished cooking, ground Sichuan pepper is sprinkled across, leaving the diner with a pleasant, tingling sensation on her lips as she eats.

Good tofu, in this particular case, is essential and we’re fortunate in San Francisco to have a very good tofu producer.

I rarely order Mapo tofu in restaurants anymore because it is so often disappointing. Typically, the heat is toned down far too much and the beautiful textural contrasts seem to disappear in kitchens used to churning out generic Chinese food for non-Chinese customers. Even in restaurants that cater almost exclusively to Chinese tastes, however, I’ve found the Mapo tofu to be less than compelling and, in some cases, loaded with ingredients – such as peas – which have no business being there.

Fuchsia Dunlop’s recipe is easily the most authentic, but like any recipe when it appears in a different kitchen, I’ve altered it a bit to fit my tastes. Dunlop calls for the more traditional beef (not lamb!) but I find that beef doesn’t stand up as well to the pungent demands of the chili sauce as well as pork. I typically use scallions rather than leeks and, rather than dried Sichuanese chilies, I use Korean chili flakes, called koch’u karu. I frequently make kimchi so I almost always have an abundance of them on hand.

1 block firm tofu
4-6 scallions
½ cup peanut oil
4 ounces minced pork
2-3 tablespoons Sichuanese chili bean paste
1 heaping tablespoon fermented black beans
1 tablespoon coarse ground dried chilies
1 cup chicken stock
2 teaspoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon Shao Xing rice wine
4 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 6 tablespoons of cold water
1 teaspoon ground, roasted Sichuan peppercorns

  • Cut the bean curd into ¾ inch cubes and let steep in hot water to warm them up before they go into the wok.
  • Slice the scallions on the bias into 1 ½-inch lengths (I usually mince the white ends and add them to the dish early in the cooking).
  • In a hot wok, add all the oil and then the minced pork, letting it fry until it’s crisp but not dried out.
  • Reduce the heat to medium and add the chili bean paste and ground chilies, stir frying them for about 30 seconds until the oil turns a vibrant red (I usually add the chopped scallion whites at this point). Add the fermented black beans and cook for another 30 seconds.
  • Pour in the stock, the soy sauce, and the rice wine. Now add the drained tofu, folding it carefully into the meat and oil mixture to avoid breaking up the cubes. Simmer over low heat for about five minutes, allowing the tofu to absorb the various flavors.
  • Add the scallions, stirring them into the sauce, and then – in two or three doses – add the cornstarch, stirring it gently into the mixture until the sauce begins to thicken, clinging to the cubes of tofu and meat.
  • Sprinkle with the ground Sichuan pepper corns, stir again, and serve.

    With rice, serves two generously and four quite adequately.

The Pizza Crust of My Discontent

January 28, 2010
I love pizza. Pizza and I are like this. As a child, I can remember at least one birthday in which my birthday cake actually was a pizza, with candles and “Happy Birthday Eric” written in Cheez Whiz across the surface.

Blue cheese and sausage pizza on whole wheat crust.

As an adult, I’ve come to see pizza as a convenience food. Yeah, I do the takeout thing and there are a few pizzerias in San Francisco I really like but I enjoy making pizza even more. When I say pizza is a convenience food, I mean I find pizza easy to make. I have yet to settle on a decent crust recipe, however.

Sauces? No problem. Chop up a few ripe tomatoes (or use canned in the winter) and toss them into a skillet with a little olive oil, some garlic, some salt, some pepper, oregano, and maybe some red wine if there’s a bottle open. Cook it down, reducing the moisture, and I’ve got a flavorful sauce better than most I’ve had elsewhere. Toppings? I’ve always got mozzarella around and I like throwing other cheeses on, too, such as the Point Reyes blue that I’d been munching on all week. At the simplest, I’ll throw on some basil leaves, cover it with cheese, and toss it into a fast oven. Not only do I have dinner taken care of, but there’s lunch and, quite possibly, breakfast the next day, as well.

But that crust. I make a competent pizza crust but it’s too bready for my tastes. It tastes good, mind you, but it’s not the right texture for a really good pizza. Earlier this week, for example, I made a whole wheat crust using this recipe:

1 cup warm water
2 teaspoons yeast
1 cup whole wheat flour
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
Olive oil

After proofing the yeast in the water with just a pinch of sugar – not for flavor but to feed the yeast – I began adding the salt and the flour, about a half cup at a time (I’m doing all of this in a Kitchen Aid mixer, by the way). Once the flour is incorporated, I let the machine continue turning the dough for another minute or so and then pour it out onto a wooden cutting board where I knead it until it’s smooth. After returning the dough to the bowl, I pour a little olive oil on to it, turning it over a few times to cover it in the oil, and then let rise for about 45 minutes to an hour.

And that’s it. As I noted earlier, it tastes good but it’s too thick, too bread-like. On the bright side, I now have a quest.

Blood Oranges and Kitchen Intrigue

January 15, 2010

The blood orange is a violent-seeming fruit. Slice it open and it bleeds whereas other oranges simply dribble or, at worst, spray in offense. Even the name – no –because of its name, the blood orange stands out, conjuring images of food gone awry. Written on a sign in the produce store – “Blood Oranges $1.99/lb” – they come across as menacing in a manner Kiwis or pears could never manage. Who could ever take kumquats seriously as a threat?

Despite the fear factor, blood oranges are one of the high points of the winter. Their season is shorter than those of other oranges – or perhaps all the other oranges simply run together and it seems they’re available longer – but blood oranges are the ones whose absence I notice first. It’s difficult not to.

Squeeze yourself a glass of blood orange juice and it looks as if a terrible crime has been committed in your kitchen. “We never saw it coming, officer. It all happened so quickly,” and the splatters on the counter, on the cutting board, and against the wall all testify to the violence of the scene. A blood orange was squeezed here and the cook will never be the same again. A glass of blood orange juice conjures images of horror, of luxury, of perversion. Neither beets nor pomegranates can match a ripe blood orange for drama.

Because of that, they are also one of the most alluring of citrus fruits. The variety I seem to encounter most this season is what I believe is called the Moro. Round and pungently red, it has few if any seeds and its sweet tart flavor carries – at least I think – vague notes of vanilla. I have been squeezing them into everything: sauces, dressings, baked goods. Tonight, I used blood orange in black bean sauce for stir-fried vegetables and noodles.

I love black bean sauce but have been adding orange juice and zest to mine for years. The sweet acid offers a needed counterpoint to the salty, earthy flavor, lifting it above what you usually find adorning your standard plate of beef chow fun. Even more, I love the contrast – not just in taste, but in context. Blood orange juice and black bean sauce seem so far removed from one another – Mediterranean and Chinese, murky and bright – but they marry beautifully producing a deeply flavored sauce.

Matchstick vegetables and noodles in blood orange black bean sauce

Make the sauce first so that the flavors have time to mingle while you prepare the rest of the meal.

Black bean sauce

1 heaping tablespoon preserved black beans
1 clove of garlic, mashed and minced
1 teaspoon grated ginger
Zest of half a small blood orange
Juice of a whole blood orange
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon Shao Xing rice wine
½ teaspoon sugar

  • Combine all the ingredients in a bowl, mashing the beans with a spoon and stirring several times to bring all the elements together. Set aside.

Noodles

8 ounces Udon or similar style noodles

  • Boil and drain the noodles, rinsing them under cold water. Set aside in a strainer or colander to continue draining.

Vegetables

1 medium carrot, peeled, cut into matchsticks about 2 inches long (see notes)
1 stalk broccoli, peeled, cut into matchsticks about 2 inches long (see notes)
3 scallions, white parts chopped fine, green ends cut into 2-inch lengths
1 quarter-sized slice of ginger
1 tablespoon peanut or vegetable oil

The best way to produce matchstick cuts of carrots – and broccoli stems, as you’ll see – is to slice the peeled carrot much as you normally would to make ¼-inch thick rounds except this time you’ll cut them on a diagonal, producing elongated slices. Then, following the length of the carrot slices cut them into ¼-inch thick sticks.

For the broccoli, trim off the florets fairly close to the dark green buds on the top. Now, trim off the scabbed end at bottom, as well as the stalk’s protruding branches. Grab a vegetable peeler, and peel off the stalk’s thick skin. Beneath, you’ll find the stalk’s tender, jade colored flesh. Now cut it into matchsticks the same way you did with the carrot.

  • Over a high flame, heat your wok or large skillet until hot and add the oil.
  • Toss in the ginger slice and stir fry for about 30 seconds, then discard it.
  • Add the carrot sticks and the chopped onion whites to the wok and stir fry for 30 seconds.
  • Add the broccoli sticks to the carrot and onion mixture, stir them about for another 30 seconds or so, and then add the remaining broccoli florets and onion greens.
  • Add the black bean sauce, and continue cooking – still stirring everything in the pot rapidly – for about another two minutes.
  • Add the drained noodles to the pot, tossing them until they’re well coated with the sauce and the vegetables and noodles are nicely blended together. Serve hot.

Makes two servings.

Ice Cream on the Brain

January 14, 2010

Years ago when I lived in Burlington, Vt., it was nothing to see people lining up in the middle of winter to buy an ice cream at Ben & Jerry’s flagship store downtown. Folks would choose their flavors, piled into orderly stacks in waffle cones or waxed paper cups and – unless they chose to eat them at one of the shop’s tables – they’d take them outside and saunter up and down Church Street, Burlington’s main pedestrian drag, while snowflakes tumbled down around them.

I mention this because while it’s a great deal warmer here in San Francisco than it is in Burlington (58 degrees as opposed to 20) ice cream is still a huge draw, even in the depths of San Francisco’s notably warmer but certainly more wet version of winter. Well, for me, anyway. I just got an automatic ice cream maker and I have ice cream on the brain. I found a Cuisinart 1.5 quart ice cream maker in a thrift store on South Van Ness (I may be a food snob, but I’m a cheap food snob).

The paddle was missing, but the machine was in good shape otherwise. I forked over ten bucks and promptly took it home where I immediately went on line and, through the Cuisinart web site, ordered a replacement paddle for $8, plus $5 shipping. Total machine cost: $23. Cost new: $49.95 plus tax. I still think I got the better end of the deal.

I’ve only made two batches, so far, and the recipes I used were both based on simple recipes for vanilla ice cream that came in the owner’s manual (which I downloaded from the internet). That’s not to say they weren’t excellent. They, most assuredly, were. I really just didn’t feel like making custards or performing any other sort-of-complicated procedures.

There is, perhaps even more important, the satisfaction of making it myself. There is, as well, the satisfaction of making damned good ice cream and paying a helluva lot less for it than I would had I bought premium ice cream at the store. Three pints of that Ben & Jerry’s, for example, would have come to almost $11. Last night’s batch of 1.5 quarts came to about $5.50. Mostly, I just enjoyed making it myself, a pleasure I wouldn’t have purchasing it from the store. Here’s what I made.

Orange Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
2 cups heavy cream, chilled
1 cup whole milk, chilled
¾ cup sugar
Zest of 1 orange
2 ounces dark chocolate, cut into 1/4-inch squares or thereabouts

  • Using a hand mixer or a whisk (the hand mixer is easier on the wrist), combine the milk, orange zest, and sugar in a chilled bowl, mixing until the sugar is completely dissolved.
  • Stir in the heavy cream.
  • Turn on the machine and pour the mixture into the bowl through the opening in the cover. Let the machine do its thing until the liquid is thickened, about 25 to 30 minutes.
  • About five minutes before it’s done, add the chocolate through the opening at the top.
  • When it’s done, transfer the ice cream to a container and stash in the freezer for another half hour or so to let it solidify a bit more. Be sure to lick the spatula.

Banana Ice Cream
2 cups heavy cream, chilled
3/4 cup whole milk, chilled
¾ cup sugar
Several shavings of nutmeg
1 banana, preferably very ripe, mashed
1 teaspoon or more vanilla

  • Using a hand mixer or a whisk (the hand mixer is easier), combine the milk, nutmeg, mashed banana, and sugar in a chilled bowl, mixing until the sugar is completely dissolved.
  • Stir in the heavy cream.
  • Follow the same procedure as the first recipe.

Banana and Blood Orange Muffins

January 12, 2010
Stumbling around the kitchen this morning, I threw this recipe together so I’d have something for breakfast. I like muffins. These weren’t bad.

1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cups white flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 tablespoon melted butter
Milk (see directions)
1 medium banana, mashed
Zest and juice of one blood orange
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Butter or grease 12 cup muffin pan

  • Sift all dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.
  • Blend egg, mashed banana, orange juice and zest, and melted butter together in 2-cup or larger measuring cup. Add enough milk to bring total volume to 1 3/4 cups of liquid.
  • Mix wet and dry ingredients until just combined, and spoon into greased muffin pan and bake for 25 minutes or until done.
Recipe makes enough batter for eight muffins.