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CHILL Making ice cream is a smooth move!

“I scream you scream we all scream for ICE CREAM!” That childhood riddle (*) rings in my head when I think of summer and one of my favorite creative outlets, that of making ice cream.

About twenty five years ago I bought my first ice cream maker from William Sonoma, and quite a serious machine it was. As a chef it marked somewhat of a right of passage to own such an expensive tool. Interestingly, I used it only a few times at home, as it wasn’t large enough to use in the places I was working, and so it sat on the shelf looking impressive, without much action. In fact, it wasn’t until we opened EVOO, that I put some miles on it.

Now, it is so much a part of our daily routine that the dusty days of shelf-sitting is but a dim memory. I find making ice cream incredibly rewarding because the process can be so creative. Now mind you I am not a fan of the “iron chef” way of making every secret ingredient into ice cream. I draw the line on “trout ice cream.” But I do enjoy experimenting outside the box with herbs and spices and, of course, all sorts of fruit/veggie and nut/herb combinations. One constant favorite of mine is no surprise any longer, is coriander sour cream ice cream, which for me just transcends the average apple pie to greater heights and takes the chocolate flourless treats up several notches. (did I just say that, Emeril?).

For me making ice cream falls into the category of “what is so hard about that?” It is why I make my own pasta—it is so easy—I cannot think “why not?” Here’s all there is to making ice cream.

Start with basic custard: egg yolks, cream, and sugar (see recipes). Next, you need to decide on a flavoring—keep it simply vanilla or use your imagination. Right now I am thinking of Cherry Amaretto because cherries are in season. Throw in some dark chocolate pieces after churning and a new flavor is born. How about Chocolate Hazelnut with fresh raspberries folded in; and Vanilla bean folded with Cashew Brittle!

The secret to my ice cream is in the heating of the custard. After placing the egg yolks, cream and sugar into a medium saucepan, I whisk to combine and place over medium flame. Switching to a rubber spatula, I stir in figure eight motion, scrapping down the sides every other turn, until the mixture coats the spatula (or the back of a spoon). This might be a perfect time to for you to invest in a digital thermometer because taking it to the exact temperature of 185°F is needed, and “coating the spatula” isn’t an exact measurement. Once to temperature, I remove it from the heat and strain through a fine mesh into a large metal pan or bowl for cooling. I want to get the custard as cold as possible before churning; at least 40°F or lower. The cooler I take the base the shorter the churn time, which translates to a creamier ice cream.

I recommend you follow your machine manufacturer directions from here. Right after churning, the ice cream resembles soft serve—very nice but still not ice cream yet. You will want to place it into a container, plastic with tight lid is my choice, and freeze for at least 3-5 hours before serving. I usually place a piece of parchment paper on top of the soft ice cream before snapping on the tight lid. I think this helps keep the ice crystals away. And I do this with store purchased ice cream too—keeping the cardboard container in a plastic bag or wrapped in foil to extend its freshness.

What about other frozen treats? Gelato is an Italian favorite that is increasing in popularity in the US. In a gelato, the high butter fat of ice creams is displaced with more concentrated flavorings. Check out my Hazelnut Gelato, for example, and see how many hazelnuts are required to create the intense flavor of the finished gelato.

Sorbets differ from Sherbets (also lower butterfat-1-2%), in that they have no dairy and are fat free. They are essentially a frozen ice, usually fruit based that is churned into a smooth whole fresh fruit taste. My favorite is Strawberry Sorbet (see recipe) which I use on strawberry shortcake when fresh berries are out of season! I usually make sorbet from the frozen berries I processed during the peak of berry season. That way I almost always have a true berry flavor, even in the winter.

If you don’t have an ice cream machine, you can still make granites! These are frozen non-dairy mixtures made from sweetened fruits; you can stay savory too with a tarragon gewürztraminer or a tomato ice. To make, place the mixture in a freezer pan or ice cube tray. Instead of churning in a machine, you agitated with a fork, every 35-45 minutes while freezing, creating a slushy, coarser flavored “ice.” Check out the Tomato Horseradish Ice that I use on fresh shucked oysters or over a shrimp or crab cocktail.

There is no end to making up new ice creams, gelatos, sorbets and granites or granitas, (the Italian word for these icy combinations.)! I encourage everyone to give it a whirl, and especially if you own a not-frequently-used machine, just dust it off and get churning! Ciao, Bob

RECIPES OF THE WEEK-ice cream, gelatto, granites, & ices

** recipes referred to in story gazette story on ice cream,CHILL Making ice cream is a smooth move!
8 oz organic tomato juice (Vegetable juice such as V-8 works well too)
1 TBS fresh horseradish, grated
1 TBS Worcestershire sauce
1 TBS ground coriander
Zest of 1 lemon
½ lemon juiced
Season with sea salt to taste
Method: blend ingredients; taste and season with sea salt, if needed.
Place mixture into freezer pan (shallow glass container or stainless steel pan/ice cube tray). Place level in freezer and stir with fork every 25-45 minutes, depending on how fast your freezer works, until all well frozen.

At service: place over fresh shrimp or crab salad for refreshing appetizers; or shave small amounts onto fresh shucked oysters.

Chef note: If you like it a little hotter, shake in a few drops of your favorite hot sauce before freezing.

2 ¼ cups heavy cream
1 cup sugar
6 large egg yolks
1/8 tsp salt
3 TBS ground coriander
¾ cup sour cream
Method: in a heavy sauce pan, combine heavy cream, sugar, yolks, salt and coriander; cook over low heat, stirring in figure-8 constantly for 12 -15 minutes or until custard coats the back of a spoon without running off. This is happens at about 185°F. Remove from heat and cool in shallow pan completely to 40°F.

Before churning, strain chilled mixture through fine sieve; add the sour cream, whisking to combine.

Follow manufacturer’s instructions for ice cream machine blending.

2¼ cups heavy cream
1 cup sugar
6 large egg yolks
1/8 tsp sea salt
2 cups unsweetened frozen or fresh washed, stemmed fresh strawberries

Method: in a heavy sauce pan, combine heavy cream, sugar, yolks, salt and strawberries; cook over low heat stirring constantly for 12 -15 minutes until it reaches 185°F or custard coats the spoon without running off; remove from heat and cool completely. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for ice cream machine blending.

For very light pink color and more variation in the finished product, add the berries the last 10 minutes of churning.
You may use the same procedure for raspberries and blackberries.
2 ¼ cups heavy cream
1 cup sugar
1 bunch mint leaves, washed and patted dry (about 1 cup)
6 large egg yolks
1/8 tsp salt
¾ cup sour cream
Method: in a heavy sauce pan, combine 1 ½ cups heavy cream, sugar, mint, yolks, and salt; cook over low heat, stirring constantly for 12 -15 minutes; custard should coat the spoon without running off; remove from heat and cool.

Before churning, strain mixture through fine sieve; fold in sour cream, whisking to combine.

Follow manufacturer’s instructions for ice cream machine blending.
Variation: Add chunks of dark 70% cocoa chocolate last 5 minutes of churning.

2 lbs. strawberries, washed, hulled; OR previously frozen strawberries, unsweetened
¼ cup honey
1 cup superfine sugar
pinch of sea salt
Method: Puree all berries and strain; add honey, sugar and salt; freeze in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions. Remove to freezer, well sealed.

2 cups toasted and skinned hazelnuts
1 tsp hazelnut oil
3 ½ cups whole milk
¾ cup sugar
4 egg yolks
1 TBS Frangelico, optional
½ tsp vanilla paste

Method: Grind hazelnuts and set aside; place oil, milk, and nuts in a heavy sauce pan; bring to a boil; cover, remove from heat and steep for 30-60 minutes. Using a fine sieve, strain over a new sauce pan, pressing down firmly on nuts to extract all flavors. Place strained mixture into a new sauce pan; bring back to a simmer.

Beat yolks with sugar until frothy. When flavored milk is ready, temper yolk-mixture by adding warm milk to the egg-mixture a little at a time. When completely combined, place bowl of custard over simmering water, (double boiler fashion) and reheat until it is thick enough to coat a spoon.

Cool in an ice bath for approximately 1 hour and place in shallow pan in the refrigerator until it reaches 41°F. Add the vanilla paste and Frangelico, if using. (The chilled custard is now ready to be placed into the ice cream machine to finish, according to machine directions.)

Remember a true gelato doesn’t contain as much “air” as ice cream because it churns less, making gelato denser in texture. Follow your machine directions for gelato.

Dueling Dinners, A Friendly Cook-off!

It was a beautifully crisp summer day in Cannon Beach last Tuesday. I took the day off to go fishing. I have taken up fly fishing—for salmon this summer, along with summer residents, Mike and his son Will. On previous Tuesdays we had scouted for fish and were content that we just hadn’t found the right location yet and happy for the practice. This day, we were going where the internet directed us. Confident, I invited our visiting guests from Maryland to join us, and Will loaned his fishing gear so they could fish, too. I was pretty sure they’d be content to snap some pictures of the scenery (and the fish that Mike and I catch).

The night before we all got together and the wives decided to have a relaxing day at the CB spa then come home to cook our catches on the Barbie. Sounded reasonable to us and then the conversation took a “what-if” turn. What if we don’t catch fish, then what? Well Marty, our friend from Seattle, proclaimed himself a great Carbonara cook and said with only a few ingredients and very little effort he’d cook it if we didn’t get fish. Next thing I know Lenore is bragging on my Carbonara and you guessed it, we were all signed up for a cook off regardless of salmon on the menu! Well, in my mind, all that nonsense would be forgotten when we came home with the fish.

The next morning we took off for the internet fishing hole looking for the promised fish. John and Marty, followed behind us in their car, in case they wanted to leave before us. At streamside, they watched us awhile and took some pictures. John even caught a salamander with his bare hands and snapped its mug shot before tossing it back. Then after the third fishing hole we took them to, they politely excused themselves, something about scaring the fish and the ford SUV they had rented couldn’t take the rough terrain. Now the pressure was really on. Mike and I worked it a bit longer and started talking about listing our gear on eBay. It was looking like we’d never catch a fish.

On the way back my attention turned to Carbonara. I know my recipe isn’t at all the classic method. Lenore makes one too, but again not the classic. It’s not that we don’t like the classic recipe, but it is just that we try to avoid using raw or under cooked eggs and the classic uses eggs that are cooked only by the heat of the pasta! So my version is reduced cream and no egg at all. And Lenore’s version is with olive oil and no egg or cream. Light and summery, she says.

The judge for the contest was self appointed. Claiming expertise on Carbonara, our friend, John took on the job. He had tasted a few different ones in his day, and Marty’s as well. Gee that sounds a little slanted right there, but they are “company” and it wouldn’t be polite to insist Lenore judge too!

Coming in empty handed again, I knew there wasn’t going to be much I could do to changes the course of the evening. The Cook-off was on. I do this very recipe for the Pasta 101 class, and it is often voted their favorite, but next to the real deal, I couldn’t be sure.

John and Marty were already home when we strolled in with tackle—no fish. Marty had already gathered his ingredients for Carbonara and was relaxing on the patio. I started to pull together my ingredients feeling very happy that I froze the English peas when they were sweet and fresh a few weeks ago. I was sure that gave me some edge. Then I pulled out my house smoked bacon made from pork bellies that I cured and smoked myself—I’m thinking, another plus. To keep it simple we are using dry pasta—same brand of linguini for both dishes. If only I could make fresh Pappardelle—Is that my secret ingredient? Marty is using pancetta since the ham he always uses wasn’t available. Sounds like a great substitution to me. He doesn’t use peas of any kind, so that could be a plus on my side.

Marty finishes his dish first—everyone gathers at the table—a few pictures—then serve it up! The ooze and ahs for Marty’s recipe were loudly ringing in my ears as I am still finishing my batch. At last, my bowl goes to the table—wait don’t forget the fresh grated aged parmesan. Again, snapping pictures and audible accolades coming from the wives and John. I sit down to my plate of both kinds side by side. I taste Marty’s; darn this is good. I taste mine; good but sure miss that homemade pasta; maybe I’ll try pancetta in my recipe next time—a nice salty addition.

Plates were clean—no one could even eat the salad Lenore made. We just sat there content. “Time to judge, John,” someone said. “I cannot,” he responded like a diplomat. Come on John, it’s your job to judge—you said so, I thought. “No, really I liked them both—they are so different, and both great!” So I proclaim Marty’s version the winner—after all I really enjoyed the garlicky version he created. Lenore smiled a proud smile—knowing how I much really like to win.

Here are the recipes for you to enjoy!
MARTY’S CARBONARA Watch out for the garlic! 1 # best quality spaghetti
½ # ham*, bacon or pancetta cubed
1 whole head garlic, peeled, sliced, reserve 1 TBS raw
3 eggs
Pepper and Salt to taste
1 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
Flat leaf parsley garnish
*When using Ham add EVOO for cooking in the pan since ham is so lean. Method: Cook the bacon in a skillet big enough to hold the finished dish. Pour off some of the fat leaving about 3 TBS. Sauté the garlic, (reserving 1 TBS for later), with bacon until slightly translucent and not brown. In separate pot, cook spaghetti in salted water until al dente. Drain well and toss in pan with bacon and garlic. Toss well to distribute meat and garlic. Remove from heat and stir in eggs and the reserved tablespoon of raw garlic. Toss gently to cook the eggs from the heat in the pasta and the pan off the heat now. Season with Salt Pepper and grated Parmesan Cheese. Serve immediately garnished with flat leaf parsley.

½ cup bacon, minced
½ cup shallots, minced
2 cup heavy cream, reduced to 1 cup
½ cup aged parmesan, finely grated
1# cooked spaghetti or other pasta
2 cup peas, blanched, optional
3 -5 TBS parsley, minced Method: Cook bacon in medium large pan to crisp and render fat; remove bacon and reserve; remove ½ the bacon fat; add shallots; cook until aromatic not brown; add cream and heat thoroughly; Add pasta, cheese and peas; dish up and garnish with parsley.