Thursday, June 18, 2009

 

Ice cream sundaes are good, but what if you could eat the bowl?

On a suggestion from his son, Michael Ruhlman, food writer and critic, figures out how to make a chocolate chip cookie ice cream bowl... and tells you how to do it too.


This dough will make about two dozen delicious chocolate chip cookies, but if you want to make bowls, you'll need two oven-proof dishes, one that fits inside another, for each chocolate chip cookie bowl.

The Chocolate Chip Cookie Bowl

Put the following into the bowl of a standing mixer.

- 8 ounces of butter
- 4 ounces each of brown sugar and white sugar
- an egg
- a teaspoon of vanilla extract

Beat using the paddle attachment until all ingredients are incorporated.

Remove the bowl from the stand, put it on a scale and pour in

- 8 ounces of flour (about a cup and a half)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- a teaspoon of baking powder

Return the bowl to the machine and paddle until the dough is formed. Add at least a cup of chocolate chips or roughly chopped chocolate and mix until the chocolate is evenly distributed.

Spray the inside of the larger bowl and the outside of the smaller bowl with vegetable oil (or butter them). Press about 1/3 of a cup of the dough into each large bowl. Press the smaller bowl on top of the dough firmly so that the dough begins to push up around its sides (see picture above, expansion will take care of the rest).

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. Remove the bowls from the oven and carefully twist the small bowls to free them from the dough (I used sturdy tongs), then remove it, and continue to bake the cookie bowls for 5 minutes of so until the inner bottom of the cookie bowl finishes cooking.


When the bowls are cool enough to handle, cut off any dough that's over flowed the edge and, very carefully, run a pairing knife along the sides, gently lifting up to delicately free the bottom of the cookie bowl. Chill completely.


Fill with ice cream and serve to anyone who adores cookies and ice cream. Become your kid's hero.

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Thursday, June 11, 2009

 

We have an ice cream flavor!

Carrot Curry Ice Cream

This based on a recipe from the book Asian Ice Cream for You and Your Kids by Arron Liu.

The recipe is fairly simple — one cup of heavy cream, one cup of whole milk, one cup of coconut milk, carrots, egg yolks, brown sugar and spices.

Makes about 1 quart


1 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup packed finely shredded carrots
4 egg yolks
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons Indian or Japanese curry powder
squirt of lemon or lime

In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks and brown sugar until fluffy and the lighter in color. Set aside.

Combine the milk, cream, coconut milk, carrots and curry powder in a medium saucepan. Bring mixture just to a boil, then reduce heat to very low. Let simmer, stirring occasionally, for 25 minutes. (Do not let boil.)

While beating the egg yolk mixture, pour in a small spoonful of the hot milk mixture and continue to beat. Repeat process with a larger spoonful, while beating, then repeat again, and again. (This will temper the eggs, so that they don’t cook lumpy.) Next, scoop all the egg yolk mixture into the hot milk mixture. Return heat to medium-low. Cook about 8-10 minutes longer, stirring frequently with a spatula to scrape all corners of the bottom of the pot. Do not let boil. The custard should be just thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, but have no lumps.

Let custard cool completely, then transfer to an airtight container and completely chill in the refrigerator at least 2 hours. Add the squirt of lemon or lime juice. Follow your machine’s instructions for churning length. Add the chopped nuts in the last minute of the churning process. Transfer ice cream to an airtight container and freeze for 2 hours to “ripen.”

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Thursday, June 04, 2009

 

Of Garam Masala & Curry Powder

Every now and then I speak to someone who looks at the lunch I usually bring to work and mentions something about Curry Powder. Now, just to be very clear, I hadn't ever heard of "Curry Powder" in my life. Also I saw Curry Flavored Sausages and other oddities.

Curry can mean two things in India. The more common usage is the gravy or sauce in any dish. So a Chicken Chicken will have sauce in it as opposed to something like Chicken 65, which does not.

The second meaning of curry is the curry leaf, which has nothing to do with the sauce in a dish or curry powder. Yeah, I know this is confusing, but stay with me here. The curry leaf is commonly used in southern Indian cooking with fish and coconut milk dishes.

Back to the rant at hand.

Indian food is rarely, if ever, made with premixed ground spices. Especially home cooked food. All the spices are mixed in the right proportions and then tempered, ground etc. All traditional food is like this, regardless of the region of the world they come from.

So, about 11 years back when I moved to this country I heard of this magical spice powder called "Curry Powder", living in Hillsboro, Oregon, a suburb of Portland. I asked around and found an Indian store in the area. And yes, they had Curry Powder. I bought it for a princely sum of $1.25 and took it home with me.


So, I had no idea what I could make with that powder, so I looked up recipes online. I found this Chicken Curry recipe that only needed garlic, onions and tomatoes besides the curry power. Seemed simple enough. I followed instructions. Cooked for Bhaskar, (my housemate then) and me. We took one spoonful of it and realized this was a part of that unpalatable "Curry" available at roadhouses in England. Tasted a lot like dirt, very earthy. That box of curry powder moved slowly from the front to the back of the spice cabinet. Only to be given looks of disdain every 3-4 months when I'd see it sitting back there. I moved to Portland for a new job and it made it's way to my new apartment. It sat there through the dot com boom it sat there and it sat there when the bubble burst. It sat there though my company turning into dust and people losing jobs left, right and center. Mid 2000 I moved to Sydney, Australia, for work and finally I cleansed my home of that disgusting stuff.

So, what exactly is this spice mixture made of? Well, there is no authentic recipe, so here are the basic spices I've seen listed on the box

- 2 tbsp, Coriander
- 1/4 cup, Turmeric
- 2 tbsp, Cumin
- 2 tbsp, Fenugreek
- 1 tbsp, Black Pepper

I've seen ginger, garlic, cardamom etc in some of the more expensive one. My $1.25 box was probably 90% sawdust and 10% turmeric. Sure tasted like it.

The next thing on my list is Garam Masala. Indians do use Garam Masala a lot and is sold ground in boxes as opposed to whole spices. My mom always put the spice together from scratch, tempered it and ground it. The problem with a ground spice is the same as ground coffee. It must be stored in air tight containers and used in a few days, any longer and it's as flavorful as asphalt.


What does Garam Masala contain? The quantities vary by region, so I've omitted that.

- Cloves
- Cardamom
- Cinnamon
- Nutmeg
- Black pepper
- Cumin
- Caraway

On the right is what it looks like when we mix it together at home. Ah it's just so fragrant.

Screw it, you should never buy ground spices again, especially that Curry Powder nonsense. But do buy the Magic Bullet, our only purchase off of TV. Haven't regretted it. Grinds just as much spice as we need, dump it in the dish washer and you're done.

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Sunday, March 15, 2009

 

Kosha Mangsho, a Bengali favorite


Kosha Mangsho (Dry goat curry) is a hot favorite with Bengalis. The unforgettably tasty Kosha Mangsho is always one of our stars when we make a Bengali spread for our friends. Last night was no exception with Jai and Madhur. They loved the Prawn Malai Curry too, but the Mangsho just stole the show.

Goat meat is very similar in taste to lamb, but slightly gamier. Indians and their neighbors call the meat Mutton. Since their meat does not "marble" with fat deposits as with beef, it needs to be cooked for longer at a lower heat.

Goat meat is available in the US at most Asian stores that target the Muslim community. We have a halal store around the corner from us, where the meat is mediocre, there is Aladdin in Foster City that has really good cuts. There is also Bangla Bazar in Sunnyvale. Most Indian stores in the area are run by South Indians or Gujaratis, and both those communities are vegetarians and so meat is never available.

Enough talk. Lets get down to business.

Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes active involvement + 3-5 hours on simmer

Serves 4, generously

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Monday, February 23, 2009

 

Muscavo?

I've been interested in sugar substitutes for a while now. I really don't care to use chemical substitutes or other zero calorie substitutes, nor have I been very successful at satisfactorily baking with syrups like honey or agave. I've used fructose, but feel that's nearly as refined as sugar and the xyletol I've been using is made from corn (which I don't really feel like supporting the continued over growth of) and can't be used in home made candies, not that I do much of that anyways.

So, anyways, I usually read up on any new 'healthy' sugar (if there is such a thing) I come across. I recently came across a new one called sucanat. After some net reading, I learned that it is more or less the same thing as muscavo sugar, also called gur in India! Yeah, finally a sugar that is healthier and that I am already familiar with and can get easily.

So, how is gur actually healthier? Well, because it is unrefined and still contains minerals such as potassium, calcium and others. It's still sugar, don't get me wrong, but I also don't think it can be called empty calories either!

Here's a simple cookie recipe that I intend to try soon. If you try it before I do, please let me know how it turns out! I found it at: http://recipes.egullet.org/recipes/r2108.html

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