Late Night Cravings

I accomplished very little today, despite my best efforts. It was a lazy day off spent mostly catnapping and movie watching. The unfortunate side effect is that I’m wide awake at one a.m. and don’t want to disturb my lovely little Chef Claire who’s upstairs trying her best to get to sleep.

So instead of heading to the basement to watch a movie, I’ve found myself in the kitchen.

Tonight’s first project was Ice Cream #3: Chai Tea.
I liked #1 (Vanilla) but found #2 (Orange Blossom Honey) to be foul. Honey is one of those “a little goes a long way” things; particularly orange blossom honey, and while the finished ice cream was good on a preparation level, it was just a bit too honey for me.

The Chai is a risky choice. I’m not really in my ice cream making comfort zone yet; not enough to deviate from recipes. Flavor balancing with sweets is new to me…. and for the Chai, I went off recipe. The book I’ve been using for recipes only had a listing for Earl Grey. I used Chai instead, so let’s hope that the amount of sugar and other ingredients balances out the spice level of five bags of tea.

For the record, my least favorite part of ice cream making is removing the egg yolks from the whites. It’s disconcerting to feel them separate in my hands. I’m going to hit up Fante’s in the Italian Market this week for some new knobs for my stove/oven; I think I’ll look for one of the de-yolker doodlehickies.

Tonight’s second project was: Cured Beef.
Emboldened by my last duck breast prosciutto, but without the proper resources for a cured salami (I still need live started cultures) I decided to do a cured beef. Sort of like a hybrid of beef jerky and bresaola.

The recipe and prep are simple; I just hope I picked a good cut of meat. I went for something with very little fat for fear of it going rancid. The setup is just like the duck prosciutto, but instead of a basic salt cure, this recipe calls for sugar, too.

¾ cup sea salt
1 ½ cups sugar
1 steak
Black Pepper. (I used worchesteshire flavored pepper!)

Lay a bed of the curing mixture down, put the steak on top of it. Cover it with the remaning mixture, and let sit in the refrigerator for three days. Unlike the duck, it doesn’t need to be cured afterwards. No cheese cloth/hanging for a week. Just cut and enjoyed.

I’ll do updates on both projects when they’re done!


Ice Cream- Orange Blossom Honey

I’ve just finished making the custard for our second attempt at home made ice cream; this time it was a “what’s in the cabinet” decision when it came time to choose the flavor.

Luck was on my side; I had (to the ounce) just the right amount of milk and heavy cream I needed, exactly enough eggs and… to my surprise… a bottle of orange blossom honey!

The custard thickened up nicely and will be ready for “icecreamization” once I get home from work tonight. A perfect treat to pack in the cooler for our camping trip to Massachusetts!

How a Friday Night Should Be

Sitting at work today, at 3pm, I decided I was going to have a lazy night. I don’t care if its a Friday, I’m staying in. Seeing as I work Weds-Sunday, Today is more like my mid-week anyhow. Fast forward to 10pm: the “Aaah!!! Real Monsters” I was just watching has seeminly disappeared off Netflix. I needed a pick-me-up.

A few days ago Shawn and I had a joint birthday party (ours are only 6 days apart! Happy Birthday to us!) at the bar we both work at. On top of some delicious treats I made (and totally forgot to take pictures of. D’oh!) a bar regular made his incredible carrot cake as a truly wonderful gift. There were some leftovers in the fridge, and a slice was calling my name.

For Shawn’s birthday I got him an ice cream maker for his KitchenAid stand mixer. The other night was our first attempt at making ice cream. We went for simple vanilla; dipping our toes into the water instead of jumping into the keep end (don’t worry…cannonballs, belly flops and jackhammers are soon to come in the form of Garlic, Chocolate Cherry, and Alcoholic Apple Cider Ice Creams). It turned out pretty darn good. Especially for a first try. Once again, there were some leftovers in the fridge and a scoop was calling my name.

Leftover carrot cake+ homemade vanilla ice cream= heck yeah!