Sunday, May 28, 2006

Ginger Ice Cream with Balsamic Caramel Sauce

Ruth at Once Upon a Feast is host for this month's Sugar High Friday--she chose ginger as her focus. Enjoy.


4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup coarsely grated peeled fresh gingerroot
2 tablespoons water
2 cups half-and-half
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup crystallized ginger*
*available at some supermarkets and specialty foods shops.

In a large bowl lightly whisk yolks. In a 3-quart heavy saucepan cook sugar, fresh gingerroot, and water over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Add half-and-half and bring to a simmer. Add hot half-and-half mixture to yolks in a slow stream, whisking, and pour into pan. Cook custard over moderately low heat, stirring constantly, until a thermometer registers 170°F. (Do not let boil.)
Pour custard through a sieve into cleaned bowl and stir in cream and vanilla. Cool custard. Chill custard, its surface covered with plastic wrap, until cold, at least 3 hours, and up to 1 day.
Finely chop crystallized ginger. Freeze custard in an ice-cream maker, adding crystallized ginger three fourths of way through freezing process. Transfer ice cream to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden. Ice cream may be made 1 week ahead.

Makes about 1 quart.
November 1998

* * * * *

Balsamic-Caramel Sauce from Michael Chiarello
2 cups heavy cream, divided
2 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons water, plus more for brushing
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 teaspoon salt

Bring 1 cup cream just to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and keep the cream warm. In a large high-sided saucepan over medium-high heat, dissolve 1 cup of sugar with 2 tablespoons of water. As the sugar mixture begins to bubble, watch for crystals developing on the inside of the pan just above the liquid. Using a pastry brush dipped in water, brush the inside of the pan right above the crystals so the water drips down and dissolves the crystals back into the liquid. When the sugar begins to brown, occasionally move the pan to swirl the liquid gently and cook it evenly. Continue to cook until the mixture is dark golden brown. The total cooking time will be 8 to 9 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. Very carefully add the hot cream to the sugar mixture a few tablespoons at a time. The liquid will bubble up dramatically. Stir the sauce and cook for 1 minute. Add the vinegar, lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon salt, mix well. Pour into a heatproof bowl. You should have about 1 1/4 cups of sauce. The sauce can be made several weeks ahead, covered with plastic, and stored either at room temperature or in the refrigerator. If refrigerated, warm in a microwave oven before using.
Serve on top of ice cream.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Asparagus Disguised as Peas

Kevin, of Seriously Good, has asked for a plethora of recipes, an Asparagus Extravaganza, if you will.

Asperges en petits pois
Ayez des petites asperges; coupez tout le tender comme des petis pois; étant bien lavées vous les faites faire deux ou trios bouillons à l’eau bouillante; égouttez et les passez sur le feu avec un bon morceau de beurre, un bouquet de persil, ciboules, un clou de girofle, un peu de sariette; mettez-y une pincée de farine; mouillez de bouillon, un peu de sucre et du sel; faites cuire et réduire à courte sauce; en finissant mettez-y une liaison de juanes d’oeuf et de crème.

Menon, Les Soupers de la cour (1755), 4:173-74.

Asparagus Disguised as Peas
1 pound slender asparagus, weighed after the tough ends are cut off
3 tablespoons butter
a bouquet of 3 or 4 sprigs of parsley, 2 scallions, trimmed, 1 whole clove, and 3 or 4 sprigs winter savory, all tied with string
2 teaspoons flour
½ cup bouillon
1 teaspoon sugar
salt to taste
2 egg yolks
¼ cup cream

Clean the asparagus and cut it into pea-sized lengths. Bring water to a boil and parboil them in it for or two minutes, then drain. Melt the butter in a saucepan until it bubbles; add the asparagus and the bundle of herbs; sauté until half cooked, and then stir in the flour. Cook and stir for another minute or two, then add the bouillon, the sugar, and some salt. Cook and stir until the liquid has thickened and reduced slightly. Remove the mixture from the fire, also remove the herb bouquet. Beat together the egg yolks and the cream; stir some of the asparagus mixture into it, and then pour the liaison into the saucepan; stir the mixture well together and heat, but do not boil. Serve at once as a separate dish or as a garnish.

1983 Wheaton, Barbara Ketcham. SAVORING THE PAST : The French Kitchen And Table from 1300 to 1789. Touchstone, New York, NY, p. 268.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Asperges Glacé avec Fraises Coulis Balsamique

Pour blog appetit! de ce mois J'offre un goût délicieux et colore la combinaison. Les dirigeants [cuisiniers froids de cuisine] aux 17èmes et 18èmes siècles, faits glace de tout imaginable, y compris l'asperge. Comme le créateur de cette recette trouvé, la glace Cream de Asparagus de goûte comme la pistache, ainsi elle est la couleur verte impaire peut être pardonnée [la recette suit]. L'appareillement de elle avec des coulis de fraise avec un contact de vinaigre balsamique est génie pur.

Une asperge de groupe
sucre de 1 tasse (pour faire le double sirop de sucre)
l'eau de tasse de 1/2
tasse Amaretto de 1/2
2 oeufs (à la température ambiante)
sucre de tasse de 1/2
(1 pinte) crème 600mL
(pinte de 1/2) lait 200mL

NOTA:. Cette crême glacée est complètement expérimentale. Ainsi j'ai enregistré la méthode que j'ai employée et des pensées j'ai eues pendant la fabrication. Si vous avez n'importe quoi à ajouter, satisfaire /msg je.

Dissolvez 1 tasse de sucre dans l'eau et l'apportez à l'ébullition. Enlevez la partie boisée de l'asperge, et du coup de hache dans de petits morceaux. Ajoutez l'asperge. Revenez à l'ébullition et enlevez la chaleur. Puisque l'asperge était d'être puréed, j'à gauche il pour se refroidir vers le bas dans le sirop, pour tremper dans le sirop de sucre.

Faites la crème. Battez les oeufs et le sucre ensemble. Chauffez doucement la crème et le lait. Ajoutez la crème/lait aux oeufs tout en remuant. Filtrez la crème de nouveau dans le pot au-dessus d'une chaleur douce. Remuez jusqu'à la crème enduira le dos d'une cuillère.

Mélangez la liqueur d'asperge et d'amande. Je n'ai pas vidangé l'asperge complètement, tellement il y avait un peu du sirop de sucre dans le mélangeur, mais pas trop. Je sûrement n'ai pas voulu concentrer la saveur d'asperge.

Ajoutez le purée d'asperge à la crème. Bien que j'aie voulu à, je n'ai pas tendu le mélange encore. J'ai pensé qu'une texture douce serait une bonne idée. Mais l'éloge de la crême glacée était son inclusion de fibre.

Battez selon les instructions sur la machine de crême glacée.

Fraises Coulis Balsamique
300 fraises fraîches de g
150 ml d'eau
sucre glace de 100 g
15 ml de jus de citron
25 ml au vinaigre balsamique

Lavez les fraises et placez-les dans un mélangeur ;
ajoutez l'eau, le sucre glace et le jus et le mélange de citron tout ensemble complètement ;
placez les coulis dans une casserole et un cuisinier de sauté pendant quelques minutes ;
laissez frais pendant 5 minutes ;
ajoutez le vinaigre balsamique au goût.

* * * * *

For this month's blog appetit! I offer a delightful taste and color combination. Officers [cold kitchen cooks] in the 17th and 18th centuries, made ices from everything imaginable, including asparagus. As this recipe's creator found, Asparagus Ice Cream does taste a little like pistachio, so it's odd green color can be forgiven [recipe follows]. Pairing it with strawberry coulis with a touch of balsamic vinegar is pure genius.

One bunch asparagus
1 cup sugar (to make double sugar syrup)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup Amaretto
2 eggs (at room temperature)
1/2 cup sugar
600mL (1 pint) cream
200mL (1/2 pint) milk

NB. This ice cream is completely experimental. So I have recorded both the method I used and thoughts I had during the making. If you have anything to add, please /msg me.

Dissolve 1 cup of sugar in the water and bring to the boil. Remove the woody part of the asparagus, and chop into small pieces. Add the asparagus. Return to the boil and take off the heat. Because the asparagus was to be puréed, I left it to cool down in the syrup, to steep in the sugar syrup.

Make the custard. Whisk the eggs and sugar together. Gently warm the cream and milk. Add the cream/milk to the eggs while stirring. Strain the custard back into the pot over a gentle heat. Stir until the custard will coat the back of a spoon.

Blend the asparagus and almond liqueur. I didn't drain the asparagus completely, so there was a small amount of the sugar syrup in the blender, but not too much. I surely did not want to concentrate the asparagus flavour.

Add the asparagus purée to the custard. Although I wanted to, I did not strain the mixture again. I thought a smooth texture would be a good idea. But the praise of the ice cream was its inclusion of fibre.

Churn as per the instructions on the ice cream machine.

Strawberry Coulis with Balsamic Vinegar
300 g fresh strawberries
150 ml water
100 g icing sugar
15 ml lemon juice
25 ml balsamic vinegar

Wash the strawberries and place them in a blender;
add the water, icing sugar and lemon juice and blend everything together thoroughly;
place the coulis in a sauté pan and cook for a few minutes;
let cool for 5 minutes;
add balsamic vinegar to taste.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Puff Paste -- Pâte de Feüilletage

Pâte de feüilletage Massialot's Les Confitures (1717), p. 217.

Faites une pâte à l’ordinaire, avec de la farine, de l’eau, du sel, & si vous voulez quelques jaunes d’œufs: quand vôtre pâte est bien petrie & renduë bien maniable; vous l’étendez sur le tour avec vôtre rouleau, en long d’une bonne épaisseur; vous le couvrez ensuite d’autant de bon beurre: & ayant renversé l’un des bouts sur l’autre, que cela renferme tout le beurre en-dedans; vous la détendrez une seconde fois, la replirez, & la détendrez de rechef avec le rouleau, continuant ainsi jusqu’a cing ou six fois: sur trois livres de farine, vous y mettez deux livres & demie de bon beurre frais.

Cette pâte est propre pour d’autres tourtes qu’on auroit à faire hors d’un dessert, où ce n’est point l; ordre de rien servir où il entre du beurre. On en peut aussi faire des feüillantines [ ] & des mazatines[tartlets of mashed potatoes, eggs and butter; filled wth a hash]; qui sont des petites tartes de la largeur de la paûme de la main; que l’on replit aussi de confiture, pour garnir quelque autre tourte plus grande pour l’entremets: & si c’est pour le dessert, on en peur faire avec des abaisses croquantes, comme ci-devant.

Method for preparing puff-pastry

Let some paste be made after the usual manner, with flour, water, salt, and if you please, the yolk of an egg. As soon as it is well kneaded, and made very pliable; roll it out upon the table, of a convenient length and thickness. Then cover it with as much good butter, and having turned one of the ends upon the other, so as all the butter may be enclosed on the inside, roll it again, continuing to do the same thing five or six times. Two pounds and a half of good fresh butter ought to be allowed for every three pounds of flour.

This sort of paste is proper for other tarts/tourtes/pies that are brought to table without a dessert, in which it is not customary to serve up anything that is prepared with butter. However, feuillantines [small individual pies--think turnovers], feuillantins[think Napoleans - sheets of puff pastry] and mazarines [small, pressed or molded tart shells], which are certain small tarts of the breadth of the palm of a man’s hand, may be made ot it, being ususally filled with sweet-meats, to garnish some other pie of a larger size, set among the intermesses; but if these little tarts are designed for the dessert, they may be made of crackling crust [marzipan or pistachio].

Very good on-line instruction in French and in English, with pictures and video for making puff-paste can be found here.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Gene Hunting in Canada--Quebec "founder" population

"In the 17th century, 15,000 French immigrants bravely made their way to eastern Canada. Some headed further west, many returned to France, but a hardy few stayed in Quebec. Starting with a total of just 2,600 people between 1608 and 1760, this group would grow 800-fold over the next 10 or so generations, with little marriage outside the group. The result is the Quebec "founder" population -- a genetically homogenous group of individuals that is ideally suited to the genetic study of disease."

Read more of this fascinating article here.

My thanks to Franco-American News & Events, 4 for drawing my attention to this post.
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