I slaved away in the frackin' kitchen all day today. I made Butterscotch Ice Cream, which turned out pretty good but could maybe use a little fine-tuning, and Chicken Soup With Spaghetti Squash and Spinach, which I was really pleased with.
I made the soup at Jen's request; she said she'd been craving some of my chicken soup/stew, which I make periodically using whatever ingredients I feel like throwing in. I decided to make a soup along the lines of one, it turns out, I blogged about exactly three years ago today.
For the aromatics, I used 15 cloves of garlic and two large and three medium leeks. I coarsely chopped the garlic and sliced and then thoroughly rinsed the white and light-green parts of the leeks. Then I sauteed them in 6 tablespoons of butter and a little salt until they had softened.
Next, I added four quart-size containers of low-sodium, organic chicken broth and three 28-ounce cans of organic crushed tomatoes with basil. I puréed everything with my immersion blender and then began heating up the liquid. I added three very large, peeled and chopped sweet potatoes. When they were cooked, I puréed them as well, which gave the soup base a nice reddish-orange color.
Then I added the coarsely chopped flesh of one large and one medium spaghetti squash and the meat from six chicken breasts that I'd roasted the day before with plenty of chopped garlic pushed under the skin. Once the squash was tender, I submerged six bunches of trimmed and thoroughly washed spinach in the pot and turned off the burner.
Bob, Jen, the kids, and I had the soup for dinner tonight with Italian bread topped with roasted garlic and breaded, baked ovals of goat cheese. I took over a bottle of 2008 Palo Alto Reserve Sauvignon Blanc from Chile that we adults all really enjoyed.
After dinner, while Bob and Jen got the kids ready for bed and cleared away the dishes, I ran home to turn the ice cream custard I'd made that morning into ice cream.
I had originally planned to make Ginger Butterscotch Ice Cream, based on the sauce by Pichet Ong that I mentioned way back in the very first Hawleyblog post. But I figured Bob would complain if I tainted the butterscotch flavor with ginger. He complained anyway when I told him earlier in the day that I was making unadulterated butterscotch ice cream! Because he didn't think he'd like the butterscotch flavor, even on its own. Hello! He's the guy who likes blondies without chocolate chips. Once I explained to him that butterscotch flavor = blondie flavor = brown sugar and butter, he lightened up on the expecting-not-to-like-it routine. Damn right! :-)
Here's how I made the ice cream custard:
On medium-high heat, I cooked 1 1/2 cups of brown sugar; a stick (8 tablespoons) of butter, cut into roughly 1/2-tablespoon-size pieces; 1/2 teaspoon salt; and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla in a small pot until the ingredients formed a caramel-like sauce, as shown at left. Then I added 2 pints of half and half and 1 pint of whole milk and stirred the mixture really well to combine. I continued cooking it on medium-high until it just came to a simmer.
Meanwhile, I whisked together 1/2 cup white sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar, and 9 egg yolks in a metal bowl. I whisked in the hot caramel mixture and returned this new mixture to the pot. I heated it on low, stirring constantly, for about five minutes. I strained it through a fine mesh sieve and let it cool first to almost room temperature and then in the refrigerator until it was thoroughly chilled.
Before I put it in the refrigerator, the ice cream custard smelled awesome, so I was a little disappointed the frozen custard didn't have much of a butterscotch aroma when I spooned it out of my ice cream makers and into storage containers. I tried several spoonfuls and thought it tasted OK. I let the ice cream freeze for a little while before taking over a container for Bob and Jen to try. It was about the consistency of soft serve. Both B&J thought the flavor was just right, and Bob admitted that it did taste like a blondie.
I'm not totally convinced the recipe couldn't use some tweaking, but I'm glad B&J enjoyed it so much. I was leery of making the ice cream disgustingly sweet with too much brown sugar, but maybe I could pump that component up a little more. I think my decisions to decrease the usual number of egg yolks and to use more whole milk and less cream were good ones, given the thickness and richness of the butterscotch sauce.
Man, I'd better move along. I think I'm starting to sound as dorky as this guy. But first, one final note: There was a little separation of solidified butter in the chilled custard, but before I put it in the ice cream makers, I gave it a very vigorous stirring that seemed to eliminated the clumps.
There was a time and a place when everybody loved rutabagas, which, ARROHK,* I'm quite fond of. At least that's what this sign at the Evolutionary Organics farmstand at the Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket suggests:
Before I went into the LGBT Center to attend the civil disobedience training late last month, I stopped at the Donut Pub and got a to-go cup of hot tea to slightly caffeinate myself and a Red Velvet Mini Dipper in case my belly started growling. It didn't growl until I was heading home, so I ate the doughnut while waiting for the F train. So good.
For co-worker Rand's birthday a couple of weeks ago, I made Peanut Butter & Jelly Cupcakes** using Martha Stewart's recipe. Several of the cupcakes got too browned around the top edge and on the bottom, but the cakes, excluding the overly done parts :-), and the icing tasted terrific. And I decorated them with two kinds of jelly. The photo at left shows the sour cream being incorporated into the cake batter. And the one below shows, of course, the finished cakes, with strawberry and blackberry jellies on top.
In case you missed them, here are links to a couple of posts I wrote over at Queer New York in which I whipped up two (if I do say so myself) terrific new cocktails called the Eighth Sign and the Main Squeeze.
Purty-clawed crabs ...
... at the Seatuck Fish Co. stand at the GAP Greenmarket.
*As regular readers of Hawleyblog know.
**The name I'm using is the one given in Martha Stewart's Cupcakes. The recipe in that book is identical to the one I'm linking to on the MS Web site.