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Honey-Cinnamon Ice Cream

You’ll scream for this ice cream recipe…

I decided to attempt another dessert for this week’s post. (God forbid I post another kind of soup!) This blog was seriously lacking in sweets, and what is a more classic summer treat than ice cream? Not only is there a considerable amount of history behind the origins and evolution of ice cream, but there is also some awesome science behind how it is made as well.

In all fairness to my love of soup, though, for most of my childhood, I used to drive my step-dad crazy by mashing and stirring my ice cream into a melted, soupy mess. He always preferred his ice cream to be so rock-hard that it was nearly impossible to even scoop out of the container. I suppose you could say that I finally grew out of playing with my food. Although, I consider this food blog nothing more than a formal examination of how people throughout history have played with food and created time-tested favorite dishes and masterpieces.

Anyhow, here’s your food lesson for the week:

The custard mixture must be scalded twice before freezing.

The custard mixture must be scalded twice before freezing.

The speculated origin for ice cream is China, but the actual time period is a bit fuzzy. Of course, numerous myths surrounding the origin of ice cream muddy the waters even further. As with most mainstream foods today, ice cream began as a nearly unattainable food item for only the wealthy and royal.

The biggest challenge to the spread of ice cream recipes and, therefore, its popularity, was the ability to obtain ice and then preserve it. Special icehouses were created to store ice that was collected from bodies of water and areas of high elevation during colder seasons. Here, they were stored within layers of straw and other crude, naturally occurring insulation, where the ice would usually remain frozen throughout the warmer seasons, preserving perishable food and serving as a way for people to cool drinks or make frozen treats.1

As global travel and exploration spread, so did cultural and religious beliefs. Along major trade routes, various ingredients and culinary methods and traditions followed as well.

A man in Naples, Italy, named Antonio Latini (1642–1692) was the first person to record a recipe for sorbetto (or, as we know it, sorbet). He is also credited by many food historians as the creator of a milk-based sorbet, which is considered the first “official” ice cream.2

The Kitchen Aid ice cream attachment really simplifies the churning process.

The Kitchen Aid ice cream attachment really simplifies the churning process.

Eventually, nested containers were used to freeze the custard, yet keep it contained away from the ice. Rock salt became an integral part of this process as well. Why? It has a funny way of lowering the freezing point of water. Salt is used in the outer chamber of these ice cream makers to cause chemical reactions, which melt the ice and freeze the custard.3 The warmer cream mixture essentially gives up its energy (heat) causing it to slowly freeze. The ice absorbs this heat energy via an endothermic reaction, causing it to melt. Thank you for the ice cream, science!

After arriving in the Americas (with its first mention in the 1700s), ice cream caught on with presidents and aristocracy alike.4 Industrialization eventually blessed us with reliable methods of refrigeration, which allowed the masses to enjoy this creamy, refreshing treat. Americans took it and ran, creating all manners of ice cream including sundaes, cones, sandwiches, ice cream sodas, baked Alaska, and the list goes on and on.

In this recipe, I used raw honey, grass-fed dairy products, and quality cinnamon to infuse the custard with lots of warm, rich flavors.

Honey-Cinnamon Ice Cream

(from Epicurious.com)

  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cinnamon stick, 2 inches long
  • 8 egg yolks
  • ¾ cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
The custard needs to be strained before churning.

The custard needs to be strained before churning.

Combine the milk and cream in a saucepan. Break up the cinnamon stick into several small pieces, and add it to the pan. Over medium-high heat, scald the milk mixture (bubbles will form around the edge of the mixture, but you don’t want it to boil). Remove the pan from the heat and allow the cinnamon to steep in the dairy mixture for about an hour.

Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk the egg yolks until well blended, then whisk in the honey, sugar, and ground cinnamon. After these ingredients are combined, return the milk mixture to the stove. Over medium-high heat, scald it again.

Slowly add the hot milk mixture to the egg mixture small amounts at a time, while whisking constantly. Once both of these mixtures have been incorporated, return the entire mixture to the saucepan over medium heat once more. Cook for approximately 6 to 8 minutes while stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. At first, it will seem thin, but then it will steam and immediately thicken. When it coats the back of the spoon, it is done. Remove the pan from the heat and strain through a fine mesh sieve into an airtight container. Mix in the salt, then cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or until it is cold.

Churn the cold mixture in an ice cream maker according to the appliance’s directions. Once it is finished churning, place the ice cream in the freezer for at least two hours so that it can ripen and the flavors can develop further.

Sources:
  1. Theobald, Mary. (Spring 2010). Some Cold, Hard Historical Facts about Good Old Ice Cream. Colonial Williamsburg Journal. Retrieved from http://www.history.org/foundation/journal/spring10/icecream.cfm
  2. Avey, Tori. (2012, July 10). Explore the Delicious History of Ice Cream. The History Kitchen. Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/food/the-history-kitchen/explore-the-delicious-history-of-ice-cream/
  3. Endothermic Ice Cream (2009, September 23). Cenco Physics (Weblog). Retrieved from http://blog.cencophysics.com/2009/09/endothermic-ice-cream/
  4. Olver, Lynne. (2004). Food Timeline FAQs: ice cream and ice. The Food Timeline. Retrieved from http://www.foodtimeline.org/foodicecream.html

The Dish

About a year ago, my mom gifted me two new nonstick pans. I was excited, but couldn’t understand why she had spent the money on something I already had—two sad, cheap nonstick skillets from Target. As soon as I cooked with these pans, I realized what the fuss was about. They’re made by SCANPAN, a company in Denmark, and they are zero fuss, easy-to-clean nonstick pans like I have never seen before. The best part? SCANPAN uses recycled aluminum to make their pans, and the nonstick coating is free of carcinogenic chemicals like PFOA and PFOS. Any time I’m whipping up dinner and don’t care to spend extra time cleaning up (which is pretty much all the time), I use these pans. They work like magic for cooking eggs, which, I have to admit is another area of cooking that I haven’t quite perfected. However, with these pans I finally felt comfortable with experimenting, and they’re indirectly responsible for me attempting to perfect fried eggs. Here’s the link to their website: http://www.scanpan.eu/

The broccoli and other veggies simmering in chicken stock.

The broccoli and other veggies simmering in chicken stock.

For this week’s Dish, as usual, I have another soup recipe for you all. My office at work is perpetually freezing—two of my co-workers actually have mini space heaters under their desks—and so I’ve found that warm soup is a warm, welcome reprieve during the day. For lunch this week, I made my version of a healthy cream of broccoli soup that I enrich with nonfat Greek yogurt.

Greek Yogurt Cream of Broccoli Soup

  • 2 entire heads broccoli, stalks trimmed, peeled and chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2-3 petite red potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • ½ tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • Salt and pepper to taste
The soup can be blended with an immersion blender or a regular blender/Vitamix. Just be careful!

The soup can be blended with an immersion blender or a regular blender/Vitamix. Just be careful!

In the bottom of a large pot, melt the butter and sauté the carrots, celery, and onion until slightly soft. Add the garlic, sauté briefly, and then add the broccoli, chicken stock, and potatoes. Bring to a simmer and cook until all the vegetables are tender. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and cayenne, if desired. Once the vegetables are done, puree using an immersion blender, or a regular blender in batches. Stir in a dollop or two of Greek yogurt before serving. That’s all for The Dish this week. Have a happy (and vegetable-filled) weekend!

Jambalaya

This week I had some trouble deciding what to cook for the blog. I wanted to try something other than traditional French cuisine, but couldn’t settle on another culture or region, or even on one kind of protein. That was when jambalaya popped into my head. It’s spicy, hearty comfort food that can be made with a mish-mash of your favorite meat and seafood. Best of all, it’s cost-effective and can easily feed a crowd (not that I really have a crowd to feed).

While I was wandering through Whole Foods on Sunday night to purchase everything I needed, it occurred to me that my recipe only called for 4 ounces of chicken, 5 ounces of Andouille sausage, and 12 shrimp. Way to get specific, Emeril!

Initially, I had gone straight to the prepackaged meats section, where I realized that I’d end up buying way too much meat for this recipe. I ended up checking out the butcher counter instead, where I easily purchased one large chicken breast and two links of Andouille. I ended up saving myself a nice chunk of change.

This tip may seem like a no-brainer for some, but we are so conditioned to gathering pre-packed food at the supermarket, that unless we need something special-ordered or can’t readily find what we need, we don’t even speak to the butcher. It used to be that having a good relationship with your butcher or fishmonger was the only way to get the best cuts of meat or the freshest seafood.

As a young lady living alone, I am constantly trying to find ways to make appropriate portion sizes, cut down on my grocery bill, and minimize food waste. Usually, I’m pretty uncomfortable when speaking with the butcher (or buying any unfamiliar cuts of meat) because I find the terminology super confusing. I’m happy that I finally moved out of my comfort zone, and maybe now I’ll learn something new!

That’s enough on my butcher counter epiphany. Here’s your run-down on the history of jambalaya:

The 'Holy Trinity' of bell pepper, onion, and celery.

The ‘Holy Trinity’ of bell pepper, onion, and celery.

As with many dishes, the precise origins of jambalaya are unclear. Over the centuries, countless cultures ebb and flow, mixing together around the world. Places like Louisiana develop into vibrant melting pots, producing remarkable cuisines that can’t easily be tracked back to a single source. Plausible theories abound, and legends and folklore end up becoming “fact.”

One of the most popular explanations for the origin of jambalaya cites jambon, the French word for ham, and yaya, a supposed African term for rice. Although this is a creative theory suggesting it began as a ham and rice dish, many experts have discounted it. Comparisons of jambalaya to Spanish paella, West African jollof rice, and the French-Provencal “jambalaia,” or fowl, vegetable, and rice stew, confuse things even further.1, 2

A few years ago, culinary historian Andrew Sigal conducted a fascinating and extensive study into the origins of both the word jambalaya and the culinary dish. After a great deal of research, a decisive answer still was not reached, but Sigal leaned toward a Provencal origin for the word and a collective cultural origin for the dish. As he puts it:

The recipe might have been created or named in Europe, Africa, or America, and the creators might have been French, Occitan, Spanish, Acadian, Native American or African.3

The 'Holy Trinity,' vegetables, and rice just before the chicken broth is added.

The ‘Holy Trinity,’ tomatoes, and rice just before the chicken broth is added.

Regardless of its ambiguous geographical, cultural, and linguistic origins, pinning down an “authentic” recipe for jambalaya can be equally as frustrating. Enthusiasts disagree over whether tomatoes should be included, what kind of rice to use, how much of the holy trinity should be added, and which proteins belong in this dish.

Ultimately, the argument over certain ingredients and cooking methods has boiled down (no pun intended) to two separate camps: red and brown. The “city” or New Orleans version of jambalaya is usually red, due to the addition of tomatoes—a hallmark of Creole cuisine. On the other hand, the brown version is more prevalent in rural areas of Louisiana since it is typically cooked in a cast-iron pot, which lends itself to more thorough caramelization of the ingredients. This produces the brown color that is then absorbed by the rice.1

The meat and/or seafood isn't until the rice is nearly done cooking.

The meat and/or seafood isn’t added until the rice is nearly done cooking.

I have adapted the following recipe from renowned chef Emeril Lagasse, but make no claims about its authenticity! I left the tails on the shrimp for a bit more flavor, added an extra dash of Lagasse’s signature spice blend, and, as usual, doubled the veggie content. I hope you like your jambalaya hot!

Cajun Jambalaya

(Adapted from Chef Emeril Lagasse’s Jambalaya episode of The Essence of Emeril)

  • 12 medium shrimp, peeled and deveined with tails attached
  • 4 ounces chicken, diced
  • 1 ½ tablespoons Creole seasoning, recipe follows
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 3/4 cup long-grain rice
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 5 ounces Andouille sausage, sliced
  • Salt and pepper

Combine the shrimp, chicken, and Andouille sausage in a bowl with the Creole seasoning, and mix by hand until the meat is thoroughly coated.

Heat the oil in a large pan over medium-high heat and sauté the onion, pepper, and celery for about 3 minutes. Next, add the garlic, tomatoes, bay leaves, hot sauce, and Worcestershire sauce. Stir in the rice, and then slowly add the broth.

Reduce the heat to medium, and cook for approximately 15 minutes, or until the rice becomes tender, but is not yet fully cooked. At this time, add the shrimp, chicken, and sausage, stirring well, and cook for another 10 minutes, or until the meat is cooked through.

The finished product!

The finished product!

In the recipe above, I suppose you could use your favorite creole seasoning mix. However, this was a great blend, and I can’t wait to use the leftovers for other recipes! (FYI, this makes a whopping 2/3 of a cup of seasoning)

Emeril’s ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast):

  • 2 ½ tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
Sources:
  1. Bienvenu, M. (2011, September 15). Jambalaya shows both sides of Creole and Cajun influences. The Times-Picayune. Retrieved from http://www.nola.com/food/index.ssf/2011/09/jambalaya_shows_both_sides_of.html
  2. Dry, S. (2009, January/February). Jambalaya. Louisiana Life. Retrieved from http://www.myneworleans.com/Louisiana-Life/Winter-2008/Jambalaya/
  3. Sigal, A. (2007). Jambalaya by any other name. Petits Propos Culinaires, (84), 101-119. Retrieved from http://www.sigal.org/culinaryhistory/jambalaya/Jambalaya_by_Any_Other_Name.htm

The Dish

So, my first week at the new job went very well! I think I earned some brownie points for bringing in clafoutis to share with my coworkers. Or maybe it’s clafoutis points? Regardless, I’m happy to have a new group of guinea pigs for my recipes and some input from someone other than my mother and our dogs!

However, since moving back home, I have been missing the chicken wings at my favorite college bar and grill. Needless to say, wings probably aren’t something that I should be eating all that frequently anyway, so I’m in no rush to try and find a new place to get my wing fix. Fortunately, I found this recipe on Pinterest a couple years ago, and it is a fabulous vegetarian substitute. It’s also a far less fattening option for when I’m craving greasy bar food. Trust me, this is definitely worth a try!

http://www.persnicketyplates.com/buffalo-cauliflower/

My mom's new Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer!

My mom’s new Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer!

In other news, my mom has been saving for a new Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer for some months now, and she finally made the purchase! Not only am I excited for her to have a beautiful new version of one of her favorite kitchen tools, but this means that I get her old one! I’ve been frequently sending my boyfriend baked goods in care packages, and I am so excited to not have to mix cookie dough by hand anymore! Here’s some pictures of my mom’s new equipment.

I tried out my new mixer this week with a new cookie recipe as well. My boyfriend is a fan of mint and chocolate sweets, so I thought I’d give a cookie version a try. Although it isn’t my favorite flavor combo, these cookies turned out pretty well. They were a big hit with my beau and his roommates too! The only thing I would alter is the amount of green food coloring, though. It’s definitely necessary in order to let people

My new/old mixer atop a kitchen island that my mom got me as a house warming gift.

My new/old mixer atop a kitchen island that my mom got me as a house warming gift.

know that these aren’t the plain old chocolate chip variety, but I don’t think that a brilliant green hue is very attractive unless you’re making them for Christmas or St. Patrick’s Day.

http://www.mccormick.com/Recipes/Dessert/Mint-Chocolate-Chip-Cookies

That’s all for The Dish this week! I hope you all have a fantastic holiday weekend. 🙂

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