Monday, March 19, 2012

rich basil ice cream

This ice cream is amazing. I love the earthy and sweet herbaceous-ness of basil and the richness of the thick custard base. The mellow pale green color and flecks of basil really make this ice cream beautiful.

1 cup packed basil leaves
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
pinch of salt
5 large egg yolks
1 lemon

Using a small food processor or blender, grind the basil leaves with the sugar and one cup of the cream until the leaves are ground as fine as possible. Pour about half of the basil mixture into a large bowl and add the remaining one cup cream. Set a mesh strainer on top.

Warm the other half of the basil mixture in a medium saucepan along with the milk and salt. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.

Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. (You can check the doneness with an instant-read thermometer; it should read between 170 degrees F and 175 degrees. Egg safety experts recommend cooking eggs to a minimum temp of 160 degrees, however don't let them get above 185 degrees, or you'll get scrambled eggs!) Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the cream. Zest the lemon directly into the custard. Chill the mixture thoroughly in the fridge. It's best to refrigerate for at least 8 hours. Then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Adapted from "The Perfect Scoop"

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Roasted tomato tart with anchovies

This is the first time I'm posting a recipe that isn't vegetarian. It can easily be made vegetarian, but this time around I wanted to try something a little fishy. 

This crust recipe (or Pate Brisee as it's called if you're feeling fancy French) is a standard Martha Stewart recipe that is so straightforward and perfect. It always comes out flaky and buttery, like a salty shortbread. It's much easier using a food processor than a pastry blender. This recipe makes extra dough. So you can, in fact, make two 9-inch crusts. Or, I used a 12-inch tart pan with a removable bottom and kept the extra dough for another tart. 

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup ice water, plus more if needed 

In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour and salt; pulse to combine. Add the butter, and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs with some larger pieces remaining, about 10 seconds. With the machine running, add the ice water through the feed tube in a slow, steady stream, just until the dough holds together without being wet or sticky. Do not process more than 30 seconds. Test by squeezing a small amount of the dough together; if it is still too crumbly, add a bit more water, one tablespoon at a time. Turn out the dough onto a clean work surface. Divide in half, and place each half on a piece of plastic wrap. Shape into flattened disks. Wrap in plastic, and refrigerate at least one hour or overnight. The dough can be frozen for up to one month; thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using. 

Assembling the tart filling is super easy. It's also a variation on a Martha Stewart recipe. (She's just the best!) This recipe simply entails slicing up some tomatoes and adding a bit of salt, pepper and olive oil. It ends up looking so pretty!

1 tablespoon olive oil
all-purpose flour, for dusting
1 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes (about 4 medium) sliced, 1/4 inch thick
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
one small 2 oz can of anchovies 

Set oven to 425 degrees F. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough to specified length of tart pan you are using. Fit dough into pan. Using a rolling pin, trim dough flush with the top edge of the tart pan; chill tart shell until firm, about 30 minutes. 

Arrange tomato slices in an overlapping circular pattern working from the outer edge toward the center. Spread anchovies evenly over the tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle of olive oil. 
Bake tart until crust is golden and tomatoes are soft but still remain their shape, 45 to 55 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes. 

Monday, March 5, 2012

smoked paprika black bean soup with cheddar cheese quesadilla

This is a ridiculously easy soup that can be made in less than 30 minutes. All the equipment you need is a medium sized sauce pan and an immersion blender. And ingredient wise - a can of beans, a clove of garlic, small onion, a handful of cilantro. The addition of smoked paprika really lends a rich smokey spicy flavor. Maybe a dollop of sour cream or super rich greek yogurt to bring it together.  And a jalapeno, if you want a bit of heat. The quesadilla is just shredded cheddar cheese that I toast up in a saute pan with a bit of olive oil.

one can of black beans
one small white onion
one clove of garlic
one teaspoon of smoked spanish paprika
one teaspoon of cayenne pepper
sea salt
olive oil
freshly ground pepper
handful of chopped cilantro
one jalapeno
juice of a lemon
couple tablespoons of sour cream or greek yogurt

Chop onion into 1/4 inch dice. Thinly slice the garlic. Add a tablespoon of olive oil to a sauce pan. Add onion, garlic, sea salt, pepper and spices. Saute for a couple minutes until onions are translucent. In  the meantime, drain the beans and rinse with cold water. Add to pot, when beans start to stick a bit, add about a 1/2 cup to one cup of water or stock to loosen up the sauteed bits. You could even deglaze the pan with some white wine vinegar or lemon juice. Simmer the soup for about 15 minutes or until beans have really absorbed the smokey flavor of the spices. Remove from heat. Use the immersion blender to, you know, blend the soup a bit. Blend to desired consistency. Top with chopped jalapeno, cilantro and a dollop of sour cream or yogurt. Sprinkle with a bit of sea salt and freshly ground pepper.