Olive Oil Ice Cream

Olive Oil Ice Cream // Sweetsonian

Of the many things I fell in love with while in Greece, olive oil might be the most memorable. Every restaurant and cafe table had a bottle of it. It was probably locally sourced, as the mainland was absolutely covered in olive trees.

To be honest, I didn’t ask many questions in Greece. If someone recommended a beach, we went there. If they gave me cookies, I ate them. If there was a bottle of olive oil and nothing to eat it with, I drizzled it onto a plate and dipped my fingers in it… and if there wasn’t a plate, I resisted the temptation to pour it directly onto my tongue.

Needless to say, I was absolutely shocked when I got back to D.C. and discovered that my weight hadn’t changed at all — oh, the agony that led up to the calculated and anxiety-filled two seconds of fluctuating numbers — probably because my entire diet in Greece consisted of beer, cocktails, and Greek salads. At some meals, Silje and I would split moussaka or some other local dish.

But for the most part, it was all salads and all yogurt, all the time.

Olive Oil Ice Cream // Sweetsonian

Olive Oil Ice Cream // Sweetsonian

Olive Oil Ice Cream // Sweetsonian

I didn’t bring the iPad with me on vacation. Thankfully, because I was able to at least limit my over-connected tendencies. Why give myself more than two mediums to read work emails on, right? The only downside of leaving the iPad at home was that I didn’t have my normal magazines, which I only really read on the iPad.

Side note, if you have an iPad and you don’t subscribe to the Bon Appetit or Martha Stewart Living iPad apps… please change that immediately. Especially if you’re a sucker for impeccable design and super interactive buttons. I’m amazed by absolutely every issue.

ANYWAY… when I got home, I came across this recipe for olive oil flavored ice cream in Bon Appetit. As Shaeda would say: cosign.

Olive Oil Ice Cream // Sweetsonian

Olive Oil Ice Cream // Sweetsonian

Olive Oil Ice Cream // Sweetsonian

Olive Oil Ice Cream, from Bon Appetit

1 3/4 cups whole milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 cup, plus 2 Tbsp. sugar
4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (the stronger and more olive-r, the better)

Preface: I did bring back a ton of olive oil from Greece, but many of them were gifts. The bottle I brought for myself was strong, but not as strong as a bottle that was gifted to me — and it was purchased at a French market in D.C. that only happens once a year.

I did learn a LOT about olive oil last night from my new roommate, Emily, who walked our dinner guests through the ins and outs of olive oil pressing and the flavors to look for. If you can find a bottle of domestic first-press olive oil, that would be absolutely ideal for this recipe — when tasted by itself, you’ll feel a slight burn in your throat. That’s how you’ll know it’s top quality.

First, heat the milk, cream, salt, and 1/2 cup of sugar in a saucepan — bring to a simmer, and stir with a whisk to dissolve the sugar. Once the cream starts simmering, remove from heat.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks and 2 Tbsp. sugar vigorously, until they look a pale yellow — about 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in a 1/2 cup of the hot milk mixture into the bowl of yolks. Gradually combine the yolks into the saucepan, and cook and stir over medium heat until it’s thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon (2-3 minutes.

Strain the custard through a fine mesh sieve, and let chill completely — my favorite method is to prepare an ice bath in a mixing bowl (salt water + ice) and then pour the custard into a Ziploc bag, which I douse in the ice bath. Your custard will be chilled in a matter of 10 minutes.

Once cooled, whisk in your olive oil. Pour into your ice cream maker, and prepare according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Bacon… jam?

Types of jams in my life:

  • Traffic jams. Street or shopping-related.
  • Copier jams. Bane of my professional existence.
  • Jammin’. A cookie rager without Ke$ha or Cee Lo?  Blasphemous.
  • Jammed. As in my schedule. I don’t have time for anything these days…

And now, bacon jam. To tell the truth, I actually don’t even like bacon. Well, I only really enjoy bacon over French toast, doused in maple syrup… which I haven’t eaten in years. Years! But even then, I’d order turkey sausage over bacon any day. Hmm… just thinking about this makes me want to cook a French toast breakfast — a real one, where you soak thick slices of homemade brioche overnight in eggs and vanilla, and then, rather than ruin it with fake maple syrup, top it with confectioner’s sugar, cinnamon, and strawberries. Gah! I’ve gotten so off-track. And I’m revealing potential blog posts. Where’s the fun in that? Back to bacon.

The idea came from gchat (where all good ideas begin). My snickerdoodle recipe source, who has since moved back to California – so lame, I know – suggested doing our own cookie exchange. He and I also happen to be members of a bacon list-serve, started by another college friend. [Side note: to this day, I can’t remember how I became swallowed by the bacon- thread, but it’s entertaining, ridiculous, and a great way to keep in touch with those friends, so the carnivorous anti-kosher thread continues to feed the black hole also known as my inbox.]  Interestingly enough, Martha highlighted bacon recipes in one of her magazines last month. The only one that looked remotely appealing to me happened to be the one about bacon jam, probably because it involved maple syrup. As you can imagine, the combination of these three things – gchat cookie exchange conversation, bacon list-serve, and Martha’s recipe – fell perfectly into place.

But really, few things are more disgusting to me than frying bacon. The smell, sight, and texture of it trigger gag reflexes. Seriously. Just editing the pre-jam bacon photos made me feel sick to my stomach. I was also about one-hundred percent positive that I would be disgusted by the jam, and that I’d happily jar it and send it across the country. And then leave all the windows and doors open to air out the house as soon as scientifically possible.

I apologize to bacon-lovers out there for the bacon-bashing. But it’s how I truly feel; I don’t choose to be this way. I’m sure you feel the same about something that I may very well love (possibly goose liver pate or something from the spectrum of Filipino food).

Anyway, as shocked as I was, the jam turned out to be quite delicious. As in, I had to scrape up every last bit of self control to keep myself from going to town on the jam with a spoon.

Patrick, you are so welcome.

WHAT YOU NEED (adapted from Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food):

2 lbs. lean bacon

1 medium-sized yellow onion, diced

2 to 3 cloves of peeled garlic, quartered
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¼ cup white vinegar

2/3 cup packed brown sugar

1/3 cup maple syrup

1 cup brewed coffee

1 teaspoon cinnamon

WHAT TO DO:

Martha called for a slow cooker. I don’t have one of those, so I improvised. I also didn’t have cider vinegar, which I’m sure would have been great, but I improvised and changed quantities, and added some cinnamon.

First, slice the bacon into one-inch strips. Yes, all of the raw bacon. Usually, I’m slightly perturbed by the texture of raw meat. I might just be scarred from man-handling raw chicken livers. But the bacon was harmless, and somewhat satisfying. Bacon fat is not nearly as gooey as other types of meat – perhaps because of the curing process.

Anyway, slice up the bacon, and fry it in a large skillet until browned. Remove from heat, and let the bacon pieces cool down on a few paper towels. There’s no need for unnecessary grease when you’re going to be simmering bacon in a vat of syrup.

In a medium-sized saucepan, take 2 tablespoons of the bacon grease, and combine with the diced onions and the garlic. Sauté until the onions are translucent. Then, combine the vinegar, sugar, syrup, coffee, and cinnamon. Heat on high until the sugar dissolves, and the solution boils. Add the bacon pieces into the pot. Stir, cover, and simmer on very low heat for 3 to four hours, until the mixture is syrupy. Then, remove from heat, let cool, and pulse grind in a food processor. Taste, then jar, then ship to California.

Candied Lemon Florentines

Let’s be honest.  I’m not Julia Child.  I’m a baker, maybe on the borderline of pastry chef.  I could be more of a Martha.  But she’s no Julia Child.  Which is perhaps why her recipe for chicken liver pate was an absolute disaster.  I’m not talking about a kitchen explosion, a hot mess, or some catastrophic mishap — the pate was just bland.  Not good.  Meh.

Perhaps I remember pate tasting much better than it actually did.  But then again, this was more than two years ago, when a Frenchman brought pate to my Westwood apartment for a graduation celebration.  I do trust the French when it comes to food.  After all, that same Frenchman lit crepes doused in rum on fire in my kitchen.  Perhaps that pate was duck and not chicken, or perhaps it had a different array of spices.  But lesson learned: I will never use this recipe again.  It was… gross.  And the worst part of all had nothing to do with the taste of it, or the fact that I’ll never get that hour of my life back.  It was that, after all the effort, it didn’t even look pretty.  It’s actually very ugly, and I am still very bitter that I man-handled bloody chicken livers for ten minutes in complete vain.  I guess that’s one of the reasons why I love baking so much; even if it tastes like dirt, you can find some way to make it look pretty.  And it usually tastes pretty good.  I’m a huge fan of icing, which can make almost anything taste like heaven.  Or chocolate.  It’s pretty much heaven by itself.

This past weekend, my house threw our annual cookie “rager.”  It’s our twenty-something yuppie version of a traditional cookie exchange, which involves massive amounts of cookies, sangria, and dancing.  More than forty people were crammed into our little townhouse like dancing sardines.  There was even couch dancing for the sake of space.  It actually reminded me of one of my favorite movie scenes — the party scene in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.  Anyway, it was satisfying to see many of the people that I can hardly keep in touch with between classes and running — and, I recruited a few new running buddies.  It was only appropriate to talk up fitness at a cookie rager as everyone plowed through pounds of cookies and booze.

These were my cookies — candied lemon florentines.  My office benefitted from the leftovers this morning.  It took all of twenty minutes for them to disappear from the coffee room.

 

 

WHAT YOU NEED:

1/2 cup unsalted butter
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup whipping or heavy cream
4 tablespoons sifted cake flour
1 cup finely chopped candied citrus peel
1 cup ground almond flour
1 cup sliced almonds

WHAT TO DO:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large saucepan, melt the butter.

Slowly stir in the sugar and the heavy cream over high heat, until the mixture boils.

Then, remove from heat and stir in the flour, citrus peel, almond flour, and almonds. Mix well.

Prepare a cookie sheet with parchment paper, and drop batter in round, 1-tablespoon measurements, leaving a few inches between each one. If you have silicone cupcake or florentine molds, that would work even better than the parchment paper — I’m just too poor to buy those right now! So parchment paper will have to do.

Place the cookies in the oven, and let them bake for 10-15 minutes. The time really depends on how crispy you would like your florentines. I, personally, prefer them light and on the chewy side. But the longer you leave them in, the crunchier and darker they will be.

The batter spreads into a delicate lace pattern, which can be lethal when painted in chocolate (and perhaps formed into sandwiches with multiple cookies and a ridiculous mess).

When removing the florentines from the oven, be sure to let the cookies sit for at least 15 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack, eat, and repeat.

 

Salted Caramels

I ate chicken feet today.  Well, chicken foot.  I only had one — but I would eat them (it) again.  I was at dim sum; the food kept coming, and I really just couldn’t eat that much.
I hate to admit that I was one of those little kids that hated vegetables.  My parents still made me eat them, and I hated every minute of it.  I was never one to throw fits; just a child who understood the difference between happiness and discomfort.  It took a while, but I guess we all grow up at some point.  And I eat vegetables almost every day. Love them.  So, years later, I find myself all grown up, without any food fears.
Is that too bold of a statement? Should I be doubtful when I say something like that?  I’ll try most things at least once.  And I’d eat chicken feet again — I’m just not too thrilled by the act of spitting bones out while sitting at a table filled with people.
On a more appealing note, I made salted caramels this weekend.  I’m slightly obsessed with the combination of sweet and salty (or just salty).  I made a salted chocolate cake for a friend’s birthday this summer, which was demolished at a party; today I thought I’d just stick to the candy itself.  Needless to say, I can’t stop eating them (and about twenty of them disappeared from my counter on Saturday night). They are coming to work with me.  I can’t have these in my house when I’m supposed to be training for a half marathon. 

The recipe was derived from David Lebovitz.