Thursday, December 20, 2012

Breakfast at Imma's



A little while ago, James and I stopped at Imma's on our way back to Davis. She whipped up quite a fantastic breakfast. Who am I to say no to a breakfast that ends with cupcakes anyway? The food before the cupcakes was not to be forgotten. It was simplicity at its best; smoked salmon, scrambled eggs, cherry tomatoes, cheese, bread and lots of different kinds of salt. Every item was presented on its own, allowing them to be combined in anyway I wished. 


We had fun experimenting with the different kinds of salt. I like to think I could taste a difference, but that was probably not the case. We ended our meal with three different cupcakes. Unfortunately I do not remember all their names, but I can confidently say they were amazing. My cupcakes don't even hold a finger to these babies. The front cupcake was, I believe, some sort of vanilla liquor cupcake. The back left was banana chocolate chip, and the right, a chocolate variety.


I will be back in Marin for the holidays and am definitely going to have to stop at the Teacake Bake Shop at the Town Center in Corte Madera and try some more cupcakes. For research purposes only, of course.  I strongly recommend you stop by as well the next time you cross the golden gate bridge to visit Marin.




Friday, December 14, 2012

Chocolate Mousse with Dark Rum

Imma just gave me a nice bottle of Rum, and it has been making me think about Thailand. I had the most amazing chocolate mousse with rum on an island right outside of Bangkok. It was one of those islands that makes you forget time. The beach was a smokey white, and the water a true aquamarine. James and I spent hours just floating, absorbing all the warmth around us.


I have been craving the warm Thailand sun, but a recreation of this mousse might help fill the void instead. Or just help me recover from the brutality of my finals, which I am glad to say are almost over. See you on the other side, in about 7 hours!




Friday, December 7, 2012

Vegan Sweet Potato Casserole


This is an adaptation from a sweet potato recipe I found on Jessie Monds Food Blog. Her creation is wonderful, and quite adorable. She presents several individual baked sweet potatoes with vegan ingredients and toppings. I adapted her recipe into a casserole fit to feed over 30 people. 


Ingredients:

  • 22 yams
  • 1/8 cup cinnamon
  • 1 1/8-1/4 cup of coconut milk
  • 2 tsp  nutmeg
  • 5 apples
  • 1 1/2 cups walnuts
  • 1 1/2 cups pecans
  • 2 cups cranberries

As this was a Thanksgiving dish and we were rather unorganized and making things up as we went, I can not give you exact details.  The amounts of each ingredients are approximate. First cut the sweet potatoes into cubes and bake them until they become mushy. I do not recall exactly how they were baked, but I would start out at 400 degrees for an hour and then check every twenty minutes after. Mash the yams together in a large bowl, add the coconut milk and spices. Put the yams into several different casserole dishes (I used 3). Cut up the apples. Sprinkle the cubed apples, walnuts, pecans, and cranberries onto the yams.

Bake this dish again for roughly 20 minutes at 350 degrees or until it is completely reheated, but before the toppings begin to burn. As you can see by the picture, we were not all that successful with the whole no burning thing.

Even though everything is approximate, I wanted to record this recipe in a general sense in case we wanted to use it again next year.



Sunday, December 2, 2012

Cranberry Ice Cream with Cinnamon and Brandy

A little over a year ago, I tasted cranberry ice cream for the first time in a small little town called Hope, Alaska. It was like nothing I had ever tasted. Sweet, but tart, and oh so smooth. In honor of Thanksgiving, I wanted to recreate this wonderful treat. I paired this ice cream with ginger cookies, and I must say the combination made quite an amazing ice cream sandwich. 


Finding a good cranberry ice cream recipe that could potentially live up to my memory proved harder than I anticipated. In the end, I decided to make my own recipe. Overall, I think it went rather well. This recipe is easy to alter to your liking. You can adjust the sugar depending on how tart you would like your ice cream, and you can increase the amount of brandy added if you wish to create more of an adult taste.


Makes: 2 quarts
Time: 35 minutes plus length of ice cream maker
Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 24 oz cranberries
  • 1/4 cup sugar (to taste)
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp brandy (to taste)

FOR THE CUSTARD:
Heat 2 cups of whole milk, 1/2 cup of cream and 2 tsp cinnamon. Heat slowly and do not let the milk boil. While this mixture is heating cream together, in a large bowl, the egg yolks, 1/3 cup of sugar and 1 cup of cream. Slowly pour the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture, stirring. Transfer the combined mixture into a pot and begin to heat the custard.
Heating the custard is of upmost importance. You want to heat the custard as much as possible without cooking the eggs. Stir constantly in a figure eight motion with a wooden spoon. You will be able to feel the custard thicken against the spoon. It is done when the custard coats the back of the spoon and when you run a finger along the surface you can see the trail left behind. This should take roughly 10 minutes over medium heat. Although it sometimes takes longer if the heat is irregular. Once the custard is finished, pour through a fine mesh filter and it into a chilled bowl. Don’t forget to filter out any cooked egg within the mixture or your ice cream will taste very eggy! I usually pour the custard into a medium bowl which sits in an ice bath within a larger bowl. It is important to cool the custard immediately to stop the eggs cooking.

FOR THE CRANBERRY SAUCE:
Fresh or frozen cranberries can be used, but fresh cranberries will enhance the flavor and aroma of the ice cream. Combine the cranberries and sugar in a medium pot over medium to high heat. Every 5 minutes add about an 1/8 of a cup of brandy. Stir and squish the cranberries until all the cranberries have burst. Pour the cranberry mixture into a food processor or blender and turn the mixture to liquid.
Stir the cranberry sauce into the custard in the ice bath. Once the two mixtures are combined you can transfer it to an ice cream maker.

MAKING/FREEZING THE ICE CREAM:
There are a variety of methods to turn your cranberry custard into ice cream. I used a 2 quart Cuisinart ice cream maker which will turn the ice cream into custard within a half an hour. Follow the directions on your individual ice cream maker. This recipe yields 2 quarts of the final ice cream product, thus you want to make sure your ice cream maker can hold the final quantity, not just the custard. The custard expands as it freezes.
Place your ice cream in the freezer for several hours, if you wish to harden it. The immediate ice cream will be soft serve.

NOTE:
Prep time is roughly 40 minutes and includes everything prior to placing your custard mixture into the ice cream maker. Cook time will depend on your method of turning the custard into ice cream. Follow the directions for your personal ice cream making method.
The final 2 quarts of ice cream creates 8 1 cup servings or 16 1/2 cup servings.
This is an original Blueberry Octopie recipe.



Enjoy your ice cream with family and friends for the holidays.
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