Monday, September 24, 2012

Sriracha Ice Cream

For the past year or so, I have had the idea of savory or savory-inspired ice cream churning in the back of my mind. Pun Intended. Although I don't think I'll go as far as "clam raisin," mentioned in David Lebovitz's The Perfect Scoop, I do have a list of flavors building up:
  • Curry, perhaps mixed with rice like a rice pudding ice cream
  • Guacamole
  • Avocado-Bacon
  • Corn/Corn-Bacon
  • Pepper
  • Goat Cheese (perhaps with honey)
  • Pho sorbet
  • Lemongrass
  • Tomato-Basil soup
  • Butternut squash
  • Sriracha
As you can probably tell from the title of this post, I started with the bottom of the list. This sriracha ice cream is more "savory-inspired" than actually savory; it contains sugar and vanilla.

The ice cream is sweet, hot, and salty. The first bite is very weird, but I found that I liked it more as I continued to eat it. The spiciness doesn't build up until the third or fourth spoonful, and it never gets unbearable because of the sugar and cream. This flavor is definitely worth trying if your are a Sriracha fan.

When I brought this to the dorm lounge, I got mixed reactions. My roommates actually liked it, but one of my friends literally spat out the ice cream, drank some soda, spat that out too, and then had a cookie to make sure all traces of the ice cream were gone. It was quite a show. I recommend offering this ice cream to people under the name "Mango Ice cream" and taking pictures of their faces as they dig in enthusiastically.

You may be wondering, how does one make this strange ice cream? Since I don't have a kitchen this year, I opted for a "philadelphia-style" cream. That means that instead of making a custard by cooking egg yolks in milk, I just added some flavor to cream and froze it. I went off of the recipe I found here.

Sriracha Ice Cream

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup milk (fat percentage is not very important)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2tbsp to 1/4 cup sriracha (rooster sauce), to taste
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  1. Make sure the frozen part of your ice cream maker is frozen.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the sugar, sriracha, and vanilla. 
  3. It looks like blood-spattered snow...
  4. Stir well.

  5. Add the cream and milk, stir until the sugar is dissolved

  6. Add more hot sauce or sugar to taste.
  7. Put in the ice cream machine and churn for 20 minutes.
  8. Transfer soft serve ice cream to a container and freeze for at least 3 hours.
The freshly churned cream is much lighter in color than the frozen ice cream (top)
The churned ice cream will have a strange sticky texture, but it will feel fine when eaten. Enjoy! (Or psych out your friends.)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A study on Ginger and Saffron

My family recently went to the "molecular" restaurant Beaumé, and one dish there that particularly interested me was the turbot with turmeric cream, chanterelles, and pickled kohlrabi. Beaumé cooked the turbot "sous-vide" and placed it in the bright yellow sauce. The pickled kohlrabi added a nice bright touch to the soft dish.
Beaumé's turbot
Inspired by this dish and by the saffron my family received as a gift, I decided to make a variation on this recipe. I was curious about the combination of ginger and saffron, so I put together a menu using both spices.

The Menu:
  • Cod poached in ginger, kefir lime leaves, and lemongrass
  • Colorful vegetables in dashi and ginger broth
  • Saffron rice pilaf
  • Saffron and Ginger bechamel

The cod and vegetables turned out well. For the vegetables, I found a bundle of heirloom carrots (purple, red, and yellow) to which I added leeks and celery. I boiled some water with dashi granules, ginger, lemon grass, and kefir limes leaves to make a flavored broth for both the vegetables and fish, and I added more ginger to the vegetables as they cooked. 

The carrots

The vegetables
The rice did not go as smoothly. I bloomed the saffron in boiling water to try to get the flavor and color out of it, but the rice did not end up becoming yellow. My mother says that I should have have ground up the saffron with a mortar before blooming it. Well, now I know! And even though the rice was not yellow, it still tasted of saffron.
To make the pilaf, I sautéed some leeks in a tbsp of butter, then added the riced and sautéed it for a couple minutes as well. I made a broth of saffron juice (saffron + boiling water + kefir lime leaf + time) and a cube of vegetable bouillon. Per traditional pilaf method, I added enough broth to cover the rice, brought it to a simmer, and then stirred/added more broth as needed until the rice cooked through.

The Bechamel was tricky. I heated some milk with saffron and ginger to get flavor. In a saucepan I cooked 1 tbsp flour in 1 tbsp melted butter for a couple minutes and then added the milk a little bit at a time, stirring well after each addition, until the sauce was the desired thickness. Because I don't have much experience, my sauce ended up a bit curdled, so I strained it to remove the bits. Like for the rice, the sauce was not yellow because I had not ground the saffron before infusing the milk.

To replace the kohlrabi, I made some pickled ginger (this recipe, it was a bit too salty)

And here is the final plate.