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Monday, October 29, 2012

I Scream, You Scream!

Don't we all scream for ice cream? I mean, don't we? 
So I suppose I can't speak for you, but I definitely can speak for myself. When it comes to ice cream I'm literally going to spoon-stab you if you don't fork it over. And I'm especially threatening when the goods at hand are this delicious. Seriously. Really delicious. 
My post today is not of my own creation, oh no way am I talented enough to make cider ice cream that rivals regular ice cream. I needed to call in some lovely talent by the name of Kelly Moritz (btw, we have the same initials and were both born on the 27th-it was meant to be). Kelly, a sort of ice cream aficionado, was inspired by Crispin Cider's Lansdowne for its use of Irish stout yeast and molasses. I immediately brought her some to try and she went straight to work, in what I can only imagine was some sort of mad-sciency experiment lab/kitchen movie scene, and emerged an ice cream victor. You're going to love this. 
Ladies and gentleman, may I present to you: 

Lansdowne Ice Cream with Salted Walnuts: (courtesy of Kelly Moritz) 

¾ c. Crispin Lansdowne Cider reduced from 2 c.
2 c. whole milk
4 tsp. cornstarch
1 c. heavy cream
½ c. brown sugar
¼ c. molasses
¼ tsp. salt
1 c. salted walnuts

Special Tools

Some variety of home ice cream maker – make sure your bowl is solidly frozen (about 24 hours in the freezer) before you get started
Heavy saucepan or pot
Ziploc bag with strong/double zipper
Chilled ice cream storage container, or pint containers if you can find them (and then tell me where you found them!)
1) Start by boiling down your Lansdowne in a saucepan to remove the excess water and alcohol that will keep your ice cream from freezing by bringing the heat up to medium high and watching it carefully without agitating it too much. Once the cider is hot and starting to simmer, reduce heat to medium-low and keep on the burner about 20-22 minutes until it looks about halved. Measure out your ¾ c. and let cool.

2) Make a "slurry" with ¼ c. of your whole milk and 4 tsp. cornstarch in a small bowl, set aside. Be sure to incorporate all the starch with a fork or whisk so none is sitting at the bottom of the bowl.
3) In a large saucepan, add the remaining milk, heavy cream, brown sugar, molasses, and salt. Whisk and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook for about 4 minutes until your creamy base is heated through.

4) Stir in your milk slurry, return mixture to a boil and cook, stirring, about 2 minutes or until the mixture can coat the back of a spoon. Be careful not to scorch the ice cream base (you’ll get a tell-tale burnt milk smell).
Watch your heat and keep your whisk moving! 
5) Whisk in your cooled Lansdowne!

6) Pour everything into a sturdy plastic bag with a good zipper that will not leak and submerge in an ice bath, or if you have the time, let chill in the fridge several hours at least or overnight. The ice cream base must be very cold, so don’t skimp on this step.
Not the prettiest concoction at this point, just think of what will be...
7) Once the base is very cold, I like to simply snip the corner of my Ziploc bag with some sharp scissors while my ice cream maker is already spinning, for easy pouring into the bowl. Once you take your bowl out of the freezer, be ready to pour in your mix! Have the machine plugged in on a stable surface, then freeze according to directions.
8) After about 15-20 minutes your ice cream should be nearly the consistency of soft serve – this is about as hard as it will get in the machine. At about 15 minutes pour in your roasted salted walnuts for the finishing touch and let the machine mix them for you.
9) Turn out your ice cream into a pre-chilled storage container, cover, and allow the ice cream to firm up in the freezer for several hours. Before serving, allow to soften slightly before scooping.

Enjoy your homemade Crispin Lansdowne Ice Cream and pat yourself on the back for sticking with this oh-so-slightly labor-intensive recipe! Experiment with other ciders, mix-ins, extracts – the base can be endlessly adapted to your tastes and whims!

*If you only have raw walnuts, place them in a Ziploc bag or bowl with a few drops of your choice of oil and a quarter teaspoon of salt. Shake the bag until the walnuts are coated (or combine with your hands in a bowl), then spread on a rimmed baking sheet and roast for about 5 minutes at 325 degrees.
Begging for ice cream

Lansdowne cooling off before becoming even more delicious 

I better make sure it tastes ok...yup. good. really good. 

Kelly also approved. Winner.

 Kelly you rock! This recipe was really actually pretty easy, I had the pleasure of being able to peer over her shoulder the whole time she made it. Plus, she gave us such detailed directions, even I think I could re-create it! 
So have fun with it and like Kelly said, play around, try something new and achieve new kitchen miracles everyday. And if at first you don't succeed, well you know that line...did I ever tell you about the time I tried to make fudge? Story for another day I suppose... thanks for coming by to check it out and thanks so much to Kelly for her hard work, this ice cream is delicious! 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Vincent Cider Dinner Part Deux

Hello! Oh my, it has been a loooooooong time. I bet by now you thought I had flown the coop, probably took off to Belize with a western hat and sunglasses. Or maybe that I had become a recluse and moved away to Maine to be a hermit in a cabin in the woods. I could have won a million dollars or had a freak accident where I broke all of my fingers...
It's not true though, any of it, my comings and goings have been far more lackluster than any of the above stated afterthoughts. The true story is more down the mundane path, although still exciting for me. Remember when I told you I was going to be moving when we were making paella together? It was so long ago! Well it finally happened-I am in my new home and happy as a clam. Unfortunately for me and my obsession for making all things cider related, my kitchen (and most of the house) was in a terrible state. It was only recently that I was able to get it cleaned up, with working appliances, and up and running.

So in that time I took a little hiatus, let myself shut down so I could re-boot and get back to things properly. So hooray! I'm back in action. And I'll pick up right where I left off, with the follow up to the cider dinner at Vincent- this video is really a beautiful piece, enjoy! 

So just to recap a little for you, this dinner was prepared by Executive Chef and Owner, Vincent Francoual of Vincent A Restaurant in Downtown Minneapolis. Vincent was born, raised, and classically trained in the culinary arts and pastry in France. He worked all over Europe before coming to the US and somehow we all got lucky enough that he ended up here in Minneapolis to open his own restaurant. Eating at Vincent's is always a treat and when he agreed to do a dinner paired with Crispin and Fox Barrel Ciders, I was over the moon with excitement. 
Four delicious courses were served along with a welcoming glass of the Cho-Tokkyu and a couple small bites while the guests mingled. If you have never tried the Cho-Tokkyu before you should, it really is an interesting cider and is exceptional when paired with the right foods. Chef Francoual chose to pass around a bite of compressed watermelon, salmon, and ginger; out of this world with the cider, really delicious-you see him prepping this in one of the first shots of the video. 

So moving on to the first course: 
Buckwheat Crepes with a Seafood Ragu, Red Bell Pepper, and Shellfish Broth paired with Crispin Honey Crisp Cider 
-Savory buckwheat crepes were generously filled with shrimp, mussels, red pepper  and finished with a  
 shellfish broth left me wishing I had more of it to eat. So light and delicate but very flavorful, and 
 paired with the Honey Crisp-so wonderful. The earthiness of the buckwheat really helped to play-up  
 the flavor of the yeast in the cider, a great start to a meal. 
Second Course: Pork Tenderloin "Nomandy" paired with Crispin 'The Saint' 
-This dish was totally amazing. Wonderfully succulent pork with a mixture of bacon, Granny Smith 
 apples and micro-greens on top and served alongside a puree of celery root. Just the right amount of  
 light and flavorful sauce accompanied the dish and 'The Saint' paired marvelously with it. 

Third Course: Bent River Camembert, Pont L'eveue Fromage & Tomato Cider Jam paired with 
       Crispin Brut 
 -This lovely little cheese course was great to wind down from the larger portion of the dinner. The
  natural bitterness of the cheese and acidity from the tomato jam came together in perfect harmony
  when enjoying the cider alongside it.

Fourth Course: Preserved Pears, Hazelnut Praline & Ginger Ice Cream paired with Fox Barrel 
-Oh my, I do love dessert, and this dish had my name all over it. I didn't catch exactly what he did to 
 these pears, but there were two different preparations them and they were equally as delicious. And the 
 praline was so good-with the ice cream-perfect end to my meal. 

Lovely dining room at Vincent 

Our wonderful chef giving us the rundown on his preparations-thank you Vincent! 

This dinner was such a wonderful experience. It's really such a treat for me to enjoy a meal that I didn't have to cook and especially one that's cider-centric! Thank you so much to everyone at Vincent for a fantastic evening, it was beautiful-cheers! Also a special thanks to the Bolster team for their work on the video, it's a great piece and wonderful to have a visual memory of the evening. 
If you're interested in finding cider dinners near you follow Crispin on Facebook or Twitter @CrispinCider for updates on all the happenings around your town.