Friday, June 8, 2007

Friday Mix

  • Two of the food writers I most admire are Anthony Bourdain and Michael Ruhlman. On his blog, Ruhlman just posted a chapter from his book The Reach of A Chef that vividly describes a night at Masa, possibly the most expensive restaurant in the United States. Bourdain happens to have posted a morning-after report of that same night on eGullet. Ruhlman's account is a thoughtful rumination on the chef as artist versus the chef as craftsman. Bourdain's version is entitled "Why Life is Good--In Spite of the Fact that My Head Feels Like I've Been Skull-Fucked by a Walrus." A universe that contains both of these writers is surely, on balance, a good place.

  • It's supposed to get up to 96 degrees today. Never mind my brave protestations against single-use kitchen equipment; this weekend I'm going to buy an ice cream maker. I've got a major craving for coffee ice cream.

    When Mike and I made this stuff a few years ago, I had the idea of remembered reading in Larousse about basically making coffee using a mixture of milk and cream instead of water and using that as the flavor base. We brought 2 cups heavy cream and 1 ¾ cups milk to a near-boil and steeped 3 tbsp. coarsely ground coffee beans in it for 4 minutes. Then we strained the mixture (a French press would have helped), creamed 2 eggs with 1 ¼ cups sugar, mixed the hot coffee-infused cream and milk with that, let it cool, then dumped everything into the machine and let 'er rip. It was absolutely the best coffee ice cream ever. I want some NOW.

  • I found out this week that Rage Against the Machine are getting back together. Not a moment too soon. I've been waiting for this day since a couple of weeks after September 11, when I found myself standing in line at a coffee shop in Cape May, listening to Celine Dion's vomitous rendering of "God Bless America" on the radio, and thinking dear god, what's going to happen to my country now?


An Briosca Mor said...

Ice cream makers are not single-use kitchen appliances. You can also use them to make sorbet, as I have been doing lately with strawberries and will blog about one of these days. Therefore, you are absolved. Also, there really isn't any other way to make ice cream without using an ice cream maker, AFAIK anyway.

One of the few highlights of my enforced annual summer visits to the ancestral farm in West Va during childhood was that we always made ice cream out on the porch one evening during the visit, using an old-school hand-cranked rock salt ice cream maker. As a kid, I thought that ice cream was soooo good. They are still making it there on the farm, only now with an electric motor driven version of the rock salt freezer, and they made a real big deal of doing it when I was there last summer for my aunt's 80th birthday. But they are still using my grandmother's old recipe, which uses milk and something called junket (which I think is like rennet) to get it to thicken up. Basically, they are making ice milk, like my mother used to force me to eat when I was a chubby kid, and really it's not all that good (although I refrained from telling them that, of course.)

OTOH, I used to hate the meat we'd have to eat while we were there, which was all home-cured ham, homemade sausage and the like, because it "tasted funny". Now I'd kill for some of that, but all my aunts and uncles there are so old that they don't raise pigs or do their own butchering any more, alas.

Rob said...

Ha, yeah, my parents had one of those hand-cranked contraptions. As a kid, I was too young to know that it wasn't fun to sit around cranking the thing for an hour, so I always got that duty. We never made anything but vanilla, except for one time when we made strawberry. But man, that stuff was good.

Re meats of yesteryear, my grandmother used to serve this rich, chewy, salty country ham that I absolutely hated, though I'd dearly love to have some now. I think I hated it so much because she was really an awful cook (she committed crimes against vegetables you wouldn't believe), and I think I was just expecting that ham to be as repugnant as everything else. She didn't have pigs, but I'm sure she got that ham from people she knew who did. The woman was a gardener of superhuman ability well into her 80s, which is what being the matriarch of a Georgia farm family will get you. She seemed always to enough canned produce on hand to sink a battleship.

hsempl said...

oh man, i remember that ice cream. hear, hear. i mean, here, here. bring some here!

grandmas: you all have got me thinking about what my grandma (known as Mom) cooked (only one of mine cooked; the other half of the family, grandpapa did the cooking.) Mom made good old-fashioned southern cooking: rice crispie treats, knox blox, peach cobbler (start with one stick oleo and a can of peaches in syrup) and ice cream sundaes. Yum!

Jeanette said...

You know, if you are desperate, or silly, or both, you can make small quantities of perfectly acceptable ice cream in a ziploc bag. And, as a bonus, you get to learn about "Freezing Point Depression and Colligative Properties."