December 14, 2005

Two kids from Los Angeles: food blog: Cooking lessons for Wade

Yesterday afternoon, my friend Wade came over for a little cooking lesson. He wanted to make egg nog ice cream. I had a fleeting fantasy that we could put a rum ribbon in it. He was game, so we went for it.

Wade, bless his heart, has some food allergies, so we had some limitations. We couldn't use cow milk, butter, or cornstarch. So, how do you make a crème anglaise without milk and butter and cornstarch? well, you can use goat's milk, and you can use rice flour. Which we did. I did a quick-bang little experiment to see if I could get a custard-like consistency out of those ingredients, and it worked, so then, ever so slowly, I put Wade through the paces.

First we learned how to crack an egg. That took a few tries. :-D

Then we made the custard base, tempered it, brought it up to temperature and finished the custard.
Wade tempering the custard.  That sounds kinda dirty!
Meanwhile, I reduced a half of a cup of rum to a quarter cup. I made a gelatin base and tested the strength, and then we mixed the rum and the dissolved gelatin together and let it chill. We also cooled the ice cream mixture under running water, and finally it was cool enough to put in the fridge, after an addition of some ground nutmeg and a teeny splash of vanilla.

I tried to remember to make Wade keep tasting as we went along. One thing people may not realize is that, even though you may want an ice cream that is not going to be syrupy-sweet, it does have to be a bit sweeter before it's frozen because the sweetness will be masked by the coldness. I advised him that it could be a little sweeter, so we added a packet of Splenda (we were too lazy to invert some sugar, and we can't use corn syrup, and I didn't want to add lemon flavor, so the little yellow packet was a good compromise.)

We played with the computer and talked for a while, enjoying some vanilla tea and catching up (he's an MBA student and I'm deep in the weeds in catering for December, but it was nice to have to sit still and just relax with a friend, something neither of us get to do that often)

Then, we poured the mix in the ice cream machine, and went to chat some more. Another cup of tea. More good conversation. Hmmm. we should do this more often!

Finally, it was done. Hurray!
Wade with his finished egg nog ice cream
Sorry the photo is kinda blown out... but yes, that's really ice cream in there! Look at that face! Could he make that face without actually holding the delicious product of an entire afternoon's work in his hands? No, I think not.

I showed Wade how to layer in the ice cream with the jellied rum, but the gelatin was a little too firm. Next time, instead of using gelatin, I might try making a caramel out of brown sugar (or even demerara) and a little acid, then fortifying the flavor with some very reduced rum.

What do you say, Wade, will there be a next time?

Last thing I ate or drank: flourless chocolate cake. yeah, baby.

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