Sunday, March 25, 2012

Milka Ice Cream

Ice cream might be one of my favorite foods. No. I think it is my favorite food. Unless you count popcorn. Popcorn might win out. Especially if it's the super buttery and salty stuff my husband makes. Yep. That just might win an ice cream vs. popcorn battle.

A few weeks ago we were making homemade chocolate ice cream for a dinner party we were throwing. A really rich chocolate ice cream and I followed David Liebovitz's recipe to an absolute T. I'm not sure if it was a the recipe, my technique, my recent watching of a Good Eats ice cream episode, or if some magical ice cream elves took over my kitchen, but it was the most amazing ice cream ever. I felt like I was eating frozen mousse. I mourned the day when it ran out.  So I decided to make up another batch. But this time, I looked at my stash of Milka bars and decided to use those instead of Ghiradelli baking chocolate like I did last time. Milka bars are delicious, so Milka bar ice cream would be equally delicious, right? Yep, it is.

Milka Alpenmilch Ice Cream
Adapted from a David Liebovitz recipe

2 cups cream, divided
3 TBSP cocoa powder
1 1/2 Milka chocolate bars (about 5 oz)
5 egg yolks
1 cup milk
3/4 cup sugar
pinch salt
1/2 tsp vanilla

First, chop up about 1 1/2 Milka chocolate bars into relatively small bits. Set aside.

Then, separate 5 eggs and whisk the yolks together. You don't need the whites so you can discard them or save for later use (we make egg white omlets with them).

Get out the remaining ingredients and have them on the counter ready for your use. I find it's helpful to have them pre-measured, but that's really your call.

In a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup of cream with the cocoa. Whisk together, and cook until it starts to boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 30-60 seconds, whisking constantly. Remove from heat and add the chopped up chocolate. Whisk until combined and the chocolate is melted. Add the remaining cream and whisk. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, making sure to get as much out of the saucepan as you can. Have a mesh strainer at the ready.

In that same saucepan, combine the milk, sugar, and salt. Warm over medium-ish heat. Once it's warm, add just a bit of the warm milk mixture to the egg yolks and whisk together to temper the eggs (this sort of cooks them, so you don't get a scrambled egg consistency later). Add the tempered egg mixture back into the sauce pan and cook over medium high heat until it gets to a nappe consistency (this means that it will coat the back of a spoon and if you scrape your finger across the back of the spoon, the liquid won't run down into the newly-scraped part). Make sure you're stirring fairly constantly, and scraping the side and bottom of the pan.

Once the eggs reach the nappe consistency, pour the mixture through the mesh strainer into the chocolate mixture. Whisk together until combined and smooth. Add the vanilla and combine.

Get out a larger bowl and put ice on the bottom of it to create an ice bath for your custard. Put the bowl of the chocolate stuff in the ice bath and whisk.

Keep whisking. You want to cool this down as much as you can. You don't need to whisk constantly, but whisk it at least once every 10 minutes, for about 30-45 minutes. Once the mixture is about room temperature, transfer it to an air-tight container and store in the refrigerator until you're ready to freeze it.

Once you're ready to freeze it, follow the instructions on your ice cream maker.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Chicken & Herb White Pizza

As I mentioned in my last post, we're not the fastest at things like decorating our house. In August or September, about a month or so after we moved in, I went to Ikea and bought a few decorations, including a little shelf I thought would look good in the kitchen. Since that day, they sat in the spare room with all the other decorations we hadn't put up yet. Every time I went into the room, I would think about putting up the kitchen decorations I'd bought those months back. But I never did anything. Not even bug my husband to get out the power tools.

Then, last weekend, we were at Target browsed through the home decor section, and found a few wall-hangings that we decided would look cute in the kitchen with the previously-purchased shelf, and on Friday night, we hung them up. My kitchen now looks like a real, proper kitchen, and I love it so much.

It's now the perfect setting to cook things like this yummy pizza from Cooking Light - and I didn't even change a thing in the recipe.

Chicken & Herb White Pizza
Cooking Light, October 2011

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Chicken in Shiraz Sauce

We moved into our house about 7 months ago. One of the things we really liked about it when we bought it was that there wasn't really anything we absolutely hated - appliances were nice, flooring was great, and we didn't hate any of the colors the walls were painted. 

Then, about 2 months ago, my husband mentioned that he wanted to paint out downstairs bathroom. Even though the yellow color it was previously didn't bother me much, once he mentioned he wanted to paint it, getting rid of the yellow color was all I could think about. I'd walk into the room and all I wanted to do was get rid of the yellow. All I could see was the yellow, and I almost instantly grew to hate it.

So, we spent about a month talking about painting it and discussing what color we may want to paint it (we're somewhat indecisive), and then finally painted it. The yellow is gone and it's now a nice blue/grey color. Next up will be the bedroom that's painted the same yellow color the bathroom was. 

After spending most of the afternoon painting, we wanted to sit down to something hearty for dinner, and this totally fit the bill.

I followed this recipe exactly, except I used Shiraz instead of Pinot Noir and chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts.

Roasted Chicken in Pinot Noir Sauce
Cooking Light, October 2010