Monday, March 30, 2015

Mint Ice Cream Sandwich Featuring The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen Bake Shop Signature Chocolate Chip Cookies

Mint Ice Cream Sandwich Featuring The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen Bake Shop Signature Chocolate Chip Cookies




A couple of months ago, Mrs. Stuntman came home from the supermarket with some ice cream sandwiches. At first, I couldn't understand the purchase. Why eat frozen food in the dead of winter? I might have even mocked her, suggesting that she could even store them outside overnight as it was colder there than in the freezer. Alas, a couple of nights later, I found myself reaching for one as I was watching television. As I was eating it, I was reminded of my favorite ice cream sandwich, It's-It. For the uninitiated, it's ice cream sandwiched between two oatmeal cookies, then dipped in chocolate. As I was eating the dessert, I thought to myself, I could do this better. Taking inspiration from the It's-It, I really liked the idea of using cookies in the dish instead of a chocolate wafer found in many store bought varieties which made me think of my friend Susan of The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen.

You might remember Susan from last summer when she prepared a Peach Slab Pie for my Adding Some Class with... series. If you'll remember, I noted at the time that she had successfully funded a Kickstarter campaign to open a bake shop. Well, I'm happy to announce (if you were unaware previously) that the bake shop is now open for business! The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen Bake Shop features Susan's Signature Chocolate Chip Cookies, Triple Choc-o-lot Cookies, Peanut Butter Cookies, Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich Cookies, in addition to a Cookie Sampler Package that contains 4 each: Original Chocolate Chip, Triple Choc-olot Cookies and Peanut Butter Cookies plus a Cookie of the Month Club where she highlights cookies with seasonal flavors. Each order arrives in a beautiful gift box that contains cellophane pouches with two cookies in each pouch (or single-packed in the case of her Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich Cookies).


After making my own purchase of Susan's cookies, I can highly recommend you do the same. In my case, I used Susan's Signature Chocolate Chip Cookies in this dish. If you have been reading this website for any length of time, you know I'm not a fan of taking short cuts, so you might be asking yourself why are you taking a short cut here? I would reply with is this a short cut? Had I baked my own, I would have used the same quality of ingredients Susan uses and prepared them with the same care which is a huge contrast to the mechanically prepared confections found at the supermarket. The mint flavored ice cream was made to appease my daughter because it's one of her favorite flavors in addition to it's visual appeal.

The Challenge

Successfully complement cookies from The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen Bake Shop.

The Source

I adapted David Lebovitz's Mint Chip Ice Cream recipe.

Ingredients

1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream
1 pinch salt
2 cups packed fresh mint leaves
5 large egg yolks
1 to 2 drops green food coloring (optional)
1 dozen The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen Signature Chocolate Chip Cookies

Method

1. Combine the milk, sugar, remaining heavy cream, salt and mint leaves in a small saucepan and scald over medium-low heat. Once hot, shut off the heat, cover and let the mixture sit for 60 minutes to allow the mint leaves to steep and let the flavors infuse. After the hour has elapsed, strain out the mint leaves, and discard but not before pressing down on them against the strainer with a spatula to extract as much flavor as they can muster.


2. Whisk the egg yolks in a medium bowl and set aside. Rewarm the mint-infused milk, then slowly whisk in a small portion into the bowl with the egg yolks to warm the yolks. Combine the warmed yolks back into the infused milk and cook over medium-low to medium heat until the mixture reaches 170º Fahrenheit, stirring constantly until it thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Strain the infused milk and eggs into a bowl with the remaining 1 cup heavy cream and green food coloring (if using), then let it cool. Cover, then refrigerate overnight. Churn it in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.



3. To serve, place one cookie on a plate, flat side up then top with a scoop of ice cream, then a second cookie, pressing down on the second cookie so the ice cream fills it's circumference.

Successful?

The mint flavor was a little strong but it still complemented the cookies well. Once again, I highly recommend you to patronize Susan's bake shop, but if you're unable to do so, please 'Like' her facebook page, add her on G+, follow her on twitter, Instagram and pinterest.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Roasted Lamb Chops, Fontina Cheese Polenta with Asparagus and Mushrooms for a Spring Fling #SundaySupper

Roasted Lamb Chops, Fontina Cheese Polenta with Asparagus and Mushrooms for a Spring Fling #SundaySupper




This week, the team at #SundaySupper has decided to celebrate the change of seasons with a theme of Spring Fling. For some strange reason, I associate lamb with spring. Maybe because it's a popular entrée on Easter Sunday? Lamb isn't the only thing that comes to mind when I think of spring, however. Possibilities are almost endless with things like artichokes, ramps, carrots, strawberries and fennel at their peak. I only wish this theme was a little later in the season because many items don't come into season until April or May.

It's no secret that I rely on my copy of The Flavor Bible and this is no different. When I looked at lamb, it suggested it paired well with asparagus, polenta and morel mushrooms, which are all in season at this time of year. The only place I found locally that had morels was Whole Foods but they wanted $50 per pound, so I used a cheaper alternative.

The Challenge

Create a composed dish using seasonal ingredients.

The Source

I paired a rack of lamb recipe from Simply Recipes with an adaptation of a polenta and mushroom dish from Fine Cooking influenced by a side dish from Taste of Home.

Ingredients

2 racks of lamb, 1 to 2 pounds each, Frenched
1/4 cup chopped fresh rosemary, divided
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme, divided
4 to 5 cloves minced garlic, divided
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
2 cups whole milk
1 cup corn meal
1 pound fresh asparagus, tough ends trimmed, then cut into 1 to 2 inch lengths
1 8-ounce package sliced cremini mushrooms
1 1/2 cups Fontina cheese

Method

1. Marinate the lamb. Combine half of the rosemary, thyme, garlic, 2 tablespoons olive oil and the racks of lamb in a resealable plastic bag. Season with salt and pepper. Ensure the marinade covers all sides of the lamb and refrigerate overnight. Let the lamb come to room temperature before roasting.

2. Prepare the polenta: In a large saucepan, bring the milk and chicken stock to a boil, then season with salt. Whisk in the corn meal slowly so it doesn't clump. Once it has been added, reduce the heat to medium low and stir occasionally until all the liquid has been absorbed, approximately 30 minutes.


3. Roast the lamb. While the polenta cooks, preheat the oven to 450° Fahrenheit. Remove the lamb from the marinade and discard the marinade. Reseason the lamb with salt and pepper, then place on a foil-lined sheet pan with the fat side up. Roast the lamb, first by searing it at 450 for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 300° Fahrenheit for 10 to 20 minutes until the desired doneness has reached. Cook to 135° Fahrenheit for medium rare. Tent with foil and set aside for 15 minutes to allow for carryover cooking while you finish the dish.


4. Sauté the vegetables and finish the dish. While the lamb roasts, add the remaining olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Once the oil starts to smoke, add the asparagus and cook until it softens, approximately. Add the mushrooms, then the other half of the rosemary, thyme and garlic and season with salt and pepper and cook until the vegetables are cooked through. Stir the Fontina into the polenta and adjust the seasoning if necessary, then cut the lamb into individual chops. To plate, spoon some polenta on a plate, top with the asparagus and mushrooms and then three to four chops. Serve immediately.


Successful?

There are a couple of execution items to discuss but first I want to thank Valerie of Lifestyle Food Artistry for co-hosting this week's event with me. It has been a pleasure to work with her.

For the polenta, I substituted chicken stock and milk for water that the original recipe uses because I felt there was an opportunity to layer flavor that wouldn't otherwise be there with water. In addition, I felt the sear on the lamb was insufficient and recommend to pan sear the rack of lamb first before finishing it in the oven similar to the dish I prepared 2 years ago. Despite these flaws, it still was a well balanced dish from a flavor profile standpoint.

Other #SundaySupper dishes this week:

Beverages
Appetizers
Sides
Entreés
Desserts

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Preview of a Spring Fling #SundaySupper

Flowers Have Started to Bloom in Western Washington. It Must be Spring!

The spring equinox will occur this upcoming Friday. When I was a California resident, it would not be a remarkable event but I have gained a new appreciation for the four seasons since I am coming out of my first winter here in the Pacific Northwest. (However, parents of my daughter's classmates tell me that the last three months have been unusually warm and I haven't been properly baptized yet.)

Spring to me means that things are defrosting from the cold winter, a good, deep clean is on order for the abode and I need to file my tax return soon. From ramps to morels, spring also means that a number of fruits and vegetables will come into season, so the team at #SundaySupper Movement has decided to mark the occasion by featuring seasonal dishes in it's Spring Fling event which will occur this upcoming Sunday, March 22nd. I have the pleasure of co-hosting it with Valerie of Lifestyle Food Artistry. One of our responsibilities is to introduce the bloggers and their respective dishes we anticipate for the event, so I offer the following preview and look forward to seeing you Sunday.

Beverages
Appetizers
Sides
Entreés
Desserts

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.