Thursday, November 30, 2017

Rosie Makes The BEST Ice Cream. Butter Pecan Caramel.

 Rosie loves her ice cream.
It was a Sunday afternoon.
I wanted ice cream
I was lazy.
I didn't want to go to Food Lion.
I wanted MY ice cream.
I wanted butter pecan.
So I made it.

Ice cream is simple.
You start out with a basic custard
and you go from there with whatever flavors you want.
And like I said,
I wanted butter pecan.
So come along with Rosie
as she makes up a butter pecan ice cream.
Rosie's Butter Pecan Ice Cream
2 ½ cups heavy cream
¾ cup skim milk
¾ cup sugar
⅓ cup light brown sugar
1 TB vanilla 
3 egg yolks

1 cup heavy cream

2 TB unsalted butter
1 cup pecans
1TB light brown sugar

Combine cream, milk, sugars, and vanilla in sauce pan.
Heat until simmering, stirring.
In a medium bowl, whisk eggs.
Slowly pour about a cup of hot mixture into yolks,
whisking constantly.
Pour yolk mixture back into sauce pan
and cook over low to medium heat until mixture thickens.
Let mixture cool.

If you're like me,
you can't wait for the mixture to cool.
So I poured a semi-warm custard mixture
 into my ice cream maker
and started it up.
After a few minutes,
I poured in the rest of the heavy cream (1 cup).

While the machine was turning and churning,
I buttered my pecans.
Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat
and add the pecans and brown sugar.
Cook, stirring, until sugar melts 
and pecans are nice and toasty.
Let cool a bit and add to ice cream 
near the end of processing.

Mr. Hawthorne says this is the best butter pecan ice cream
he's ever had.

But then I made it even better.
I made CARAMEL Butter Pecan Ice Cream.
Caramel Butter Pecan Ice Cream
1 cup whipping cream
7 oz. skim milk
2 oz. whipping cream
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 TB vanilla

3 yolks

1 cup whipping cream
1 cup skim milk

Make the custard:
Heat cream, milk, sugars, and vanilla
over medium heat until boil.
Whisk yolks,
then slowly pour 1-2 cups of hot milk mixture
into yolks, whisking constantly.
Pour egg mixture back into sauce pan
and cook over low heat until mixture thickens.
Remove from heat and chill.

Buttered Pecans
1 cup pecans
4 TB unsalted butter
1/4 cup brown sugar

Mix all together in medium skillet
and sauté until sugar is melted
and pecans are toasty.
Let cool.

 1/2 cup brown sugar
4 TB unsalted butter
2 TB heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla
pinch kosher salt

In small sauce pan over medium low heat,
combine brown sugar, butter, and cream.
Heat, stirring, until sugar is melted
and mixture starts to thicken.
Stir in vanilla.
Add a pinch of salt.
Let cool a bit.

Start processing the custard mixture.
Stir in an extra cup of whipping cream
and a cup of skim milk.
Continue processing,
scraping the frozen mixture down from
the sides and paddle as needed.
When the ice cream is almost done,
stir in the pecans and continue processing.
At the very end, drizzle in the caramel mixture.
You don't want to totally combine the caramel.
You want pockets of caramel.

Spoon into containers and freeze.

To serve,
you might just want to try adding a plop
of Caramel Butter Pecan Ice Cream
alongside Pecan Caramel Bundt Cake.
This is a life-changing experience.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Rosie Makes A Pecan Caramel Bundt Cake

Sometimes I just get in the mood to bake something.
And I'm always glad that happens.
Because look at what I baked!
It's a caramel pecan bundt cake with a texture like pound cake.
The cake by itself is a winner, but what with the pecans and the CARAMEL,
it's just on another level altogether.

Pecan Caramel Bundt Cake 

For the cake:
1 cup chopped pecans
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup buttermillk
3/4 cup light corn syrup
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 TB vanilla

Heat oven to 325°. 
Generously butter a bundt pan and press pecans in the sides and bottom.
Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt.
Combine buttermilk and corn syrup.
With an electric mixer at medium speed, beat butter until light and fluffy, then gradually beat in sugar.  Beat in eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Mix in vanilla.
At low speed, mix in flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with two additions of the buttermilk mixture, until just combined.
Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake for 55-60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out with a few moist crumbs.
Let cake rest for 10 minutes, then invert onto wire rack.

Caramel Glaze
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 TB heavy cream
pinch kosher salt
Combine ingredients in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil, stirring frequently.  Remove from heat; let cool a bit.  Drizzle glaze over warm cake.

Action shot!

Smooth batter.

Ta da!!!
What a pretty cake!

Caramel glaze!

Love that texture!

Now that's a cake!

Friday, November 24, 2017

Rosie Makes Sweet Potato Orange Cups.

Got leftovers???
Rosie doesn't do "leftovers."
Rosie does "moreovers."

You take something that was perfectly fine to begin with.  You just didn't eat all of eat.
And you change it into something ... more.

Here ya go:

I had sweet potatoes.
I had oranges.
Mmmmm ...
The hamster runs.
The wheel turns.
The light bulb over my head turns on.
Sweet potatoes + oranges = sweet potato orange cups.


Rosie's Sweet Potato Orange Cups
 1 large sweet potato
 2 oranges
2 TB unsalted butter, melted
2 TB brown sugar
2 TB cream
pinch kosher salt, to taste 

miniature marshmallows 

Peel sweet potato and cut into chunks.
Place in pot with salted water and bring to boil.
Reduce to simmer and cook until tender.
About 20 minutes.
Place potato chunks in medium bowl.

Slice oranges in half.
Slice a sliver off ends so they will sit evenly in baking dish.
Scoop out pulp and save, along with juice.
Squeeze juice out of pulp.
Pour juice into sweet potato.
Add in melted butter, brown sugar, and cream.
Beat until smooth.
Season to taste with kosher salt.

Place orange halves in small baking dish.
Scoop sweet potato mixture into orange halves.
Top with marshmallows and pecans.

Bake in 350° about 15 minutes
or until marshmallows are melted and lightly browned.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Rosie Makes A Celery Salad.

Here's a side dish for you I think you'll like.
It's celery salad and it's good!
It's different and quite tasty.
 And it all comes together in a flash.
You've got sweet, sour,  heat, crunch, bitter, and salty
all in one bite.

 If you can, get fresh Medjool dates.
They're the best!

Celery Salad
4 stalks celery, with leaves
juice of one lemon
handful of dates, coarsely chopped
handful of whole almonds
Parmesan cheese, shaved, about 1/4 cup
2 TB extra virgin olive oil
red pepper flakes
kosher salt
freshly ground pepper

Spread almonds on baking sheet and toast at 350°
about 8 or so minutes, until ... toasty.
Let cool and coarsely chop.
Remove celery leaves and reserve.
Thinly slice celery on the diagonal.
Toss celery and leaves, almonds, dates, and lemon juice.
Add Parmesan, oil, and red pepper flakes.
Season with salt and pepper.

Try it.
You'll like it.

Another "Trust Rosie" moment.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Seafood Series At The NC Aquarium. Lionfish!

Rosie is happy.
After a two-year plus hiatus, the seafood series cooking classes are finally back at the NC Aquarium!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017, Chef Andy Montero, of Montero's Restaurant in Elizabeth City, was on hand for the opening class.

Our featured fish today?  Lionfish!

Normally, the presenting chefs provide the seafood for our classes.  Not so today.  The intrepid dive team of the NC Aquarium provided the lionfish for today's cooking class.

(Stock photo)

First some lionfish information.  The lionfish is an invasive species here on the Outer Banks - it is not native to the ecosystem here. It has been introduced into the environment and is a threat to  existing species in our Atlantic waters.  The lionfish is indigenous to the Indo-Pacific area and was introduced to Florida waters in the early 1990s, perhaps released by pet stores or aquarium owners during Hurricane Andrew in 1992, and is spreading rapidly throughout the Caribbean and Atlantic regions.  It is an invasive carnivorous predator which can harm our ecosystems and negatively impact our native fish production.  The lionfish, since it's non-native to our waters, has few predators and is at the top of the food chain.  It's a successful invader with venomous spines; it's an efficient predator; it is a competitor to many NC fishery species; it has rapid growth and high reproductive rates.  Combined with the impacts of preexisting conditions, for example over-fishing, the lionfish is in a position to cause substantial damages in coral-reef communities.  Feeding on small crustaceans and fish, it can cause damage to our native species, particularly snapper and grouper.

 It is doubtful we can ever eradicate the lionfish population in invaded areas, so the question is - how do we manage their population?  The consensus is - if you can't beat 'em, eat 'em.  Soooo, the dive team at the NC aquarium ventured out to wrecks off Hatteras inlet (This is the Graveyard of the Atlantic, and for good reason.) and came back with the booty.  The dive team investigated three shipwrecks off Cape Hatteras - the Tarpon, The Dixie Arrow, and the Keshena.  They returned with almost 100 lionfish - from 5" to 18" which they dressed and filleted, and brought to Chef Montero for our class.

(stock photo)
In cleaning lionfish, it is advisable to wear puncture-proof gloves.  The dorsal spines are venomous.  Although not fatal, the spines can deliver painful stings causing a variety of symptoms - pain, swelling, tingling, headache, chills, cramps, nausea, and, in extreme cases, even paralysis and seizures.

 (stock photo)

The majority of lionfish were found by the divers on the Tarpon, a World War II submarine which foundered while under tow in 1957 and now rests in water 140 feet deep.  The other two dive sites were the Dixie Arrow, sunk by a German U-boat in 1942 and resting in 90 feet of water,  and the Keshena, a tug which was sunk by a mine (actually friendly fire, the Hatteras minefield being set to provide relief from attacking U-boats) in 1942.

Now, let's EAT!
(Recipes by Chef Montero.)

For our first presentation, the fillets were rubbed with a tangy and salty red miso paste (fermented soy beans) and simply seared in vegetable oil. These were served on a bed of cole slaw with a quick-chi dressing.  (Quick-chi, as in non-fermented, as opposed to kimchi, which is fermented.)


 Cole slaw with quick-chi dressing
shredded cabbage
shredded carrots
7 TB sriracha
1/2 cup fish sauce
3/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup sweet and spicy Thai chili sauce
2 tsp lime juice
2 tsp lemon juice
4 tsp sesame oil
Mix together all ingredients and toss with cabbage and carrots to coat evenly.
(Dressing can be stored up to 2 weeks in fridge.)

Our next preparation was baked lionfish fillets, simply seasoned with salt and pepper.
These were topped with a fresh herb aioli or mayonnaise.

Fresh herb mayo
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 TB minced yellow onion, or shallot
1 TB minced chives
1 TB minced parsley
1 TB minced basil
1/4 tsp black pepper
pinch granulated garlic

Combine all ingredients.
Garnish cooked fish fillet with mayo before service.

This aioli with fresh herbs needs to be used up.  It's not something that keeps in the fridge.

Our final preparation was a Caribbean Ceviche.
The fish is chemically "cooked" by the acid, in this case lime juice.

Caribbean Ceviche
1/2 cup diced red onion
3/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 cup diced tomato
1 cup diced pineapple
2 jalapenos, minced
3 TB sugar
4 cups lime juice
(Yes...  4 cups.)
Combine all ingredients.
Marinate up to 2 1/2 pounds of seafood for 45 minutes.


Now, if only I had my own personal dive team to go out a spear lionfish for me.