About Me

I have been cooking my way through life for over 50 years, beginning with mud pies as a child. I've turned a corner now and feel a Renaissance in my life. Recipes and Random Thoughts is my personal spin in a blog about how to prepare good food and how it prepares you for life. I want to share with you, honest to goodness food punctuated with perspective from the special memories and moments that have marked my journey.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Silver Queen Corn Ice Cream

I made them guess what the secret ingredient was and they didn't even come close.  Coconut and cake was all they could come up with but no one ever thought of sweet Silver Queen Corn as an ingredient for ice cream.  I'd heard of it before and thought it would go swell with my peach - blueberry cobbler.  It's summer and all I'm making use of the best offered this season in delicious recipes.

I've enjoyed corn this summer in a number of ways; grilled, stewed, sautéed but the sweetness of the Silver Queen variety lends itself to a special twist of vanilla ice cream.  I noticed a recipe for sweet corn ice cream in Garden & Gun Magazine which peeked my interest but I wasn't satisfied and a little more research led me to a wonderful custard based version from Spoon, Fork, Bacon.  I think this is truly worthy of the effort and time it takes.  Remember the key to this smooth, sweet summer treat is really sweet corn and patiently straining the ingredients and custard (twice). Get ready for a memorable summer treat.

1 cup Silver Queen Corn cut from about 3-4 ears, reserve any milk and cobs
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1 cup superfine sugar (Castor) divided
6 egg yolks
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla

Combine corn, cobs, milk, cream and half of the sugar in a heavy bottomed sauce pan.  Simmer 5 minutes util sugar is dissolved.  Cover and turn off heat and let steep for one hour.  Remove the cobs and discard.  Pour the corn mixture into a blender and puree until smooth.
Strain through a double fine mesh strainer, pressing as much of the liquid through as possible.  Pour the mixture back into the sauce pan.

In a separate bowl combine the egg yolks with the remaining sugar and salt, beat with a whisk until light and fluffy.  Temper the eggs with one cup of the liquid mixture and beat vigorously to keep yolks from scrambling.  Add the egg mixture to the sauce pan and the corn mixture.  Heat over medium low, stirring and cook until the custard coats the back of the spoon.  Stir in the vanilla and stain through fine mesh lined with cheese cloth. Squeeze the cloth pressing as much of the custard through as possible.  Chill over night and then freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's directions.  Makes about 2 quarts.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Ladies Who Lunch - Mousse de Volaille with Mushroom Sauce

I'm fortunate to have the best girl friends. We've know each other since we where quite young and have seen each other through the joys and sorrows of life.  It started with spend-the-night parties eating pizza late at night as we giggled over boys and catty gossip. Now, it's periodic lunches at some place that serves nice chicken salad while we hash over our families, fashion and fret over the latest evidence time is not on our side anymore.  We mark each birthday with lunch and linger in our endless discussions of the progression of our lives.  What I've enjoyed the most with these girls is  laughter.  We can still laugh until we cry over something silly, mitigating the more unpleasant realities life has dealt.

Occasionally, I get my act together and get the good china and silver out and fix a special lunch for these BFFs because I know they will appreciate the effort.  This recipe was suggested by another friend and it reminded me of something my mother made for a ladies' luncheon.  It's an elegant chicken mousse accessorized with Alex Hitz's rich Mushroom Sauce. I've made a few minor alterations from his recipe.

Mousse de Volaille, serves 6

1 lbs. boneless, skin less chicken breasts cut into 2 inch cubes
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
pinch of cayenne
1 tsp Kosher salt
1 egg
1 1/4 cups heavy cream

Butter for ramekins. Parchment or waxed paper rounds cut to fit ramekins by tracing a circle on the paper around a ramekin.  Heat a kettle of water.

Brush the 6 oz ramekins with butter and preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Put the first 5 ingredients in a food processor. Turn on and slowly add the cream through the open tube space (remove the feed tube).  Process until mixture is blended. Scrape the sides with a spatula and continue to process until smooth; about a minute. Distribute the mixture in the ramekins evenly and smooth with a spoon or spatula. Press a paper round on top of the mixture to seal the mousse.
Place the filled ramekins in a roasting pan large enough to hold them and pour the hot water in the pan until half way up the side of them. Careful place the pan in the oven and bake 20 mins or until firm and internal temperature reaches 160 degrees.  Remove from oven and the water bath. They will hold at this point while you get ready to serve. Drain any accumulated liquid from the ramekin and remove the paper cover. Unmold onto serving plate and serve with Mushroom Sauce.

Mushroom Sauce

5 tbls unsalted butter                                                 2 cups chicken stock
3 tables minced shallot                                              2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 plus fresh mushrooms, divided,                       3/4 tsp plus 1/4 tsp salt
half minced, half quartered                                        1/2 cup chicken essence (1 1/4 tsp chicken paste)
1 tbls dried tarragon                                                   1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 cup plus 1/2 tsp medium dry sherry, divided       1/4 tsp ground white pepper

In a large skillet over medium heat, melt 3 tbls butter and when the foaming has subsided, add the shallots and saute' them until translucent, about 2-3 mins.

Add the minced mushrooms, tarragon, and 1/2 cup sherry to the shallots, and cook this mixture slowly until all liquid has evaporated, about 30 min.  Add the chicken stock and increase the heat to high, bring to a boil.  Let it boil for 10 mins. and then reduce the heat to a simmer and stir in the heavy cream, 1/4 tsp of the salt, the chicken essense, lemon juice, 1/2 tsp of sherry and the white pepper.

Turn off the heat.  In a heavy medium skillet over medium heat, melt the remaining 2 tsp of butter and when the foaming subsides, add the 3/4 lb quartered mushrooms and sauce' them until they are brown.  Add 1/8 tsp salt to the mushrooms and stir well, and then add them to the sauce.

Let the sauce cool, cover it, and let it refrigerate overnight. Reheat it before serving over the individual unmolded mousses.