Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Deep-Fried Ice Cream

I've made deep-fried ice cream a couple times before, so I tried to be a little more creative this time. The basic recipe is simple:


  • Vanilla ice cream
  • Loaf of white bread
  • Copious amounts of vegetable oil
  • Cinnamon powder
  • Brown sugar


  • Remove the crusts from a two slices of plain white bread
  • Take scoop of ice cream and from it into a ball with your hands
  • Place the ice ball on the bread a smush two slices of bread around it.
  • Re-freeze the bread-covered ice cream and repeat.


  • Heat a small pot or frying pan with vegetable oil. Make sure it's hot, otherwise the bread will turn a weak yellow colour, rather than a golden-brown.
  • Place a the ice cream ball in the oil, move it around so that the bread all browns evenly.
  • Remove from oil and place on a napkin to wipe off excess oil (be careful, it's still hot).
  • Roll in cinnamon/sugar mixture and serve immediately

This time I felt a little more creative, so I diverged from the recipe

I added a cherry in the middle (which turned out to be more work that it's worth. The cherry is good, but not good enough to warrant the extra effort it takes to shape the ice cream around the cherry. I wish there was someway to have a liquid middle - having liquid chocolate or caramel in the middle would be phenomenal!).

And I added almond slivers around the outside (before the bread). This was actually pretty good! It added some texture, and was very easy to do (just roll the ice cream over them).

Ready to go.

While I was at it, I finished making the whole loaf of bread's worth. I'm guessing the ones we didn't eat will keep for a quite a while.

And here's the end product - I forgot to take a picture of it after adding the sugar, or once the crust was broken - oops!

Beef Wellington, Take Two

Gordon Ramsay's beef wellington turned out really well last time, I made it with Laura, so I thought I'd make it again for my friends for Easter. The real selling point of Beef Wellington is that almost all of the prep can be done well in advance. My the time everyone arrived, all I needed to do was pop it into the oven and let it cook.

The last time I made beef wellington, I got my fillet from Schwab's at the Stanford Shopping Center. It was good - but not the ideal cut for a wellington (it's a cross-section of the tenderloin, rather than a cylindrical section). I went to Schwab's again this time, but they didn't have any go pieces of fillet - only 4 very small pieces. I gave up on them and went to Whole Foods instead. They didn't have much fillet on display, but the they took out an brand new whole tenderloin, cleaned it off, and let me select the piece I wanted - it was awesome. I'm definitely going to be shopping at Whole Foods for meats more often! Here's what I got:

What a perfect piece of meat for a beef wellington! It's a bit bigger that you'd normally aim for, but I was trying to get one make one beef wellington for the five of us.

I got my Portabellos from Sigona's again. Six portabellos seems like a huge amount, but they shrink a lot once they're cut and and the water is removed.

My sorry excuse for a food processor barely chops one at a time. Woe is me.

Removing the excess water from the mushrooms.

I kept left the mushrooms in the pan for even longer than last time, to try to reduce the sogginess - I think it worked out quite well this way.

Seared tenderloin. I can't wait until I get a good skillet - I find that I can't really get our current pans as hot as I'd like to, in order to give the meat a really good sear.

Brushed with English mustard.

Pancetta again, since I don't know where to find "Parma Ham". I was talking to a colleague today about Wellington and he told me that "Parma Ham" == prosciutto. Why didn't Ramsay just say that! I'll have to use the correct thing next time, although I don't think the Pancetta has been hurting the recipe very much.

Added the mushrooms to the pancetta

And the meat goes on top

All wrapped up and into the fridge it goes.

This monster of a Wellington took a double helping of puff pastry to wrap. Attaching the two pieces of puff pastry was surprisingly easy, and wasn't noticeable at all after it cooked. I of course trimmed large pieces off.

Ready to wrap in the pastry.

Almost ready for the oven - egg washed the pastry. Two more things after this - score the pastry, and add a sprinkle of salt along the top. I scored the pastry a little too deep, and cut all the way through - oops! It looked good in the end though.

Out of the oven. I removed it at 125°F, which is supposed to be the bottom of the medium rare range. I knew it was supposed to keep increasing in temperature, but it increased all the way up to 140°F!! Next time I'll take it out even earlier.

Doesn't look too bad, does it?

Drunken Leeks

A long time ago, Laura asked me how to prepare leeks, and I found this recipe online. I'd never tried, it but Laura said it was pretty good. I decided to make leeks for Easter, even though I've rarely eaten them, let alone prepared them.

Raw leeks - the recipe called for 6-8 leeks. Leeks very in size by a lot. I only had 4 leeks for five people and it was more than enough.

While reading about how to prepare leeks, many sites cautioned that leeks are really dirty and need to be washed thoroughly. It's true! Check out all that grime!

I decided to cut my leeks into rings. Normally when preparing leeks you cut down the stem in order to open it up to clean. The way I did it was to cut the leeks into rings first, then wash.

There's lots of waste - only the bottom light green/white section is eaten, the rest is discarded or used in stocks (I considered making vegetable stock, but thought that was bit ambitious).

Cleaned and separated leeks.

Drunken leeks, just about ready to serve.


As I mentioned before I found the recipe here: http://homecooking.about.com/od/vegetablerecipes/r/blv272.htm

Just in case that link goes away, the abridged recipe is:

Add leeks + a few cloves of crushed garlic + 2 tablespoons of butter to a skillet at medium high. After a few minutes, add a good dose of red wine - I added about a cup. Add a splash of red wine vinegar (I used sherry vinegar). Season. Cook covered, until leeks are tender.

This recipe was decent, but I don't think I'd rush to cook it again. I think I'm just not the hugest of leek fans.

Artichoke and Cheese Dip

I made a really simple (but delicious) appetizer, so that I wouldn't be too busy when everyone was here. I made Laura's mom's artichoke and cheese dip. It's really easy:

  • 14 oz can of artichoke hearts, chopped
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
I also added a bit of cayenne - why not? Mix it all up and put it in a ovenware dish. Bake at 350 for 10-20 minutes. I didn't do it, but i think broiling it for a few minutes before serving would be really good.

JAM's Easter Dinner

I made Easter dinner this weekend for Jesse & Jodie, Mike and Leo. I took lots of pictures, so I'm going to make a post for each dish. The dinner menu was:

Jerome Easter Menu

Artichoke and Cheese Dip with Triscuits
Drunken Leeks
Beef Wellington
Deep Fried Ice Cream

Dinner really well - but it's a lot more work without Laura to help me. Here's a preview:


On a whim I bought some papaya on Friday. Best papaya I've ever eaten. I've already finished all 4 lbs of it!

Monday, April 13, 2009

LAM's Easter Dinner

So although its not as much fun when we're not cooking together, we thought maybe for Easter we could cook together in spirit. So both Jerome and I came up with Easter dinner menues to serve at our respective feasts. Here is the story of my day o' Easter cooking.

Guests: My Mum and Dad and Gramma

Appetizer: Hot Cheesy Artichoke Dip

Main: Garden herb leg of lamb with lemon roasted potatoes and pearl onions

Side: Asparagus

Dessert: Chocolate meringue bites

So it all started very early in the morning, whipping up lots of egg whites to make the meringue. The hard part was actually mixing in all the sugar and cocoa, I think my meringues probably deflated more than ideally, but it was hard to fold the cocoa in without it being all speckly.

Two and a half hours of baking later, they turned out pretty well despite the folding incidents. This recipe was from a Williams-Sonoma book that I got my Dad last Christmas.

Next was prepping the roasting bed. In order to peel the pearl onions I poured boiling water over them and then let them cool. This loosened the skins. My Mum very kindly peeled them for me while I was whipping my meringues earlier in the day resulting in her fingers being dyed yellow for the rest of the day.

The leg of lamb unrolled and ready to be rubbed with herbs and garlic. This Easter lamb recipe is from a blog I follow called The Kitchn which always has neat recipes and tips and stuff. I thought it would be fitting for LAM to cook Lamb, and it is something special that we don't often have and I've never cooked lamb before so it seemed like a good recipe for trying.

The leg all tied up and ready to roast. The lemons on top of the veggies gave a really nice flavour to the potatoes and onions. There aren't many action shots this time as it is hard to remember to take them on your own as well as being hard to do.

Once the lamb was in the oven, I made the cheesy artichoke dip which is a family favorite and old stand-by.

My first lamb roast coming out of the oven.

The potatoes and onions and lemons roasted nicely.

Carving, and hoping it is the right level of doneness. It worked out pretty well, one side was medium and the other was medium rare.

The table decorated and dinner about to be served.



Another shot of the table with some things to note. Mini eggs were also on the dessert menu =) The beautiful candle that Kim gave my mum for Christmas, and the Ukranian Easter Eggs on the right that we spent the day dying on Good Friday.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

4 Experiments

There's been less incentive to cook a full meal, since Laura went home, so this weekend I just messed around in the kitchen.

Experiment 1 - Jicama

There's a small store across the street from here that sells fruit and vegetables. I bought some jicama. Jicama's a root, but the inside is really juicy (the flavour isn't very strong quite watery and just slightly sweet). At work, they often use jicama in fruit salads and it's also used in a malay salad call Rojak (which I definitely need to make). This is what the it looks like before cutting:

The inside is all white.

I didn't do anything exciting with the Jicama this time - I just cut it into strips and ate it raw.

Experiment 2 - Apples poached in white wine

We had bit of wine left over from a few weeks ago when we made risotto, and Laura left an apple behind, so I decided to see what would happen if I poached it. I heated hot wine with and added cinnamon, about glob of honey and some lemon thyme. I added sliced, peeled apples to this and let the apples cook until they were slightly soft. Because there wasn't an abundance of liquid, I had to spoon the liquid over the apples as it cooked.

It turned out really good! The wine combined really well with the apples - and in the end the wine ended up tasting like a sweet apple cider.

Experiment 3 - Potato pancakes

I finished eating all of our stick-chicken leftovers the other day, but we still had some extra potatoes left over. Rather than throwing them out, Laura suggested I try making potato pancakes by cooking them a bit more in the frying pan. I added a bit of olive oil to the pan, shaped the mashed potatoes into a pancake and heated them in the pan. I also added some Mexican hot sauce. It turned out really well. Much less boring than old mashed potatoes. I even got pretty good at flipping the pancake over with a flick of the wrist!

Experiment 4 - Tomatoes with Feta, olive oil and lemon thyme

This isn't really an experiment - but it's really good! I sliced some tomatoes added some really good feta cheese we got from the Milk Pail (which has a really good variety of cheap, but excellent cheeses). I sprinkled on some lemon thyme, a pinch of kosher salt, and a drizzle of really good olive oil. It's really excellent (especially if the tomatoes are really ripe).