Friday, July 3, 2015

Cucumber Wasabi Martini

Having a heat wave here, 95 degrees before the fourth of July in the Northwest is kind of unheard of.
So, we're HOT.
And my dishwasher is broken, and I just took out a major loan at Home Depot to replace it and a couple other things.
I need a drink.
This ones feels cool & refreshing, and spicy, and a touch sweet too.
Just right, I must say.

The level of heat your drink will have is going to depend on how much wasabi you use. Start with a smaller amount at first and if you want it a little hotter, go with a little more paste in the next round.

Makes 2

3 jiggers gin
6 thick slices fresh cucumber
2 pea-sized dollops of wasabi paste
1 jigger simple syrup (I used lemon kind, my recipe is here)
1 lemon, juiced
2 Cucumber thin slices for garnish

Muddle the cucumber slices, wasabi, lemon juice and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker.

Muddle basically means to smash it to smithereens with a blunt object like a "muddler", or the end of big wooden spoon.

My photo is on the left.  You can see I added quite a bit of wasabi, because I am like that.
Fill with ice and add gin.
Shake well
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Garnish with a slice of cucumber.

Here's what it looked like after I muddled the cucumber wasabi mixture. (below)
Here's a close up of the finished drink, you'll probably have some little seeds or bits of cucumber in your drink.  I think that's OK.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Bourbon Ice Cream

Hmmm, bourbon ice cream?
Yep, I like the sound of that.
What about you?

Adding alcohol to ice cream can be tricky, if you over do it, it won't set up.
Maybe 3 Tbsp is the magic number, this worked out just right, and even after freezing over night it was easier to scoop than the vanilla bean ice cream I also made (which froze rock solid).
As much as you want to add more bourbon to the recipe, please restrain  yourself.
You can always add to the end result as a little "sauce", right?
It's been so hot, so a little cold, rich and yummy dessert doesn't suck, now does it?

You will need an ice cream maker.  I used a Cuisninart twin freezer for doing two small batches side by side.  This is just enough to fill and make one container.
(Shown is dark chocolate, but I didn't add this at the end as I had planned.)

Makes more than you should probably eat... LOL, but should be enough for 4 people

1 3/4 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
6 egg yolks
1/4 tsp sea salt
3 Tbsp bourbon (I used Maker’s Mark)

Before you start, make sure the canister of your ice cream maker is frozen. 
That's always the challenge for me, to freeze completely, the canister should be in the freezer for at least 6 hours before you attempt to churn your ice cream.
Make the ice cream base. In a heavy bottom saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the heavy cream, sweetened condensed milk and brown sugar. Bring the mixture to a low boil, stirring. 

Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks with the salt until they become pale yellow and slightly thickened.
Temper the egg yolks by whisking about a 1/2 cup of the warm cream/brown sugar mixture into the egg yolks. Then whisk the tempered egg yolks back into the saucepan with the remaining cream/brown sugar mixture. 

You can see that I am ready to go in the photo below.  I used the 1/2 cup scoop to add 1/2 cup of hot cream to the egg mixture while whisking.  Takes some skill (or some help from an another set of hands....) to do it, but keep mixing or you will have chunks of scrambled egg in your ice cream.  When you've added a cup or so to the eggs, you can then add it back to the saucepan of cream to mix the whole mess together.

Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the ice cream base thickens and coats the back of a spoon, about 2-3 minutes. 

Remove from the heat. Stir in the bourbon. Cover with plastic wrap, pushing it all the way down so it touches the surface of the ice cream base to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours.

Once completely chilled, pour the ice cream base into the canister of your ice cream maker. Churn until the mixture is nearly frozen and the consistency of soft serve, about 20 minutes. Add any additions (like chocolate nibs, or nuts) and churn for another 2-3 minutes to evenly distribute.

Transfer the ice cream to a freezer-safe container and place in your freezer. The ice cream should become firm in about 4 hours. Enjoy!