Monday, September 29, 2008

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

So I wanted to give everyone a little recipes which is very simple and delicious. It is a fresh vanilla bean ice cream. It is so good and everyone who eats it cannot go back. My suggestion, if you don't already have an ice cream maker run out and grab one! Even a cheap one at walmart, something to get your cream churning!

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

2.5 Cups Heavy Cream
1.5 Cups Whole Milk
8 egg yolks, organic
3/4 cup sugar
2 fresh vanilla beans

Slit each vanilla bean lengthwise down the center. Open each side up and scrape the beans from the pods with the back of a pairing knife. Combine the seeds and the pods of the vanilla beans, the cream, milk and 1/2 cup of the sugar in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Cover with a lid and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour for maximum flavor. (You can bypass this step if you are in a bind).

Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks with the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar. Bring the cream mixture back to a boil, then slowly whisk in about 1/2 of the hot mixture into the eggs. Mix fast as to not scramble the eggs. This will temper the eggs and prevent them from scrambling and ruining your batch! Add remaining cream, then strain mixture into clean sauce pan, about 10" round 2" tall apx or something about that size. Cook over medium low heat stirring consistantly with a wooden spoon. You are looking to thicken the custard to coat the back of the spoon. Should be done slowly not quickly. If you have a thermometer you are aiming for a cooking temp of about 165-180 degrees. Some people prefer different temperatures.

Once the custard is properly thickened, strain the mixture through a chinois into a stainless bowl. Place the stainless bowl in an ice bath (place the bowl in a larger bowl or sink filled with a good amount of ice and water) to ensure a proper cooling. You can either cool over ice for about 30 minutes stirring occasionally or place in refrigerator overnight prior to churning.

Once the custard is completely cooled, process in ice cream machine according to requirements. I will advise not to overchurn or your texture will be like that of butter. Texture of proper ice cream depends on the cooking procedure, the ingredients, the churning procedure and the freezer temperature or temperature of ice cream once served. Best to let sit a room temperature 20 minutes or so prior to scooping a great heap out of the dish! Enjoy!

I made this last night with a perfect apple tart tatin... delicious!

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Ransome Wedding....

Yesterday was the big day for John and Judy... the day really was pretty special! It was an intimate gathering of friends and Family to celebrate their 25th year of marriage! Congrats to such dedication!

Of course my job for the day was the food. As I am exhausted today after 20+ hours of hard work, I will be brief in my blog.

The menu can be seen below on the next post entry.

Here are the mini caesar salads....

Of course the shrimp cocktail. The shrimp were bought fresh and poached in a secret bouillon to add depth and flavor to the dish.

The cocktail sauce was of course made from scratch, tomatoes, horseradish, garlic, lemon, worchestor?, sriracha, and a few secret ingredients.

Thats Mom helping with the flow from Kitchen to table!

Thanks goodness she lent a hand, because we needed it!

The table turned out really beautiful. Irma, Mom and I set up the table initially. I organized the placement of dishes on the table. I had envisioned a fancy "buffet" if you will, I really hate that word. However, John and Judy wanted simple, but I wanted individual portions of everything, this worked pretty good with all the vehicles I provided.

caesar salad

Fresh Dungeness Crab salad - From Brand Little Fish Co.

Cucumber/Apple Gelee, Diced apple and asian pear, sweet white corn succotash with bell pepper and cilantro and passion fruit vinaigrette, pickled cherry tomatoes and jalapenos, crab tossed with olive oil, rice wine vinegar, lime juice, garlic, lemongrass, shallot, red jalapeno and some spices. Topped with micro cilantro.

Orzo salad, scallion, red and yellow bell pepper, carrots, pine nuts, golden raisins, sesame seed vinaigrette.

Roasted tomato and bell pepper bruschetta, micro basil.

Basil and Arugula pesto with cherry tomato.

Marinated Peaches and Nectarines grilled, then wrapped with arugula and prociutto.

Shrimp cocktail.

The table.

The menu, I framed it to look nice for the event!

Kay, Alex and wifey Angie! oh, and the one on the way in the oven!

Lemon Tart, candied lime, raspberry, mint.

Both tarts were eaten! They were delicious!

"Pave" of Chocolate Ganache with buttery flaky crust. Topped with raspberry. Went perfect with red wine!

Overall, the food was a huge hit, everyone had raving comments! Hopefully it tasted as good as it looked! There was no leftovers! The only thing that was left was a sinlge tray of prociutto wrapped peaches, and that is because it never got taken out of the fridge. At the end of the evening, when I left the party, 3 crab salads remained, some lemon tart pieces, a little bruschetta and that was all!

I had a really good time, but I am so tired, I think I will go take a little rest until next weekend, when I am back to the kitchen and on my feet for hours!

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Ransome Wedding... A 25th Anniversary!

Some good friends of ours are about to reach yet another defining moment of any marriage; their 25th anniversary! John had decided at what appeared to be the last minute, according to his wife! He was kind enough to ask me to "cater" or as he put it "work my magic" for their special day. Of course I checked my schedule and then agreed to do the deed.

He is having a small and intimate gathering of about 25 people at his home overlooking the valley. The view is spectacular up there and the layout is extremely shady, home to an abundance of old oak trees!

This is the menu decided upon and they are excited about it. They only chose a few dishes due to the size of the party.... I requested that they allow me to do my thing, which will include individual sized portions of all the food, separate plating of each item. The crab salad will be served in small shot glasses, the Ceasar salads will be bite sized and capable of picking up and tossing back! Everything will come out fabulous and i will post pictures of course after the event this Sunday! Stay tuned!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

"Placer Slow Food Event, coming soon!"

There is a great dinner party coming up that you should all know something about! If you are not familiar with "slow food", please do me a favor and google the term. You will find a wealth of information that could change the way you eat!

Briefly, slow food is just the opposite of fast food. It is all about the appreciation and understanding of our food and where it comes from. It is the connection between Farmer and diner, the natural progress of the way things used to be done that we are learning to re-connect with.

Placer County is hosting a slow food event Saturday September 20th right here in Lincoln!

"On Saturday, September 20, 5 - 8PM, Slow Food Placer is hosting a COOKOUT at Rancho Roble Vineyard, 340 Fleming Road. The meal features local Highland Farms' Grass-fed grilled lamb and several in-season side dishes and Placer Plum/blackberry pie provided by Chef Laura of Persimmon Cafe. The Rancho Roble no-host bar will serve Rancho Roble estate bottled 2006 Barbera, chilled 2005 Chardonnay, and Cabernet.

We're thrilled to announce that for appetizers we're actually hosting a Fig & Grape Tasting courtesy of the Wolfskill USDA National Clonal Germplasm Repository in Winters. Wolfskill crop managers will talk to us about the many varieties of figs and grapes. We'll taste one fig of each type: Common, San Pedro, Smyrna, and Capri, as well as figs grilled with goat cheese, prosciutto, and rosemary. The grapes will represent different colors (rose, black, green) textures (soft, firm and crisp) and flavors (standard seedless, muscat flavor, labrusca/Concord, and possibly a Scuppernong type).

The COOKOUT is a casual event priced at $55/person, benefitting Placer Ag-in-the-Schools and Placer Ag Futures (scholarships for young farmers).

Purchase tickets at Persimmon Cafe in Lincoln or "

I encourage everyone to get involved, learn about slow food, attend a dinner to support our farming community and give something back! It will make you feel good!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Lincoln News Messenger

Today the News Messenger released the weekly paper. This week we were featured in the "Inside Lincoln" section of the paper. For those of you referring to my blog from that section, thank you for visiting.

Please feel free to browse the blog and read what you like! If anyone has questions or is interested in attending a dinner or a class, please let me know. I will add you to the list. You can also subscribe your email address to this blog to get new updates and posts as they happen!

On this site you can expect to find recipes, info on technique, info on upcoming events, classes, dinner parties, all kinds of good stuff. All things food!

I am putting together a Holiday Cookie class, it will probably sell out very fast so make sure to get on the list!

Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Some of my favorite dishes plated

Just wanted to share of few of my personal favorites... thanks for reading!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Jr. Chef Event... a Kids Gathering

I am honored to announce that I have been asked to participate in the upcoming Jr. Chef Kids Culinary Convention!

"On Saturday, September 20, 2008, more than 300 young people ages 10-15 will again come together to share their common interest in cooking at the 2nd Annual Jr. Chef Kids Culinary Convention. The only event of its kind in the nation, the Kids Culinary Convention offers workshops and presentations covering a variety of culinary topics presented in a kid-focused environment. These sessions are designed to:
•Help kids make smart food choices
•Teach them independence and self-sufficiency
•Build their confidence
•Advance their culinary knowledge"

I have been asked to be a guest instructor assisting the children with a lesson on pasta making. I am hoping to inspire the youngs chefs to be into becoming serious foodies and chefs alike.

The event is being judged by 3 people:
1) Jill Novat, Culinary Producer of Food Network
2) Elaine Johnson, Associate Food Editor Sunset Magazine
3) Tina Macuha, channel 31 news

This is going to be a lot of fun and something promoting local kids learning about their food, the source of their food, eating healthy and learning to cook while having fun!

If anyone is interested in attending or has a child they would like to get involved... or volunteering please visit this website or also see this link for complete details