Monday, September 7, 2009

Really, it was good! - Goat Cheese Chipotle Ice Cream with Chipotle-Infused Honey Drizzle and Fresh Basil

So I hate the word 'foodie'. I hate the entire culture of food pretension. When I first started this blog, the word 'foodie' was something like 'panties' to me. It seemed somehow pretentious and shallow, and maybe a little dirty. I really hated that it had anything to do with me. This was insecurity at its finest; I have more than once caught myself blathering on about how American food culture should change, and the superiority of eating fresh local foods to disinterested people just trying to get through their day (and hiding McDonalds under their seat). I can be a real ass sometimes. It's not that I don't believe in what I am preaching, I do. It's that I desperately don't want to become one of those Ann-Taylor-clad-preachy-DC-girls that wanders around telling all sorts of people who aren't interested how 'delectable the peaches from the Penn Quarter farmers market were this week.' I try to take time out from my high-falutin' blogging to stress the things that I love that are less top-hat-monocle and more flannel-shirt-old-style. Thus my 'embarassing things I love' series. That said, I do own alot of Ann Taylor. I mean, I am a 20-something professional in DC. There was definitely a note of defensiveness in my aversion to 'foodies.'

All of that aside, I never miss a chance for shameless self promotion. See my comment above about being an ass. When I came across 'foodie fights' a few months back, I thought it might be a fantastic opportunity for such unjustified self-aggrandizement. The site pits several food bloggers against one another to see who can come up with the best, most creative, most delicious-looking dish given two defined ingredients that change every week. I didn't particularly want to be 'queen' foodie for the week, but heck, I'll take the extra traffic, right?

Well, what began as a fairly typical cynical venture knocked me on my heels. These 'foodies'- they were, well, amazing. The recipes people posted were creative, unfussy, and nearly universally delicious looking. Try as I might to find a nugget of snobbishness or pretension in their posts, I came up dry. Once I realized that perhaps these 'foodies' had quite a bit to offer, I thought maybe I should wait a bit before I play. No one likes to be the 8th grader on the varsity court, what with all the wedgies and locker-room humiliation. So I held off for a few months to protect my still-un-towel-snapped ass, read the amazing posts and dishes that people created, and thought out a new approach to this foodie fight thing. Finally, last week I decided it was time to pull the trigger, and here I am, hat in hand, ready to play.

This week's ingredients? Chipotle and Goat Cheese.

My first instinct was the flatbread I normally do with goat cheese and rosemary. I made it, but this time used roasted red peppers in a chipotle marinade and put them on top with a chipotle goat cheese (with pieces of peppers in it!) from the Eastern Market cheese Nazi (who was out of my favorite honey-goat cheese). It was delicious, but really kind of a no-brainer. I kept it as my backup, but decided to go a bit more out there for the post. Disaster or not, I figured it would make a good post.

My mom bought me an ice cream maker a few years back, and I figured it was time to enlist it in some concoctions more devious than the melon sorbet it has been charged with most of the summer.

So the idea for Chipotle Goat Cheese Ice Cream was born.

1.5 cups milk

4 egg yolks

1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar (depending on the sweetness of the cheese)

2 oz chipotle (or any peppery flavor will do, not too sour though) goat cheese. You can make your own by mincing up a few peppers and mixing them in to taste. I suggest about one pepper per two oz, no more or it will overwhelm the cheese.

Honey (I used chipotle-infused honey, which basically means I steeped the honey with chipotle peppers before using it)

Basil Leaves

(A note- I don't include process pictures for a very good reason. It's not that I think they are boring or unnecessary. It's that my process is ugly. I mean sugar-on-the-walls, using-an-old-baseball-helmet-as-a-bowl, feeding-cheese-rinds-to-my-dog, occasionally-throw-an-egg-cause-its-fun-to-throw-eggs ugly. If you are reading this, chances are your process is better than mine. Certainly prettier. Why would I go screwing that up with my pictures? Make it your own.

I started out with a very basic custard recipe:

1. Heat the milk and sugar over low heat until the sugar is dissolved.
2. Whisk the egg yolks in a separate bowl.
3. Slowly add the milk to the egg yolks, whisking constantly, until well-combined.
4. Put the mix back in the saucepan over medium-low heat.
5. Stirring constantly (a good rubber scraper works best to keep it from congealing on the sides of the pan), heat the mixture until it is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon opaquely.

This alone makes a great base for any ice cream.

Then you add the goat cheese

6. Put the goat cheese large bowl with a strainer or small-holed colander over it.
7. Pour the custard into the colander and let it drain onto the cheese.
8. Stir the cheese into the hot custard until melted and combined.

From here, its just a matter of making it cold!

9. Put the mixture into the fridge and allow to cool.
10. Once cold, add the mixture to your ice cream maker and follow instructions. I left mine in for about 20 minutes, and then put it in the freezer for four hours to harden.
11. Serve with a thick drizzle of the infused honey over the top (I love the way it hardens just slightly), and serve with basil leaves as garnish (tasty when dipped into the melty bit at the end!)

I NEVER expected this to be so good, but it was just delicious. Something like cheese cake, with just enough kick to it to be interesting. I had thought I might add some chipotle chocolate cookies as well, but once I tasted the ice cream, I realized that it would be too much. One of the hardest parts of cooking (and something I think pretentious food almost always messes up) is knowing when to stop, when the right amount has been achieved with a dish.

One of the real pleasures of having friends who love food, but are far from 'foodies' is presenting them with creative dishes they have not seen before, and that they would never normally choose. This was absolutely one of them. Talking normal people into trying interesting, fresh, different food is one of my true pleasures in life- for that, I love my oldstyle-drinkin-papa-johns-pizza-orderin-non-foodie-friends. But for the ideas, the inspiration, and my own education, I am DAMN glad there are some amazing foodies out there. I can't wait to see what they did with this!


Tiffiny Felix said...

Ahhh...the siren song of the ice cream maker! Awesome that it turned out for you :) I always think of the Iron Chef episode where they made sea urchin roe ice cream :) Hee, hee... Good luck! :)

Joyce Handley said...

Ha, indeed Tiffiny!

I honestly never expected this to be so good, but it was like a tangy cheesecake ice-cream, similar to a key-lime type of thing. Go figure! The chipotles added the same flavor that a crispy butter crust would add, just a little smoky and earthy, with a bit more kick of course, but not spicy per-se. Much better than a normal hot or cracked pepper would be, I think.

Tiffiny Felix said...

Congratulations on runner-up! And don't listen to the judge...most people read blogs for the "chatter" :)

Joyce Handley said...

Ha, thanks! I figure, without the chatter, I am just another average cook with too much time on her hands :-)

Cancemini4 said...

I'm so glad someone feels the same way I do about the word "panties." I once had a roomate that worked at Victoria's Secret and was told that her use of the word "underpants" with customers would not be acceptable. Go figure.