Noun 1. gastronome - a person devoted to refined sensuous enjoyment (especially good food and drink)bon vivant, epicure, epicurean, foodie, gourmetsensualist - a person who enjoys sensuality. Follow me on Twitter: @Aghastronome

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Home Cookin': Strawberry Ice Cream

While not big on desserts, I hanker at times for certain things. Most of the sweet ones are remembrances from my childhood. Summer extended family barbecues cooked on the huge rock pit my Dad had built in our back yard. These involved goat, brisket, pork, chicken, our homemade venison and pork sausage - you name it. Sides galore: potato salad, green salad, macaroni and cheese, warm bread, and several fresh picked and cooked vegetables from our garden. While the adults cooked, the kids cranked ice cream. We made peach, or peppermint (with crushed hard candy mints) and sometimes, strawberry. Today, I made strawberry. While not an old family recipe, this one's simple and works in my electric ice cream machine. I have tried several and like the Cuisinart model, myself. Here's the scoop (ouch):

Strawberry Ice Cream

1 cup half and half, or whole milk, or really, 2% milk - I went all high fat
2 cups whipping cream
3/4 cup sugar (bump to a cup, if you like sweeter)
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon good vanilla
1 pint strawberries, hulled and processed/blended until slightly chunky

Mix everything but the berries in a bowl, pour into frozen machine insert and begin "churning", after about ten minutes you should see some crystals forming. Pour berry slurry in the top and continue watching until ice cream thickens. Pour into an airtight freezer container and freeze until firm.

This works with anything you dream of using, peaches, mints, shaved chocolate, crushed thin mint style cookies peddled by young girls in green outfits. Small chunks of homemade mexican brownies...

Monday, February 20, 2012

Home Cookin': Portuguese Caldo Verde

Today, I decided to whip up a delicious Portuguese soup and I gave it a wee twist. If you're Portuguese, I bastardized it. I used Mexican longaniza instead of linguisa, as I found it on sale at my local grocer. The end result was fantastic.

Caldo Verde

2 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
32 oz low sodium chicken broth
10 oz Mexican longaniza (or linguisa or hot Italian sausage)
1 lb kale, stemmed and finely chopped
Salt and pepper
2 Tbsp olive oil

In a Dutch oven, heat the oil, add the onion and sweat it down for about 6 - 10 minutes over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté for another two minutes. Pour in broth and potatoes and boil for 15 minutes, or the potatoes are tender. Slice the sausage into bite sized pieces, brown and drain well. Use an immersion blender to purée the potato portion and add the sausage. Once the soup reaches a boil, add the kale and continue at a low boil for 3 - 5 minutes until kale is tender. Test for salt and pepper, serve with a drizzle of good olive oil. This would be a great meal with a salad and some crusty buttered bread. I slip some cayenne in at the end, as I like it hot!

Give it a try, it's inexpensive and kale is in season. Delightful on a cool drizzly day.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Opens and Shuts: W Gray Cafe? Not verified

I heard some scuttlebutt that the W Gray Cafe was shut by the Health Department, or something like that.  It's hearsay, perhaps third hand, anybody care enough to confirm, or at least set me straight here? 

On the Follow: Biba's KitBar

Well kids, four times I have had their breakfast.  Now, I quoth the raven.  Nevermore.  I find that I like Lankford Grocery and Harry's much better for the price and consistency.  I tried, I really did.  I tried to love them much harder than a three year old tries to love brussels sprouts.  No. Can. Do.  If I'm feeling particularly "in the chips", or there happens to be an interminable line everywhere I turn....maybe.  I mean seriously maybe.  They are too inconsistent, even the sausage patties are different every time.  Once, the cheese in my omelet had that musky "I'm not feeling so fresh" taste.  Maybe with Late Nite Pie succumbing to fire, they will get some two a.m. "I'm loaded, I'll eat what doesn't bite me first" crowd. 

Stick a spork in me...I'm done.