Ashker’s Scoops Up Youngstown Love

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I wanted to have a cone and watch the sunset at the river.

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Ashker’s is a great soda fountain in our quaint village!

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Alex, a rising junior at Lew-Port, has been scooping ice cream for about a month now. I couldn’t decide and asked her about a double dip but in a small cone. She offered to give me two half scoops!

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Alex, I’m your forever fan.

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Olive Oil Ice Cream, Seriously!

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Do you remember last summer when I attempted sweet corn ice cream and it was an epic fail? It failed for several reasons. I think I overcooked the custard and I made a huge error stopping the churn to add the thick batter.

When you stop a churn there is no starting it again until the chamber melts because it is literally frozen solid. Last week I was at D’Avolio stocking up on some olive oil and vinegar and store assistant Karen and I brainstormed about fun ways to use their products.

She showed me a recipe online (linked here) http://desertcandy.blogspot.com/2007/08/day-12-olive-oil-ice-cream.html and I decided to redeem myself. The first thing I did was decide on which olive oil flavor to use. The possibilities are endless but I finally choose blood orange extra virgin olive oil because I hoped it would taste like gelato, the single best thing I ate in Italy (and that’s saying something).

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This recipe calls for whole milk, heavy cream, extra virgin olive oil, sugar, egg yokes and a dash of sea salt. I followed it religiously but can already think of ways to change it up.

I normally like smooth ice cream but bits of orange peel folded in at the end would be great with this oil.

I am going to make lemon next and add the candied lemon peel I made from the peels I used to make lemoncino (clever, no?).

20120611-192128.jpgTo begin the process you make the custard by heating the milk and tempering the eggs. This method assures you do not have scrambled eggs rather than smooth custard.

This part requires the most concentration and you have to enter the kitchen bubble to stay focused.

There are several secrets I can share with you.

First, you know when the milk is ready to temper the eggs (when you add a little very warm milk to the egg yokes to get them used to the heat) when you stick a clean finger into the milk and it feels very warm but not hot that it hurts.

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Next, when you add the tempered yoke mixture into the pan, whisk vigorously.

Last, and this is most challenging for me, use low heat. With low heat you can see the mixture thicken before it boils.

Do not boil it because you change the chemistry and the ice cream will not freeze. You end up with pudding … not the goal. This can take 20 to 25 minutes of constant stirring so patience is truly a virtue.

After the custard is prepared you pour it through a mesh sieve into a bowl that contains the heavy cream.

The custard gets mixed with the cream and the olive oil is whisked in.

That’s it.

I put it in the refrigerator to chill overnight and churned it in the morning.

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The mixture was thick but realitively easy to get the batter into the vessel without stopping it.

This recipe could be doubled because my ice cream maker can make up to a half gallon and this recipe froze to one quart.

That is a lot of time for one quart but … was it ever worth it!

This is the most delicious ice cream I have ever made.
To give you an idea of how good it is, since writing this column there are four spoons in the sink from tasting.

Give this one a try and let me know how it turns out.

Have a yummy week!

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Sweet corn ice cream — a Foodie fail

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The Foodie:

I once heard a celebrity chef say “in zee keechen, vee eat owa meestakes.”
Over the last few weeks I’ve heard about sweet corn ice cream several times, once on a morning show, once online and again on my favorite satellite radio show. With the abundance of the best corn in the world right around the corner (literally, in this case), I decided to use a lazy Sunday (normally an oxymoron) to branch out into the use of a vegetable in ice cream.

How bad could it be? I love ice cream and I love corn. I have combined much more diverse foods before with grand success (egg salad and sweet pickle relish, espresso and chili) so, what the heck!

I make a simple ice cream with two cups heavy cream, two cups half and half, good vanilla (let’s talk about good vanilla soon, ok?) and a can of sweet condensed milk. Forty five minutes of a slow churn in my Kitchen Aid ice cream maker and you’ve got a nice dessert.

The sweet corn recipe called for heavy cream, milk, corn, egg yolks and sugar … simple enough. My first veer off the road was the milk. I purchased half and half and decided not to go back to the store. This may have been mistake No. 1.

I sliced the corn off each cob and boiled both corn and cob in the cream mixture along with some of the sugar. I then used my immersion blender (a tool I have fallen in love with) and let the mixture steep for an hour. I was very careful to follow the recipe except I added vanilla because I thought it needed it. This could have been mistake No. 2.

Next, I put the mixture back on the stove to bring back to a boil while whisking nine egg yolks and the remaining sugar. I tempered the eggs by adding a little of the hot cream/corn mixture while whisking very quickly to avoid making scrambled eggs. The custard was still looking good as there was no separation. I added the yolk mixture into the pot and whisked for about 10 minutes until the mixture looked thick and coated the spoon. I passed the entire mixture through a sieve and put the custard into the refrigerator for at least four hours.

Four hours later, I was asleep so letting it chill overnight seemed like a good plan.

The next morning I set up my ice cream maker by inserting the moving paddle and securing it to my stand mixer. Now for mistake No. 3 (and this was the fatal error) of adventures of frozen custard. The mixer instructions are very clear about never stopping the churning until the ice cream is completely churned. I have made at least 50 half-gallons of ice cream and never had a problem but this custard mixture was so thick I was having a hard time getting it into the freezing cylinder.

What did I do? Youbetcha, I stopped the machine and scooped the remainder of the custard into the freezer. And, that’s all she wrote. Frozen solid, the machine making a funky sound and my hours of work simply vanished.

Later, when I could get the churn to move I let it churn again. However, the damage was done. I put it in the freezer and tasted it once it froze solid (and solid it did become because when you do not add the air to the mixture the custard becomes like an ice cube rather than smooth and creamy).

I must tell you, the flavor is spectacular but the consistency is unpleasant. Because it did not churn, there is a milk fat solid feeling on the roof of your mouth (like when you eat butter, don’t even pretend you have never eaten butter) so I only have a spoon at a time (it will take some time to eat ma meestake).

I intend to give this another try and I’ll let you know if I ever get a good final product. If you have ever eaten sweet corn ice cream or know a good recipe I would welcome the dialogue.

When Publisher Tim Schmitt invited me to be a food and wine columnist for http://www.BelowTheFalls.com, I was flattered and nervous. Certainly he knew my degree was in accounting and my experience was sport management?

Not to worry because he apparently wanted my enthusiasm, not my expertise.

Enthusiasm he got … experience, not so much!