Thursday, July 24, 2014

Epazote Sherbet

Epazote is strong enough to power through a frozen application. It adds a flavor dimension that has no equal. Once you try it, you'll be addicted.

Epazote Orange Sherbet

Aside from the flavor depth that shines through, it's the seed texture that drives. I love the micro-bursts and did my best to get as much into the base as possible.

Epazote Seeds Sinking in Sherbet Base

The Needs
  • (2) 6" lengths of epazote cut from the top of a full plant 
  • Basic sherbet recipe and ingredients (I'm pretty sure it'll work with just about any fruit. Here's AB's recipe.)
  • Blender 
  • Coarse mesh strainer, standard should work, so epazote seeds will pass through
Infuse the Juice
  • Pull the epazote apart over the blender pitcher into short strands and drop them in
  • Pour the recipe required liquid juice over the epazote (If needed, add a portion of the milk.)
  • Blend on high until the epazote is fully incorporated/tiny bits
  • Strain the juice into a medium sized bowl
  • Use the back of a spoon to stir and smash the remaining epazote seeds through the strainer
  • Scrape the back of the strainer to get the stuck seeds into the juice 
  • Follow the recipe with the epazote mixture in place of the juice

If you'd like to see more sweet epazote ideas, read the Dulce de Epazote inception.

As always, stay inspired and keep the ideas bouncing.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Dulce de Epazote

I like to bring flavor discoveries to @meimeiboston to bounce ideas and experiment. I had been chewing on epazote every morning for a few days trying to decide what to do with it. I had savory on the brain until @jacquelinedole pointed us down a sweeter path.

Jacqueline's Blueberry Shortcake w/ Epazote Whipped Cream

What does epazote taste like? I find it hard to describe due to the complexity and prefer not to toss out words that would lead you in the wrong direction. I will tell you that it can be used to make tea. Just get some, taste it and understand why you can't live without it.

Sprigs of Backyard Epazote

One of our first thoughts was ice cream, but we weren't sure if the flavor would be muted. We both agreed that whipped cream was the way to go. I steeped two healthy 10" sprigs in one quart of cream to see how the flavor would take. After it came to room temperature, we tasted it. Simply amazing. It added wonderful depth to the rich dairy. By far, the best part was the flavor bursts of seeds and bits of buds. 

Epazote Suspended in Cream

I strained out the epazote while making sure the pops of flavor passed through and tasted the spent sprigs. They still had a good amount of flavor so down the waste not want not candied road we went. Jacqueline gave me the ratio using honey, but we couldn't find any. I happened upon some agave and couldn't have been happier.

Agave Candied Epazote & Bottom of the Pan Syrup
I added the epazote to the hot syrup and allowed it to cool for a bit. Then I pulled out the sprigs and arranged them on a wire rack. Of course, we had to taste the syrup. Freaking delicious! Soda was the next logical step. Jacqueline poured a lemon seltzer over ice and I stirred in the syrup. It was brilliant. Pulling out the carbonator and doing a proper soda is on our list.

Candied Epazote Syrup

  • (2) 10" long, healthy sized epazote sprigs
  • 1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 1/2 c agave syrup
  • 1/2 c water
  • Add everything except the epazote to a small pan
  • Heat at medium, stir until sugar dissolves then bring it to 230F
  • Remove the pan from the heat
  • Above the pan, pull the epazote branches off the main stem
  • Rub the epazote between your hands to release the buds and seeds into the pan
  • Put the epazote into the syrup and submerge
  • Allow it to cool to room temperature
  • Remove the epazote sprigs and set them on parchment or wax paper
  • Pour the syrup through a coarse mesh strainer to remove the remaining large bits and allow the flavor pops to pass
Only eat the buds and seeds off the candied epazote because the stems are pretty tough.

As always, stay inspired and keep the ideas bouncing.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Trail Mix Butter, The New PB&J

A month ago the idea of making trail mix butter popped into my head and I put it out there. @maxfalkowitz caught it and we bounced a few interesting ideas back and forth. The one that resonated with me was ice cream. Pure genius.

Trail Mix Butter Ice Cream with Honeycomb Candy & Smoked Molasses

Ok. What is this trail mix butter you speak of? It's simply processing your favorite snack combo of nuts, dried fruits and candy coated chocolate into a spread. However, the result is far from simple. The butter is a harmonious marriage of all the ingredients that's freaking delicious. A complex flavor bomb best described as peanut butter and jelly on crack.

Trail Mix Butter on Rye

Now that I had the key ingredient for the ice cream, I needed some guidance. I posted Max who supplied a few killer peanut butter ice cream recipe options. I figured all I had to do was swap out PB for TMB. The resulting frozen delight was amazing. The base was infused with every single flavor component of the trail mix. The tiny bits of dried fruit, peanut and candy were wonderful flavor and texture pops. After an overnight freeze, it had a nice soft serve consistency. Thinking less sugar on the next run to harden it up a bit.

Trail Mix Butter Ice Cream Churning

Trail Mix Butter (TMB)

  • 60g dried black mission figs
  • 60g flame raisins
  • 100g smoked dry roasted peanuts
  • 48g candy coated chocolates
  • 48g candy coated peanut butter pieces
Take all the above (or your favorite trail mix) and spin it in a food processor until you get a paste with tiny chunks. Reference the TMB on rye picture above. Yields more than the cup required for the ice cream.

Trail Mix Butter Ice Cream

As always, stay inspired and keep the ideas bouncing.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Hot Flame Raisin Clementine Bitters

I never miss an opportunity to char fruit over screaming hot coals after I'm done grilling. The caramelization and scorched bitter bits is an unforgettable combo. 

I saw clementines on the table and flamed citrus peel immediately came to mind. I started splitting them to put on the grill and saw a pint of flame raisins. Figuring raisins in clementine juice would bloom when intensely heated, I jammed one raisin into each segment of a few halves. Onto the grill they went.

Charred Flame Raisin Packed Clementines

Success! I ate one skin and all. It was a killer complex combination of flavors and textures. The raisins transformed into bursts of jelly and the skin tasted like smoky orange bitters. It was so good I couldn't help but bang out a cocktail. I grabbed the Boston shaker and muddled a packed clementine into a Negroni. Strained it into a glass of ice, added a touch of seltzer and kicked back to enjoy.

So the next time your grill is still hot, go ahead and put any fruit on and taste what happens.

As always, stay inspired and keep the ideas bouncing.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Charred Oak Barrel Seasoned Steak

I recently received a generous gift of vinegar barrel shavings thanks to @r8cheljane and @minus8vinegar. I've been brainstorming ideas on how to use them. Smoking was too obvious...

I love direct contact coal roasting after all is said and done with a grilling/smoking run. Nothing beats tossing root vegetables on, shutting the cover and harvesting deliciousness the next day. However, it sacrifices a significant amount of the product, which gets incinerated. Then I thought why not use the shavings as a sacrificial insulator? I was sure it would provide wood fired flavor to boot.

Oak Barrel Shaving Pressed Sirloin

I pulled a sirloin tip directly out of a marinate and pressed oak shavings as if I was breading. The wet coating was enough to adhere and soak the wood. I placed the steak directly on hardwood coals for 4 minutes, flipping every minute.

 Charred Wood Shaving Steak Tip

The result yielded flavors of a wood fired steak with hints of smoke. It was pretty easy to get the charred shavings off. A traditional wood grilled crust didn't happen and that's okay. This method has serious potential and deserves further investigation.

As always, hope you're inspired to create and keep the ideas bouncing.