Cooking with Jason

Saturday, July 29, 2006

The Great Ice Cream Experiment

As I'm not starting school for quite awhile now, we're going to head off in a completely different direction.

My son Luke is allergic to eggs. We unfortunately discovered this the hard way, when I baked him a cake (from scratch, of course, including buttercream frosting) for his first birthday last year. It had been my idea to bake him a different kind of cake every year, getting fancier and fancier each time, in order to keep up on my dessert skills. No matter -- instead of cakes, I'll make him pies, tarts, and so on.

But what to do about ice cream? I love making my own at home, but all those egg yolks won't work for Luke. So no homemade ice cream. Or so I thought... turns out there's "Philadelphia-style" ice cream, made without eggs (or cooking, for that matter).

All that in mind, I began my quest today to create the best eggless ice cream I possibly can. I'm starting with a recipe I found online but will adjust from there until I develop the perfect base (that means nothing but vanilla for now -- without a good base, you can forget about making good ice cream).

The "control" recipe can be found here. I scaled it back a bit both due to the contraits of my ice cream maker and because I don't want a gallon in case it's no good. The only other change I made was heating the dairy on the stove slightly to help the sugar dissolve. The mix is cooling, and once it's chilled, it'll go into the machine.

This recipe is pretty simple: heavy cream, half-and-half, sugar, vanilla extract, a pinch of salt. Moving forward, I'd like to experiment with things like sweetened condensed milk, powdered sugar, and instant vanilla pudding. I'm also not happy about using vanilla extract, but I didn't have a vanilla bean handy.

Anyway, check back in for report on the final product.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Heed the call

Two interesting phone calls this week.

The first was from Cascadia Restaurant, on Thursday while I was on my way to the airport. They're looking to fill a position in the kitchen, were going through some old resumes, and were wondering if I was still looking for something. Cascadia was actually my first choice for externship originally, but I never heard from them and of course took a position at Canlis instead. In any event, I told the guy I had only been looking for an externship position and was now back at school. He seemed disappointed when I told him I wouldn't be finished until February, but he said he'd keep me on file.

The second came on Monday--Chef Aaron from Canlis. Due to some unfortunate and unforeseen circumstances, they've found themselves temporarily short in the kitchen... would I like to work my old station for a few days? So I'm working three nights, starting tonight, back on good old Vegetable and Saucier station. I'm a bit nervous, seeing how I haven't cooked for two months, but I think it'll be fine once I get back in the swing of things. And at least I'm starting on Thursday instead of Saturday, when it'll be really busy.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Home stretch

Two finals Wednesday: Cost Control and Nutrition.
Two finals Thursday: Management and Menu Development.
Also, final project for Menu Developement (sales projections and labor schedule for my fictional restaurant, Nosh) due on Thursday.

Then, Thursday night, the best part of the week--my flight back to Seattle. I've also officially pulled out of next block (I was scheduled to being Baking and Pastry on August 1st) in order to be home longer after the baby is born. For the moment I'm set to resume school one block later on the 21st, but that could potentially be pushed three weeks later depending on when the doctors give the OK for mother and baby to fly.

Happy Fourth everyone.