Thursday, February 25, 2010

Ice Cream - America's Next Tough Model

There’s nothing sweet about photographing ice cream. Michael Ray, a professional food photographer, says ice cream and “pizza pulls” when a hot slice is pulled from a pie are the toughest models to shoot. Ice cream melts quickly and the cheese from a pizza can get real stringy, so both are very stubborn subjects.

Ray says food photography is much harder than it looks. Getting a good picture can take all day, as stylists are constantly rearranging props and dishes during a shoot. “Meticulous lighting” is also crucial.

Though he enjoys shooting steak, lobster, or scallops – especially if there are leftovers – Ray tries not to eat on the job. He once unknowingly ate a handful of grapes on set that were sprayed with crystal clear lacquer for shine. It took him hours to get the nasty taste out of his mouth and now he’s much more careful about nibbling on his models in the middle of work.
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Monday, February 22, 2010

Ben & Jerry's ice cream chief leaving

The chief executive officer of Ben & Jerry's ice cream is leaving his post at the end of next month. The South Burlington-based unit of Europe's Unilever said Walt Freese wants to pursue other "values-led business and investment opportunities."

Freese joined Ben & Jerry's and parent Unilever eight years ago. The company says Freese has been instrumental in returning Ben & Jerry's to its heritage of leadership in progressive social and environmental values. Ben & Jerry's is known for its quirky flavors and support for social causes.
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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Gourmet Yourself - Easy As Pie

We’re gonna let you in on a little secret. Pre-made pie crust is a common sight in kitchens around the holidays, but this inexpensive staple can be a life-saver all year ‘round.

We’ve always got a box or two on hand for nights when ordering in just won't cut it, and with a few easy tips, no one will know you weren’t kneading and rolling all day.

From impressive desserts cute enough for company to quick-and-easy crowd-pleasers, we’ve got quite a few tricks up our sleeve. Keep in mind, however, that we’re working with refrigerated dough – frozen pie shells need not apply.This recipe yields six spicy beef and potato pockets. Don’t forget to serve with plenty of salsa!

1. Warm a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the following and toss to combine:
½ lb. ground beef
; 1 medium onion, finely diced
; 2 cloves garlic, minced
; 1 medium russet potato, peeled and finely diced

2. When beef has browned and veggies have softened, add 1-2 teaspoons of chili powder and salt and pepper to taste. Cover and cook 10 minutes over low heat, stirring often.

3. Set beef mixture aside to cool completely. Divide two rounds of prepared pie crust into three triangular sections each (think peace signs). Fill each section with two rounded teaspoons of beef mixture, mounding the filling slightly off-center. Fold each section in half and crimp with a fork at the edges to seal.

4. Preheat oven to 375° and slice two vents in the top of each empanada. Beat one egg with a teaspoon of water and brush this mixture over the empanadas, then bake on a parchment-lined sheet for 20 minutes or until lightly golden.

Time-Crunch Turnovers

If you like, drizzle these individual desserts with a quick icing of two cups powdered sugar whisked with ¼ cup milk.

1. Using method described in empanada recipe above, divide two rounds of prepared pie crust into three sections each.

2. Fill with desired prepared fruit filling and seal, vent and egg wash as described above.

3. Preheat oven to 375°, sprinkle turnovers with granulated sugar and bake for 20 or until lightly golden.

Simple Cinnamon Pinwheels

This one’s so simple, you don’t even need a recipe!

Just combine three teaspoons each brown and granulated sugar with a dash of cinnamon and spread the mixture evenly across an unrolled round of pie crust. Roll back into its original shape and slice into thin discs, discarding ends. Brush each disk lightly with melted butter and bake at 350° for 13-15 minutes.

One crust yields about 16 pinwheels. Serve over ice cream and a warm mug of coffee.
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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ice Cream Makers Embracing Their Soft Side

When Jennie Dundas and Alexis Miesen opened Blue Marble, a shop selling homemade ice cream on Atlantic Avenue in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn, back in 2007, their checklist included organic ingredients, 16 percent butterfat and a child-friendly setting.

Soft-serve ice cream was not in the picture there or at their second shop, in Prospect Heights. “It didn’t seem to have a quality connotation,” Ms. Dundas said. Then she tasted the version that Billy Barlow was churning out at Bonita, in Fort Greene, which has since closed.

With Mr. Barlow, Ms. Dundas’s boyfriend, as an unofficial consultant, Blue Marble has introduced soft serve at its newest shop, in Cobble Hill. Creamy, crenelated pinnacles.

In bright vanilla, deep chocolate or a swirl of both, are lower in butterfat (10 percent) than the shop’s regular ice cream so that they can be churned from the machine. The ice cream is eggless but has some organic soy lecithin as a stabilizer. Chocolate nibs from Nunu Chocolates in Boerum Hill are an optional topping.
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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Frozen yogurt trend hits Fort Worth

The frozen yogurt trend is steadily spreading across Fort Worth and gathering a wide consumer base that some attribute to health benefits. Zac Fowler, vice president of marketing for the upcoming Yo! Frozen Yogurt Lounge, said today's frozen yogurt is a healthy alternative to ice cream because of its lower fat content, making it different than the frozen yogurt of the 1980s.

"We are really pushing the healthy aspects of frozen yogurt," Fowler said. "Not only is it better for you than ice cream, but there are proven health benefits to eating yogurts, from probiotics to calcium." Fowler said the frozen yogurt trend started along the West Coast, then jumped to New York. Dallas is probably the third major metropolitan area where it has really taken off, he said.

Since 2008, four frozen yogurt businesses have opened near the university.

Fowler said Yo! Frozen Yogurt Lounge is scheduled to open the second week of March on University Drive next door to Buffalo Bros.

Yakin Choi, co-owner of Yogolait on Hulen Street, said the decision to open a frozen yogurt business in Fort Worth was made because of the popularity of such stores on the West Coast and in New York.

Fowler said frozen yogurt sellers often market to people who are concerned with what they eat, enjoy exercise and are looking out for their general well-being. College students are the ideal target market for the shop, he said, because people ages 18 to 25 are generally concerned with what they eat.

Seon Choi, co-owner of Yogolait, said frozen yogurt has fewer calories than ice cream and is also lower in cholesterol and fat. Customers can choose the fruit that is included, she said.

Stephanie Dickerson, a nutrition counselor for Dining Services, said frozen yogurt is a good choice in moderation, but consumers should limit their portion sizes.

"If you add all of the toppings it can be as dangerous as ice cream," she said.

Carolyn Hunt, a senior social work major, said her favorite thing about frozen yogurt is its similarity to ice cream. Hunt said she eats a couple of times a month at Menchies Frozen Yogurt, a self-service frozen yogurt and toppings shop located in University Park Village on South University Drive.

"It is like eating ice cream, but I feel like it is more healthy for me," Hunt said.
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Friday, February 12, 2010

Desserts that fall from the sky

Riding the MARC train to Baltimore a day before last week's blizzard, I overheard two older women reminiscing about snow cream. I hadn't thought about it in years, but a murky memory surfaced of crumbly, sweetened snow accompanied by supreme excitement.

It is a child's winter novelty, the stuff of snow days, reloading after a snowball fight and impatiently watching flakes accumulate in a bowl my mother had set outside.

Making snow cream couldn't be simpler: Mix together freshly fallen snow; milk, cream, or condensed milk; sugar; and vanilla. (Some recipes call for the addition of whole raw eggs, making the snow cream custardy.) This homemade cousin of slushies, shaved ice and sorbet might not dazzle the palate, but it is a low-budget, traditional treat of the Mid-Atlantic.

Snow cream probably is cherished in this region because snowstorms here are rare and thrilling events (though Snowmaggedon might have forever changed that).

North Carolinians, in particular, seem to have a rich tradition of making snow cream: A recent request for recipes from a Raleigh news station prompted 23 responses. The recipes were largely similar, with the occasional variation, such as the addition of vanilla pudding.

Chloe Tuttle, an innkeeper in Williamston, N.C., a town that's lucky to get one snowfall a year, considers snow cream a peak pleasure of the winter season.

"As a child we would freeze big buckets of the stuff and eat it all through the year," Tuttle says. Her mother's recipe called for whole cream and "soft snow, the stuff you find after you scrape off the crusty top."

Beyond snow cream, snow has inspired confectioners for centuries.

Jeri Quinzio, author of "Of Sugar and Snow: A History of Ice Cream Making," says the first people who made ice cream used snow to freeze the cream. The Chinese, Iraqis and Persians might have been tinkering with various combinations of snow, ice and sweeteners for millennia. Meanwhile, cream-based desserts called snows were quite fashionable in Europe: In the 15th and 16th centuries, the French and British elites indulged in snow desserts heavy on cream and stabilized with egg whites, Quinzio says. A British recipe for "snow creams" from 1672 calls for a spoonful or two of rosewater to flavor the whipped mound.

In the 17th century, Quinzio notes, members of the Neapolitan aristocracy sent their servants into the Alps laden with large chests to collect snow, which was then soaked in wine and decorated with fruit and fennel.

Back in the New World, Native Americans were sweetening snow with maple sugar, according to a history of candy written by Ruth Freeman Swain. And Canadians say they have long poured hot maple syrup onto snow to create sticky maple toffee.

Over time, various regions of the United States developed their own combinations of sugar and ice, some of it unrelated to snow. In Hawaii's shave ice and New Orleans' snoballs, fruit-flavored syrups with a walloping concentration of sugar are the sweetener of choice.

Washington cookbook author and pastry chef David Guas says the snoball earned its place among New Orleans' culinary traditions during the Great Depression, when the Hansen family developed a machine to thinly and cleanly shave large blocks of ice, a naturally refreshing diversion from the heat. Today a variety of snoball stands in New Orleans compete for customers, each boasting ice as thin as paper, gilded with the freshest, most creative syrup flavors.

Guas, author of "Damgoodsweet," about New Orleans desserts, says he has ordered a customized ice-shaving machine that he hopes to use at a future bakery in Northern Virginia. In the meantime, he says, he is unlikely to use snow because the texture can't compete with the lightness of shaved ice. But for home cooks who'd like to experiment with a Washington-New Orleans snoball hybrid made with local snow, Guas recommends an all-natural syrup made from frozen fruit, such as strawberry, raspberry or blueberry.
"I put the fruit in a heatproof bowl, add sugar and cover with Saran wrap," Guas says. "Then I place it over a double boiler on low heat to draw all the juice, and it mixes with sugar and makes wonderful flavored syrup with an intense berry flavor."

But back to snow cream, and eavesdropping on the MARC. The two women I heard talking about it had raised a key question: Is the snow today worthy of snow cream? In other words, is it a good idea to make snow cream in an age of air pollution and excessive urban grit?

To answer the question, I conducted a thoroughly unscientific study and then consulted a few experts on snow quality and environmental health. First, I collected four samples of snow in plastic bags from sites near my home in Columbia Heights, melted them and checked for visible particles. Aside from a few tiny whitish blobs, the melted snow looked clean enough (though it did have a slight chemical taste).

David Arnold, acting director of the regional air protection division of the Environmental Protection Agency, says snow could pick up particles, byproducts of the combustion fossil fuels from power plants or vehicles, on its way to Earth.

"Sulfate or nitrate particles might give it a weird taste," Arnold says. "But they're usually in low concentrations. We worry about inhaling them but not ingesting them." The EPA does caution that melted snow should not be substituted for drinking water and that snow should not be consumed in large quantities.

John Groopman, professor of environmental health sciences at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, frowns on eating snow because of what the snow might pick up on the ground. "You would not drink from a water puddle on the sidewalk, so why would you want to eat snow from the same source?" Groopman asks.

Yet big snowstorms do yield snowdrifts reaching far above the street. And some snow cream devotees contend that the snow gets cleaner the longer it snows. Experts say there could be some truth to that idea.

Russell Dickerson, professor of atmospheric and oceanic science at the University of Maryland, College Park, says the first few inches of falling snow capture most of the pollutants in the air, and anything falling after that should be clean. Moreover, he says, if a snowstorm keeps vehicles off the road, that means lower emissions to pollute the air and snow.If that's the case, and we keep getting pounded by blizzards, this may be the best winter in years for snow cream.
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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Ice cream vendor says business has taken a licking

When ice cream salesman Mario Loscerbo heard the Olympic Athlete's Village was going up across the street from his business, he thought it was a great opportunity. "The city of Vancouver told me that I will cash in during the Olympics.

As soon as the athletes arrive you'll see the buzz," he said. But with only days to go before the Games kick off, Mario's Gelati sits empty. "No sales all day today, since 8 o clock this morning," he told CTV News. Loscerbo's store sits behind a mess of fences and concrete blocks. He says he has lost $1 million in sales, and he wants compensation from the city, VANOC and the RCMP. He is threatening legal action.

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson wouldn't comment on camera Tuesday but city staff told CTV News they have tried to make amends. They say they have put up signs to let visitors know Mario's Gelati is open for business. The signs are similar to the ones that pushed visitors to businesses along Cambie Street during the construction of the Canada Line.

One merchant who lost business sued the Canada Line project and won a $600,000 judgment. Others are hoping for a victory in a class-action suit that was certified this week. Lawyer Mike Thomas says the Canada Line case means Loscerbo's suit could have merit.
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Friday, February 5, 2010

Celebrate World Nutella Day with this Nutella Icea Cream recipe

Did you know that today is World Nutella Day? Did you even know that there was a World Nutella Day? Well, there is and today is it! Since its first appearance on the culinary scene in the 1940’s, Nutella has become much more than a popular after-school snack. It is literally a cultural and social phenomenon, not only in its native country, Italy, but all the world over.

Nutella is marketed in over seventy-five countries across the globe, and outsells all brands of peanut butter combined worldwide. So, what better way to commemorate its success than to give it its own special holiday! World Nutella Day was created in 2007 by Sara Rosso, an American writer living in Italy, and is currently co-hosted by Sara and Michelle Fabio, another American writer living in Italy.

And, today, February 5, 2010, Nutella fans around the world will once again celebrate their love for the chocolate-hazelnut spread for the 4th annual World Nutella Day. For the past four years, Sara and Michelle have joined with thousands of Nutella fans from all over the world to get creative and showcase the wonders of Nutella. They even have a Facebook page dedicated to it! I love Nutella! And, I’ve been enjoying it for as long as I can remember. As a kid, while all of my friends were bringing PB&J sandwiches to school for lunch, I was munching on Nutella sandwiches. Sometimes all by itself, sometimes with bananas, and sometimes with another favorite – marshmallow fluff! The other kids didn’t know what to make of my “chocolate sandwiches”. They’d never seen Nutella before.

It was pretty much unheard of in this sleepy little Florida town way back in the 70’s. My mother used to have relatives ship it down to us or bring some when they came to visit from up north. Fortunately, all of that has changed, and we can now find this luscious, creamy chocolate-hazelnut spread hanging out right next to the peanut butter in Publix.Even though I’m all grown-up now, I still never miss an excuse to eat Nutella in any way, shape or form – although my favorite way is still right out of the jar.

And, because I am a grown up, I get to do just that. My house, my rules!It’s always fun to come up with new ways to use this wonderful product! Although I have numerous Nutella recipes in my culinary arsenal, I’m going to keep it simple and share with you the most popular way to enjoy Nutella at my house – Nutella Ice If you love Nutella, you really owe it to yourself to try this. Rich, dense and impossibly creamy, this chocolatey frozen wonder is like crack in a bowl! Plus, it’s ridiculously easy to make! Trust me. After you try this stuff, you’ll be naming your firstborn children after me!Super Simple Nutella Ice Cream (adapted from Chocolate and Zucchini)


1 1/2 cups (12 1/3 ounces or 350 grams) Nutella

1 1/2 cups + 1 tablespoon (14 1/2 ounces or 380 ml) evaporated milk


1. Pre-freeze the bowl of your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

2. Combine the chocolate hazelnut spread and the evaporated milk in a medium mixing bowl and microwave together for 30 seconds to 1 minute. You just want to warm them up a little to make the mixture easier to blend. With an electric mixer or hand blender, blend until the mixture is completely smooth and homogeneous.

3. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled. Whisk again and churn in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

4. Put in an airtight freezer-safe container and freeze until ice cream reaches your desired consistency.
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Monday, February 1, 2010

Easy Snow Cream Recipe | How To Make Snow Ice Cream

One of the best things about winter is that you can make some snow ice cream.

For those who are wondering how you can make snow ice cream, below is an easy snow cream recipe.

What you will need is a large pan of full clean new fallen snow. A cup of cream, some vanilla and granulated sugar.

Fruits and other toppings such as cornflakes are optional.What you do is you basically mix the cream and vanilla together.

Then you should layer the snow in a chilled bowl, alternating with the sugar and snow. Then add the flavored cream on top and fold the snow carefully. Don’t let the cream drain to the bottom and just continue folding until all is mixed well. Include your favorite fruits and toppings in the end. Then serve immediately.
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