Tuesday, April 03, 2007

More Ice Cream, a Farmers' Market, a Craft Show and my first roasted chicken.

Phew! That's a lot of food related events for one long weekend.

The ice creams were a caramel and a mocha almond. I blame my own cowardice for the failure of the caramel. First I was worried about burning the sugar so I didn't cook it long enough to get that rich caramel taste. Then I was fearful with the salt and didn't end up with enough of a contrast. So end the end, it was just...nice. Creamy and sweet and a little too similar to the maple ice cream of yesterday.

Second came the mocha almond. I modified a chocolate ice cream recipe which used cocoa and melted chocolate and against my better judgement, I kept the cocoa and replaced the chocolate with espresso. Next time, I'd keep the chocolate and replace the cocoa, with a little less espresso. It was still good, but had a slightly granular texture.

I just got the Williams Sonoma ice cream book out of the library today and can't wait to try some of their recipes. Once I've mastered the basics and succeed at creating some of my own flavours, I'll post the recipes. Next is honey-pecan.

On Thursday I went to the Dufferin Grove Park farmers' market. It's the lowest point of the farm season so I can't really judge by this visit, but I still enjoyed it. There were about 11 vendors there and everyone was really freindly and happy to talk about what they were selling. I bought some wildflower honey, sheep's milk camembert, veggie spring rolls, and a fresh baked whole wheat lemon-thyme bread. The cheese was a little sharper than I like my camembert, but it went beautifully when combined with the honey.

On Saturday, I went to the One of a Kind craft show. I had no idea there was so much great food-related material there! I tried dozens of samples and came home with rhubarb-fig and ginger jams, an Indian spice mix and cookbook (which I'll write more about when I've had a chance to try it out) and some dark, amber maple syrup (which I am so excited to bake with - it's got so much more flavour than the light maple syrup I've been using!). My obsession with food is finding new places to manifest itself. A craft show- who knew? And it was quite inspiring seeing what was for sale at all the booths - while it looked delicious, I found myself frequently saying "I could do that!".

On Sunday I was having company for dinner so I decided to try out a recipe from the Barefoot in Paris cookbook. The recipe was for lemon-stuffed roasted chicken. I have never before roasted a chicken, so I was a little concerned about how it would turn out but it couldn't have been easier. I used the leftover lemon-thyme bread to make croutons and they went perectly.
For dessert, I came up with some easy variations on the ice creams I had already made. I used store-bought shortbread cookies and made a sandwich with the blueberry ice cream, topped it with an italian meringue and carmelized it with my kitchen torch. The carmel ice cream went well with tarts I made from the fig-rhubabrb jam from the craft show. And some maple syrup boosted the flavour in my maple ice cream. Delicious, but too much food! I always over-feed my guests. It's something I'd like to master, but for now, better too much than too little.