Sunday, March 18, 2007

An Appetizing End to an Unappetizing Week

If you haven’t already noticed, I have been more than lax with my posting this past week. You may think that, because of the pleasantly deceiving warm weather in the past few days, I no longer care. You may even believe that there have been many appetizing events in my week that I have mischievously decided not to tell you about. On both counts I assure you, I am innocent. The unfortunate reality is that it has been an extremely unappetizing week, spent focusing on potentially hazardous food, and the 6 favorable conditions that help incubate the bacteria and viruses that cause about a trillion different foodborne illnesses. Fun huh?

The goal was to obtain my Food Safety Certificate - one in about a thousand steps I must take in order to open my desired Peasant Ice Cream Factory. And so, with the sun glistening outside the classroom window, it has been my plight to study quit a few of these foodborne illnesses (yuck), the kinds of havoc they wreak on the body (double yuck), and what I can do in the kitchen to prevent them from occurring (no objections here.) To be honest with you, the course has been unusually interesting and, well, alarmingly informative. In fact, all this talk about bacteria, hazards, toxins, botulism, and parasites has had me considering quitting the whole ice cream biz in order to wage a full-on war against the devilishly sinister microorganisms. It would seem almost immoral to dedicate my life to the production wonderfully flavored ice cream while bacteria were still being allowed to multiply two-fold every 20-30 min under favorable and encouraging conditions.

Friday, as I walked proudly out the front door of the Health Department certificate in hand, I briefly imagined a life clouded by the smell of sanitizing solution. Would I become accustomed to the scratching sound of the scrub brush against eternally mold collecting tiles? Would it be enough to mop the kitchen floor four times a day? Would I have the strength and will power to walk into a restaurant and order my steak (I clear my throat in order to whisper), well done? On second thought, maybe spending my time inventing creamy treats would prove more rewarding, if not less… dry.

When I got home the first thing I did was to hang up in the kitchen my newly acquired certificate, then I spent the next two hours cleaning and sanitizing - just because have decided not to dedicate my life to the termination of micros, does not mean I can’t dedicate two hours to it. With my kitchen sparkling and the snow falling heavily outside, I decided it was time to brave the battlefield of germs in order to end my week on an appetizing note.

Mango chili and Lime Ice Cream

2 mangoes
4 egg yolks
1/3 cup - sugar
Splash of rose water syrup
13/4 cup - milk
1/2 cup - heavy cream
1 tbsp – Limejuice
1tsp - cayenne

  • 1.) In blender or food processor, puree mangoes with limejuice, them pass through sieve and set aside.
  • 2.) Beat together eggs and sugar until thick. It should have a lemony color.
  • 3.) In a medium pot, heat milk and cream on stovetop, until almost boiling. DO NOT BOIL. Remove from burner and let stand for one min.
  • 4.) Add 1/2 cup of the hot milk mixture to the egg mixture. Mix thoroughly before adding the next 1/2-cup. Continue until half the milk mixture is incorporated into the egg mixture. Slowly add the egg mixture back to the milk mixture whisking it by hand as you go.
  • 5.) Heat the mixture on a very low heat whisking constantly (my mother says to whisk as though your life depends on it) by hand until the liquid coats the back of a wooden spoon.
  • 6.) Remove from heat and pour through sieve. Place mixture over an ice bath, stirring occasionally. Once cooled add the mango puree and cayenne.
  • 7.) Let mixture sit in refrigerator overnight before freezing in ice cream machine.

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