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TIP OF THE DAY: Chocolate Ice Cubes In Vanilla Milk Or Cocktails

Today’s tip might be a natural for Valentine’s Day, but we like it even more for the cold drinks of summer.

These chocolate ice cubes are the brainchild of the Parisian chocolatier Jean-Paul Hévin.

His Summer Chocolate Ice Cubes are simply a chocolate ice cream recipe that gets poured into ice cube trays instead of an ice cream churn. Why didn’t we think of this years ago?

While M. Hévin’s recipe is for a family-friendly, gourmet chocolate milk drink, you can also use the chocolate ice cubes in cocktails or with liqueurs.

They keep your drinks cold, as they add chocolate flavor by slowly melting. Use them:

  • In regular drinks: Iced coffee, an egg cream, an ice cream soda, or a simple glass of…regular or chocolate milk.
  • In cocktails: Black Russian/White Russian, Chocolate Martini, Coffee Martini, Grasshopper, etc.
  • With liqueurs: Add to a rocks glass of chocolate, coffee or Irish cream liqueur.
  •  
    RECIPE: CHOCOLATE ICE CUBES & VANILLA MILK

    The recipe makes enough for one ice cube tray: cubes for 6 rocks glasses or 4 highball glasses. While it goes without saying, we’ll say it: Make the ice cubes 6 hours before you plan to use them, or the night before.

    The vanilla milk also needs to chill for several hours. You can make the entire recipe the night before.

    You can also enhance the flavor with chocolate-friendly seasonings: cayenne pepper, cinnamon, instant coffee, nutmeg, etc.

  • Add a teaspoon of spice to the ice cream mix.
  • Mix the spice with coarse/decorating/sanding/sparkling sugar for a sugar rim.
  •  
    Hévin’s recipe starts with his homemade ice cream, which is poured into ice cube trays instead of churned into ice cream.

    We used Lactaid milk so that all of our crowd, including the lactose sensitive, could have them. Lactose-free milk is virtually like regular milk, but the lactose (milk sugar) that is hard for some people to digest has been de-activated. All the Lactaid products (cottage cheese, ice cream, holiday egg nog) are delish!
     
    Ingredients For The Chocolate Ice Cream

  • 6.8 ounces/200ml milk
  • 3.5 tablespoons/50ml water
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Optional: 1 cup of instant coffee (prepared, not granules)
  • 70g of 66% cacao dark chocolate
  •  
    For The Vanilla Milk

  • 2.5 cups/600ml whole milk
  • 1/4 cup/60g sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean
  •  
    Optional

  • Liqueur of choice
  • Straws for tall glasses
  • Sugar, spiced sugar or cocoa mix rim (use sparkling sugar/decorating sugar
  • Whipped cream
  •  
    Preparation

    1. CHOP the chocolate finely and place it in a heat-resistant bowl.

    2. COMBINE the milk and water in a saucepan. Add the sugar, cocoa and coffee and mix thoroughly to avoid lumps. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Then…

     

    Chocolate Ice Cubes

    Chocolate Ice Cubes

    Milk With Cocoa Rim

    A tall glass with chocolate ice cubes, and [2] wioth the vanilla milk added (photo courtesy Nordljus). [3] How about a Black or White Russian in this rocks glass (photo courtesy Ellen Fork). [4] Who won’t drink milk with chocolate ice cubes and a cocoa powder rim (photo courtesy Oxmoor House)?

     
    3. REMOVE from the heat and pour over the chocolate. Let it melt for 5 minutes; then gently mix with a wooden spoon until it is smooth and creamy. Allow to cool, pour into an ice cube tray and freeze.

    4. MAKE the vanilla milk. Pour the milk into a large saucepan, add the sugar and mix to dissolve.

    5. SCRAPE the vanilla bean and add the beans and pod to the pan. Bring to a boil over medium heat and remove from heat. Allow to cool; then refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

    6. TO SERVE: Place the chocolate ice cubes in the glasses (depending on the size of the glasses 3 to 4 ice cubes) then pour over the milk to the cold vanilla.
     
     
    This recipe by Jean-Paul Hévin appeared in the Elle à Table and appeared on Nordljus.com. We can across it on Sandra Kavital | Blogspot. Thanks also to Keiko of Nordljus.

      

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    FOOD FUN: Lumberjack Cake

    This impressive Lumberjack Cake was created by Elizabeth Marek of Artisan Cake Company of Portland, Oregon, and author of Visual Guide to Cake Decorating.

    Another of her works of art is the Lumberjack Cake, inspired by her husband, who chopped down their Christmas tree in a lumberjack jacket.

    Jenny Keller of Jenny Cookies Bakeshop in Lake Stevens, Washington took up the cause and created an entire lumberjack party.

    Every part of the cake is edible: The bark is made from chocolate, the axe is made from fondant.

    To both artists: Thank you for this most enjoyable bit of food fun.

    If you want to try your hand at honoring your favorite lumberjack, you can buy the tutorial ($15). Also scroll down that page to see the lumberjack wedding cake.

    For more cake pleasure, take a look at our Cake Glossary: the different types of cake, beginning with a brief history of cake.

    You may also enjoy the history of cake pans.

    And let’s not forget the history of the oven, and give thanks to all the bakers who labored under challenging conditions to create cakes that were attractive and delicious.

     

    Lumberjack Cake

    We don’t know any lumberjacks, but we want this cake! Photo courtesy Jenny Keller | Jenny Cookies Bakeshop.

     
    Now how did they keep the bottoms of the cakes from sticking and burning, in the many centuries before the invention of the cake pan and the temperature-controlled oven—and long before silicone oven gloves?

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Circular Plating, Trending With Chefs

    Often, what makes the familiar exciting again is presentation. We love this circular plating trend, exemplified by these three salads and a main course.

    You can use the technique for any course that goes onto a plate.

    For the past couple of years, we’ve noticed the trend creeping up among creative restaurant chefs. It’s not just salad, but seafood, vegetable plates, meats and desserts.

    You, too can think outside the middle of the plate. It just takes a few minutes more to arrange food around the periphery, as opposed to putting it in the center.

    So what’s in the center of the plate?

    It could be cheese, croutons, dressing, sauce, spices, whipped cream…or nothing.

    Start today with your dinner salad!
     
     
    DESIGNING A CIRCULAR SALAD

    For salad, there’s always a choice of greens; but look to contrasting shades and textures. Don’t be afraid to add fresh herbs.

    Add at least two color elements, red (beets, berries, cherry tomatoes, grapes, radishes) and yellow or orange (beets, bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, egg quarters, mango).

    Use an interesting vinaigrette, i.e., made with infused olive oil or vinegar.

    Serve the salad with plain crostini or garlic bread (crostini with garlic butter).

    If you want to serve a monotone salad, like Caesar salad, use a bright-colored plate.

    Take the same approach with non-salad courses.
     
     
    RECIPE #1: EAST MEETS WEST SALAD

    This circle of flavor from Pakpao Thai in Dallas combines east (mint leaves and dressing) and west. It’s hard to see, but the white in the center is whipped mozzarella. We didn’t have time to practice froth it to perfection, so we used whipped ricotta.
     
    Ingredients For The Salad

  • Asparagus
  • Baby radishes
  • Red onion
  • Mint leaves
  • Watercress
  • Wheat berries
  •  
    For The Mint Vinaigrette (6 Servings)

  • ¼ cup chopped fresh mint
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red or white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon honey
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  •  
    For The Cheese

  • 1 ball buffalo mozzarella*
  • 1 cup of half-and-half or light cream*
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  •  
    For The Crostini

  • 1 baguette, cut into 1/4″ slices
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Other seasonings as desired (garlic salt, dried herbs)
  • ________________

    *Substitute 1 pint ricotta for the mozzarella and cream.
    ________________
     
    Preparation

    1. MAKE the crostini. Preheat oven to 350°F. Arrange the baguette slices on two baking sheets; brush both sides with oil. Season with salt and pepper and other seasonings as desired. Bake until golden, 15 to 20 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through until both sides are golden brown. Let cool on baking sheets.

    2. MAKE the vinaigrette. Combine the mint and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and remove from the heat. Let steep for 10 minutes; then strain into a large bowl, pressing on the leaves to extract all the liquid. You should have about 3 tablespoons of liquid after straining. Add the oil, vinegar, honey and salt; whisk until well combined. Refrigerate it for up to 3 days in a container with a lid, so you can shake it prior to dressing the salad.

    3. PREPARE the salad ingredients: Wash and trim as desired. Arrange on individual plates. Place the whipped cheese in the center of the plate (we used ramekins).

    4. DICE the mozzarella and place it in the bowl of a blender or food processor; or use a deep mixing bowl with an immersion blender. Blend into a froth and mix in the zest. Add the lemon zest at this stage.

    5. SHAKE and drizzle the dressing over the salad. Serve with the crostini.
     
     
    RECIPE #2: SPRING TO SUMMER SALAD

    This recipe comes from one of our favorite creative chefs, Eric B. LeVine. Here, the classic salad made with frisée, blue or goat cheese, apples or pears, and walnuts or lardons is plated in a circle.

     

    Circular Salad

    Circular Salad Plating

    Avocado Mango Circular Salad

    Plain Crostini

    Braised Chicken

    Strawberry Sorbet

    Pumpkin Custard

    [1] Recipe #1: a fusion salad from Pakpao Thai in Dallas. [2] Recipe #2: a frisée, apple and blue cheese salad from Chef Eric B. Levine. [3] An avocado-mango salad from Chef Eric B. Levine, with frisée, onion, tomato, yellow split peas (chana dal) and lemon oil dressing. [4] Crostini from Martha Stewart). [5] Braised chicken and eggplant with garlic chips, from Chef Eric B. Levine. [6] You could put sorbet, fresh fruit, fruit sauce and bits of tuille in a bowl, or you could plate it like this dessert from The Art Of Plating. [7] Pumpkin custard topped with a wreath of meringues, two types of cake crumbles, whipped cream and droplets of pumpkin seed oil, by Chris Ford| The Art Of Plating” target=”_blank”

     
    When stone fruits come into season, switch from apples and pears to nectarines, peaches or plums.

    We wanted some bitterness, so we added baby arugula.

    Ingredients

  • Apples or stone fruits, sliced
  • Red or purple grapes, cherries or strawberries
  • Blue or goat cheese
  • Frisée
  • Optional: baby arugula or watercress
  • Chile almonds (toast whole almonds with chili powder)
  • Apple vinaigrette
  •  
    For The Apple Vinaigrette

  • 1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup apple juice
  • 3 fresh basil leaves
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the vinaigrette ingredients and set aside.

    2. PREPARE and arrange the salad ingredients. Drizzle with vinaigrette and serve.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Frosé, Frozen Rosé Wine For Cocktails Or Dessert

    Frose Granita

    Frose Dessert With Ice Cream

    [1] Frosé granita. [2] Frosé with ice cream (both photos courtesy Kim Crawford).

      Call it a cocktail or call it dessert: We have long enjoyed a frozen rosé cocktail by scooping some sherbet in a glass and topping it off with sparkling wine or still or sparkling rosé.

    A couple of years ago, some rosé marketer came up with a new term: frosé! Some winemakers even named bottles of sweet-style rose, frosé.

    Here are two frosé recipes courtesy of Kim Crawford Wines from New Zealand. He sent these for National Rosé Day, June 10th.

    (Mr. Crawford must have a sweet tooth: A few years ago, he proposed rosé ice pops. Just add the wine to ice pop molds, with optional berries.)

    For a cocktail, use a drier-style rosé. For dessert, top sorbet or ice cream with a sweeter rosé: a zinfandel rosé from California, or anything labeled frosé (a relatively new term taking advantage of the trend). Or ask the clerk for guidance.
     
     
    RECIPE #1: FROSÉ GRANITA

    This recipe is a rosé granita, a word that means granular in Italian (granité/granitée is the French word, meaning granite-like).

    Granita is a rustic version of sorbet, made without an ice cream machine. The ingredients are frozen in a pan. As the crystals on the top freeze, they are scraped into a grainy, coarse cousin of sorbet.

    Granita, made from sugar, water and flavorings, originated in Sicily. The preferred texture and flavor varies from town to town, where residents variously preferred (and still do) almond, black mulberry, chocolate, coffee, jasmine, lemon, mandarin orange, mint, pistachio and strawberry flavors.

    But the concept of water ices goes back to China in the fourth century B.C.E. The recipe, as it were, arrived in Persia via traders.

    Persians enjoyed what we might now call snow cones: snow flavored with syrups. Called sharbat (the origin of sherbet and sorbetto), it was made at least from the middle of the third century B.C.E.

    Alexander The Great brought the concept back to Greece after he conquered Persia in 330 B.C.E. Gelato, the first type of ice cream, took a while. It is believed to date to Florence, Italy in the late 16th century.

    Here’s the history of ice cream. And now, back to the frosé, in photo #1.

     
    Ingredients For 5 Servings

  • 1 bottle Kim Crawford Frosé or substitute
  • Garnish: lemon twists or berries
  •  
    Preparation

    1. POUR the wine into ice cube trays, a baking pan, or what-have-you and pop it into the freezer. As ice crystals begin to form, scrape them to the front of the pan until frozen solid. You can do this in advance. To serve…

    2. USE a hand blender or food processor to process the frozen wine until smooth. Serve directly or freeze again for up to 1 week, covered. Garnish and serve with a spoon and/or straw.

    Note: We weren’t at home so couldn’t occasionally stir and scrape. So we simply froze the rosé as ice cubes. We then placed the frozen cubes into the blender. The result was a crunchy granita. If we had continued to blend, we might have ended up with something finer, but we liked the crunchiness!
     
     
    RECIPE #2: DRINKABLE FROSÉ SUNDAE

    Ingredients For 5 Servings

  • 1 bottle Kim Crawford Frosé or substitute, well chilled
  • 3 cups sliced strawberries
  • 1/3 cup sugar*
  • Club soda
  • 1 carton vanilla ice cream
  • Garnish: edible flowers or more berries
  • ________________

    *Use less sugar or omit it entirely if the strawberries are very ripe.
     
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the strawberries and sugar in a bowl, cover and let sit for 30 to 90 minutes, stirring occasionally.

    2. DIVIDE the strawberries and any juices among 5 rocks glasses. Add the wine and a splash of club soda. Top with a scoop of ice cream and garnish (photo #2).

     
     
    CHECK OUT THE OTHER TYPES OF FROZEN DESSERTS.

     
      

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    RECIPES: Frozen Chocolate Cheesecake & Stout Pops, Chocolate Stout Float & The History Of Stout

    Here are two fun, warm-day dessert recipes for the beer crowd, using stout. The history of stout is below, but let’s hop right to the recipes.

    Any stout pairs deliciously with anything chocolate. And chocolate stout (photo #1) pairs even better.

    RECIPE #1: FROZEN CHOCOLATE CHEESECAKE STOUT POPS

    We are the Will Rogers of cheesecake: We never met a cheesecake we didn’t like. We’ve never met an ice cream we didn’t like, as well.

    And we like alcohol (liqueur) in both our cheesecake and our ice cream.

    So when we chanced upon this recipe from Nugget Markets—a frozen chocolate cheesecake fudge pop with stout, photo #3—we knew we had to make them. There’s even a graham cracker “crust.”

    Prep time is 15 minutes plus overnight freezing.

    Ingredients For 5 Pops

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1/3 cup Russian Imperial stout (we substituted chocolate stout)
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
  • 6 graham crackers (3/4 cup crumbs [3 ounces])
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MIX the sugar, softened cream cheese, and sour cream in a blender on low speed, until completely combined. Stir in the milk and stout.

    2. MELT the dark chocolate chips over a double boiler on the stove top (or in the microwave at 30-second intervals) until completely melted. Pour the melted chocolate into blender mixture and mix until well combined.

    3. SLOWLY POUR the mixture into the pop molds, tapping molds as you fill to remove any air bubbles. Leave a 1/2-inch empty space on the top for the “crust.”

    4. SMASH the graham crackers until completely crumbled (we put them in a plastic bag and use a rolling pin). ADD the melted butter and stir until combined. Add on top of the chocolate mixture, spreading evenly. Insert the ice pop sticks and freeze overnight.
     
     
    RECIPE #2: COFFEE-CHOCOLATE STOUT FLOAT

    We published recipes using chocolate stout a few years back: a chocolate stout float a few years back; along with chocolate stout ice cream.

    When we saw a recipe with coffee stout from the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board (photo #3), we knew it was time to repeat the idea.

    In this recipe, the chocolate float is made with chocolate ice cream and coffee stout, but go for chocolate stout if you prefer.

    Or flip it: Have an all-coffee float with coffee stout and coffee ice cream.

    Here’s a chocolate stout cake recipe to go with it.

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 8 ounces coffee stout
  • 1/2 pint chocolate ice cream
  • Optional garnish: whipped cream
  •  
    Plus

  • A straw
  •  
    Preparation

       
    Rogue Chocolate Stout
    [1] Rogue Chocolate Stout is delicious in either of these recipes, plus this chocolate stout cream pie recipe from The Beeroness.

    Chocolate Cheesecake Pops
    [2] Have your cheesecake pops with a glass of stout on the side (photo and recipe from Nugget Markets).

    Coffee-Stout-Beer-Float-eatwischeese-230

    [3] The coffee stout float with chocolate ice cream. Here are step-by-step photos from Eat Wisconsin Cheese..

     
    1. PLACE two scoops of ice cream in a pint glass or other large glass.

    2. SLOWLY POUR the stout on top of ice cream to fill the glass. Serve with a straw

    Serve with a straw and a spoon.
     

     

    Glass Of Stout

    Guinness Pint Glass

    [4] and [5] Guinness, the world’s top-selling stout, is at the low end of ABV: just 5% (photos courtesy Guinness & Co.).

      THE HISTORY OF STOUT

    While man has been brewing beer since an client times, styles evolved over the millennia as different malts, yeasts, and hops became available. Stout is a relatively recent recipe.

    The first known use of the word “stout” for beer is in 1677. At that time, stout was a word for strong, and the document implied a strong beer, not a dark beer. Let’s skip ahead 50 years to porter, the basis of modern stout.

    Porter, which originated in London in the early 1720s. It was so-named because this strong beer—which was cheaper than other beers and increased in alcohol content with age—became popular with porters, among other Londoners.

    Within a few decades, porter breweries in London had multiplied many-fold. Large amounts were exported to Ireland, where by 1780 or so, ale brewer Arthur Guinness decided to brew his own porter (and ultimately created what would one day become the world’s most famous stout).

    The 19th century brought the development of black malt, the darkest of the common roasted malts. It gives beer a dark color and stronger flavor—a brew with a very different character than roasted barley-based beers. It became the standard malt for porter[source].

    At that point, “stout” still meant only “strong,” and the term could be related to any strong beer (stout pale ale, for example).

    But because of the huge popularity of porters, brewers made them in a variety of strengths. The beers with higher gravities were called stout porters.

    Stout became the generic term for the strongest or stoutest porters. There is still debate on whether stouts should be designated a separate style from porter (as they are now), or simply be designated as stout [strong] porter.

     
    Like porter, stout is a dark beer made from roasted malt or roasted barley, hops, water and yeast. Stouts were traditionally the generic term for the strongest or stoutest porters, typically 7% or 8% ABV.

  • Porter is typically 4% to 5% ABV. Baltic porter, brewed in the Baltic Sea countries of Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia and Sweden, is brewed with a higher alcohol content.
  • Stout is typically 5% to 10% ABV. It’s important to note that some American craft brewers have been making even stronger stouts—up to 11.5% ABV.
  •  
    By comparison:

  • Lager is typically 4% to 5% ABV.
  • Pilsner, a popular style of lager, is typically 3% to 6% ABV.
  • Brown Ale is typically 4% to 6% ABV.
  • India Pale Ale is typically 6% to 7% ABV. [source]
  •  
    In addition to chocolate stout and coffee stout, check out the other types of stout, including cream stout, dry (Irish) stout (e.g., Guinness), milk stout and oatmeal stout.

      

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