Black Sesame And Orange Ice Cream

Black Sesame And Orange Ice Cream

Black Sesame And Orange Ice Cream

In Asia, black sesame ice cream is as classic a flavor as vanilla in the States. There’s not much to improve on it—it just works. Ground black sesame seeds take on the texture of tahini in that “so creamy it changes your perception of what creamy can be” sort of way. The rich, roasted flavors of the seeds, which give off an aroma as complex as fine chocolate, are a perfect match for a light custard.

But for me, black sesame ice cream gets its addictive quality from those hard-to-pin-down notes in the seeds: slightly herbal and spicy, just a tad fruity. Something about it made me reach for a zester and an orange. Though the zest hitting warm custard made my kitchen stink of burnt coffee, it churned into something wonderful. Of all the ice cream I’ve made, this may very well be my favorite. That wee bit of orange, barely whispering its flavor, amps up all the curious, enticing qualities of black sesame I find so addictive.

This is my new favorite ice cream recipe, you’ve gotta give it a shot if making ice cream is your thing!

Quick s’mores fudge

A three day weekend, and I’ve made a promise to myself that I would update for two days of it.  To kick things off, I offer you a home-brewed concoction that I’ve been toying with in my mind for fun over the past few weeks.  I’ve seen a lot of s’mores fudge recipes out there, but this my own riff on the all time best camp-out snack.

S'mores Fudge

S’mores Fudge

  • 2 & 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 7 oz jar marshmallow cream
  • 3/4 c. evaporated milk
  • 1/4 c. butter
  • 1 12 oz. bag semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 t. vanilla extract
  • 1 small bag of marshmallows
  • 1 1/2 cus graham-cracker crumbs
  • 6 tbsp butter or margarine, melted

The night before you want to make the fudge, spread the bag of small marshmallows out on a fireproof surface like a half-sheet pan and take a creme brulee torch to them.  Make sure to get a toasty color all over to maximize the smokey goodness.  Give them a few minutes to cool and then place them in a bowl, cover with saran wrap and place in the freezer overnight.

The next day preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Melt the butter, and then mix together with the crumbs in a 11 by 7 inch pan. Press the mixture onto the bottom and up the side of your pan, using your hand or the back of a spoon. Bake the crust for 8 minutes and then let cool.

In a large (and I mean large) glass bowl, combine sugar, marshmallow cream, evaporated milk and butter.  Put the bowl in the microwave for two minutes.  Take the bowl out and whisk the mixture until even. Put the bowl back in the microwave and go for another two minutes.  After four microwave/whisks, beat in the chocolate chips and vanilla until well blended. Pour over your graham cracker crust, and then remove your frozen toasted marshmallows and carefully press into the setting fudge. When fully set, cut and serve.

Sacramento Part 3: Ad Hoc

Since it’s been a while, here’s part one and part two to refresh your memory.

After paying our bill at Bouchon, Paul and I wandered in the direction of Keller’s most famous restaurant, the French Laundry.


It’s not the first time I’ve stood in front of this building, and hopefully it won’t be my last. With about an hour to burn before our Ad Hoc reservations we turned our attention to the French Laundry’s garden.

Picture by Paul C.

Perhaps one of my favorite things about this Keller haunt is the fact anyone can just wander through the garden looking at all of the different herbs, fruits and vegetables. One gentleman who was walking in the garden as well was bold enough to pluck one of the ripe strawberries and down it. I was slightly perturbed at first, but when we saw him actually enter the restaurant later on my anger subsided. I figure if he’s going to pay for a meal one little strawberry wouldn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things.

Here are a few more photos:

Picture by Paul C.

Picture by Paul C.

Picture by Paul C.

This Lemon Verbena was really fragrant and caught our attention when we walked by it. I’d kill to have some handy at home to play with. I’m thinking about finding some and soaking it in vodka with a little simple syrup. In my mind it would make an intense and refreshing drink mixed with a little club soda.

ad hoc
Our tour completed, it was time to head back towards Ad Hoc as our reservation time was growing near. Once inside, the feast continued.

Salad of Mixed Lettuces
First up was a salad of mixed lettuces, a roasted starkrimson pear, crisp pancetta, english stilton and toasted hazelnuts dressed with a caramelized red onion vingaigrette. The pear was particularly interesting not only because it had been roasted, but the middle was stuffed full of stilton cheese and pancetta which made for a rather savory mouthful. Not what you would expect eating a pear, but highly enjoyable nonetheless.

Spiced Hanger Steak
Next was spiced hanger steak (one of my all-time favorite cuts) paired with garden baby carrots, braised salsify, black trumpet mushrooms, delicata squash and bloomsdale spinach. While everything was excellent, the steak really stole the show. It was so tender that I ended up asking the waiter if they had cooked them sous vide before searing the outsides. The waiter was happy to inform me that the meat had simply been grilled, nothing more. It speaks volumes about the quality of the men and women working in the kitchen to turn out such an amazing dish.

At this point in the dinner we engaged the couple sitting next to us in conversation. It turns out that they too were visiting from Texas. Houston, in fact. I mentioned that a very fine nose-to-tail eating establishment was within a few minutes drive of their home, and thus began an excellent conversation that lasted the rest of the meal. The banter was so good that I totally forgot to take pictures of the rest of the meal, but that’s okay. It turned out that they had reservations at Bouchon the next evening, so Paul and I gave them as many tips and suggestions on what to order as possible. It was worth it in the end because I believe that we convinced the pair to try the cider braised tripe dish that I lavished praise on earlier. If I can convert just a few people into offal enjoyers, then damn the dessert pictures and full speed ahead.

Next up: Hunting with Hank Shaw!

A little bit of Feast love

I hate to do this, but I’m going to need one more day before posting the Sacramento finale. On the upside I can link you to my buddy Paul C.’s brand new post about his time at Feast, the nose-to-tail restaurant I’ve talked about in the past.

Next up was easily the dish of the day. A black pudding made with duck blood sitting on a bed of minted peas with a soft fried egg on top. This was amazingly rich and smooth, a distant cry from the dry grainy dish I would expect.

Paul seemed to enjoy some dishes more than others, and the pictures are great. Give it a look!