Maple Bourbon Frozen Custard

Posted in dessert, food, recipe with tags , , , , on January 5, 2014 by kinggabey

We invited some friends over for dinner and my wife suggested making an apple pear crisp. What would go well on that? Why some maple bourbon ice cream obviously! Upon some thought, we decided to go instead with frozen custard. The difference between ice cream and frozen custard is that custard is made with egg yolks. These act as an emulsifier, making it richer and silkier.

2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 pinch salt
7 egg yolks
3/4 cup grade B maple syrup
5 tablespoons bourbon

* It’s important to note that the quality of ingredients really make a difference in the end product. So use the best you can get!
* Grade B maple syrup is richer in flavor than grade A and is thus better for this purpose.

1> Whisk the egg yolks in a bowl.
2> Combine the milk, cream, sugar and salt and cook over medium heat until just below simmer. Stir occasionally.
3> Slowly add about a cup of the mixture into the eggs yolks while whisking continuously. This step is called tempering, which will bring the eggs to a high temperature without cooking them. Directions for tempering usually say add a teaspoon at a time. However, I like to just pour very slowly, because I am impatient
4> Strain the mixture back into the saucepan (to catch any cooked bits of egg… maybe using the teaspoon method would make this unnecessary haha) and cook over medium-low heat while stirring continuously with a wooden spoon. Do not boil. Cook until the mixture thickens and coats the back of the spoon.
5> Remove from heat and cool. I’ve seen recipes that say this step should be done by putting in an ice bath, but I do not. Supposedly this may make it come out less grainy, but this hasn’t been an issue for me.
6> Add the maple syrup and bourbon.
7> Cover mixture with wax paper or saran wrap to avoid skin forming and refrigerate for at least several hours. I let this sit overnight. Ideally you would have this sit in just a little over 0 degrees Fahrenheit.
8> Churn in ice cream maker as your ice cream maker directs. This will come out with the consistency of soft serve unless you are using an ice cream maker with a compressor (which is awesome but wicked expensive and I have no experience with).
9> Put in freezer for a few hours to harden. You want the freezer to be as cold as possible, to keep the ice crystals that form as small as possible. Smaller ice crystals = smoother


Surviving Chinese Banquets with a Shellfish Allergy

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on September 26, 2013 by kinggabey

The other night I was talking to some friends of mine and the topic of allergies and Chinese food came up. In particular, shellfish allergies and Chinese [Cantonese] banquets. If you didn’t know, Chinese banquets consist of a long string of dishes served family style, until your stomach cries out in surrender. Then they bring out a few more. These celebratory dinners often consist of expensive delicacies to symbolize prosperity and bounty.

To really appreciate how integrated shellfish is in Chinese cuisine, try asking servers at restaurants if a dish has shrimp. Count how many times they say no, but when you take a bite you realize it’s full of dried shrimp, or diced shrimp. Or how many times they’ll say “no shrimp, just shrimp rice”. Shrimp rice = dried shrimp. Lesson learned: if it ain’t big honking pieces of shrimp, it’s not really shrimp. You think I’m joking, but I’m not.

As a foodtard, I’m allergic to all forms of shellfish (and often get questioned in awe by Chinese dim sum ladies when they find out… “you mean you can’t eat SHRIMP? how about crab? No crab??? how about lobster? No? No oyster? What about abalone? Waaaahh…”) so have to be very careful when eating at Chinese banquets. Here’s some survival tips from me to you, o gentle reader.

Before the first plate hits the table, explain to everyone at your table that you are allergic to shellfish. Then when that first plate does hit, stock up. It’s going to be a while before you get to eat again. Some people may be annoyed, because when the first plate arrives everyone is starving and you’re breaking normal social convention. But they’ll understand when the next few dishes everyone is feasting and you just sit there with a sad look on your face. This first plate usually consists of roast pork, sliced beef, and other mostly safe items. Invariably in the center you’ll see something clear and stringy. That is jellyfish. It may or may not be safe for you: YMMV.

For the rest of the banquet you will want to keep an eye on what serving utensils are touching which dishes. People often take a serving spoon from a stir fried seafood dish to dip in the fish plate, or take the communal serving chopsticks and grab some lobster before sticking it in the steak plate. Not a big deal to them, but that just irrevocably contaminated some dish for you. I usually ask people to be careful, keep an eye out anyways, and also have a pair of communal serving chopsticks specifically set aside for non-contamination.

The next few dishes are death to you. Crab claws deep fried in a shrimp puree lollipop ball. Spicy salty shrimp. Bird’s nest stir fried shellfish (nest made out of taro nowaday because there’s no more birds nests left). Soup, which typically has some diced shrimp or crab, or shredded scallop added for flavor. Some safe exampleare s are “beef and parsley soup” and “fish head soup”. But safe soup is cheaper soup, and therefore usually not on the menu. You should ask the server what it is, because the danger is not always apparent. When in doubt, skip the soup.

The first dish that typically you can eat is the steak dish. Just make sure that they didn’t cook it with oyster sauce and you should be pretty happy you got to eat something. By now you can take more than your fair share without people giving you the stink eye, as you haven’t eaten anything since that last piece of char siu (roast pork) you pulled off the old Chinese lady next to you’s chopsticks.

You will probably be out of luck again for the next few dishes. Garlic lobster is a staple of Cantonese banquets. Abalone if someone is going all out. Sometimes there’s a vegetarian dish, like a stir fry medley. Usually the last main dish is the fish plate. Often a whole steamed fish, sometimes served stir fry, but fish is another traditional symbolic dish. This is your time to shine! By now everyone else has gorged themselves on the past seven or more dishes, and are starting to turn belly up. Sometimes you can have this whole fish all to yourself. Don’t forget the fish cheeks. I’ve stabbed a hand for one of those before. Sometimes though, you may end up sitting with some piggy piggies who will fight you even for this plate. Relax. There is still some food coming.

By now hopefully you’re reaching your fill as well. You’ve been sitting there for several hours, most of the table around you are quietly entering food coma. Your face hasn’t bloated, your throat is not closing up, and your skin doesn’t feel hot and itchy. You’re doing pretty good. Just a few more dishes to navigate and you can go home epi pen free!

The last few dishes are invariably deep fried chicken (crispy skin), fried rice, and noodles. These dishes will only be picked at, as everyone’s loosening their belts and thinking about their beds. Some people are already sneaking out the door. That’s actually by design. Part of the point of Cantonese banquets is that everyone has filled themselves with so many portions of exquisite dishes that they don’t need to eat rice, noodles, or chicken. You, my fellow foodtard, may be stuck filling yourself with peasant food. The chicken is safe but take a close look at the fried rice and noodle plates before diving in. There’s often some shrimp or scallops in one or both… more often the rice.

That’s it! Unless you lick someone else’s plate or use their chopsticks you’ve made it. Eat those oranges, have some cake. Enjoy whatever dessert soup they put in front of you and savor the taste of foodtard victory.

Bonus Cantonese for you:
Mun gum: allergy
ha: shrimp
ha mai: dried shrimp
gnaw ho pa: I am very afraid
gow wu che: ambulance

The secret to whipped white chocolate ganache

Posted in food, recipe with tags on December 11, 2012 by kinggabey

A couple of weeks ago I was watching the food porn network about the best pastries and this one pastry chef made these little rectangular shortbread cookies with molded cavities which she’d spoon whipped white chocolate ganache and layer fresh fruit on top. ZOMG.  I have had it on the brain since. I gotta get me some of that!!!

My wife talked me down into some puff pastry (still with sliced strawberries) so I got down to the task of figuring out how to make white chocolate ganache.  There were all sorts of variations and all sorts of comments from people whose ganache failed to ganache.  After a few weeks of recipe surfing and whipped white chocolate ganache dreams I finally got down to business.  Using the Big Bake Theory’s Ganache For Dummies , I followed directions all the way down.  Stuck the mixture in the fridge… waited slightly less than a few hours and let it warm on the counter.. just like they said. And then my wife tried to mix it with a hand mixer …. nothing.  The liquid wouldn’t form.    Three hours later, I pulled the mixture out long enough to do some dishes and tried mixing it myself.  The cold mix came out great, and not grainy at all which is how the article said it would turn out.

So really, it seems like the heavy cream / white chocolate ganache mix at the proportions I mixed them at turned out to be just like making whipped cream out of heavy cream.  For a glazed mix it may be different, but not for my purposes.

2 bars white chocolate (226g)
2 cups heavy cream (in case it separates)

1. Chop white chocolate into small pieces, pour into small bowl
2. Heat cream to just before boiling, or frémissement (thank you for the french lesson Big Bake Theory!), stirring often
3. Pour cream into bowl, and let sit for a few minutes
4. Whisk until all chocolate is melted into cream
5. Refrigerate until mixture is cool (for me 3 hrs worked – less would probably do too)
6. Whisk (or if you need instant gratification like myself, use a hand mixer) until soft peaks form. Apparently it will continue to stiffen, though it didn’t in my case. I beat until it had a soft buttery texture and it’s maintained it since. I’m able to spread it onto chocolate cookies for my kids with a knife. Coincidentally, they’ve been a lot happier in the mornings…

Panna Cotta to remember

Posted in food, recipe with tags on December 11, 2012 by kinggabey

So a while back I made panna cotta for my wife as she loved it so much when we ate out one time.  It was surprisingly easy!  I made panna cotta again a couple times after that, modifying the recipe each time to try to improve on it.  Sadly… recently I tried to make it again and totally forgot how I made it, which recipe I used as a base, and what tweaks I made.  Asking my wife (who serves as my memory device) I gathered the following information:

  1. The first time I took from a recipe
  2. The second time I used less sugar and it was the best batch I’d made
  3. The third time I did something different and it wasn’t as good as the second
  4. I was like a little elf who made panna cotta when everyone was sleeping

Given that, I realized I’d have to start all over.  Surfing a number of recipes I came down to the following:



4 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar (most recipes called for 1/2 but as I recall I tried that the first time and it was REALLY sweet)
1 vanilla bean (I call this step, season to taste. I really like vanilla bean, so use stupid amounts of vanilla bean paste)
1 tbsp unflavored gelatin (again, to taste – the more gelatin you use the more firm it will be – I used a stingy tbsp which my family voted as perfect)
3 tbsp water (or milk)


  1. Pour gelatin in a small bowl and add water (or milk – I have seen references to both but haven’t determined why one … assumedly milk is better).  Do not stir
  2. Heat the cream, vanilla bean (scraped vanilla bean innards or vanilla paste, or even vanilla extract will do), and sugar to just before boiling (when bubbles first start forming) over medium heat, stirring often.  I read everywhere to stir occasionally but I found that there was a curdling build up if I didn’t stir often enough.  Probably could have helped to turn down the heat
  3. Once cream reaches a simmer, turn off heat and add gelatin mixture. Stir until gelatin is dissolve.  If it doesn’t completely dissolve, return to heat and stir until dissolved.
  4. Pour mixture into 8 ramekins and refrigerate covered (I read uncovered as well but I like to be clean). I’ve read this takes 2 hrs, 6-8 hrs, or overnight. Since I am a panna cotta elf I stick it in overnight and go to bed.
  5. If you have it in a molded container, dip container into warm water and invert onto serving plate
  6. Garnish as desired.  Mint, strawberries, or white chocolate ganache (see next post)!


GabeyFest Winning Ribs

Posted in food, recipe, Uncategorized with tags on October 30, 2012 by kinggabey

This year at GabeyFest I was talked into using a blind taste test to vote for the ribs.  Well the suggestion was double blind but that was just unrealistic given the differing times that contestants were arriving.  My ribs won!  All credit goes to this ChristyJ for her recipe.  Mental note: Next time use more star anise

Update Dec 11, 2012: Fixed links

Maple syrup ribs

Posted in Uncategorized on July 12, 2012 by kinggabey

This recipe is not one of those diet friendly recipes I was speaking of. However, the kids love it. Credit to Karen Toellner at for the base recipe. I modified it, and will do so more next time I make them.

1 rack pork ribs
3/4 – 1 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1teaspoon mustard powder

Place ribs in a large pot, and cover with water. Cover, and keep over low heat for 1 hour, or until meat is tender. Drain, and transfer ribs to a container for marinade.
Stir together the remaining ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a low boil, and cook over low heat for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Pour over ribs, and let marinate for at least 4 hours. (Note: next time I try this recipe I will marinade overnight)
Remove ribs from marinade. Transfer marinade to a small saucepan, and boil for several minutes.
Cook on grill, basting with marinade frequently, until nicely glazed.

* I let marinade sit

I’m back!

Posted in Uncategorized on July 12, 2012 by kinggabey

Been a long while since I’ve last posted anything. Life’s been busy, now that I’m married and living the family life. But I’m back on a new six pack bet and plan on putting some bet-friendly recipes I want to remember…