Saturday, June 9, 2007

Gianduja Gelato! (and some other stuff)

Earlier this week, I made Skillet Chicken and Rice with Peas and Scallions (from Cook's Illustrated) using fresh peas and torpedo onions from the farmers' market. It ended up being a frustrating experience because I bought whole instead of halved chicken breasts, so they took a long time to cook, and the rice burned to the bottom of the pan. Despite the complications, it wasn't half bad. I might make it again. Next time I'd use chicken breast halves and make it in our Dutch oven instead of a large skillet.

Chicken and rice

My quest for perfect homemade yogurt continues. Yogurt #5 (like Yogurt #3, but with 1/2 c nonfat powdered milk added for thickness) did not turn out as well as I'd hoped. It had an unpleasant thick skin on top and was just as liquidy underneath as Yogurt #3. I'm not sure what to try next. I guess I'll try cow milk again, this time a brand other than Straus, because all of my Straus-based yogurt has been grainy. It's worth a try. (Here we have Yogurt #5 with a little apricot jam swirled in for good measure)

Yogurt number 5

For dinner tonight, we had Crockpot BBQ Pork Sandwiches on whole wheat rolls from last weekend (they defrosted just fine), with a side of Sunset's Red Cabbage Salad with Dates. We washed it all down with jasmine iced tea spiked with peach nectar (okay, it was more like 60% nectar, 40% tea). I got the idea from Super Natural Cooking.

BBQ pork sandwiches, red cabbage salad

I misheard Patrick when he was reading off the BBQ marinade ingredients to me and accidentally quadrupled the amount of soy sauce. The pork was definitely a little overly salty, but not inedible. It was pretty good (especially given how easy it was to make), but we were spoiled because last week my coworker brought in some pulled pork that he'd smoked for 11 hours. So good! The red cabbage salad was great--easy, colorful, tasty, and pretty healthy. I'd definitely make it again. I think I put too much nectar in the iced tea, but I like the general idea of the nectar-tea combination--like a modified Arnold Palmer.

The best part of our dinner was dessert--a second batch of homemade ice cream (hey, we had leftover cream and milk from the vanilla ice cream), another Perfect Scoop recipe. This time I went with the Gianduja-Straciatella Gelato (hazelnut and milk chocolate ice cream with dark chocolate pieces). The dark chocolate pieces are added by drizzling melted chocolate into the ice cream right after churning. According to Shuna, this is the best way to add chocolate pieces to ice cream so that they melt quickly in your mouth instead of being hard and unpleasantly crunchy and interfering with the smoothness of the ice cream.

Gianduja gelato

For some reason, this batch froze slightly harder than the vanilla ice cream (fewer egg yolks, perhaps?), and we were too impatient to let it properly soften, so the texture wasn't perfect. Also, I think I would have slightly preferred fudgy, chewy brownie pieces instead of crunchy chocolate pieces. Despite these two minor complaints, this stuff is awesome. The flavor combination is great. I would totally make it again, except that there are so many other intriguing ice cream flavors that I want to try as well. I love our new ice cream maker. Homemade ice cream is the best!

Gianduja gelato

Also, I rode my bike all around today (first to Juut, where I got highlights that aren't quite as pronounced as I might have liked, and then to my company picnic, where I almost won $50 at bingo, but not quite). It was very nice. It's such a pleasant mode of transportation (except on busy streets with lots of cars). And it makes me feel a little bit better about eating ice cream with both lunch and dinner :)