Search Results for: amy

How does an aspiring marketing professional become one of New York’s top bakers? Like many of our students, Amy Scherber was a career changer, motivated by her passion for food.

amy2

Amy introduces ICE Culinary Management students to her Chelsea Market store.

In the 1990s, New York was far from the bountiful paradise of bakeries that we find today. When Amy’s Bread opened in Hell’s Kitchen, it was a pioneering force in a bread wasteland, a powerhouse concept that has flourished over more than twenty years of business. It’s no wonder that when Culinary Management instructor Alan Someck decided to take his Culinary Management students on a bakery fieldtrip that Amy’s was the obvious choice.

After a brief tour and tasting at Amy’s Chelsea Market outpost – including her signature semolina bread with golden raisins and fennel seed – students got to ask the nitty-gritty questions. As it turns out, Amy had just signed a lease for another space when the opportunity to open in Chelsea Market came on her radar. She lost money in the deal, but knew that the then-empty warehouse would provide the opportunity to fulfill her vision: to open a bakery where customers could see the bread-making process. Today, most of Amy’s baking has been outsourced to a large space in Long Island City, but she intends to maintain this transparent mission. The oven from her original Hell’s Kitchen location was recently installed in the Chelsea Market space, and her staff will resume on-site bread baking in the near future.

amy1

Shoppers look on as Amy takes ICE students behind the oversize windows of her signature store.

Amy also shared insight into the trials and joys of expanding her business. Certain products, like her olive twists, were as much a product of exhaustion and accident as proactive innovation. That kind of exhaustion can fuel creativity, but many bakers fail to overcome such odds. As Amy explained, the price margin in bakeries is much smaller than in restaurants. For example, her strawberry shortcake – made with high-quality ingredients such as greenmarket berries – can only retail for a meager $4-5, whereas a restaurant might charge $12 for the same product. Moreover, starting a new small business is more expensive than most owners anticipate, as it takes time to build credit.

In addition, Amy explained that it’s important to know your stores. Her West Village customers buy the most coffee, Chelsea Market moves the most bread and Hell’s Kitchen is a hotspot for sweets. But where other owners might stop there in calibrations, Amy strategizes to the day. If Wednesday afternoons show a trend toward increased sweet consumption, but Monday is more of a morning bread crowd, she adjusts and re-adjusts to fit her customers’ needs. And let’s not forget – on top of retail customers, she has over 300 wholesale accounts to attend to.

When asked expressly for advice, Amy urged Alan’s class of budding entrepreneurs to spend time working in the type of business they would like to open themselves. While aided by her study of Economics in college and time baking in restaurant kitchens, Amy admits she wishes she had spent more time working specifically in bakeries before starting her business. Last but not least, she underscored the importance of a coherent concept. Even if someone has a fully-developed business idea, it is essential that the consumer can effortlessly grasp it – from the name to the decor, the service style, the product, etc.

class w amy

ICE Culinary Management students, Amy Scherber and Professor Alan Someck.

Looking out onto the eager eyes peeking into Amy’s oversize windows, it’s clear that she applied this final lesson early on. Her famous oversize windows breed a connection between staff and those they serve, an honesty and intimacy that has been an underpinning of Amy’s philosophy from day one.

ICE offers one of the country’s largest recreational cooking programs. With over 1,500 cooking classes and over 26,000 students each year, there is something for every cook looking to learn new techniques in the kitchen. This month, Amy Roth of the blog Minimally Invasive, took Sustainable Meats with Dan Honig from Heritage Foods and ICE Chef Instructor Erica Wides — a rare chance to learn about the unique challenges and benefits of cooking pastured, grass-fed heritage meats.

It’s easy to be overwhelmed when you’re first browsing the recreational course catalog at ICE. I certainly was. But then I started thinking about what might provide the most value in my day-to-day life, what I could learn that would make a real difference in how I cook. Though I don’t write about it much, two topics I care passionately about are animal welfare and the food system, so ICE’s Sustainable Meats course jumped out at me right away. While it may sound paradoxical to eat meat yet love animals, these two positions can co-exist without too much cognitive dissonance. I’m quite content to be an omnivore, provided I’m buying grass-fed or pastured meats from animals that live healthy lives and meet their ends humanely.

Enter Chef Instructor Erica Wides, who is committed to educating the public about real food and nutrition, and who taught our course last Friday. After a brief overview, she turned the floor over to Dan Honig from Heritage Foods USA, who supplied the truly astounding bounty of meats we cooked with in the class. Dan briefly walked us through Heritage Food’s strategy to bring heritage breeds back into the market by partnering with smaller farms in the Midwest. Their production is just a drop in the bucket compared to the largest factory farms, but they’re dedicated to paying farmers a living wage while sustaining these breeds for us to enjoy. More »

Yesterday, ICE alum Amy Eubanks, the Executive Chef at BLT Fish, returned to ICE to demonstrate some of her favorite fish dishes and discuss life in a restaurant kitchen for ICE students.

Eubanks graduated from the Culinary Arts program in 1999. She started working with Laurent Tourondel as an extern at Cello, where she ended up staying for two and a half years. While there she spent a year as poissonier, no small feat considering that the famed restaurant specialized in seafood. Because she wanted to learn how to cook meat, she then went to Cafe Boulud, where she worked with Daniel Boulud and Andrew Carmellini. When Tourondel opened BLT Steak in 2004, he hired her as a lead line cook, followed by a promotion to sous chef. Because of her strong seafood skills, she became sous chef of BLT Fish upon its opening, then chef de cuisine in 2006 and executive chef in March 2010. In 2010, she was inducted into the ICE Alumni Hall of Achievement for her accomplishments. More »

Every year, ICE’s Culinary Management program hosts a one-of-a-kind series of lectures called Meet the Culinary Entrepreneurs, during which a wide range of successful culinary business leaders and luminaries share their expertise with students and guests. Yesterday, Amy Scherber of Amy’s Bread came to ICE to discuss her experience founding what is now a nationally recognized bakery specializing in handmade traditional breads with the Culinary Management students.

After attending the New York Restaurant School, Scherber worked at Bouley. She called it an incredible experience, “I was a sponge after culinary school and it was a great place to be since it had only been open for a month. I learned so much.” Scherber then trained in France in three bakeries before returning to New York to pursue bread baking. She baked bread and pastries at Mondrian where she worked closely with Tom Colicchio to perfect the texture and taste of her bread recipes. While working there, she would take her one day off each week to work on her business plan for her bakery and going on the hunt for a suitable space for her project. More »

Soft serve ice cream is one of the true joys of summer. (On second thought, let’s be honest: we eat it year-round.) To satisfy our endless craving for soft serve, ICE Chef James Briscione shows us how to make three recipes for soft serve — each in under five minutes! As a bonus, two of them just happen to be vegan. Even better, the only kitchen equipment you’ll need is a hand blender and a jar.

First on the menu is Peanut Butter & Jelly — with raspberries and creamy peanut butter, it’s a sweet ‘n’ tasty throwback to your favorite lunchbox staple. Next is Spicy Mango Coconut, a refreshing tropical treat that gets a nice kick from fresh-cut chili. Chef James finishes with a silky Strawberries & Cream soft serve, hit with a touch of lemon zest to give it that extra je ne sais quoi.

Consider your days of ice cream truck chasing over.

You, too, can make ice cream, pastries and more like a pro — click here to learn about ICE’s career programs. 

ICE Chefs Cara Tannenbaum and Andrea Tutunjian wrote the book on making delicious things with nuts — no, really, they wrote a book called In a Nutshell: Cooking and Baking with Nuts and Seeds. Their recipes for toasted-almond ice pops and coconut ice pops are a simple way to make homemade, creamy frozen treats — no ice cream machine required. With the addition of rich, condensed milk and a satisfying crunch in each bite, these ice pops hit all the right notes.

Recipe reprinted from In A Nutshell: Cooking and Baking with Nuts and Seeds by Cara Tannenbaum and Andrea Tutunjian. Copyright © 2014 by Cara Tannenbaum and Andrea Tutunjian. Photographs copyright © 2014 by Gentl & Hyers. With permission of the publisher, W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. All rights reserved.

Recipe reprinted from In A Nutshell: Cooking and Baking with Nuts and Seeds by Cara Tannenbaum and Andrea Tutunjian.
Copyright © 2014 by Cara Tannenbaum and Andrea Tutunjian. Photographs copyright © 2014 by Gentl & Hyers.
With permission of the publisher, W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. All rights reserved.

Toasted-Almond Ice Pops

Ingredients

For the ice pops:

1 3⁄4 cups (14 ounces) almond milk
1⁄2 cup heavy cream
1⁄4 cup whole milk
1 cup sweetened condensed milk
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 tablespoons almond butter

For finishing:

Light corn syrup (optional)
1 cup (4 ounces) crushed toasted sliced almonds

Preparation

  • Place all the ingredients for the ice pops in a blender and mix well, 30 to 45 seconds.
  • Pour the liquid into ice pop molds and set them in the freezer to freeze overnight.
  • Remove the bars from the freezer. Working with a couple of bars at a time, remove bars from the ice pop molds.
  • Dip a bar in warm water to melt it slightly, or brush it with light corn syrup. Press the bar into the crushed almonds, covering it on all sides. Place on a parchment-lined pan and return it to the freezer until ready to serve. Repeat with the remaining bars. Store the bars, wrapped well in plastic wrap, for up to one week.

 

Coconut Ice Pops

Ingredients

For the ice pops:

1 3/4 cups (14 ounces) coconut milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup whole milk
1 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup (2 ounces) sweetened shredded coconut

For finishing:

Light corn syrup (optional)
1 cup (4 ounces) sweetened shredded coconut, toasted

Preparation

  • Place all the ingredients for the ice pops except the shredded coconut in a blender and mix well, 30 to 45 seconds.
  • Transfer to a bowl and stir in the 1/2 cup shredded coconut.
  • Pour the liquid into the ice pop molds and set in the freezer to freeze overnight.
  • Remove the bars from the freezer. Working with a couple of bars at a time, remove bars from the ice pop molds.
  • Dip a bar in warm water to melt it slightly, or brush with light corn syrup. Press the bar into the toasted coconut, covering it on all sides. Place on a parchment-lined pan and return it to the freezer. Repeat with the remaining bars. Serve immediately or store, wrapped well in plastic wrap, in the freezer for up to one week.

Want to learn how to make tasty desserts with our ICE instructors? Get more information about ICE’s career programs.

By Danielle Page

Pursuing an education in culinary arts opens a ton of doors for potential career opportunities — far beyond the traditional roles confined to a kitchen. A few decades ago, working in food media meant only a handful of paths to consider: authoring cookbooks or editing food magazines, with not many other options in between. But thanks to social media and the age of the internet, culinary expertise can be translated into a wide array of viable career options — as demonstrated by these ICE graduates who have gone on to do just that.

From styling food for avant-garde startups to founding a media company dedicated to culinary video production, these ICE graduates are making big strides. Here’s what they had to say about leveraging culinary training to land a job in the media world.

Eden Grinshpan

Photo courtesy of edeneats.com

1. Eden Grinshpan, Food TV Personality

Having been the host of two cooking shows on a major TV network, Eden Grinshpan is proof that networking will get you pretty much anywhere. “Through ICE, I was introduced to many people in the field that have helped me along the way with my career,” Grinshpan says. “Since leaving ICE I have worked on ‘Eden Eats,’ a show that I created with my business partner Samantha Schutz, and ‘Log On And Eat with Eden.’ I had such a great time in the program [at ICE]. I met so many people from all walks of life that were just as passionate as I was about food and the culinary industry. The school gave me a great platform to learn about the service industry and also allowed me to network and meet great people in the industry. Since graduating from ICE, I have been able to pursue my dream of food television and I am very fortunate to the Cooking Channel for taking me under their wing and believing in me and my shows.”

Julie with husband and co-founder Dan (credit: Lindsay Morris)

2. Julie Resnick: Founder of feedfeed

What happens when a former digital marketer turned ICE graduate has an excess of produce from her CSA to prepare? She takes to social media for inspiration — and ends up building a following of over one million in the process. “I began by posting pictures of my own food and then asked people to share what they were making by also tagging their food with #feedfeed,” says Resnick. “That started to develop a community of people who were cooking the way I was. I would do a search for sweet potatoes and find some really cool sweet potato dishes, and I would follow those people and engage with them and comment on their posts. Then I would say, “Hey, by the way, don’t forget to add #feedfeed to what you’re cooking and that way we can all share with each other.” It was my need that was driving it. It took off from there.” Of course, curating a hit Instagram account isn’t going to happen overnight. But if you’re looking to start cultivating a following, Resnick does have a few words of advice to share. “First, I would say that it’s important to be active on social,” she says. “Don’t just spend time composing a beautiful, well-lit shot, posting it and then logging out of Instagram or whatever social media platform you’re using. Spend the time looking at what people you follow are posting, like the content and comment on the content. I think there’s also this perception that you shouldn’t be following too many people — I disagree with that. If there are people out there who are putting out nice content that you’re interested in, follow them, engage with them and get to know the people behind these accounts. Read what these people are writing, don’t just look at the pictures. It’s about relationship building.”

ICE alumni Jamie Tiampo of SeeFood Media3. Jamie Tiampo, President and Founder of SeeFood Media

Jamie Tiampo is the founder of a company that fills a niche in which it has no real competitor: a “one-stop shop” featuring seven kitchen sets, a rooftop for outdoor cooking segments, separate prep kitchens for food stylists, an in-house prop shop and a team of seasoned professionals who have produced several hundred food-centric video and photo shoots. “I started with the fundamental question of how to make food look better,” says Tiampo. “From there, it was a matter of engineering the systems and facilities from the ground up to support that mission. If there was one thing I learned from living through the first dot-com bubble, it was that nothing is sacred. SeeFood Media started in an era of big TV cooking shows with custom sets in gigantic studios. Yet we’ve witnessed—and benefitted from—an evolution where food brands have realized they can also leverage digital video, and hire us to script, produce and edit extremely high quality videos which speak directly to their consumers,” Jamie explains. “What drives our business is bandwidth. Today, people can watch a video on their phone while they walk down the sidewalk. For brands, that means video content can reach an audience anytime, anywhere.”

 

Kim O'Donnel - Food Writer - Interview4. Kim O’Donnel, Cookbook Author and Food Journalist

“I worked as a reporter for about five years before exploring a culinary career,” says O’Donnel. “Once I realized I wanted to work in food, I pursued a job under James Beard Award winner Ann Cashion in Washington, D.C. It was in the days of pre-internet communication, so I typed her a note (on an electric typewriter) asking about openings at Cashion’s Eat Place for rookies, like myself, who wanted to learn. Ann came to be one of my mentors, and what I learned on the job in just five months really set me up for culinary school.” Since attending ICE, O’Donnel has become one of the country’s most respected food writers, celebrated by the M.F.K. Fisher Award for Excellence in Culinary Writing and serving on the James Beard Foundation’s Journalism Awards Committee. “My newly released cookbook, PNW Veg: 100 Vegetable Recipes Inspired by the Local Bounty of the Pacific Northwest is my third over the past seven years,” says O’Donnel. “I’ve made a name for myself as an omnivore writing vegetarian cookbooks, inspiring folks like myself to make more room for plants. But there’s other news as well: I’m the chef-in-residence at a Seattle branch of the YMCA, overseeing programming for its new Healthy Living Kitchen. I’m rolling out Meatless Monday demos, and the branch will be a CSA pick-up spot this summer. Additionally, I’m going to Houston in July as a returning volunteer chef with Culinary Corps — my first trip with CC was to New Orleans in 2007.”

Jiselle Basile5. Jiselle Basile, Chef and Food Stylist, Extra Crispy

Traditionally, food stylists are utilized in the commercial or magazine world. But thanks to the wide world of startups, there’s a need for food stylists beyond the fold — like at Extra Crispy, a website dedicated entirely to breakfast. “There’s not a typical day, which keeps it interesting,” says Basile. “At Extra Crispy, there’s a startup mentality — within a major company — but it’s still a startup. Most of us take on a lot of different roles so no two days are similar. Usually I’m either researching recipes at my desk, or I can be at a video shoot with a chef, or testing and styling in the kitchen. Tomorrow, I’m going to be making Scotch eggs with an ostrich egg on Facebook Live. I have to pick up ostrich eggs at Union Square Market at 8:00 a.m., so I’ll start here whenever I get back.” As far as the current food media landscape goes, Basile says there’s a major shift happening. “The whole foodie culture thing is having an impact,” she says. “People are either talking about things more than ever or social media is having an impact and brought to life how much people talk about it. People are more aware of their food. I’ve seen restaurants focusing more on where their food is coming from and I guess it’s in part because people are so concerned about the surrounding issues. It’s interesting how owners and chefs now look at how social media affects their restaurants. Nowadays a lot of people, before they set foot in your restaurant, will see if you have an Instagram and check out what your food looks like, which has a huge impact on whether someone will eat in your restaurant.”

Ed Behr - Natalie Stultz - Interview

Photo Credit: Natalie Stultz

6. Ed Behr, Founder and Publisher of The Art of Eating

Ed Behr had quite the journey to where he is now — heading up the respected quarterly journal, The Art of Eating, which he created. “I was working as a carpenter and builder, which I did for about a dozen years,” he says. “I decided I wanted to open a restaurant, and to do that I felt I had to go to cooking school, not because I wanted to cook in the restaurant, but because I knew I didn’t know enough to recognize and hire a good chef. In the end, I never opened a restaurant. Since 1986, I’ve been writing about food and wine as the editor and publisher of The Art of Eating.” Behr earned one of the food industry’s most prestigious honors: an induction into the James Beard Foundation’s “Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America” in 2015. But he’s more than humble about the work he’s doing. “Like so many other people, I spend most of my time looking at a computer screen,” he says. “I try—but rarely succeed—to devote the morning to my own writing. My days are a mix of editing, writing and emailing (writers, editors, photographers, illustrators and people who can help with research). Actual interviews, in which I might quote someone, I normally do over the phone or in person. Now and then I look up something in an ink-on-paper book, as most of what I want to know is still not anywhere online. I also spend a fair amount of time on the nuts and bolts of publishing.”

Sara Deseran7. Sara Deseran, Director of Marketing and Branding for Tacolicious

“After some 20 years of working as a food writer, I’m now the marketing and branding director for Tacolicious, a restaurant group my husband Joe Hargrave and I own,” says Deseran. “We have five restaurants in the Bay Area, plus a cantina called Bar San Pancho and a tequila bar called Mosto. We started as a little market stand at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market in 2009. As someone who’s written cookbooks, done food styling, food writing and even worked in restaurants in the kitchen way back in the day (and pretty much sucked at my job as a prep cook), this job allows me to kind of do it all. Barring straight operations, I do a lot of everything. It’s also given me a lot of humility in regards to how unbelievably hard it is to run restaurants! Every day there are about 10 fires to put out. I’d tell students to immerse themselves in different elements of the food industry, but veer towards your strengths rather than your dreamy ideas of being that big name chef. Not everyone is cut out to work in a kitchen (like me, for instance). It took me catering, cooking, serving, writing, styling, hard work, plus an element of luck to get where I am now. Figuring out what you’re truly good at is empowering. There are a million ways to get into food.”

Think a career in food media is right for you? Click here to learn about ICE’s career programs and get started today.

By Kelly Newsome — Student, School of Culinary Arts

cobb salad

An entire class on salad, seriously? That was the topic of conversation one Tuesday evening in the women’s locker room at ICE. We hemmed and hawed, convinced that there was nothing to learn about salads that we didn’t already know. Salads, at least in the American culinary tradition, have been relegated to the depths of diet food, a punishment rather than a pleasure. But, as I would soon learn, salads can be unabashedly delicious, and the classics are classics for a reason — when executed correctly, they are irresistible. My assignment that Tuesday night was Cobb salad — a classic American recipe that gave me a newfound respect for the humble art of salad creation.

I always thought that Cobb salad was named after the famous baseball player, Ty Cobb. Not true. The Cobb salad was born in the wee hours of a Hollywood, California, morning in 1937 at the Brown Derby restaurant. The owner, Bob Cobb, was ruffling through the kitchen’s refrigerator, pulling out various remnants including lettuce, hard-boiled eggs, cheese, tomatoes, chives and avocado. Smelling bacon being cooked nearby, he grabbed a few slices to add to his dish. Bob tossed the ingredients together and shared the outcome with his friend Sid Grauman (of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre fame). Mr. Grauman was so impressed that he asked for a “Cobb salad” at the restaurant the very next day, and a classic was born. The legend seems familiar to the story of the famous chicken wings of Buffalo. Perhaps the common thread is American ingenuity and resourcefulness on a plate?

cobb salad

A really great Cobb salad is not only a thing of beauty but an absolute pleasure to eat. Each bite brings a symphony of flavors and textures — the crispy bacon meets the creamy blue cheese, the crunchy and fresh salad greens mingle with pungent herbs and luscious chicken, the eggs provide a soft and satisfying backdrop, and the piquant vinaigrette delicately envelops each morsel and acts as an essential bridge that transforms the dish from many things to one. Each component, when perfectly cooked and assembled, offers a culinary experience that is far greater in combination than any one ingredient alone. This is the key to understanding the true beauty of a perfectly composed salad. Like any other dish, it’s all about the balance.

So how does one approach the Cobb salad? According Chef Charles Granquist, my instructor for salad night, “execute each ingredient perfectly, dress each component separately and arrange the salad organically — don’t overthink it.” When the night was through and the salads were delightfully devoured, visions of Cobb salad parties danced in my head: the classics I thought, can’t be beat.

cobb salad

Cobb Salad
Yield: makes about 10 servings

Ingredients:

5 chicken breasts, bone-in
Salt as needed
Ground black pepper as needed
20 slices bacon, cooked
1 pound, 4 ounces Romaine lettuce, washed, dried and torn into pieces
8 fluid ounces red wine vinaigrette (recipe below)
10 ounces tomatoes, medium-dice
10 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
3 avocados, peeled, pitted and cut into medium-dice
5 scallions, bias-cut (at a roughly 45-degree angle), thinly sliced

Preparation:

  • Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper, and roast until internal temperature is 165°F. Cool, remove the breasts from the bone, cut into ½” dice.
  • Cook the bacon slices until crisp. Drain on absorbent paper towels and keep warm.

To assemble the salad:

  • For each serving, toss two ounces romaine with two tablespoons of vinaigrette. Mound on a plate, and top with four ounces chicken, 1¼ ounce diced tomato, one ounce blue cheese, two ounces avocado, ¼ ounce green onions and two bacon strips, crumbled.

Red Wine Vinaigrette
Yield: 8 fluid ounces

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon shallots, minced
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 fluid ounces red wine vinegar
6 fluid ounces canola oil
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste

Preparation:

  • In a small bowl, combine the shallot, mustard and vinegar.
  • Add the canola oil gradually, whisking constantly.
  • Add additional flavorings and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Taste and adjust acid/oil balance.

A few tips from the chef in training:

  1. Make sure that your bacon is crispy! If it isn’t, you’ll lose that essential crunchy bite.
  2. Cook the chicken on the bone if possible — this delivers a more succulent and satisfying result.
  3. Make sure that you dress (don’t overdress) and season each component individually. This is the key to creating a cohesive and balanced dish.
  4. Use a long, oval platter rather than a bowl. This creates a more even spread for serving and presentation.

Ready to pursue your passion for culinary arts? Click here to learn about ICE’s culinary, pastry and hospitality programs. 

By Jenny McCoy — Instructor, School of Pastry & Baking Arts

The strawberry shortcake — one of the most quintessential American desserts – has seen an evolution like none other.

It started out as a dessert made in the springtime to celebrate the strawberry harvest season. Made of layers of crumbly biscuit or shortbread-like cakes, sweetened cream and strawberries, it was a simple dessert with a gorgeous composition of textures and flavors — soft and creamy, a bit crisp, a bit acidic and ever so sweet. Over time, as chemical-leavening agents such as baking soda and baking powder became more popular in cake recipes, the shortcake used in some recipes became more cake-like, eventually becoming anything from a pound cake to a sponge cake.

strawberry shortcake bars

I’ve tasted many variations on the strawberry shortcake, from a fancy entremet with precisely even layers of white chocolate cake, whipped mascarpone, strawberry gelée and strawberry sorbet, to strawberry shortcake-flavored OREO cookies. However, my absolute favorite of the less-than-traditional interpretations of the dessert is the Strawberry Shortcake Dessert Bar made by Good Humor. Growing up, when the ice cream truck rolled through my neighborhood, they were always my first pick. I would enjoy eating the sweet crumbly coating of the bars first, then slowly work my way to the electric pink strawberry ice cream center.

So this spring, I decided to recreate my childhood treat from scratch. Instead of the original strawberry ice cream center surrounded by vanilla ice cream, I decided to marry the two. I swirled homemade strawberry jam in churned vanilla bean ice cream. The result is downright delicious. And as for the cake part of the ice cream bar (which is actually more like cookies), I ground up freshly baked sugar cookies with freeze-dried strawberries and melted butter, to make what is almost like a hot pink cookie piecrust, and generously coated the ice cream bars by rolling them in the mixture.

What’s your favorite version of the classic strawberry shortcake — biscuits or pound cake? Or do you deviate completely from the original and love something crazy like strawberry shortcake-flavored chewing gum? Try out my take on strawberry shortcake ice cream pops and let us know what you think.

 

Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream Bars
Makes about 8 servings

Ingredients:

1 batch Strawberry Swirl Ice Cream Pops (recipe below)
1 cup sugar cookie crumbs
1 cup freeze-dried strawberries
4 tablespoons butter, melted

Preparation:

  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place in the freezer.
  • Combine the cookie crumbs and strawberries in a food processor and drizzle with butter. Pulse a few times to mix. Spread the mixture on a large plate.
  • Remove each ice pop by dipping molds briefly in hot water or let stand at room temperature for a few minutes. Quickly remove one ice pop at a time from the mold and dip in crumbs, turning over to coat and pressing to adhere. Transfer the ice pops to the baking sheet in the freezer and let them set until firm, at least 20 minutes. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container for up to one week.strawberry shortcake bars

Strawberry Swirl Ice Cream Pops
Makes about 1 quart 

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups whole milk
1 ½ cups heavy cream
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup granulated sugar, divided
1 vanilla bean, split and seeded
6 large egg yolks
½ to ¾ cup strawberry jam (recipe below)

Preparation:

  • In a medium pot, bring the milk, cream, salt, vanilla bean and ¼ cup of sugar to a boil. Turn off heat and let steep at room temperature for 10 minutes; return to a rolling boil.
  • Whisk the remaining ¼ cup of sugar and yolks in a large bowl until smooth. Gently temper the yolks by slowly adding hot cream mixture while whisking constantly. Once completely combined, strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl. Place the bowl of ice cream base over another bowl of ice water and stir until cool.
  • Churn the ice cream base mixture in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s directions. Transfer the churned ice cream to a large mixing bowl, layering large dollops of strawberry jam in between large spoonfuls of ice cream. Fold once or twice to swirl the jam into the ice cream. Divide the softened ice cream among ice-pop molds, insert sticks and freeze until firm, at least four hours or up to one week.

Strawberry Jam
Yield: Makes about 2 cups

Ingredients:

½ pound strawberries, rinsed and hulled
1 cup granulated sugar
2 pinches salt
1 ½ teaspoons pectin
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Preparation:

  • In a medium saucepan, combine the strawberries, sugar and salt. Mash the berries until they are crushed. Sprinkle the pectin over the top of the mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens to a jam-like consistency. Remove from the heat, stir in the lemon juice and let stand at room temperature until cool. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use.

Sugar Cookie Crumbs
Makes about 1 1/2 cups of cookie crumbs 

Ingredients:

1 stick unsalted butter, cut into cubes
½ cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 egg
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt

Preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 350° F.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and eggs and mix until combined. Reduce the mixer to low speed and slowly add the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • Divide the dough in half and roll out onto a floured surface until about 1/8-inch thick. Transfer the sheet of dough to a baking sheet. Repeat with the second piece of dough. Bake until light golden brown and set, 14 to 18 minutes. Let cool on the cookie sheet until room temperature. Break the dough into small pieces and grind in a food processor until crumbs. Store in an airtight container until ready to use.

Want to take your pastry skills to the next level? Click here for more information on ICE’s Pastry & Baking Arts program.

By James Briscione — Director of Culinary Development

This past March, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) invited me to Brazil to help launch a new campaign called #USfoodexperience which was developed to introduce American ingredients and dining traditions to the Brazilian market. As part of my visit, I created a menu of classic dishes from around the United States and served it to 100 of São Paulo’s top chefs and media. I also toured local culinary schools and hosted a series of demos at each school, sharing recipes for some of my favorite American foods. But for me, the highlight of the trip was our dinner at D.O.M., the #2 restaurant in all of South and Central America.

Chef Alex Atala

Chef Alex – photo courtesy of domrestaurante.com

If you’re a fan of the Netflix series Chef’s Table, (if you’re reading this blog, I assume you must be) then you already know about restaurant D.O.M. You also know its chef Alex Atala — the bearded, jiu-jitsu-practicing chef who seemed to spend as much time in a wetsuit exploring the Amazon as he did in a chef coat. His restaurant ranks among the best in the world. So as soon as I found out that I would be spending a week in Sao Paolo, Brazil, nabbing a reservation at D.O.M. was a must.

Like at many of the restaurants that populate the top of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, dinner at D.O.M. is far more than a meal. Chef Alex is crafting an experience — a journey through food that takes visitors on a tour of his native land. Different regions of Brazil are presented through a series of carefully crafted bites, smells and sips.

sake cocktails

sake cocktails served inside fresh chillies

Chef Alex grabs your attention from the very first bite. Our meal began with a sorbet made from fresh chilies. I expected it would be a cold bite that began sweet and ended with a spicy kick. Instead, the sorbet was savory, with plenty of salt and a barely detectable sweetness and fresh chile flavor that exploded on the palate, with no trace of heat whatsoever. It left you with nothing to taste but the incredibly complex fruity aroma of the chilies themselves. The sorbet was paired with a small cocktail of sake and Brazilian sparkling wine served in a hollowed out chile.

Small bites continued to flow from the kitchen: plump, freshly shucked oysters accentuated with dried mango and whisky, “ravioli” of puréed beet, cased in a sheet of local honey. Chef Alex has the confidence and vision to serve a course of nothing more than watercress stems and mustard seeds. It is so perfectly crafted and presented that you wonder why these pieces are discarded in nearly every other restaurant in the world. As a chef, my mind instantly went to the painstaking detail that goes into a bite like this — you must use tiny, surgically sharp scissors to mold the stems into the perfect shape, then switch to tweezers to carefully place mustard seeds and delicate miniature flowers. How many minutes go into the creation of something that is gone in a matter of seconds? A plate full of umami arrived after that: a crispy tangle of crunchy caramelized onions, seaweed and puffed rice, anchored by creamy mushroom flan.

My favorite plate of the entire meal arrived next. A tasting of pirarucu, the Amazonian fish that Chef Alex and his cooks are shown wrestling with on Chef’s Table. Pirarucu is a monstrous fish that can grow up to 10 feet long. Back in the restaurant, Chef Alex demonstrated his mastery of one my favorite approaches to crafting a dish — showcasing great ingredients in different forms on the same plate. A piece of crispy fried fish skin was topped with a savory purée of banana and dried shrimp. Another application showed the fish perfectly seared to emphasize its meaty texture and mild flavor. The fish sat on top of a few spoonfuls of açai purée that were so flavorful and complex that I had trouble identifying it as the same fruit found in trendy breakfast bowls and smoothies. Smoky and sweet grilled onions and peppers with a touch of heat rounded out the flavors on the dish.

watercress stems with mustard seeds

watercress stems with mustard seeds

The next dish arrived with several components as well. First, a shrimp head with its contents removed, seasoned, cooked and replaced was served with a single shrimp that could pass for a miniature lobster. The grilled shrimp was glazed in sweet Brazilian butter and sat on top of a pillow of finely shredded Brazil nut, dotted with segments of fresh citrus and mint leaf.

Two meat courses followed. The first was quail, which was served with portions of both the breast and leg with a savory jus and bitter Brazilian cocoa. Then arrived a succulent braise of lamb in red wine. The lamb braise was so perfectly constructed that I nearly argued with Chef Alex after the meal when he informed me that the only spice in the braise was toasted black pepper. I could hardly believe him — it tasted so distinctly of coriander, cinnamon and dried fruit.

With the savory courses complete, we enjoyed a simple dessert of mango, chocolate and cream flavored with puxuri, an Amazonian fruit grown for its aromatic seeds. The puxuri seeds are similar in flavor to cinnamon and star anise. The true standout of the evening, however, arrived before the dessert. Strangely enough, one of the most memorable bites of the evening was our cheese course served in the form of the classic French aligote. If you’re unfamiliar with aligote, you’ve seriously been missing out.

Aligote is technically a potato dish, though by ratio it actually contains more cheese and butter than potato purée. Of course, at D.O.M. this classic preparation is given a Brazilian spin, made with a tender fresh cheese called minhas. Perfect texture, seasoning and flavor aside, the truly great part of this course is the way it’s served. Aligote typically looks like one of those ads for mozzarella cheese sticks, with an impossibly long strand of melted cheese connecting the two halves after it’s broken in half. Our server picked up two very large spoonfuls of the aligote from the kitchen and began twirling the spoons as he walked out the door. Keeping the aligote in constant motion, it was basically suspended between the spoons as he made his way to our table. After stopping at the table next to ours, where he dropped two portions on the plates of our neighbors, with spoons still in motion, he came to our table where he twisted and twirled two more portions of these luxurious potatoes onto our plates. Not only was it incredible theatre, but by the time the aligote reached our plate it was at the perfect temperature. The silken mixture had become just firm enough to “cut” with the edge of spoons and then melt into salty, cheesy perfection in our mouths.

For me, D.O.M. was a dining destination, but for its chef and staff, the restaurant is a constant journey. Through a steady stream of thoughtfully prepared and beautiful dishes, they truly brought the best of Brazil to our table.

Ready to launch an exciting, international career in the culinary arts? Click here for more information on ICE’s career programs.