Search Results for: jenny mccoy

 

By Carly DeFilippo

It’s the day after the launch of her first cookbook, Desserts for Every Season, and Jenny McCoy’s voice is a little hoarse. She’s trying to remember a story about Emeril Lagasse—one of her first jobs was working for the chef at Delmonico, his restaurant in New Orleans. As she reminisces about him, she chuckles, and when she does her eyes are bright, her friendly dimples more pronounced. “He’s been the best chef I’ve worked with. He made a point at the start of every night to walk up to every employee, from the person washing the pots and pans to the chef de cuisine to say hello. He’s so human, generous and approachable. Those are things I took away with me.”

Chef Jenny McCoy

Today, Jenny, ICE’s newest Pastry and Baking Arts Chef Instructor, is an impressive chef in her own right. At age 17 she started the Pastry and Baking Program at Chicago’s Kendall College. Her parents wanted her to go to college or get a job, but she didn’t want to go to a traditional college right away.

Despite her parents’ worries, Jenny learned a number of important things—about herself—in culinary school. For example, she works really well under pressure, creating her best work in practical examinations that required her to demonstrate skill and knowledge under the knowing, scrutinizing eye of the chef instructor. “Scare the crap out of me and you can see me do good work,” she jokes.

She also learned how to balance confidence and humility—working with a sense of her own skill and understanding, but acknowledging the constant potential to make a mistake.

jenny mccoy book

After culinary school, she pursued a degree in food writing at DePaul University, in an effort to overcome the intimidation she felt about creative writing. She then worked for Emeril Lagasse at Delmonico and in his test kitchens, writing for his blog and developing ideas for his television shows as well.

When it came to evaluating her own career trajectory, it came as no surprise that Jenny liked the diversity of doing different (and often new) things every day. “I couldn’t really say I wanted to do one thing over another. I was just interested in everything,” Chef Jenny explains. “I really wanted to be more well-rounded in the industry.”

Her diverse interests and talents have led her to a wide range of impressive accomplishments. In 2011, Jenny helped the team at Craft in New York City earn its second 3-star review from the New York Times. The following year, she co-founded Cissé Trading Company, a successful line of hot cocoa and baking mixes sold at 500+ national outlets, and was named a StarChefs.com “Rising Star Pastry Chef”. Just this month, she was nominated as a 2014 finalist for the International Association of Culinary Professional’s cookbook awards. She has also appeared numerous times as a guest or judge on the Food Network and is in production on a new show slated to air later this year.

Jenny McCoy at the launch of her most recent cookbook, Desserts for Every Season

Her latest role, Chef Instructor at ICE, springs from a passion she discovered while working with celebrity chef and ICE graduate, Missy Robbins, at A Voce. In addition to developing recipes for the restaurant’s menu, Jenny was spending a significant portion of her time teaching the staff how to recreate each dish for service. In the midst of her hectic schedule, she realized that she particularly enjoyed teaching and thus reached out to ICE about joining our roster of recreational cooking instructors. “ A light bulb just went off—I realized teaching was something I wanted to do,” she says. “I grew to love it more and more.”

When a Chef Instructor position for professional Pastry & Baking Arts students opened up, Jenny sprung at the opportunity. Teaching career students has been a unique opportunity for her to revisit the core recipes that form the basis for any pastry chef’s career—and to share her own innovative approach to seasonal baking in our teaching kitchens.

Follow Chef Jenny on Twitter @jenny_mccoy and visit her website for recipes and other articles.

 

 

By Carly DeFilippo

Meet Chef Jenny McCoy - HeadshotMost chefs are content to have just one prestigious job on their resume. But from Jenny McCoy’s first days in the industry, she’s racked up nothing but all-star experiences, from the celebrated Blackbird and Charlie Trotter’s in her hometown Chicago, to Emeril’s New Orleans dynasty and Tom Colicchio’s NYC Craft empire—all before the age of 32.

Today, Jenny’s focus may have shifted from running multiple professional kitchens to leading hands-on classes for aspiring chefs at ICE, but she’s just as busy as ever—creating an exclusive line of baking mixes for Crate & Barrel, judging Rewrapped on the Food Network and working on a follow-up to her acclaimed cookbook Desserts for Every Season.

In light of these accomplishments, you might assume Jenny was an all-star student, the kid who had her life planned out from the age of five. In actuality, it was Jenny’s own adolescent rebellion and lack of traditional academic ambition that led her to the food industry in the first place. As a high school graduate, Jenny’s only experience in the food industry came from her mother’s short-lived vegetarian bed and breakfast in rural Wisconsin and her aunt’s small catering business, run out of her home. In fact, it was actually Jenny’s total lack of experience with cooking that drew her to the idea of culinary school.

After mere weeks of enrolling in Kendall College’s culinary program, Jenny was already rethinking her decision. She didn’t know much about cooking, but she was really horrible at baking. On a tour of the pastry kitchens, Jenny became enamored with the chocolate sculptures and exquisite cakes. The beauty and structure of pastry was seductive, and—ever ready for a challenge—Jenny switched programs without a second thought.

Smoking-050-72dpi

While still in school, Jenny secured a spot at a small fine dining restaurant called Gordon’s. Initially, she didn’t grasp her good fortune, but soon realized that she had landed in one of the most influential kitchens in Chicago. “I quickly realized I was working somewhere special,” Jenny explains, “and that I should be selective with everywhere I worked from that point forward.”

With that in mind, it’s no surprise that the next two restaurants on Jenny’s roadmap would change the course of her career forever. The first, Blackbird, was only in its second year when she arrived, but had already received considerable praise from the likes of Bon Appetit and the Chicago Tribune. The kitchen consisted of a mere six employees—James Beard award-winning chef Paul Kahn and his happy, hand-picked “dysfunctional family.” Jenny adds, “At Blackbird, I learned a lot about sourcing, about creating food that felt like it had a soul to it.”

Meet Chef Jenny McCoy - Dessert - Missy Robbins - A Voce

One of Jenny’s plated desserts from A Voce

Yet Jenny knew there was another level of restaurant to be conquered: looking to the pinnacle of Chicago’s restaurant scene, she set her sights on Charlie Trotter’s. This world-famous kitchen couldn’t have been more different than Blackbird. Jenny’s first trail lasted a full 18 hours and set the bar for the rigor to come. Where Blackbird had felt like a family, Charlie Trotter’s was a battlefield. After six months of grueling 85-hour weeks, Jenny gave her notice. “If I had never had the experience at Blackbird, I might have stayed at Trotter’s indefinitely, but I knew that I would learn more in an environment where I felt heard, felt nurtured.” In years since, the decision has proved wise—of all the experiences on her resume, Blackbird remains the one that most impresses Jenny’s fellow chefs.

Meet Chef Jenny McCoy - Emeril Lagasse - Delmonicos

Photo Credit: Mandee Johnson

Around the same time, Jenny took a trip to New Orleans and fell in love with the city. Soon enough, she relocated to “The Big Easy”—arriving just two days before Hurricane Katrina. It took five months of waiting and crashing on the couches of various friends, but eventually local restaurants started hiring again. Jenny submitted her resume to all the top local chefs, including Emeril Lagasse.

Starting off at Emeril’s Delmonico, Jenny helped reopen the damaged restaurant and ran the pastry kitchen. Intrigued by Emeril’s other restaurant locations, product development and media efforts, this was also the period in which Jenny first began pursuing projects outside restaurant kitchens. Within a mere two years, Jenny had worked on everything from recipe development for cookbooks, to revamping the pastry program at Emeril’s NOLA, to writing five posts each week for Emeril’s blog.

At this point, Jenny was 28, and though she didn’t want to leave Emeril’s empire, there was still one major city she wanted to conquer: New York. She first opened Marc Forgione’s namesake restaurant as Pastry Chef, but soon pursued another position more suited to the multi-tasking management experience she had gained at Emeril’s. Under ICE alum Missy Robbins, Jenny ran the pastry program for A Voce Madison, while simultaneously developing a new pastry menu for A Voce’s second location in the city’s prestigious Time Warner Center.

 

But after two years of immersing herself in all things Italian dessert, Jenny yearned to return to seasonal American pastry. She found the opportunity—and her creative footing—in the kitchens of Tom Colicchio’s Craft. There, Jenny was offered the creative freedom she craved: shopping the market four days a week, changing the menu whenever she wanted. “I was surrounded by people who were absolutely dedicated to food and ethical sourcing. It was an experience that refined my perspective and style, and it greatly influenced the recipes in my first cookbook, Desserts for Every Season.”

Meet Chef Jenny McCoy - Craft - Food Event

What do you do when you reach the pinnacle of the restaurant industry at the mere age of 32? For Jenny, her “graceful exit” from restaurant kitchens came in the form of an offer she couldn’t refuse. An investor approached her about becoming the co-founder of a prepackaged foods start-up. The seed money was already in place; all Jenny had to do was develop the recipes. So, taking a calculated risk, Jenny left Craft.

 

Meet Chef Jenny McCoy - Cisse Trading CoThat company, Cissé Trading Co., paved a completely new path for Jenny in the field of product development. The signature baking mixes she developed can now be found in 1,000 stores nationwide and sparked offers for other consulting opportunities—including her line of baking mixes for Crate & Barrel inspired by Jenny’s first cookbook, Desserts for Every Season (a side project she pulled off while still working for Cissé). Combined with her high-end restaurant experience, Jenny’s newfound expertise in product development also rendered her a perfect judge for the Food Network’s new series, Rewrapped.

As if these diverse projects weren’t enough responsibility, Jenny had also begun teaching classes at ICE. Back at A Voce, it had become clear to her that she wasn’t really a “pastry chef” anymore. She was a high-level manager, hiring chefs and training them to execute her vision. So Jenny began teaching in ICE’s recreational department, and soon enough, she joined the faculty of our Pastry & Baking Arts program. “What I love about teaching is meeting new people and seeing the excitement, the glimmer in their eye,” Jenny explains. “It’s that moment when they’re like, ‘Oh my god! I just made a pie! I didn’t ever think I would bake a pie!’ that I absolutely love. It reminds me of when I was back in culinary school and the reason I got into the industry in the first place.”

Meet Chef Jenny McCoy - ICE Kitchens

In truth, Jenny has never truly stopped being that fresh-out-of-high-school pastry student—and that’s what makes her so successful. Endlessly curious, spontaneous and independent, she has grabbed hold of every opportunity that comes her way and inspires her students to do the same. “Early on in my career, someone wisely told me to spend all my money eating out, all my vacations staging, to buy tons of cookbooks and really immerse myself in the food world,” Jenny reflects, “It really has shaped my career—it made me do better.”

Want to study with Chef Jenny? Click here to learn more about ICE’s Pastry & Baking Arts program.


In a new video from ICE and PEOPLE magazine, ICE Chef Jenny McCoy
 shares the secret to impressing your sweetheart this Valentine’s Day (hint: it’s CHOCOLATE).

Chef Jenny layers her ultra-rich chocolate cake — with an extra dose of delicious from the addition of espresso — with piles of velvety Nutella-mascarpone frosting and adds an exciting crunch from chopped hazelnuts. What’s more; though it looks and tastes impressive, this simple recipe requires minimal ingredients and no stand mixer or fancy tools — who needs the extra stress on the big day? Trust us: it’ll be love at first bite. Watch Chef Jenny demonstrate how to create the cake in the video below — then keep scrolling for the full recipe and her pro tips for whipping it up at home.

Here are some cake-baking tips from Chef Jenny, so you can stress less about dessert and focus more on giving that romance a chance. We can hear Barry White already…

  1. The components of the cake can be made up to two days in advance and assembled right before serving.
  2. Don’t let the cakes cool in the pans for more that 10 minutes, as this can cause them to shrink and stick to the pans.
  3. Can’t find mascarpone? Swap for cream cheese!
  4. Use the plate and wheeled ring in your microwave as a cake turntable substitute. (Want to see how? Check out this video.)
  5. If you don’t have a pastry bag and pastry tip, just use a spatula to spread the filling over the cake layers.
  6. Lining your cake pans with parchment will ensure they don’t stick — but how to cut a circle of parchment to perfectly fit the size of your pan? Watch this.
  7. Thinking about going pro with your cake deco? Check out ICE’s Professional Cake Decorating Program.

Decadent Dark Chocolate Cake Recipe with Nutella-Mascarpone Filling

For the Dark Chocolate Cake
Yield: Makes two 8-inch round cake layers

Ingredients:

1¾ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
½ cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons instant espresso
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 large eggs
1¼ granulated sugar
1 cup brewed coffee, at room temperature

Preparation:

  • Position rack in center of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Line two 8-inch round cake pans with parchment paper and lightly coat with non-stick cooking spray. Sift flour, cocoa, espresso, salt and baking soda together in a bowl or onto a piece of parchment.
  • In a large bowl, add eggs, sugar and coffee, and whisk until thickened and light in color. Gradually whisk in dry ingredients until smooth.
  • Divide the batter evenly between the two cake pans and bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer cake pans to a cooling rack and let cool for 5 minutes. Gently invert and cool to room temperature before using.

For the Nutella-Mascarpone Filling
Yield: Makes about 4 cups

Ingredients:

3½ cups Nutella or chocolate-hazelnut spread
1½ cup mascarpone cheese

Preparation:

  • In a large bowl, fold the Nutella and mascarpone together until smooth. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use or up to 3 days. If needed, stir the filling to soften before using.

To assemble:

Ingredients:

1 recipe Dark Chocolate Cake
1 recipe Nutella-Mascarpone Filling
1 cup roasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped

Preparation:

  • Place one Dark Chocolate Cake layer on an 8-inch cardboard cake round. Pipe a 3/4-inch thick layer of the Nutella-Mascarpone Filling, starting at the edge of the cake and working your way into the center. Scatter the top of the filling generously with the chopped hazelnuts. Gently place the second layer of cake on top of the filling. Pipe the remaining filling on top of the cake, swirling into a decorative pattern, and sprinkle with remaining nuts.

Want to take your pastry & baking skills to the next level? Click here for more information on ICE’s career programs.

You know you should be drinking more tea. Heaps of it. But what you probably don’t realize is how creative you can get with tea, especially in its powdered form. That’s why, in a new video from ICE and Direct Eats, Chef Jenny McCoy shows us how to make three sweet and tasty dishes using tea powder: Tropical Tea Ice Cream Sandwiches with Pineapple and Macadamia Nut Cookies, Chai White Hot Chocolate with Chai Marshmallows and Green Tea Cake with Raspberries. Check out the video to see how Chef Jenny gets it done, and then keep scrolling to get the complete recipes.

Tropical Tea Ice Cream Sandwiches with Pineapple and Macadamia Nuts
Servings: makes 12 servings

For the tropical tea ice cream:

Ingredients:

2 cups milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream
½ cup sugar, divided
¼ teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons tropical tea powder
5 large egg yolks
Ice bath

Preparation:

  • In a large bowl, whisk the yolks and ¼ cup of the sugar together until the sugar has dissolved. Set aside.
  • Prepare an ice bath in a large bowl.
  • In a medium saucepan, bring the milk, cream, ¼ cup of the sugar, salt and tropical tea powder to a full, rolling boil. Slowly pour the hot liquid over the egg yolks, whisking constantly as to prevent the eggs from curdling. Set the bowl over the ice bath and stir until cooled to room temperature. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve and freeze in ice cream maker, according to the manufacturer’s directions. Transfer the ice cream to an airtight container and let freeze for at least four hours to set.
  • To assemble the ice cream sandwiches, place one scoop of ice cream between two pineapple-macadamia cookies (recipe below). Serve immediately or store in the freezer for up to four hours before eating.

For the pineapple and macadamia nut cookies:

Ingredients:

1 stick unsalted butter
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cups rolled oats
1 cup macadamia nuts, roughly chopped
½ cup dried pineapple, roughly chopped

Preparation:

  • Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, beat the butter, sugar and dark brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Slowly add the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt, and mix until well combined. Add the oats, nuts and pineapple, and mix until just combined.
  • Evenly drop heaping tablespoons of the batter on to the prepared baking sheets, and gently flatten the cookie dough. Bake until light golden brown, about 12 minutes. Let cool on the pans until at room temperature before filling with ice cream.

Chai White Hot Chocolate with Chai Marshmallows
Servings: makes 4 servings

For the chai white hot chocolate:

Ingredients:

4 cups milk
2 teaspoons chai tea powder, or to taste
2 pinches salt
1 cup white chocolate chips

Preparation:

  • In a medium pot, combine the milk, chai tea and salt together and bring to a simmer. Remove from the stovetop, add the chocolate chips to the hot mixture and whisk until smooth. Pour into cups and garnish with chai marshmallows (recipe below).

For the chai marshmallows:

Ingredients:

½ cup cold water, divided
4 ½ teaspoons powdered gelatin
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
¾ cup granulated sugar
½ cup dark corn syrup
¼ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons chai tea powder
½ cup powdered sugar, to coat
½ cup cornstarch, to coat

Preparation:

  • Lightly coat an 8×8-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine ¼ cup of the water and vanilla extract. Sprinkle the powdered gelatin over the surface of the water and vanilla and stir to combine. Attach the bowl to the stand mixer, fit with the whip attachment, and mix on low speed.
  • Meanwhile, combine the remaining ¼ cup of water, sugar, corn syrup and salt in a small saucepan. Fit the pan with a candy thermometer. Over medium-high heat, cook the mixture until it reaches 245° F. Immediately remove the cooked sugar mixture from the stovetop and slowly pour into the stand mixer while running on low speed.
  • Increase the speed of the mixer to high, add the chai tea and whip until light, fluffy and just slightly warm. Immediately transfer the marshmallows to the prepared pan and let stand overnight to set.
  • Combine the powdered sugar and cornstarch in a large bowl. Cut marshmallows with a knife lightly coated in nonstick cooking spray. Toss the cut marshmallows in the sugar and cornstarch mixture. Store in an airtight container for up to five days.

Green Tea Cake with Raspberries
Servings: makes one 9×5-inch loaf pan

Ingredients:

1 stick unsalted butter
1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
5 teaspoons green tea powder
3 large eggs
1 ½ cups cake flour, sifted
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup raspberries, fresh or frozen

Preparation:

  • Preheat the oven to 325° F. Lightly spray a 9×5-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  • In a large bowl, beat the butter, sugar and green tea powder until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Slowly add the flour and baking soda, and mix until well combined. Add the sour cream and vanilla and mix until smooth. Gently fold the raspberries into the batter.
  • Transfer the batter into the loaf pan and bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Let cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then carefully remove the cake from the pan and let cool on a rack. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container for up to three days.

Have a sweet tooth for the pastry arts? Click here for more information on ICE’s Pastry & Baking Arts program.

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

I’m nearly two weeks into my resolution to create zero food waste in January, and surprisingly, it’s going well. I expected to be throwing out a lot more food. There have been a few losses — like what to do with the food that my toddler refuses to consume. (I don’t yet have an answer, other than compost.) But there have also been some unexpected wins, like the amazing facial scrub I Instagram’d last week, made from coffee grounds and egg shells. Plus, dinner time is no longer a rotation of the same couple dozen dishes. Everyone in my family is pretty happy.

The biggest secret to my success? My freezer.

Jenny's stock

A while back, I contributed to a great article by Marian Bull for Bon Appétit, “The Right Way to Freeze Basically Everything.” In short: I am obsessed with my freezer. I cannot emphasize that enough. Obsessed. Before my family goes out of town, I freeze anything that might not last until our return. That might mean tossing the whole chicken I didn’t get a chance to roast into a freezer bag. It could also mean putting my half full gallon of milk directly into the freezer, plastic jug and all. I asked my husband to clean out the fridge before we left for our Christmas break and upon returning two weeks later to find brown slimy spinach, I sadly asked, “Why didn’t you freeze that?” He thinks I’m a neurotic food hoarder, but really, I just hate seeing good food get dumped. As the BA article indicates, you can freeze anything. So if you notice something in your fridge inching closer and closer to its expiration date, do something about it! Eat it, or freeze it.

Make This: Kitchen Sink Stock

So what about all of those kitchen scraps? Sure, you can compost them. But why not put them in your freezer, too? Each time I prepare a meal, I toss all my vegetable and meat scraps into freezer bags. Once I have two gallon-sized freezer bags stuffed full, I make stock. I call it my kitchen sink stock. It might have a variety of meat bones — chicken, pork, beef. It might have veggies that most wouldn’t add to stock — broccoli stems and bell pepper seeds. But I don’t mind. I toss it all into my pressure cooker, cover it with water and 20 minutes later have great stock. If it tastes like too much bell pepper to use for a cauliflower soup, I use it for a bean soup. If it’s not as flavorful as I’d like, I use it when I cook rice or couscous. And everything goes in it; from garlic and onion skins to herb stems and kale stalks. I’m sure some chefs will read this and weep, as stock making is a very time-honored tradition and the backbone to many cuisines. But in my case, I just want to avoid spending money on store-bought stock — and cut down on food waste in my own home.

Kitchen sink stock

Then Make These: A Couple of My Favorite Recipes

Once you’ve got your Kitchen Sink Stock made, here are few of the hit dishes I’ve made in the last couple of weeks that put it to good use.

Cream of Stem Soup
Servings: Makes about 6 to 8 servings

Ingredients:
1 pound broccoli stems, chopped
1 pound cauliflower stems, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for garnishing
1 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery
½ stick unsalted butter
6 cups Kitchen Sink Stock
1 cup cream
Dash or two of nutmeg
Salt and pepper, to taste
Parmesan cheese (optional)

Preparation:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Toss the chopped broccoli and cauliflower stems in olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread on a baking sheet and roast until golden brown and caramelized. Set aside at room temperature until ready to use.
  2. In a large pot, sauté the onion and celery in butter until translucent and tender. Add the roasted broccoli, cauliflower and stock, cover and simmer about 10 minutes.
  3. Transfer the mixture in batches to a blender and purée until completely smooth (do not fill the blender completely full and be sure to hold the top on with a kitchen towel to protect your hands — the steam from the hot liquid can push the lid off). Return the mixture to the pot and stir in the cream and nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm, with freshly grated parmesan cheese and a drizzle of olive oil, if desired.

 

Savory Mushroom Stem and Stale Bread Pudding
Servings: Makes 10 to 12 servings

Ingredients:
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 stalks celery, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
¾ stick unsalted butter
1 pound mushrooms, sliced with entire stem intact
1 bunch kale, chopped
¼ cup water or stock
¼ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 pound stale bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups crème fraiche or sour cream
8 large eggs
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
½ cup grated parmesan or gruyere cheese

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly coat a 9 x 13-inch glass baking dish with butter. Place the bread in a large mixing bowl.
  2. In a large skillet, sauté the onions, celery and garlic in the butter until translucent and tender. Add the mushrooms and sauté until tender and light golden brown. Add the kale, cover and let cook about 2 minutes. Remove the lid and continue to sauté until the liquid has evaporated. Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley. Add the sautéed vegetables to the bowl of bread and stir to combine.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the cream, crème fraiche and eggs together until smooth. Add the mixture to the bowl of bread and vegetables and stir until combined. Add the salt and pepper and mix well. Let the mixture sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish, sprinkle with the grated cheese and bake until golden brown and the pudding slightly puffs, about 1 hour. Let stand about 15 minutes to cool slightly before cutting and serving.

Ready to get into the kitchen with Chef Jenny? Click here for information on ICE’s career programs.

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

For many during the holiday season, we are tempted by indulgences and excess. And come the New Year, we feel sickened by it all. After my December of gluttony, I’ve decided to focus on a less-considered side of overabundance – the excess garbage it can create. I’m not going to join a gym or stop eating cookies. I will definitely not be cutting back on my red wine and red meat. Instead, for my 2017 resolution, I will spend the entire 31 days of January creating zero food waste at home.

Over the next couple of weeks, I will share some tips to prepare myself for the journey ahead. Perhaps, you’ll join me and take the challenge, too?

credit: rick

credit: rick

First Thing First: Get Organized

The easiest way to prevent food waste is to organize your grocery shopping. Here are three things to do before even making your shopping list (never go to the grocery store without a list!):

  1. Inventory: Take two minutes to do a quick inventory of what you already have in your fridge and cabinets.
  2. Count your meals: I always look at my weekly calendar and decide how many nights I plan to cook dinner. I estimate how often my family will be eating food from home, including breakfast and lunch, throughout the week.
  3. Choose a menu in advance: I love spending free time flipping through cookbooks, so I expect this will be the most fun part of my game plan. My family loves leftovers, so I try to pick recipes that serve twice the amount needed per meal. Extra tip: Look for recipes that use ingredients already in your inventory.

To the Grocery Store 

You’re organized, you have your list and you’re ready to shop. Now what? Here are some tips for navigating the grocery store:

  1. Minimize impulses (but keep it real): I can’t resist some impulse shopping, but I’m setting a limit for myself: I will buy 90% of what I need and 10% of what I want. In my cart, that means nine of my purchases are off my list and one random item is a wild card (usually a fancy chocolate bar!)
  2. Be practical about fresh produce: I love purchasing a wide variety of fresh produce — it’s so pretty and colorful! But since I don’t eat the bulk of my meals at home, this usually results in a lot of waste. Fresh fruits and veggies are the most perishable items on my grocery list. So instead of having oranges, bananas, apples, strawberries, blueberries, cantaloupe and a pineapple each week, I will remind myself that each visit to the grocery store will not be the last time I see fruit again. Also, stick to purchasing produce that is exclusively in season. By narrowing options, you can lessen your chance of purchasing too much perishable food.
  3. Don’t get sucked into sales: Saving money at the store doesn’t always equate to real savings. Since sales tend to make me over-shop, which results in more food in my trashcan, I shall vow to swap a comparable non-sale item from my list for every sale item I believe I must take advantage of – that way, I’ll buy the non-sale item if I truly think it’s worth it.
  4. Shop the store backwards: This is my absolute favorite way to prevent over-purchasing. Did you know that grocery stores are designed to navigate your shopping experience? The main entrance opens up to the glorious produce section, followed by the bakery or meat department and then the dairy section. Next come the dry goods and, finally, the frozen section. Grocers know that you are likely to select more items when you first walk in the door. As your cart starts to fill, you start thinking about your wallet and cut back your shopping. Grocers want to sell their most perishable products first because it’s the most effective method for reducing food waste in their stores. To defeat this system of subtle marketing, my route will be as follows: Dry goods, dairy, meat, deli, bakery, produce and finally, frozen foods (I don’t want my ice cream to melt!). Though I feel like a salmon swimming upstream, it seriously makes a difference (plus it prevents me from squashing my delicate lettuces and tomatoes — oh wait, no more fresh tomatoes for a while).

We’re organized, we stuck to our list (mostly) and now we’re ready to cart our groceries home. What’s next? Check back soon for my second post, where I’ll share more tips for preventing waste and share my progress.

Want to become a pastry arts pro like Chef Jenny? Click here to learn about ICE’s career programs. 

Recipe by Jenny McCoy — Chef Instructor, School of Pastry & Baking Arts

So your sister-in-law likes it sweet but your uncle loves a tart dessert and the rest of the family just wants something delicious to end their holiday meal— what’s a baker to do!? Chef Jenny has the perfect pie-idea for you: a flaky double-crust apple-cranberry pie that’s the perfect mix of tart and sweet — the best of both worlds. Bake, serve (preferably warm and with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a spoonful of crème fraîche) and let the compliments roll in.

Double-Crust Cranberry Apple Pie

Double-Crust Apple-Cranberry Pie

For the Flaky Pie Dough
Yield: Makes 1 double-crust pie or 2 (9-inch) pie crusts

Ingredients:

3¼ cups (450 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1¼ teaspoons (6 grams) granulated sugar
1¼ teaspoons (8 grams) salt
2¼ sticks (252 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
¾ cup (175 grams) ice-cold water, plus more if needed

Preparation:

  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk the flour, sugar and salt together for a few seconds. Add the butter all at once, and rub into the dry ingredients to mix until the butter is reduced to small pieces about the size of peas. Slowly add the water and stir until the dough just comes together, yet lumps of butter remain in the dough.
  • Divide the dough in half, and flatten each piece into a 1-inch thick disk. Wrap dough tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, one to two hours.

 

For the Sauteed Apple-Cranberry Pie Filling
Yield: Makes 6 cups

Ingredients:

8 medium Gala or Pink Lady apples
¼ cup (50 grams) light brown sugar
¼ cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
Ground cinnamon, to taste
¼ teaspoon (1 gram) salt
4 to 6 tablespoons (56 to 84 grams) unsalted butter
¼ cup (56 grams) brandy (optional)
1 cup (130 grams) cranberries

Preparation:

  • Peel, core and slice apples into ¾-inch slices. Gently toss sliced fruit, brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl.
  • In a large saute pan, melt half of the butter over medium-high heat. Add half of the sliced fruit and sauté until light golden and caramelized, turning fruit as needed. Add half of the brandy and cook until alcohol has reduced, tossing fruit in pan to coat.
  • Spread the cooked fruit in a shallow baking dish or on a baking sheet and repeat with remaining butter, fruit and brandy. Add the cranberries, stir and let cool to room temperature.

 

For The Double-Crust Apple-Cranberry Pie
Yield: Makes 1 (9-inch) pie

Ingredients:

Unbleached all-purpose flour, for rolling
1 recipe Flaky Pie Dough
1 recipe Sautéed Apple-Cranberry Pie Filling
1 large (50 grams) egg, lightly beaten

Preparation:

  • Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Lightly coat a 9-inch pie plate with nonstick cooking spray. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • On a lightly floured surface, roll one disk of dough into a circle about 12 inches in diameter by starting at the center of the disk and rolling away from you. Use additional flour and give the dough a quarter turn between each roll to prevent it from sticking to the table. Continue rolling until the dough is an even ⅛ inch thick. Repeat with the second disk of dough.
  • Carefully roll one circle of the dough around the rolling pin and unroll over the pie plate. Fit the dough into the plate by gently pressing it into the corners and against the base and sides of the plate. Trim the excess dough, leaving about a 1-inch overhang. Place the lined pie plate in the freezer for about 15 minutes to chill slightly. Roll the second piece of dough onto the rolling pin and unroll onto the parchment paper-lined baking sheet and place in refrigerator until ready to use.
  • Spread the Sauteed Apple-Cranberry Pie Filling into the prepared pie shell. Remove the sheet of rolled pie dough from the refrigerator and lay over the pie filling (if the sheet is stiff, just give it a few minutes to soften), reserving the parchment-lined baking sheet for later use. Trim the excess from the top sheet of dough to line up with the overhang of the shell. Fold the overhang in half, tucking the cut edge between the shell and the pie plate. Using your fingertips, decoratively crimp the edges together to seal. Cut a few decorative slits in the top of the pie crust to allow for steam from the fruit to vent. Place the pie in the freezer for 10 minutes to chill the dough slightly.
  • Lightly brush the entire surface of the dough with the beaten egg. Place the pie on the baking sheet and bake for one hour to one hour and 15 minutes, or until the crust is deep golden brown, the filling bubbles and the liquid has just thickened.
  • Cool on a wire rack until just warm before serving.

Double-Crust Cranberry Apple Pie

Want to learn pro-level baking with Chef Jenny? Click here for information on ICE’s Pastry & Baking Arts program.

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

Cranberry season is in full swing, and with Thanksgiving right around the corner, what better time to rethink your cranberry sauce? I find people either love cranberry sauce or don’t like it at all. I happen to be someone who loves it. The bright color on my dinner plate pops against the whites, browns and greens of turkey, stuffing and veggies. The super bright and tart flavor is a much-needed contrast against rich and heavy side dishes (often drowned in gravy). Plus, a schmear of cranberry sauce on a leftover turkey sandwich is a crucial component of one of my favorite lunches.

Each year, I change up my recipe to keep myself excited about the sauce, but also to convert a few family members who are convinced they just don’t like it. I’m sharing a few of my favorite recipes, but before we get into the kitchen, let me tell you a few things about America’s quintessential Thanksgiving fruit.

Cranberries by Casey Feehan

(credit: Casey Feehan – @caseyfeehan)

Cranberries: One of the Most American Ingredients

Wild cranberries have long been consumed by New England’s Native Americans, for some 12,000 years. The fruit is one of a handful of our country’s indigenous fruits. Cranberries thrive in their natural environments; bogs created by glaciers thousands of years ago. Prized for their culinary purposes, cranberries were also used for medicinal purposes and as a dye for textiles.

Though the early European settlers enjoyed them, larger-scale cultivation of cranberries didn’t begin until the early 1800s, when Captain Henry Hall, a revolutionary war veteran, noticed that his cranberries grew best when his bogs were covered in wind-blown sand. He moved his vines to more favorable locations and as his production grew, his method of cultivation spread. Other growers adopted his method of covering their berries in sand, increasing the yields of cranberry production throughout the northeast region, especially in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Harvest Time

Have you ever seen a cranberry harvest? You may recall those cranberry juice commercials featuring farmers in waist-high waders, standing in what looked like a pond covered in cranberries. Well, that’s precisely how cranberries are “picked.” Cranberry bogs are filled with water (up to a couple of feet though, not waist-high) the night before harvest. The vines are then raked to loosen the berries from the plants. The berries float to the surface of the water because they contain little air pockets, allowing them to be collected efficiently.

In 2015, over 840 million pounds of cranberries were produced in the United States. While many of us associate New England with cranberry growing, it is Wisconsin that now corners the market, having produced 60% of the country’s annual yield. With 20% of the annual harvest eaten on one day of the year — Thanksgiving — let’s take a moment to celebrate this most American fruit and discover a few new ways to add cranberries to your Thanksgiving table!

 

Go Raw Cranberry Relish
Servings: yields 8 to 10 servings

Ingredients:

One 12-ounce bag of fresh cranberries
2 tangerines (with peels)
1- to 2-inch chunk of fresh ginger, peeled
½ cup light brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper

Preparation:

  • Place all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and chop until fine.
  • Transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate overnight or for up to 3 days before serving.

 

Smoky Bacon Cranberry Sauce
Servings: yields 8 to 10 servings

Ingredients:

One 12-ounce bag of cranberries
1 cup light brown sugar
Zest of 1 orange, finely grated
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
½ to ¾ cup cooked bacon crumbles, to taste

Preparation:

  • In a medium saucepan, simmer the cranberries, sugar, orange zest and black pepper until the cranberries have broken down and the liquid has thickened, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Let the cranberry sauce cool to room temperature and stir in the paprika and bacon to taste.
  • Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 5 days before serving.

 

Herbed Cranberry Relish
Servings: yields 8 to 10 servings

Ingredients:

One 12-ounce bag of cranberries
¼ cup honey
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 large bunch parsley, stems removed
3 large sprigs fresh rosemary, stems removed
4 cloves garlic
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
½ bunch scallions, finely sliced
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preparation:

  • In a medium saucepan, simmer cranberries, honey and sugar until the cranberries have broken down and the liquid has thickened, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Let the cranberry sauce cool to room temperature.
  • In the bowl of a food processor, combine parsley, rosemary, garlic and olive oil. Finely chop, scraping down the bowl as needed. Add additional olive oil, if needed.
  • Stir the chopped herbs and garlic mixture into the cooled cranberry sauce. Add the sliced scallions.
  • Add the red wine vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 3 days before serving.

Want to study with Chef Jenny? Click here for information on ICE’s Pastry & Baking Arts program. 


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

As a young girl, my family took many long car rides north from Chicago to visit my aunt’s apple and horse farm in Wisconsin. As we pulled up the dirt driveway, the horses ran to the gate to greet us.

We spent each day of our trip working and visiting. Every morning, the sound of beer cans tied to the trees tinkling in the breeze like wind chimes woke us. (My uncle was convinced that the odor would send away the hungry deer.) We went into the orchard first thing, the better part of the morning consumed by gathering bushel after bushel of apples, my brother and I chasing after the best fruit that had already fallen to the ground. Afterwards, we would treat ourselves to an afternoon ride, with a small sack of apples we had saved for the horses. This was followed by evenings of baking and canning, reserving the apple peels and scraps to press for cider and throw to the dogs. The scent of a McIntosh apple and the loud crunch of biting into a freshly picked fruit, juices running down my chin, immediately takes me back to childhood memories of thick wool sweaters, mud-covered shoes and rustling around in piles of hay in the barn.

heirloom-apples1

(credit: Caitlin Gunther)

Later, after my family chose to let go of the apple farm, my grandfather retired and decided to plant a few trees of his own on a small parcel of land next to his home in LaCrosse, Wisconsin. The few trees grew into a dozen or so varieties of apples, which often met their fate on the damp leaf-covered ground, before finding their way into a baking dish. All the same, those apples were just fine and introduced me to what would now be considered heirloom varieties, like Cortland, Keepsake and Paula Red.

Every August, as summer seeps into autumn, I impatiently wait for the branches to hang heavy with apples. I say my annual goodbyes to berries and stone fruit and dream up new recipes for the fall bounty. The picking season for apples can last several months, though in most cold weather regions it’s just a few. By March, before the sweets of spring make their way to farmers’ market stands, I think I’d be the happiest baker if I never ate another apple. But for now, in October, I couldn’t be more content to find myself in the middle of apple season.

So what’s a baker to do with the autumn apples that abound? Bake pies, crisps and cobblers, of course. Press cider and can sauce. Eat them fresh or roasted, with a sprinkle of sea salt and a splash of olive oil. Dip them in caramel and fry them in a fritter. Or bob around the farmers’ market and try heirloom varieties that are new to you. No matter how you choose to celebrate America’s most beloved fruit, be sure to enjoy apple season to its fullest. And don’t forget to share your apple stories and favorite recipes: @iceculinary #AppleSeason2016

Here’s a list of different apples I’ve been fortunate to eat and cook with as a pastry chef, plus some notes on how to use them:

  • McIntosh, Cortland, Gravenstein and Empire apples are my go-to choices for baking. They have a softer texture and aren’t as juicy as other varieties, which makes them perfect for baking in a pie without rendering the bottom crust soggy.
  • Pink Lady, Honeycrisp and Cameo apples are among my favorite apples to sauté and roast. They are crisp enough to withstand high heat and especially sweet, so they caramelize beautifully.
  • Gala, Fuji and Braeburn are excellent all-purpose apples. They are great for eating fresh, but also bake nicely, too. They have a lovely balance of sweet and tart flavor with a crisp texture.
  • Granny Smith is a very popular variety. I don’t, however, love them in sweets. Instead, I find them best suited to savory applications. I enjoy pairing them with rich and creamy cheeses, or slicing them for salads and sandwiches, and my absolute favorite: combining them with gorgonzola and pancetta on my pizza!

Want to study with Chef Jenny? Click here to get more info about ICE’s Pastry & Baking Arts program.


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

Drinking vinegars, also known as shrubs, have become increasingly popular. Restaurants like Pok Pok NY in Brooklyn are now bottling drinking vinegars and selling them in grocery stores across they country. Even though not everyone knows about shrubs, drinking vinegar for health purposes has been done for a very long time.

Long ago, the Romans and Babylonians were mixing vinegar with water. The word “shrub” is derived from the Arabic word “sharbah,” which translates as “drink.” Even sailors from the 16th-18th centuries drank shrubs to prevent scurvy! Today, they are infused with every flavor one can imagine and lauded for their health benefits, some even claiming weight loss.

spoon-university

Shrub cocktail from the Spoon University event at ICE (credit: Katherine Baker)

Here’s the skinny

Shrubs are made with a combination of fruit, sugar and acid. More traditionally, they are made with equal parts fruit, sugar and vinegar. My preferred ratio is two parts fruit, one part sugar and one part vinegar—I tend to like my shrubs on the fruitier side, so I double the fruit. To make something so simple just slightly more complex, shrubs can be prepared in two ways—hot and cold—and they have infinite flavor combinations.

As for their health benefits, I can’t imagine anything made of four parts, one of which is sugar, to be very healthy. However, drinking vinegar itself has its merits: vinegar helps keep blood sugar levels in check by preventing your body from fully digesting starch. In doing so, your body will have a lower glycemic response to the starch you eat, which may decrease your chances of developing heart disease and diabetes. So, the next time you plan to eat a ton of bread, drink some vinegar first. Drinking vinegar is also considered to be healthful for an assortment of other reasons. But since this isn’t a post about diet (and instead includes recipes for alcoholic drinks), we’ll skip that talk for now.

To make a shrub—the cold way

This method will create a shrub that tastes fresh, light and slightly more acidic because the mixture will not be cooked.

Combine two parts chopped fruit and one part sugar in a large airtight container. Refrigerate the mixture for two days, allowing the fruit to macerate and the juices to release from the fruit. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve, pressing as much liquid from the fruit as possible. Transfer the mixture to a large airtight container and add the vinegar. Refrigerate the mixture for one week before using.

To make a shrub—the hot way

This method is quicker, but will deliver a less fruity flavor and be a bit mellower because the mixture will be cooked.

Simply combine all of the ingredients—two parts chopped fruit, one part sugar and one part vinegar—in a large pot and bring to a boil. Let simmer for three minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Strain and refrigerate until cold. It can be used immediately.

Flavoring a shrub

When making shrubs, you can use any fruit you’d like. Certain fruits may work better with either the hot or cold method. If you choose a fruit that doesn’t cook well, such as watermelon, consider the cold method. If you choose a fruit that tastes great raw or cooked, such as a pineapple, you can use either method. But if you choose a fruit with a very delicate flavor, such as a pear, consider the hot method to amplify its flavor.

I also love to infuse other flavors into my shrubs. Vanilla beans, cinnamon sticks, peppercorns or any other flavor that infuses easily into a liquid are a great option. Herbs, freshly grated ginger or turmeric root are also knockout alternatives. You should also consider the vinegar you use: distilled, for example, tends to be too acidic. Instead, use cider or rice vinegar for a mellow flavor. And don’t think you need to stick with just those options. White or red wine vinegar, champagne vinegar, even a bit of balsamic vinegar make for special shrub combinations. Lastly, you can use any variation of sugar you prefer—give demerara sugar or raw honey a try.

Flavor recommendations

Hot method

  • Quince + star anise + brown sugar + cider vinegar
  • Bing cherries + vanilla bean + dark brown sugar + cider vinegar

Cold method

  • Strawberries + basil + turbinado sugar + champagne vinegar
  • Grapefruit + fresh bay leaf + granulated sugar + honey + rice wine vinegar

You’ve prepared your shrub…what now?

Once you’ve prepared your shrub, you can serve it as a nonalcoholic spritzer—combine equal parts shrub and seltzer, and add more seltzer or shrub to taste. Or, better yet, you can use the shrub as the base for a cocktail. A good rule of thumb is two ounces of shrub, two ounces of your choice of alcohol and two ounces of seltzer. From there you can doctor your cocktail to taste. Don’t forget to garnish either version with some fresh herbs or slices of fresh fruit.

Here is a peach shrub recipe I recently concocted for a mixology demo performed at ICE for Spoon University. For the demo, I lined my tabletop with over a dozen varieties of fresh herbs from our hydroponic garden at ICE and encouraged guests to concoct their own cocktails by choosing herbs to mix into the drink they wanted to try!

catskill-provisions

(credit: Caitlin Gunther)

Peach Shrub with Catskills Provisions Honey Whiskey

Servings: makes about four cups shrub (enough for 12 or so servings)

For the shrub

Ingredients:

3 large ripe peaches, chopped
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup honey
1 cup apple cider vinegar
½ cup rice wine vinegar
½ teaspoon salt

Instructions:

  • In a large pot, combine all of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and let cook for about three minutes.
  • Remove mixture from heat and let stand until cooled to room temperature. Pass mixture through a fine-mesh strainer and chill until cold.

 

For the cocktail

Ingredients:

2 ounces peach shrub
2 ounces Catskills Provisions Honey Whiskey (or any other brand you prefer—but if using a non-honeyed whiskey, you may want to add a teaspoon of honey or simple syrup)
2 ounces seltzer
Lemon wedges
Fresh herbs, such as lavender, thyme, rosemary or basil

Instructions:

  • In a glass filled with ice, combine the shrub and whiskey and stir. Top with the seltzer.
  • Garnish with a wedge of lemon and fresh herbs.

 

Boozy Blueberry Basil Shrub

Servings: makes about four cups shrub (enough for 12 or so servings)

For the shrub

Ingredients:

3 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen)
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
1 ½ cups apple cider vinegar
½ teaspoon salt
1 bunch basil, leaves torn or roughly chopped

Preparation:

  • In a large pot, combine all of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and let cook for about three minutes.
  • Remove the mixture from heat, add the torn basil leaves and let stand until cooled to room temperature. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer and chill until cold.

 

For the cocktail

Ingredients:

2 ounces blueberry shrub
2 ounces gin, Hendrick’s recommended
2 ounces seltzer
Lime wedges
Fresh basil sprigs

Preparation:

  • In a glass filled with ice, combine the shrub and gin and stir. Top with the seltzer.
  • Garnish with a lime wedge and a sprig of fresh basil.

Want to study pastry arts with Chef Jenny? Click here to get more info about ICE’s Pastry & Baking Arts program.