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By Chef James Briscione — Director of Culinary Research

The role of a chef goes far beyond preparing food. Be it in a restaurant, culinary school, test kitchen or anywhere else, great chefs find a way to educate, inspire and create connections. They may seem secondary to the job of cooking, but these duties of a chef can often be more important than the meals themselves. As Director of Culinary Research here at ICE, I find myself spending more time in these roles than I do behind the stove. Not that I’m complaining — it’s this part of the job that has taken me around the world, and recently brought me back home.

Chef James Briscione

Since its inception four years ago, my wife Brooke and I have hosted The Wharf Uncorked, an end-of-summer food and wine festival on the Alabama Gulf Coast, right next door to our hometown of Pensacola, Florida. It has become a very important weekend to us for multiple reasons. First and foremost, it’s an amazing event that raises money for local charities. Secondly, it’s a fun day at the beach with a talented group of chefs. Finally, it’s a celebration of Gulf seafood — the food that both my wife and I grew up eating. Ever since an oil spill devastated the fisherman of this area, it has become increasingly important to let the world know that the Gulf of Mexico is open for business. Gulf seafood — shrimp, oysters and fish of all varieties — is both clean and delicious. In fact, the seafood from this region is some of the best I’ve ever tasted. But nothing is more tasty and unique than royal red shrimp, a lesser-known species that’s very popular with local chefs.

royal red shrimp riceRoyal red shrimp hit their peak, in terms of flavor, from the end of summer through fall. Unlike brown and pink species of shrimp, royal reds prefer the cool deeper water far from shore. They can be found up to 60 miles off the coast and their flavor is reminiscent of a fellow cold-water crustacean: the lobster. At this year’s festival, royal red shrimp were not only a secret ingredient in the Chef Showdown — a live one-hour cook off between four of the area’s top chefs (luckily, I have retired my competition apron and get to play host, judge and taste-tester for the evening), they were also a feature ingredient for my main stage cooking demo. Below is the recipe that I prepared so you can taste for yourself (sadly, you won’t get to experience all the terrible dad jokes that accompany my live cooking). Don’t worry if you don’t have royal red shrimp at your local seafood market — this dish is delicious with any variety of shrimp. I hope you are inspired to try this Gulf Coast favorite, and if you do, tell us in the comments how it turned out!

Bacon-Basted Royal Red Shrimp with Low Country Rice
Yield: Serves 4

Ingredients:

2 cups long grain rice (like Carolina Gold)
24 pieces royal red shrimp
12 bamboo skewers
Barbecue rub, as needed
2 tablespoons water
8 strips thick cut bacon, sliced into lardons (small strips)
1 yellow onion, minced
2 red bell peppers, small dice
2 jalapeños peppers, ribs and seeds removed, small dice
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
2 cups canned tomatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
Juice of ½ lemon
Hot sauce, to taste

Preparation:

  • Preheat a grill or broiler.
  • Start by cooking the rice. Bring a large pot of salted water to a rapid boil. Add the rice and stir once to make sure rice doesn’t stick.
  • When the rice is just tender, pour it through a colander and quickly rinse with cold water — this prevents overcooking and separates the grains of rice.
  • Peel and devein the shrimp, leaving the heads on 12 if possible. With these 12, make three small (about ¼-inch deep) incisions on the under side of each shrimp tail. This will allow you to straighten the tail and thread each shrimp onto a skewer so that the tail is completely straight and in line with the head. Lightly dust the shrimp with your barbecue rub of choice and set aside or refrigerate until ready to use.
  • Remove the heads from the remaining 12 shrimp. Chop the tail meat and reserve.
  • To prepare the rice, heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the bacon and water, and cook until the water evaporates and bacon is browned and crisp, about 12 minutes. (Note: cooking bacon in water may sound surprising, but the liquid helps to render the fat and the result is crispier bacon.)
  • Keeping the bacon in the pan, drain all but one tablespoon of the bacon fat from the pan and reserve.
  • Add the onions to the bacon pieces and fat in the pan. Sauté onions until just tender, about three minutes. Add bell peppers and jalapeño and cook two minutes more.
  • When the peppers are slightly tender and fragrant, add the garlic and cook until lightly toasted, about one minute. Add the chopped shrimp meat and cook one minute more, so the shrimp has just turned white on the exterior.
  • Stir in the chopped tomatoes, bring to a boil and cook two minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly, to desired consistency. Finish with the cilantro, butter, lemon and hot sauce to taste. Cover the rice to keep it warm while you prepare the shrimp.
  • Brush the shrimp skewers with the reserved bacon fat and place on a grill over high heat. Cook for two minutes on one side. Just before flipping, brush the shrimp with more bacon fat, then turn and cook for two minutes on the second side. Brush again with bacon fat before removing from the grill. Rest on a rack for a few minutes after grilling.
  • Divide the rice between bowls and top with grilled shrimp skewers (three per bowl). Serve immediately.

Ready to study the Culinary Arts with Chef James? Get more information on ICE’s career programs. 

By Jenny McCoy — Pastry & Baking Arts Chef Instructor

It’s hard to truly determine who ought to be credited for the first brownie. One version of history credits Bertha Palmer, a Chicago businesswoman and socialite, for inspiring the sweet that is about as American as apple pie. On a recent visit to Chicago, I took a walk down one of the brownie’s memory lanes.

Bertha was the wife of Potter Palmer, a wealthy businessman who was very much involved in the development of downtown Chicago. They were introduced by a mutual friend and Potter’s former business partner, Marshall Field (whose department store acquired and popularized Frango chocolate truffles, by the way). As a wedding gift to his bride, Potter gave Bertha an extraordinary gift — The Palmer House hotel. Under the couples’ ownership, largely directly by Bertha, The Palmer House became the epicenter for entertainment amongst socialites in Chicago and well-heeled travelers worldwide. In 1893, for the World’s Fair: Columbian Exposition, an event that would draw influential people from around the globe, Bertha entertained the notion of creating a small confection that has since become beloved all the world over.

Palmer House brownieStorytellers say that for the World’s Fair, Bertha asked The Palmer House pastry chef to create a small cake or confection that could be included in boxed lunches for ladies visiting the fair. The pastry chef developed a thick, dense, fudgy chocolate bar, covered in walnuts and a sweet apricot glaze. It was unlike any other confection and became incredibly popular. Though it still wasn’t called a “brownie,” as similar versions of the dessert later appeared in the Sears Roebuck catalog and in cookbooks by Fannie Farmer and others, its name was given. More than a century later, you can still enjoy a square of warm chocolate goodness topped with ice cream made with the same recipe used in 1893 at The Palmer House. Or, if you can’t make it to Chicago anytime soon, you can create a batch of brownies yourself using the recipe below, adapted from the original.

The Palmer House Brownie
Adapted from the original recipe found here

Ingredients:

14 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
1 pound unsalted butter
12 ounces granulated sugar
4 ounces all-purpose flour
8 whole eggs
12 ounces crushed walnuts
Vanilla extract
Apricot Glaze (recipe below)

Preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 300° F.
  • In a double boiler, melt chocolate with butter.
  • In a medium bowl, mix all dry ingredients except walnuts.
  • Pour chocolate into dry ingredients and mix with a spatula for 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Add eggs and vanilla to chocolate mixture and mix to combine. Pour into a 9”x 12” baking sheet, sprinkle walnuts on top and use your fingers to press walnuts down slightly into mixture.
  • Bake for 30 to 40 minutes. When finished baking, the brownies will have risen about ¼ inch and the edges should be a little crispy. Note: Even when properly baked, brownies will test “gooey” with a toothpick in the center due to the richness of the mixture. Remove brownies from oven and allow brownies to cool for about 30 minutes.
  • While brownies cool, work on your Apricot Glaze (recipe below). Once brownies cool, use a brush to spread a thin layer of the Apricot Glaze on top. Cut into squares and serve (highly recommended with a scoop of ice cream).

Pro Tip: The brownies are easier to cut if you place in the freezer for about 3-4 hours after glazing.

Palmer House brownies

For the Apricot Glaze

Ingredients:

1 cup water
1 cup apricot preserves
1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin

Preparation:

  • In a small saucepan over medium heat, mix together water, preserves and unflavored gelatin.
  • Bring to a boil for two minutes. Use hot.

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

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. 


Alternative flours — like chickpea flour, banana flour and grapeseed flour — can add a nutritional kick and a tasty nuance to many everyday recipes. Though substituting your tried-and-true AP flour may seem a little intimidating at first, once you have a few recipes under your belt you can add these alternative flours to your regular cooking and baking repertoire. To help you get there, Chef Sarah Chaminade is sharing three new recipes that she developed for ICE and Direct Eats using alternative flours. First, Chef Sarah uses chickpea flour to add a sweet and creamy texture to her chickpea canapés. Then, Chef Sarah demonstrates how to make a gluten-free angel food cake using banana flour —with all of the lightness and none of the gluten. Then, she uses merlot grapeseed flour in her chocolate chip cookies to create a gluten-free and vegan take on the classic recipe. Watch the video below, and then scroll to get the recipes.

Chickpea Canapé
Servings: three to four dozen individual canapés, depending on the size of each

In Liguria, the region flanking Genoa along Italy’s northwest coast, farinata is a classic dish. Farinata is a thin chickpea cake typically cooked in a wood-burning oven. In Liguria, bake shops put signs in their windows announcing the time that the farinata will be ready and customers line up to buy it. It’s a perfect snack when eaten like a piece of pizza on waxed butcher paper. Farinata, just like pizza, can be stuffed or garnished with any vegetable, cheese or sauce.

Ingredients:

3 cups chickpea flour
5 cups chicken stock, vegetable stock or water
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon thyme, chopped
1 teaspoon rosemary, chopped
1 teaspoon oregano, chopped
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
Optional garnish: dollop of creme fraîche, crispy prosciutto or micro herbs like micro arugula

Preparation:

  • Preheat convection oven to 450 °F (or 475 °F for a conventional home oven).
  • Combine chickpea flour and water with whisk until smooth — let sit for 1 hour to allow batter to thicken slightly.
  • Stir in remaining ingredients.
  • Pour the batter onto a silicone baking mat or a baking sheet lined with parchment. Spread evenly with spatula and bake for 30-40 minutes until golden brown.
  • Use a knife or pizza cutter to cut farinata into squares (5×7 or 6×8, depending on the size you prefer) and top with optional garnish.

* Recipe adapted from Ciao Italia by Mary Ann Esposito

Gluten-Free Banana Flour Angel Food Cake
Yield: one cake

1 10-inch angel food cake pan with removable bottom
15 egg whites, room temperature (note: it’s essential that they are at room temperature!)
1 pinch of salt
½ cup plus ¾ cup coconut sugar
1½ cups banana flour
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean
* Flavor variations:
Replace vanilla with zest of one lemon, two limes or half an orange, or replace vanilla with two teaspoons of cinnamon

Preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 350 °F.
  • In a very clean, dry mixing bowl combine egg whites and salt and whip to soft peaks. Gradually add ½ cup of coconut sugar. Continue to whip egg whites to medium peaks, being careful to not over whip.
  • In a separate bowl, sift together the remaining coconut sugar and banana flour.
  • Gradually sift dry ingredients into the whipped whites, folding gently to be careful not to deflate.
  • Fold in vanilla extract and vanilla bean.
  • Pour batter into an ungreased angel food pan, spreading carefully to distribute batter evenly — do not bang the cake pan, as this will cause the batter to deflate.
  • Bake for 50 min, or until golden brown and cake springs back when lightly touched.
  • Remove from oven and invert onto a cooling rack without removing the mold.
  • Allow the cake to cool completely before unmolding.

Vegan, Gluten-Free Merlot Grapeseed Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies
Yield: one dozen cookies

2 ½ cups almond flour
¼ cup merlot grapeseed flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ cup coconut oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
½ cup agave
1 cup 72% bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 325 °F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Melt the coconut oil in microwave or on stove top. In a medium bowl, combine all wet ingredients.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
  • Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients, mixing with a rubber spatula or spoon to combine.
  • Stir in the chocolate chunks, and allow the mixture to chill in refrigerator at least 30 minutes.
  • Using a cookie scoop, scoop mixture onto your prepared baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.
  • Let cool before enjoying. Because these cookies stay nice and moist, they taste great the next day too.

Master culinary or pastry arts with ICE’s expert chef instructors — click here for information on our career programs.

If recipes are like the Oscars, oils generally fall into the category of Best Supporting Actor — but not anymore. In a new video from the Institute of Culinary Education and Direct Eats, ICE Chef Robert Ramsey shares three recipes that highlight the unique flavors of three tasty cooking oils — Smoked Olive Oil Carbonara with homemade Pasta All’ Uovo; Roasted Beets with Bitter Greens, Walnut Oil Emulsion, Blue Cheese and Walnut Oil Powder; and Tigernut Oil Ice Cream With Roasted Apples, Rolled Oat Crumble and Honey Tigernut Oil. Watch the video, then scroll down to get the recipes to let those oils shine.

Smoked Olive Oil Carbonara
Servings: Makes about 4 servings

Ingredients:

1 recipe, pasta all’ uovo (recipe below)
10 tablespoons Holy Smokes Smoked Olive Oil
8 ounces thinly sliced guanciale, chopped (If unavailable, bacon or pancetta will work well)
4 egg yolks
6 ounces grated pecorino cheese
2 sprigs fresh oregano or marjoram, leaves picked from the stems
1 tablespoon freshly ground, coarse black pepper
Salt to taste

Preparation:

  1. Make fresh pasta first. It is best to store it in the freezer or cook it right away.
  2. Fill a large pot with water and season aggressively with salt. Begin heating the water while working on the rest of the recipe.
  3. In a large sauté pan over medium heat, render the guanciale (lightly brown it while melting the fat) until it becomes crisp.
  4. Add 6 tablespoons of the olive oil, the cracked black pepper and oregano leaves and reduce heat to low. Allow the flavors to infuse on low heat for about 5 minutes.
  5. While the sauce is cooking and when water reaches a rolling boil, drop pasta into your water. Cook pasta for about 3 minutes, then drain, reserving the pasta water.
  6. Add the pasta to the sauté pan with guanciale, pepper, oil and oregano. Add the egg yolks and 2-3 tablespoons of the pasta water and half of the cheese (as the pasta water contains starch, it will make the sauce creamy). Stir quickly and constantly to incorporate, about 1 minute. Do not allow this to sit on the heat without stirring or the eggs will scramble.
  7. Divide the pasta between four bowls, spooning any leftover sauce over the top. Drizzle the remaining olive oil on top and finish with the remaining cheese.

Pasta all’ Uovo (Fresh Egg Pasta)
Servings: makes about 4 servings

Ingredients:

11 ounces of all-purpose flour
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon salt

Preparation:

  1. Place the flour on your work surface and make a well in the center.
  2. Break the eggs into the well and add the salt. With a fork, begin to gently beat the eggs in a circular motion, incorporating approximately ½ of the flour.
  3. Using a bench scraper, bring the entire mixture together.
  4. Knead the dough with your hands for 3 to 4 minutes. At this stage, the dough should be soft and pliable. If bits of dried dough form (which is normal), don’t incorporate them into the dough — brush them off of your work surface.
  5. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest for 20 minutes.
  6. Cut the dough into four pieces and recover with the plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming.
  7. Remove one piece of the dough at a time from the plastic wrap and knead through the rollers of a pasta machine set at the widest setting. Fold the dough like a business letter to form three layers, pressing out all of the air. Turn the open end of the dough to the right (like a book) and repeat the rolling process. Continue the folding and rolling process five times on this setting.
  8. Repeat the folding and rolling process for the three remaining pieces of dough.
  9. Roll a piece of the previously kneaded dough through the pasta machine, reducing the setting with each roll until reaching the narrowest setting. Do not fold the dough between each setting.
  10. Cut the spaghetti using a chitarra (wire pasta cutter) or kitchen aide attachment
  11. Cook the pasta in boiling, salted water until desired doneness, about 3 minutes. Drain well. Reserve for the carbonara.

 

Roasted Beets with Bitter Greens, Walnut Oil Emulsion, Blue Cheese and Walnut Oil Powder
Servings: Makes about 4 servings

Ingredients:

8-10 baby red beets, washed, unpeeled
8-10 baby gold beets, washed, unpeeled
8-10 baby candy stripe beets, washed, unpeeled
4 tablespoons canola oil
1 sprig thyme
1 sprig rosemary
1 small red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1 head frisée, washed, dark green leaves removed, trimmed
1 bunch arugula (about 8 ounces) washed
4 ounces creamy blue cheese (such as gorgonzola), crumbled
1 cup walnuts, toasted, chopped
4 tablespoons sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
10 tablespoons + 4 tablespoons walnut oil
2 ounces tapioca maltodextrin (sometimes sold as N-Zorbit) — note: this must be measured by weight!
Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

For the beets: 

  1. Preheat oven to 300° F.
  2. In a mixing bowl combine beets, salt and pepper, canola oil, rosemary and thyme and toss to evenly coat. Transfer to a small baking dish and cover tightly with foil. Roast beets until very tender, 20-45 minutes depending on the size of the beets. You can check for doneness by inserting the tip of a paring knife into the largest beet. If there is little-to-no resistance, the beets are ready.
  3. Allow beets to cool just enough that you can handle them. Discard the herbs. Using a paper towel, rub the skins to remove them from beets. Slice each beet in half (or quarters if they are larger). Reserve.

For the walnut oil emulsion:

  1. In the pitcher of a blender, combine ½ cup toasted walnuts, sherry vinegar, 2 tablespoons cold water, honey and a pinch of salt. Purée until smooth.
  2. With the blender running, slowly stream in the 10 tablespoons of walnut oil, forming a thick, emulsified sauce. Reserve.

For the walnut oil powder:

  1. In a medium mixing bowl, combine 4 tablespoons walnut oil with 2 ounces tapioca maltodextrin. Mix until a crumbly, slightly moist powder forms.
  2. Transfer to a mesh sieve and tap the powder through over a sheet pan. This will break up the clumps. Reserve.

Note: Tapioca Maltodextrin is a natural extract used to turn liquid oils into powders because each grain has the ability to hold a huge amount of fat. It can be found on the internet and at some specialty stores. If unavailable, skip this step and serve with finely chopped walnuts instead.

To assemble:

  1. Toss the roasted beets, remaining walnuts, greens and half the emulsion together in a mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Reserve.
  2. Spoon a little of the remaining emulsion on each of four plates, making a small pool in the center.
  3. Layer the beet mixture on top of the emulsion.
  4. Divide the blue cheese crumbles evenly and sprinkle over each plate.
  5. Top with a dusting of walnut oil powder. You can sprinkle it directly through the sieve if desired.

 

Tigernut Oil Ice Cream With Roasted Apples, Rolled Oat Crumble and Honey Tigernut Oil Drizzle
Servings: makes 4-6 servings

For the tigernut oil ice cream:
Servings: makes about 3 ½ cups

Ingredients:

1 ¾ cups whole milk
¼ cup heavy cream
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
4 large egg yolks
1/3 cup tigernut oil

Preparation:

  1. Bring milk, cream, salt and ½ cup sugar just to a simmer in a medium saucepan, stirring to dissolve sugar; remove from heat.
  2. Whisk egg yolks and the other 2 tablespoons of sugar in a medium bowl until pale, about two minutes. Gradually whisk ½ cup hot milk mixture into yolks. Whisk yolk mixture back into remaining milk mixture in saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 2–3 minutes.
  3. Strain custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium bowl set in a large bowl of ice water; whisk in oil. Let cool, stirring occasionally. Process custard in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.
  4. Transfer ice cream to an airtight container, cover and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours.

For the roasted apples:

Ingredients:

3 tart apples (like Granny Smith), peeled, sliced into wedges
3 sweet apples (like Honeycrisp), peeled, sliced into wedges
Juice of half of 1 lemon
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and toss to coat.
  3. Transfer to a oven safe dish and roast apples in a single layer until tender and browned, but not falling apart. Reserve.

For the rolled oat crumble

Ingredients:

¾ cups old-fashioned rolled oats
¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup light brown sugar
¾ cup cold butter

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 325° F.
  2. Mix brown sugar, oats, flour and cinnamon in a separate bowl. Use a pastry cutter or two forks to mash cold butter into the oats mixture until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  3. Spread mixture on sheet pan lined with parchment. Pat the topping gently to even out and bake until crispy and lightly browned. Remove from oven and reserve.

For the honey tigernut oil drizzle:

Ingredients:

8 tablespoons honey
8 tablespoons tigernut oil
½ vanilla bean, split open, seeds scraped

Preparation:

  1. In a mixing bowl, whisk oil, honey and vanilla bean seeds together until evenly mixed and thick.

To assemble:

  1. Layer the warm apples directly on a plate or wide bowl. Sprinkle the crumble over top, breaking up any very large pieces as you go. Top with one scoop of ice cream. Spoon the honey tigernut drizzle over the top and serve.

Want to study culinary arts with Chef Robert? Click here for more information on ICE’s career programs. 

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 David Waltuck — Director of Culinary Affairs

As the cold and dreary days of late January and February approach, the thought of a bowl of hearty and warming soup becomes especially appealing. When I was a kid, my Aunt Gertie, who loved to cook, would often talk about hot beef borscht with garlic — a dish that she remembered from her childhood. Although her taste memory of it was vivid, she was never able to make a version that matched the one she remembered.

What follows is my attempt at a borscht that matches the one that Aunt Gertie so fondly remembered. During colder months, we used to serve this as a staff meal at Chanterelle. Though I’m quite happy with the recipe, I always wish I could have tasted original.

beef-borscht

 

Aunt Gertie’s Hot Beef Borscht
Serves 6-8 as a main course

Ingredients:

3 pounds beef brisket
5 cups veal stock
3 tablespoons chicken or duck fat
1 large onion, sliced
4 large cloves garlic, minced
3 quarts chicken stock
5 cups peeled and shredded raw beets (5-6 large beets)
1/3 cup lemon juice
6 cups shredded cabbage, preferably savoy
7 tablespoons sugar
¼ cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon caraway seeds (optional)
Sour cream for garnish (not optional)

Preparation:

  1. Place beef in a large saucepot and add the veal stock. Add water if needed to cover the meat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until the beef is tender, about two hours. Let the beef cool in the broth. Drain the meat — reserving the broth — and cut into half-inch dice.
  2. Heat the fat in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and sauté until lightly browned, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the broth from the beef and the chicken stock, increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and add beets and lemon juice. Simmer, uncovered, until the beets are tender, about 30 minutes.
  4. Add beef and cabbage, bring back to a simmer and cook until cabbage is soft and beef is heated through, about 10 minutes. Season with the sugar, vinegar, salt, pepper and caraway seeds (if desired). Simmer for a few more minutes to let the flavors blend, then taste and adjust seasoning as desired — the borscht should be sweet, sour and peppery. Serve topped with sour cream.

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By Caitlin Raux

In 2016, we cooked, baked, mixed and tasted a ton of delicious recipes at the Institute of Culinary Education. Our chef instructors and beverage pros shared their expertise and gave us step-by-step guides to making some of their favorite sips and eats. To ensure that your final feasts of 2016 are memorable, we came up with a list of our best recipes of 2016. Whether you’re an aspiring food professional or a devout foodie, here’s a dinner party’s-worth of great recipes:

Creamy Sweet Potato Soup

  • Kick off the New Year on a healthy-ish new foot with Chef Jenny McCoy’s Shrub Cocktails — equal parts restorative, digestif and, well, booze.
  • If you’re anything like us, no meal is complete without a couple hunks of bread — fresh out of the oven if possible. Why not ditch the same old baguette and give Chef Sarah Chaminade’s Irish Soda Bread a try? Save some for the morning after and serve with clotted cream and jam for the perfect “treat yourself” breakfast.

irish soda bread recipe

  • If you’re really fixing to impress dinner guests, Chef David Waltuck, our new Director of Culinary Affairs, has the winning recipe: Loin of Lamb with Mini Moussaka, a dish from Chef David’s famed Tribeca restaurant, Chanterelle, that’s as delicious as it is “oooh”- and “aahhh”-inspiring.
  • But let’s be honest: A feast is nothing without an ample selection of tasty sides. Luckily, our resident Southern-cuisine expert, Chef Robert Ramsey, proffered up a few show-stealing Southern sides — like Creamy Sweet Potato Soup With Brown Butter, Sorghum Syrup and Sage Croutons — to add to (or take over) your table.
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credit: farm.one

  • And don’t forget the visual and taste appeal of microgreens, like the ones we grow in our indoor hydroponic garden. Sprinkle these tiny, powerful bites throughout the meal (including the cocktails) with abandon.
  • Then comes the grand finale — the sweets. Chef Kathryn Gordon offered us a sneak peek into her newest cookbook, ‘Les Petits Sweets: Two-Bite Desserts from the French Patisserie,’ and shared an easy-to-follow recipe for decadent, delicious Pear-Rosemary Madeleines.
  • But if gluten and your belly are not quite best friends, Chef James Distefano has just the sweet treat for you: Spice-filled Gluten-free Speculaas Cookies.

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Happiest and tastiest holiday wishes from everyone at ICE!

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By Emily Peck

Emily is a nutritionist, personal chef, Kitchen Assistant at the Institute of Culinary Education, and the blogger behind The Greener Palate. She’s been a vegetarian for over a decade and is passionate about plant-based, whole-food cooking.

Vegan Thanksgiving fans, anyone? From the sausage stuffing to the gravy to the big ol’ turkey, it’s hard to imagine a meatless Thanksgiving that’s still mouth-watering and traditional. If you’re someone who’s inclined to save a bird this year, you might worry that all the tofurkeys and lentil loafs in the world won’t convince your family that eating plant-based foods is in any way comparable to a juicy turkey. But it’s our duty, my fellow plant lovers, to find ways to persuade the skeptics in our lives that we can enjoy the fruits of the earth in so many unique and appetizing ways, while staying true to some of the classic holiday recipes. That’s why, when I was given the opportunity to take Vegan Thanksgiving, a course taught by Chef Peter Berley at the Institute of Culinary Education, I jumped at the chance. He shared a handful of recipes plus ideas for modifying any dish to make it both delicious and entirely plant-based. The following are some tips I took away from the course.

almond-cake1

  1. Innovate with herbs. Cooking with herbs has the double benefit of adding fresh flavors and nutritional benefits to any dish. You can innovate with herbs for interesting new flavors, like we did with the Roasted Vegetable Pâté recipe. The recipe called for chopped rosemary, thyme and sage, but we had a lot of basil too, so I added a handful of that plus some leftover celery leaves — the final product had a complex (and delicious) flavor.
  1. Lighten up. You can substitute heavy ingredients like cream and butter for healthy alternatives. The traditional recipe for candied yams calls for butter, but we used extra-virgin olive oil (a heart-healthy dietary fat) instead. Coconut oil is another alternative fat source that adds some nutty sweetness to the dish as well. Bonus: coconut oil contains medium chain triglycerides, or “MCTs,” which have been found to boost HDL or “good cholesterol.”
  1. Nix the gluten. One recipe that I particularly enjoyed was the Stuffed Dumpling Squash with Kamut, Spelt Berry and Wild Rice. The kamut and spelt berry, however, are gluten-ful grains, and while wild rice is gluten-free, store-bought mixes are often made in facilities that also make products containing gluten — which can be problematic for those with gluten sensitivities. If you’re looking for gluten-free options, opt for a gluten-free grain such as quinoa — a hearty and healthy complex carbohydrate with a low glycemic index.
  1. Swap out refined sugars. Many candied yam and sweet potato dishes call for refined white sugar, a processed simple carbohydrate. Instead, try substituting maple syrup, agave or even coconut sugar for a natural, less-processed sweetener.
  1. Swap in Flavorful Cooking Methods (Like Caramelizing). Roasting your veggies for a half hour or more will caramelize them and bring out their natural sweetness. Chef Peter’s Caramelized Onion Gravy was impressive — it had a delicious sweet and savory component due to the slow cooking of the onions. The gravy was a rich topping for the squash dumplings (mentioned above), creating a unique twist on a classic dish without using a meat base.

Many families rely on their collective traditions when choosing Thanksgiving dishes. I like to create my own traditions while paying homage to the long-standing ones of my family — my aunt’s irresistible Pecan Squares and my mom’s Creamy Zesty Carrots, both recipes handed down from their mom, my grandmother. This year, I plan to recreate these dishes by substituting the dairy and any highly processed ingredients with plant-based, fresh ones. My uncle, who finds great value in keeping things simple and classic, probably won’t admit that he likes Chef Peter’s Maple Tofu Whipped Cream that I’m going to pile on top of my Vegan Almond-Raspberry Cake. But the proof will be in the pudding — or on his empty dessert plate when he’s asking for seconds. Aside from being delicious, cooking plant-based foods provides the freedom to eat more (within reason), while taking advantage of many benefits, including improved digestion due to high amounts of fiber, minerals, vitamins, healthy fats and plant-based proteins. All of this creates healthy and happy bellies on Thanksgiving.

Emily’s Vegan Almond-Raspberry Cake
Servings: 8

Ingredients:

2 cups almond flour, firmly packed
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup coconut- or almond-milk dairy-free yogurt
⅔ cup honey
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 ounces raspberries, preferably organic
Zest of 1 lemon

Optional:

Sprinkle of powdered sugar
½ cup chopped raw pistachios, almonds or pecans

Preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 325º F. Lightly grease a 9-inch pan (I used a spring form pan) with vegan butter or spray and lightly dust with almond flour.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the almond meal, baking powder, baking soda, ginger and sea salt.
  • In small bowl, combine the yogurt, honey, vanilla extract, olive oil and lemon zest. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry. Mix well and fold in the raspberries. Pour the mixture into the pan.
  • Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the cake is golden brown. Test with a toothpick to make sure it comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
  • Once cooled, slice into 8 pieces. Top with Maple Tofu Whipped Cream (recipe below). Optional: Sprinkle with chopped nuts and powdered sugar.

 

Chef Peter’s Maple Tofu Whipped Cream
Servings: Makes about 2 ½ cups

Ingredients:

½ pound soft tofu, drained
¼ cup maple syrup
¼ cup canola oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 ½ teaspoon lemon juice
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons agar flakes
½ cup cold water
1 tablespoon arrowroot or cornstarch
½ cup plain soy or almond milk

Preparation:

  • Combine tofu, maple syrup, oil, vanilla extract, lemon juice and salt in food processor.
  • Place the agar flakes and cup of cold water in sauce pan over medium heat. Stirring continuously, cook until the mixture reaches a boil. Then reduce the heat to simmer.
  • In a bowl, whisk the arrowroot powder (or cornstarch) and soy milk (or almond milk) and add to the simmering liquid. Raise the heat and whisk continually until the mixture begins to bubble. Remove from heat.
  • Slowly pour the hot mixture into the food processor and process until smooth. Stop the motor and scrape down the sides of the bowl to incorporate all of the ingredients.
  • Transfer the tofu cream to a clean container and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
  • Process the tofu cream again briefly just before serving

Want to expand your healthy-cooking repertoire? Click here to check out upcoming recreational cooking courses.


By Caitlin Raux

In 2012, just after ICE Alum Jason Alicea (Culinary Management ’15) landed his dream job as executive chef at a busy restaurant in West Patterson, NJ, a car accident rendered him out of commission for months. Looking back, it was a blessing in disguise, because it was during this immobile period that he came up with the idea to start his own company, That’s Good Food, the New York-based artisanal empanada company with a steadily growing following. Jason combined his family’s tradition of making empanadas from scratch (“pockets of love,” as he calls them) with culinary management training from ICE and turned it into a profitable, dynamic business. With savory fillings like confit duck and crab guisado and sweet fillings like banana bread pudding and arroz con leche, it’s no wonder his empanadas are a hit.

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Between regular pop-up events and farmers’ market appearances, Jason took a break to chat with us for an ICE blog interview.

What year did you graduate from ICE?

I began the Culinary Management program in September 2014, and I graduated in July 2015. My class was the first to graduate at the Brookfield Place location. I won the “Most Likely to Succeed Award” at graduation. It was the first time I had ever won an award in school — it was pretty overwhelming for me.

When you began at ICE, did you already have the idea for That’s Good Food?

Yes — it all began when I was working as executive chef at a restaurant in West Patterson, NJ. After about four months there, my dream job, I got into a car accident and needed knee surgery. While I was out, I decided to start my own catering company and incorporated without a business plan. I let my friends and family know that I could cook for their events. Fast-forward a year later: I started doing a lot of craft services and pop-up events, selling empanadas. Then I realized I would benefit from a formal business education, so in 2014, I enrolled at ICE.

Through the course of the program, we were developing our business concepts. I created an empanada concept for a brick and mortar space, and it was well received by my professors and classmates. After graduation, with a hot business plan in my pocket, I started looking for locations and pitching to investors. I’m still looking for a space, but the pop-up business is going strong. In December of last year, I got to be part of a pop-up bake sale in the holiday market in Union Square, and I’ll be doing a demo at the greenmarket on November 23, the day before Thanksgiving. I’d love to launch a retail line for empanadas one day.

empanadas

If you had a business running before ICE, what pushed you to go to culinary school to study culinary management?

I didn’t have a business plan or any startup funds in place. After going at it for a year and a half and living gig to gig, I decided it would be a good idea to get a business education, along with a better grasp of food culture.

What are the things you learned at ICE that were most useful for running your own business?

At ICE, I became more financially savvy, and that has had the largest impact on my development as a business owner. Now I focus more on the funds I need to operate a business successfully. Also, one of my professors worked for Union Square Hospitality Group, so we got a lot of behind-the-scenes tours at their restaurants. That was eye-opening — to see how the systems work in both front of house and back of house. Finally, the program forced me to focus on a concept and find my niche in the culinary world and in New York City. Before coming to ICE, I just cooked good food, but I had no real specialty. By the time I graduated, I realized that I had a unique product and a big market that I could tap into. So I fine-tuned my culinary voice.

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Why empanadas? Is that a family recipe or tradition?

Yes. In Puerto Rican culture they’re very big. I’m fourth generation, but we’re still in tune with the culture. Growing up, we used to travel back to PR every year. My grandmother taught my mom how to make the dough, and my mom taught me how to make it. I would always help out when she made them. Once I got more comfortable in the kitchen, and my mom allowed me to cook a bit, I started coming up with my own ideas for fillings. When I went to PR in 2012, I went to a small town called Piñones — basically a road with a bunch of shacks. There’s the beach on one side and a bunch of little food stands with little old ladies cooking inside. In one shack, El Boriqua, they make empanadas from scratch — when you order empanadas, they roll the dough out, fill them and fry them right there. I was inspired to bring that idea back to New York.

How are Puerto Rican empanadas unique as compared to Argentine or other empanadas?
I would say ours are flakier because we use more butter in the dough. I find a lot of the South American empanadas have firmer dough. Mine are unique because of the quality of the ingredients I use. Also, I don’t think a lot of people put the right amount of love in their food. I take the time when I’m cooking a product high in fat to make them as healthy as possible, by doing things like using less oil in the frying.

cookie empanadas

Chocolate Chip Cookie Empanadas

What’s the craziest empanada you’ve ever made?

I think the chocolate chip cookie one is unique. I put raw cookie dough inside the empanada dough, and it comes out perfectly, topped with powdered sugar. I did a truffle Cubano, too. Lots of people do Cubanos, which are made with roasted pork, cheese, ham and pickles. My roast pork is something I take a lot of pride in. I get locally sourced cheese, smoked ham and I use Urbani truffles and mustard. Then I add pickled onions — that combination is probably my favorite. The one that got me going with empanadas and the one that I started making for the first time with my mom is the chopped cheese, and everyone is raving about chopped cheese now.

Chopped cheese?

Yes, it’s sort of a New York take on a Philly cheese steak sandwich. You can get them in local delis in the more “urban” neighborhoods. I use ground turkey and local cheese. It’s like a Sloppy Joe cheeseburger, for lack of better description. It’s a deconstructed, cheesy turkey cheeseburger.

For anyone considering culinary school to study culinary management, what advice can you offer?

Dive right in. I wish I would have started seven years earlier because then I would have gotten the dual diploma in culinary arts as well. Get involved with as many events as you can, put yourself out there and network, network, network. A lot of the opportunities I’m getting now come from contacts I made by networking in culinary school. If you’re looking to start your own business, try to find something unique, not just “I want to cook all different types of food.” Find something you’re really good at and focus on developing that product.

Ready to launch your food business? Click here to learn more about our Restaurant & Culinary Management program.