By Chef Jenny McCoy, School of Pastry & Baking Arts

As summer winds down to a close, we’re all eager to make the most of our favorite warm-weather traditions. When it comes to dessert, there’s nothing that says summer fun like a batch of DIY s’mores. In honor of National S’mores Day, I’m sharing my go-to recipes for fluffy marshmallows and cinnamon graham crackers, plus some of my top tips for making them special—with or without the campfire.

Photo Credit: Rebecca Siegel

Photo Credit: Rebecca Siegel

  1. Indoor s’mores are just as fun. Simply use a stovetop gas burner or hand-held kitchen torch to toast.
  2. Keep it simple. If you don’t have time to make every component from scratch, just make one! (I recommend the homemade marshmallows.)
  3. Or get creative. Try mixing and matching different marshmallow flavors with milk chocolate, semisweet, dark or white chocolate bars.
  4. Know your audience. For kids, good ol’ Hershey’s is the classic pick for a reason. But for adults with more discerning palates, splurge on higher-quality chocolate bars; it will make all the difference.
  5. Skewers are all around you. Twigs, bamboo and metal skewers, or even leftover wooden chopsticks from your Chinese take-out will all work well for toasting marshmallows over an open flame.
  6. Make a big batch. Prefer to do the marshmallow toasting in a single batch? You can brown marshmallows under your broiler for a couple of minutes on piece of aluminum foil, then spread the gooey goodness on graham crackers. (A great option for those without a gas range, kitchen torch or grill!)

HOMEMADE MARSHMALLOWS

Yield: Makes about 84 one-inch cubed marshmallows

  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 5 teaspoons (2 envelopes) powdered gelatin
  • ½ cup plus ⅓ cup cold water
  • ⅓ cup light corn syrup
  • 4 large egg whites
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons vanilla, almond, peppermint, lemon, raspberry, coconut or orange extract, to taste
  • Food coloring, as desired
  1. In a small bowl, whisk the confectioners’ sugar and cornstarch together. Set aside.
  2. Lightly coat a 9” x 9” baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. Cover the pan with plastic wrap, pressing the film directly onto the base and sides of the pan. Sift the confectioners’ sugar and cornstarch mix evenly over the bottom and sides of the pan, reserving the remainder for later use.
  3. In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over ½ cup cold water, and let stand to soften.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment, whip the egg whites on low speed. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, cook the granulated sugar, corn syrup, remaining ⅓ cup of water and salt over medium-high heat, without stirring, until a candy or digital thermometer registers 245° F, about 12 minutes.
  5. Remove pan from heat, increase the speed of the mixer to medium, and slowly pour the hot sugar mixture over the egg mixture.
  6. Add the softened gelatin to the mixer, and whip until combined. Add the flavoring and food coloring, as desired. Increase the speed of the mixer to high, and whip until thick, glossy and tripled in volume.
  7. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Sift the confectioners’ sugar and cornstarch mix evenly over the top of the marshmallows. Chill marshmallows, uncovered, until firm, at least three hours, and up to one day.
  8. Invert the pan onto a large cutting board and gently peel away the plastic wrap. With a large knife, kitchen shears, or a pizza wheel, trim the edges of the marshmallows and cut into desired shapes. Sift remaining confectioners’ sugar and cornstarch mix over cut marshmallows and toss to coat on all sides.

kevin beecroftCINNAMON GRAHAM CRACKERS

Yield: Makes approximately 30 crackers, depending on size

  • 2 cups graham flour
  • ½ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¾ stick unsalted butter, cold and cut into ¼-inch cubes
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • ¼ cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Cinnamon-sugar, for dusting (optional)
  1. Place the flours, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon into the bowl of a food processor and pulse several times to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles cornmeal. Add the molasses, milk, and vanilla extract and process until the dough forms a ball, about 1 minute. Press the ball into a ½-inch thick disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  2. Position two racks in the center of the oven and preheat to 350° F
  3. Unwrap the chilled dough, place it on a sheet of parchment paper and cover with a second sheet of parchment paper. Roll the dough out to ⅛-inch thick and transfer the rolled dough between parchment papers to a baking sheet.
  4. Gently remove the top sheet of parchment paper and cut the dough, using a pizza cutter and ruler as a guide, into 2-inch square pieces, or desired shapes. Trim and discard any excess dough. Using a fork, poke holes into the cut dough in desired pattern. Leave the crackers on the pan and bake until the edges just start to darken, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from oven; if using, dust with cinnamon-sugar before cooling. Let the crackers cool on the baking sheet completely. Once completely cool, carefully break into individual pieces.

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Click here for more ways to celebrate summer sweets at ICE. Tempted to spend more time in your kitchen? Check out more recipes from ICE.

 

By Chef James Briscione

 

I’m not going to insult you with another basic ‘how to grill’ post. I won’t bore you with talk about how to set up your fire so that one side of the grill is hotter than the other so you can sear foods and cook larger, denser cuts at the same time. I won’t waste your time reminding that 30 to 60 minutes before cooking you should remove meats from the refrigerator and season them. And I’ll certainly not rattle on about patting meats dry before you cook them, then brushing them with oil and seasoning again with salt and pepper immediately before they hit the grill.

Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/anotherpintplease

Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/anotherpintplease

You already knew all of that, right? That stuff is for amateurs, and you’re serious griller who’s ready to take this weekend’s cookout to the next level. So let’s talk ribs. The secret to the best ribs ever to come off your grill is… your oven! Slow roasting your ribs in the oven before finishing them on the grill is the best method we’ve found for juicy, falling from the bone ribs that don’t require an expensive smoker or low temperature grilling set up.

 

First, remove the membrane from the bone side of the ribs. This tough sheet of connective tissue can not only leave your ribs chewy, but also prevents the meat from absorbing the seasoning and spice of the rub.

rib trio

 

Now, about that rub. We’ve been through many different formulations here and have settled on the below recipe. Smoked salt and paprika enhance the finished the flavor of the finished meat, but you could use regular salt and paprika if necessary. The sugar in the rub is crucial. Think of it like micro-brine; the sugar works with the salt to help retain more moisture. The bottom line: sugar in the rub makes your ribs juicier.

  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper 

alum-rib

To prep the ribs for the first stage of cooking (in the oven), lay them over a large sheet of aluminum foil, fold up the sides and pour in 1.5 fl oz (3 tablespoons) of cider vinegar. Then seal the foil, leaving enough room for the packet to fill with steam as it cooks. The vinegar helps tenderize the meat, while keeping it moist. Cook in a 325˚F oven until the meat is tender, about 90 minutes.

photo 2

 

Remove the ribs from the oven, open the foil and allow the meat to cool. Baste the meat occasionally with the juices collected in the foil as it cools. Cut the ribs into potions and reheat on the grill, brushing with BBQ Sauce as they cook.

Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/anotherpintplease

Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/anotherpintplease

 

 

Hot off her feature in The New York Times, Chef Vicki Caparulo, taught a refreshing summer class last week called Light, Quick and Easy Summer Pastas. She highlighted recipes that you can serve hot or cold and often make ahead of time, which is a perfect time saving option if you are looking for a quick dinner or good picnic options.

Chef Vicki noted that offering pasta as a primi appetizer can often take the pressure off a dinner party host since one pound can serve 16 people. Follow it with grilled fish and a salad and you’ve got an easy, no-stress summer menu!

Below is a recipe from her class that was a crowd favorite.

Penne with Arugula and Prosciutto
Yields: serves 4

1 pound penne rigate (ridged)
¼ pound thinly sliced prosciutto, chopped
1 pound baby arugula
2/3 cup freshly grated parmigiano reggiano
¾ teaspoon lemon zest
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Bring a large post of cold water to a boil for pasta.

When the water comes to a boil, add 2 tablespoons of kosher salt. When the water returns to a boil, cook the pasta until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water and drain the pasta.

Return the pasta to the pot, add the prosciutto, arugula, cheese, zest, and salt and pepper to taste and toss. Drizzle the oil over the pasta and toss again, adding some of reserved cooking water if pasta seems dry.

Serve immediately.

With summer officially here, many people are stocking their fridge with chilled white wines and seasonal, refreshing beers. It has long been a ritual to switch from red to white during this time of year but a recent article from The New York Times highlights ways to take your red wine with you year round.

According to the editor Eric Asimov, “most wine drinkers reach reflexively at Memorial Day for whites, as if they’re the equivalent of white belts and shoes: enjoyed for the summer and stowed after Labor Day. I hate to say it, but that thinking is as dated as instant coffee; sure, you’ll have something in your glass, but why deprive yourself of so much pleasure?”

While a good white wine is always refreshing, you can always chill your red wines to give them a summer feel or perhaps integrate into cocktail.

For more exciting talk about summer drinks, see below for our upcoming recreational classes at ICE:

6/11 – Tasting Like a Master
6/22 – Evening of Champagne
6/25 – Everything’s Coming Up Rose
7/20 – Wine cocktails
7/28 – Great Rieslings
8/3 – Summer Beer Tasting

Bottoms up!

Couples cooking classes are always a big seller in ICE’s Recreational Cooking department, so it was only natural that cookbook author and ICE alumna Sarah Copeland created and taught a newlywed class. Earlier this year Sarah published her first book, The Newlywed Cookbook, a colorful and locavore recipe-filled guide encouraging couples to cook together.  But you don’t have to be recently married to enjoy the book’s seasonal recipes and vibrant photographs! I brought my fiancé Luke along (yes, I know, we aren’t newlyweds yet) for a Sunday supper at ICE last week.

While we followed a menu based on recipes from her cookbook, Sarah emphasized the importance of good quality ingredients. We washed and prepared baby arugula, parsley and chervil for a Window Box Green Salad and Sarah passed around a favorite extra virgin olive oil for tasting that we used in a classic vinaigrette.  Luke and I channeled our Italian grandmother as we prepared potato-Parmesan dough and gave our best shot at rolling gnocchi. We found that making those little pillows are a task best done with a partner, as it cuts your prep time in half and leaves more time for eating! We tossed the finished gnocchi in an herb butter sauce with fresh, haricots verts and wax beans.  To complete our dinner, Sarah swapped out basil for the citrus-like herb sorrel, which she used in a hand-chopped pesto that we served over seared arctic char with sorrel pesto.

More…

As summer continues to heat up, we thought that a cool strawberry salad recipe from the ICE Culinary Arts curriculum would be the perfect way to savor the season. Balsamic vinegar mixes with fresh strawberries to come together in a tangy, sweet sensation — certain to please and tantalize taste buds! But best of all, the prep is quick and easy, so you can pop it in the fridge and get back to your summer fun.

Ingredients
1 quart strawberries
2 ounces granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
Thin chiffonnade of 3 sprigs mint, basil or tarragon More…

We make our living behind the stove. Day-in, day-out chefs sweat it out in the kitchen, ensuring that others are well-fed and having a great time at the table. So you would think that on their day off chefs would stay far away from the kitchen and the thought of cooking. After all, how many surgeons do you know that operate in their spare time?

Give a chef a day out of the kitchen and he (or she) will be thrilled. He’ll happily let someone else cook for him — even if that means grilled cheese sandwiches with a side of potato chips (but only if they’re kettle cooked). But give a chef a week off and you’re bound to find him back in the kitchen after 24 hours. And so goes my story with a week in Watercolor, FL just down the road from my hometown, Pensacola. A big beach house with the entire family, means lots of time to cook and plenty of willing mouths to eat. More…