You’ve probably heard of the “Maillard reaction.” Even if you haven’t heard of it, your food has definitely been affected by it. It’s the chemical reaction between amino acids and sugars that gives browned foods their characteristic color and flavor — think of the toasty, golden-brown crust of a crunchy baguette. While the Maillard reaction generally delivers a desired, flavor-enhancing effect, in certain instances, chefs want to avoid it — in order to preserve the purest flavor of their ingredients.

In a new video, ICE Creative Director Michael Laiskonis explains how he uses vacuum cookers to prevent the Maillard reaction when making creative confections like bright, full-flavored raspberry caramels in ICE’s Chocolate Lab.

Sweet tooth piqued? Ready to study the pastry arts with Chef Michael? Click here for information on ICE’s Pastry & Baking Arts program.

Always cook pasta until al dente, right? Wrong! Because most of us are probably committing more noodle no-nos than we realize, Chef James Briscione will show you how to cook perfect pasta every time in a new video, “You’re Doing it Wrong: Cooking Pasta” — watch now to learn why you should finish cooking pasta in the sauce, step away from the olive oil and, yes, you will need that very large pot to boil the water.

Stop doing it wrong. Start making really good pasta.

Want to learn to cook pasta and more like a chef? Click here for more information on ICE’s career training programs.

 

By Caitlin Raux

On any given morning, you can find Christina Delli Santi (Hospitality Management, ‘15) quietly tending to the flower cart in the entrance of the Ace Hotel. For Christina, it’s a brief moment of peace and reflection, and an opportunity to check in with herself before she spends the rest of the day checking in with others. Soon enough, she’ll be assisting hotel guests, plowing through meeting after meeting and making sure everything in the hotel’s front office is copacetic — all part of her duties as Director of Front Office. A former hair stylist who left salons to pursue a career in hospitality, client satisfaction is a natural priority for Christina. “I love people — hearing their story and trying to help them — that’s hospitality to me,” says Christina.

Early on a Tuesday morning, Christina and I met in the buzzing Ace Hotel lobby, where laptop-wielding creative types were already competing for prime real estate at the cozy lobby tables. We chatted about her switch from hairstyling to hospitality, and how in just two years, she moved up the ranks to director-level at Ace.

How long have you been working at Ace Hotel?

I’ve been in the building for two years now. I originally started over at The Breslin [the Ace Hotel’s acclaimed gastropub, led by Chef April Bloomfield], through my externship.

So you studied hospitality management but started with a culinary position?

When I was looking for an externship, there was an alum who was working here at the time. ICE Career Services advisor Tessa [Thompson] reached out to him and told him that I was really interested in working at Ace or The Breslin. Originally, when I enrolled in the hospitality program, I wasn’t sure that I wanted to work in hotels. I enrolled in the program more for the event organizing aspect. I wanted to do weddings and parties. I figured I would work for a restaurant group or something like that. I never thought about working in a hotel. The idea of a bigger hotel wasn’t for me.

I ended up getting an externship at The Breslin. At first I was in the events department, doing a little bit of everything — working with the kitchen, ordering food and organizing private bookings for parties. It was really cool because it was exactly where I wanted to be, in terms of learning.

Christina Delli Santi

How did you transition to director of front office? And so fast!

A few months after I started, Ace was about to open another location in Pittsburgh and the front office manager left to work there. The front office manager had been there for a while — one thing about Ace Hotel, a lot of people who come here wind up staying. It becomes like a home that people enjoy coming to and working. The front office manager who left, Sean Walsh, actually works at ICE now as a teacher in the hospitality program. I wasn’t sure if I was ready to take his position, because it meant running a whole department — the bellmen, the front office, the rooms — but I knew that I loved it there and I could do it. So I just did it. I applied for and got the position as front office manager and stayed there for about a year. Now I’m director of the front office.

What does a typical day look like for you?

I love getting in super early, when the lobby is still quiet. It can get a little crazy-busy, so I love arriving around 7:00am. The first thing I do is review the VIP arrivals. I do a walk-through of the lobby, because this is the “shared space” and we have to communicate with all the other departments, from housekeeping to engineering to the Breslin staff, about it. Then I check the flower cart, which is my moment of peace for the day. I grew up around flowers because my parents own a flower shop, so that’s the moment I take to meditate on what the day will bring. After that, the day really revs up: I see who’s coming in, read the guest preferences, make sure everything is ready. We have guests that have been coming here since we opened [in 2009]. I think our number one guest has been here 200 times. We get a mixed crowd of really cool business travelers, like startups and bloggers, who really enjoy the lobby vibe. My team reviews the names of all guests who are coming, so they see if we have VIPs, or if someone works for a certain company or industry, we’ll write them a special note or do something that pertains specifically to them. I meet with all of the department heads at 9:30am and everyone goes through their whole day. We group in the morning, then we break and talk to each other a million times per day. The morning is about getting people out the door and the afternoon is about getting them in. I usually come to the desk around check-out time to see how guests enjoyed their stay. Then I come back at check-in time to make sure everything is flowing properly. It stays pretty busy. Sometimes I don’t realize I’ve been here for 12-14 hours. Ace hotel

You said you were a hairdresser before switching to hospitality. What inspired that career change?

I became a hairdresser right out of high school. I’m from north [New] Jersey and I didn’t really know what I wanted to do out of high school. I didn’t think college was for me, so I went to cosmetology school when I was 18. I was a hairdresser for about 10 years. I had so much fun with it, working in tiny salons throughout Jersey before joining a bigger company called Toni & Guy, to advance my career. I loved it because you’re always giving something to people — helping them if they have a bad day or giving them a new hairstyle. I love people — hearing their story and trying to help them — that’s hospitality to me. Eventually I started managing salons, and was offered the opportunity to become a partial owner of a salon. I was 28 at the time — I’m 30 now, so this was pretty recent. But I wanted to try something new. As I got older, school seemed more interesting to me. I actually wanted to go to class and learn. I knew I wanted to go back to school and get into hospitality and events. I had some experience with organizing events while working in the salons. I found ICE and thought [the hospitality management program] was perfect because I didn’t want to go to school for three years. I’m the kind of person who’s very hands-on — I learn things on the job.

It’s interesting that you began the hospitality program with event-planning goals. A lot of people aim to work in more traditional hotels and tourism positions.Christina Ace hotel

I definitely came with an event-planning motivation. I wanted to learn how to break down budgets and plan events, and expand my food and beverage background a bit.

Do you keep in touch with anyone from the ICE hospitality program?

I do. It’s hard because everyone is so busy all the time. But I always float around opportunities that come up at the hotel. I’ve interviewed three people I graduated with for various positions here. I think I talk to Tom [Voss] the most. He called me last week to ask if he could bring hospitality students in for a tour.

What is your favorite part of your job?

I really love the people I work with. I think it’s so important to work in an environment with passionate people. At the end of the day, we do the same thing. The people who have worked here for years and have been in the industry for so long, they do the same thing most days. You check people out, check people in and create an experience for them. But every day, it’s so fun to work with the people here because everyone has so much passion. I think we’re the type of company that we don’t just have the same thing going on. There’s always new artwork in the galleries and fun events going on. It’s not your traditional hotel. We get to have a lot of fun. Our guests become our friends. If they’re having a bad day, they can come talk to us. But my General Manager always says, “Take care of the internal (employees) first, and then the external (guests) will follow.” Because if you take care of your team, they, in turn, will be able to take care of your guests.

Ready for an exciting career in hospitality with opportunities around the globe? Click here to learn about ICE’s award-winning career programs. 

By Chef James Distefano

Is there anything better than corn in the summertime? To me, corn is one of the highlights of the season’s produce. As a kid spending summers at the Jersey shore, the last thing I wanted to do was leave the beach early and shuck corn for dinner (but I did love eating it!). Now, it’s one of my favorite summer ingredients to work with, its subtle sweetness giving it the versatility to work in many dishes. What’s more: whether you’re using it in a soup, salad or simply grilled and buttered, corn is an ingredient that doesn’t need a lot of gussying up.

When thinking about fresh ways to eat corn, I wanted to highlight its sweetness by combining it with another summertime staple: ice cream. You may not believe corn and dessert go together, but consider this: while we commonly think of corn as a part of a savory dish, it’s also in plenty of your favorite breakfast cereals.

The inspiration for this homemade corn ice cream comes from a former boss of mine, Richard Leach. Rich has an amazing talent for creating and pairing desserts with uncommon ingredients. When I was a young kid working for him in the mid-90s, putting corn in a dessert was a mind-expanding notion. One day when we were talking about food, he calmly asked me if I’d ever had a bowl of corn cereal with peaches in it. “Of course, I have,” I said quickly—and then realized what he was getting at. My mind melted. Corn: it wasn’t just for dinner anymore!

The best part about this recipe is that you can make it without an ice cream maker. If I haven’t convinced you of corn’s delicious virtues as a dessert, you can try adding different flavors (see my tip below) or keep it easy by just adding the vanilla extract to the cream for a simple ice cream. Here are some pro tips to help you out:

  1. The scoop on the scoop: To get picture-perfect scoops of ice cream, dip your scoop into a tall container of warm water. The water will warm the scoop enough to enable you to dig into the ice cream and shape it into a nice round ball without the ice cream sticking to the surface. Just make sure to tap any excess water off of the scoop before digging in to avoid any messy dripping.
  2. Flavor-ific: If you’d like to add another flavor, such as a spice, you can whip it with your egg yolks. If you’re keen on adding something else such as chocolate chips, candy or nuts, replace the amount of roasted corn kernels with the ingredient of your choosing. If you’d like to try adding fresh herbs, mint, cilantro or tarragon would all taste delicious with the corn! Add any of the above to the batter at the end when you’re folding in the whipped cream. For this recipe, two to three tablespoons of chopped herbs should be enough.
  3. End results: To get the best from your eggs, let them come to room temperature because they will whip up more quickly and easily and hold more air (volume). To get the best results from your heavy cream, the cream and the bowl you will be using to whip in should be as cold as possible to whip up more quickly and easily and hold more volume. When you maximize the volume of both, your ice cream will be lighter and creamier!
  4. Bowled over: Since most of us only have one KitchenAid bowl to work with at home, I’d recommend whipping the cream first and storing it in your refrigerator while you whip up the egg yolks, followed by the egg whites. Whipped cream tends to hold its volume (the air trapped during the whipping process) longer than either whipped yolks or whites.
  5. Whip it good: To get the most out of your whipping cream, set the speed on your mixer between seven and eight or medium-high. At this speed, as the cream is whipping, the whisk will “cut” more evenly sized air bubbles into the cream. This is important because uniform air bubbles will “pop” closer to the same rate, whereas if you whip your cream on high speed, you will have irregular sized air bubbles—some large, some small—meaning your whipped cream will deflate more quickly than you want…and nobody wants to feel deflated!

 

Sweet Corn Ice Cream
Yield: 3 quarts

For the Roasted Corn Kernels:

Ingredients:

3 ears corn (approximately 1 ½ cups kernels), shucked, silks and husks reserved for corn-infused heavy cream (recipe below)
1 tablespoon canola oil
2-3 tablespoon sugar
Pinch of salt

Preparation:

  • Heat the oven to 350 F°.
  • Remove kernels from the cob and set aside. Cut cobs in quarters and reserve for corn-infused heavy cream (recipe below).
  • Spread kernels on a parchment paper-lined baking tray.
  • Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of canola oil.
  • Sprinkle with the sugar and season with a pinch of salt.
  • Roast in the oven at 350 F° for 15 minutes or until the corn begins to color.
  • Remove from the oven and allow it to cool to room temperature.
  • Can be stored in an airtight container for up to two days.

For the Corn-Infused Heavy Cream:

Ingredients:

3 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
2 cups reserved husks, silks and cobs

Preparation:

  • Combine all of the ingredients in one large pot.
  • Bring to a boil over medium heat.
  • Turn the heat off and steep for 15 minutes, covered with a lid.
  • After 15 minutes remove the lid and cool to room temperature.
  • Store corn-infused heavy cream in an airtight container for at least 24 hours or up to two days in the refrigerator.
  • The following day, strain the infused cream through a colander to make the corn ice cream base (recipe below). You need to make sure you wind up with three cups. Add fresh cream to make up the difference if needed.

For the Corn Ice Cream Base:

Ingredients:

4 eggs, separated
Salt
1 ½ cups sugar
3 cups corn-infused heavy cream, strained
1 ½ cups roasted corn kernels

Preparation:

  • Combine the egg yolks, ½ cup sugar and a pinch of salt in the bowl fitted for the electric mixer with a whisk attachment.
  • Whip on high speed until pale, thick and ribbony, make sure all of the sugar has dissolved. This should take three to four minutes. Remove whipped yolk base from the bowl and set aside in a large mixing bowl. Keep cold. Wash the mixing bowl and whip for the mixer because you will need it to whip the egg whites.
  • Place egg whites and a pinch of salt in the bowl fitted for the electric mixer and begin whipping on medium speed until medium peak.
  • Once egg whites are at medium peak, slowly add in the remaining one cup of sugar. Once all of the sugar is in, turn the machine up to high speed and continue to whip until the meringue looks like shaving cream. It will be light, fluffy and glossy looking.
  • In three separate stages, gently fold the meringue (egg white mixture) into the egg yolk base, only folding about three quarters of the way. This will help prevent over mixing. After the third addition of meringue has been folded in, place back into the refrigerator to keep cold.
  • Wash the mixing bowl and whip for the mixer because you will need it to whip the corn-infused heavy cream.
  • Whip the corn-infused heavy cream to medium peaks in an electric mixer with the whisk attachment.
  • Fold one quarter of the whipped corn-infused heavy cream into the ice cream base and mix three quarters of the way.
  • Add the last three quarters of the whipped corn-infused heavy cream along the with the roasted corn kernels to the ice cream base.
  • Gently fold everything together until no visible streaks of whipped cream remain.
  • Pour corn ice cream into an airtight container with a tight lid and freeze immediately.
  • Allow to freeze for 24 hours before serving.

*Ice cream will last for up to four days in the freezer.

Want more delicious dessert ideas from ICE’s expert chefs? Click here to learn more about ICE’s professional pastry program.

 

Bright, fresh and packed with flavor, learning to cook with herbs is an essential part of a future chef’s training. A beautifully plated, delicious dish often seems incomplete without at least a hint of greenery. But selecting herbs to adorn your dish is only half the battle — the other half is prepping them. Chefs use different techniques to ensure each herb is handled with care. Understanding these basic cuts is key to a solid foundation in the kitchen — which is why ICE and Wüsthof partnered to create a video demonstrating the proper way to use a classic chef’s knife to cut three herbs: an expert chiffonade with basil, a neat chop with parsley and a smooth slice with chives. Watch, practice and repeat.

Knife Skills Tips from Chef James Briscione

 Chiffonade:

  • Arrange the leaves into a neat pile in the center of your cutting board. Tightly roll the leaves into a cigar shape and hold secure with one hand.
  • Position your knife at one end of the rolled herbs with the knife tip on the board, the heel and handle of the knife lifted high above. Make one smooth slicing motion so that the curve of the blade glides along the cutting board. The idea here is to slice through the herbs, not down onto them, to avoid crushing them. When the heel of the blade reaches the board, lift the knife back to the starting position. Point down on the board and line up your next cut. Continue repeating this motion until all herbs are cut.

Chop:

  • Arrange the leaves in the center of your cutting board. Gather into a tight ball and hold secure with one hand.
  • As with chiffonade, position your knife at one end of the herbs with the knife tip on the board and the heel and handle of the knife lifted high above. Make one smooth slicing motion so that the curve of the blade glides along the cutting board. When the heel of the blade reaches the board, lift the knife back to the starting position. Point down on the board and line up your next cut.
  • Then gather the cut herbs back into a tight ball and rotate the ball 90 degrees. Slice all the way through the herbs again, as above. Repeat until herbs are chopped.

Slice:

  • Place herbs in the center of your cutting board and hold them firmly with one hand.
  • Position your knife at the spot where you want to make the first cut. Curl your non-knife hand into a loose “claw” with your thumb tucked behind your fingers. Rest the front of your knuckles against the side of the knife blade to serve as a guide as you cut. The tip of the knife should extend just ½-inch beyond the front edge of the item being cut.
  • To cut, slide the knife forward driving the tip of the knife toward the cutting board while providing gentle downward pressure. It is essential to move your knife forward and down at the same time for efficient cutting. Continue the motion down until the heel of the blade reaches the cutting board. Lift the knife and reposition your hands for the next cut.

Learn to chop, slice and cook like a pro — click here for more information on ICE’s career programs. 

A chef without a good knife is like a steak without salt — just plain wrong. According to ICE Chef Ted Siegel, a knife is the “singular most important piece of equipment that we use in the kitchen.” ICE and Wüsthof — a premier culinary school and a maker of expertly crafted knives — have been partners for more than 30 years, joining forces to prepare professional chefs and at-home cooks to work with more precision and confidence.

As any chef will tell you, knife skills are equally crucial. That’s why ICE and Wüsthof are combining over four decades of culinary technique and 200 years of craftsmanship to roll out a new video series: knife skills. From slicing and dicing to chiffonade, cake leveling, filleting fish, or finding the grain for the perfect steak, the beauty of expert craftsmanship and skilled chefs shines through — and the result is nothing less than culinary art.

Watch the trailer below for a sneak peek of the knife skills videos coming soon.

Ready to sharpen your culinary skills? Click here for more information on ICE’s career programs.

Ever wanted to make fresh ravioli at home, but too intimidated to try? In a new video from ICE and PEOPLE magazine, ICE Chef Robert Ramsey shows how easy it can be with one simple trick, and shares an addictively delicious homemade ravioli recipe that confirms the adage that less truly can be more.

This recipe melds simple, straightforward ingredients into a flavorful, decadent dish. With just five ingredients, Chef Robert’s brown butter sage sauce is the perfect companion for his pillowy homemade ricotta ravioli.

Before you get started on your fresh egg pasta dough, here are a few tips from Chef Robert for nailing your homemade ravioli every time — you’ll never look at the store-bought stuff the same again:

  1. Using a ravioli tray is incredibly efficient and makes picture-perfect ravioli — but separating them can be tricky. “Flash” freezing them for 10-20 minutes in your freezer will make this step a snap, literally — you will know the ravioli are set once you can snap them apart easily, like a chocolate bar.
  2. Don’t have a ravioli tray? Just make the ravioli the same way, laying out a sheet twice as long as you need, piping the filling equal distance apart, folding the second half of the dough over the first, and then cutting with a ravioli wheel or knife. (That said, a ravioli tray costs the same as a wheel, and it’s easier to use. You can find one here.)
  3. When cooking the ravioli, you can tell they’re ready when they puff up like a balloon — this means that the filling is hot enough to create steam.
  4. Remember to reserve some of the pasta water for your sauce. Because of the starch in the pasta water, adding a spoonful of the cooking water will make the sauce “creamy” without adding cream. But be careful not to add too much as the pasta water is already salty.
  5. If you’re looking for other sauces to substitute, try these combinations: tomato sauce, oregano and Parmesan; classic pesto with a sprinkle of pine nuts; or capers, olive oil, lemon zest and parsley.

Ricotta Ravioli With Brown Butter, Sage and Hazelnuts
Servings: makes about 4 servings

Ingredients:

For the pasta

1 recipe for Pasta All’Uovo recipe (below)

For the filling

Ingredients:

2 cups ricotta cheese
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

For the sauce

4 ounces (1 stick) butter
1 bunch fresh sage, leaves picked
6 ounces hazelnuts, toasted and chopped
¼ teaspoon salt
2 ounces grated Parmesan cheese

Preparation:

For the filling

  • Combine all ingredients in the work bowl of a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl. With the whisk attachment or hand whisk, whip the mixture until completely smooth.
  • Transfer to a piping bag and reserve in the refrigerator until ready to fill pasta.

To assemble ravioli

  • Once your pasta sheets are rolled out (after the final step in the dough recipe below), you can begin assembling the raviolis. Place one pasta sheet onto a well-floured ravioli tray. (Don’t have a ravioli tray? See Chef Robert’s tip above.) Using your hands, gently press the dough into the divots in the tray. Pipe about two tablespoons of filling onto each sheet of dough. Next, brush a second sheet of dough with cold water and place the wet side down on top of the bottom ravioli sheet.
  • Use a rolling pin, roll over the raviolis back and forth to seal and crimp the raviolis. Flip the ravioli tray to unfold the finished pasta. Transfer to a floured sheet pan and place immediately in the freezer.

For the sauce

  • In a small pot over medium heat, melt the butter, swirling constantly. When it begins to bubble and sizzle, keep swirling and watch carefully for browning. As soon as the butter turns golden brown and smells nutty, carefully add the sage leaves and remove from heat. The sage will fry in the butter, making it crispy and aromatic. Finally, add the chopped hazelnuts and the salt. Reserve the sauce in a warm place until you’re ready to serve the pasta (do not refrigerate).

To assemble the dish

  • Bring a large pot of water to a full, rolling boil. Add about ¼ cup of salt per quart of water. (Adequately salted water should taste like seawater.)
  • Remove the ravioli from the freezer. Break the raviolis apart and carefully place them into the boiling water and cook 4-5 minutes, until tender but not mushy.
  • Remove and toss directly into the pot of butter sauce. Gently mix to coat, and then spoon into a large pasta bowl. Finish with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese and an extra touch of chopped, fried sage, if desired. 

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 at room temperature 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 fifth-narrowest setting. Do not fold the dough between each setting.
  10. Once the sheets of pasta have been rolled out, use immediately, keeping the remaining sheets covered with a kitchen towel until ready to use.

 

If you haven’t added cardamom, za’atar and berbere spice to your pantry, you’re doing it wrong. These unique, flavor-packed spices can turn an ordinary dish into something extraordinary (and delicious). In a new video from ICE and Direct Eats, Chef James Briscione shares a few recipe ideas that will be sure to excite your palate and inspire your own spice exploration: Berbere Roasted Chicken Pizza with Berbere BBQ Sauce; Roasted Sweet Potatoes With Za’atar and Sumac-Yogurt Dressing; and Cardamom Roasted Pork Tenderloin. Watch the video to learn how you can prepare these dishes at home.

Berbere Roasted Chicken Pizza and Berbere BBQ Sauce
Makes two (8″-10″) round pizzas

For the pizza dough
Yield: makes two (8″-10″) round pizzas or one (18×13) pan pizza (full-size baking sheet)

Ingredients:

1¼ cups lukewarm water (100° F)
1 packet (2½ teaspoons) dry active yeast
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup whole-wheat flour
3 cups high-gluten flour (bread flour)
3 tablespoons olive oil

Preparation:

  • Combine water and yeast in a small bowl and whisk to dissolve.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the salt, flours and olive oil, and mix well. With the mixer running, add the water and yeast to the bowl. Mix on low for two minutes, then turn to medium and mix three to four minutes more, or until the mixture forms a smooth ball.
  • Transfer the dough to a large bowl that has been lightly greased with olive oil. Cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and set aside on the countertop for 45 minutes.
  • Remove the dough from the bowl to a floured work surface. Punch the dough down by flouring your hands, making a fist and pressing the air out of the dough. Divide dough into two pieces. Roll the two pieces into balls under the palm of your hand. Then roll each ball into a flat disc with a rolling pin. Gently stretch the dough by hand until it’s between 1/8- to 1/4-inch thick.
  • Dough can be reserved in tightly wrapped plastic and refrigerated for up to three days.

For the berbere BBQ sauce

Ingredients:
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cider vinegar
1 tablespoon berbere spice

Preparation:

  • In a medium bowl, combine ingredients and whisk until evenly mixed. Reserve for preparing the pizza.

For the berbere roasted chicken

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon berbere spice
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
½ teaspoon sugar
2 3½- to 5-pound whole chickens (“roaster” size)
Olive or vegetable oil, as needed
1 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes
6 garlic cloves, chopped
2 cups minced yellow onions

Preparation:

  • Preheat the oven to 375° F.
  • To make the seasoning mixture, combine the berbere spice, salt and sugar in a small bowl and mix well.
  • Lightly coat the chickens with oil, then sprinkle generously with the seasoning mixture.
  • Combine the tomatoes, garlic and onions in a large roasting pan and place the two chickens on top, breast-side up. Roast for about 45 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thigh registers 160° F (as the chicken rests, the temperature will rise to 165° F). Transfer the chicken to a large carving board to rest. When chicken cools slightly, use your hands and a fork to shred chicken.
  • In a medium pot, combine the brown sugar and vinegar. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat. Once the sugar is dissolved, simmer five minutes to reduce the liquid by approximately half. Add the tomato mixture from the roasting pan to pot and simmer 10 minutes more. Add the berbere spice and purée with a hand blender or transfer to a blender to process until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To prepare the pizza

  • Preheat oven to 500 °F (or as high as your oven temperature goes).
  • Spread a base of berbere BBQ sauce over stretched pizza dough.
  • Top with shredded chicken, mozzarella and cheddar cheese.
  • Bake for six to eight minutes or until cheese is melted and crust is golden brown. Remove pizza from oven and let it cool for two to three minutes. Top pizza with dressed arugula and serve.
  • Repeat with remaining dough.
berbere spice pizza

Berbere Roasted Chicken Pizza and Berbere BBQ Sauce

za'atar roasted sweet potatoes

Roasted Sweet Potatoes With Za’atar and Sumac-Yogurt Dressing

Roasted Sweet Potatoes With Za’atar and Sumac-Yogurt Dressing
Makes four to six servings

Ingredients:

4 medium sweet potatoes (about 3 pounds)
2 medium red onions, cut into wedges
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons za’atar
toasted walnuts for garnish

Preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 450° F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  • Wash and peel sweet potatoes, and cut lengthwise into wedges. Peel and cut red onions into wedges. Transfer ingredients into a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, kosher salt, crushed black pepper, za’atar and gently toss to evenly distribute. Transfer onto your prepared baking sheet and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until browned on the edges and tender inside (pierce one piece with a fork to test).

For the sumac dressing

Ingredients:
1 garlic clove, peeled and smashed
juice and zest of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons sumac
1 tablespoon chopped mint leaves
1 cup full-fat greek yogurt
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, as needed.

Preparation:

  • Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Mix well and season to taste with salt and pepper. 
cardamom pork tenderloin

Cardamom Roasted Pork Tenderloin

Cardamom Roasted Pork Tenderloin
Makes four servings

Ingredients:

1 pork tenderloin, fat trimmed
4 garlic cloves, skin on
6 branches fresh thyme
3-4 whole cardamom pods
2 tablespoons butter
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
canola oil, as needed

Preparation:

  • Season the pork with salt and pepper. Place a large sauté pan over medium heat and add a thin film of canola oil. Allow the oil to heat for three minutes before adding the meat.
  • Pat the pork dry and place in the pan skin-side down. Without moving or flipping the pork, let cook until the first side is well browned. Turn and cook until browned on each side. Maintain the heat carefully: If the edges of the pan begin to smoke, reduce heat.
  • Add the garlic cloves, thyme and cardamom. Roll the meat around to expose all sides to the aromatics. Turn the heat to low and add the butter. Using a spoon, swirl the butter around the pan and baste the pork with butter as the aromatics infuse in the mixture. Continue basting and turning the meat until it reaches an internal temperature of 150˚F.
  • Remove the meat to rack to rest. The temperature should rise to 155˚F before serving. Slice and serve.

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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 James Distefano, Pastry & Baking Arts Chef Instructor

Pastry & Baking Chef Instructor (and alum of NYC vegetable haven, Rouge Tomate) James Distefano shows PEOPLE magazine an unexpected way to eat not one, but two summertime treats. Watch him take you through each step in our video—then try the recipe yourself with his tips and directions below.

Looking for more recipes from PEOPLE & ICE? Click here for fried chicken sandwiches, French pastry made easy, knife skills and more.

Is there anything better than corn in the summertime? To me, corn is one of the highlights of the season’s produce. As a kid spending summers at the Jersey shore, the last thing I wanted to do was leave the beach early and shuck corn for dinner (but I did love eating it!). Now, it’s one of my favorite summer ingredients to work with, its subtle sweetness giving it the versatility to work in many dishes. What’s more: whether you’re using it in a soup, salad or simply grilled and buttered, corn is an ingredient that doesn’t need a lot of gussying up.

When thinking about fresh ways to eat corn, I wanted to highlight its sweetness by combining it with another summertime staple: ice cream. You may not believe corn and dessert go together, but consider this: while we commonly think of corn as a part of a savory dish, it’s also in plenty of your favorite breakfast cereals.

The inspiration for this homemade corn ice cream comes from a former boss of mine, Richard Leach. Rich has an amazing talent for creating and pairing desserts with uncommon ingredients. When I was a young kid working for him in the mid-90s, putting corn in a dessert was a mind-expanding notion. One day when we were talking about food, he calmly asked me if I’d ever had a bowl of corn cereal with peaches in it. “Of course, I have,” I said quickly—and then realized what he was getting at. My mind melted. Corn: it wasn’t just for dinner anymore!

The best part about this recipe is that you can make it without an ice cream maker. If I haven’t convinced you of corn’s delicious virtues as a dessert, you can try adding different flavors (see my tip below) or keep it easy by just adding the vanilla extract to the cream for a simple ice cream. Here are some pro tips to help you out:

  1. The scoop on the scoop: To get picture-perfect scoops of ice cream, dip your scoop into a tall container of warm water. The water will warm the scoop enough to enable you to dig into the ice cream and shape it into a nice round ball without the ice cream sticking to the surface. Just make sure to tap any excess water off of the scoop before digging in to avoid any messy dripping.
  2. Flavor-ific: If you’d like to add another flavor, such as a spice, you can whip it with your egg yolks. If you’re keen on adding something else such as chocolate chips, candy or nuts, replace the amount of roasted corn kernels with the ingredient of your choosing. If you’d like to try adding fresh herbs, mint, cilantro or tarragon would all taste delicious with the corn! Add any of the above to the batter at the end when you’re folding in the whipped cream. For this recipe, two to three tablespoons of chopped herbs should be enough.
  3. End results: To get the best from your eggs, let them come to room temperature because they will whip up more quickly and easily and hold more air (volume). To get the best results from your heavy cream, the cream and the bowl you will be using to whip in should be as cold as possible to whip up more quickly and easily and hold more volume. When you maximize the volume of both, your ice cream will be lighter and creamier!
  4. Bowled over: Since most of us only have one KitchenAid bowl to work with at home, I’d recommend whipping the cream first and storing it in your refrigerator while you whip up the egg yolks, followed by the egg whites. Whipped cream tends to hold its volume (the air trapped during the whipping process) longer than either whipped yolks or whites.
  5. Whip it good: To get the most out of your whipping cream, set the speed on your mixer between seven and eight or medium-high. At this speed, as the cream is whipping, the whisk will “cut” more evenly sized air bubbles into the cream. This is important because uniform air bubbles will “pop” closer to the same rate, whereas if you whip your cream on high speed, you will have irregular sized air bubbles—some large, some small—meaning your whipped cream will deflate more quickly than you want…and nobody wants to feel deflated!

 

Recipe: Corn Ice Cream:

Yield: 3 quarts

For the roasted corn kernels:

  • 3 ears corn (approximately 1 ½ cups kernels), shucked, silks and husks reserved for corn-infused heavy cream (recipe below)
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2-3 tablespoon sugar
  • Pinch of salt

Directions:

  1. Heat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Remove kernels from the cob and set aside. Cut cobs in quarters and reserve for corn-infused heavy cream (recipe below).
  3. Spread kernels on a parchment paper-lined baking tray.
  4. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of canola oil.
  5. Sprinkle with the sugar and season with a pinch of salt.
  6. Roast in the oven at 350 F for 15 minutes or until the corn begins to color.
  7. Remove from the oven and allow it to cool to room temperature.
  8. Can be stored in an airtight container for up to two days.

Corn-Infused Heavy Cream:

  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 cups reserved husks, silks and cobs

Directions:

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in one large pot.
  2. Bring to a boil over medium heat.
  3. Turn the heat off and steep for 15 minutes, covered with a lid.
  4. After 15 minutes remove the lid and cool to room temperature.
  5. Store corn-infused heavy cream in an airtight container for at least 24 hours or up to two days in the refrigerator.
  6. The following day, strain the infused cream through a colander to make the corn ice cream base (recipe below). You need to make sure you wind up with three cups. Add fresh cream to make up the difference if needed.

Corn Ice Cream Base:

  • 4 eggs, separated
  • Salt
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 3 cups corn-infused heavy cream, strained
  • 1 ½ cups roasted corn kernels

Directions:

  1. Combine the egg yolks, ½ cup sugar and a pinch of salt in the bowl fitted for the electric mixer with a whisk attachment.
  2. Whip on high speed until pale, thick and ribbony, make sure all of the sugar has dissolved. This should take three to four minutes. Remove whipped yolk base from the bowl and set aside in a large mixing bowl. Keep cold. Wash the mixing bowl and whip for the mixer because you will need it to whip the egg whites.
  3. Place egg whites and a pinch of salt in the bowl fitted for the electric mixer and begin whipping on medium speed until medium peak.
  4. Once egg whites are at medium peak, slowly add in the remaining one cup of sugar. Once all of the sugar is in, turn the machine up to high speed and continue to whip until the meringue looks like shaving cream. It will be light, fluffy and glossy looking.
  5. In three separate stages, gently fold the meringue (egg white mixture) into the egg yolk base, only folding about three quarters of the way. This will help prevent over mixing. After the third addition of meringue has been folded in, place back into the refrigerator to keep cold.
  6. Wash the mixing bowl and whip for the mixer because you will need it to whip the corn-infused heavy cream.
  7. Whip the corn-infused heavy cream to medium peaks in an electric mixer with the whisk attachment.
  8. Fold one quarter of the whipped corn-infused heavy cream into the ice cream base and mix three quarters of the way.
  9. Add the last three quarters of the whipped corn-infused heavy cream along the with the roasted corn kernels to the ice cream base.
  10. Gently fold everything together until no visible streaks of whipped cream remain.
  11. Pour corn ice cream into an airtight container with a tight lid and freeze immediately.
  12. Allow to freeze for 24 hours before serving.

The ice cream will last for up to four days in the freezer.

Want more delicious dessert ideas from Chef James? Watch him stun Dr. Oz with what he can whip up, sign up for one of his recreational classes—or go pro and get more information about ICE’s professional pastry program.