Friday, July 6, 2012

Heat Rising Chicago 2: Ice Cream Sundaes

From Chicago (of course.)
 It's 7 p.m. in Chicago. Do you know where your mercury is?

There was no way around it, we needed ice cream.  So we decided to formalize our Valentine Shenanigans (when we ate up all the ice cream left-overs) and follow a plan.

Our plan?   
4 good friends plus 4 great ice creams

4 great friends


and Joe 
to start

Nadine and Emily 
to finish

4 great ice-creams

Cookies and Cream
Pistachio Almond
Oh yes, and
a zillion toppings, 
 Whipped cream, canned bing-cherries, fresh mango and peach slices,  fresh bananas, fresh raspberries, fresh gummy bears, genuine-organic granola with dried cherries,
and lots of home made fudge and home made cappucino sauce.  see below.  Both are dead easy.

and some alcohol .. 
 Kahlua and Creme de Cacao to pour on top

(it's the Kahlua that's made these photos blurry.)

"Fred's newly-Famous Gin and Tonic with Grapefruit Bitters" (FnFGaTwGfB) to drink.

                 and a view of The Palm Tree, too.

Fudge Sauce for Ice Cream. 

Tweaked from 
Mr. Pete's from Paula Deen 
Probably, originally, from Joy of Cooking.

Honestly, it tastes like Fenton’s.
Poured over ice-cream with a bit of Kahlua, 
it's alchemy.
 (that's Arabic for amaaaaazing)
1 ½  cups heavy cream
¾  cup brown sugar (I used light)
¼  cup butter, cut into small pieces (Use a good, fresh butter. I used Lurpak.)
2 ¾ C Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips (these are the best. Trust me.  But  I couldn’t find them so I used a mixture of Gh. semi sweet chips and Toll House Dark Choc chips.) (that worked.)
1 ½  teaspoon vanilla extract
In a heavy bottomed saucepan over low heat, bring the cream just to a boil then add the brown sugar and stir just until it dissolves.

Add small pieces of butter until mix until completely melted, then stir in the chips.

Remove from burner if it’s an electric stove, otherwise just turn off the burner

Wait 3 to 5 minutes so that chocolate is very soft.
Stir to meld chocolate.  It will turn a nice dark color.
 Stir in the vanilla blend until well incorporated.
 Let cool for 15 minutes; it will thicken as it cools.

I made this about an hour before eating.  It was just perfect.  Think about cutting the recipe in half.  We had two jars left.   They can be stored in the frig for a week or so, but best stored in your stomach.

Cappuccino Sauce for Ice cream.

Tweaked quite a bit from
Make it the night before.
12 oz (1 pkg) white chocolate chips
1 ¾  cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons instant espresso powder

Put everything in a heavy saucepan over low heat until the chocolate is melted. Remove from heat and whisk vigorously.   An eggbeater or an immersion blender is good, but I just used a whisk.

Pour into a serving jug.  Cover with plastic wrap and chill 24 hours. Serve straight from the frig.   OR, instead of serving over ice cream, just drink it.  The best iced cappuccino you’ll ever have.  Sprinkle cocoa on top if you want it to look more iconic.


Thursday, July 5, 2012

Heat Rising Chicago 1: Za'atar BBQ

Heat Rising in Chicago.  What's a girl to do if this is the cool of the evening?

"It's too damn hot
  It's too damn hot.

I'd like to sup with my baby tonight
And fill the cup with my baby tonight
I'd like to sup with my baby tonight,
Fill the cup with my baby tonight
But I'm not up to my baby tonight 
'Cause it's too damn hot..."

 The 54th St Zebras dancing to Cole Porter's
"It's too damn hot."

Thank you.

And now, we'll have a drink.

Created for you, tonight:
Fred's Gin and Tonic with Grapefruit Bitters.

Just the thing for a day like this.

What we ate with the Gin and tonic:

Za'atar BBQ Chicken.

Yep, pour olive oil over the chicken, add Za'atar, mix it up and let it marinate.  Overnight is best.

I used chicken thighs.  We charred them on both sides, then moved them away from the center, closed the lid for about 12-15 minutes,  turning once in awhile, and they were perfect.  A less hot fire would have allowed them to stay in the center.

No need to baste.
Next time:  a bit of Yogurt in the marinade to help tenderize.

Za'atar BBQ Onions and Zuchinni.
Almost the same as above:  mix olive oil and za'aar.  Smear it on the Onions, Zucchini or whatever.  I put these on the grill at the same time as the chicken.  I did move them around as needed during their 15 minutes or so.  Actually, a lot of moving around went on.

Next time:  I'll use a BBQ basket, as we lost several onions through the grill.   PS I did spoon what was left in the dish over the vegetables as a baste.

Arugula and Pink Grapefruit Salad
Yes, perfect. With lime juice, lime zest and olive oil.
(I bought that wonderful jar of grapefruit sections..... can't beat them...._)