Sunday, August 9, 2009

Tomato Sorbet

Once again tomatoes were the main ingredient in my latest experiment. Tomatoes are very sweet which make it a great ingredient to put into a sorbet.

For the final plating I had three main items I used. Two of the items contained tomatoes and the other was a baked item. The recipes for all three of the ideas came from Johnny Iuzzini’s cookbook Dessert Fourplay.

The tomato sorbet was an excellent piece to the plate. The only problem I had with it was the sweetness factor. A single scoop of the sorbet was delicious but it’s not something you would sit down and eat a pint of.

The roasted tomatoes were a very interesting item to put on a dessert. At first I was skeptical it would work with the dish, but in the end I was rather pleased. When you first bite down on the roasted tomato is explodes in your mouth. The tomatoes were tossed in honey, olive oil and salt, and then roasted for two hours and fifteen minutes at one hundred and seventy five degrees (convection).

In my opinion the streusel played a major part in the overall dish. The streusel was sweet with a nice almond taste. The sorbet and streusel together were absolutely amazing. The sweetness of the streusel cut through the sorbet, therefore affecting the whole dish.

The recipe calls for almond flour which is rather expensive and hard to find. To make your own almond flour just put some sliced almonds in the food processor. The secret to making almond flour is not heating the almonds up, unless you want almond butter. So hit the pulse button for around five seconds and then let it stand for thirty seconds and repeat until the mixture is a fine powdery consistency.

This experiment uses an ingredient most people wouldn’t associate with dessert but it works rather well.

Sweet Tomato Sorbet, Slow Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, Streusel, Basil

Sweet Tomato Sorbet, Cylinder of Streusel, Slow Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, Basil

Sweet Tomato Sorbet, Slow Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, Streusel, Basil

Monday, August 3, 2009

Tomato Sauce

As with the strawberries, tomatoes are in abundance around my house. So with my next few experiments I decided to use homegrown tomatoes as the base.

Last September I bought Alice Waters’ Chez Panisse Cookbook. I made the tomato sauce back then so I decided to do it again. When I made it the first time I didn’t use an immersion blender at the end, causing it to be slightly chunky. So this time I let it cool down, then used the immersion blender to finely purée the sauce.

The recipe itself is rather simple. The only challenge would be if you don’t know what a Bouquet garni is. The process for making one is rather simple; just get your parsley, thyme and basil. Cut a little kitchen twine and tie the twine around the herbs, that’s it.

A lot of magazines and Food Network shows tell you to put sugar in tomato sauce. In my opinion, that’s absolute crap unless your goal is to make Chef Boyardee. Tomatoes are naturally sweet and will take care of the sauce themselves.

The recipe suggested cooking the sauce for thirty to forty five minutes. In reality it took exactly one hour for the sauce to obtain the right flavor. If you would only cook it for thirty minutes the sauce wouldn’t mature and it probably wouldn’t taste very good.


2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced finely
3 garlic cloves, chopped finely
2 pounds sweet, ripe tomatoes, skinned, seeded and chopped
1 teaspoon salt
Bouquet garmi of parsley, thyme and basil springs

Warm the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed nonreactive saucepan over medium heat. Cook the onion, stirring occasionally, until softened and slightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and let it sizzle for half a minute. Stir in the chopped tomatoes and salt, and add the herb springs, bundled together with kitchen twine.

Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce the flame to low. Simmer the sauce, uncovered, for 30 to 45 minutes; it will thicken as it cooks. Remove and discard the herb bundle. Taste for salt and adjust. For a refined sauce, pass through a food mill or purée in a blender.

Chopped Tomatoes, Bouquet garni, Minced Garlic, Salt

Sunday, August 2, 2009


This time of year many foods we have an abundance of, like strawberries. Strawberries are the perfect treat, sweet and juicy but yet good for you. Cooking seasonally also shows that you can change with whatever ingredients you have.

For my last experiment I decided to do a plate comprised of five components. Three of the items contained strawberries but in the final plating’s strawberries didn’t dominant the dish. The ideas and recipes for the ice cream, leather, shortbread and whipped cream came from Johnny Iuzzini’s recent cookbook Dessert Fourplay. The idea for the strawberry and rhubarb pâte de fruit came from the site Tartelette.

Upon making the pâte de fruit, I had one main problem, I couldn’t find liquid pectin. At first I thought of using Gelatin but then decided that wouldn’t work. So finally I went to the store and bought dry pectin, thinking I could convert it into liquid pectin. I mixed the whole box of dry pectin with ¾ cup water and brought it to a boil over medium heat. This worked and I added two tablespoons of the liquid to the pâte de fruit.

The shortbreads turned out perfectly. In the final plate the shortbreads played a big role, which I was surprised by. In the recipe it said the cooking time would be around four to five minutes but in reality mine took around ten minutes to achieve the golden brown color.

Possibly the best part of the dish was the strawberry ice cream. Previously in my ice cream making experiments I’d used stabilizers but this one turned out perfectly without any stabilizer. Johnny Iuzzini also uses an immersion blender right before you put the mixture into the ice cream maker which I greatly like. It makes the ice cream slightly lighter and much easier to scoop.

The strawberry leather was very unique. The texture resembled a fruit rollup but had the taste of strawberry jam. The recipe called for lavender, which would’ve added a sweet aroma but I decided to opt out on it. The leather took around six hours at one hundred and twenty five degrees (convection) to complete.

Together all the components of the dish faired nicely with each other. At first glance I thought some might clash but I was wrong.

Leather Strawberry Cylinder, Crème Fraîche Whipped Cream,Strawberry and Rhubarb Pâte de Fruit, Shortbread, Strawberry Ice Cream, Micro Mint

Strawberry Ice Cream, Shortbread,Crème Fraîche Whipped Cream,Strawberry Leather,Slice of Strawberry and Rhubarb Pâte de Fruit, Micro Mint

Leather Strawberry Roll,Shortbread, Strawberry Ice Cream, Crème Fraîche Whipped Cream, Strawberry and Rhubarb Pâte de Fruit, Mint