Ok, I’ll admit it: I didn’t know that nutmeg and mace were parts of the same plant. Did you? (Why didn’t you tell me?) Nutmeg isn’t a nut—it’s a seed—and mace is the vibrant red anil, or covering, that protects it.
I prefer nutmeg freshly grated. It contains myristicin, a natural organic compound which can trigger hallucinations in large doses—but that’s not why I like it, no no. Nutmeg is just one of those ingredients that brings warmth and complexity to dishes when added in small amounts.
Bananas and nutmeg are a dynamic duo. Together they remind me of a trip to Jamaica in late 2010. The island air had a spicy-sweet smell, and desserts featuring nutmeg and bananas were plentiful. This Banana Upside-Down Cake (above) exhibits all their best attributes. As advised in the recipe notes, do not use overripe bananas: they may disintegrate and can take on a rather disconcerting purplish hue. I learned this from experience.
A generous pinch of fresh nutmeg makes my creamed spinach transcendent. Use it in yours and taste the difference. Or try this Lasagne Bolognese with Spinach. It’s the kind of meal that readies you for a long winter’s nap. For a multi-course extravaganza, begin with Potted Crab, where nutmeg adds earthiness to Alaskan king crab meat; have the lasagne for a main; and end with Eggnog Ice Cream. Three courses’ worth of nutmeg may be enough to produce a gentle state of euphoria—but, for me, any well-cooked three-course meal usually will.
Are you ready to break out the nutmeg?
: Lindsay Clendaniel
Blog: Scoop Adventures
Location: New Orleans, Louisiana
If you had to blog about one ingredient every day for a year, what food it be?
Milk! The obvious reason is because I could keep making ice cream. It would also be interesting to blog about how to incorporate different types of milk into sweet treats and savory meals. There are so many types of milk (cow, goat, almond, coconut, etc.), and now you’ve got me thinking…
What’s your go-to quick and easy dinner?
It would be my clean-out-the-fridge pasta or pizza. Any day of the week I usually have small pieces of vegetables and cheese lying around in the fridge. I always keep a can of diced tomatoes on hand in case tomatoes are not in season or not on my shelf. Using pasta or pizza crust as a base is a great way to use up the leftovers and a make a quick and tasty meal.
I will never eat:
Liver. There are a lot of people out there who like liver, but I never have and never will choose to eat it. It just sounds gross.
What is your favorite restaurant and what do you order there?
I live in New Orleans, where there is a plethora of great restaurants. One of my favorite restaurants is actually a restaurant that I frequented when I lived in Columbus, Ohio called Northstar Cafe. There are local, fresh, and thoughtful dishes on the menu each day, and the restaurant atmosphere is causal and inviting. I order the Northstar Burger (a veggie burger). It is one of the best burgers that I have ever tasted, and I am full-fledged meat eater. I’m going to cheat and pick my favorite restaurant in New Orleans as well – Coquette. If you are ever in New Orleans, be sure to check it out. The menu includes elegant meals and cocktails made with local ingredients. If it’s on the menu, order the quail appetizer.
Who would you love to have over for dinner?
Jeni Britton Bauer of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. I first tasted one of her ice creams when I moved to Columbus five years ago, and it was so full of flavor. It inspired me to purchase my own ice cream maker, and the rest is history. I have heard Jeni speak a few times; it’s inspiring to hear how passionate she is about her work and her community. She also seems like a down-to-earth person.
Photo: Lara Ferroni
Half the fun of having an ice cream sundae is piling on the toppings. With delicious add-ons like walnuts, hot fudge, cherries, sprinkles, cookie crumbs, toffee bits, caramel sauce, and whipped cream, there is no shortage of sweet tooth-satisfying options. But, we want you to tell us:
What’s your favorite ice cream sundae topping?
Photo: Romulo Yanes
We’ve officially entered the dog days of summer. Temperatures may be climbing higher, but there are plenty of tasty ways to keep cool. With frosty favorites like ice cream, lemonade, granitas, snow cones, sorbet, iced tea, smoothies, beer, and popsicles, there’s no shortage of cold concoctions to help you chill out on a hot day.
What’s your favorite thing to eat or drink to cool down?
I’ll admit it. I’m not the best at making decisions, especially when it comes to matters of food. And when faced with a veritable buffet of ice cream flavors, I’m usually the annoying customer who greedily asks for her scoop in both a cup … and with a cone on top. Although I’ll remain forever loyal to my favorite flavors, the summer months present me with an opportunity to whip out my ice cream maker and get a bit eccentric.
When the heat is on, I keep it zen with a scoop of herb-infused Basil or Lemongrass Ice Cream. For something a bit heartier, leftover bacon does the trick when crumbled into a rich and smoky Bacon and Egg Ice Cream . Or if I’m really feeling extra daring, I’ll try earthy Porcini and Honey Ice Cream made with porcini power and thick drizzles of honey.
What’s the wackiest ice cream you’ve ever tried?
“I want more fat, I want more fat, I want more fat in my ice cream. It’s going to make it better!” Dr. Robert F. Roberts, head of Penn State’s ice cream school, heard this phrase so frequently from his students that he decided to run a classroom experiment on fat content. He led a blind tasting of vanilla ice creams with fat percentages ranging from 12 to 16 percent fat, with an outlier containing 10 percent fat (the minimum federal requirement for a product to be labeled “ice cream”). Penn State Creamery’s own ice cream is right in the middle, at 14 percent.
“We found that people could clearly tell the 10 percent from the 12 percent, but they couldn’t tell the 12 percent from the 14 percent and they couldn’t tell the 12 percent from the 16 percent,” says Roberts, adding that this is preliminary, unpublished research. Still, it suggests that more fat doesn’t equal better ice cream, at least once you get past about 12 percent. Lower fat ice cream is cheaper for the manufacturer to make, and might be better for the consumer too, says Roberts. “Why take in all those extra calories if you can’t tell the difference?” Continue reading
The full-length feature version of 10 Questions for Dr. Robert F. Roberts
appears in the current issue of Gourmet Live
. Download the free Gourmet Live app
for this story and more.
Gourmet Live got the latest scoop from Robert Roberts, Ph.D., who is an associate professor of food science and director of Penn State’s annual weeklong Ice Cream Short Course. We asked him what the reaction is when he tells people he’s the director of an ice cream school.
There are two typical reactions. One is, “That must be cool,” and the other is, “There’s really enough to learn about ice cream that you can take seven days to teach it?” And the answer is, yes, it is cool—in a punny way and in reality. It’s a lot of fun. And, oh, yes, absolutely, there is enough to learn that it takes at least seven days, and that just cracks the surface.
Learn the key facts to the ultimate swirl and get Roberts’ predictions for the future of the frozen dessert by reading the full article 10 Questions for Dr. Robert F. Roberts online.
The full-length feature version of Battenkill’s Best by Adam Harrison Levy appears in the current issue of Gourmet Live. Download the free Gourmet Live app for this story and more.
Photo: Adam Harrison Levy
Peanut Butter Paradise—homemade chocolate ice cream, Reese’s peanut butter sauce, homemade hot fudge, crushed Reese’s peanut butter cups—is the favorite combo. Asked the most outlandish concoction ever requested, Norman–Morrison doesn’t skip a beat: cookie–dough ice cream mixed with M&M’s, gummy candy, bits of Heath bar, Reese’s Pieces, Oreos, Nestlé Crunch, Butterfingers, chocolate chips, brownies, Reese’s peanut butter cups, and Snickers. What’s more, the customer comes in twice a week and always orders exactly the same thing. And, yes, the customer is a skinny teenage boy.
Gourmet Live guest columnist Adam Harrison Levy recounts the creamy journey from cow to cone at Battenkill Valley Creamery, the prizewinning dairy south of Lake Champlain.
Download the free Gourmet Live app for the full story and more.
Revamp a ballgame snack into a devilishly decadent dessert with Peanut and Cracker Jack Ice Cream from 1 Fine Cookie
. The salty peanuts and sweet caramel corn lend texture and crunch to creamy vanilla bean ice cream. As if that weren’t enough, the ice cream is then coated with a smooth dulce de leche and piled atop a chocolate-dipped cone rolled in Cracker Jacks.