One of my resolutions for 2006 was to put more recipes on the blog. Looking back I believe that we did publish more recipes than we did in 2005, but not by much. Part of the problem is that we just don't use them very often. I can remember being amazed at the way my instructors could rattle off recipes for menu ideas back in culinary school. We would brainstorm menus for the fine dining restaurant and then they would tell us how to make the things we came up with. Back then I couldn't imagine having that many recipes in my head. Years later I know that it's not so much about actual recipes as it is about proportions. When you cook nearly every day of your life and you cook different things all of the time, basic proportions just become rote. You don't have to think about how many eggs to put in your custard, you just think about the flavors and textures that you're going for and put the ingredients together accordingly. It becomes an instinctive process and in a busy kitchen I just don't always stop to write things down.
Years ago I made a sourdough starter using the recipe in Nancy Silverton's Breads from La Brea Bakery. It was developed from a bunch of organic grapes and we've carried that starter with us to many different kitchens. She's a tough taskmaster, that starter. She requires constant feeding and much baking of bread. No that I'm complaining per se, fresh bread is one of the best things in the world to have in your kitchen. But occasionally we put her to bed so that we can play with different types of bread in our ovens. At the moment the starter is dormant, dehydrated into a powder. We were talking about ice creams and different ways to create balanced flavors when we remembered the powdered starter, recently unearthed in the process of packing. The rest just evolved naturally, as many of the best things do. Sourdough ice cream with caviar and blueberries may sound a little bit nutty but it's absolutely delicious. Try it at home and you'll see.
Sourdough Ice Cream
1 cup of heavy cream
1 cup of half and half
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons sourdough powder (dehydrated sourdough starter)
Combine the milk, half and half, and salt in a small, heavy bottomed pan and bring to a simmer. While that is on the stove, whisk together the sugar, sourdough powder, eggs and yolks. Temper the hot cream into the sugar mixture and pour back into the pan. Cook over low-medium heat, stirring constantly with a heat proof rubber spatula until the mixture thickens to coat the back of the spatula. Strain through a fine sieve and place in a heatproof container. Press plastic wrap to the surface of your ice cream base and chill thoroughly, for at least six hours. Freeze according to the directions on your ice cream machine.