Alton Brown + The Mythbusters =

November 19, 2012

Alton Brown + The Mythbusters =

The ultimate hot-nerd trifecta!

Prune-Filled Donuts Are Bliss! Who Knew?

June 27, 2012

hartmans donuts by aharste
Hartman’s Bakery & Pastry
901 North 11th Street
Manitowoc, WI 54220‎

On the way to Elkhart Lake last weekend we passed this little bakery on a sleepy corner in Manitowoc, WI. I demanded that we stop.

Inside there was a line and a lot of plaques on the wall awarding them Best Donuts in the County honors. Could we have stumbled upon a winner?

This is an old-fashioned bakery where they make a lot of regional specialties and you can still get a cookie or a bar for way under $1. This beautiful tray of 7 donuts was $5.

Up in the left hand corner is a divine frosted sweet roll with pastry cream filling.

Hiding underneath there’s a scrumptious apple fritter full of diced apple. There’s also a glazed confection the counter woman called a cruller, but was more like an old-fashioned donut, shaped like a banana.

The cake doughts had real chocolate frosting spread on them.

In the upper right hand corner is a Persian. Persians orignated in Thunder Bay, but have drifted down to the Wisconsin lakeshore. They are basically frosted cinnamon buns, but there’s nothing basic about them. This one was moist and chewy, frosted with maple frosting and topped with crunch. Swoon-worthy. I think my husband was groaning while he was eating it, but I couldn’t hear too well over the num-num sounds I was making.

With a nod to the Eastern-European heritage of the area, there were granuated sugar coated donuts filled with prune or poppyseed filling. Im a sucker for any kind of filled donut and I just had to try one. I chose the prune and it was a delightful revelation; one of the best filled donuts I’ve ever had. Sweet, but not too sweet. A mix of my favorite textures, chewy and moist donut, crunchy sugar, creamy smooth filling.

I’m going to be thinking about these donuts for a long time.

Quick chorizo tacos

June 6, 2012

taco by aharste

Slice or crumble 12 ounces of chorizo. Brown well over medium-high heat. Drain. Warm some corn tortillas and serve with your favorite condiments. In this case it was diced tomatoes, avocado and  ricotta salata, and salsa.

Dinner in under 15 minutes? Done!

FrozBroz Apricot Parmesan Ice Cream

May 21, 2012

I have been so busy that I forgot to post the results of the FrozBroz apricot parmesan ice cream challenge. In a word: spectacular!

If only all the people who wrinkled their noses at me when I told them my flavor could try it.

Both apricot and Parmesan have the potential to dominate, but the idea was interpreted in a way I didn’t think of. An apricot marmalade stirred into the ice cream base and also layered with the ice cream, and small chunks of Parmesan, or Wisconsin’s Stravecchio Parmesan, to be exact. The result was a truly decadent ice cream to savor slowly in order to appreciate the flavors and textures going on.

I love to eat ice cream when it is like a treasure hunt to find all the goodies hidden in it. The apricot marmalade had an intensely deep and concentrated flavor and a great sticky texture with pieces of candied apricot. Finding the crumbles of Parmesan, which gave bursts of salty, tangy flavor, was my favorite part of the treasure hunt. And of course the body of the ice cream itself was luscious and creamy, with a hint of the apricot and maybe cardamom?

To serve it, I made a shortbread crunch to sprinkle over the ice cream to replicate a favorite combination of mine, which is a shortbread cookie topped with a cheese and something really sweet, like apricot or caramelized sugar. The crunch was inspired by Christina Tosi’s crunches from Momofuku Milk Bar.

Shortbread Crunch

170 g Shortbread Cookies
40 g Milk Powder
40 g Brown Sugar
20 g White Sugar
4 g Kosher Salt
130 g Butter, melted 9 tablespoons

1. Heat the oven to 275°F.

2. Put the cookies in a food processor and pulse until crumbly. Transfer to a mixing bowl. Add the milk powder, sugars, and salt and toss to mix. Stir in the butter until the crumbs are coated and creating small clusters.

3. Spread the clusters on a parchment- or Silpat-lined sheet pan and bake for 25 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so. They should be slightly golden and crunchy when cooled slightly and chewed.

4. Cool the crunch completely before storing or using in a recipe. Stored in an airtight container at room temperature, the crunch will keep fresh for 1 week; in the fridge or freezer, it will keep for 1 month.

FrozBroz Craft Ice Cream

March 21, 2012

I’m excited to share the news that I won the FrozBroz Craft Ice Cream Flavor Contest. Erik and Ben will make a flavor of my choosing.

The ice creamsmiths hard at work

But when it came down to choosing, I wanted them to also feel inspired by the flavor, so I gave them a list of five flavors:

  • Szechuan pepper orange
  • Berry rosemary
  • Coconut habanero
  • Cinnamon chevre
  • Apricot Parmesan

Charred marshmallow was originally on the list, but I’ve been feeling inspired by Christina Tosi lately and decided to keep that challenge for myself. But that’s for another post.

They didn’t keep me in suspense for too long, which was just a little disappointing, because they had promised to videotape any brawling that occurred if they disagreed. And their choice was:

Apricot Parmesan

In an informal poll amongst some friends this was also the top choice; Szechuan pepper orange was second.

The guys at FrozBroz are also in the midst of a fundraising campaign to make their ice cream available to the general public. An extremely worthy cause if I do say so myself, and a time when you can REALLY put your money where your mouth is. The campaign ends May 11, 2012, so head on over to their site to watch their video and check out their other 100+ flavors.


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