Category Archives: What the Fork?

Foodie related articles.

Chocolate Gelato and Hazelnut Gelato

I came across this recipe page for a trio of gelati by a YouTube foodie I enjoy watching:

How to Make Homemade Gelato | Italian Gelato Recipe

(See their brioche recipe so you can make ice cream sandwiches.)


I have made the chocolate but I did alter the recipe.

First it calls for equal quantities of milk and water.  Water.  Really, one only uses water for making stock.  I just used double the milk.

The second change was around the (optional) xanthan gum and glucose powders.  I don’t have these in my kitchen and you won’t likely either.  Both corn starch and ground (must be ground) flax seeds are a 1:1 substitution for xanthan gum.

I used flax seed for both nutritional (if slight) reasons and because the faint nutty flavor (if at all perceptible) would be right at home in this recipe.  I’ll like do the same when I try the hazelnut recipe.

To make up for the missing glucose powder I just used a heavier ¼ teaspoon of the substituted ground flax seeds.

Finally, after heating through the wet and dry ingredients as per the instructions, I refrigerated the mixture overnight before running it through my ice cream machine.  This is standard practice:  Don’t overtax  your ice cream machine by giving it hot liquid.

My machine has its own compressor so it’s perhaps less a concern, but if you are freezing your bowl this would be even more important.

That’s it.  I’ll freeze the mixture today and report back later.

I’m back after tastings.  The flavor is excellent.  (This includes no hint on my palate of anything associated with the ground flax seeds.)  No reason to adjust any of the flavor components of this recipe.


  • 5 oz (140g) dark chocolate
  • 2⅔ C (320ml) whole milk
  • ⅓ C (80g) heavy cream
  • ⅔ C (140g) sugar
  • 4 T () unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 t ground flax seed

Post Tasting Notes

I will, next time, wait a bit before adding the chopped chocolate to the hot cream mixture.  Adding the chocolate directly to the 195f mixture causes every bit of the dark chocolate to completely melt and become homogeneous within the mixture.

I am not clear why the temperature needs to be 195f.  I may test lower temperatures (which are much easier to achieve).

You could wait for the mixture to cool completely before adding the chopped chocolate (next morning after refrigeration), though I think I will just allow the mixture to cool slightly thus allowing for some melt but ensuring some bits for my teeth later.

Also, I would like the texture as the mixture warms (melts) to remain thicker.  As such I will probably increase the ground flax seeds to a full teaspoon for the next round.

Nocciola (Hazelnut)

A few days later and why not make that gelato della nocciola as well?

Again I skipped the xanthan gum powder and the glucose powder, and added ground flax seed—a heavy teaspoon this time.

I recommend roasting your hazelnuts since this greatly enhances their flavor.

Since this mixture does not get heated/cooked it may take a bit for the grains of sugar to melt into your milk mixture.  I blended for a bit then let the mixture rest, and repeated this blend-rest a few times to ensure all of the sugar grains were fully disolved.  Then into the machine.

If I were using a freeze-bucket style machine I would probably want to let it rest in the refrigerator before putting it into the machine.  Since my machine has a compressor it is no issue to put it directly into the machine.  Your choice.

Also, this nocciola gelato is stupid easy.  Start to finish you can be eating within the hour if you don’t want to let it freeze solid after your machine finishes.


  • 3 oz (90g) whole well-roasted hazelnuts
  • 1½ C (350ml) whole milk
  • ¼ C (60g) heavy cream
  • ½ C (90g) sugar
  • 1 t ground flax seed

Post-Tasting Notes

Between the additional flax seed and the fat provided by the nuts, this gelato had a better texture than the chocolate (which I’m looking forward to making again).

Really delicious.


plum tart

I started with this recipe made some modifications.  I found the original not to be tart enough, hence the pomegranate molasses.

Here is the recipe at Food Network


  • filling:
    • ¾ pound Italian prune plums, quartered and pitted
    • 2 tablespoons Minute tapioca (sub 1 T cornstarch)
    • 2 tablespoons creme de cassis liqueur
    • plus some of the sugar below
    • 1 ¾ cups sugar, divided (sub some pomegranate molasses)
  • crust:
    • plus some of the above sugar
    • ¼ pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
    • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon (sub cardamom?  )
    • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
    • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
    • (add orange zest?  ) (juice?  )


  • soften butter
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Butter and flour a 9-inch spring-form pan and place it on a sheet pan.
  • Place the plums, tapioca, creme de cassis, and ¾ cup of the sugar in a mixing bowl and stir to combine.
    • Allow to sit for 15 minutes.
  • In a small bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and remaining 1 cup of sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy.
    • With the mixer on low, gradually add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture until it forms small, dry crumbs.
    • Add 1 tablespoon of cold water and continue to beat for about 30 seconds, until the mixture forms large, moist crumbs.
  • Set aside ¾ cup of the crumb mixture and pour the rest into the spring-form pan.
    • With floured hands, lightly pat the dough evenly in the bottom of the pan and 1 inch up the sides.
    • Arrange the plums in concentric circles on the crust.
    • Sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture evenly on top.
  • Bake for 1 hour, until the fruit is bubbling and the crust is golden.
  • Cool for 15 minutes, then remove the sides of the pan and serve warm or at room temperature.

My spring-form is 10 inches and some other adjustments:

  • filling:
    • 1 lb of plums
    • 4 T c de c
    • 4 T pom molasses
    • 1 T cornstarch
    • ½ cup sugar
    • blood orange zest
  • crust:
    • 1 ⅓ C flour
    • ¾ t cardamom
    • ¾ C sugar
    • I used juice from the plum mixture instead of water (and it was more like 2 T)

green chili stew

I cobbled together elements from three green chili stew recipes to form a super recipe.  I put together an ingredient list and directions for my version at the bottom.

The short advice is I used neither cumin nor tomatoes though I did use a couple pounds of frozen (bought on-line) hot green chilies.  I also used some leftover elk steak as part of the meat (in lieu of adding beef or more pork) next to a pound of pork butt, and I added both ground flax seed and oat bran (both as thickeners and for a fiber and micro nutrient boost).


authentic New Mexico green chili stew


  • 12-15 Hatch green chilies
    • (if not available substitute Anaheim and add 1 or 2 jalapenos)
    • [You can find green chilies on-line.]
  • 2 lbs pork shoulder
  • 2 t vegetable oil
  • 12 C onion finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 6 C chicken broth
  • 6 oz beer (optional)
    • [The right beer can give a good citrus flavor.]
  • 12 t oregano
    • [Skip.  Let the chili shine.  ]
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 t pepper
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 12 t cumin
    • [Skip.  Let the chili shine.  ]
  • 10 oz can diced tomatoes
    • [Skip.  Let the chili shine.  ]
  • 3 large potatoes 12 inch diced
  • 2 T butter + 2 T flour [This is a roux meant for thickening.  I used flax and bran instead.]


  • Broil green chilies in the oven turning often to evenly darken skin making sure they don’t burn.
  • Remove from oven and cover with a dish cloth for 10 minutes to steam the skins off.
  • While the chilies are resting, cube the meat, sprinkle with salt & pepper and brown with onions & garlic in oil in a large pot for 5 minutes.
  • add jalapeno, broth, half a can of beer, spices.bring to a simmer.
  • let simmer for 1 hour.
  • Peel skin from chilies, chop and add to the pot (including the seeds).
  • Let simmer for 30 minutes then add the tomatoes & potatoes (add a cup of hot water if needed).
  • Simmer until potatoes are done.
  • melt butter in a small skillet & add flour, cook for 2 minutes stirring constantly — add to the pot.

The Best Green Chile Stew


  • 1-2 lbs pork stew meat or pork shoulder chopped into ½ inch pieces
  • ¼ C all-purpose flour or cornstarch
    • [This is meant for thickening.  I used flax and bran instead]
  • ½ t kosher salt
  • ½ t freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ t garlic powder
    • [I use fresh but either should suffice.  Not required to use both but can do.]
  • 1 T olive oil
  • ½ yellow onion chopped into ½ inch pieces
  • 3 large cloves garlic minced
  • 7 oz chopped green chili (about ¾ cup worth, frozen works fine)
    • [More will be required.  Find frozen hot on-line.]
  • 28 oz green chili enchilada sauce (about 3½ C)
    • [Just no.  Get good green chilies and let them shine.]
  • 3 C chicken stock or water, plus 1 tablespoon chicken base
    • [Not “or water”.  Get or make stock.  Low or no sodium is fine.  Only use the base if you are making a poor-man’s stock, and then prefer Better than Bouillon.]
  • ½ t kosher salt (adjust to taste)
  • 4 C diced potatoes (about 2 large potatoes)


  • Combine the pork, flour, pepper and garlic powder in a gallon size Ziploc bag. Shake to coat thoroughly and then set aside.
  • In a large pot over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the fresh garlic and onion and saut until translucent, approximately 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the dusted pork and cook until browned, approximately 5 minutes. Add the chilies, enchilada sauce, stock and salt and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer on low for 45 minutes.
  • Add the potatoes and raise heat to boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender, approximately 15 minutes.
  • Enjoy!
  • Or in a slow cooker:
    • Combine all ingredients in the slow cooker pot and cover.
    • Cook on high for 6 hours or until potatoes and pork are tender.

This recipe doubles beautifully!

New Mexico Green Chile Stew


  • 1 lb beef tenderloin, cubed
    • [Filet mignon in stew?  Or just save your money and get rump or something cheap.]
  • 1 lb boneless pork loin, cubed
  • ¼ C masa harina
    • [Again, thickener.  Could be used in conjunction with the flax and bran if you want that flavor included.]
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 red onion, chopped
    • [I used yellow.  Red will give a stronger onion flavor.]
  • 3 C chopped fresh tomatoes
  • 2 C diced green chili peppers
    • [Probably more.]
  • 2 C low-sodium beef broth
    • [I think I would stick to chicken.]
  • 1 T ground cumin
    • [Skip.  Let the chili shine.  ]
  • 1 large potato, cubed
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 t chopped fresh oregano
    • [Skip.  Let the chili shine.  ]
  • 2 t chopped fresh cilantro
    • [Skip.  Let the chili shine.  ]
  • dash cayenne pepper (optional)
    • [Definitely use.  ]
  • salt and white pepper to taste


  • Place the beef tenderloin cubes, pork loin cubes, and masa harina in a plastic bag and shake to coat the meat. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and cook and stir the meat cubes until evenly browned (about 10 minutes).
  • Place the meat, red onion, tomatoes, green chili peppers, beef broth, cumin, potato, garlic, oregano, cilantro, cayenne pepper, salt, and white pepper in a slow cooker. Cook on low until the meat is tender, about 8 hours.

My version…


  • olive oil
  • 1 ½ lbs pork butt (small cubes)
  • 1 ½ lbs elk steaks (leftover, small cubes)
  • 2 onions yellow diced
  • 3 C potatoes diced
  • 3-6 T each ground flax seed + oat bran
  • 4-6 garlic cloves
  • 32 oz IPA
  • 8 C chicken stock (homemade)
  • 2 lb green chili hot (from frozen)
  • 3-4 bay leaves
  • salt, pepper (black and white), cayenne (not optional, duh)


  • Quickly brown pork cubes in olive oil (in batches if required) and remove to bowl with a slotted spoon.
  • Gently fry onion in remaining oil and pork renderings.
  • Before they brown add the potatoes.
  • Add the flax and bran and garlic.
  • Add the beer, stock, green chili, and bay leaves.
  • The salt can be added all at the end but I tend to add some to the friend onions and then adjust to taste once all the liquid has been added.
  • Simmer for as long as you can stand (you want the meat to be fall-apart tender).  I would guess at least one hour.  I simmered my first batch for maybe four or five.
  • Serve with crusty bread, especially a baguette.



Sous Vide Dulce de Leche and Also Something About Browned Butter

Making dulce de leche using sous vide is about as mindlessly simple a process as you can hope.  You can cook the sweetened condensed milk in the can if you’d like—many do—but I pour the can into a jar I have sized just for this (and that same jar then stores it in the refrigerator).

Other folks cook theirs for 12 hours but I push mine to 15 hours for a more golden flavor.  Set the cooker to 185f and drop in your can or jar.

This got me to thinking:  “Can I make browned butter the same way?”

Today I am trying a cube of butter as 185f for 12 hours and we’ll see what that does.  On-line I saw many folks claiming you can’t do it because the water will prevent the browning.  I am rightly dubious about this claim.  Sweetened condensed milk is about 27% water while butter is only about 16-18% water.  If I can caramelize the sugars in sweetened condensed milk with nearly twice the water, I ought to be able to do similar in butter.

The butter solids, water, and butter fat do separate out from one another.  After maybe an hour you have perfect seperation.  You can use this separated butter to make a not-quite-perfect version of clarified butter by handing the bag in the refridgerator until the fat solidifies and then cutting the corner to drain the water and milk solids.

If you leave the separated butter at temperature for a day or so you will acheive some browning of the butter solids, certainly enough to give a carmelized arome and flavor to those solids.  Generally, however, I find this method particularly inefficient and will probably neither use it to make clarified butter nor to extract browned butter solids.


Sous Vide Potato Salad

I use Paul Prudhomme’s hot German potato salad recipe from his Seasoned America.  Really excellent potato salad.

The trouble with potato salad, though, is really in the preparing of the potatoes.  His recipe calls to boil the small potatoes and then slice them (if memory serves).  Slicing hot potatoes is painful and sticky.  Not so easily done.

That’s not the even the most important bit.  Potatoes, like so many things in life, cook from the outside in.  So they will always be more done nearer the surface than in the center.  But, you shout at your screen, that’s precisely where sous vide shines!  Yes.  My thoughts exactly.

As I contemplated the path to potato perfection, I deeply pondered the shape of the potato pieces that should carry this most luxurious of salad sauces.  So I busted out my mandolin and crinkle-cut those bastards!

The hardest part is now the easiest part.

Tons of extra surface area for capturing sauce.  Cooked to perfect doneness via sous vide.  Nothing crumbles in the mixing process.  Even the smallest potato fragments tend to keep their structural integrity.  Yes, pure dining pleasure.  Farfegnugen for your tongue.

Submerge your vacuum sealed bag of crinkle-cut potatoes into the water bath at a temperature 185f for 90 minutes.  Mix with your favorite sauce.  Nom nom nom.

I do highly recommend Seasoned America.  One of my favorite books.