Buttermilk Ice Cream: also, the story behind the name Citizen Chef.

As was promised here,  I now have Chef Tory’s permission to post recipes on the world wide intarweb!  His actual quote was “if somebody wants to take my job, they can be my guest!”  So here now is his recipe for Buttermilk Ice Cream, but first . . . a dissertation!

I have been a fan of the food at L’etoile for many years now.  In fact on a dish-by-dish basis, I would put the food there up against the French Laundry which was the premier dining experience of my life.  There is good food, and great food.  And then there is that other thing.  If you are a foodie you know what I’m talking about.  The foodgasm.  That swooning moment when you put it in your mouth and you melt a little bit, and you swoon.  And you curse the fact that you only have one tounge.  And your brain shuts down completely and you just swear over and over again until you can remember all the other words in the english language that this tiny little package of bliss had obliterated from your memory.  So I find out that there are cooking classes available, yeah I guess I might be interested in that.

I have since taken 5 or 6 classes, on subjects ranging from summer seafood to french classics.  They have all been varying degrees of awesome.  But my concern was, could these recipes be duplicated at home?  By that I don’t mean could a home cook acquire the ingredients and tools necessary to complete these dishes. I mean could I make something as good as Chef Tory?  Could I cook something foodgasmic??  The short answer is yes.  I have a small and slowly increasing stable of recipes that are that good.  But I have stated in the past that cooking is as easy as following directions.  Why then don’t all of these recipes turn out as good as Chef Tory makes them? 

Well as much as I hate disagreeing with myself, I am in fact wrong.  Or I was, but I’m not now.  Wrong that is.  Or I mean wrong that was.  I do still contend that you can get to journeyman-level cooking just by following instructions, buying good ingredients and not screwing them up.  But there is another level that great chefs are at, that I can obtain only infrequently and often by accident.  I think the difference is those chefs have an ingrained knowledge of what is actually happening when they are cooking that I lack.  I am not damning myself with faint praise, I fully admit that I am pretty damn good.  I have the basic chops, and more importantly a passion for cooking.  I’m down with the maillard reaction, I know why dijon mustard is in so many emulsified dressings.  I watch Good Eats.  But there are still machinations happening that are a mystery to me.  I can’t tell you why one of my dishes failed, or partially failed, but a real chef can.

That brings me to why I blog under the name Citizen Chef, or why I blog at all.  I know, you were hoping that would bring me to the recipe.  HAH!  One more paragraph to sit through, assuming you haven’t zipped to the bottom of the article three paragraphs ago. 

When Miss Macchiato approached me to start a food blog, I was reticent.  I consider myself a good writer.  Ok a very good writer.  And a good cook.  But there are much better writers out there, who are also real chefs.  BourdainRuhlman, Aki Kamozawa and H. Alexander Talbot.  And on the amateur front, French Laundry at Home.  Why add to this cacophony with my lesser opinions?  Then I realized the true value of the foodie movement.  Each one of us who cares about food raises the bar just a little bit.  We all elevate the conversation simply by having the conversation.  Eating is the ultimate shared expierience.  It is the only thing that each and every one of us is doing, and will continue to do until the day we die.  All other artistic endevors are optional.  Eating is mandatory.  Eating well should be mandatory.  Citizen Chef symbolizes to me, the theory that we are all of value.

Buttermilk Ice Cream

  • 2 cups cream
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 10 egg yolks

Heat cream, half and half, buttermilk and sugar to a simmer.  Temper in the egg yolks.  Chill mixture and freeze.

This is a very simple recipe that has been just as good as Chef Tory makes it every time.  I do put it in an ice cream maker to keep the crystals small, but that is optional.  Mix some blueberries with lemon juice and honey and let them maccerate for a while and put them on top of the ice cream and it is out of this world.  I would suggest eating the ice cream the day you make it or the day after.  Any longer than that and it loses some of its’ buttermilk twang.

~Citizen Chef

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