Sunday, June 3, 2007

Frozen Wine

All this talk about ice cream reminds me that I never posted the recipe for the frozen wine from the Renaissance cooking class. Thanks to Chef Cathy Kaufman and her Italian source Della Porta for this one--it was a huge hit in the class, and Jenny & I hope to make it again as soon as we either (a) have an ice cream maker; or (b) have the patience to freeze it in a pan, stirring occasionally. Everything that follows is quoted from Chef Cathy's recipe:

3 1/2 cups red or white wine
1 cup sugar
2 cups water
3/4 ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground malaguetta pepper (grains of paradise)

1. Place all of the ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and let infuse for 1/2 hour. Strain through cheesecloth, reserving the wine.

2. Place the wine in a shallow container and place in the freezer. Stir the mixture periodically with a fork to create a slushy texture, in the nature of a granita. Or place in an ice-cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions for a sorbet.

The picture below comes from Delia Online, some cookery website that came up with another recipe for wine sorbet on Google. Ours looked pretty much like this, and we used the cheap cooking wine they had on hand--Franzia, I think it was. Box wine, anyway. It didn't matter a damn, although I wonder whether nicer wine would make nicer sorbet. For red, I imagine you could do worse with a more complex wine, and perhaps not much better; for white, I expect you could do worse, too, but also a lot better with something more interestingly fruity. A fun but potentially expensive experiment, to be sure!

Saturday, June 2, 2007


I learned something last night: my dangerously powerful ice cream addiction can, through only a couple of degrees of separation, help BRIMS and other Charlottesville groups. That is, if I eat the Dave Matthews Band Magic Brownie flavor of Ben & Jerry's, from which a portion of the proceeds go to BAMA Works, the charitable arm of the DMB. BRIMS got a BAMA grant a few years ago...hmmm...wonder how much ice cream I'd have to eat to create another BRIMS grant.... (Though to be sure, the ice cream label says that the money goes specifically toward environmental projects, so I don't know if it gets funneled off to a different place in the foundation finances...presumably so, but still.)

The ice cream itself is delightfully palatable. Not my favorite B&J flavor, but the raspberry/chocolate/vanilla combination is definitely a winner. (Before ye ask, I can't quite figure out my favorite flavor--one for every mood, I suppose, and I never met one I didn't like, though some I like less than others.)

Still, I expect more of the proceeds go to the proprietors of the bodega around the corner than to BAMA. I certainly pay a premium for having more junk food within a block than anyone needs--this pint was $4.49. But it sure beats the hell out of the old 'hood, where it wasn't possible to get milk that hadn't spoiled. Just not possible. The only edible/potable things there were beer, Coke, potato chips, and Hershey's chocolate.

I'm such a yuppie.

In other ice cream news, I set out today to buy a Donvier ice cream maker. I think they were much more popular 10 or 15 years ago, but I always liked my grandmother's (and, in fact, was the only person ever to use the thing, I think). Very low-tech, but without having to deal with the rock salt and ice--the important piece of the Donvier is a cannister that you put in the freezer overnight. It's filled with some sort of coolant that freezes the ice-cream-to-be, and has a hand crank. Of course it would never work as well as the fancy yoke we used at the Institute of Culinary Education, but it would suit our purposes well enough. But alas--no dice. If I'm going to make the frozen wine thing before I go to Ireland, it'll have to be in a metal bowl in the freezer.

And in other consumer goods news: buying blank minidiscs these days is quite a feat. I still haven't succeeded, despite checking Best Buy, Circuit City, Virgin Megastore, and even Radio Shack, which I detest. The word on the street (literally) is that I should check with the sketchy places on 14th Street with the pay-to-play Atari and Nintendo games in front. Alas--iRiver and all those new(ish) gadgets aside, this time I really need the external data storage, since I won't be taking my computer to Ireland, and won't be able to download interviews, tunes, etc. until I return in August.