Lavendar Infused Blueberry Honey Ice Cream

Lavender Infused Blueberry Honey Ice Cream

I was in the mood for some ice cream so I decided to make this recipe for Lavender Honey Ice Cream I found on saveur.com. Of course, we couldn’t find lavender honey at our grocery store. However, we did find blueberry blossom honey and a bundle of lavender so I ran with it. The first thing I needed to do was separate the lavender blossoms from the stems.

Lavender Blossoms

Next I had to infuse the milk with 1 tablespoon of the blossoms by steeping them over low heat for about 20 minutes. Don’t scald the milk yet. You just want to pull the lavender oil out of the flowers.

Lavender blossoms in MilkAfter the lavender has steeped in the milk, strain the flowers out.

Straining the lavender infused milk

Next, beat the egg yolks with the sugar.

Beating egg yolks

Then scald the milk, add the honey and whisk until it dissolves. Be really careful when measuring the honey. Just a little too much will make the ice cream way too sweet. Lower the heat and cook until the mixture covers the back of a spoon.

Coating the back of the spoonCool it in the refrigerator until it’s cold. Then put in an ice cream maker and let it go.

Lavendar Infused Blueberry Honey Ice Cream

Ingredients

  • 6 egg yolks
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 cups milk
  • 5 tbsp. blueberry honey
  • 1 tbsp. lavender blossoms

Instructions

  1. Heat the milk over low heat and add the lavender blossoms. Let them steep in the milk for about 20 minutes and then strain the milk to remove the blossoms.
  2. Beat egg yolks until thick and yellow, then slowly add sugar.
  3. Scald milk, then pour into eggs and sugar in a thin stream, beating with a whisk. Add honey and whisk until dissolved. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Cool and refrigerate until cold.
  4. Pour into an ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer’s directions. Keep ice cream frozen hard until use.

 

 

 

My Favorite Baby Back Ribs

Baby Back Ribs

Baby Back Ribs with Filipino Seasoning

A couple of weekends ago I decided to take a break from working on ChefTap and do some serious cooking. I was in the mood do some pit grilling so I decided to make my favorite baby back rib recipe. The recipes for the marinade, the rub and the BBQ sauce are involved, but I promise it’s worth it.

The recipe comes from The Barbecue Bible by Steven Raichlen who is the grilling god as far as I’m concerned. I’ve adjusted the original recipe a bit to make it work on a pit grill which doesn’t have a cover and generally cooks food more slowly than a typical grill.

These ribs smell incredible while they’re cooking so I decided to make Walnut Pesto Crostini by Smitten Kitchen to tide us over. For dessert I made Mango Champagne Sorbet by PDX Food Love.

The timing of all of these recipes are wildly different, so I used the Make list in ChefTap to switch between recipes as I was interleaving the steps so that everything would come out on time.

Here’s the recipe for the ribs…

Romy’s Ribs with Filipino Seasonings

For the pork marinade

  • 4 baby back rib racks (3-4 lbs.)
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1 orange, juice of
  • 1 orange, zest of
  • 1 lemon, juice of
  • 1 lemon, zest of
  • 1 lime, juice of
  • 1 lime, zest of
  • 2 stalks fresh lemongrass, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

For the rub:

  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons szechuan peppercorns
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 1 dried hot red chile (or 1/2 t. cayenne pepper)
  • 2 teaspoons firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt

Other:

  • 2 cups wood chips, soaked for 1 hour in cold water to cover and drained

Instructions

  1. Remove the thin paper skin from the back of each rack of ribs.
  2. Combine all the ingredients for the marinade in a blender; process to a smooth puree.
  3. Pour the marinade over the ribs, turning to coat both sides.
  4. Cover and let marinate 8 hours, in the refrigerator, turning once or twice.
  5. Combine all the ingredients for the rub in a spice mill or blender and grind to a fine powder (for extra flavor, you can toast the spices in a dry skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant, about 3 minutes, before grinding).
  6. Set up grill for indirect cooking by raking the coals around the outside of the grate
  7. When ready to cook, remove the ribs from the marinade and blot dry with paper towels.
  8. Rub the spice mix over the ribs on both sides.
  9. Arrange the ribs on the hot grate over the pit grill and smoke-cook the ribs until the meat is very tender and it has shrunk back from the ends of the bones, 1 ½ to 2 hours; replenish wood chips as necessary.

 

The first thing that you need to do is marinate the ribs. The original recipe calls for eight hours in the marinade, but left them in for as little as three hours and they came out fine. The lemon grass does make a big difference but if you can’t find it the recipe still works.

Zesting citrus

 

 

 

 

 

 

The recipe says to remove the paper-thin skin from the back of the ribs, but for the last few years that I’ve been making this recipe, that membrane has already been removed. I still look for it, but it’s usually not there so don’t worry if you don’t find it.

One thing that I do think is important that the recipe doesn’t mention is that the ribs should be rinsed and dried before marinating so that the marinade can penetrate the ribs. I also cut the racks of ribs in half to make it easier.

I flip and rotate the ribs about every half hour to make sure they get coated evenly.

The ribs should be rinsed and dried before marinating

 

 

 

 

Next up was the first step of the Mango Champagne Sorbet. I used prosecco instead of Champagne and it came out great. Process the mangos for a while and then some. Mangos are a little fibrous and they really need some time to become a puree. Make sure you put the ice cream maker work bowl in the freezer the night before so it’s good and cold when you need it.

The mango champagne puree needs to drop to 40º F before you put it in the ice cream maker so be sure you leave enough time.

Mango Champagne Puree

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once the mango puree was in the fridge, I switched back to the ribs and made the rub. The recipe says that dry toasting the spices is optional, but the rub comes out so much better if you do. Put the szechuan peppercorns,coriander seeds, cumin seeds, mustard seeds and fennel seed in a small skillet and watch it carefully. After a couple of minutes they’ll start to smell really good, but hang on for a bit. A little later, the coriander seeds will start to hop in the pan followed by the mustard seeds. When the first hint of smoke appears, take the pan off of the heat and immediately dump the spices into a mortar and pestle and grind them while they’re still hot.

Dry toasting the rib rub spicesGrinding the toasted spices

 

 

 

 

 

Once the toasted spices are ground, add the paprika, hot red chile, brown sugar and salt to the mix and grind it up some more making sure everything is evenly mixed. Set the rub aside until you’re ready to put the ribs on the grill.

Add the rest of the spices

The finished rub

 

 

 

 

 

While I was doing all of this, Kate was out of the house, but I knew she’d be home soon so I started the crostini. This recipe also says that toasting the walnuts is optional, but I already had the pan out so I did it. They came out great. Blend the walnuts and cheese in a food processor and put it in a mixing bowl.

Toasting walnutsWalnut Parmesan Puree

 

 

 

 

 

Then stir in the oil and tomatoes and you’ve got your pesto. I made this a little ahead of time so that the flavors in the pesto would have time to blend together. After this, I sliced a baguette diagonally so it would dry out a little before I toasted the slices on the pit grill.

Walnut Parmesan Pesto

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next, it was time to make the BBQ sauce. This sauce has an apricot-horseradish-scotch bonnet base and is incredible with any kind of pork, but especially with this rib recipe. This recipe is from Barbecue! Bible – Sauces, Rubs and Marinades by Steven Raichlen <- Again BBQ god

Cal’s Apricot-Horseradish Barbeque Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 cup apricot preserves
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1/4 fresh lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh shallot
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 to 1 scotch bonnet chili or other hot chili, seeded and minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot pepper flakes
  • Coarse salt (kosher or sea) and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons prepared white horseradish, or to taste

Instructions

  1. Place all of the ingredients for the sauce, except for the horseradish, in a heavy non-reactive saucepan. Simmer the sauce, uncovered, over medium heat until slightly thickened and richly flavored, about 10 minutes. Correct the seasoning, adding salt and/or pepper if needed. the sauce should be of pourable consistency; if too thick, add a little water. Let the sauce cool to room temperature.
  2. Stir in the horseradish to taste. Use right away or transfer to a large jar, cover and refrigerate. The sauce will keep for several weeks.

Cal's BBQ sauce

 

 

 

 

 

The prep for this sauce takes a little while. Just be careful with the scotch bonnets and wash your hands really well after you mince them. The recipe says it takes about 10 minutes, but in my experience it takes closer to twenty to get it right. Go with it. When the sauce cools, stir in the horseradish and you’re good.

2014-06-08 20.04.01

 

 

 

 

Now the ribs were marinated, the rub was made, the mango puree is in the fridge, the pit grill is hot, the crostini is toasting and Kate just got home. The pesto has been made and the bread has been toasted on the grill so the crostini is on. They were walnutty, buttery heaven.

Baby Back Ribs

Baby Back Ribs with Filipino Seasoning

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had the crostini while the ribs were gilling. The ribs needed time on the grill. I kept the pot of BBQ sauce near the heat so that I could baste the ribs with it as they cooked. After about three hours, they were ready. I also threw on some corn cobs in the husk so they could steam themselves on the grill but that’s hardly a recipe.

 

Mango Champagne Sorbet

 

 

 

 

 

While the ribs were grilling, I put the Mango Champagne Sorbet in the ice cream maker and let it run. Before I served the ribs I put the finished sorbet into the freezer to let it harden up. In spite of having absolutely no dairy in it, this sorbet really tastes like ice cream. So yeah, all of this took all day to make, but it was soooo worth it.

If you’re going to spend a whole day cooking, you might as well make it epic. 🙂

 

Springpad importing is here!

This week Springpad announced that they are shutting down on June, 25th 2014. They had a useful service that people were using, but they ran out of money while they were trying to raise another round of funding. You can read more about that here.

Springpad’s story is becoming more and more common. A start-up raises money, develops a product that people find useful and gives it away without a clear plan on how they’re going to keep the lights on and the servers running. If they’re lucky, some company that is profitable buys them and shuts the app or service down. If they’re not so lucky, they have to shut it down and walk away. The bad news is that the people who were using the app or service are left in the lurch.

One of the good things about Springpad is that they treated recipes as first-class citizens. As a result, lots of people used Springpad to organize their recipes. This past weekend, we took a detour from our development schedule and worked on a way for people who use Springpad to import their recipes into ChefTap.

To import your Springpad data, do the following:

  1. Get the latest version of ChefTap which is 3.0.0.324.  To see if you have the latest version, tap the + sign in the upper right corner.  There should be Springpad item in the list that appears.  (The item leads to a list of instructions, which are the same as what you see here).
  2. Make sure that you have started the app at least once, so that ChefTap can create the folders that will be needed for your import.
  3. Sign into your springpad.com account and click the “Export My Data” button.
  4. On the next page, click the “Export Your Data” link at the bottom of the page. Springpad will verify that they have the right email address for you. If it’s correct, click the “Begin My Export” button. Springpad will notify you when your export file is ready to download to your computer.
  5. Your export file will be named a combination of your Springpad username and “-export.zip”. So my export file might be named shawn-export.zip. Don’t change the name of your export file.
  6. Connect a device that has ChefTap installed to your computer and copy your export file to the directory /ChefTap/import/ on your device. Then, disconnect your device from your computer.
  7. Launch ChefTap on your device. ChefTap will detect your Springpad export file and begin importing your recipes along with their photos.

In addition to importing recipe items, ChefTap will also examine your website bookmarks to see if any of those bookmarks are links to recipes. Finally, ChefTap will use our recipe recognizer to examine plain text notes to see if any of those are recipes. (Note that the recipe recognizer only works for English language recipes)

For former Springpad users, we hope that we will not only pick up where Springpad left off, but show you that we provide a much better service for managing your recipes and using them in the kitchen. As always if you have any questions, you can drop us a line here.

Tarte Tatin

tarte-tatin

I’ve been wanting to try making a French upside-down apple tart for a while now and this Sunday I did it. For me the toughest part about following English translations of French recipes is that they seem to leave out half of the recipe, presumably because they assume that the person following the recipe will obviously know how to fill in the missing parts. I imagine that’s fine if you’re a French pastry chef, but not so good if you’re an American app developer. So I did some research and filled in the missing parts.

One of the elements left out was what kind of crust to use. It turns out there are a few recipes for tarte crusts, but the one you need for tarte tatin is pate brisée because it’s sturdier and can handle eight steaming, baked apples covered in an incredible butter caramel sauce on top of it. When you first start to knead the crust, it’s a disastrous mess, but stick with it and in a few minutes it actually looks like dough. I did need to add a little water to mine.

Pate Brisée (Flaky short-crust tart pastry)

Ingredients

  • 2c all-purpose flour
  • 1/2c butter
  • 1 egg
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons heavy cream

Instructions

  1. While the butter is still cold, chop it into small cubes and set it aside.
  2. On a large flat work surface, sift the flour if you need to, make a hollow in the middle and add the egg, cream and the softened butter.
  3. Knead the mixture together, pushing down hard with the palm of your hand to completely incorporate the flour. Add a little water if necessary.

 

Tarte Tatin (Upside down apple tart)

Ingredients

  • 1 Pate brisée
  • 8 golden delicious apples (Reine des reinettes)
  • 3 tblsp butter
  • 1/2c superfine or caster sugar plus a little more for sprinkling

Instructions

  1. Quarter the apples and remove the core and peel. Then slice them into 1/4 inch slices and set aside.
  2. In a flame-proof pie dish, melt the stick of butter, add the sugar evenly over the surface of the bottom of the dish and caramelize on top of the stove over medium heat. When the sugar starts to brown, keep your eye on it because it will start getting too brown fast. When the butter and sugar are a golden brown, remove from heat immediately.
  3. Choose the best looking slices and place them side by side in the dish in a pinwheel pattern working your way to the center. This will be what people see as the top of the tarte.
  4. Arrange the rest of the apple slices in the pie dish, packing them together tightly. Dust with sugar.
  5. Bake in a preheated 350ºF oven for 20 minutes. Roll out the pate brisée to make a pie lid and place it over the apples. Bake for an additional 20 minutes.
  6. Unmold while still hot by placing the serving dish on top of the pie dish and then gripping both plates and flipping them over so that the pie dish is upside-down. Tap the bottom of the pie plate and carefully lift the pie plate off of the tarte. The sooner you do this after it comes out of the oven, the better. Let the tart set up a few minutes.
  7. Optional, but awesome: When the tarte has cooled a bit, sprinkle more of the caster sugar over the top and use a culinary torch to caramelize the sugar.

 

 

About the Beta release

As we finish testing the new web site and device syncing, we are making most Pro features available for free to anyone who would like to try it out. Here’s how it  works:

  • To use device syncing, you will need to be running Android 4.0.3 (Ice Cream Sandwich) or greater. First-generation Kindle Fires are not supported, because they run an older version of Android.  If you have an older version of Android, you will be able to keep an older version of ChefTap that does not allow syncing.
  • Keep in mind that we are still testing and working out bugs. You don’t have to join yet, but if you do, you’ll have early access to the new features.
  • The first time you sync, ChefTap will back up your recipes onto your device.  We recommend that you keep a copy of your backup file off of your device.  After the backup completes, you can share the file to Dropbox, email, or any other app that lets you store data.  You can also find the file on your device at ChefTap/Backup/ChefTapBak.zip.
  • We are constantly fixing bugs, so please make sure that you keep your app up to date.
  • While the beta trial is running, you will have access to most of the ChefTap Pro features.  Here is a full description of the Pro features, which include:
    • The ability to import as many recipes as your device can hold.  After the beta trial, free accounts will be limited to 100 recipes.
    • Unlimited syncing.  When you sync, changes in one device are automatically pushed out to all devices.
    • Ability to initiate syncs and imports from the desktop.
    • You will see ads in the app during the beta trial unless you subscribe to a Pro account.
  • After the beta trial is over, you will revert to a free account, with these features:
    •  You will be limited to 100 recipes.  If you have already have more than 100 recipes, you can sync all of them with the website.  However, you will not be able to import more without a ChefTap Pro subscription.
    • You can sync with the website once a week. Changes to your web account are not pushed out to all of your devices.

We’ve been working very hard on the website and device syncing, and we are very excited for everyone to be using the new features.

If you have any questions, please email us at support@cheftap.com.

 

Device syncing is here!

September 29, 2013 — We’re excited to announce that cloud backup, device syncing and the new website are up and running. To use the new features, you’ll need a new version of the ChefTap app, which we’ll be releasing soon. We’ll be sending out invitations to sign up, slowly at first.  When you’re invited, you’ll see a notification on your device.

The new website requires us to dramatically increase server capacity to handle cloud backup and device syncing for hundreds of thousands of people. Those servers come with very real monthly bills.  For this reason, we’re asking people to consider subscribing to a ChefTap Pro account for $11.99 per year. A pro account will remove ads from your app, allow unlimited syncing and include other exclusive features. In addition, it will make it possible for us to work on the other features you’ve been asking for.

There will also be a free option, which will have a limit of 100 recipes, and will allow you to sync with the web site once a week.  You can read more details about the different kinds of accounts here.

We are two people who have made ChefTap on our own time. We don’t have investors and venture capital like other startups. We need your help to keep going.  As we move into fall, we’ll be getting back to work on the grocery list and meal planner, making improvements to the website and Android app, and starting on an iPhone/iPad app.  As always, we look to you for suggestions about what you would like, so let us know.

We love our job, and we want nothing more than to make the best cooking app ever.

Progress Report

August 21, 2013 — It’s been a few months since we released our redesign of the app. Since then, we’ve had our heads down working on the web site, cloud backup and device syncing.  Some people have been in touch, wondering how that is all going.  So we thought we would give you a progress report.

We have been feature-complete for a few weeks, which means that all of the major features have been built.  We are testing them and doing all of the other things that have to be done before a new product is released.  We did want to take some time out to give you a quick preview of the new site, though. Here it is:

Recipe list

You can view your recipes as either a list or a grid.  (Click any image to see it full-size).

And yes — all of those recipes were synced from my phone.

grid-view
grid-viewlist-view

 

View a Recipe

There are also two ways to view a recipe.  With the Default view, you have options to edit or print the recipe, or to add pictures. You can also see a list of links to your Recently Viewed recipes.

default

The Kitchen-Friendly view shows just the recipe, with the ingredients and steps side-by-side.  In this view, you can adjust the text size. If you have an iPad, this is a great way to view your recipes while you are cooking.

 kitchen

Edit Recipes

You can also edit the recipe from your desktop.  Sub-lists of ingredients and steps are preserved in the recipe form. You can also Retrieve Missing Text from the original web site, just like you can in the app.  (Though, we call it Show Extra Text here).edit-form

 

So, these are the main screens of the web site.  The two of us have been working very hard on this, and we will begin rolling it out as soon as we are confident that it is ready. Time to get back to work…

Enjoy the rest of your summers! You’ll be hearing from us soon.

-Kate and Shawn

kate-and-shawn

New Design

Today, we are releasing a new version of the app with a brand new design.

If you have visited our site before, you know that in December and January, we had been working very hard on cloud backup and device syncing.  But then, we began to hear that important parts of the app, such as the sorting menu, had stopped working for some people who had newer devices.  We had no choice but to fix this immediately.  It would have taken a good amount of work to patch up the old code, so we decided to put that time into something that was newer and faster.

Some people have contacted us to tell us that they didn’t want the design to change.  We don’t always like change, either, and we liked the old design.  It’s been almost two years since we first designed ChefTap. Since then, Android has introduced many new UI widgets, such as reliable dropdown menus and the streamlined action bar.  You have probably seen them in other apps.  By using these widgets, we can make the app more consistent with other apps on your device.  We can also make the app perform better — for everyone.

Here is a summary of the new features:

Better Access to Tags (Previously Called Categories)

slideout menu
The new design has a slideout menu that lists all of your tags.  Tap on any of them to see all your recipes with that tag.

 

If you have a tablet, your tags are always visible when you are in landscape mode.  Also, when you are looking at recipes with a certain tag, you can now search and sort within that tag.

tablet_layout

 

 

Easier to Add Tags and Notes to Recipes

We’ve redesigned the “recipe card” at the top of every recipe.  It now expands in place so that you can easily add tags, prep times/ yield, and notes.
Notes expand_collapse

Improved Picture View (Now Called Grid View)

When we designed the old version, there weren’t many tablets on the market.  The Picture view layout worked pretty well on phones with smaller screens, but it didn’t work so well  on tablets.  We’ve turned the Picture view into the Grid view, which shows larger pictures than before.

We’ve also combined the sorting menu with the menu that lets you switch between List and Grid view.

list_grid views

 

 

Bigger Pictures!

pictures

Tap on the picture in your recipe card to go into a swipe-through gallery of gorgeous big pictures.  As always, you can add pictures from the original web site, upload from your gallery, or take a picture with your camera.

 

Make Button: Follow Two Recipes At Once

We’ve kept the recipe display as it was.  You can choose between viewing the ingredients and steps at the same time, or viewing them Step-by-Step.  The menu for changing the view is in the upper left corner now.

step-by-step

 

We’ve changed how Now Cooking works.  This is the feature that lets you quickly switch between recipes if you are cooking two things at once. In the old design, if you viewed a recipe in Step-by-Step, the recipe was added to the Now Cooking list.  It would automatically be removed two hours later.  We think we out-clevered ourselves a bit on that feature.  Also, we heard from people who used Now Cooking far before they started cooking — such as making a short list when deciding what to cook.  So, we changed the name of this to something more general — the Make list.

Now, you can manually control what goes into your Make list.  You decide what to put in, and when to take it out.  Tap the Make button, and a new menu will appear in the toolbar.  You can clear or edit the list at any time.

Make list

Turn the Edit Menu Off

So, you know how when you import a recipe, it’s nice to be able to tap on any line and change it to an ingredient, or edit it?  But then later, when you’re trying to just scroll through the recipe, the menu can come up when you don’t want it.

Well, now you can turn it off.  When you’ve gotten the recipe to be the way you like it, tap your device’s Menu button when you are looking at a recipe, and then select Turn Edit Menu Off.

edit_menu_off

 

So, that’s what we’ve got.  Shawn is almost finished implementing the new design. (These are all screenshots of a working build).  And then, it’s testing, testing, and more testing.  We hope to have this out within the next few weeks.  After that, it’s back to syncing.

We thank everyone who has written to us over the past year and a half.  Many of these changes are based on your suggestions and votes.  As always, there is more that we want to do, but it was time to put something out.  If you have comments, questions, or suggestions, please feel free to drop us a note at support@cheftap.com.

-Kate and Shawn

 

Blueberry Pie

 

I love to make this pie in August when blueberries are in season. The filling is simple enough, with just enough to enhance the flavor of the blueberries.  The crust is a bit trickier, but it’s still not hard with a little practice.  There’s lots that you can read about making pie crusts, but here are my favorite pie crust tricks that I have gathered over the years:

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Cucumber Lime Gimlets

These are delicious and refreshing on a hot day, with or without the addition of alcohol.  This would probably be a lot easier if you have a juicer, but you can also use a grater and a strainer to extract all of the juice from the cucumber.

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