COOKING ADVENTURE # 51: Ginger Tumble
The old saying goes “You can never have too much of a good thing.” In this case, I think that’s debatable. I like ginger. I think when you detect a hint of it in a dish, whether it be a dessert or a dinner, it really adds a nice heat and flavor. The recipe for Ginger Tumble went above and beyond the call for a “hint” of ginger flavor. This was a full on ginger roller coaster ride, one that I didn’t quite enjoy as much as I’d hoped I would. However, I will say that I enjoyed certain parts of the dish (particularly the sauce, the only non-ginger part) and would probably make it again with a different kind of ice cream for garnish. Let’s not kid ourselves here either: this is a very, very rich dish. It’s definitely something that you don’t want to O.D. on. I totally just did and now my mouth is tingling from too much ginger. All I can say is that at least it was edible in the end. It could have gone much worse.
So first and foremost, before we begin the ginger adventure, I’d like to say welcome to 2013. Another year of Cooking Adventures is just starting and I couldn’t be more excited for the dishes that I’ll be attempting in the months to come. Last year was all about getting familiar with kitchen utensils, finding out what was easy for me to do and what types of things I liked. I did some experimenting early on last year and then after my ulcer episode, just kind of did things that I’d found on Pinterest. Granted, it can be an excellent source for recipes. But I’d really like to do more international dishes this year, keep checking out new and interesting things. I’ll be moving the page with 2012’s recipes into a link on the Cooking Adventures home page in a few days, so you’ll still be able to have access to all of those wonderful and sometimes horrific recipes and my blunders to try and make them. Now, onward!
The Christmas into New Year’s stretch is usually a crazy time for everyone. People are on vacation, trying to hammer out things in order to get them done before the new year and so on and so forth. I was really hoping that I’d have time to make the last cooking adventure of the year before, well, now. But, I, too, got caught up in the hustle and bustle and with work, hadn’t had the time to sit down and actually make this Ginger Tumble until the other night. Found myself doing parts of this recipe on different days just so that it would eventually get done. While the Ginger Tumble is, in spirit, a 2012 recipe, it will kick off the New Year instead.
The first step in the directions is to make ginger ice cream. This is undoubtedly the easiest step. I took several scoops of vanilla bean ice cream and put it in a different container. The recipe just says “vanilla” it doesn’t specify a certain kind beyond that ie: french vanilla, or vanilla bean for that matter. Then, I added one and a half teaspoons of ginger to it. I probably shouldn’t have added so much but there’s not much I can do about that now. Then, you stir the ground ginger into the ice cream until it is well blended. This would have been easier said than done if I’d allowed the ice cream to actually soften a little. So, I spent a good five minutes with a spoon plowing it through stiff ice cream trying to blend the ginger into it. Once I was satisfied that there weren’t any giant clumps anywhere, I placed the container back in the freezer and let it freeze overnight.
Next, it was onto the gingerbread! I snapped up a boxed recipe (the last one in fact!) from the grocery store and made that up according to the directions on the box. All it required was an egg and some water. Then, I ran into a problem. Of all the baking utensils I have, I don’t have a pan that’s an actual 9″ x 9″. So, I found myself instead resorting to the bundt cake pan which always seems to work in a pinch. I poured the batter in. At this point, I didn’t bake it. I did it later that evening (New Year’s Eve) after I got home from celebratory mimosas, watching a french version of Kung-Fu Panda, and an enthralling game of Scrabble (in which I lost) at my parent’s house. After forty minutes, the cake came out and cooled.
On yet another day (last night in fact), I finally finished off the recipe by making the sauce that goes over the gingerbread and ice cream. In a sauce pot, I added 3/4 of a stick of butter, 1 cup of sugar, and 1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon and put them on low heat. I stirred these for about ten minutes until all of them had blended into a thick sauce. At this point, I slapped myself because I’d forgotten to cut up the pears to go in the sauce. The recipe says to use “small pears” or even canned pears. Somehow in my mind while I was shopping for ingredients, this translated into Asian pears. So, I pulled the two Asian pears that I’d picked up out of the fridge and proceeded to cut them. One of them had several soft spots which I had to cut out. I cut it into little slices and added those to the skillet. When I got to the second pear, I was saddened to discover that it had already gone by. I hucked it in the garbage.
I stirred the pear sauce mixture for another ten minutes on low heat, making sure that none of the caramel sauce stuck or burned to the bottom of the pot. Once that was done, I took it off the heat. Now, it was time to assemble the ginger tumble!
In the directions, they tell you to cut the gingerbread into cubes about 1-2 inches in diameter. This was actually very easy to do with the bundt cake that I’d made. I layered those in the bowl first. Then, take a couple scoops of your ginger ice cream and place those over the top along with some of the pears from the sauce. Then, drizzle the sauce over everything last. This thing looked so amazing, I wasn’t sure I actually wanted to eat it. I also knew that it was probably going to be insanely rich and that I might not finish the whole thing. In short, my eyes were bigger than my stomach and I ate the entire bowl. Bad decision. The ginger kept tingling in the back of my mouth and in my throat from the ice cream. I have a feeling that if I’d just used vanilla ice cream it would have been just fine.
In the end though, it was a delectable dish and one that would certainly be a good idea for a holiday party. The original recipe found at Better Homes and Gardens, makes a dessert that will do 10 to 12 servings. You can find that here.
This Thursday on Cooking Adventures, we’ll be venturing into Mongolian cuisine with a fun little recipe called Buuz, which is a steamed wonton, much like the Japanese Gyoza that I made last year. Stay tuned!