Sunday, June 26, 2016

Strawberry Rhubarb Shake








     Gourmet Milkshakes!
     Old time milkshakes seemed came in two flavors.  Chocolate or vanilla.  Malted milk was an option and so was whipped cream.  A maraschino cherry garnish was as fancy as old time milkshakes used to get.  
     Later, many more ice cream flavors were offered.  Strawberry milkshakes became a standard item. Fancy sprinkles, fruits, nuts, cookies, syrups and many other items were used.  Shakes with fancy toppings added charm to the milkshake experience.
     During the last few decades, shakes that have a unique design theme have been popular at trendy restaurants.  Pastry chefs and bartenders became involved with creating new exciting milkshake themes.  Giving a fancy milkshake a fun name is part of the equation too.  In effect, the modern gourmet milkshake experience is entertainment!   
     Now there are a few paths to choose from, when creating a modern shake.  The first choice is whether to add liquor to the recipe.  If liquor is added, then the milkshake's appeal is limited to adults and those whole drink alcohol.  Items like Marshmallow Vodka, Hot Cinnamon Liquor, Honey Whiskey, Cupcake Vodka and many other sweet liquors have been incorporated into the adult milkshake making repertoire.  Adult spiked milkshakes tend to have fancy presentations and the names are often shockingly fun.  
     Non alcoholic shakes can be just as fun as the adult liquor spiked shakes.  Cooks can make any gastrique or syrup flavor that they wish.  Concentrated syrup flavors are the best for adding sharp pronounced layers of flavor.  Coarse textures like pop rocks, chocolate, candy, cookies, nuts and fruit do have one restriction if they are part of the shake and not the topping.  The pieces have to be small enough to pass through a drinking straw.  

     Drinking straws used to be one size and they were made out of paper.  Modern plastic straws are available in a variety of shapes and sizes.  Reusable eco friendly plastic, metallic or glass straws are good options.  Many modern restaurants and gourmet malt shops use fancy eco-friendly straws that have the restaurant logo imbedded on the straw.  These signature straws are meant to be taken home by the customer as a keepsake that can be washed and reused.

     The flavor combination of the basic ingredients is the key to making a great milkshake.  If it sounds like it would be tasty, give it a try!  Seasonal items are valued by chefs.  Rhubarb and strawberries are in season every spring.  Strawberry Rhubarb Pie is a traditional favorite and it is often served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  Strawberry Rhubarb Pie is an interesting flavor choice for a fancy milkshake.  
     Today's milkshake recipe is meant to be an introduction to the world of fancy modern milkshakes.  This recipe was designed to be easy and fun with no complicated cooking techniques.  As I post more fancy modern milkshake creations in the future, the presentations and cooking techniques will become more challenging.  
    Since today's recipe is meant to inspire creative milkshake making, easy to use pre-made store bought products are in the list of ingredients.  There are good pre-made ice cream topping products on the market that make creating a fancy shake an easy task.  A big tall fancy glass is required for modern milkshakes.  Fresh made whipped cream is still the best option.  Cake sprinkles of all kinds can be found in any grocery store.  
     Reading the label of store bought ice creams is a must.  Try to avoid ice creams that contain gums, artificial colors, preservatives and corn syrup.  Natural ice creams are the best.  The better the ice cream quality is, the better the shake will be.

     Rhubarb Preparation:
     For those who are not familiar with rhubarb, only the red stalks are edible.  The leaves are toxic!    
     Step 1:  Place 1/3 cup of very thin sliced rhubarb stalk in a small sauce pot.
     Add 1 tablespoon of sugar.
     Add 1 small pinch of allspice.
     Add just enough water to cover the ingredients.
     Step 2:  Place the pot over medium low heat.
     Simmer till the rhubarb becomes very tender and the liquid reduces to a thin syrup consistency.
     Step 3:  Set the rhubarb mixture aside and let it cool to room temperature.
     Place the rhubarb mixture in a container and chill to 41ºF in a refrigerator.

     Milkshake Glass Preparation:
     Store bought pre-made strawberry syrup ice cream topping was used to garnish the glass.  Today's recipe is meant to be easy and convenient!
     Step 1:  Select a tall nice looking 20 ounce to 24 ounce capacity glass.  (An extra large lager glass is nice!)
     Chill the glass in a freezer till it is ice cold.
     Step 2:  Pour a thin stream of strawberry syrup ice cream topping on the inside of the frozen glass and try to make a few interesting designs.
     Step 3:  Immediately return the glass to the freezer, so the strawberry syrup freezes in place.
     Keep the syrup painted glass frozen till the milkshake is made.

     Whipped Cream:
     Canned whipped cream and pre-made whipped topping are second rate.  Fresh whipped cream is best!
     Step 1:  Place 2/3 cup of cream in a chilled mixing bowl.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of sugar.
     Add 3 drops of vanilla extract.
     Briskly whisk till stiff peaks appear.  
     Step 2:  Chill the whipped cream to 41ºF in a refrigerator.
     Load the whipped cream into a small star tipped pastry bag.
     Chill the whipped cream till it is needed.

     Strawberry Rhubarb Shake:
     When fruit or syrup is added to a shake, the amount of milk needed becomes less.  The total amount of liquid added to a shake is always a judgement call.  
     It is best to add less milk than what is needed at first.  If the shake is way too thick, a little bit more milk can be added as the shake is blending.  The goal is to create a shake that is thick enough to support the weight of a garnish.  One strawberry placed on top of the shake should not sink into the shake, if the shake has the right consistency.
     A blender with a strong motor or an ice cream shake blender is best.  Cheap blenders with weak motors will burn out after making a few thick milkshakes!  
     Serving the "extra on the side" is a milkshake tradition!  Always serve any extra milkshake that does not fit into the glass on the side. 
     Step 1:  Place the reserved chilled rhubarb en syrup in a blender.
     Puree the rhubarb.
     Step 2:  Add 1 cup of chilled sliced ripe strawberries.
     Add 2 tablespoons of strawberry syrup.
     Add 1 small pinch of cinnamon.
     Puree the mixture.
     Step 3:  Add 2 1/2 cups of French Vanilla Ice Cream.
     Add 1/3 cup of chilled milk.
     Blend till the milk shake is smooth and thick.  
     Step 4:  Pour the Strawberry Rhubarb Shake into the frozen strawberry syrup garnished milkshake glass.
     Garnish the milk shake with:
     - whipped cream
     - 1 fanned ripe strawberry
     - thin strawberry syrup
     - small pearl candy cake sprinkles 

     Viola!  An easy to make modern fancy milkshake!  

Friday, June 17, 2016

Veal Pizza Sliders with Dill Slaw






     Pizza Sliders!
     Pizza Burgers were a popular item in the 1970's.  Back in those days, every casual restaurant that offered a list of unique burger toppings seemed to have a Pizza Burger on the menu.  There also used to be a fast food chain that specialized in Pizza Burgers.
     The fast food Pizza Burgers were downright tasty when they first hit the scene.  After a few years the quality of fast food Pizza Burgers was not what it used to be and the novelty wore off.
     Those who remember how good Pizza Burgers once were, will be disappointed in modern times because very few restaurants now offer a Pizza Burger of any kind.  Making a Pizza Burger at home is just about the only choice.  This creates an opportunity for a home cook to crank it up a notch and make a gourmet Pizza Burger!
     Gourmet burgers and sliders have been top selling items during the last two decades.  Today's recipe features sliders, which are tiny hamburgers that can be eaten in 2 or 3 bites.  The secret to making great Pizza Sliders is to use real Italian ingredients.  A good Italian tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella and fresh basil leaves creates a classic flavor combination.
     Ground Beef or Ground Veal can be used to make Pizza Sliders.  Veal Pizza Sliders definitely are on the gourmet side.  Ground Veal usually sells for a fairly thrifty price and the fat content is usually lower than ground beef.    
 
     Salsa di Pomodoro:
     Follow the link to the recipe in this website. 
     • Salsa di Pomodoro

     Focaccia Dough:
     Follow this link to the Pizza Dough recipe in this website.  An option for making Focaccia Pizza Dough is mentioned in the recipe.
     • Pizza Dough

     Focaccia Slider Rolls:
     Step 1:  Cut walnut size focaccia dough portions.
     Roll the dough portions into smooth ball shapes.
     Place the dough balls on a parchment paper lined baking pan and space them about 3" apart from each other.
     Step 2:  Brush the dough balls with olive oil.
     Sprinkle a little bit of sea salt and coarse ground back pepper on the dough balls.  (optional)
     Step 3:  Let the dough rise and proof.
     Step 4:  Bake the slider rolls in a 425ºF oven till they are a light golden color.
     Step 5:  Place the pan on a cooling rack.
     Set the Focaccia Slider Rolls aside.
 
     Dill Slaw: 
     This recipe yields 2 portions.  (About 1 1/2 cups)
     Step 1:  Place 2 cups of very thin sliced cabbage in a mixing bowl.
     Add 1 tablespoon of chopped green bell pepper.
     Add about 2 tablespoons of julienne carrot strips for color.
     Step 2:  Add 1 or 2 pinches of sea salt and black pepper.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of chopped fresh dill weed.
     Add 1 teaspoon of sugar.
     Add 1 teaspoon of rice vinegar.
     Step 3:  Add just enough mayonnaise while mixing, to lightly coat the cabbage.  (About 3 or 4 tablespoons.)
     Step 4:  Chill the Dill Slaw to 41ºF.
     Mix the ingredients again before serving.
 
     Veal Pizza Sliders with Dill Slaw:
     This recipe yields 3 sliders.
     Step 1:  Measure 3 equal size ground veal portions that weigh about 2 1/2 ounces apiece.
     Shape the veal patties with a ring mold that is slightly wider than the slider rolls.  (The veal slider patties will shrink in size!)
     Step 2:  Heat a cast iron griddle over medium/medium low heat.
     Step 3:  Split 3 focaccia slider rolls in half.
     Brush the rolls with olive oil.
     Place the rolls on the griddle till they are lightly toasted.
     Keep the slider rolls warm on a stove top.
     Step 4:  Heat a wide sauté pan over medium heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of blended olive oil.
     Place the 3 veal slider patties in the pan.
     Season the veal slider patties with sea salt and white pepper.
     Sauté the slider patties on both sides till they are fully cooked and golden brown highlights appear.
     Step 5:  Drain any excess grease out of the pan.
     Step 6:  Place the pan over low heat.
     Add 3/4 cup of the Salsa di Pomodoro.
     Bring the sauce to a simmer.
     Gently simmer the veal slider patties in the tomato sauce for 3 or 4 minutes.
     Step 7:  Spoon some of the tomato sauce over the veal sliders.
     Place 1 thin slice of fresh mozzarella cheese on each slider.
     Cover the skillet with a lid.
     Let the steam from the tomato sauce softens the cheese for about 1 minute.
     Step 8:  Remove the pan from the heat.
     Remove the lid.
     Sprinkle 1 pinch of oregano over the mozzarella on the sliders.
     Step 9:  Spread a little bit of the tomato sauce on the bottom half of each slider roll.
     Place a large basil leaf on top of the tomato sauce.
     Place the Pizza Sliders on the garnished rolls.
     Place the sliders on a plate.
     Lean the tops of the slider rolls against the veal sliders.
     Mound a portion of Dill Slaw on a bed of leaf lettuce on the plate.

     Viola!  Gourmet Italian style Veal Pizza Sliders with some refreshing slaw!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Cuban Rachel with Jicama Slaw & Sun Dried Tomato Mustard





    A Jazzed Up Modern Cuban Sandwich! 
    In the old days of American diner cuisine the Corned Beef Special was a popular sandwich.  A Corned Beef Special is a cold sandwich made with corned beef and cole slaw on rye bread or pumpernickel bread.  Later on, the Roast Beef Special and Turkey Special became popular too.  On a hot summer day, a Special was a simple refreshing sandwich!
     A warm version of the Corned Beef Special was popular in diners too and this sandwich is called a Rachel.  A Rachel is basically Reuben Sandwich that is made with cole slaw instead of sauerkraut.  A Cuban Sandwich that is made with slaw can be designated with the Rachel name too.  
    Just like a Reuben, a Rachel Sandwich requires some saucy spread.  German Mustard or Thousand Island Dressing are classic choices.  In recent years fancy flavored mustard sauces have been en vogue in the gourmet street food scene.  Today's Sun Dried Tomato Mustard has a zesty rich flavor that tastes good with Cuban style roast pork    
    Jicama Slaw is one of the most refreshing tropical cole slaws that there is!  Jicama Slaw is usually made with a light vinaigrette instead of mayonnaise.  Jicama Slaw adds a light crisp flavor to today's Cuban Rachel Sandwich creation.

     Cuban Style Roasted Pork:
     This recipe yields about 16 ounces of Cuban style roast pork.  (Enough for 4 sandwiches.)
     Step 1:  Place 1 cup of thin sliced onion on a roasting pan.
     Place 4 whole garlic cloves on the onions.
     Place a 16 ounce piece of pork shoulder on the onions.
     Spread 1/2 cup of thin sliced onion on top of the pork.
     Step 2:  Drizzle 2 tablespoon of vegetable oil over the pork and onions.
     Season with sea salt and black pepper.
     Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of cumin over the pork and onions.
     Step 3:  Slow roasting pan in a 275ºF oven.
     Slow roast the pork till fully cooked and tender.  (The onions and garlic will caramelize to a dark color and this adds plenty of flavor!)
     Step 4:  Allow the roast pork to rest and cool to room temperature.
     Thin slice the roast pork.
     *About 4 ounces of sliced roast pork are needed per sandwich.

     Sun Dried Tomato Mustard:
     This recipe yields about 1/2 cup.  (Enough for about 4 sandwiches.) 
     This sandwich spread is easy to make and the flavor is rich.
     Step 1:  Place 2 cups of water in a small sauce pot over low heat.
     Add 7 sun dried tomato halves.
     Gently simmer till the sun dried tomatoes are soft and fully reconstituted.
     Step 2:  Remove the soft sun dried tomatoes from the liquid and place them on a cutting board.
     Very finely mince the tomatoes.
     Step 3:  Place the minced sun dried tomatoes in a small mixing bowl.
     Add 1/3 cup of Dijon Mustard.
     Mix the ingredients together.
     Step 4:  Place the Sun Dried Tomato Mustard in a container.
     Chill the fancy mustard in a refrigerator for 1 hour, so the flavors meld.
 
     Jicama Slaw:
     This recipe yields 2 cups.  (Enough for 4 to 5 sandwiches.)
     Step 1:  Place 2 cups of julienne sliced peeled jicama in a mixing bowl.
     Add a few very thin julienne sliced carrot strips for color.
     Step 2:  Add 1 tablespoon of chopped cilantro leaves.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and black pepper.
     Add 1 small pinch of ground celery seed.
     Step 3:  Add 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar.
     Add 1 teaspoon of lime juice.
     Add 2 teaspoons of granulated sugar.
     Toss the ingredients together.
     Step 4:  Chill the Jicama Slaw for 10 minutes, so the flavors meld.
     Toss the ingredients together before serving

     Cuban Rachel with Jicama Slaw & Sun Dried Tomato Mustard:
     This recipe yields 1 sandwich.
     Cuban Bread is easy to find at grocery stores in Florida, but it can be difficult to find elsewhere.  Cuban Bread is a milk enriched bread that has a thin crust.  Mexican Bolillo, Hoagie Rolls or Soft Italian Sub Rolls are good substitutes.  
     Step 1:  Split an 8" long piece of Cuban Bread in half lengthwise.
     Place a few thin slices of Swiss Cheese one half of the bread.
     Spread about 2 tablespoons of the Sun Dried Tomato Mustard on the cheese.
     Step 2:  Place 2 thin slices of smoked ham on the cheese and sauce.  (About 1 to 2 ounces.  The ham is traditionally only added for flavor.)
     Place 4 ounces of the thin sliced Cuban Style Roasted Pork on the ham.
     Step 3:  Spread about 1/2 cup of the Jicama Slaw on the pork.
     Place a few thin slices of Swiss Cheese on the Jicama Slaw.
     Place the top half of the bread on the sandwich.
     Step 4:  Heat a Cuban Sandwich Griddle to 275ºF.  (Or heat a cast iron griddle over medium/medium low heat.)
     Lower the top of the Cuban Sandwich Griddle and press the sandwich flat.  (For a cast iron griddle, press the sandwich flat with an aluminum foil wrapped brick.)
     Grill the sandwich till the bread is toasted crusty and the cheese melts.
     Step 5:  Place the sandwich on a cutting board and cut it in half.
     Place the Cuban Rachel on a plate.
     Garnish with cilantro sprigs and a dill gherkin pickle.

     This is a very tasty modern Cuban Sandwich creation!

Friday, June 10, 2016

Harissa Pita Pizza with Capers, Shallot and Scratched Green Olives






     Why are Pita Pizzas great snack food or a light meal?  A Pita Pizza can be made in less than 20 minutes!  Pita Pizzas do not require extensive culinary knowledge or high degree of cooking skill.  Pita Pizzas are easy to make and they are a great meal for busy people who are on the go.
     If you are making a Pita Pizza, then you are chef.  As far as Pita Pizza is concerned, anything goes!  Why settle for the same old standard pizza toppings?  Experiment with new flavor combinations!  Even if the Pita Pizza recipe idea turns out to be a flop, it is still only a small disaster.  The important thing is to think outside the pizza box and create something new!    
     Today's Pita Pizza recipe requires Harissa Sauce instead of tomato sauce.  Pita Bread is often served with North African Harissa flavored entrées, so the combination is not unheard of.  Arabic Scratched Green Olives have a delicious cured olive flavor.  Scratched Green Olives are available at Mediterranean food markets.  Capers and shallot add to the appeal of today's North African style gourmet Pita Pizza.
     
     Harissa Pita Pizza with Capers, Shallot and Scratched Green Olives:  
     This recipe yields 1 medium size Pita Pizza.  
     Harissa can be purchased as a pre-made sauce in a jar or as a paste.  Harissa Paste can be diluted with water or chicken broth to make a sauce.  
     Harissa is not difficult to make from scratch, but the variety of Paprika Peppers at a common grocery store is usually limited to red bell pepper.  
     Fresh Pita Bread, Harissa and Scratched Green Olives are available at Mediterranean food markets.
     Step 1:  Spread a thin layer of Harissa Sauce on a 6" to 8" wide Pita Bread.
     Sprinkle 1 pinch of oregano on the sauce.
     Sprinkle 1 pinch of black pepper on the sauce.
     Step 2:  Sprinkle about 1/2 cup of grated mozzarella cheese on the pita bread.
     Sprinkle 1 1/2 tablespoon of rinsed capers on the cheese.  
     Step 3:  Remove the pits from about 7 or 8 Arabic Scratched Green Olives.  
     Split each of the olives in half.
     Arrange the scratched green olive halves on the pizza.
     Step 4:  Cut 2 thin slices of shallot.
     Separate the slices into rings.  
     Sprinkle the shallot rings on the pita pizza.
     Step 5:  Place the pita pizza on a baking pan.
     Place the pita pizza pan in a 400ºF oven.
     Bake till the cheese melts and the pita bread crust is lightly toasted.
     Step 6:  Place the pita pizza on a cutting board.
     Cut the pizza into 4 pie shaped slices.
     Place the sliced pita pizza on a plate.
     Garnish with an Italian Parsley sprig.
     
     The flavor of this North African style pita pizza is appealing!  

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Cajun Andouille Corn Dog








    Yummy gourmet corn dog!
     Andouille Sausage is a spicy smoked sausage that is available in a variety of sizes.  The quality of Andouille varies too.  The best Andouille is made in good butcher shops, especially in Louisiana.
     Overall, it seems like the quality of commercial brand sausage has taken a dive in recent years.  More companies are making traditional coarse ground meat sausages with a highly processed meat slurry.  The reason why is easy to understand.  A substantial amount of fat can be blended into a meat slurry.  Therefore profits are increased, while quality is sacrificed.  
     I happened to find a package of large hot dog size Andouille Sausage at a grocery store.  After taking a closer look, the it was obvious that the Andouille was made with a smooth meat slurry.  Basically, this product was nothing more than Andouille flavored hot dogs, so I figured that making a Cajun Corn Dog was the best option.  A spicy Andouille Corn Dog sounded like a tasty idea!
     The original Corn Dogs were created in the 1920's and by 1940 they became very popular nationwide.  The Corn Dog's popularity can be attributed to vendors marketing corn dogs at county fairs.  Corn Dogs ended up being one of the most popular snack food items of them all.
     Corn dog batter is similar to corn muffin batter.  The batter must be fairly thick, so it will cling to a hot dog.  The hot dog must be completely coated.  It does not matter if the corn batter coating is perfectly even, because the batter will puff up when it is fried.

     Cajun Corn Dog Batter:
     This recipe yields enough for about 6 to 8 large hot dogs. 
     The batter should not be too sweet! 
     Step 1:  Place 1 cup of fine ground corn meal in a mixing bowl.
     Add 1 cup of all purpose flour.
     Add 1 teaspoon of baking powder.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda.
     Add 1 tablespoon of sugar.
     Add 2 pinches of garlic powder.
     Add 2 pinches of onion powder.
     Add 2 pinches of cayenne pepper.
     Add 2 pinches of black pepper.
     Add 1 pinch of ground thyme.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of fine ground sea salt.
     Mix the dry ingredients together and set the bowl aside.
     Step 2:  Place 1 large egg in a mixing bowl.
     Add 3/4 cup of whole milk (or buttermilk).
     Add 1 teaspoon of melted unsalted butter.
     Whisk till blended.
     Step 3:  Slowly pour the wet ingredients on the center of the dry ingredients while stirring with a whisk.  Only whisk till the batter is combined.
     Step 4:  Set the batter aside for 10 minutes.
     Stir the batter and check the consistency.  The corn dog batter should be like a thick pancake batter.  Add a few tablespoons of milk if the batter is too thick.  
 
     Cajun Andouille Corn Dog:
     This recipe yields 1 Andouille Corn Dog.  
     There are a few national brand Andouille Sausage products that look more like a hot dog than a real Cajun Andouille Sausage.  The cheap look-alike Andouille Sausage actually is the best choice for making today's Corn Dog.   
     A deep sided pot or a large electric fryer kitchen appliance is required for frying a corn dog.  The pot must be wider than the total length of the corn dog and skewer.
     Step 1:  Heat 6" of vegetable frying oil to 360ºF in a tall wide pot
     Step 2:  Spear a small 4 to 5 ounce andouille sausage with a thick bamboo skewer.  Only run the skewer about halfway into the sausage.
     Step 3:  Hold the skewer and dip the sausage in the corn dog batter.  Twist the skewer, so the sausage twists in the batter.
     *Try to completely coat the sausage with batter and do not worry if the batter coating is not perfectly even.
     Step 4:  Hold the skewer and place the Cajun Corn Dog in the hot frying oil.  Try not to let the batter touch the sides or bottom of the pot.
     Fry the Cajun Corn Dog till the coating is golden brown.
     Step 5:  Use tongs to remove the Cajun Corn Dog from the hot oil.
     Set the Cajun corn dog on a wire screen roasting rack over a drip pan to remove any excess oil.
     Step 6:  Place the Cajun Corn Dog on a plate.
     Garnish the plate with Italian Parsley sprigs and some pickled okra.
     Serve with a ramekin of Louisiana Creole Mustard.
 
     This Cajun Andouille Corn Dog definitely is gourmet street food!
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Monday, June 6, 2016

Wild Sour Cherry Milkshake










     Time To Chill!
     The first fancy milkshake recipe that I published drew a good reaction from readers.  People naturally like milkshakes, especially when the heat of summer rolls around.
     The first round of gourmet milkshake recipes will be easy to make.  When suffering through the first summer heat wave, people look for conveniences, instead of slaving it out in the kitchen.  Fortunately there are plenty of pre-made milkshake making products to choose from at an average grocery store.  Chocolate Fudge and Strawberry Syrup make decorating a fancy milkshake much easier.
     Pre-made ice cream from a grocery store is a nice convenience too.  The problem is finding an ice cream product that truly is like homemade ice cream that is made from scratch.  The selection process involves reading the list of ingredients and selecting an ice cream brand that is as organic as possible.
     I own a professional grade stainless steel ice cream machine and I have published several ice cream recipes in the past.  As time moves on the ice cream recipes will be transferred to this website, because ice cream truly is summertime street vendor food.  Fancy milkshakes made with one of a kind ice cream flavors is as good as it gets!

     *This entire recipe yields about 30 ounces of milkshake.  (Enough for 1 extra large milkshake with some extra on the side! 

     Strawberry Syrup and Hot Fudge Painted Frozen Glass:
     Pre-made strawberry syrup and hot fudge topping were used to garnish the milkshake glass in the photos.  Some ice cream topping brands are better than others and it does pay to read the label.  Choosing pre-made ice cream toppings that do not have a long list of artificial ingredients is best.  
     • The strawberry syrup has to be a thick consistency.  If a pre-made strawberry syrup is not thick enough to paint the inside of a frozen glass, the syrup should be thickened.  Heating a syrup, till it gently boils, then adding some corn starch slurry is one method of thickening strawberry syrup that is too thin.  Simmering and reducing is another way to thicken a syrup.
     • Chocolate fudge topping works better for painting a frozen glass than chocolate syrup.
     • The chocolate fudge has to be warmed in a microwave or double boiler.  The chocolate fudge should not be hotter than 99ºF or the frozen glass might crack from making contact with hot liquid.  Letting the hot fudge cool to just above room temperature is best.
     Step 1:  Place a large 24 ounce lager glass or milkshake glass in a freezer.
     Freeze the glass as close to 0º as possible.
     Step 2:  Place some strawberry syrup and warm hot fudge topping in separate plastic squeeze bottles.
     Step 3:  *Painting the glass has to be done quickly, because syrup will run down a warm glass!
     Hold the frozen milkshake glass at an angle and use the squirt bottles paint a thin stream of syrup and fudge on the inside of the glass, while turning the glass.  The object is to create an eye catching design.
     Step 4:  Place the painted milkshake glass back in the freezer till the milkshake mixture is ready.

     Whipped Cream: 
     Frozen whipped cream topping is a convenience, but the quality is low junk.  A gourmet milkshake is better with fresh whipped cream.
     Whipping fresh cream with sugar in a chilled mixing bowl produces the best whipped cream.  A cake mixer with a whisk attachment works best.
     Step 1:  Place 1 cup of cream in a chilled mixing bowl.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of sugar.
     Step 2:  Whisk till medium stiff peaks appear.
     Step 3:  Load the whipped cream in a star tipped pastry bag.
     Keep it chilled in a refrigerator till the whipped cream is needed.

     Wild Sour Cherry Puree:
     Wild Cherries are usually called Sour Cherries.  Jars of top quality Sour Cherries packed in their own juices are available at Eastern European food markets and Mediterranean food markets.  
     It is best to simmer sour cherries, some sour cherry juice and sugar together.  The sour cherry mixture should be reduced to a syrup, then pureed, so the flavor is concentrated.  
     After the sour cherry mixture cools, it can be added to vanilla ice cream and blended to produce a rich tasting milkshake.
     Step 1:  Place 1 1/3 cups of preserved sour cherries from a jar with a proportion of the sour cherry juice in a sauce pot over low heat.
     Add 3 tablespoons of sugar.
     Simmer and reduce till the liquid becomes a medium thick syrup.
     Step 2:  Allow the sour cherry reduction to cool to room temperature.
     Puree the cherry mixture.
     Step 3:  Chill the sour cherry puree in a refrigerator till it is needed.

     Caramel Sugar Garnish:
     A silicone baking mat is great for making amber sugar garnishes like the one in the pictures above.  A piece of aluminum foil that is lightly brushed with vegetable oil can also be used.  A thermometer can be used to gauge when the molten sugar reaches the amber temperature range, but the color of the sugar still must be judged by eye.  
     One thing to keep on mind is that the caramel sugar garnish must fit the contour of the glass, if it is going to stand up straight.  Cutting a parchment paper outline of the glass and placing it on the silicone baking mat is a good idea. 
     Too much sugar is better than too little sugar when making caramel sugar garnishes.  Any extra caramel sugar in the pot can be melted with water and used to flavor other recipes. 
     Step 1:  Place a shallow pan of water on a countertop that is wider than the sauce pot that will be used to make the caramel.  This will be used as a cooling bath.
     Step 2:  Place a small stainless steel sauce pot over high heat.
     Add 1/2 cup of water.
     Add 1 1/2 cups of sugar.
     Step 3:  Boil till the water evaporates and the molten sugar enters the candy stages.
     Keep an eye on the sugar.
     When the sugar approaches 330ºF, it will start to caramelize.
     Allow the sugar to caramelize to a light amber brown color.
     Step 4:  Immediately dip the bottom of the sauce pot in the pan of water on the countertop, to stop the sugar from becoming darker.
     Step 5:  Use a spoon too gauge when the caramel sugar is cool enough to stream.  When a spoonful of caramel can be slowly poured off of the spoon back into the pot, then it is cool enough.
     Step 6:  Immediately use the spoon to stream a design of caramel sugar on a silicone baking mat.
     Allow the caramel garnish to cool to room temperature.
     Gently bend the silicone baking mat to free the caramel glass garnish.
     Place the caramel garnish where it will not be damaged.

     Wild Sour Cherry Milkshake:
     Making a little bit of extra milkshake is a tradition!  
     Fancy milkshakes have to be assembled quickly, so be ready to work fast.
     Step 1:  Place 20 ounces of French Vanilla Ice Cream in a milkshake blender container.  (About 3 cups.)
     Add 3/4 cup of chilled milk.
     Add the reserved concentrated wild sour cherry puree.
     Step 2:  Blend till the ingredients are thoroughly combined.
     Pour the milkshake in the frozen painted glass, but leave about 3/4" of empty space at the top.
     *The milkshake is aerated after blending, so the volume will expand after it is poured!
     Step 3:  Use the pastry bag to pipe some whipped cream on top of the milk shake.
     Insert the caramel sugar glass garnish into the milkshake through the whipped cream, so it stands straight up straight.
     Use the squeeze bottle to paint some chocolate fudge on the whipped cream.
     Garnish with mint sprigs.
     Serve any extra milkshake on the side!

     This certainly is a modern looking fancy gourmet milkshake!  A Wild Sour Cherry Milkshake tastes so good, that getting a case of "brain freeze" from sipping too fast is practically guaranteed!