You may recall our recommendation to take a road trip to the Gig Harbor Wine and Food Festival recently and maybe you had a chance to enjoy the Celebrity Chef Cook-Off. But if life kept you closer to home here’s what went down–it was a close competition but Chef Gillespie was anointed Champion of the 2011 Gig Harbor Wine and Food Festival Celebrity Chef Cook-Off.
In addition to winning the crowd over with his southern charm and general nice guyness ( I watched him talk one-on-one and take the time to pose for photos with each food purveyor in between his stints on stage) he turned out two mouth watering dishes including char-grilled suckling pork over a thai basil rice noodle salad with Vietnamese herbs and a pork skin and farro risotto.
Meanwhile local favorite (there were actually people chanting ‘local boy’ just before the judges announced the winner) Chef Thad Lyman of Gig Harbor’s own Brix 25 nipped at Gillispie’s heels with such crowd favorites as spicy cinnamon-rubbed ribs with pickled rainier cherry and Bacon gelato (we’ve got the recipe for you) over tempura-battered banana fritter.
The event hosted nearly 700 eaters and drinkers and is expected to raise $40,000 for Gig Harbor history.
Brix 25 Bacon Ice Cream
Makes ¾ qt
For the candied bacon;
5 strips bacon
about 2 teaspoons light brown sugar for each piece
For the ice cream custard;
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
1 oz salted butter
2 cups half-and-half
1 cup heavy cream
4 duck egg yolks – or 5 chicken yolks
2 tbsp whiskey
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1. To candy the bacon, preheat the oven to 400F
2. Lay the strips of bacon on a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat or parchment paper.
3. Sprinkle 1½-2 teaspoons of brown sugar evenly over each strip of bacon, depending on length.
4. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Midway during baking, flip the bacon strips over and drag them through the syrup on the tray. Continue to bake until almost mahogany in color. Remove from oven and cool the strips on a wire rack.
5. Once cool & crisp, chop into little pieces, about the size of grains of rice.
(Bacon bits can be stored in an airtight container and chilled for a day or so, or stored in the freezer a few weeks ahead.)
1. To make the ice cream custard, melt the butter in a heavy, medium-size saucepan. Stir in the brown sugar and bring to a boil.
2. Add the half half-and-half and cream. Return to a boil.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks & then gradually temper in the hot brown sugar and dairy mixture, whisking the yolks constantly as you pour. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan.
4. Cook over low to moderate heat, constantly stirring and scraping the bottom with a heatproof spatula, cook until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula.
5. Set a bowl into an ice bath and set a mesh strainer over the top.
6. Strain the custard into bowl over the ice bath, cool. Add liquor, vanilla and cinnamon.
7. Refrigerate the mixture.
8. Once thoroughly chilled, freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
9. Add the bacon bits during the last moment of churning, or stir them in when you remove the ice cream from the machine.