The result of my inspiration this week was Butterscotch Bourbon Miso Ice Cream.
It was an off hand conversation that began this ice cream. I was discussing my theory on ice cream-it’s a great blank canvas on which to test out taste theories. I told stories of Sichuan Peppercorn flavor and spicy mango gelato with candied lime peel.
“Have you ever made one with miso?” Asked Soojin, who I had only met moments ago. I paused, the wheels already beginning to spin. Meanwhile, on the other side of my weekend, I had been watching the incredible Penny De Los Santos teach food photography online at CreativeLive. While I joke that I in fact have the worst food photography in the world, it was, if nothing else, interesting to see some of the reasons why the professionals are so much better.
So with miso on my mind and my mind on my camera, I set out to make a miso ice cream and photograph it in a way that did not totally suck. For some reason, when I thought about miso in a sweet way, the first thing that came to mind was not the bean paste style desserts that you see in so many Asian establishments, but rather butterscotch. It’s overly sweet flavors called for a complex, savory aspect.
The recipes I browsed for butterscotch all, unsurprisingly, called for the addition of scotch whiskey. For some reason, the earthy flavors of scotch didn’t agree with my mind’s palate and I swapped it out for some good ol’ American bourbon. I got that rush of knowing I had something good in the works. I used a David Lebovitz recipe from his book The Perfect Scoop to get an appropriate textured base, then subbed in my own touches.
Then came the photography. I used a number of lessons from Penny’s class:
1) I totally copped her overhead angle. I think it makes all my food look a little brooding. Just call this the Jordan Catalano of ice creams. Intriguing, perhaps, which is why it works.
2) It’s okay to be messy, she told us. This is good, as messy is my natural state. You can see drips of ice cream on the white plate in the orange background shot.
3) See the folded napkin in the first shot? I noticed this is something she added in a lot of shots, adding texture and color. I do not, in fact, own any cloth napkins, so what you see here is a folded shoe bag from my latest pair of shoes. It works though. Shoes, I do have.
B and I couldn’t agree on the best picture, so I thought I would post them both. Anyone care to take a guess about who liked which best?