Thursday, October 28, 2010

Mango Mango Mango

Most of the time I come to work I have a pretty good idea of what needs to be done. I prepare the next day the night before, look at pending orders, inventory and then come up with a production plan. Yesterday was no exception. Alphonso Mango sorbet was running low in pints and tubs so we decided to commit a large part of the production to just that. Have you ever tasted Alphonso Mango? It has a unique flavor and aroma that is different from any other mango you might have had before. I have included this link on them for more information but they are hands down the best mango in the world. Grown in India, they give the mango lassi it's unique flavor and mass appeal. At Madisono's we use Alphonso mangoes in our sorbet. The color is dark like an egg yolk, the flavor is intense and the texture is silky. You can use Madisono's Alphonso Mango sorbet or gelato, because we use Alphosnso mango in that as well, to make your own mango lassi. Try mixing some plain yogurt with the sorbet/gelato and you will have a great dessert.
I have always been a champion of local but some things have to come from other parts of the world. If we could grow mangoes in this climate we would use them but we can't. That might be one benefit to global warming. Homegrown mangoes in Cincinnati. Let's hope not. If you have not tasted Madisono's Alphonso Mango gelato and sorbet consider picking up a pint. There are many ways to enjoy it, fresh fruit cups, exotic drinks and even if it is just scooped into a bowl. Please consider joining us on FB and Twitter. The links are on the blog page. I will keep posted with updates.
Thanks for your support

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Crush

The crush is on at Madisono's. We received some beautiful concord grapes from Michigan as well as some Sangiovese grapes from California. We do everything the old fashioned way at Madisono's, like making all of our base from scratch. We never buy a premade mix with extra "stuff" added in for "stability".
We did not crush these grapes by foot but chose to do it according to health code and state law, but I have to admit the idea of crushing grapes by foot sounds like fun. I snapped a few photos along the way. We started with the fresh grapes, cooked them down, processed in the batch freezer and then packed the pints by hand. We never use artificial food dyes in any of our gelato or sorbet. This color is all natural. Everything shown here is what nature provided. The concord grape sorbet smells like a fresh bunch of grapes just picked from the vine. I had these grapes in the cooler for a few days while we got ready to process them. The aroma was intoxicating.
The Sangiovese grapes gave up some very flavorful juice that was quite sweet. I use brix values to determine my final sorbet recipe with every fruit. If you know about wine making you know that the brix value of grapes can change due to growing conditions. The color and flavor of these grapes provided for a great sorbet. I will look into some more options for next year's harvest. I think that using these wine varieties will make some stellar sorbet. We have also made concord grape gelato using the juice from these grapes as well. Try it with some peanut butter on a brioche. You will not be disappointed. Thanks for supporting Madisono's
PS I can not get this picture to turn around. They are the Sangiovese grapes.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

When the time is right

How do you know when the time is right? Right to start a new career path? Right to go to bed early regardless of the TV line up? When I farmed on our certified organic family farm in Adams County Ohio for 5 years there were many times when I asked myself, is the time right? Should I plant now or wait a week. Is there one more frost left or are we in the clear? Everyday I would ask myself, is it the right time? Every cloud could spell a pop up thunderstorm and ruin your chance of harvesting dry basil for the market, or making the soil to wet for planting, cultivating or weeding. The crazy part about all of that guessing and questioning is that there was never anyone to turn to to get an accurate answer. No one ever knew what mother nature had in store from one hour, one week or one month to the next. I think that had I known those things, small scale farming would not have been as much fun. I have always wanted to do a Butternut squash gelato but I have never felt like the was time is right.
The temperatures are dropping each night, the leaves are blowing and my urge to consume more is starting to kick in. I find myself craving hot chocolate, wanting root vegetables and my favorite squash, butternut. This week I got some great local butternut squash from my parents store at Findlay Market. Beautiful orange on the inside and brown on the outside. They represent the end of the season for the farmer. This was the last crop we would harvest at Madison's Ridgeview Farm and for me they represented the relief of making it through another farming season. I think that the time is right for making butternut squash gelato.
How does Butternut Squash with Sage and Dates sound? We roasted the squash and made a smooth puree. I then created my own sage and date variegate with cream, brown sugar, dates and sage. Once we finished the butternut squash gelato we added the variegate by hand and packed the pints. This flavor will be another Findlay Market exclusive. There are so many flavors that I have put off making because I have never felt that the time was right. Today if felt great and tasted delicious.
Thanks for supporting Madisono's

Friday, October 15, 2010

Pints and Porsche

Fast cars and Fine Food was held last night at the Porsche of the Village dealership last night. It was a benefit for the American Culinary Institute scholarship fund. There was some amazing talent represented and incredible food. I met Krista from Sugar Cupcakery in Milford and we talked about running a small business. Cup cakes and gelato do go together don't you think? Her business was featured on the Food Network. Wow! She is very passionate about her cupcakes and it shows. Erica was my assistant for the night. She is a student at the Midwest Culinary Institute. It turns out that we worked together years ago at the Chafer Caterer and Bakehouse Breads. It is a small world indeed. Thanks to all of you who stopped by and sampled. I enjoyed talking to all of you. I included this photo of some of the finer things in life. Thanks for supporting Madisono's

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Special Request

Yesterday Chef Owen Maas from Cumin calls and says he's looking for a new flavor for an idea he has. "What flavor?" I ask. "Concord grape" Owen replies. "When do you need it?" I say. "As soon as you can get it to me. Work your magic." As soon as I get of the phone the first person I call is my dad at 110 West Elder St. Madison's @ Findlay Market. "Do you have any concord grapes?" I ask. "Of course I do, how much do you need?" he says. That's how it is done at Madisono's. My parents store at Findlay is connected with so many fresh fruits and specialty items. I arranged to pick up the grapes with a bunch of butternut squash. I will be doing butternut next week and I can't wait.
I started this morning early, to get working on this grape gelato. Have you ever worked with Concords? The aroma is intense and when they start cooking it smells insanely delicious. Imagine being stuck in a jelly dream. This has a depth that goes way beyond the store bought jelly. It smells exactly how you imagine it to taste. Real, authentic, and full of flavor. These grapes were bursting with juice as you can see in the photo. To bad this is not a scratch and sniff. I prepared the grapes in a very specific and special way in order to capture all of their assets. The result is an amazing gelato, beautifully colored and full of concord grape flavor. You can find it at Cumin next week and at Findlay Market this weekend. Scooped fresh. We will package some more concord grape gelato into pints next week for everyone to take home.
Thanks for supporting Madisono's

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

What are we doing today?

What are we doing today? What do we do every day? We make Cincinnati's best gelato and sorbet! Madisono's has the high honor of producing gelato and sorbet for The Dorothy Lane Markets in Dayton Ohio. This week we have several orders going out so we have dedicated much of our production time to fulfiling their orders. Grapefruit sorbet is one of those flavors and what better place to start? Start with Pink Grapefruits of course. I just finished cutting out all of the succulent fruit and preparing the base for the production run. Eye protection is required.

I stuck in this other photo of the Brick Auction from Sunday. I had a great time and enjoyed talking to many of you. Thanks to Howard Aine for his support of Madisono's. Madisono's will be back next year. You can see many of the photos of the bricks on their website.
I spent the morning making vanilla base for Madagascar Vanilla Gelato. What better place to start Madagascar Vanilla? Madagascar Vanilla beans! Once I had my ingredients measured out I opened the bag of beans and was instantly taken by the sweet fragrance of vanilla. It is hard to explain how good these things smell when you have hundreds of them in a room. For those of you who cook with real beans you know. Multiply that smell you get from one bean by a factor of 10 and it is dreamy. I gently cut the beans in half and then add them to the sweet milk and cream mix for cooking. The aroma fills the kitchen all day. (as I type this) Once the cooking is finished I will remove the vanilla base and it will be ready for freezing. That is what we will be doing tomorrow. And so it goes. Fruits, vanilla beans, fresh herbs, fresh milk, it never gets old or boring. The sights and smells change everyday with every flavor we make.
By the end of the day we will have made pink grapefruit sorbet, lemon basil sorbet, mango sorbet, and pumpkin gelato.
Thanks for supporting Madisono's

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Weekend update

Here is a photo of Zoo brew. For 1 and a half hours I did nothing but scoop gelato and sorbet! It was a blast. We were set up in the Manatee house and next to The Pickin' Pig. Randy Amann was picking a fine selection of classic rock and roll and did a great job. Pink Floyd, Niel Young and many more kept the room festive. You can see the masses of people behind me. It was a zoo. It looks like this was the Alphonso Mango sorbet, Dark Chocolate Orange and Caramello with Sea Salt line up. Three great flavors. The cups I used just happened to nest in the mini Samuel Adams beer glasses which made eating much easier.
This Sunday I will be at the Brick Auction which benefits breast cancer. I will have a great selection of gelato and sorbet on hand so if you don't have any plans stop by the auction and check out the art. Follow the link.
I am coaching my daughter's soccer team this year. It was our turn for snack so, because of the warm temperatures, we decided to do Mad Pops. Strawberry Lemonade. The parents were asking for them as well. This is a great flavor and they are available at Findlay Market. Thanks again to all of you from Zoo Brew if you see Madiosno's on the shelf think about taking home a pint.
Where to find it?
Bigg's Stores
Cork and Bottle locations
The Party Source
Whole Foods
Sunshine Foods
Carls Deli
Keller's IGA
Dillionvale IGA
Reading IGA
Garnish Catering
Luigi's International Market
Jungle Jim's
Coffee Emporium
Lookout Joe
Silverglade's on 8th
Kremer's Market Buttermilk Pike
College Hill Coffee Shop
Wyoming Wines
Wyoming Meat Market
Piazza Discepoli Wines Glendale
Bluebird Bakery Glendale
And the top restaurants in Cincinnati
Thanks for your support

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Zoo Brew and Huckleberries

Tonight I will be serving gelato and sorbet to more than 1000 people attending the Zoo Brew. This is a fundraising event that benefits CREW (Center for Conservation and Reproduction of Endangered Wildlife). There are several restaurants breweries, wines and other items for people to enjoy. The forecast for tonight is perfect. Madisono's will be set up in the Manatee house so if you are planning on attending please stop by and say hi. The picture here was taken yesterday. The beautiful rich color or pure Huckleberries is quite tempting. My parents had some left over huckleberries from their store at Findlay Market. My dad said, "is there anything you can do with those?" Well here it is. I cooked the berries, balanced the ph and then added them to our neutral gelato base. Our gelato bases are made from scratch. Not everyone does this by the way. The result is a very unique flavor that is 100% huckle berry. I have attached a link for huckleberries if you are interested in reading more about them. If you have never had them then please consider picking up a pint of this very seasonal flavor at 110 West Elder St. (Madison's) We only have a limited amount of huckles on hand. We also have a new Mad Pop flavor, strawbery lemonade.
Thanks for supporting Madisono's

Friday, October 1, 2010

Catching up......

This is a photo of the dessert served on September 19th for the Findlay Market benefit, Lunch on the Land. I used a mini brioche from Skirtz and Johnston and a scoop of blackberry gelato. The blackberries came from Madison's Ridgeview farm. Serving gelato on brioche is a Sicilian way of serving gelato. Madisono's is now serving the Lexington Wholefoods as well as Sunrise Bakery. I made an appointment with the owner of Sunrise Bakery, Steve. I showed up with several pints of gelato and sorbet. As we talked he brought out a freshly baked tray of brioche. Each one measured 3 inches in diameter and smelled divine. Steve told me then that he was going to serve the gelato in this manner and that it is very common in Sicily. He then proceeded to cut one open and carefully scooped in chocolate, french vanilla and pistachio, folded it over and tucked it into a wrap. The warm brioche against the cold gelato was and incredible combination. I knew then that this would be the perfect way to serve Madisono's for the Findlay event. It required no plate, spoon or anything. I think it is fair that Sunrise get credit for this concept, not that they invented it but that he has put it into practice. In the four years that I have been making gelato, none of my restaurant customers have ever served it in this way. Thanks Steve for the inspiration. The event was huge success. The participation of so many talented chefs, the scenic location (Turner Farm) and the weather made for a perfect day. Jay Erisman from The Party Source was resident Smilier and Amy Tobin was master of ceremonies.

All of us had a great time assisting each other on the line and I believe the guests had a good time as well.

Madisono's is still making Mad Pops and will have a new flavor at Findlay this week. Strawberry Lemonade.

Thanks for supporting Madisono's