Smart cookie: Ice cream

It’s not the fourth of July, but we can see it from here. You can have your hot dogs, burgers and apple pie, but what people really want to dive into is homemade ice cream.

You can go with a hand-crank churn or an electric one that does the same thing while you pour ice and salt into the container to keep things cold enough to freeze. Or you can do what most sane people do and buy one of those fancy ice cream machines that take the heavy labor out of it.

What you MUST have is a good ice cream base. The base makes a good dish of vanilla, but if you want to be more creative – such as adding fresh strawberries – you need the base to carry it all.

Ice cream is a combination of dairy, sugar and egg yolks. It’s pretty simple and you can vary the balance of the ingredients to suit your taste.

We’ll tell you all about ice cream in this podcast, then you can use the link on the page to get what the New York Times says is the only ice cream base you’ll ever need.

Fido and Fluffy get custom meals delivered to their door – it’s up to you to pick the right wine

Dedicated pet owners believe their companions deserve the same quality food that they enjoy … maybe better. That has spawned a new industry that creates healthy menus specifically for pets and, like companies such as Blue Apron, deliver that food directly to your home.

One of those companies is NomNomNow and last year it opened a kitchen in the Nashville area that will cater to customers in the Central and Eastern U.S.

It’s the latest addition to the $30 billion pet food market, a market that is expected to expand to $98.81 billion by 2022, according to Grand View Research, Inc.

The company says the growth comes as life expectancy around the globe increases and an older population adopts more pets. Plus the growth of specialty products like NomNomNow will encourage spending on higher quality pet meals.

In 2018, non-GMO pet foods led the clean label category with 28.8 percent of the discriminating pet food market. Clean label foods are those that do not include ingredients that some believe may be harmful.

Corn was next on the list compiled by the website Statistica with 7.8 percent. Hormones were next at 4.8 percent followed by fillers at 4.3 percent. The balance represented foods that did not have artificial ingredients.

Other trends in pet food include humanization – considering a pet as part of a family, desire for healthier foods and more pet events that give companions a chance to get out together.

NomNomNow

Nashville gets its mellow on with new CBD cafe

If you’re in the food world and you’ve been paying attention, you’ve heard of CBD. In late May, the Nashville area will get its first CBD Café. Located in Fairview, it’s called Harvest by LabCanna and it’s very close to the fields where the company grows its own hemp for the restaurant and its East Nashville retail store.

In this episode, we sit down with Chef Daniel Davis and others at the café to learn about how it’s used in their foods, how you can cook with it at home and why three staff members are excited about working at Harvest because of the role CBD has played in their lives.

And if you haven’t heard of CBD, it’s an extract of the cannabis or hemp plants. Cannabis is also known as marijuana and it contains THC, the psychoactive drug that makes you high. CBD doesn’t give you the high, but it’s said to help with anxiety, inflammation and other maladies. The CBD taken from hemp has almost no THC.

CBD is one of the hot food ingredients of the year and Hungry In Nashville will tell you what you need to know so you can get your mellow on.

What’s your beef? We’re going to talk about hamburgers

It’s nearly summer, but that doesn’t keep us from firing up the grill and cooking some burgers.

In this episode, we’ll tell you where burgers come from, how many are eaten and how the perfect diner burger. Set your buns down and listen in.

Turn up the heat with a culinary arts degree. A Nashville chef/instructor tells all.

Imagine yourself standing next to Susie Fogelson, senior vice president of marketing and brand strategy for Food Network as you’ve just been introduced as the next Food Network Star.  You’re on your way to the big time.

This week’s guest, Dr. Paul Brennen, runs the Culinary department at Nashville State Community College which is where many of the city’s food service workers begin their careers talks about what it takes to succeed in kitchens, the best path to success and how much money you might hope to make. Dr. Brennen has seen it all from his experience in the industry, including the highly-respected title of WCMC Master Chef.

If you’ve ever wondered what it takes to work on a line, you’ll learn all about it here.

Nashville State Community College Culinary Department

Smart Cookie: How to eat a taco

Sure, it sounds easy, but how often have you bitten into a crispy taco only to have it break apart and spill all over your plate — or your lap.

There is a technique to eating a taco and in this episode we’ll tell you how to successfully build and eat a taco.

The Strawberry Patch

It’s strawberry time and soon legions of intrepid consumers will swarm over local patches to fill buckets with fresh berries. Soon, those berries will find their way onto shortcakes and under whipped cream, in pies, ice cream and many other goodies.

Those strawberries don’t come out of nowhere. Berry farmers begin work the previous year, putting down new plants and carefully tending them so they emerge sweet and juicy the next spring. Ralph Cook of Bottom View Farms tells us what it takes to get the crop ready on the farm he has owned for more than 60 years. This is your chance to learn more about where your food comes from and why people drive long distances to hunch over plants in the hot sun.

Bottom View Farms

Water, Water everywhere and lots of food to eat

When you water your garden, you’re mostly watering the soil and, from there, the plants. Well, what if you did away with the dirt entirely? That’s what hydroponic farming is all about.

David Goodman runs a hydroponic farm in Nashville, but it’s not where you would expect it to be — it’s in a shipping container. Listen in and David will tell you how it works.

Rally House Farms

USDA information on hydroponics

Selling whisky and sharing karma

Distillers take great pride in the whiskies they make. It takes a lot of work to make sure the grain meets quality standards, that the yeast is properly cared for and the mashbill has all the flavors needed before the liquid is strained and put into barrels.

But sometimes distillers make too much or don’t make enough. Jeff Hopmayer then goes to work buying and selling that whisky. In this episode, Jeff tells us how he works his magic around the world and sources the whisky distillers need to match a specific flavor profile.

Brindiamo Group

Rickhouses

Whisky is aged in barrels that are stored in rickhouses. The facilities run from two stories to many stories tall. The height has an impact on the taste of your whisky.

Whisky gets color and flavor from the barrel’s wood. Rickhouses allow air to flow freely through the building. Since hot air rises, it is warmer at the top of the building than at the bottom. Barrels in the warmest parts of the rickhouse absorb more whisky as the liquid expands. Likewise, when the weather turns cold, the liquid retreats from the wood. This “in and out” gives the whisky its flavor and color.

Then there is evaporation. Water molecules are smaller than alcohol molecules, so they are able to escape from the wood into the air. That reduces the amount of liquid in the barrel and the whisky ages faster. The warmer barrels give up more water while those on the bottom give up less.

Whisky from the top of the rickhouse will taste different from whisky stored near the bottom. The Master Blender mixes barrels from throughout the rickhouse to provide consistency to the product. Which brings us to small batch bourbons and single barrel bourbon.

Generally, small batch is a mixture of selected barrels from the rickhouse and has a flavor different from its primary product. Four Roses, for example, has its basic brand, its small batch and its single barrel. Small batch is the mixture.

Single barrels are exactly what you’d think – the drink comes from a single barrel. What that means is that unless you’re buying another bottle from the same barrel, each bottle will taste different. If you appreciate that variety, it can be fun. If you want more consistency, stay with small batch or the standard label.

And, if you have lots of cash on hand, some distillers allow you to taste different barrels from the rickhouse, then buy the whole barrel you like best. The base price on something like that is about $10,000, including bottling. It can cost much more depending on the product.

Keep in mind a couple of things: The longer the whisky has been in the barrel, the less of it there will be and evaporation is the culprit. If it’s a really old whisky, it will cost more because of the expense of holding it so long. Plus, after about eight years, the whisky has gotten all the benefit it’s going to get from the wood. Every product is different, but if someone wants to sell you 15-year-old whisky, the price will have more to do with the reduced volume in each barrel and the storage cost than it will with taste.