Friday, September 30, 2011

50 Women Game-Changers (in Food): #17 Dorothy Hamilton - Caramelized Fruit w/ Rosemary

In May '11, Gourmet posted a list of 50 Women Game-Changers (in Food) that runs the gamut from food writers to cookbook authors to television personalities to restauranteurs to chefs to food bloggers.  Some are a given.  Some are controversial.  Speaking the names of some brings fond childhood memories.  Speaking the names of others will make some readers cringe.  And of course, some of our favorites were not even included.  We food-lovers are a passionate bunch of people and whether we agree or disagree, every woman on this list has earned her place for a reason.  Being a woman who is passionate about food (cooking, eating, talking about, writing about, photographing), when I caught wind of Mary from One Perfect Bite's idea of cooking/blogging her way through each of these 50 women...one per week...I knew I wanted to join her.  Many of these women paved the way for us in culinary school, in the kitchen, in cookbooks, in food writing, and on television and I think it is a fabulous way to pay tribute to their efforts.  Some of the women on the list have been tops with me for years.  Some I have heard of (perhaps even seen, read, or cooked from) before.  And there are even a handful that I am not familiar with at all.  I excited to educate myself on each of these women game-changers and hope you look forward to reading along.  We are going in order from 1 to 50.
the "Gourmet" prompt...
17. Dorothy Hamilton- Educator extraordinaire, Hamilton founded Manhattan’s International Culinary Center, formerly known as the French Culinary Institute: It counts among its many alumni a triumvirate of iconoclasts dominant in 21st–century food world U.S.A.: David Chang, Dan Barber, and Wylie Dufresne.

Hmmmm....Dorothy Hamilton.  Where to begin?  How's about with the fact that I hadn't heard of her before "the list" came out.  Ugh.  She's pretty world-famous.  I'm in the culinary field.  Why on earth did I not know of her?  I mean, she's the founder of The French Culinary Institute which was opened in 1984 as a small, but well-respected French cooking school.  Only  now it is the International Culinary Center, a world-class educational facility and destination... which has launched over 15,000 culinary careers.  Pretty Impressive.   Aside from winning numerous awards, including ones from the James Beard Foundation, she is also the creator and host of a 26-part television series that aired on PBS called Chef's Story...as well as the author of the companion book.   (She conceived textbooks for the culinary school, as well.)  So, isn't it ironic how I couldn't find a single recipe by her to make today?  Instead, I used a recipe devised for her by a grad of the ICC.
Caramelized Fruit with Rosemary
adapated from André Soltner for A Bon Vivant's Diet (Dorothy Hamilton article) in Food & Wine

        1 c. sugar
        1 Tbs. freshly squeezed lemon juice
        1 rosemary sprig
        ½ c. water
        2 large, firm but ripe Bartlett pears, peeled, cored and cut into ¾" cubes
        2 mangoes, peeled and cut into 1" cubes
        3 bananas, cut into 1" pieces

    Preheat the broiler. In a small saucepan, combine 1/2 cup of the sugar with the lemon juice, rosemary and 1/4 cup of the water and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Let cool.

    In another small saucepan, combine the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar with 2 tablespoons of the water. Cook over high heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Cook without stirring until a deep amber caramel forms, about 5 minutes longer. Remove from heat and carefully add the remaining 2 tablespoons of water. Very carefully- it will spit and sputter a bit.  When the steam subsides, stir the caramel over moderate heat just until the sugar that has seized up a bit from adding the water dissolves again and the caramel is smooth again.

    Thread the fruit on 16 skewers. Set the skewers on a baking sheet and brush with the rosemary syrup; let stand for 10 minutes. Broil the skewers on 1 side only for about 3 minutes, until caramelized. Transfer the skewers to a large plate, drizzle with the caramel sauce and serve.  I looooved the flavor of the rosemary/lemon sugar syrup, so I stirred what was left of it after brushing onto the fruit, into the caramel.

The rosemary syrup and caramel sauce can be kept at room temperature for up to 1 day.  I recommend broiling these very close to the fire.  Mine didn't get as caramelized as I would have liked in the little time it takes them to be "warm enough".  Good...loved the caramel...but overall- meh.
Who is cooking along with these 50 Women Game-Changers?