It’s been a while since I last posted, so I thought I’d share some of the things that I’ve been working on over the past few months to delight the audience of developers I write and research for.

This is a little resource I concocted while researching NoSQL and relational databases for the DZone 2014 Guide to Big Data. It’s a creation that I’m especially proud of because it takes a lot of research that a developer would have otherwise had to compile themselves, and condenses it into a simple, scannable resource that provides actionable information for picking databases to test in their projects.

Have a look at Finding the Database for Your Use Case.

Finding the Database for Your Use Case.

And download the entire guide here.

Ever since I got an ice cream maker as a company bonus last Christmas, I’ve been mastering the art of making a custard (which is what most ice cream recipes are, just frozen). I had to knock the dust off my skills again this weekend after loaning the maker out to two sets of friends over the past three months. Before that, I had an epic ice cream party where I almost couldn’t fit everyone in my little townhouse.

NB: If you want to get a lot of your busy, young professional friends to make the effort and come to one of your parties all at once, host a foodie-themed tasting party of some sort. Almost everyone you know is probably a foodie on some level.

Among all of the crazy recipies I’ve tried, including sweet potato, horchata, and sriracha, I think my most successful was beer flavored ice cream. So I’d like to share my own take on this wonderful recipe which I modified from two existing recipes. To be more specific, this is VANILLA PORTER ICE CREAM.

Choosing the beer:

The only rule is that is has to be malty, not hoppy because hops get bitter when cooked, and you will be reducing this a bit.

Ingredients

  • One 12oz bottle of malty beer, your choice (I used Vanilla Porter)
  • A bit of vanilla extract (I just used a dribble because my porter was already vanilla-flavored, you can use a little more than a dribble if your beer is not sweet. The recipe has been used for a lot of different beers but the vanilla was never a bad decision, says the author.)
  • Sugar: 1/2 Cup to 2/3 Cup for sweeter beers, 3/4 Cup for less sweet beers (e.g. Oatmeal Stout). (I used a heaping half)
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 6 Egg Yolks
  • 2 Cups of Heavy Cream or Whipping Cream

Tools you might not have, but need for this:

  • Hand held strainer
  • Thermometer
  • Rubber spatula
  • An ice cream maker

Directions:

  1. Reduce half of the beer by half. You’ve got a 12oz bottle, so pour 6oz in a skillet, and let it simmer on medium heat until you’ve got about 3oz. Then return the 3oz of reduced beer to the 6oz that you didn’t reduce and add in whatever amount of vanilla extract you choose. Set this aside

  2. I don’t know how necessary it is, but the recipe told me to prepare an ice bath to let the custard reach room temperature before going in the fridge (maybe for convenience in speed of cooling). Another custard did form a film on top when I put it in the fridge still hot, so it might be to prevent that, otherwise you can just wait longer for it to cool to room temp. For the bath option, just get a big mixing bowl, fill with ice and cold water and float another (preferably metal) mixing bowl in the bath to cool down.

  3. To make the custard, separate 6 egg yolks and throw them in a saucepan. Add the sugar, salt, and cream then whisk it all together.

  4. Put it on the stovetop and set it to medium-low heat. I gradually increased the heat to just below medium because it was taking a while to get the desired temp. Now you’ll want to get out your rubber spatula and stir your custard constantly. Once it gets close to the desired temp it will start cooking on the bottom in seconds if you don’t keep running the spatula across the bottom and corners of the pan with a gentle amount of force.Check the custard with your thermometer once it starts to get warm. Your target is between 175 and 180 degrees fahrenheit. Once it hits that range, you’re done. Take it off and then take your mixing bowl in the ice bath out of the bath and set it on the counter. Don’t wait too long. Just pour the custard into the cold bowl as quick as you can. Then take the beer/vanilla that you set aside and whisk it thoroughly into the custard. Now, carefully place the bowl back into the ice bath and wait about 20 min. Then check it with the thermometer. Once it’s close to room temp, put it in an air tight container and put it in the fridge to cool for 8-24 hours.

  5. Take it out of the fridge and pour it in the ice cream maker. I used the hardest ice cream setting because the custard-based ice creams stay creamy even in the coldest settings. You may want to split the liquid in half and do it in two batches, because mine barely stayed in the bucket while it was churning.

Enjoy!

Sources: America’s Test Kitchen, The Endless Meal

Oh, and check out all the insane ice cream recipes I’ve collected on Pinterest