Most of us have fond memories of food from our childhood. Whether it was our mom's homemade lasagna or a memorable chocolate birthday cake, food has a way of transporting us back to the past. A familiar scent or flavor can suddenly take us back to the kitchen in our childhood home or back to that summer when cherry popsicles were a daily staple.
In order to harness the time-traveling powers of food, I decided to create a nostalgic menu at ing. We change our menu every six weeks, and keeping things fresh and inventive is both challenging and rewarding. For this particular challenge, I decided to go with the theme of The Wonder Years, a classic 1980s television show that was beloved by kids and adults alike.
When looking for inspiration for this Wonder Years menu, I turned to a Southern favorite and an American classic: Chicken and waffles. Of course, at ing, we can't just go with the everyday, boring recipe! Instead, I had to step up this creation, so I came up with Duck Pave served with Kentucky Fried Whipped Cream and Amber Syrup.
First, we take the duck legs and sear them off, just until they are lightly browned. Then we remove the meat and squeeze out plenty of the grease, after which we dip it in buttermilk and flour. Next, we spice the pave with our signature spice-mix made of 11 herbs and spices, including pepper, sage, nutmeg, paprika, cardamom and many more.
We use the same mixture of spices on the Kentucky fried whipped cream, which is our lighter take on ice cream. Made with heavy cream, it is as flavorful and rich as ice cream, but less heavy and overpowering. We also serve the waffles and whipped cream with our very own amber syrup, a completely sugar free syrup which is made with apple cider vinegar and the Japanese fruit, yuzu.
So how does this sugar-free concoction taste sweet? That's where the flavor-tripping comes in! The whole creation ends up tasting as sweet as real syrup because our guests first eat the miracle berry before tasting it. The miracle berry blocks our sour receptors and makes otherwise tart and bitter foods taste sweet, meaning that we can enjoy delicious and "sweet" desserts without actually eating any sugar. (Read more about the miracle berry here.)
However, the miracle berry isn't the only way that we cut unnecessary sugar at ing. For us, flavor always comes before heavy, fattening fare, and that's how I came up with the Almond Joy Dessert. Almond Joys are a childhood favorite, but most of us could do without all those grams of sugar, especially when trying to instill healthy habits in our kids.
Enter ing's take on the Almond Joy, which is a creation made with broccoli ice cream (yes, broccoli!), carrot chips, chocolate syrup, coconut macaroons and toasted almonds. While diners are at first daunted by the idea of ice cream made with broccoli, once they taste it, they are convinced -- thought it's made with broccoli puree, it's also sweetened with milk, honey and almond extract, so it looks and tastes just like pistachio flavored ice cream. It's a great way to get kids -- or even grown-ups who still shudder at the idea of eating their greens -- to enjoy their veggies.
Dishes that will take you back to your childhood, tantalize your tastebuds, and keep you healthy and fit? Our menu certainly lives up its wondrous namesake!