Welcome back to Dirty Work, our new series of dispatches from the MUNCHIES Garden. We're inviting chefs, bartenders, and personalities in the world of food and drink to explore our edible playground and make whatever the hell inspires them with our rooftop produce. The results: MUNCHIES Garden recipes for you, dear reader.
Sam Mason doesn't do things like everyone else. He made his bones as the pastry chef of the now-shuttered wd~50, where he concocted dishes out of ingredients that people at the time would never have expected to see on a dessert menu (like olives and miso) but which have since become common. You could also blame his influential restaurant Tailor (also shuttered) for breaking boundaries with inventive dishes, such as the one that married foie gras with peanut butter, pears, and cocoa.
And then he has two other seemingly disparate businesses under his helm: Lady Jay's, a country-rock dive bar in East Williamsburg; and Empire Mayonnaise, possibly the world's first artisanal mayo company, also based in Brooklyn.
But it's at Oddfellows Ice Cream Co. in Williamsburg where Mason's customers indulge their sweet teeth. His old-timey ice cream parlor may serve up some classics—pecan pie, chocolate chunk—but his days at wd~50 are still apparent in the daily rotating menu of bonkers flavors, including malt maitake peanut, miso cherry, and black pepper fig.
Clearly, Mason was stoked when we asked him to swing by the MUNCHIES Garden for some herbal ice cream inspiration. "Fresh herbs in ice cream is a must for everything that we do at OddFellows Ice Cream Company," Mason said. Perhaps feeling the spirit of Thanksgiving, he went straight for the rosemary and pineapple sage.
After gathering his haul from the garden, Mason headed back to Oddfellows to prepare some Brown Butter Sage Ice Cream. He browned the butter until nearly black before mixing in milk and cream. After letting that infuse, he mixed the milk/cream mixture with a base of eggs, glucose, nonfat milk powder, and our precious sage. After a turn in the ice cream machine, out came a nutty, earthy, and perfumed treat.
He then took on the rosemary, which he used in Oddfellows' Burnt Honey Rosemary Ice Cream. As with the butter, he cooked the honey until it was practically smoking. He then mixed that with milk and cream, and used the same base as before. And perhaps that's the secret of great ice cream: a solid and versatile base, into which you can mix whatever unlikely pairings enter the garden of your imagination.