Monthly Archives: June 2010

Strawberry Rosé Sorbet

Strawberry Rosé Sorbet

For your eating pleasure, may I present one last strawberry gasp.  The all-to-short season is over, but summer is just heating up.  And nothing is better than refreshing and cool ice cream when it is hot outside.  This recipe is the most refreshing of them all.  This is a sweet, fruity, adults-only sorbet that is the perfect resting place for those last ripe summer strawberries.  For those who are dairy-intolerant, I promise that one taste of this and you won’t miss ice cream any more.

Strawberries and Wine

The key to this dessert is the quality of ingredients.  There are only strawberries, wine, and sugar in this sorbet so there is nothing to hide behind.  It is worth using the ripest, freshest strawberries and good quality wine.  All the individual flavors come through in the final sorbet.

Blending

Speaking of wine, the recipe calls for Rosé, a light pink wine (usually from France) that is fruity and dry.  You don’t need to spend a lot on the wine but please, whatever you do, do not buy white zinfandel.  It is not the same and will not raise your dessert to heretofore unknown levels of deliciousness like a good Rosé will.

Churning

Strawberry Rosé Sorbet

From The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz

Ingredients:

1 lb fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced

2 cups Rosé wine

2/3 cup sugar

To Make:

In a medium saucepan, bring the wine and sugar to a gentle boil and stir until sugar is dissolved.  Add the sliced strawberries to the wine mixture and set aside until cooled to room temperature.

Using a blender or a food processor, puree the mixture until smooth.  Pour the mixture through a fine mesh sieve to remove the seeds.  Put the sorbet base in the fridge until thoroughly chilled.  Churn as per the instructions for your ice cream maker.  Because of the alcohol content, the mixture will be soft after churning.  A couple of hours in the freezer will firm it up perfectly.

To Serve:

This doesn’t need anything more than some sliced fresh berries on top.  Makes 1 quart.

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Dairy-free, Dessert, Fruit, Gluten-Free, Ice cream, Recipes

Strawberry Granita

Strawberry Granita

 

Strawberry season is all too fleeting.  As soon as we get the email that the strawberries are ripe and ready for picking, we go into hoarding mode.  Similar to squirrels gathering nuts for the winter, we pick and pick until our freezers are full of strawberries in gallon-sized bags.  We pick and process until we have enough berries that we can enjoy them deep into the winter (and until our hands are permanently stained pink). 

A glut of strawberries

 

With the end of the season rapidly approaching and our freezer full of 40 lbs of strawberries, it is time to take a breath and think about making some delicious summer treats with the few remaining pounds that are hanging around the house.  First on deck, a strawberry granita.  If you aren’t familiar with the granita, come and sit by the pool with me so we can discuss. 

Berries macerating

 

Granitas are quite possibly the perfect summer dessert.  Icy, clean, and fresh, they are a grown-up version of what you used to make with your Snoopy Sno-Cone machine.  They are also very easy to make and don’t require any special equipment (i.e., no ice cream maker needed).  Heaped high in a bowl or mixed with some sparkling wine in a champagne glass, granitas are a lovely way to celebrate the summer. 

Straining the mixture

 

Strawberry Granita 

Recipe from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz 

Ingredients: 

2 lbs fresh strawberries, hulled 

6 tbls sugar 

1 cup water 

a few drops of lemon juice 

To Make: 

Slice the strawberries and place them in a large bowl.  Add the sugar and stir to combine.  Let the strawberries macerate for about an hour. 

Pour the strawberries, their juices, the water, and the lemon juice into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.  Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve to strain out the seeds. 

Place the mixture in a 9x13x2 inch metal, plastic, or glass dish (you can use larger or smaller dishes, make sure to adjust your total freezing).  Put it in the freezer and let it sit for an hour.  At the end of the hour, use a whisk or a fork to break up any ice crystals that have formed, raking from the sides towards the center of the dish.  This article offers a good overview of how to make granita (and some yummy-sounding recipes too).  Keep doing this every 30 minutes or so until you have a pile of ice crystals (stir more frequently as you get closer to frozen).  If at any point, the mixture gets too hard, let is thaw a bit on the counter and then resume stirring.  It should take bout 3-4 hours, depending on your freezer, pan, sugar content, etc. (if you were to spoon some into a bowl at the slushy phase, I wouldn’t tell). 

To Serve: 

Serve in pretty glasses, bowls, or any other serving vessel.  Garnish with fresh mint, or top with some sparking wine, champagne, or prosecco.  Serves 4-6 as a dessert, many more as a palate cleanser.

Leave a comment

Filed under Dairy-free, Dessert, Fruit, Gluten-Free, Ice cream, Recipes

Sweet Cherry Lemon Jam

Sweet Cherry Lemon Jam

 

The bounty of summer just keeps on coming.  Last week, it was the 7 pounds of cherries Marc and the small Things picked at our favorite U-pick place.  The girls and I really love cherries.  The day that I go into the supermarket and see bags of cherries for $3.99 a pound I get very excited.  I usually manage to eat a two pound bag all by myself over the course of a couple of days. 

Cherries!

 

You can imagine how thrilling it was to see a huge mound of bright red cherries (with a few Rainier cherries thrown in).  After three days of eating cherries for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacking on them throughout the day, I decided that I needed to actually make something.  I thought about making this again, but ultimately decided that I wanted to go the jam route.  I feel that store-bought cherry jam is never that good.  I wanted something with deep cherry flavor but also a jam that was bright and full of spark. 

Simmering cherries and lemon

 

I knew that I didn’t want to go the full canning route.  I wanted a small quantity that we could eat in a few weeks (and I didn’t feel like spending two days pitting cherries).  So I went looking for some inspiration and found this and this.  I cut the proportions but upped the lemon zest.  After cooking the fresh cherries down, I ended up with a thick, rich jam that is full of cherry-lemony flavor.  If you can get your hands on some fresh cherries, definitely try this delicious jam. 

The right jam consistency

 

Sweet Cherry Lemon Jam 

Adapted from The Hungry Mouse and David Lebovitz 

Ingredients: 

1 lb sweet cherries, pitted and stemmed 

1/2-3/4 cup of sugar (use as much as you need, depending on the sweetness of your cherries) 

1 lemon 

To Make: 

Start by zesting the lemon into a heavy-bottomed, medium saucepan.  Cut the lemon in half and juice each half into the saucepan.  Next, pit the cherries.  I don’t have a cherry pitter so I cut each cherry in half and pull the pits out.  Put half the cherries (either whole or cut in half) into the pan and toss with the lemon juice to prevent browning.  Roughly chop the remaining cherries and add them to the pan. 

Place the pan over medium-high heat and let it sit until the juices start to simmer.  Turn the heat down to low and loosely cover the pot.  Let the cherries simmer until they are soft and starting to fall apart, about 15-25 minutes (stir occasionally and be careful not to let it boil over).  Add the sugar and stir until combined.  Raise the heat and let the mixture simmer until the jam thickens (anywhere from 5-20 minutes, depending on how watery your cherries are).  To test if the jam is done , place a small dollop on a ceramic plate.  Put the plate in the freezer for a few minutes until the jam is cold.  Take it out and give it a little nudge with your finger.  If the jam wrinkles and forms a skin, it is ready.  It should coat the back of a metal spoon. 

Once the jam is done, take it off the heat and let it cool to room temperature (it will continue to thicken).  Once it is cool, place in a small, covered bowl and refrigerate. 

To Serve: 

Makes about 1 cup.  Jam will keep for a few weeks in the fridge.  Use it to spread on toast, top ice cream, make a glaze for grilled chicken / pork.  Or just eat it with a spoon.  It is that good.

1 Comment

Filed under Add-ons, Fruit, Recipes

Beet Greens with Ginger, Chile, and Garlic Scapes

Beet Greens with Ginger, Chile, and Garlic Scapes

Due to the warm spring we have had, our summer CSA started a week early.  It was so exciting to get that first box, filled to the top with lots of green.  We got lettuce, arugula, spinach, kale, a couple of zucchini, some beets with fantastically fresh greens still attached, and some curly garlic scapes.  The box was topped with a carton of sweet strawberries.  After a winter of root vegetables, the plethora of green is a welcome change.  The best part is that everything is super fresh.

Frying the ginger, chile, and garlic scapes

The first thing I wanted to do was cook up those beet greens.  Did you know that the greens attached to the tops of beets are not only edible, but they are really delicious?  They have a nice earthy taste but without the bitterness that many greens have.  It’s as if they steal a little of the beet’s sweetness to balance out the deep flavor of the leaves.  The stems are a lovely pink color and when they are slender, you can cook and eat them right along with the leaves.  The challenge with beet greens is that they go bad pretty quickly and they often don’t make it through the supermarket gauntlet.

Adding the greens

Make sure you wash your greens really well.  They are typically covered with lots of dirt and do well with a bath in a big sinkful of water.  Beet greens really only need simple treatment.  This recipe is straightforward and uses delicious flavors of garlic, ginger, and green chile and stir-fries the greens and stems until tender.  It makes a pretty colored dish that goes nicely with other Indian-style dishes.

Wilted greens

Beet Greens with Ginger, Chiles, and Garlic Scapes

Adapted from World Vegetarian by Madhur Jaffrey

Ingredients:

3 tbls peanut or vegetable oil

1 fresh hot green chile (such as jalapeno), seeded and cut into thin strips

About 1 inch of fresh ginger, peeled and cut into slivers

4 garlic scapes, cut into 1/2 inch pieces (or 3-4 cloves of garlic, cut into slivers)

1 pound beet greens, including slender stems

Salt and pepper to taste

To Make:

Wash the beet greens well and pat dry.  Cut the greens and stems (if using) into strips about 1/2 inch thick.  Set aside.

Heat the oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat.  When hot, add the ginger, chile, and garlic scapes (or garlic cloves) and stir fry for a minute.  Add the beet greens and stir a few times.  Put a lid on the pan, turn the heat down to low, and cook until the leaves are wilted.  Add the salt and stir a few times.  Add 4 tablespoons of water, bring to a simmer, cover, and cook until the greens are tender, about 30 minutes.

To Serve:

Add salt and pepper to taste and serve alongside meats or beans.  Serves 4 as a side dish.

3 Comments

Filed under CSA Talk, Recipes, Side Dish, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Sauteed Spinach with Dill and Onion

Sauteed Spinach with Dill and Onions

I went to Verrill Farm the other day and had a tough time containing myself at the sight of all the locally grown veggies.  Spinach! Peas! Asparagus!  It is funny to think how far I have come.  Looking back, I can’t ever remember feeling anything more than “meh” about a vegetable.  Other than tomatoes, I never really cared much for vegetables.  I could never understand why anyone would choose a vegetable dish when there were meat dishes available.  Marc never seemed to care all that much about eating veggies either.

The players

Fast forward to Summer, 2008 and our first CSA.  As we got a new delivery each week, I started to get it.  When I had my first eggplant that summer, it was a revelation.  I alway thought I disliked eggplants.  It turns out, I disliked the old, bitter ones that are typically sold in the grocery store.  Eating small, ripe eggplants that were just picked made me think about vegetables in a whole new way.  These days, we work hard to eat as seasonally as possible.  That means going without certain veggies (corn, tomatoes, chard, *sniffle*) for much of the year.  However, it also means that when those veggies come back into season, it is like a new world of eating is opened up.

Imagine the heavenly smell of garlic and onions

This spinach dish is one of those revelations.  It is simple to prepare and not much to look at.  But boy, do the flavors hit you in a completely unexpected way.  The idea of putting spinach and dill together was a little strange to me, but don’t let it stop you because it is a dynamite combination.  Fresh dill is a must for this recipe… the dried stuff won’t work.

Almost ready!

Sautéed Spinach with Dill and Onion

Recipe from World Vegetarian by Madhur Jaffery

Ingredients:

10 oz fresh spinach, washed, stems removed

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

1 large onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, peeled, finely chopped

1 tablespoon fresh dill, finely chopped

1/2 cup water

1 teaspoon salt

For the yogurt sauce:

1/3 cup plain yogurt

1 garlic clove, mashed to pulp

a dash of paprika

a dash of salt

To Make:

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat.  Add the spinach to the pot and bring to a boil again.  Allow to boil vigorously for two to three minutes.  Drain the spinach into a colander.  This part can be done ahead of time and the spinach allowed to cool.  If cooking right away, run water over the spinach to cool it down.  When you are ready to cook, squeeze out all the moisture by pressing small amounts of spinach in your hands.  Make sure you get as much water out as you can.  Finely chop the drained spinach.

Put the oil and butter in a medium frying pan and set over medium heat.  When the oil and butter are hot, add the onion and garlic.  Cook, stirring, until the onion is soft and translucent, about six minutes.  Lower the heat if the onion starts to brown.  Add the spinach, dill, water, and salt and stir until combined.  Simmer gently, uncovered for 10 to 12 minutes.

To make the yogurt sauce, combine the yogurt, garlic, salt, and paprika in a small bowl.

To Serve:

Serve spinach hot with a dollop of yogurt sauce in top.  Sprinkle with extra paprika to garnish.  Serves 2 as a side dish.

1 Comment

Filed under CSA Talk, Dinner, Gluten-Free, Recipes, Side Dish, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Carrot Ginger Slaw

Carrot Ginger Slaw

It’s slaw season people.  The weather in New England has been hovering around the 80 degree mark for a week or so now (give or take a few dips into the 60’s and 70’s) and I am ready for strawberries, fresh vegetables,  and cold salads. 

Shaved Carrots

We definitely have an affinity for cold salads in our house.   We devour heads of lettuce in record time, broccoli salad makes a regular appearance at our dinner table, and I never turn down a cold noodle dish.  However, the nice weather is young, which means that things like lettuce and broccoli are still in short supply.  Luckily, we still have carrots.  Carrots that have been sitting around since the winter, concentrating all of that delicious sugar.  These bright orange beauties make a lovely cold salad.  Punched up with some ginger, curry powder, and raisins, carrots are great for when you don’t have any other veggies around or for when you just want something a little different.

Simple list of ingredients

Ginger Carrot Slaw

Adapted generously from Alton Brown

Ingredients:

1/2 lb carrots (about 4 medium), washed and peeled

2 tbls mayonnaise

1/2 tsp curry powder

1 tsp minced garlic

1 tsp grated fresh ginger

1/4 cup raisins

pinch of celery seed (optional)

chives or finely chopped green onions for garnish

To Make:

Using a vegetable peeler, shave long strips* of the carrots into a medium bowl.  In a small bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, curry powder, garlic, ginger, and celery seed.  Gently toss the carrot strips with the dressing until well coated.  Stir in the raisins and garnish with chives. 

To Serve:

Serve cold or room temperature.  The carrots are pretty hardy and can stand up to being dressed and refrigerated for a few hours without going soggy.  Serves 2-4 as a side dish.  Recipe is easily doubled (or more) for a larger crowd.

* Using the peeler to shave the carrot creates a lovely texture and look to the salad.  However, it is kind of a pain in the behind.  If you are pressed for time, grate the carrots using the largest holes on your box grater or food processor disk.  You could also julienne them using a mandoline if you are so inclined.

1 Comment

Filed under Gluten-Free, Recipes, Side Dish, Vegetables, Vegetarian