Thursday, August 12, 2010

chocolate sorbet

As summer days give way to back to school shopping and eventually thoughts of fall, I want to offer up one more frozen treat recipe. I really love my ice cream maker and will make ice cream and sorbet year round but, naturally, this is the season when I crave it. I am also including some pictures of my ice cream maker because, frankly, it is too adorable!

 My husband bought it for me as a 2nd anniversary present and I was so thrilled. I like it's cheery red color. But I love any kitchen appliances. Do you remember the scene from "Father of The Bride" where the whole wedding is almost called off because the groom buys the bride a blender? I first saw that as a kid and even back then I thought she was crazy.
I have learned many things from The Barefoot Contessa and one of them is to be conscious of flavor- for example, that chocolate things should really taste like chocolate. I know that sounds a bit silly, but think about it, haven't there been times when you've tasted something supposedly "chocolate" only to taste just sugar? Ina Garten talks about "turning up the volume" in her cooking and I think this sorbet is a great example of that. It does not have any cream in it but the cinnamon and espresso give a rich full roundness to the chocolate. The result, I feel, is more refreshing than chocolate ice cream. Do not panic, I still love chocolate ice cream, but I feel strongly in giving this sorbet a try.
Also, there is little to match the magic of pulling homemade sorbet out of the freezer to offer a friend (or yourself).

Chocolate Sorbet

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup very good cocoa powder (Ina recommends Pernigotti)
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups water
1/4 cup brewed espresso (1 shot)
1 1/2 tablespoons coffee liqueur (Ina recommends Tia Maria, I have a bottle of Starbucks coffee liqueur that only sees the light of day when I am making this)
 1) In a large saucepan, mix the sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt. Stir in 2 cups of water and the espresso. Cook over low heat until the ingredients are dissolved.

2) Off the heat, stir in the coffee liqueur. Transfer to plastic containers and refrigerate until very cold.

3) Freeze the mixture in an ice cream freezer according to manufacturer's directions. The sorbet will still be soft; place it in a plastic container and freeze for 1 hour or overnight, until firm enough to scoop.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

candied orange peel

I am blessed to have some really amazing friends. Earlier this summer, one of them pulled a group of us together to go see an outdoor Shakespeare production. It was a perfect June evening and a brilliant production. At intermission, light refreshments were served. To me, they were an example of a simple thing done very, very well. There was a small variety of crackers (water crackers, oat biscuits), a couple of cheeses (blue cheese, brie), dried cranberries and blueberries, glazed pecans, and candied orange peel. This was all served with little glasses of champagne or lemonade. It was just a perfect assortment of things to nibble and the orange peel was a fun zingy sweet surprise. Our little gang of friends had fun coming up with "perfect bite" combination's (my favorite is oat biscuit, brie and orange peel). I decided that I had to steal the idea.
The recipe below is from Martha Stewart. I confess, it is a bit fiddly, but not at all difficult. It is also something that could be completed far in advance.
I intended to take pictures of the orange peel with brie and crackers (as I first had it) but I'll be frank, in my hungry greed I piled it on whatever I had around. This turned out to be some shortbread cookies and creme fraiche. It is certainly not a terrible idea.

Candied Orange Peel

makes 1/2 cup

3 oranges
1 cup sugar

1) Using a citrus zester or vegetable peeler, shred long strips of orange peel. (I found it helpful here to use a vegetable peeler to strip off the peel and then a small knife to julienne it.)

2) Place strips in a medium saucepan. Cover with cold water, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Drain; repeat two more times with fresh water.

3) Place sugar in a clean saucepan with 1 1/2 cups water; stir to combine. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar has dissolved, about 3 minutes. Add the citrus strips to the boiling syrup; reduce heat and simmer until strips are translucent, about 12 minutes. Remove from heat; let strips cool in syrup, at least 1 hour. Remove from syrup when ready to use.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

homemade frozen yogurt

I love frozen yogurt. Growing up my parents had a restaurant that also served frozen yogurt and ice cream. To this day I dream about the New York Blueberry Cheesecake frozen yogurt we used to have there. It was gorgeously purple and tangy creamy sweet.
I think it is that same sour tangy-ness that makes me love this frozen yogurt. It is not overly sugary and the flavor is similar to that of the currently trendy Pinkberry. It is icy, refreshing and has that whole sour sweet thing going on. And honestly, making it could not be more easy. Add a few sliced berries? bliss.
The recipe (if we can call it that, so simple) is from Sunset magazine.

Tart-n-Tangy Fro-Yo

32 ounces (about 4 cups) plain nonfat frozen yogurt
about 3/4 cups sugar

1) In a medium bowl, whisk together yogurt and sugar until sugar dissolves. Taste and add more sugar if you like.

2) Spoon mixture into an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's directions. Transfer yogurt to a container and freeze until firm, about 2 hours.