Thursday, June 26, 2014

Dark Chocolate Sorbet

(Printable Recipe)
This deep, dark chocolate sorbet tastes every bit as rich as the darkest chocolate ice cream but doesn't have a drop of dairy in it. Without the fat content of cream, which dulls the taste buds, the depth of this sorbet's chocolate flavor is fully experienced. The ingredients are simple: sugar, cocoa, a little boozy vanilla. Water. That's it.

Start by melting dry sugar over medium heat. You don't need to stir constantly, but don't walk off, keep an eye on it and stir a bit as the sugar starts to melt and darken, then stir fairly continuously.

 It will begin to look amber and very crumbly, then the sugar will begin to liquify.
Finally, as all the sugar melts it will darken further. Keep stirring continuously now.
Now the fun begins! As soon as the sugar has completely liquified (don't worry about those crystals on the side of the pan, leave them alone) pour in 3 cups of water quickly and lean back as you watch a small volcanic eruption in the pan. 
The water will cause the hot syrup to seize only momentarily. Keep stirring and you'll soon notice the crust beginning to collapse and melt into the water. Switching to a wire whisk will make it easier to feel the solid bits sticking to the bottom of the pan and keep them moving toward reliquification. 
Now add 3/4 cup cocoa, 1 tsp vanilla, and spinkle of salt. Whisk well. 

Now, into the fridge until completely chilled. I recommend making this the day before you want to serve it, churning at the last minute. I use a small Hamilton Beach Electric Ice Cream Maker which requires no ice or salt, but the gel-filled freezer bowl takes 8-12 hours to freeze so I pop it into the freezer at the same time the liquid sorbet goes to the fridge. And the next day:
Liquid sorbet is soon ready to eat with a spoon!
Churn 30-40 minutes or until as thick as desired. 
Sorbet's consistency is less firm than ice cream and may be difficult to churn beyond a soft-serve consistency. It will firm up if moved to the freezer if you prefer to ball it up with an ice cream scoop and can stand to wait that long!  Deep, dark chocolate, smooth and rich with just a touch of bourbon-y vanilla. If you've never made your own vanilla, go for it: drop two or three split vanilla beans into a small bottle of good bourbon. I use Maker's Mark from my native Kentucky homeland. Be patient for a few months and you will be well rewarded. So will your every dessert.

SummerSoiree is on at the Food Network blogsite! Stay tuned each week for fresh ideas for your finds at the Farmer's Market or delicious dishes for picnics and parties all summer long. Get more frozen treat recipes here from friends and family:

For a savory frozen treat:

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Sweet Balsamic Spritzers

Printable Recipe
Refreshing and ever so lightly flavored, these non-alcoholic aperitifs are perfect for brunch or an impromptu afternoon toast or as an excellent palate cleanser between courses for your next swanky multi-course dinner. Though I'm calling these spritzers for their bubbly incandescence, they are not alcoholic and as such, are a much better choice than a Manhattan or Martini before dinner. (Alcohol dulls taste buds and slows digestion.)
I may have never thought to try this simple combination if it hadn't been offered during a tasting of flavored vinegars at the specialty shop where I buy imported olive oils. These oil/vinegar shops are becoming so popular there's a good chance you'll find one in your city or somewhere nearby. Larger groceries also have specialty vinegars such as flavored white balsamics. I first tried Peach White Balsamic with San Pellegrino and was surprised at how light and refreshing it was. Since then I have experimented with many flavors and today offer three favorites: Honey Ginger and Cara Cara (Orange) Vanilla, which are both whites, and D'anjou Pear - a darker balsamic, but still light in flavor. 
A little experimentation with whatever you choose will help you figure out the right vinegar/sparkling water ratio. You can see that the darker D'anjou Pear is the smallest pour of vinegar and the Honey Ginger is the largest, as it's sweeter than the others. Fill each glass to within an inch of the top with San Pellegrino.
Don't forget the garnish! I used a twist of lime with the Honey Ginger, a few raspberries with the Cara Cara Vanilla which is named for the Cara Cara Orange, and Black Raspberries with the dark D'anjou Pear. You choose whatever looks and tastes appealing to you. 

SummerSoiree is on at the Food Network blogsite! We're all blogging together about Summer Sips today, but stay tuned each week for fresh ideas from your finds at the Farmer's Market or delicious dishes for picnics and parties all summer long! Here are more refreshing ideas!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Jalapeno Feta Bison Burger

Printable Recipe

Feta for salt, Jalapeño for heat, Bison because it's so good to eat! The flavor of beef with significantly less fat and calories and just a bit more protein, bison makes the perfect burger. I began switching beef for bison in the past year or so and no one in my household knew until I told them.  If you haven't tried it yet, here's a delicious introduction:

To one pound of ground sirloin bison, add 1/2 cup feta crumbles, and 1/4 cup chopped jalapeño and turn just a few times until mixed.
Season with several liberal shakes of Garlic Powder, also (NOT garlic salt).  Shape gently into burger patties, touching as little as possible until meat just holds together. Don't get to mashing or balling it up and pounding it flat or you'll encourage the meat proteins to clamor together and turn against you. That means tough burgers, chef, and no one wants to see that happen. 
Now, to the grill. Or the non-stick skillet over medium heat. Or the pre-heated George Foreman. I chose the later today because I'm hungry and 4 minutes does it on the GF since both sides of the burger cook at once. 
Toast up some buttery French bread slices while the bison is sizzling away.

For dressing up this burger I wanted a little cool creamy avocado to balance the jalapeño's heat and rather than ketchup or mayo I chose a homemade thousand island, which is almost ketchup and mayo, just a notch better. Several layers of crispy lettuce and we're complete.   

SummerSoiree is on at the Food Network blogsite! We're all blogging together about Burgers today, but stay tuned each week for fresh ideas from your finds at the Farmer's Market or delicious dishes for picnics and parties all summer long! And check these out:

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