While it is still a few weeks until the official start of summer, beach weather is already upon us here in Southern California. So this morning, I took a little time out from all the household chores and errands to relax and enjoy the moment. Don’t you just love “me” time? I grabbed a couple of beach towels, sunscreen, and some magazines, and headed out….to my backyard. Fortunately for me, when going to the beach isn’t an option, I can still enjoy the sunshine and the slightest of ocean breezes right in my own backyard. No crowds. No traffic or parking hassles. No sand to make a mess. Just peace and quiet, except for the lyrical chirping of the birds fleeting about.
At the farmers market, blood oranges, lemons, and other citrus are starting to give way to spring’s fruits and vegetables. This week, rows of beautiful ripe strawberries, with their deep, ruby-red color and sweet fragrance, caught my eye. It’s a perfect time to showcase them in this simple, refreshing sorbet.
I guess I picked the wrong week to give up ice cream (see my last post). My intentions were good, having recently acquired chef and cookbook author, David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop, I told myself I would explore the somewhat lighter offerings from his granitas and sorbets sections. Blood Orange Granita…Champagne-Cassis Granita…Nectarine Granita…Tangerine Sorbet…Cherry Sorbet. So many choices! I settled on Pink Grapefruit Granita (again, see my last post). It was light, zingy and refreshing. I loved it and felt very satisfied with myself for avoiding most of the fat and some of the calories of full blown ice cream. I was off to a good start.
Do you have a routine that became a routine before you even realized it? Well, over the past few months, I have developed a habit of eating a bowl of ice cream while watching television. You and I both know this is a hard habit to break, but I think at least I found a healthier substitute.
The French call it granité. In Italy, it is known as granita siciliana, where it is eaten any time of day, even for breakfast with a brioche. The rest of us know it simply as granita, a frozen dessert made with fruit juice or purée, coffee, or wine that is sweetened with simple syrup. It has a grainy, yet delicate texture, similar to shaved ice, and bursts with intense flavor and melts as soon as it hits the tongue. It is often served as a light dessert, especially nice after a heavy meal, or as a palate cleanser between courses.
Since I’ve discovered persimmons, I have been scouring Pinterest and other food sites for recipes featuring them. I’ve learned that the persimmon is an under-appreciated fruit, which is understandable, given my own history with them. I found a few interesting recipes, mostly for cookies and breads, which I am sure will make their way into future posts since I plan to purchase more persimmons to purée and freeze for use during the next couple of months.
If you like piña coladas And getting caught in the rain If you’re not into yoga If you have half a brain If you’d like making love at midnight In the dunes on the Cape Then I’m the love that you’ve looked for Write to me and escape.
– Escape, more commonly known as The Piña Colada Song.
Summer’s starting to wind down, but there’s still plenty of sunshine and warm weather. Here’s a kid-friendly ice pop to beat the heat!
To take advantage of the fresh fruits of summer, make this triple-layer Ice Pop with Strawberry, Mango, and Kiwi. Try it yourself as is or substitute your own favorite fruit but be sure to pick seasonal fruit at their peak of flavor to minimize the amount of added sugar. Limited only by your imagination . . . kids & adults alike will be giddy with anticipation for our popsicles!
To read the rest of the article and to get the recipe for these colorful popsicles, click the link to follow me over to A Lucky Life blog.
The origin of the Margarita is not precisely known. Of the various accounts of its creation, most are centered in Mexico around the 1940’s, and most claim to have named the drink in honor of women named Margarita. However, the more likely scenario, and the one I favor (for obvious reasons) is that the Margarita evolved from the Daisy, a popular cocktail in the United States during the pre-Prohibition era. The Daisy is made from a base spirit such as brandy, whisky, or gin (think brandy Daisy, gin Daisy, etc), citrus juice, and a flavored sweetener. It is not hard to imagine a Daisy made with tequila and Margarita is the Spanish word for daisy. Regardless of its origin, the Margarita is arguably one of the world’s most popular cocktails.
One of the simple pleasures of the summer is the abundance of stone fruits: cherries, nectarines, apricots, plums, and peaches. Out of them all, the fuzzy-skinned peaches are my favorite. In fact, when I got the idea to make spiked ice pops, the first thing that came to mind was how good a frozen bellini would be, especially with sweet and juicy peaches in season. Continue reading →
I fondly remember the days when my brothers and I used to chase down the ice cream truck, with our money tightly wadded up in our hands, to get our afternoon popsicles. I always got an Orange Big Stick, and I would hurry up and eat mine pretty fast because I hated when it started to melt and drip down, making my hand sticky. To this day, I don’t know which I hated more – the brain freeze resulting from eating my popsicle too fast or having a streak of sticky orange-flavored syrup running down my arm.
As I grow more confident in my culinary skills, I find that I am more easily inspired by the foods around me. When I’m dining out, I scrutinize the food I’m eating more closely, and remember the flavors and other characteristics I want to recreate at home. Case in point: I had never eaten rhubarb ice cream until last week when I wandered in to a small ice cream shop called, N’ice Cream, in Santa Monica. Actually, it was a sorbet, and it was incredibly delicious. It was very light and refreshing! The rhubarb sorbet had a fresh, clean taste and a beautiful pale pink color. I heard the voice in my head say “I can make that!” Actually, I love hearing the voice inside my head say that more and more. Continue reading →
Until now, all the ice creams I’ve featured here have been made in the French-style, meaning that it is made from a custard base that includes eggs. This method relies on egg yolks to give richness to the ice cream. However, today’s recipe is a Philadelphia- or American-style ice cream that is made without eggs. It is an adaptation from Jeni Britton Bauer’s recipe for The Milkiest Chocolate Ice Cream in the World featured in her book, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home. Traditionally, Philadephia-style ice cream is made from an uncooked base, but Jeni’s technique requires boiling the liquids to remove as much of the water in the mixture as possible. This step, as well as adding cornstarch to absorb any remaining water, eliminates ice crystals and keeps the ice cream smooth. A big thanks to Jeni for figuring this out and for sharing it with all of us!
The Banana Split is a classic ice cream dessert and one of the most popular in the United States. Traditionally, it consists of three scoops of ice cream, each with its own toppings – vanilla ice cream with crushed pineapple, chocolate ice cream with hot fudge sauce or chocolate syrup, and strawberry ice cream with strawberry sauce – on top of a banana sliced in half lengthwise. The whole concoction is further topped with marshmallows, whipped cream, nuts, and maraschino cherries. This dessert is definitely over-the-top!
While much of the Northeast United States is being blanketed by snow from an historic October storm, here in Southern California, we are enjoying an absolutely gorgeous 75-degree day. The sun is shining and the skies are blue this afternoon, and it’s a perfect time to indulge in a scoop (or two) of some homemade Salted Caramel Ice Cream. This is one of my favorite ice cream flavors. Actually, it is quite possibly the best ice cream I’ve ever had. Period. It is so smooth and buttery, with a nice balance of sweet and salty flavors. Everyone who’s tasted this ice cream has raved about it, even those who aren’t ice cream fans. It’s that good! Continue reading →