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Posts from the ‘Fruit’ Category

Summer Sorbets

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Happy Summer! Time to feel the heat and enjoy delicious ways to temper it. With the abundance of juicy berries in season and the summertime love of refreshing lemons, here are three sorbets to keep in your freezer for a quick chill down, lovely on their own or happily mixed and matched.

Strawberry Sorbet
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So simple and sweet, all you have to do is remove the strawberry tops and you’ve done all the work.

Strawberry Sorbet, from Cook’s Illustrated
3 cups strawberries
1 cup sugar (K note: you can decrease sugar to 3/4c)
pinch salt
1/2 cup water
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 Tablespoon vodka (optional)

1. Pulse berries, sugar and salt together in food processor until combined, about 15 pulses. With processor running, add water, lemon juice and vodka, if using, and continue to process until sugar is dissolved, about one minute. Strain mixture through fine-mesh strainer into large bowl and refrigerate until completely chilled, about one hour.
2. Transfer mixture to ice-cream machine. Churn until mixture resembles soft-serve ice cream. Transfer to airtight container, press firmly to remove any air pockets, freeze until firm, at least three hours. Can be frozen for roughly 1-2 weeks.

Blueberry Sour Cream Sorbet
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If you have enough will power to resist eating every single luscious blueberry you pick, and manage to make it home with a cup, this sorbet recipe calls also for sour cream, resulting in a tangy sorbet, almost like cheesecake, but lighter.

Blueberry-Sour Cream Ice Cream, from Dorie Greenspan
1 cup blueberries
1/3 cup sugar
pinch salt
grated zest and juice of 1/4 lemon (or lime if you prefer), or more juice to taste
3/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup sour cream

1. Put blueberries, sugar, salt and lemon zest and juice in a medium nonreactive saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the mixture boils and the berries pop and soften, about three minutes.
2. Turn the berries into a blender and whir until you have a fairly homogeneous puree, about one minute. (It will never be completely smooth, and that’s just fine). Add the heavy cream and sour cream and pulse just to blend. Taste and, if you’d like, add a squirt more lemon juice or a tiny bit more sugar.
3. Pour the custard into a bowl and refrigerate until it is chilled before churning into ice cream.
4. Scrape the chilled custard into the bowl of an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Pack the ice cream into a container and freeze for at least two hours, until it is firm enough to scoop. Can be frozen for roughly 1-2 weeks.

Lemon Sorbet
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This is my new favorite lemon recipe: bright and clean and zesty with just the right amount of tartness.

Super Lemon Ice Cream, from David Lebovitz
2 lemons, preferable unsprayed
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup freshly squeeze lemon juice (from about three lemons)
2 cups half-and-half
pinch salt

1. Zest the lemons directly into a food processor or blender. Add the sugar and blend until the lemon zest is very fine. Add the lemon juice and blend until the sugar is completely dissolved. Blend in the half-and-half and salt until smooth.
2. Chill for one hour, then freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Enjoy!

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Bok Choy, Carrot & Apple Salad

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This is a perfect salad! Five ingredients and the only work required is some matchstick dicing, (which can be quite a calming task) grating and squeezing. The ginger and lemon juice mellow each other and result in a lovely dressing, bright and spicy, tossed with the crunchy, snappy fruits and vegetables. This is basically all you need:

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Bok Choy, Carrot & Apple Slaw (altered slightly from Food Everyday)
Ingredients:
1lb baby bok choy (5-6 heads), halved lengthwise
coarse salt and fresh ground pepper
1 apple, peeled, cored and cut into matchsticks
2 large carrots, peeled & shredded (or cut into matchsticks)
3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger

Directions:
1. Rinse bok choy under cold water to remove grit, let drain. Cut crosswise into thin strips; place in a large bowl.
2. Add apple, carrots, lemon juice, oil and ginger; season with salt & pepper. Toss.
3. Serve right away, or you can also refrigerate for a few hours to allow flavors to marry; toss before serving.

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Sweet Potato, Pear & Bacon Soup

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I love when a soup like this comes together! I found myself with a handful of sweet potatoes and a few juicy Bartlett pears, both which needed action before being past their prime. When I discovered a recipe for a sweet potato, pear & bacon soup, I happily plucked some bacon from my freezer and got right to work!

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In this Mark Bittman recipe, he calls for browning the bacon, removing it to a paper towel lined plate and adding the shredded potatoes and pears to the salty hot grease…yes, an excellent start…

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Then to the softened shredded vegetables and fruit, add allspice, cayenne, stock or water, and cream and let it bubble away for a quick 10 or 15 minutes. Once the squash is tender, whirr the immersion blender to carefully puree. Taste for seasonings – it should be a lovely mix of earthy sweet potato, fruity pear, a little smoky, with the perfect amount of kick from the cayenne. Garnish with the crunchy bacon and you will be one happy camper. Here’s to surprise victories while cleaning out the extras!

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Sweet Potato Soup with Pears & Bacon
By Mark Bittman

Ingredients:
8 slices of bacon
1 1/2 lbs sweet potatoes
2 large pears
1 small onion
1 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
salt & pepper
5 cups chicken or vegetable stock, or water
1 cup cream

Directions:
Chop 8 slices bacon into 1-inch pieces.
Add bacon to large pot over medium heat.
Cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp, 5-10 minutes.
Peel & trim sweet potatoes, cut into small pieces to feed into food processor.
Peel & core pears.
Trim, peel & quarter the onion.
When bacon is crisp, transfer it to paper towel lined plate with a slotted spoon. Turn heat to low.
Shred vegetables & fruit in food processor with grating disk; empty work bowl into pot as it fills.
Raise heat to medium-high; add 1t allspice, 1/4t cayenne, sprinkle of salt & pepper.
Cook, stirring, until spices are fragrant, about one minute.
Add five cups stock or water and one cup cream.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat so that it bubbles gently but steadily.
Cook until squash is fully tender, 10-15 minutes.
Turn off heat and run an immersion blender through the pot, or working in batches transfer it to an upright blender and carefully puree.
Reheat the soup for one or two minutes if necessary. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Divide soup among four bowls, garnish with bacon and serve.

Homemade Granola, Yogurt & Pomegranate Seeds

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Homemade granola is just about perfect. You can make one or two baking sheets of it and it will sit patiently, and quite beautifully, in a jar on your counter for at least two weeks – but it will never stick around that long. It’s crunchy and sweet and buttery, and you’ll suddenly want to sprinkle it on everything. My favorite mid morning snack / lunch / after dinner dessert / late night snack is this granola recipe from ‘Nuts in the Kitchen’ by Susan Herrmann Loomis, stirred into plain yogurt. Recipe further below.

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If you keep a container of plain yogurt in your refrigerator, then you can mix it up whenever you need an energy boost. When I noticed this week that fresh pomegranates had arrived at the store, I scooped one up for the seeds, and their texture and tangy juice are a great addition. Incidentally, the trick to removing pomegranate seeds from the pulp & peel is simple: have a large bowl and wooden spoon handy, slice the whole fruit in half, invert the open half down into your upward facing palm, and with your hand & fruit over the bowl, beat the living daylights on the outside of the pomegranate with the wooden spoon. The seeds will loosen and fall through your fingers into the bowl catching the juices as well.

Crunchy Granola
from Nuts in the Kitchen, by Susan Herrmann Loomis
Yield 6 cups (two full baking sheets worth)
* Very easy to halve this recipe

I suggest a few alterations, as noted.

Ingredients:
1 cup (16T) unsalted butter
1/4 cup mild honey
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups rolled oats (or flakes made from other grains *not rice flakes)
1 cup unsweetened coconut ** K: do make the effort to find unsweetened, it’s more coconut-ty
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/3 cup sesame seeds ** K: make sure they are fresh and if you can find black sesame seeds, it’s nice variation to mix
1/3 cup raw almonds ** K: chop these a bit, and consider walnuts which are excellent (and a bit softer)

Directions:
1) Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, aluminum foil or silpat.

2) Place butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. When it has melted enough to cover the bottom of the pan, add the honey and brown sugar and whisk occasionally as the butter melts. When it is fully melted, gently whisk in salt and vanilla. Remove from the heat.

3) Place the grains, coconut, seeds and nuts in a large bowl. Pour the sauce – it may still be very hot, which is fine – over the mixture. Toss until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined, then turn out the granola onto two baking sheets. Spread it out into an even layer and bake in the center of the oven, stirring occasionally, until the granola is golden, 20-25min. ** K: Check after 10 minutes and stir a bit – you will know when it’s ready by its golden color.

4) Remove from heat and let cool, then break up the clumps and transfer to airtight containers and store in a cool spot. The granola will keep well for about one month.

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‘Jerusalem’ Orange, Semolina & Coconut Cake

'Jerusalem' Orange, Semolina & Coconut Cake

This cake comes from the cookbook ‘Jerusalem’ by Yotam Ottolenghi & Sami Tamimi. The recipe hits all the high marks: great texture & bite, just the right amount of sweetness, familiar flavors (orange & coconut) but with a greater intensity (thanks to marmalade & orange blossom water), yields two loaves (which you will be grateful for) and the kicker: it gets better the longer it rests, so the day after baking and even the day after that, it is still super moist and totally delicious. Great for dinner parties & events & sharing with the neighborhood.

Apples: from Branch to Sauce

Apples: from Branch to Sauce

Warm applesauce, straight from the oven, and making the whole place smell of cinnamon & allspice! We picked these apples earlier this week, a mix of Macintosh, Empire, Red Delicious, and Macoun at Smolak Farms in North Andover. Perfect Saturday afternoon task while the kids are napping and the house is quiet: peel, core and quarter the apples (about 10 total), add to large Dutch oven pot, and then add zest and juice of one orange, 1t cinnamon (from Penzey’s), 1/4t allspice (also from Penzey’s), 2T butter, 1/4c brown sugar. Stir well, cover with lid, place in 350F oven for 40-45min. Take a deep breath. Fall has arrived.

Balsamic Wheatberries with Peaches & Prosciutto

Balsamic Wheatberries with Peaches & Prosciutto

I love wheatberries and find them pretty versatile. So with the late summer peaches being so juicy and sweet, I envisioned a hearty, sweet, salty summer grain salad: wheatberries, super ripe peaches, balsamic vinegar, prosciutto and chopped parsley. Yum!

Chèvre and sautéed grapes

Chèvre and sautéed grapes

Another absolute treat from Michael Natkin at Herbivoracious! This recipe is a testament to the power of simple fresh herbs. Slightly warmed grapes in a touch of olive oil, scattered around goat cheese, all topped with fresh chives, fresh oregano and sea salt. It sounds so simple but it is so lovely.

Cheesecake with wine soaked cherries

Cheesecake with wine soaked cherries

My favorite cheesecake recipe, cream cheese and eggs base, with sour cream and vanilla top layer. It hardly needs any topping but with cherries on hand, I thought they’d be a nice addition, with a little tweak. Cheesecake, cherries, wine, anise – all coming together quite nicely indeed.

Cherries and the pits

Cherries and the pits

Cherry splatter, but all for a good cause…