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Posts Tagged ‘fruity’

Extra Sorbet

Scenario: you make sorbet for dessert. However, you eat too much dinner. So, what do you do with the leftover sorbet? Well, we ran into this situation over the weekend with extra berry mojito sorbet. Can you say too much pizza?

Sorbet needs time to ripen (firm up) in the freezer. However, it can freeze really hard. So firm, that it is difficult to scoop out of the container. The good thing is, sorbet is very forgiving – you can soften it and refreeze it without altering the texture (unlike ice cream which makes weird crystals). I kinda thought there might be too much sorbet on Friday evening, so when I was serving dessert, I made a few extra scoops and re-froze them. That way, they were in convenient serving sizes for repurposing into tasty beverages. First, I made a sorbet spritzer on Saturday evening. Then, on Sunday morning, I made a sorbet kefir smoothie. I think they were both good ways to enjoy the deliciousness that was the extra berry mojito sorbet. Hope you also enjoy them

Print Recipe Feature

I also hope you like that I finally have a print button! I know lots of folks who use tablets, smartphones, and laptops in the kitchen and I do too on occasion. Though generally, I am a Luddite and I like an old-fashioned printed recipe (often I add handwritten notes in the margins). But I do not want to print an entire blog entry because I try to be mindful of printing too much. Now, with the handy-dandy Print recipe link, you can print a plain version of the recipe. Thanks to Anastasia at While Chasing Kids for the inspiration. Her blog is awesome and she has used this feature for some time. So I peeked at the code and we figured out how to do it on my posts. Eventually, I will go back and add it to some other posts (especially long recipes).

Sorbet Spritzer
(Print recipe)

2 scoops sorbet

Sparkling water, chilled (Pellegrino, club soda, seltzer, etc.)

Garnish: few berries (or whatever fruit is in the sorbet), mint leaves, and/or lime wedges

Serves: 2

Put a scoop of sorbet in each glass. Top off the glass with sparkling water. Garnish and enjoy!

Fruity Sorbet Kefir Smoothie
(Print recipe)

2 scoops sorbet

2 spears of fresh pineapple, sliced

2 fresh peaches, sliced (pits removed)

Splash of low fat plain kefir (or yogurt)

Serves: 2

Put all the ingredients in a blender. Cover. Process until smooth. Enjoy. 

Other ideas for repurposing sorbet:

  • Sorbet ice cubes: Just before you ripen the sorbet in the freezer, take some and freeze in ice cube trays. Then you can use the cubes for spritzers or smoothies. Probably easier than making scoops, freezing them, and then storing them. Just keep the cubes in a resealable plastic bag.
  • Sorbet popsicles: You can make little square popsicles by placing a toothpick into each cube once it is semi-set. Then freeze until firm and enjoy. Or, if you have popsicle molds, even better! I guess little jars or cups with popsicle sticks would also work.
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Berry Mojito Sorbet

Here’s another recipe using the mint simple syrup recipe from a few weeks ago. Having simple syrup already in the refrigerator makes a quick sorbet since it saves a step. Also, there is no need for extra time to cool the hot syrup.

For this sorbet, I used a combo of frozen blackberries and blueberries because we had leftovers from last summer. Fresh berries would also be great in this recipe.

Berry variations:  You could use all blueberries or all blackberries. Just adjust the quantities. If you use only blueberries, use 4 cups. If you use a mixture of berries, use 2 cups blackberries and 2⅔ cups blueberries. If you use all blackberries, which I’ve never tried, use about 6 cups. The reason is that when you strain the puréed mixture, you will lose some purée the seeds are removed. The blackberries I used were very “seedy” so I had to supplement with some extra blueberries. You want to end up with just under 4 cups of puréed fruit.

I decided to make this Berry Mint Mojito Sorbet to take to our friends’ house last night. I’ve only made it one other time. Nothing like cooking experiments among friends! Marshall and Melanie recently built a brick pizza oven in their backyard and they invited us over to celebrate our recent job news with a pizza dinner. Matt received a promotion at work and I love my new part-time editing job. Woo hoo, job-wise it was a good week at the Smith-Jordan house.

Back to the pizza and dessert…we all provided different toppings and made our own pizzas (most of the toppings came from our gardens!). I knew we would eat a lot, so I wanted to make a light dessert. However, I had no idea we’d eat that much. Oh my goodness, the pizzas were incredible! Aside from the pizza in Italy on our honeymoon, these were the best pizzas I have tasted. They were so worth the gluten splurge. By the end of the pizza fest (or pizza feast), I was glad we had a light and refreshing frozen dessert. Melanie had sliced fresh peaches with honey and citrus, a perfect accompaniment to the sorbet. Fresh berries and mint leaves are also nice additions. Hope you enjoy this refreshing summer dessert:

Berry Mojito Sorbet

2 cups blackberries

2⅔ cups blueberries

¾ cup mint simple syrup

2 tablespoons lime juice (I only had lemon juice, but it worked)

1-2 tablespoons rum (optional, but the alcohol helps the texture)

Pinch of salt

Optional garnish: berries, sliced peaches, and sprigs of mint.

Serves: 8-10

Heat half of the berries in a saucepan on medium heat for about 3-5 minutes. You want to heat them until some of the berries pop. Remove from heat and add the other berries. Purée them in a blender or in a food processor until almost smooth. Strain the berries using cheesecloth, a sieve, or a chinois conical strainer to remove excess seeds. I strain the mixture directly into my large quart Pyrex measuring cup because it has a spout and this makes it easy to pour the base into the ice cream freezer. [Plus, this container fits perfectly in an ice bath (to speed up the chilling time). You can skip the ice bath step, just make the base and let it chill for several hours or overnight. You want the base as cool as possible before you churn it.]

Add the simple syrup, lime juice, rum, and salt to the strained berry purée. Taste and adjust as needed. Depending on the sweetness of the berries, you might want to add more simple syrup or more lime juice if they are very sweet. Place the Pyrex container in an ice bath for a quick chill. Then chill the mixture in the refrigerator for a few hours. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Let ripen (firm up) in the freezer before serving. Serve with berries, peaches, and sprigs of mint if you want.

 

 

Simple Syrups

June 3, 2012 2 comments

Simple syrups are great to keep on hand, particularly in the summer. They are perfect for iced beverages – tea, coffee, lemonade, cocktails, non-alcoholic punches, etc. You can also use simple syrups to moisten a dry cake, add a bit of sweetness to a fruit salad, or use to sweeten a frozen fruit granita, etc. There are many uses for simple syrups. They also make nice, simple gifts when you put them in a mason jar and tie them with ribbon or raffia.

The basic simple syrup recipe is one part water and one part sugar. You simmer it for about a minute on medium-high heat, just until the sugar dissolves. Remove it from the heat. Let it cool at room temperature. Store it in the refrigerator for up to one month.

The flavor possibilities are endless – mint, citrus, cinnamon, basil, ginger, clove, coffee, vanilla, lemon verbena, rosemary, rose petal, blueberry, lavender, strawberry, cardamom, peach, star anise, mango, pink peppercorn, nutmeg, habanero…See what I mean? There are tons of flavor combinations!

You can also make simple syrups without sugar – I’ve included recipes that use honey, agave, maple syrup, raw sugar, brown sugar, and a sugar-free Splenda version. I haven’t actually made and tried the Splenda simple syrup; but given the chemical properties of Splenda, it should work.

Coming soon to The Flaming Pot Holder:  what you can do with simple syrups. But for now, here are some simple syrup recipes to get you started…

Simple Syrup – Basic Recipe

1 cup sugar

1 cup water

Combine water and sugar in a medium saucepan. Stir. Heat on medium-high heat until it just starts to simmer. Simmer for about 1 minute or until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. Let cool at room temperature. Transfer to a container and store in refrigerator for up to one month.

Honey Simple Syrup

1 cup honey

1 cup water

Combine water and honey in a medium saucepan. Stir. Heat on medium-high heat until it just starts to simmer. Remove from heat. Let cool at room temperature. Transfer to a container and store in refrigerator for up to one month.

Agave Simple Syrup

1 cup water

1 cup agave

Combine water and agave in a medium saucepan. Stir. Heat on medium-high heat until it just starts to simmer. Remove from heat. Let cool at room temperature. Transfer to a container and store in refrigerator for up to one month.

Maple Simple Syrup

1 cup water

1 cup maple syrup

Combine water and maple syrup in a medium saucepan. Stir. Heat on medium-high heat until it just starts to simmer. Remove from heat. Let cool at room temperature. Transfer to a container and store in refrigerator for up to one month.

Raw Sugar Simple Syrup

1 cup Turbinado raw sugar (I use Sugar in the Raw)

1 cup water

Combine water and raw sugar in a medium saucepan. Stir. Heat on medium-high heat until it just starts to simmer. Simmer for about 3 minutes or until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. Let cool at room temperature. Transfer to a container and store in refrigerator for up to one month.

Brown Sugar Simple Syrup

1 cup dark or light brown sugar

1 cup water

Combine water and brown sugar in a medium saucepan. Stir. Heat on medium-high heat until it just starts to simmer. Simmer for about 2-3 minutes or until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. Let cool at room temperature. Transfer to a container and store in refrigerator for up to one month. Interesting note (at least I thought it was an interesting ah-ha moment): when you make a dark brown sugar simple syrup, it is like molasses. This makes sense because brown sugar has molasses in it. This simple syrup would be great in fall and winter cocktails. It would also be good on oatmeal or on grapefruit (as a child, I liked brown sugar on grapefruit). If you are out of molasses, this syrup would be a good substitute in a recipe.

Sugar-free Simple Syrup

1 cup water

1 cup Splenda

Bring water to a boil. Remove from heat. Add Splenda. Stir until dissolved. Cool. Refrigerate.


 

 Herb Simple Syrup

1 cup sugar

1 cup water

¼ to 1 cup fresh herbs (rosemary, lavender, basil, mint etc.) loosely packed*

Combine water and sugar in a medium saucepan. Stir. Heat on medium-high heat until it just starts to simmer. Simmer for about one minute or until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. Add the herbs. Let it sit for 25 minutes. Strain the syrup. Let cool at room temperature. Transfer to a container and store in refrigerator for up to one month.
*In general, use about ¼ cup of rosemary or lavender, ½ cup basil, or 1 cup of mint. This is just a basic rule of thumb, since some herbs are stronger and you need less. But feel free to use as much as you like.


 

Berry or Fruit Simple Syrup

1 cups sugar

1 cup water

½ to 1 cup of chopped fruit or berries 

Combine water and sugar in a medium saucepan. Stir. Heat on medium-high heat until it just starts to simmer. Simmer for about 1 minute or until the sugar dissolves. Add fruit. Stir. Remove from heat. Let cool at room temperature. Strain out the fruit (add to a smoothie or serve over yogurt). Transfer to a container and store in refrigerator for up to one month.


 

Other Simple Syrup Variations:

Vanilla Simple Syrup: Add a split vanilla bean to the syrup after you remove it from the heat. Let cool at room temperature. Transfer to a container. Keep the vanilla bean in the bottle to intensify the flavor. Store in refrigerator for up to one month.

Citrus Simple Syrup: Add citrus zest (lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit, tangerine, Meyer lemon, or a combination) to the syrup after you remove it from the heat. Let it sit for 30 minutes. Strain the syrup. Let cool at room temperature. Transfer to a container and store in refrigerator for up to one month.

Coffee Simple Syrup: Add 5-15 coffee beans to the syrup after you remove it from the heat. Let cool at room temperature. I leave the coffee beans in the syrup, but feel free to remove them if you prefer. Transfer to a container and store in refrigerator for up to one month.

 

 

Purple Goodness in a Glass

March 29, 2012 2 comments

Around our house, smoothies make a quick, healthy breakfast, lunch, snack, or dessert.  We pick blueberries every summer at MaryMac Farms and then freeze the berries for use year-round.  Smoothies are one of our favorite ways to enjoy the berries.  This smoothie recipe can be a base for other smoothies – add some extra frozen bananas, peaches, strawberries, or cherries.  Yes, we keep all of those in our freezer! 

Helpful hint:  We also have lots of bags with little cubes of things in the freezer. When we have extra yogurt, fruit juice, wine, pesto, lemon juice, fresh herbs, apple cider, and tomato paste, I freeze it in ice cube trays. Then pop them out and store them in resealable bags.

  • Yogurt:  I like to buy large containers of organic Greek yogurt, but we never seem to finish it.  The cubes are perfect for smoothies.  Frozen flavored yogurt cubes make good mini popsicles (just add a toothpick when it is almost frozen).
  • Fruit juice: We usually don’t finish a bottle of juice either.  Hate to waste it, so it gets frozen. Perfect for smoothies or depending on the juice, great in iced tea!
  • Wine:  Leftover wine doesn’t happen very often, but when it does, I freeze it.  The wine cubes are perfect for finishing up a sauce or gravy.
  • Pesto:  When the basil in the garden is going crazy, I make pesto and freeze it in ice cube trays. Oil the trays first for easy removal.  Just thaw a cube and toss with fresh, hot pasta or mixed vegetables.
  • Lemon juice:  When I make limoncello, I have almost 4 cups of lemon juice!  There’s just so much fresh lemonade we can drink. So, I freeze some in ice cube trays and some in larger containers for making lemon bars.
  • Fresh herbs:  To freeze fresh herbs (like basil, parsley, chives, and mint), just rinse, snip if they are large, place in an ice cube tray, fill the tray half full with water, freeze, fill trays with water, freeze, and then store them in resealable bags.  If you initially fill the trays with water, the herbs tend to float and they might get freezer-burned.  This method, though it takes more time, prevents freezer damage to the herbs. Another method is to freeze fresh herbs in olive oil.
  • Apple cider:  We get local apple cider from Scott’s and then freeze some in cubes for drinking hot in the winter.  It is also great with tea (hot and iced). And sometimes I eat the cubes in the summer, another popsicle-like treat.
  • Tomato paste:  Freezing is great when you need just a little tomato paste and have leftovers from the can.  It is much cheaper to buy cans of tomato paste than those little tubes. Oil the trays before filling to hopefully prevent them from staining. 

 

Blueberry Banana Smoothie

1 banana (fresh or frozen)

1 cup frozen blueberries (fresh or frozen)

½ cup juice (I used tangerine, cranberry, apple, orange, etc. juice is fine too)

¾ cup plain yogurt or kefir (any kind works – soy, coconut, regular)

Optional add-ins:  protein powder, dash of cinnamon, ground flax seeds, shredded coconut, (ice cubes if you use fresh fruit, I like the cold), flax seed oil, almond butter, ginger, cayenne, etc.

Pour contents into blender container.  Cover with the lid (otherwise you might end up with purple goodness all over the place!). Blend until smooth and purple.  Enjoy!

Servings:  2 snack-sized servings or 1 meal-sized serving

 

 

Fruity Crock Pot Oatmeal

February 29, 2012 2 comments

The second Monday in February is National Oatmeal Monday and October 29th is National Oatmeal Day.  So depending on your perspective, this blog post is either a few weeks late or several months early!  Either way, hope you like oatmeal as much as we do.  We eat a lot of oatmeal.  We like rolled oats, steel cut oats, granola, oatmeal cookies, oatmeal bars, and even instant oatmeal (nothing wrong with Kirkland’s organic instant oatmeal packets in a pinch).

Our favorite type of oatmeal is steel cut oats, especially in the winter. Unfortunately, they take a little longer to cook so they are usually saved for weekends. But with this recipe, you can enjoy them any day of the week.  They cook in a crock pot while you sleep!  Or for something different, you can make them in the morning and have delicious oatmeal for dinner.

I tend to like oatmeal that has texture and bite to it, while Matt likes it creamy.  This oatmeal turns out creamy, with a tapioca-like consistency.  If you use dried cherries, they make the oatmeal reddish brown (dried blueberries make it an interesting purplish brown color). It’s not the prettiest oatmeal, but it is tasty and hearty.

Update:  I had an aha moment while storing the leftover oatmeal:  this oatmeal is a little too creamy and sticky (for my taste, though Matt seems to like it just like it is).  To change the texture, next time I will rinse the oats a few times in a strainer before I add them to the crock pot.  I do this sometimes with basmati rice and it seems to keep the rice from clumping together. I think the oatmeal would benefit from this step, so time to update the recipe…

Fruity Crock Pot Oatmeal

1 cup steel cut oats (I like McCann’s Irish Oatmeal)

½ cup dried fruit (cranberries, cherries, apples, apricots, figs, dates, or blueberries)

4 cups water

½ cup half-and-half (or milk, soy milk, coconut milk, or almond milk)

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 tablespoons maple syrup, honey, or agave (optional)

2 tablespoon butter or vegan margarine (optional)

¼-½ teaspoon cinnamon

few grates of fresh nutmeg

pinch of salt

Optional toppings:  chopped fresh apple, bananas, shredded coconut, raisins (I think they get too squishy if you cook them overnight), almonds, pecans, walnuts, fresh blueberries or peaches, butter, brown sugar, honey, apple butter (my brother’s favorite oatmeal topping!), half-and-half, maple syrup cinnamon, etc. The possibilities are almost endless!

Rinse the oats in a strainer under running water.  Drain.  Put the oats into the crock pot.  Add the remaining ingredients (except for the optional toppings).  Stir well. Cover with the lid. Cook on low for 5-8 hours. Stir. Serve.  This is great as-is or served with some of the optional toppings. 

Note about the photo:  I’m not much for breakfast foods in the morning (I prefer them around lunch or dinner). So the idea of taking an appetizing photo of brown oatmeal in the morning, before coffee, was daunting and not very appealing.  This photo is bad!  Sorry. But please do not let it dissuade you from making the oatmeal.  It tastes better than it looks (it would have to!).

Post 9/13 – Fruity and Nutty Slaw

January 14, 2012 Leave a comment


We first tried this coleslaw at a dinner party hosted by our friends Alice, Betsy, Pam, and Brad.  We loved it and they were kind enough to share the recipe.  The original recipe is from the great Marion Cunningham (of Fannie Farmer fame, not Happy Days : ) and was published on the California Walnut Commission’s website.  For Marion Cunningham’s Cranberry Walnut Coleslaw, please see:

http://www.walnuts.org/walnuts/index.cfm/all-recipes/marion-cunninghams-cranberry-walnut-coleslaw/

I wanted a slightly healthier version with less sugar, that used ingredients we had at the house.  Here is my tweaked version…


Fruity and Nutty Slaw

¼ cup apple cider vinegar

¼ cup canola oil

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon celery seed

¼ teaspoon salt (or for added flavor, celery salt)

2 packets (2.5 ounce each) of Kirkland’s Fruit & Nuts snack mix blend, chopped*

3 cups cabbage, finely sliced (you can use purple, green, or a combination of both)

¼ cup red onion, thinly sliced

1 jalapeño pepper, thinly sliced (optional, if you want to add some kick)

In a medium bowl, preferably with a tight lid, combine the apple cider vinegar, canola oil, sugar, celery seed, and salt.  Toss in the fruit and nuts, cabbage, onion, and pepper (if you are using it).  If the bowl has a tight-fitting lid, I just cover it and shake it.  If not, just stir or toss with tongs.  Refrigerate it a few hours before serving, so the flavors can blend and develop.  I’ve also made it and eaten it immediately, it’s still good!

*You need 1 cup of fruit and nuts for this recipe.  You want a little chewiness from the dried fruit and crunchiness from the nuts.  It just happened that we had the Kirkland Fruit and Nuts snack blend from Costco when I was making this.  The blend includes dried cranberries, walnuts, cherries, almonds, and pistachios.  It is delicious in this recipe.  However, if you don’t have that, you can use most any combination of dried fruits and nuts that you prefer.  Before I found this mix, I used a ½  cup of chopped walnuts and a ½ cup of chopped dried cranberries.