Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Sweet Tart Lemonade: 3 Variations, by the pitcher, by the glass

Happy Independence Day!
  Steaks: Marinating
Potato Salad: Made
Lemonade: Yes, please!
Sweet Tart Lemonade
Yield: 7 cups
2 cups Simple Syrup (recipe follows)
1 ¾ to 2 cups fresh lemon juice
3 cups cold water

• Combine all ingredients, stirring well. Serve over ice.

Lemonade by the Glass: Combine 3 tablespoons Simple Syrup, ¼ cup fresh lemon juice, and ¾ cup cold water, stir well.

Simple Syrup
Yield: 2 cups
1 cup water
2 cups sugar
¼ teaspoon lemon juice

• Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan; cook over low heat until sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 1 minute. Remove from heat and cool. Store in an airtight container at room temperature up to 2 weeks.

Simple Syrup Variations: (I used the mint syrup to make Mint-Lemonade; it was delicious, refreshing and cool.)

Mint Syrup: Add 1 cup loosely packed mint leaves to saucepan; cook as directed. Cool. Remove and discard mint.
Ginger Syrup: Add ¼ cup chopped fresh ginger to saucepan, and cook as directed. Cool. Remove and discard ginger; use syrup immediately. Do not store.
Berry Syrup: Substitute ½ cup seedless raspberry or strawberry jam for ½ cup sugar; cook as directed. Cool.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Simple. Fresh. Dessert.

Are you ready for a fast, fresh, simple and delicious dessert? Well, here is my go-to dessert for the summertime. Fresh fruit, drenched in sweetened wine and specked with mint is as colorful as it is refreshing. Add your favorite summertime fruit, or whatever fruit you have on hand in the refrigerator. It's the perfect alfresco dessert.

Cantaloupe, Strawberries, and Grapes with White Wine and Mint
source: Everyday Italian; Giada DeLaurentiis servings: 4

1 ¼ cups dry white wine
1/3 cup sugar
1 T. chopped fresh mint
½ ripe cantaloupe, halved, seeded, and cut into ¾ in. cubes (about 3 cups)
1 (8oz.) basket of strawberries, quartered
1 cup seedless grapes, halved lengthwise

1. In a small saucepan, bring wine and sugar to a boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the mint.
2. In a large bowl, combine the cantaloupe, strawberries, and grapes. Pour the warm wine mixture over and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate until cold, stirring occasionally, at least 2 hours and up to 8 hours.
3. Transfer the fruit mixture to serving bowls and serve chilled.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Strawberry Gelato

Enjoy and celebrate the season
What is gelato? It looks like ice cream…so why don’t we call it ice cream? Is it really that special? The answer is yes.

Gelato is Italy’s version of ice cream, with three major differences to his American cousin.

Gelato has significantly less butterfat, around 10%, than ice cream’s typical 18-26%. This is because gelato is not made entirely with cream, but rather milk. However, less fat does not mean less taste. With lower butterfat content, gelato does not need to be frozen as cold as regular ice cream, meaning that it melts in your mouth faster, therefore you experience it’s full, pure flavor.

Gelato is much more denser than ice cream. Good old-fashioned-everyday ice cream has quite a bit of air added to it, which masks its favorite and alters texture. Air is not added to gelato, resulting in a richer, creamier taste the pack a punch in every little bite.

Gelato is served slightly warmer than ice cream. Typically served 10-15 degrees warmer than ice cream. With a softer consistency, the flavor finishes nicely across the tongue and is much stronger and vibrant. Not to mention, that softer consistency makes scooping a lot easier!
Strawberry Gelato
Strawberry Gelato
adapted from Bon Appetit May 2009

¾ c. sugar
1 T. cornstarch
1 c. whole milk
¾ c. whipping cream
2 ¼ c. hulled & sliced strawberries
2 T. lemon juice

1. Combine sugar and cornstarch in medium sauce pan, rub them together with fingertips to incorporate. Whisk in milk and cream. Whisk over medium heat until base thickens and begins to bubble, 5 minutes. Pour into bowl & chill. This is the base.
2. Puree strawberries in processor. Pour into gelato base. Mix in lemon juice. Chill for 3 hours or overnight.
3. Process in ice cream machine according to manufacturers instructions. Transfer to a container. Cover; freeze until firm. Store in freezer 3 hours and up to 2 days.