Suzi's Blog

Basil Lemon Sorbet [and an herb substitution chart]

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On the top edge of the picture above, you see some Double Berry Polenta Cake, which I posted about a few days ago. I said then that the cake was so good that it could stand on its own: no adornment needed.

While that is true, Suzen often loves to pair cake with ice cream or sorbet. Those pairings enable multiple contrasts: temperature, texture, and flavor tones. Citrus notes are often used to draw out the potential of berry flavors and here it is done with a bright lemon sorbet that itself is overlaid with strong basil flavor. It’s a punchy combination, ideal for a brunch where you have champagne on hand for every course.

Basic and lemon is a classic combination, but you can certainly change the herb content here, substituting or adding. For example, oregano or thyme often replace or accent basil. And that lemon flavor could be swapped out for lime or orange or even grapefruit. Adjust the sugar in each case to match the tartness.

And, if you need assistance in mix and match herbs in general, you’ll love this Herb Substitution Chart at About.com:

http://homecooking.about.com/library/weekly/blherbsub.htm

 


Basil Lemon Sorbet

Yield: 5 cups

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 1 ½ tablespoons lemon zest, divided
  • 2 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 ½ cup fresh basil leaves

Preparation:

Prepare a lemon simple syrup with the water, sugar and 1½ tablespoons of the lemon zest by combining all three in a medium saucepan set over medium-low heat. Cook mixture until the sugar is fully dissolved. Remove from heat.

Once the simple syrup is ready, add the basil and salt. Let the mixture steep for 30 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice. Cover and refrigerate 2 to 3 hours, or overnight. Strain the chilled mixture through a fine mesh strainer.

Turn on the Cuisinart® ice cream maker; pour the mixture into the frozen freezer bowl and let mix until thickened, about 15 to 20 minutes. When the sorbet is almost done, add the reserved zest through the opening on top of the ice cream maker and let churn until combined. The sorbet will have a soft, creamy texture. If a firmer consistency is desired, transfer the sorbet to an airtight container and place in freezer for about 2 hours. Remove from freezer about 15 minutes before serving.

Source: www.cuisinart.com

Photo Information Canon T2i, EFS 60 mm Macro Lens, F/5 for 1/50th second at ISO‑640

 

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Brian’s Citrus Cascade

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This is supposed to be a blog for Brian’s Cucumber Lemonade #2, following yesterday’s #1.

I got a little side tracked. I was looked for 6 lemons and found only 3, but I had a lime and 2 oranges. So, this drink is not “lemonady” at all. It’s citrus and, modestly, brilliantly refreshing. The beverage is made with only cucumber juice, citrus juice and some simple syrup. No water. It’s a tad viscous and definitely forceful.

How does it taste? The cucumber coolness hits first, followed by this cascade of citrus notes: lemon, then orange. The lime is barely susceptible in my version here, but I suspect that every time you make this drink, you’ll find a different kaleidoscope of flavors to enjoy. And, you can adjust the mix of citrus juice here; you are looking for about ⅔ cup of juice. Remember, if you change the ratio of lemons/limes to oranges, you’ll be affecting the sweetness level. And, more oranges will give you more juice.

I’ll go to the store, get more lemons, and work on #2. In the meantime, this #1.5 is very satisfactory.


Brian’s Cucumber Citrus Cascade #1.5

Yield: 2 cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 English cucumber, about 12 ounces
  • 3 lemons
  • 1 lime
  • 2 oranges
  • ½ cup simple syrup

Preparation:

Peel, slice and seed the cucumber. Cut into chunks and put them in a blender [a Vitamix is better for this, much better]. Process until completely pulverized: a minute or more. Strain through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl. You want about ⅔ cup of cucumber juice.

Rinse the blender and return the cucumber water to it. Add the juice of the lemons, lime, and oranges. Add the sugar syrup. Process until well blended.

Chill before serving and then serve with ice.

Source: Brian O’Rourke, inspired from food.com

Photo Information Canon T2i, EFS 60 mm Macro Lens, F/4 for 1/40th second at ISO‑2500