Frozen Dessert

Quick & Easy Blood Orange-sicles

Here’s an easy treat that you’ll love, with the warm summer days coming up. I found a couple of blood oranges last week, so I bought them, mainly because I know their season is about over. With the past fews days being so humid here, I thought it might be good to make something frozen and refreshing.

I’ve already made gelato from the last batch, so you have to figure that I came up with something new, or else I wouldn’t be here. I just had to think of what ingredient would go well with them. Since I only had two oranges, I wouldn’t have enough to squeeze one into a frozen dessert. I thought of using just regular oranges to make juice, but I really wanted to keep the blood orange theme going throughout. That’s when I thought of using gourmet blood orange soda.

San Pellegrino blood orange soda

San Pellegrino blood orange soda

This is the one. Of course, another would be just fine.

 

You only need one can

You only need one can

 

Just 2 ingredients and a popsicle mold & 4 popsicle sticks:

1 can blood orange soda
1 blood orange

That’s it!

Simply pour the soda into the molds, leaving about an inch and a half from the top.

Slice the oranges thin

Slice the oranges thin

 

Cut the blood oranges into thin slices.

 

They almost look like stained glass

They almost look like stained glass

The slices look really pretty held up to the light.

 

Add a couple of slices of blood orange into the mold. Put into the freezer for about 45 minutes.

Take the mold out of the freezer and poke the popsicle sticks into the slushy soda…. they should stand up by themselves. Freeze for another 4 hours or so, until completely frozen. Serve.

The orange slices look so pretty

The orange slices look so pretty

What could be simpler!

 

his makes a great afternoon treat

his makes a great afternoon treat

They are also impressive enough to serve to a guest.

 

So refreshing and not too sweet

So refreshing and not too sweet

Enjoy and happy summer!

 

Blood Orange Gelato with Chocolate Scribbles ~ Making the Best of Citrus Season

Blood oranges, available December through May

Blood oranges, available December through May

I woke up from a great dream, the other day. It was the kind that made me sit bolt upright in bed, from its inspiration. I think this whole thing got stirred by talking with a friend about gelato. She found out that her favorite gelato shop was closing, and she was really sad about it. That’s when I told her that I love making gelato. We talked about the many different, though odd flavor combinations that would be so much fun to experiment with.

I guess that conversation got me thinking, because I was all of a sudden dreaming of making blood orange gelato. Now, I realize that this has been done before, and that that flavor really wasn’t so oddball, but that’s okay, too. I started thinking of all the things that go well with blood oranges, or any orange, for that matter. Chocolate kept coming up, and that’s when I thought I should try the scribbles, like I did with the mint flavor, last year. I’ve always loved chocolate and orange together, remembering those big, chocolate oranges divided up into segments, that are mostly available around Christmas. Yum!

Then, I thought, “Candy!” I could also candy the blood orange peels for garnish! So, at that point, I was off and running.

The blood oranges are in season from December until about May, so to me, it really was a matter of doing this now, while I was so excited. I didn’t realize that there were so many varieties of these babies, which explains their inner and outer appearances. I will say that they are gorgeous~ and if my English friends will forgive me for saying so, they are bloody gorgeous!

They're bloody gorgeous!

They’re bloody gorgeous!

 

I usually make gelato over the course of two days, with it being served on the third day. It needs time to chill during its various phases, so the best thing to do is just relax, be patient and enjoy the process!

Here’s what I did~~

For the gelato:

2 cups whole milk
½ cup white sugar
4 egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
pinch of salt
grated zest of one blood orange
1 cup strained blood orange juice (you will need about 6 small oranges)

For the chocolate “scribbles”:

1 3-oz. dark chocolate bar, melted

For the candied orange peel:

2 small blood oranges
¾ cup sugar + extra for rolling, if desired
½ cup water

Special equipment:

You’ll need an ice cream freezer, for this

—————————————————————–

Eggs & sugar

Eggs & sugar

First whisk together the egg yolks and sugar.

 

Whisk!

Whisk!

Add milk and whisk some more

Add milk and whisk some more

Add the milk in and whisk some more.

Pour the mixture into a heavy sauce pan, and cook over medium high heat, stirring constantly. When the mixture starts to get very hot and thick, add in the vanilla, orange juice, salt and zest. Bring it back up to a boil, again, stirring all the while.

 

The cooked mixture should coat a spoon

The cooked mixture should coat a spoon

When it coats the back of a spoon, remove from heat and allow to cool. Pour into a container and chill for at least 8 hours or overnight.

 

Once the mixture is fully chilled, get the chocolate ready. You’ll want to melt this over indirect heat, either in a double boiler or in a bowl set over a pan of boiling water. You can see how I did this by checking out my mint chip gelato, that I made last year. Just make sure not to get any water into the chocolate.

Churn the chilled gelato mixture according to manufacturer’s directions in your ice cream freezer. When it is ready, you’ll be scribbling the melted chocolate in, then breaking it up with a spoon.

Once all the gelato is in the container, freeze for 24 hours.

—————————

You can make the candied orange peel at any point in the process. Just keep in mind that they will take about 4 hours to dry.

Peel from top to bottom

Peel from top to bottom

With a veggie peeler, peel the skin off the orange from top to bottom.

 

Cut them into to thinner strips, if desired

Cut them into to thinner strips, if desired

I wanted thinner strips, so I sliced them to about ¼-inch wide.

Getting the bitter taste out of the orange peel is a process of boiling it out. This step is really important, and even more so that it be repeated 3 times. The repeated boiling also make the peels more porous, so they will absorb the sugar more easily.

Place the strips into a heavy sauce pan and cover with water. Bring the water to a boil and allow the strips to cook for 3 minutes. Drain the strips into a sieve and rinse with cold water. Repeat two more times.

After the third boil, keep the strips draining in the sieve, while you wash out the saucepan. Then measure the sugar and water into it and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring the ingredients together.

Once it’s boiling, add in the orange peel strips and turn the heat down to a low simmer. This should simmer for about 30 minutes, and you want to avoid stirring during that process, to keep sugar crystals from forming.

 

Roll in sugar, if desired

Roll in sugar, if desired

Once done, remove the strips with tongs onto a piece of parchment paper. If you like, you can pour a bit of sugar onto the paper to roll the strips into.

 

Dry strips on a rack

Dry strips on a rack

Lay the strips onto a rack to cool and dry—this will take about 4 hours.

 

Store the candied peel in an airtight jar

Store the candied peel in an airtight jar

Once dried, store in a jar with the remaining sugar. Candied orange peel makes wonderful gifts, too. You can add a little tag with the multitude of uses for them, such as adding to garnishing desserts and drinks, and adding to cookies, breads and muffins.

 

Dip some of the candied peel into chocolate for an incredible garnish

Dip some of the candied peel into chocolate for an incredible garnish

If you really want to get fancy, and believe me, I did with at least a few of them, dip one end of the candied peel into the melted “scribble” chocolate, once you’re done scribbling the gelato. That’s a garnish that won’t soon be forgotten. Just be sure to store them separately in the refrigerator, once the chocolate firms up.

Once the gelato freezes overnight, you can serve it in a multitude of ways.

Starting with a plain, old dish…

In a dish is good

In a dish is good

Looking good, just like that

Looking good, just like that

 

Or, serve it in half of a blood orange skin…

You can serve it in its own "shell"

You can serve it in its own “shell”

So delicious!

So delicious!

 

Or, serve it with the special, chocolate-dipped, candied orange peel…

Delectable with that choco-dipped, candied orange peel

Delectable with that choco-dipped, candied orange peel

So elegant!

So elegant!

 

Now, at least I can say, that I made one of my dreams come true!

 

 

 

 

Frozen Watermelon-Strawberry Pops for the Coming “Dog Days”

The “dog days” of Summer are almost here, and we’re all sure to be hot and in need of some humor. Here’s a treat that will not only refresh and rehydrate, but it also has a lot of visual appeal for kids and adults, alike.  The visual part makes a real, fruit popsicle look like a watermelon. These will take a little bit more time than simple frozen fruit juice in a mold because of the different layers, but a little bit of extra delight seems worth it, to me. One of the nicest things about these pops, is the fact that the contain no added sugar. For once, hears a treat that’s truly healthy!

Summer refreshers

Summer refreshers

You'll also need mini chocolate chips, coconut, popsicle molds and sticks

You’ll also need mini chocolate chips, coconut, popsicle molds and sticks

The following makes 8 watermelon pops, but this is easily halved. You’ll need:

2 cups of watermelon chunks

6 strawberries, hulled and quartered

2 tablespoons mini chocolate chips (we want these to look like watermelon seeds)

½ cup coconut water

4 teaspoons (approximately)  flaked coconut (I’m using and unsweetened, reduced fat, organic coconut)

2 kiwi fruits

 

You’ll also need popsicle molds, popsicle sticks, aluminum foil, and an immersion blender.

Put the watermelon and strawberries together into a bowl

Put the watermelon and strawberries together into a bowl

Remove the black seeds from the watermelon and place the chunks into a medium bowl along with the strawberries.

Purée with a blender

Purée with a blender

Process with an immersion blender, until all the chunks are liquified.

Pour into molds

Pour into molds

Pour the mixture into the molds, leaving abut an inch from the top of each mold.

Cover with foil and poke the sticks through

Cover with foil and poke the sticks through

Wrap the tops of the molds with foil and poke the popsicle sticks through the center. Put the molds into the freezer, pulling them out after an hour to an hour and a half, or so. You may need to check a couple of times. (The mixture should be slushy, but not frozen solid).

Add 1/2 teaspoon of chocolate chips to each mold

Add 1/2 teaspoon of chocolate chips to each mold

When it reaches that point, add a ½ teaspoon of the mini chocolate chips into each mold, and gently stir them around with the stick. The mixture should be slushy enough that the sticks won’t need the foil.

Straighten the sticks in the molds

Straighten the sticks in the molds

Straighten the sticks and put the molds back into the freezer until they are frozen solid.

Next step is to make the “white layer” of the rind. This will be a thin layer made up of the coconut water with ground coconut mixed in it.

Coconut water & coconut

Coconut water & coconut

I poured the coconut water into a lipped measuring cup, to make it easier, but really any small bowl will do. You can use any brand you like, and I chose the one with the tiki on it.

This is the "white layer" of the rind

This is the “white layer” of the rind

Spoon a tablespoon of the coconut water into the top of each of the molds. Then spoon a half teaspoonful of dried coconut into the water in the mold. With the tip of a knife or another popsicle stick, carefully distribute the coconut in the water. When all molds are done, place back into the freezer until that layer is frozen, too.

The last step will be the “green layer” of the rind.

Spoon out the kiwi into a bowl

Spoon out the kiwi into a bowl

Cut the kiwi in half, remove the white core with a knife, and scoop the pulp into a small bowl or cup with a spoon.

Mash the kiwi with a fork

Mash the kiwi with a fork

Mash the kiwi with a fork, removing the lumps as much a possible.

Fill the last part of the mold cavity

Fill the last part of the mold cavity

Continue until all are filled

Continue until all are filled

Spoon the kiwi into the top portion of the mold, continuing until all molds are filled.

Freeze one more time

Freeze one more time

Freeze the pops until the kiwi is firm, then cover tops with aluminum foil until ready to serve. This will help them from drying out and getting freezer burn.

Serve. These are great on a hot, summer afternoon!

Delightful to the eye, as well as the taste!

Delightful to the eye, as well as the taste!

 

Truly healthy and natural

Truly healthy and natural

 

Imagine them at your next pool party…

Can you resist?

Can you resist?

 

 

It’s Gelato Season!

Ah, Summer… here you are! I’ve loved you since childhood, just because I could wear shorts, flip-flops, (which we now call “rubbah slippahs,” and back then called “thongs”). How things change! Anyway, I love summer not only for the beautiful morning light and warm sunshine, but also because the food suits me~ grilled chicken and shrimp, cool salads, fresh stone fruit and icy desserts. It all makes my heart sing! So how thrilled am I to be invited to our first barbecue of the season, and offer to bring dessert to the hostess, who adores ice cream? This is not really a question. You can guess I volunteered to bring some kind of awesome gelato, and as it turns out, I’m bringing two. Can you remember that blackberry-lemon one I made a few weeks back?

Raspberry gelato

Raspberry gelato

I re-did that with raspberries, and it is wonderful. All I did was swap out the berries and the preserves, and bingo! I’m bringing some of that.

 

Blueberry gelato~ healthy enough to eat for breakfast

Blueberry gelato~ healthy enough to eat for breakfast

I also made it with blueberries and Meyer lemon, and I’m pretty sure it’s healthy enough to eat for breakfast.

I do have to confess that there was another flavor I tried making a couple of weeks ago, and it was so refreshing and delicious. It’s also a flavor that brings up sweet, lovely memories of a late, beloved great-aunt who frequently hosted Thanksgiving in my younger years. My Aunt Agnes was a very progressive woman, for her time. She was very intelligent, down-to-earth and never talked down to me, just because I was a child. But one of the things that made her most memorable to me, was her Thanksgiving dessert. She always offered pumpkin pie with whipped cream. But, she also always offered ice cream with that, and I must say, she never kept any lame, vanilla flavor in her freezer. Nope, not that. She always had Mint Chip, and it was my favorite, pumpkin pie, or not.

 

Fresh mint gives fresh flavor

Fresh mint gives fresh flavor

So, you can guess that I was really excited to run across the idea for this recipe for Mint Chip gelato a couple of months ago, because I never even thought of this as a gelato flavor. Apparently, this idea originated with Mark Bittman of the New York Times, and the chocolate scribbles that make up the chips are Chef David Lebovitz’s idea. The scribbles are a lot of fun to make, by the way. 

I’ve had an ice cream maker for about two years, and I have yet to make ice cream, since I love gelato so much. As I mentioned, I did test this out, and I found that there is a lot to like. The color and flavor may surprise you, because this is made with fresh mint leaves, so the color may be a very pale green, and the flavor is fresh and herbal-y. It also has a lot less sugar than many gelato recipes I’ve seen, and that’s a good thing. Even Monty, who is not that fond of mint, really liked it.

The original version was made with cornstarch, but I just can’t see making gelato without egg yolks, so I made that change. If you’d like to try this, you’ll need:

2 cups whole milk
1/3 cup sugar
3 egg yolks
pinch salt
1 large bunch of peppermint, washed, dried, and de-stemmed
5 oz. dark chocolate (I used a 3.5 oz. organic mint bar and added some chocolate chips to it~ I still had leftover chocolate, so you may not need that much)

Wash, dry and de-stem the mint leaves

Wash, dry and de-stem the mint leaves

The method for this is to first infuse the milk with mint, so the first step is to wash, dry and de-stem the mint leaves. You should have about 2 cups.

 

Infuse the milk with mint flavor

Infuse the milk with mint flavor

Place them into a large saucepan with the 2 cups of milk and a pinch of salt, and heat the milk until it’s just under the boiling point. Once the milk is heated, remove from heat and allow to sit and cool, so the infusion will be created.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat the egg yolks with the sugar until light and thick.

Once the infusion has fully cooled, strain the leaves out of the milk with a sieve, squeezing the milk out of the leaves with your very, clean hands. Then, pour it into the bowl with the eggs and sugar. Whisk the mixture together, and then pour it back into the large saucepan. Cook the mixture over a medium high heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat, cool and then refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight. The colder, the better.

When the gelato is ready to be frozen, get your double boiler out. If you don’t have one, you can do this:

I f you don't have one, fake it!

I f you don’t have one, fake it!

 

Flavored is intensified with mint flavored chocolate

Flavored is intensified with mint flavored chocolate

I wanted to make sure my mint chip would be super minty, so I used a bar like this.

 

Lovely chocolate

Lovely chocolate…mmmmmm!

Break the chocolate up into pieces, so it will melt more easily.

Place water into the bottom of the pan, and the chocolate into the top part, taking care that water doesn’t mix with the chocolate. Melt the chocolate, remove from heat, and set aside.

 

The "chips" are made from "scribbling" the chocolate

The “chips” are made from “scribbling” the chocolate

You can “scribble” some chocolate into the bottom of the container you’re going to be putting the gelato into, and then put it into the freezer, so it will harden.

Freeze the gelato according to manufacturer’s instructions, and when it’s done, let the scribbling begin!

Break up the melted chocolate with a spoon

Break up the melted chocolate with a spoon

Pour spoonfuls of the gelato into the container, scribble the chocolate over it, then break it up with a spoon. The chocolate will harden pretty immediately, once it makes contact with the gelato, so it makes really nice “organic-looking” chips. It’s also fun to do! But you do want to move fast, so the gelato doesn’t melt before you get it into the freezer to cure. Continue until all the gelato is in the container, then freeze, preferably overnight.

 

Natural, Mint Chip Gelato

Natural, Mint Chip Gelato

This is very cool and refreshing!

Cool and refreshing!

Cool and refreshing!

 

A lovely, Summer treat

A lovely, Summer treat

 

Enjoy!

A Blackberry-Lemon Gelato, While Waiting for the Lilikoi to Fruit

blueberry-lemon

Anyone who knows me, knows I’m crazy about homemade gelato. I first started making it two years ago, when we acquired our ice cream maker, and after the first time I made it, I was hooked on everything about it. The idea of so many creative flavors… it can make your imagination soar! Now I’m getting anxious for the lilikoi vines to start fruiting, because it is my absolute favorite flavor. So I figured it was time to try something to hold me over. We bought a pint of blackberries at Costco over the weekend, and I figured I probably should use them sooner, rather than later. Sifting through many gelato recipes, I was trying to find one that didn’t have tons of sugar or fat. After all, that’s the whole point of making gelato, rather than ice cream. I did find one, but it was using totally different fruit than what I have, though I liked one feature of it. But, I noticed it was poorly written and it was confusing. So I took a couple of the ingredients from that recipe, and I figured I’d stick with my own method that I use for my lilikoi one. Here’s what I used and what I did…

2 cups fresh blackberries

¼ cup blackberry jam

¼ cup water

¼ teaspoon salt

2/3 cup sugar

3 large egg yolks

2 cups whole milk

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon lemon zest

There are three main steps in the process of preparing this recipe, at least before the freezing of it. I’ve learned to take my time with gelato, just because it seems to need a lot of chilling at various phases.

First, combine the berries, water, salt and jam in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and let it simmer gently for about 10 minutes, stirring it occasionally. Remove from heat and let it cool a bit. With an immersion blender, whir until mostly smooth. I say “mostly,” because the seeds will still be there. Get a sieve and strain them out~ you’ll likely be surprised at how many there are. Set the berry mixture aside.

Eggs & sugar should be thick and light

Eggs & sugar should be thick and light

Secondly, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar, until it’s very thick and light in color. Add the milk and combine with the eggs and sugar.

Mixture will thicken like custard

the mixture will thicken like custard

Lastly, transfer the milk, eggs and sugar into a large sauce pan and cook over medium-high heat, stirring continuously. If you do this once, you’ll realize that gelato is really not much more than a kind of custard. You also want to keep the milk from boiling. You’ll know it’s done when the mixture coats the back of a spoon.

Blend in the berry mixture

Blend in the berry mixture

Add the berry mixture into the custard mixture and blend it in. When it’s fully cooled, blend in the lemon juice and zest. The lemon is really done to taste, since I’m using less than was originally called for. It adds wonderful tang and brightness to the berries, but I was worried about it getting bitter. I found these amounts worked well for my taste.

blended

This is now ready to be chilled, at least several hours, and preferably overnight. Gelato making takes patience!

The next day, (ideally) you can freeze the mixture in your ice cream freezer, according to manufacturer’s instructions. This will make about 4 cups of gelato, so you’ll need to spoon it into a large enough container, once it’s done being processed in the ice cream maker. Again, it should be frozen (or cured, as some will call it) overnight.

You will, of course, want to lick the freezer container! That’s when you’ll get an idea how tasty this is.

Blackberry-Lemon Gelato

Blackberry-Lemon Gelato

Of course, when it’s done, it’s totally drool-worthy….

Creamy

What is there not to love about gelato?

What is there not to love about gelato?

So when life hands you lemons, it’s time to go find some blackberries!

Gearing up for Cinco de Mayo~ Making Lime Sorbet out of “Lemons”

Cinco de Mayo is on Monday, and it’s always a day that I look forward to, because I love Mexican food. There was a time when that day was great excuse for  some major partying, (we’re talking lots of Pacifico Beers or maybe some margaritas) though I’m not much for that kind of craziness anymore. I did run across this idea and thought I’d try it, just because I thought the idea of margarita popsicles was kind of cute. I also needed an excuse to use my ice cream maker again, so this looked like a good start to kick off the frozen dessert season. Woo-hoo! Summer is such fun. However, I had a bit of a problem with them. In the picture associated with the original recipe, these popsicles looked truly frozen solid… and green! Mine did not look either way, I’m sorry to say.

I knew full well even before making them that alcohol really doesn’t freeze. Well, okay, maybe if you just use a little bit. The original recipe called for 2 tablespoons of tequila and 2 tablespoons of Grand Marnier. I swear that’s all I used and I followed the recipe to the letter. Let’s just say that those popsicle molds have been sitting in my freezer for the past four days and they still are not frozen. So I have an idea~ I’m going to try to salvage them by diluting the mixture and saving the popsicle molds for another day. This is so delicious, (I know this because I licked the ice cream freezer bowl!) that I must do something with it. The texture is really much more like a sorbet, so let’s just call it that.

Small bottles of tequila are good for something like this

Small bottles of tequila are good for something like this

An ice cream freezer is needed for this, so if you have one, now is the time to dig it out. If you don’t have one, I highly recommend getting one, because homemade frozen stuff is wonderful! It’s a great way to try some really creative things. Just be wary of popsicle recipes with booze in them that look like they’re frozen~ someone is pulling your leg.

You'll need lots of limes

You’ll need lots of limes

All that’s needed are:

Limes… lots of limes~ you’ll need to juice enough of them to make 1 cup

lemons, to yield 3 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice

1 orange, to yield 4 tablespoons of fresh orange juice

1 cup of water, to thin all that intense citrus juice

1 cup of sugar

¼ teaspoon lime zest (optional)

2 tablespoons of tequila

2 tablespoons of Grand Marnier

You’ll also need a little kosher salt for garnish

(The above ingredients are after adjusting the recipe)

Stir continually while cooking

Stir continually while cooking

In a small sauce pan, combine the citrus juices, lime zest if using, water and sugar over medium heat, stirring continuously until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Stir in the tequila and Grand Marnier, then chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour.

 

The mix should be slushy

The mix should be slushy

Once it’s chilled, freeze in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions or process with a blender, then pour into a freezer tray or container.

Pour into a container to freeze

Pour into a container to freeze

It should be nice and slushy! This should be enough to make 4-6 servings.

Freeze until hard (or kind of hard) or for at least 8 hours.

Rescued popsicle

Rescued margarita popsicle

 

Slushy margarita sorbet~ very tasty!

Slushy margarita sorbet~ very tasty!

Garnish with a lime slice and a little salt. Enjoy!