Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Cactus Fruit (Tuna) Sorbet

Kroger had some gigantic tunas for sale that already had all the fine barbs removed (so you can handle them with bare hands), so I picked up a couple. While I was tempted to just plow through them raw, I've been on a sorbet-making kick, and Ross has been on a sorbet-eating kick. So I figured I'd make another frozen treat to enjoy after our Tuesday risotto (for some reason, we eat risotto ever Tuesday). This is much more labor-intensive process than the other sorbets I've posted lately, because the cactus pears require more work to eradicate the seeds. However, once you strain them, there's always a good amount of pulp leftover that's still attached to the seeds., which I really am loathe to see go to waste. I deal with this by incorporating it into the syrup, giving the finished sorbet the flavor of both cooked and raw pears. It's a nice, refreshing treat that uses less sugar than my normal base does, because the fruits are already so sweet. Hope you enjoy!

8-9 ounces, after peeling, prickly pear cactus fruits
juice of 2 limes
2/3 cup sugar
2 cups water
1-2 tablespoons agave nectar

Put the peeled fruits in a fine mesh strainer, and with a pestle, push the fruit and juice through the sieve. Set the seeds and and pulp that didn't go through the strainer aside (this should be between 3.4 - 4 ounces) in one container, and the juice and pulp that did go through (4.6 - 5 ounces) in another. Add the agave and lime juice to the pear juice. Boil your sorbet base (the sugar and the water), and as soon as the sugar is dissolved, add the seeds and unstrained pulp (rinse out this container) to the mix, bringing it back up to a boil. Boil for 5-7 minutes, then remove from heat and strain back into the container. Cool for 20 minutes, then add the lime and cactus mixture. Put it in the refrigerator until cold, then process for 15-20 minutes in your ice cream maker. Transfer to another container and freeze until ready to eat. Serves 2-4.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Orange Sherbet

Okay, so this isn't a true sherbet. But it's basically the same flavor. Ross seemed to particularly enjoy this one, given that he ate the entire container in about 15 minutes flat. For some reason, we have a ton of orange juice concentrate in the freezer, but we don't use it to make orange juice (we buy a different, not from concentrate, brand, or squeeze it fresh). So, it needs to be used but not by being thrown or given away. Hope you enjoy!

1 cup sugar
2 cups water
6 ounces frozen orange juice concentrate or 1 cup fresh juice
2-4 tablespoons Arabic-style yogurt (or Greek, or whatever you buy)

Boil the sugar and the water for 5 minutes after the sugar dissolves. Add in the orange juice immediately, and let cool for about 10 minutes. Whisk in the yogurt (this takes some time, so be patient). Refrigerate overnight, then process in ice cream maker. Makes a bit less than a quart.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Mango-Orange Sorbet

We are definitely taking advantage of the ice cream maker loan. With lots of sorbets, mostly. Here's another one - hope you enjoy!

1 overripe mango (I realize how difficult it is to leave it in the fridge until it's overripe) or 1 cup of frozen and thawed mango, mashed with a potato masher
1 6-ounce container frozen orange juice (or fresh orange juice)
1 cup sugar
2 cups water

Once your mango is mashed, mix it with the orange juice. I like to only mash the mango most of the way, so you get little bits of flesh. Boil the sugar and water, and let it boil for about 5 minutes. After that, let it cool for 10 minutes or so, and add the orange and mango mixture. Let cool in fridge until cold, then process for 15-20 minutes in your ice cream maker. Makes a bit less than a quart.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Minestrone (Round Two)

I have a sick friend, and so I wanted to make her some food to eat. Nothing in the world is worse than trying to feed yourself when you're ill (to me, anyway). This makes A LOT, so be prepared. It freezes fine though, so even if you feel like it's too much, you'll have meals for rainy or sick days. I think I already have a minestrone recipe up here, but this also was redesigned, as with the holishkes). Hope you enjoy!


1/2 pound white beans, soaked and cooked (include some of the cooking liquid)
1 parmesan rind
1 large onion, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt as desired
1/2 gallon vegetable stock
5 cloves garlic, roughly minced
1 large bunch of kale, stems removed and roughly chopped
1 cup frozen spinach
1 zucchini, cut into large dice
3 carrots, thickly sliced
4 stalks celery, thickly sliced
1 head broccoli, cut up
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes (with juices)
1 tablespoon each: dried basil, dried marjoram
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 cup ditalini or shells

Heat oil in a very large pot (I used an 8-quart pressure cooker pot). Add onions plus some salt and cook until almost translucent at medium heat. Add garlic and cook for 5 more minutes. Add kale and
lemon, then put the lid on and let cook for 5 minutes. Add everything else and turn the heat to high. Bring to a boil, let boil 20 minutes, then reduce heat and simmer at least one hour. Add pasta 15 minutes before you want to serve. Serves many.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Italian Lemon Ice

I love this stuff, but since I don't live in Chicago I don't know where to get it. So I decided to make it myself. It's very, very simple. Hope you enjoy!

1 cup sugar
2 cups water
1 cup lemon juice
1/4 lemon, deseeded and VERY thinly sliced (rind and all)

Bring to a boil the sugar and water. When it's boiling and almost thick, remove from heat, let cool 20 minutes then add the lemon juice and lemon slices. Cool overnight (on the counter or in the fridge; my fridge is overstuffed so I did it on the counter). Put in an ice cream maker and process for 20-30 minutes. Taste, a lot, then put the rest in a container and stick it in the freezer. Serves 1-4, depending on how greedy you are.

Friday, October 05, 2012

Holishkes, Round Two

I decided to rework my entire system of making holishkes (stuffed cabbage), and I came up with something that blows my old methodologies out of the water. So I figured y'all might like to know about it. :) Hope you enjoy!

2 pounds ground beef (or lamb)
1 teaspoon each: allspice berries, peppercorns, coriander seeds
2 tablespoons salt (or whatever you like)
1 teaspoon dried mint and dried sumac
1/4 teaspoon celery salt, lemon pepper

1 cup basamati rice
1 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt

1 large onion, diced
1/4 cup lemon juice, divided

1/4 cup lemon juice
20 ounces water
1 15-ounce can tomato sauce

1 large cabbage

Bring a large pot of water to a boil (salted or not, as you wish). While it's coming to a boil, core your cabbage. Then put it in the boiling water for 10 minutes. Drain and cool until you can handle it with your hands.

Crush up the allspice, pepper and coriander (in a spice mill, or like me with a mortar and pestle; this takes longer w/ a mortar and pestle). Fry the meat, salted and with all the spices (meaning, when you put the meat in, put the spices in with it). Remove the meat from the grease, then fry your onion in it (with a couple tablespoons of lemon juice). When the onion is almost translucent, remove from heat. Cook the rice in the 1 1/2 cups of water and teaspoon of salt. Mix the onion, meat and rice together with another couple tablespoons of lemon juice.

Separate the cabbage leaves and spoon mixture into each one, rolling it up into a cigar or bundle. Place all the rolls into a 13x9 pan (if there's room leftover, I use an inverted souffle dish to take up the extra space). Mix together the remaining lemon, remaining salt, tomato sauce and 20 ounces of water. Pour on top of the cabbage rolls and bake for 60-75 minutes at 350F. Serves 5-8.

No picture, because I ate it all.