Concord Grape Sorbet

September 30, 2008

 

 

After moving last fall my sister had a bumper crop of concord grapes from the grape vine she inherited. Since she did not have the time or desire to do anything with them I gladly took a couple bags full.

I had made grape jam in the past and remembering how time consuming canning it seemed to be, I decided to find something else to make with them. Sorbet and a grape reduction sauce were what I was thinking. I wasn’t sure what I would do with the reduction sauce (crepes maybe?) but I wanted to try it. However I let it get away with me and it turned to jam. So I promptly put it in a jar in the fridge.

On to sorbet. It was actually quite simple although I had to make it over the course of several days due to time constraints. It was delicious for those last few hot days left of summer. Make sure before you begin that you have your ice cream maker already prepared.

Grape Sorbet

4 lbs concord grapes
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup water

(Some recipes add 1 Tbsp. vodka to the recipe to keep it from getting too frozen. I chose to leave it out. Just take it out a few minutes before you want to serve it and it scoops just fine. 

Combine all ingredients into a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 – 15 minutes. Stir and mash grapes occasionally with a potato masher.

Pour into a sieve or colander lined with cheese cloth set over a large bowl. Let sit for several hours or overnight in the fridge, stirring and mashing occasionally to extract all the juice. Some sediment will form and can be restrained through cheesecloth again if desired. You should have about 4 cups juice. It is quite sweet so you can add water to your taste. Pour juice into ice cream maker and mix according to the manufacturers instructions. Enjoy!

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When I started limiting wheat in my diet I was most bummed out about fresh crusty bread, pizza and pasta. I’ve discovered a delicious (and simple) GF french bread recipe from Bette Hagman’s “More From the Gluten Free Gourmet.” I have yet to find a pizza crust I really like but I have discovered pasta. I also found the deliciousness of fresh pasta that I had heard about but thought would be too hard to make.

I came across a gluten-free pasta recipe and decided to try it. I’m amazed at how simple it is to make. I mix it mostly in my Kitchen Aid mixer and cut it by hand- usually fettuccini since it’s the quickest. Feel free to add any chopped herbs with the flour or try different flavored oils for a nice twist.

Gluten-Free Pasta

serves 4-6 people

2 cups amaranth or quinoa flour or a combination of both
1 1/4 cup tapioca flour
2 eggs
2 Tbsp olive oil or flavored oil
2-4 Tbsp water -I usually need to use a little more

Stir together flours in large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center and add remaining ingredients. Continue mixing until it starts to form a ball. Place on floured surface an knead until smooth and elastic (5-10min). Wrap in plastic wrap and let rest for 20 minutes. Roll out thinly and cut into preferred shape. Cook in boiling water approximately 4 minutes.
*adapted from http://www.recipes4us.co.uk

Homemade Pesto

2 cups packed fresh basil -washed and dried
2/3 cup olive oil
2/3 cup pine nuts
1/3 cup fresh Parmesan
2 large garlic cloves
1/2 tsp. salt

Process in food processor until well blended. Keeps 1 week in the fridge or 1 year in the freezer.

Lemon-Basil Sugar Cookies

September 5, 2008

Sorry I have been so absent. I’m not sure where August went. With an extended freelance job, kids activities, vacation and family in town, I didn’t have much time for anything else. September should be better.

I’ve been thinking about making this recipe for a while, after having dinner at a restaurant with friends. One of us ordered a dessert that had a Basil Sugar Cookie with it. I love to cook and love using herbs from my garden, but I had never thought of using herbs in cookies.

Upon researching online I discovered lavender is another herb that it often put in sugar cookies. I also had someone I know tell me rosemary is equally delicious. I have Lemon-Basil growing in my garden this summer and I had yet to use any. I love brushing my fingers against the soft leaves and enjoying the delicious lemony scent, but after trying the basil sugar cookie at the restaurant I thought “Why not Lemon-Basil?”

So finally today was the day. I decided to make these cookies gluten free since I hadn’t made gluten free cookies for a while but I will give the recipe for regular also. I learned an interesting tidbit about cut-out cookies too. Maybe everyone already knew this but I’d given up on cut-out cookies a few years ago. I had always used a table top, counter top or wax paper and my cookies always seemed to get stuck or mushed when I tried to scrape them off with a spatula, no longer resembling the cute little cookie cutter I’d picked out to use. But using a floured, well worn tea towel works great for rolling out the dough. No need for a spatula with the towel. The cookies don’t stick!

Using lemon-basil gives these cookies a light lemony flavor. They are delicious with a cup of tea and I think they would also be delicious with some vanilla ice cream, a berry sorbet or maybe just some fresh fruit.

Lemon-Basil Sugar Cookies

1 ½ cups powdered sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 ½ teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
2 ½ cups gluten free flour mix (or all purpose flour)
*2 teaspoons xanthan gum if using gluten free flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 Tablespoons fresh chopped lemon basil (or other herb)
Granulated sugar for sprinkling

** Gluten free flour mix – 2 c. brown rice flour, 2/3 c. potato starch, 1/3 c. tapioca flour

Beat powdered sugar and butter in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed. Stir in vanilla and egg. Combine flour, xanthan gum (if using), baking soda and cream of tartar in medium bowl and add to sugar mixture. Add chopped lemon basil and stir until combined. Cover and refrigerate 2 hours or until firm.

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Roll half of dough at a time to 1/8 inch thick on floured cloth-covered surface. Cut into desired shapes and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Sprinkle with granulated sugar and bake about 8 minutes or until light brown. Remove to wire rack to cool.