Cherry Blossom Collins

My husband gets the credit for this sweet, refreshing, summertime drink. (I think it would make a delightlful ice cream or sorbet, once I work out the details.) 

Makes 2

  • 1/3 Cup Water
  • 1/3 Cup Sugar
  • Approx. 1/3 Cup Frozen Cherries, diced or pureed
  • 2 Tsp. Loose Green Tea (recommended: Cherry Blossom Green Tea)
  • 10-20 Basil Leaves
  • 1/2 Cup Gin

In a small saucepan, dissolve the sugar in the water.  Add the cherries and bring to a boil, remove from heat and add tea and basil.  Allow to steep for 1 hour.  Strain into a measuring cup (should have about 1/2 cup). 

Fill a shaker with ice, combine cherry-tea syrup and gin, shake until cold.  Serve in a Collins glass over ice.  Garnish with cherries and basil leaves, if desired.

Peach Ice Cream

I didn’t expect good, ripe peaches to be available yet, but I was thrilled to find some the other day (BTW, the only way to tell is to smell them- overwhelming peachy scent= ripe and delicious), so I decided to use them to make peach ice cream.  This recipe, by Curtis Aikens, was divinely creamy and peachy.  It is very important to chop the peaches very finely, or they will create hard bits in the ice cream that don’t lend much flavor. 

Next time, I think I will add a bit more peaches (because I love them) and perhaps puree some of them, but on the whole, it was a delicious dessert. 

PEACH ICE CREAM, by Curtis Aikens

Ingredients

  • 2 cups chopped fresh or frozen peaches, peeled if preferred
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons peach brandy
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 egg yolks

Directions

In a bowl combine peaches, 1/2 cup sugar, lemon juice and peach brandy. Cover and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours or overnight, stirring occasionally. Remove peach mixture from refrigerator and drain juice into a cup. Return peaches to refrigerator.

In a saucepan combine 3/4 cup sugar, heavy cream, milk and vanilla. Bring just to a boil.

In bowl whisk egg yolks. While whisking stream in about 1/3 of the boiled cream mixture. While whisking cream and sugar mixture, stream in egg and cream mixture. Return to the heat and continue to heat while stirring. Mixture will thicken as it returns to a boil. Remove from heat and strain into a bowl set over ice. Add the reserved peach juice.

Transfer the mixture to an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. After the ice cream begins to stiffen, when very close to done, add the peaches and continue to freeze until done. Variation: Use fresh raspberries

This is not the best pizza crust that I have ever had

It is, however, far better than any delivery pizza that I’ve ever tried, and can be made into pizza, start to finish, in less time than it takes for the driver to get here with a pie. 

  •  1/2 Cup + 2 TBS Warm Water
  • 2 1/8 Tsp Dry Yeast
  • 1/8 Cup (2 TBS) Vegetable Oil
  • 1/8 Cup (2 TBS) Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 TBS Sugar
  • 2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
  • Toppings of choice (I like mozzarella cheese, tomato sauce with a little sautéed garlic, red pepper, and oregano mixed in, hot Italian sausage, and pineapple best)

Pre-heat oven to 375.  Mix water and yeast in the bowl of a mixer.  Mix in the oil and sugar, then add the flour gradually.  Mix until a smooth dough is formed, adding a little more flour if the dough is sticky.  Press the dough out on a pizza stone to form a round, approximately 10-12 inches in diameter.  Bake 10 minutes or until crust is just starting to turn golden.  While it is baking, gather toppings. 

Remove from oven and raise heat to 500 degrees.  Top pizza with sauce, cheese, and desired toppings.  Return to oven for 6-8 minutes, or until crust is well browned and cheese is thoroughly melted and just starting to brown at spots.  Remove from oven and allow to rest at least 3 minutes before cutting.

Sweet and Fruity Drink for Summer

Based this off a drink that I had at one of my favorite restaurants the other night.

Makes 2

  • 1/4-1/3  Cup Raspberries (frozen and thawed are fine)
  • 3 Oz. Vodka Tequila (tried it both ways, Tequila is much better)
  • 2 Oz. Chambord
  • 1 Oz. Pama
  • Simple Syrup to taste (approx 1 Oz.)

Mix the vodka and raspberries and puree using blender or stick blender.  (If seeds offend you, you can strain this, but I prefer the pulp.)  Strain, pressing as much of the pulp through as possible with a rubber spatula.  Mix in Chambord, Pama, and simple syrup, shake well with ice.  Strain into martini glasses.  Serve immediately.

My Favorite Springtime Dessert

OK, if given the choice, I’d probably still take this pie (speaking of which, I should make that next week …mmmm), but since pie generally takes a bit of advance planning, it’s nice to have something on hand that celebrates the season without a lot of fuss. 
 
This isn’t a recipe per se, more of a “way” to prep fresh fruit in minutes with ingredients on hand.  When strawberries start appearing in the bargain flyers, we make this several times a week. 
 
For 2 people, roughly chop 6-7 large strawberries and place in a small bowl.  Stir in about a tablespoon or two of sugar, depending on your taste and the ripeness of the fruit, and about 1/2 tsp. balsamic vinegar.  If you happen to have some leftover wine or flat champagne around, toss in a couple teaspoons of that, too. 
 
Ideally, you would let that sit about an hour to macerate.  Ideally.  If not, (particularly if your berries started out cold), microwave on low (I use the defrost setting), stirring every 15-20 seconds, until the berries are just ever so slightly warm (not hot!) and the juices are red.  Set aside.
 
In a medium bowl, beat some cream (about 1/4 cup) to stiff peaks with about 1 tsp sugar, more or less to taste.  If you like, you can add vanilla extract, almond extract, amaretto, or whatever else you like, but it’s up to you.  (Tequilla gives an interesting flair).  
 
Divide the berries into 2 dishes (lovely in martini glasses) and top with whipped cream.  Delish!

It sounds kind of crazy, but

today I brulee’d a grapefruit.  And it was quite good.