Saturday, July 23, 2011

Always Lead with Hospitality!

It's brain-melting hot here on the hillside. So, while I'm gearing up to get some essays together for your reading pleasure, how about a little refreshment?

The lemon sorbet I buy at the food store costs nearly $5.00 for a quart-sized container. Cheap lady that I am, I knew there must be a better way to cool down on a moment's notice! Don't worry if you're not a "cook": I've included a fancy-free, single-ingredient suggestion at the bottom of the Alternate Flavors.

You need:
- 4 cups water (if you own a counter-top ice chipper, you only need 2 cups of water to make a flavored syrup)
- 2 large (or 3 small) lemons
- 3/4 cup sugar (or equivalent measure sugar substitute of your choice)
- 1 black tea bag (optional)
- 1 sprig mint (6-10 leaves) (optional)
- heat-safe mixing bowl
- micro-plane
- citrus reamer
- whisk or fork
- freezer-safe container with lid

Wash and dry the lemons. Micro-plane ("zest") their rinds into the water. Scrape the yellow, outer rind only; the white rind is very bitter and will spoil your batch. Heat water to the boiling point (stove top or microwave). Stir in sugar until dissolved. Steep the tea bag and mint in the lemon-zest-sugar water; let stand covered until desired strength of flavor. Juice the lemons into your syrup mixture (pulp optional).

I like to prepare my solution the evening before I want to freeze will take about 3 hours for the initial freezing process to begin, so refrigerating the solution overnight gives me the whole next day to work on the ice.

Pour the finished solution in a freezer-safe container (uncovered), and move it to the freezer. When the ice crust begins to form, break it down with a whisk or fork, turning the ice under the liquid solution. Check the solution hourly to prevent it freezing into a giant ice glob. IMPORTANT: If you forget, or get side-tracked, and find your batch is frozen solid, simply return the container to the fridge and let it melt. Begin the freeze process again later. No biggie!

Keep breaking and mixing the ice/liquid mixture until the entire batch is frozen, but flaky. Cover the finished product; it will keep up to several weeks (theoretically!).

Scoop and enjoy! Your friends and neighbors will find you very attractive, I promise.

Alternate Flavors:
- plain lemon
- orange
- blood orange
- lime
- tea (you will need to steep 3-4 bags to get a good, intense tea-only flavor)
- if you don't fancy yourself handy in the kitchen, use frozen orange juice or grape juice concentrate (about 1/2 a thawed container for 3-4 cups water)

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