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Monday, July 18, 2011

From The Little Catholic Kitchen: Two Refreshing and Quick Summer Desserts

In The Little Catholic Kitchen, we use simple ingredients that are easy to find to make something special. To find more recipes, visit The Little Catholic Kitchen. Bless us, O Lord, and these, thy gifts, which we are about to receive from thy bounty through Christ, Our Lord. Amen!

Vanilla Lemonade Sorbet

(photo copyrighted by Roger L. Blease)

This dessert is easy to make and deliciously refreshing, especially on a hot summer day. While the cicadas chimmy, sit back and enjoy the freshness of summer berries heaped over scoops of this icy treat. All ingredients are to taste, except the water. Use as little or as much of sugar, vanilla, and lemon juice you would like. Make it sweet, or tart, or sweet-tart. Feel free to use a sugar substitute, such as Stevia, but be sure to adjust the amount since substitutes are extra, extra sweet.

1 c. granulated sugar

1 c. bottled lemon juice

dash of vanilla

4 c. of water

sprig of mint for garnish

special equipment: electric ice cream maker (be sure your maker has a large enough capacity for 5 cups of liquid. If you are not sure, it would be better to cut the recipe in half.)

Yields: 1 1/2 quarts

In a mixing bowl, whisk together all ingredients. While your ice cream maker is ON, pour in the mixture in a thin stream. Process in machine until it looks like a soft Italian ice. Remove sorbet from machine and place in a large plastic container. Freeze to almost harden, about one hour. Scoop into serving bowls and serve immediately. If you would like, top with berries (the berries in the picture were just handpicked), blueberries, or strawberries. This is also delicious served as a slushy, in a tall glass with a straw.

Note: If you freeze the sorbet overnight, it will be as hard as a rock. Simply remove it from freezer about 20 minutes before serving. The sorbet in the picture was frozen overnight. As you can see, it still made a beautiful presentation, and I think it tasted ever better after the flavors had time to meld together.

Vanilla Ice Cream In A Snap

It takes just five minutes to make the cream mixture. You'll need an ice cream maker, of course.

Two years ago, we gave all our brothers and sisters ice cream makers for Christmas, but we didn't buy one for ourselves. During the following summer, we dreamed about fresh ice cream and all kinds of frozen desserts. As if on cue, recipes popped out of the now-defunct Gourmet magazine and cried out, "Get an ice cream maker!!" Funny, we never noticed those recipes before. So, last summer there was no need for dreaming. My husband surprised me with a Cuisinart model that came with an extra mixing cylinder. it!

The first time I made this recipe, I thought I would be good and use just a little salt. The result was a dessert that tasted just like frozen whipped cream, and it had a funny way of coating our teeth. Hmm. While we were happy to have it, it was a disappointment. Then it dawned on me that it was all about the salt. So, while I have listed here merely a dash, you should make it a BIG dash--the kind you see TV chefs tossing into their recipes while they say, "Now we need just a little salt." You might also want to keep this in mind for the vanilla, too. While 3/4 tsp. seems to be the standard (as thus that's how I have it listed), I really don't measure. I pour it in while counting "one, one-thousand." I'm sure that comes out to more than 3/4 teaspoon.

One more note: While you are pouring the mixture into the ice cream maker, be sure the maker is already running. Then pour the mixture in a steady stream. If you don't do these two things, the liquid will immediately freeze to the sides of the cylinder. (This is another beginner's mistake I made.)

Easy and tasty!

Yields: about 1 1/2 quarts

1 c. whole milk

2 c. heavy whipping cream

3/4 c. sugar

dash of salt, preferably sea salt (which is a little sweeter than kosher or table salt)

3/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract

special equipment: ice cream maker with frozen cylinder, silicone spatula, deep container for freezing finished product.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together all ingredients until they are well combined. The sugar will not dissolve completely; this is normal.

With the ice cream maker already running, pour the mixture into the cylinder in a steady stream. Use a silicon spatula to scrape all ingredients out of the bowl and into the cylinder.

Run the machine about 25 minutes. Test the ice cream by gently dipping in a spoon (keep the machine running). If it stands firmly on the spoon and seems like "soft serve" in texture, it is ready. Remove the machine's lid and blade, and scoop the ice cream into a deep container. Cover tightly and refrigerate. In about an hour or two, the ice cream should be nice and firm and easy to scoop out.


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