July 2011

Strawberry Mousse Ice Cream

Tuesday, Jul 12 2011 Cooking!


Strawberry season came and went in the blink of an eye. The oversized, well-manicured berries from the perma-sunny environs of California and Mexico (as those above) are still on the shelves here in Portland. But for three short weeks, we were spoiled with pints of fresh Mount Hood strawberries. Sadly, the diminutive, beautiful, luscious, juicy jewels have already passed us by. But before they made their disappearance, I was able to polish up an iconic summer recipe, just in time for a 4th of July fête.

Drawing inspiration from Recipes from an Italian Summer, I restyled a wild strawberry ice cream into a dairy-free incantation. While mentally adjusting the ingredient ratios, I inadvertently used twice the amount of guar gum I had intended. This proved a happy accident, yielding a rich and flavorful ice cream with a decadent mousse-like texture. The silky mouth-feel, in harmony with the complex earthy palette of the berries, yielded results akin to summer in a bowl.

This recipe may well work with your standard-fare fresh or frozen supermarket strawberries (I can’t vouch because I haven’t tried either… yet). But, if you are able to get your hands on a pint of deliciously small and sweet heirloom varietals, you are in for a truly special treat.
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Aguas Frescas

Thursday, Jul 7 2011 Cooking!

After your party devours half a watermelon for the evening, the remainder inadvertently sits untouched for some time, maybe eventually abandoned to the fridge, just hoping for another chance. If that condition plagues your watermelon in these early days of summer, I implore you to turn it’s sweet pink flesh into the classic, fresh, south-of-the-border beverage, aguas frescas. Sweet, non-alcoholic fruit coolers, agues frescos (translated, means fresh waters), is a sure bet to beat the summer heat and quench your barbecue thirst. Usually just fruit, water and sugar (with just a hint of lime juice), this beverage is a fabulous way to use past-it’s-prime or not quite perfect summer fruit and serves as a fabulous accompaniment to a plate of spicy tacos. My favorite so far is strawberry and watermelon (it truly tastes like summer, trust me), but aguas frescas can be used with any of the fruits that are in abundance this season. When you go for fresh and ripe, beverage bliss awaits.

Aguas de Fresa y Sandía watermelon and strawberries

1/2 watermelon, rough chopped
1 cup fresh or frozen strawberries
8 cups water
few mint leaves
juice of 1 lime
15 drops stevia, or 1/4 cup sugar (or more, to taste, depending on the sweetness of your fruit)

Basic Aguas Frescas for any fruit

3 cups fresh fruit
8 cups water
sugar, 1/4 cup or more to taste
Juice of 1 lime (optional) Read More »

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