Thursday, February 28, 2013

Lime Gelato

1 C lime juice
zest of 1 lime
1 C sugar
1 C heavy cream
optional: ¼ C loosely packed fresh mint leaves

Heat the lime juice, zest and sugar (and mint) in a sauce pan, stirring frequently, until sugar dissolves. (I like lime fairly tart, but at this point you can taste -- carefully, it's hot! -- and add additional sugar if desired.) Cool in refrigerator until well chilled. Strain to remove zest (and mint). Add heavy cream and immediately churn in ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. Serve immediately or transfer to an airtight container and freeze for a firmer consistency.

This was great on its own, but I also really liked it swirled with my raspberry gelato!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Homemade Ricotta Cheese

...pictured on crostini with dried cranberries.

6 C  milk
2 C heavy cream
½ tsp salt
1 Tbls lemon juice
2½ Tbls distilled white vinegar

Line a sieve with cheesecloth or paper towels; place it over a bowl. Combine milk, cream and salt in large saucepan over medium heat. Bring to boiling, stirring occasionally. Add lemon juice and vinegar; cook another minute or two, stirring constantly, until mixture curdles. Pour into lined sieve and let drain (approximately 20 minutes, more for thicker/dryer cheese). Store in airtight container in refrigerator -- for up to a week.

It would be easy to add in fresh herbs and infuse various flavors into a ricotta spread, ravioli or lasagna filling, etc. Lots of possibilities! :)

Orange Butter

I've made apple-butter before, so I was intrigued when I came across this recipe for Orange Butter. It was delicious on breakfast crepes. I'll try it tomorrow morning on toast. It's also a less-sweet option for an ice cream topping, or drizzled over a bowl of fresh fruit...

½ C butter 
½ C sugar
½ C fresh orange juice
1 tsp orange zest
½ lemon, juiced
1 tsp Grand Marnier (or other orange-flavored liqueur)

Combine sugar, butter, juices and zest in saucepan and cook for 10 minutes until caramelized to a rich, golden color. Remove from heat, and liqueur; return to heat and whisk until reduced and syrupy -- about another 10 minutes. Remove from heat; cool. Serve slightly warm.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Orange Ice Cream

2½ C orange juice (about 6 or 7 oranges)
2-3  Tbls  orange zest 
2/3 C lemon juice
1½ C heavy cream
2 C half and half
9 egg yolks
1 C sugar
2 tsp vanilla

Zest and juice the oranges; you need 2½ C juice and at least 2 tablespoons of zest (more gives a stronger flavor).

Combine orange juice, lemon juice and vanilla; set aside. In medium saucepan, combine cream, half and half, and orange zest. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat. If desired, strain mixture to remove zest and smooth any lumps.

In a large bowl, whisk egg yolks and sugar until thickened and pale yellow. Continue whisking constantly, adding hot cream mixture. Stir in citrus juice mixture. Chill. Process in ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. Serve immediately or transfer to an airtight container and freeze for 2-3 hours for a firmer consistency.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Italian Meringue Vanilla Frosting

1½ C sugar
½ C water
½ C egg whites (4 or 5)
1½ C butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
optional: food coloring

Mix sugar and water in small sauce pan; cook over high heat until syrup reaches 248°. While syrup is heating, beat egg whites until stiff, but not dry. Pour hot syrup in a thin, steady stream into whipped egg whites* with beaters running; continue to beat until mixture is  no longer hot. Cool to room temperature.

Beat in softened butter a little at a time, beating until butter is incorporated and mixture is smooth after each addition. Add vanilla (or another desired flavor extract) and food coloring, if desired.

* Pouring the HOT syrup into the egg whites cooks them, eliminating the danger of salmonella contamination associated with raw eggs.

Buttercream frosting can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to a week. Bring to room temperature and re-beat to restore smooth texture.