Lemon buttermilk sherbet with honey lime strawberries + hints for zesting citrus

From Food52

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This is an absolutely lovely lemon sherbet. It is sweet and tangy with a slight richness to it. The lemon is not overbearing and I wouldn’t (didn’t?) hesitat to eat and thoroughly enjoy this sherbet as is. If you love lemon (like my husband and daughter), then you will really love this sherbet. The strawberry topping is not required, but it sure is tasty – honey, lime, and cardamom soaked strawberries. I love cardamom, so I was drawn to this recipe right away. Usually I use cardamom in winter baking, or in a mango lassi, but it is delightfully unexpected here. Myla LOVED these strawberries – I had to cut her off so I could save some to use in pictures.

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Now, let’s take a brief moment to switch gears and talk about zesting citrus (like for this sherbet). Zesting is removing the outer peel from the fruit, while leaving the bitter white pith behind. You can zest with a small hand held zester (if you’re feeling fancy), use a pairing knife for larger pieces of peel, or a microplane (what I use), which works great for getting zest into salad dressings or baked goods. If you tend to use zest, a microplane is a great (and inexpensive) tool to have around – bonus: now you can grate your own nutmeg, too. When using a microplane, hold the fruit in one hand and in your other, hold the microplane with the sharp side down. Run the microplane over the fruit; this way the microplane collects the zest and you don’t need to scrape it up. Organic produce is best as it doesn’t contain the waxy coating conventional fruit does. However, you can absolutely use conventional fruit, just be sure to wash them in hot water first. Then, for even better (read: easier) results when zesting, place your citrus in the refrigerator for at least four hours prior to zesting. Use zest right away. Like in this sherbet.

Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients

For the strawberries:

1 pound strawberries (use small, local strawberries if you can), hulled and thinly sliced

3 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice

1/4 teaspoon lime zest

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

For the sherbet:

2 lemons

1/3 cup water

2/3 cup sugar

2 cups buttermilk, well shaken*

Directions 

Put the strawberries in a large heatproof bowl (do not use metal). In a small saucepan, combine the honey and the lime juice and bring to a boil. Stir in the lime zest and the cardamom, remove from the heat, and pour over the strawberries. Stir the strawberries to coat them in the syrup, then let stand, stirring once or twice, for at least 25 to 30 minutes, until the berries are soft and plump, bathing in a bright red juice.

Make the sherbet: Zest one of the lemons and set aside. Juice both of the lemons and set the juice aside. In a small saucepan, combine the water and sugar. Add in the lemon zest and set over medium heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Pour the mixture into a heatproof bowl and set in the refrigerator until completely chilled. Once the syrup has cooled, whisk in the buttermilk (* if you don’t have buttermilk, combine 2 cups whole milk with the lemon juice and let stand for at least five minutes) and the reserved lemon juice (if applicable). Process according to your ice cream maker’s instructions then freeze completely until solid.

Serve the sherbet with heaping spoonfuls of macerated strawberries overtop.

Alton Brown’s chocolate ice cream + a general guide to cooking your ice cream base

From Food Network, Amazing cake by Smitten Kitchen

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Every year for Nathan’s birthday I buy him an ice cream cake from a certain ice cream place. It’s packed with chocolate and vanilla ice cream and an amazing fudge and cookie crumble center. Because I am making our ice cream this summer, I decided to tackle his birthday cake as well. Enter the counterpart to Alton Brown’s Vanilla Ice Cream – chocolate ice cream. This chocolate ice cream is exactly perfect. Creamy, smooth, thick, and, of course, full of chocolate flavor. A definite win.

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So let’s talk about cooking your ice cream, which many recipes require because they often contain eggs. Eggs make ice cream soft, smooth, rich, and custardy (yes, please). Usually I cook the base the night before, so that the mixture can cool completely before going into the machine. It’s almost like making pudding, but easier. Homemade pudding and I don’t always get along, as I frequently mess it up. But cooking ice cream? Easy.

For this recipe, you first need to simmer the liquid ingredients with the cocoa powder. Whatever you do, do not let your ice cream base boil. Just keep a close eye on it. While the base is heating up, you will whisk the egg yolks and sugar together, preparing to temper them. If you add egg yolks to really hot liquid, you scramble the yolks – not what you’re going for! So you temper the egg yolks. This is done by slowly slowly slowly pouring a thin stream of the simmering liquid into the yolks/sugar, while constantly whisking. This ensures that the egg yolks slowly warm up while preventing scrambled eggs. Once you have whisked in about a third of the simmering liquid, you will pour the yolk mixture back into the pot with the remaining liquid. Your yolks are nice and warm, and not scrambled. Now you can slowly heat your mixture (keep stirring to prevent scorching) to 170-175 F. If you don’t have an instant read candy or meat thermometer, just wait until the mixture thickens a bit and coats the back of a wooden spoon. When you run your finger down the back of the spoon, a clear line should form. If it fills in quickly or drips a lot, it’s not ready yet. Once it’s finished, you can let the mixture cool to room temperature (to prevent condensation from forming on the lid) and then cover it and place it in the refrigerator. The next morning (or even the next afternoon or evening), you can pour it into the machine and enjoy amazing custard ice cream. Yay for you!

Now back to the ice cream. And oh this cake. I’m not going to lie – the homemade ice cream was a hit. But the homemade fudge sauce is to die for. It’s thick and rich and when frozen is chewy and melt-in-your mouth good. Oh, and it takes all of ten minutes to put together. Check out the link to this ideal summertime cake; Deb from the Smitten Kitchen provides excellent instructions – homemade from start to finish. Ok, I bought the Oreo cookies and cherries because, hello, leftovers. And speaking of leftovers, this cake didn’t last long. At all.

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Chocolate Ice Cream

Yield: 1+ quart

Ingredients

1 1/2 ounces unsweetened cocoa powder, approximately 1/2 cup

3 cups half-and-half

1 cup heavy cream

8 large egg yolks

9 ounces sugar (a conservative 1 1/2 cups)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions

Place the cocoa powder along with 1 cup of the half-and-half into a medium saucepan over medium heat and whisk to combine. Add the remaining half-and-half and the heavy cream. Bring the mixture just to a simmer, stirring occasionally, and remove from the heat.

In a medium mixing bowl whisk the egg yolks until they lighten in color. Gradually add the sugar and whisk to combine. Temper the cream mixture into the eggs and sugar by gradually adding small amounts, until about 1/3 of the cream mixture has been added. Pour in the remainder and return the entire mixture to the saucepan and place over low heat. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens slightly and coats the back of a spoon and reaches 170 to 175 degrees F. Pour the mixture into a container and allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Stir in the vanilla extract. Place the mixture into the refrigerator and once it is cool enough not to form condensation on the lid, cover and store for 4 to 8 hours or until the temperature reaches 40 degrees F or below.

Pour into an ice cream maker* and process according to the manufacturer’s directions. This should take approximately 25 to 35 minutes. Serve as is for soft serve or freeze for another 3 to 4 hours to allow the ice cream to harden.

*If you have a 1.5 quart maker like me, you will need to do this in two separate batches.

Recipe courtesy of Alton Brown, 2005

Roasted strawberry milkshake + how to recognize a recipe worth making

From Food52

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This milkshake rocks my world. Let’s just take a moment and really let this soak in. Fresh picked strawberries roasted with sugar and lemon slices. Roasted, I said. Buttermilk, just to kick it up a notch. Premium vanilla ice cream. And refreshing mint. Are you drooling yet, or is it just me?

Besides this amazing milkshake, today I’d like to discuss my path to recognizing a potentially good recipe. Recipes are everywhere and how can you tell what to try? I’ve definitely made some that will never be repeated, but generally, most things I make are good. Some things we eat are great. And some are downright amazing (like this milkshake!). When I first began cooking at home, I leaned on recipes from popular websites. I never made anything that didn’t have great reviews – and I would read a lot of the reviews, as there can be so many great hints in the comments section. So that’s how I first started. Making recipes that lots of other people rave about. After doing this for several years, certain aspects of cooking became natural, or perhaps, more instinctual. I learned a lot – about methods, ingredient combinations, and what we like. I still read reviews (again, comments are often so helpful), but I do not rely on a rating system to determine whether or not I want to try a certain recipe. So now what do I do?

Now, when I read over a recipe, I take several things into account. First, the ingredients. Are they costly? Are they easily available? Are there a lot? Do they include things that my family tends to like? If they are too expensive (have to stay on budget!), too exotic (I don’t have time or money to purchase more exclusive ingredients that I can’t easily find at the local supermarket), or include things we generally don’t enjoy, I usually avoid it. Or perhaps the ingredients aren’t in season (then I save it for later). For me, preparing and cooking a meal needs to be somewhat quick, so if there are too many ingredients that require prep work (chopping, slicing, precooking), I will generally avoid it. Second, I look at the directions. If it is a long process, maybe I’ll save it for a weekend when my husband is home and can help take care of our 2 year old daughter. Or maybe it’s way too involved and I won’t even attempt it. Only if the recipe appears really good will I save it for when I eventually have more time. Now, after cooking at home for 5+ years, the amount of work involved has changed, or rather, all the practice has paid off. Something that appeared time consuming three years ago is now a piece of cake. Third, I look at the combination of ingredients. Sometimes they include all things we enjoy – this usually indicates a recipe sure to please. Sometimes there’s something funky thrown in that I am willing to try.  Sometimes, there is no way I’m convinced to give it a go, which leads me to my next point – consider the source. Some random Pinterest post? Maybe not so trustworthy. An author or blogger whose food I have made a lot and come to love? Yep, I’ll take a chance on one of those recipes, sure thing. Find a blogger or chef who you relate to. Get the cookbook, read the blog, and try out some new stuff. Last, and most importantly, learn from your choices. Take risks, learn from them. Maybe you’ll discover the wonder of watermelon in a green salad or how putting vegetables in the oven adds a depth of flavor that only roasting can achieve. Learn from your mistakes. Maybe you can’t stand fennel – find a substitution. Keep trying until you get it right (can you say crepes? Fourth times the charm!). Learn to recognize key ingredients you love, and expand from there (hint: black sesame seed ice cream, coming soon).

So, to recap: Consider the ingredient list, but don’t be afraid to take a chance. Make sure the directions are not overwhelming for your situation. Consider the ingredient combination and be sure to keep in mind the trustworthiness of the source of your culinary explorations. Practice, and most importantly, learn from what you do.

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Now back to this milkshake. I knew I would make this recipe the instant I glanced it over. Fresh strawberries? Yes. Roasted fresh strawberries? Hell yes. Buttermilk? Different, but why not – it’s great in pancakes, as it adds a little tang. Ice cream? That’s the whole point of a milkshake. And mint? Hmmm, haven’t tried it in a milkshake (until now), but it’s not uncommon to be paired with fruit.  So I very eagerly tried this recipe. And I have never tasted a better milkshake.

Yield: 2 servings

Ingredients

For the roasted strawberries:

1 pound fresh strawberries (from the market if you can get them), hulled and halved

3 to 4 tablespoons turbinado sugar, depending on sweetness of berries

Pinch of salt

4 to 5 thin lemon slices

For the milkshake:

1 pint good vanilla ice cream

1/4 cup good-quality buttermilk*

Leaves from 3 healthy mint sprigs

Roasted strawberries

Directions

First, roast the strawberries: Heat oven to 375° F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment or a Silpat (the rim is important: the berries will release a lot of juice!), and toss the berries with the sugar right on the baking sheet. Sprinkle them with a pinch of salt, and lay the lemon slices evenly over the top. Roast for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring once or twice, until the fruit is soft, has released its juice, and the juice has started to thicken just slightly. Remove the lemon slices and let cool completely. These can be made a day ahead.

Then, make the milkshake: Pile everything in a blender and blend! Feel free to add a little more buttermilk if you like a thinner consistency. Pour into glasses and serve.

*don’t have buttermilk? Make your own! Mix 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or distilled white vinegar in one cup of milk. Let stand for five minutes, then use according to recipe directions.

Easy strawberry watermelon and chia smoothie

Barely adapted from Eat Thrive Glow

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It’s summer! Time for drinks and loads of fresh fruit. Why not combine them both? This smoothie is ideal for when you take a moment, sit back and relax, and soak up some sun. The watermelon is delightfully thirst quenching and the strawberries and limes make it taste like summer in a glass. It’s best when fresh, in season ingredients are used. And for you adults out there, throw some rum in there, because why not?

Yield: 2 servings

Ingredients

 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice

2 cups watermelon chunks

1 cup frozen strawberries*

4 teaspoons chia seeds

1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

2 teaspoons maple syrup (or to taste)

Optional: adults only, add 2 oz of clear rum (such as Bacardi, you don’t need top shelf in this)

Directions

Blend all ingredients, except chia seeds, together. If applicable, remove blender blades and stir in chia seeds (otherwise pour into 2 glasses and stir in 2 teaspoons of chia seeds per glass) – cleaning chia seeds from blender blades is not fun. Let sit for ten minutes (to let chia expand). Enjoy!

*use in season strawberries for the most flavor – find them at farmers markets, roadside stands, or pick your own. Freeze overnight before using. 

Layered mango berry smoothie

lnspired by no gojis, no glory

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To finish mango week, I made mango pizza and this smoothie (not pictured because we ate it too fast, dessert: vanilla ice cream with fresh, local strawberries).  I topped this smoothie with a mango slice and some goji berries, which added a really nice crunch. These layers are very different, but really compliment one another – light and fruity. It was the perfect refreshing accompaniment to a cheesy pizza dinner. 

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Yield: about three pint sized smoothies

Ingredients

Bottom layer

1 cup frozen blueberries

1/2 cup frozen strawberries

1 tablespoon maple syrup (or sweetener of your choice)

1 cup coconut milk (I used from a carton, coconut water would be great here, too)

Top layer

1 cup frozen mango

1/2 cup frozen peaches

1 tablespoon honey (or sweetener of your choice)

3/4 – 1 cup water (or coconut water)

Mango slices and goji berries to top (optional)

Directions

Blend all of the ingredients for the bottom layer and pour into three or four glasses. Wipe out the blender so colors don’t mix. Blend all of the ingredients for the top later. It should be fairly thick – add a little extra water only if you need to. Layer on top of purple mixture. Top with mango slices and goji berries, if desired. 

Pizza dough + mango pizza

Lovingly and constantly used from the Smitten Kitchen

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This recipe is all about the pizza dough. It is FANTASTIC. I have been making it for the last year and have no intention of switching to any other recipe. First, it’s so easy to do. No kneading required. One bowl. Mixed in five minutes. Second, it turns out perfect every time. Consistency like this makes me happy. Last, this dough tastes amazing. It cooks up crunchy, all golden, blistered and charred just like an artisanal dough. We always devour it, no joke. The rising can take a while, but I always make this in advance and freeze the dough, so I use the long rising time (remember more rising = more flavor). The dough is super soft, so be patient while stretching it and shaping it. It takes me maybe five minutes to shape it – I use a round pizza pan, so I shape it on the pan and just continue to rotate the pan and stretch the dough. Please check out the original post (link above) for more detailed information or for varying formulas based on available rising time. Make this dough, I guarantee you will be just as smitten with it as I am. 

My dough is in the freezer – I made the last batch about a month ago. This is my sample of dough from the freezer, thawed at room temperature, in the sealed bag, from about 9 am until 5 pm.

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Be patient. Stretch the dough out.

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I’ll say it again. Be patient. Stretch the dough out.

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**For this recipe, begin between 8 and 9 p.m. the evening before for dinner between 6 to 8 p.m. (approx. 22-hour dough). Deb at the Smitten Kitchen has done an AMAZING job at guiding you through this recipe, or this recipe adjusted for different time frames. Check out the original post for more information!**

Yield: 2 twelve inch round pizzas (or two 9×13)

Ingredients

3 cups all purpose flour

Slightly heaped 1/8 teaspoon active dry yeast

1 1/2 teaspoons sea or kosher salt

1 1/4 cup water, plus an additional tablespoon or two if needed

Directions

In a very large bowl, mix all ingredients with a spoon. The dough will be craggy and rough; this is fine, but if it feels excessively so, add another spoonful or even two of water. Cover bowl with plastic and keep at room temperature for approximately 22 hours, or until the dough has more than doubled.

About 30 minutes before dough is ready, begin draining tomatoes if you’ll be making your own sauce (again see link for excellent advice on this dough). Prepare pizza stone and paddle sprinkling it with cornmeal. You can also use any old baking sheet you have around, however, the pizza tends to stick to these, so it is recommended that you prepare it by adding a very light, thin coat of olive oil or a nonstick cooking spray before sprinkling it with cornmeal. Heat oven to its highest temperature, usually between 500 and 550 degrees F. If you’re using a pizza stone, place it in the oven so that it heats too.

Flour your counter very well. Scrape dough out of bowl onto floured counter; in the time it has risen it should change from that craggy rough ball to something very loose, soft, sticky and stretchy. Flour the top of the dough, and divide dough in half (or more pieces, if you’re making smaller pizzas). Form them into ball-like shapes. Grab first round with floured hands and let the loose, soft dough stretch and fall away from your hands a few times before landing the dough on your prepared baking sheet/paddle. Use floured fingers to press and nudge dough into a roughly round or rectangular shape. Add desired fixings and bake pizza for 10 to 15 minutes, rotating if it’s baking unevenly, until the top is blistered and the crust is golden. Repeat with remaining dough.

Do ahead: Once risen and formed into ball-like shapes, the dough can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to 3 day days.  Or, as I prefer, triple this batch and make six pizza doughs at once. I usually just throw the divided dough balls in plastic freezer safe bags and store them in the freezer. Then, the night before I am going to use it, I just pull it out of the freezer (leaving it in the bag so it doesn’t dry out) and place it in the refrigerator to thaw.  If I decide that morning to make a pizza, I pull the dough out of the freezer and let it thaw on the counter inside the sealed bag at room temperature until that evening when I’m ready to use it.  I’ve had great success doing it this way, and I dirty less bowls (yay!).

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BONUS Mango Pizza Recipe

Ingredients

1 ball of homemade pizza dough (above)

1 ripe mango, chopped into small bite sized pieces

About 1/3 cup of your favorite pizza sauce (I use Pomi brand tomatoes, drained, with salt, pepper, and herbs – here I also added dry basil)

1-2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded (use the dry block kind, NOT the fresh stuff – it’s too watery)

1/2 cup parmesan cheese, shredded

Small handful fresh basil

Directions

Preheat your oven to the highest setting (500 or 550 F). Fit the dough to your pizza pan (see above). Add sauce to the pizza, then the mango and fresh basil. Finally, top with cheeses. Bake for 10-15 minutes, rotating if needed. Slide pizza onto a cutting board and slice into desired pieces.

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Mango chocolate bread

From Roxana’s Home Baking

Finally, a mango recipe and a yeasted bread recipe combined – and it includes chocolate! I searched and searched to find a suitable mango bread recipe. This bread is a bit crunchy around the outside and is soft on the inside, but it bakes quickly, so be sure to keep an eye on it. It reminds me of cinnamon raisin bread – whole wheat flour adds heartiness, subtle sweetness from the mango, a lightly sugared top, warm cinnamon flavor throughout, and of course the chocolate chips mixed in just put it over the top. I think this would be great toasted and with a pat of butter. Mango week just got a whole lot tastier. 

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Here we go! In a mixing bowl sift together the flours, salt, cinnamon and sugar.

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Make a well in the middle, add the lukewarm water and sprinkle the yeast on top. Stir and leave until the yeast dissolves and bubbles appear.

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Add the pureed mango and slowly start to mix.

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Add the melted butter and knead until all is incorporated and the dough comes clean form the sides of the bowl. This should take 2-3 minutes if using a stand up mixer.

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Finally add the chocolate chips and knead a little more.

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Take the dough out of the bowl, placed it in a clean greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature until doubled in volume.

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It’s going to be anywhere from 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours depending on your room temperature.

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When the dough is doubled, shape it into a log and place it on a baking sheet. Handle the dough as little as possible.

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Cover and let rise again for 45 minutes to an hour.

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Meanwhile heat the oven to 425F. Bake the bread in preheated oven for 35-40 minutes. Leave it to cool, dust with powdered sugar, and enjoy!

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Yield: one large or two smaller loaves

Ingredients

2 cups whole wheat flour

2 cups unbleached, all purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup lukewarm water

2 teaspoons yeast

1 cup puree mango

5 tablespoons melted butter (vegan if desired)

3/4 cup chocolate chips (vegan if desired)

confectioner’s sugar for dusting (optional)

Directions

In a mixing bowl sift together the flours, salt, cinnamon and sugar.

Make a well in the middle, add the lukewarm water and sprinkle the yeast on top. Stir and leave until the yeast dissolves and bubbles appear.

Add the pureed mango and slowly start to mix.

Add the melted butter and knead until all is incorporated and the dough comes clean form the sides of the bowl. This should take 2-3 minutes if using a stand up mixer.

Finally add the chocolate chips and knead a little more.

Take the dough out of the bowl, placed it in a clean greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature until doubled in volume. It’s going to be anywhere from 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours depending on your room temperature. Ideal would be ~70 degrees.

When the dough is doubled, shape it into a log and place it on a baking sheet. Handle the dough as little as possible.

Cover and let rise again for 45 minutes to an hour.

Meanwhile heat the oven to 425F.

Bake the bread in preheated oven for 35-40 minutes.

Leave it to cool, dust with powdered sugar, and enjoy!