Basil Honey Frozen Yogurt {Recipe} {Ice Cream Week}

It’s day two of Ice Cream Week, and today I’m featuring an original recipe for frozen yogurt. About this time of year, I’m always trying to come up with ideas to use fresh basil. With the hot weather we’ve been having, my basil plants are growing like gangbusters, and I like to use it in different ways (one can only eat and freeze so much pesto).

So I decided to try adding it to frozen yogurt. I used a combination of sweet and cinnamon basil, but you can use whatever kind you have. I might try it with a bit of Thai basil next time.

The flavors of honey and basil complement each other beautifully. This is sure to be a frequent repeat around here.

Basil Honey Frozen Yogurt

Ingredients

  • About 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 cups plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Directions

  1. Wash the basil leaves, then blot dry with a kitchen towel or paper towels.
  2. Chop basil leaves (a rough chop is fine) and place in small saucepan with honey and granulated sugar. Heat until sugar melts and the mixture just begins to boil, then remove from heat, cover, and let steep for 20 minutes.
  3. Mix yogurt, vanilla, and lemon juice in medium bowl. Strain honey mixture through fine mesh strainer into bowl with yogurt. Mix well.
  4. Chill yogurt mixture for several hours or overnight, then churn in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Eat soft or freeze for a few hours to harden.

Makes about 1 quart

On tap for tomorrow: Frozen Wine Slushy

And be sure to check out:

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Pimm’s No. 1 Punch Cup {Recipe}

Around this time last summer, I discovered Pimm’s No. 1, a gin-based liquor made in England from dry gin, liqueur, fruit juices, herbs, and spices. The formula is a well-kept secret. It is reported that only six people in the world know how it’s made. The taste is hard to describe. It’s light, fruity, a little spicy, with a hint of cucumber (yes, cucumber). You definitely don’t have to be a gin drinker to enjoy Pimm’s.

The classic Pimm’s drink, the Pimm’s No. 1 Cup, is commonly associated with Wimbledon. As with most classic (i.e., old) cocktail recipes, there are dozens of ways to make a Pimm’s cup. The “official” recipe, from the Pimm’s website, is 1 part Pimm’s No. 1 and 3 parts chilled lemonade, stirred together over ice, and garnished with one or more of mint, cucumber, orange, and strawberry. However, because British lemonade is carbonated and lemonade in the States tends to be still, many recipes call for a 1:2:1 ratio of Pimm’s, lemonade, and lemon-lime soda or seltzer.

I used the classic Pimm’s No. 1 Cup recipe as the basis for a party punch I made to take to a dinner party recently.  Here’s how I made it:

Pimm’s No. 1 Punch Cup

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 6-8 basil leaves
  • 5 strawberries
  • 3 limes
  • 1 small cucumber
  • 4 cups still lemonade
  • 1 bottle Pimm’s No. 1
  • 6 cups carbonated lemonade -or- 3 cups still lemonade and 3 cups lemon-lime soda

Directions

  • Muddle sugar and 4 basil leaves and place in large pitcher or container.

  • Chiffonade remaining basil leaves and add to pitcher with muddled basil.
  • Hull, wash, and slice strawberries. Add to pitcher.
  • Zest and juice 1 lime; slice remaining 2 limes. Add zest, juice, and slices to pitcher.
  • Slice cucumbers and add to pitcher.
  • Pour 4 cups still lemonade into pitcher and mix well, smashing fruit a bit to release juices. Add Pimm’s and stir to mix well.

  • Cover container and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  • Add carbonated lemonade (or remaining still lemonade and lemon-lime soda) and stir gently to mix.
  • Serve over ice, garnished with one or more of strawberries, lime wedges, cucumber slices, or sprigs of mint or basil.

Variation: Substitute mint sprigs for basil.

This is the last in a series of six posts featuring (or at least including) strawberries. The strawberries were great this year, and I was having so much fun making recipes with them that I decided to host Strawberry Week on my blog. Check out the other posts from this week, including Real Strawberry Shortcakes.

Salmon and Tomatoes en Papillote {FFwD}

When I first saw the July list for French Fridays with Dorie, I figured this week’s recipe was one I’d skip. I love salmon but no one else here eats it, so I never make it at home. However, my daughter asked if I could make pulled pork for her, and since I don’t eat pork, I figured this would be my chance to make salmon for myself.

I made the salmon for dinner the same evening that I made chunky beets and icy red onions, also from Around My French Table, and both were delicious.

As fancy as it sounds, this dish was really quite easy to put together. I began by searing grape tomatoes in a pan with a little bit of olive oil, just to bring out the flavor of the tomatoes a bit. To make the packet (“en papillote” means “in parchment” but like most recipes, this one uses foil to make the packets, I suppose because it’s easier to fold into a nice, tight seal), I began by laying freshly-picked basil from my garden on a sheet of foil, then sprinkling with salt and white pepper.

I set a piece of salmon on the basil, drizzled it with olive oil, then seasoned with salt and white pepper. I set the tomatoes to one side of the salmon, grated lemon zest over the fish and tomatoes, then scattered some of the leftover icy red onions from the chunky beet recipe over everything. I squirted a bit of fresh lemon juice on top, then finished it with lemon slices, basil, and a sprig of thyme.

After sealing the packet, I put it in the refrigerator until I was ready to cook the salmon for dinner. I cooked the packet for 10 minutes at 475°F. I served the salmon in the papillote, opening the packet at the table.

This was a wonderful dish. The salmon was cooked beautifully — moist, flaky, and tender — and the herbs and lemon gave it a bright, fresh flavor. This dish paired well with chunky beets and icy red onions and corn on the cob for a satisfying yet light Sunday supper.

If you’ve shied away from cooking fish at home, this is a great recipe to try. It’s quick and easy, without a lot of unusual ingredients. And sealing the ingredients in a foil packet ensures that the fish stays moist and absorbs the flavors of the herbs and spices.

Tomato & Cantal Tart {ModBak}

The sixth tart recipe in the Savory Tarts & Pies section of the Modern Baker Challenge is the only tart in this section that doesn’t contain any eggs. Rather than a custard, this tart consists mainly of tomatoes and cheese. The recipe calls for Cantal, a French cheese similar to Gruyère. I ended up using Gruyère, as I couldn’t find Cantal at my market.

The recipe is also supposed to be made with fresh tomatoes, which unfortunately can’t be found around here this time of year. Not wanting to wait until summer to make this recipe, I decided to roast some tomatoes in order to make them taste more like fresh, ripe tomatoes.

I began with two Roma tomatoes.

I sliced the tomatoes, spread them on a foil-lined baking sheet, and sprinkled them with a little salt and sugar.

I roasted the tomatoes in a 350°F oven for about 35 minutes, until they were slightly shriveled and most of the moisture had evaporated.

It was amazing how much roasting affected the flavor and texture of these tomatoes. They obviously still weren’t as good as vine-ripened summer tomatoes, but they were by far the best tomatoes I’ve had in the middle of a Midwest winter. I allowed the Romas to cool on the baking sheet while I prepared my mise en place for the tart.

The tart is very simple to assemble. After making the pastry, I spread Dijon mustard in the bottom of the tart shell.

Then I sprinkled on some shredded Gruyère.

Next, I added tomatoes in an overlapping layer.

I sprinkled some pepper on the tomatoes, then added another layer of cheese.

I baked the tart at 350°F for about 25 minutes, until the cheese was melted and nice and bubbly.

I unmolded the tart while it was still warm, then topped it with basil chiffonade and a drizzle of olive oil.

I baked the tomato & Gruyère tart on the same day that I made the Swiss onion tart. I made each of them as mini tarts, so I decided to serve them side-by-side.

I enjoyed them both, and the tomato tart reminded me of a really good grilled cheese sandwich (I always put tomato slices on my grilled cheese). But I have to say that I missed the custard in the tomato tart, and I thought the onion tart won out in both flavor and complexity.

I will make this tart again, although I’ll probably wait until summer so I can try it with garden fresh tomatoes. I do like the idea of making mini tarts and serving them together. And I might even do four tarts and serve a wedge of each sometime for brunch.

If you’re following along on the Modern Baker Challenge page, you’ll note that I have one more tart to go before I get to the dreaded curried fish pie. Stay tuned. It should be interesting.

Eggplant Caviar — Around My French Table {AMFT}

Like most serious home cooks, I know the name Dorie Greenspan. But until recently, I didn’t own any of her books. That changed a week or two ago, when I ordered a copy of Baking: From My Home to Yours. A number of my online baking friends are members of Tuesdays With Dorie, a group that bakes a different recipe from Baking every week. It was too late to join the group, as membership is closed, but I’ve heard so many great things about the book, I wanted to get it.

About the time the book arrived, I learned that Dorie had a new book coming out, Around My French Table. I also found out that there was a new group forming, French Fridays With Dorie. I thought it might be fun to join this new group, but I wanted to try a few recipes from the book before I committed myself.

Although the release date is October 8, Amazon already had it in stock; so I ordered it and two days later, it was at my door. I opened the book, and the first recipe I saw was Eggplant Caviar (p. 23). Since I had just picked up some beautiful eggplant at the farmer’s market, this recipe seemed like as good a place as any to start.

I picked up another (less beautiful) eggplant and the herbs at the store, and set to work. This is really a simple recipe (which, in case you’re wondering, has no caviar in it). The first step is to roast the eggplant.

In a sidebar, Dorie suggests slitting the eggplant and stuffing it with slivered garlic. I followed her suggestion, and the roasted garlic gave the eggplant great depth of flavor. I baked the eggplant for 45 minutes, until they were soft and wrinkly.

Once the eggplant had cooled, I halved each one and scooped out the meat. I think I should have baked the eggplant another 15 minutes or so, as some of it didn’t scoop out cleanly. I was able to get most of the meat into the bowl, where I mixed it with garlic and olive oil. (As a side note, if you stuff the eggplant with garlic, you might want to cut back a bit on the raw garlic.)  The recipe says to mash everything together with a fork, but I found it easier to squish it up with my hand.

After the eggplant was sufficiently broken down, I added the remaining ingredients — lemon zest and juice, onion, basil, thyme, cilantro, cayenne, salt, and pepper.

The recipe doesn’t specify how much salt to add; I found that it needed quite a bit, about 2-3 teaspoons. I used black truffle salt, which gave the dish amazing flavor. I also added healthy amounts of black pepper and cayenne.

So, how did my first Dorie Greenspan recipe come out? Well, let’s just say I’m glad I bought two of her books. I’m going to bake the brioche recipe from French Table next, then maybe I’ll have a go at something from Baking.

Oh, and I already signed up for French Fridays.