Monday, March 5, 2012

Lemon Sorbet - vegan & gluten free

Recently, I've had trouble knowing what season I'm in. The other week, I found myself wondering if I should be looking for Christmas presents while I was out shopping (and not in a planning-ahead-kind-of-way). And the other week? It was full out pink and red for Valentine's Day. The sparkly hearts hanging from the ceiling and escaping from shelves should have given me a clue.

I've given it some thought, and I've figured out what to blame the problem: the past few months has been a time of massive upheaval. Since December, I've traveled to or through four different states, two time zones, three radically different climates, and three apartments. Perhaps because Christmas 2011 was the first time ever that I hadn't flown east to celebrate at my parent's house, or just because life was super crazy at that point, but Christmas flew by. I mean, I prepared, it happened, and then I wondered what happened to it. Is that what happens when you're the host?

Yesterday at the farmers' market, the selection was relatively slim. There were some cool season crops - citrus, potatoes, some apples, onions, and green leafy things. BUT there were also two very important signs of spring. Number one: fresh asparagus- the farmer's first harvest of the season. Number two: strawberries- tables and tables of strawberries with their inimitable scent wafting into the aisle.

So I am hoping that my body has seen these signs and internalized them and will acclimate itself to Spring. Because it is very confusing when brain and body are not on the same page. I guess I'll just have to keep buying myself daffodils until they are.

Lemon Sorbet - vegan & gluten free
adapted from The Perfect Scoop
makes about 1 quart

This is fantastic. I've always been a lemon sorbet fan, but I am now a convert to homemade. When it first comes out of the ice cream maker, it is super smooth and creamy, and I recommend eating some right away. What ends up in the freezer will still be very good. However, because it's basically all water, a little sugar, and no fat, it freezes quite hard, so you'll need to allow the container to warm up for 10-15 minutes before scooping and serving. If you're making this for a group, I recommend making it and serving it fresh so everyone can appreciate the amazingness. Fresh raspberries pair very well.  

2 1/2 C water
1 C sugar*
6-7 lemons, preferably organic/unsprayed

Add 1/2 C of the water and all of the sugar to a medium, nonreactive saucepan. Grate the zest of 2 lemons directly into the saucepan. Heat, stirring frequently, just until the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat, and add the remaining 2 C water (I poured mine over the zester tool to get as much of the good stuff into the mix as possible). Chill thoroughly in the refrigerator (at least a couple hours or so).

In the meantime, juice the two zested lemons plus another 4 or 5 into a liquid measuring cup.** You need 1 C of freshly squeezed lemon juice. When you're ready, stir the lemon juice into the chilled sugar syrup, and freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Serve immediately, if possible. Otherwise, store in the freezer in an airtight container.

*I like my lemon sorbet tangy. If you prefer it sweeter, add up to an additional 1/4 C sugar.
**Before I juiced all my lemons, I grated the zest off first. Zest freezes! So now I have a little glass container in my freezer with lemon zest that I can add to recipes as needed.

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