Sunday, August 8, 2010

Frozen Blossoms

Standing at my booth at the Mill City Farmers Market yesterday, I looked over at my neighbor's booth and saw pretty baskets full of zucchini blossoms. They're in season right now for a short time. I've prepared the blossoms a number of ways, including stuffing them with herbed chevre, tossed in a little seasoned flour, and then fried in oil. Or, roughly chopped and added to a simple salad of tomatoes, cucumber, olive oil, lemon juice and balsamic. Lynne Rossetto Kasper, of public radio's Splendid Table, has a great recipe for pan-fried zucchini flowers. But, being in the sorbet state of mind, I started thinking about how to incorporate these beautiful blossoms into a frozen dessert. Zucchini Sorbet? No. Ah, cucumbers. Perfect.

Cucumber Lemon Sorbet with Zucchini Blossoms
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
1/4 to 1/2 cup lemon juice
2 cups cucumber juice (4 small or 2 large cucumbers)
3 zucchini blossoms

Combine sugar and water in a pan and bring to a boil. Allow to boil for 5-10 minutes to create a simple syrup (make a little extra for sweetening your iced tea). Remove and cool. This should make around 1 1/2 cups of syrup.

Using a food processor, puree the skinned cucumbers. Strain through a sieve. For me, the easiest way to accomplish this task is to use a juicer, which has become my constant companion during my sorbet madness. Even with a juicer, I still take out the pulp and strain it for every last bit of juice.

In a separate bowl, add lemon juice, cucumber juice and 1 1/4 cup of simple syrup. Stir to combine and taste for balance. Add more simple syrup, if you'd like your sorbet sweeter. Be very careful not to over do it on the lemon juice. It gets more tart with the freezing process. The cucumber should be the main star here. Add 2 roughly chopped zucchini blossoms and the whole blossom (to infuse the mix). Stir and then chill for a few hours. Remove whole blossom before freezing in the ice cream cylinder. Freeze according to manufacturer's instructions.

If you are a fan of the Arnie Palmer, the iced tea/lemonade summer drink, not the golfer (is he really that refreshing?), use any leftover cucumber juice, lemon juice, and simple syrup to mix with your iced tea. It's a very refreshing cooler. Better yet, add a scoop of Cucumber Lemon Sorbet to your iced tea. Mmmm....that'll quench your thirst.

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