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Posts Tagged ‘granita’

My friends Angela and Gordon (the couple for whom this menu was served) gave me a book for my birthday, called Beaten, Seared and Sauced by Jonathan Dixon. It is a book about Johnathon, a late 30’s guy trying to find himself at the Culinary Institute of America in the Hudson Valley, chronicling the trials and tribulations of his journey through cooking school. It’s not like ’50 Shades’ where I couldn’t put it down, but his writing is compelling enough that I missed my streetcar stop twice already! I thought I would start this post with this quote that really defines how I cook; to be honest I hadn’t really thought about it before, but it really is me:

“If you follow a recipe blindly, you’re never going to really get that recipe into your blood. You need to memorize it, envision it, see it in your head. Then you’re going to be cooking.” Page 139 Beaten, Seared and Sauced, by Jonathan Dixon.

Well, I may not actually memorize the recipe, but I do get a sense of the recipe and where I want to take it and work through it from memory. Of course,  no one is grading me either! Thanks for the book Angela and Gordon, I’m almost finished it!

Greg, Greg, Greg. Your posts seem to get into my head and just keep playing over and over like one of those songs that you just can’t stop singing (you know what I mean, Kristy). I’m not saying that it’s bad, but let’s just say that it can complicate things. Case in point, I thought I was done, finished, انتهى, fertig, kész, terminado  (well, you get what I mean) with my weekend dinner party menu; I had a great hors d’œuvres, a great appetizer and an equally delicious and light main and a fantastic dessert. And then I remembered that post for Lemon Basil Granita Greg did. You know what it’s like? It’s like you’re almost finished in the kitchen; you’re tired, your back aches and all you want to do is sit down. And then it happens. You know what I mean: you glance up at the big ol’ wall clock and say, “Oh, I still have time, I can make XXX!” Well, that’s what happened to me on Saturday. I had just finished cleaning up, put the last of the dishes away and wham-o, Greg’s granita invaded my head. I had no choice but to make it, or something similar to it. My dinner theme was more Asian fusion so I switched up the flavours to represent Asian flavours and I reduced the sugar as I was using this course as a palate cleanser and not a dessert. The result was very refreshing and tasty. I will keep this recipe and will make it again.

It was over 30°C (86°F) on Saturday, so I didn’t want to fill all the glasses for fear they would melt and I’d have to start again. So there you have it.

The lemongrass and Thai basil infused simple syrup flavoured the ice perfectly to cleanes the palate and refresh to get us ready for the main course.

The subtle lemongrass and Thai basil was a refreshing palate cleanser after the roasted red pepper soup

Lemongrass and Thai Basil Granita

Inspired by Greg at Rufus’ Food and Spirits Guide

Serves 4-6 depending on size of glass, our glasses were just over 60 mL or 1/4 cup each

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped lemongrass, packed
  • 25-30 Thai Basil leaves, washed
  • 2-4 tbsp granulated sugar, to taste
  • 150 mL water
  • 150 mL water
  • 50 mL lemon juice
  • 1-2 tbsp icing sugar, to taste

Directions:

  1. In a small sauce pan, add 150mL water, sugar and lemongrass. Bring to a boil, (taste and add more sugar if required) reduce heat, and simmer for 5-10 minutes so it is reduced a bit. Remove from heat and add the Thai basil leaves, really immersing them in the hot liquid. Cover and allow to cool; refrigerate overnight.
  2. In a small, freezable container, add 150mL water, lemon juice and 1 tbsp icing sugar and mix well. Taste and add sugar as required.
  3. Strain the lemongrass syrup and add to the lemon juice and water, mix well. Taste and add additional icing sugar if required.
  4. Freeze for 3-4 hours; loosen granules with a fork once it begins to freeze to get the beautiful shaved ice.
  5. Serve in a pretty vintage glass with a garnish of Thai Basil or mint.

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I love a multi-course dinner, it just feels so extravagant, but sadly, most multi-courses do not take into consideration the volume of food to be consumed, so I only do it at home and never at a restaurant. I try to keep in mind how much food, a variety of textures and mixing up courses with hot, warm and cold dishes. I also like to space out the dinner party so that dinner lasts a couple of hours and not wham bam thank you mam!

This is the intermisso, or palate cleaner for our Vegetarian Valentine Dinner.

I was over at Rufus’ Food and Spirits Guide the other day and they offered a lovely looking and refreshing granita made with grapefruit. Hmmm, I thought, I rather like that, so I picked up a gorgeous red grapefruit and made this lovely intermisso. I only wanted four smallish portions, so I didn’t make the amount in Greg’s recipe. I adjusted it as below.

Grapefruit Granita

Ingredients:

  • 1 large ruby red grapefruit
  • 1/2 lime, juice and zest
  • 1 small drop orange extract (I didn’t have orange flower water)
  • 2 tbsp simple syrup or to taste (it really depends how sweet your grapefruit is)

Directions:

  1. Wash grapefruit and lime well.
  2. Cut the fruit out of the skin and pith over a bowl so that all the juices can be captured.
  3. Stir in simple syrup, orange extract, lime juice and zest. Pour into a glass container (about the size of a brownie pan), cover and freeze.
  4. To serve, scrape with a strong fork into bowls.
  5. Garnish with fresh mint if desired.

Greg’s recipe: To make a simple syrup, heat equal parts sugar and water over medium heat until dissolved. Remove from heat, cool and store in the refrigerator.

A nice tart palate cleanser before we dig into the Paella

The chunks of grapefruit mix in with the ice crystals. It’s really quite tasty.

These dainty little glasses come from my MIL. Aren't they sweet?

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