Ice Cream that high-fives your taste buds.

Sorbet

Tipsy Citrus Sorbet

I always had a thing for Bill Nye the Science Guy…know why? I love science!  Science is very much a large component to ice cream making which is another reason why I love it. Science comes into play heavily with sorbet making because it’s figuring out the right balance between sugar and water. Sorbet itself is really easy to make but if you want a nice consistency and texture then strap on your goggles and fire up the Bunsen burner. (don’t)

Another culinary treat based on science is wine. I recently went to Napa Valley and picked up some bottles of white wine to experiment with….DOUBLE SCIENCE!

Ledson Orange Muscat

Orange Muscat Mugshot

When I tasted this wine, the synapses in the brain yelled “CITRUS. NOW.” I obliged and like the Beastie Boys, I wrangled up a trio of citrus fruits that I thought would pair (and rap) well together.

Grapefruit Mugshot

Tangerine Mugshot

Lemon Mugshot

I used a healthy 1/2 cup of wine because I wanted the muscat to come through and not just use it as a sorbet softener. The rest was up to the citrus trio which all played well together and I have to say to this is my  new favorite sorbet flavor. It’s extremely refreshing for a spring day and I didn’t really want to share it with others but I sorta did.

Tipsy Citrus

(yes it is served in a frozen tangerine peel cup)

The texture is SPOT ON. It’s actually CREAMY which makes me squirm with excitement! Thank you science, you know how to make a girl grin. (the wine helps too)


Sorbange

“Sorbange” sounds very insurance-y but it’s what we are going to go with.  It’s spring! In SF that doesn’t mean much temperature wise, but it does mean  NO. MORE. RAIN!  March is the new April here and it pours buckets, but it looks like that (fingers crossed) has passed so it’s time for some spring flavors! Spring to me mean is all about smells more than the temperature. Not so much in SF but growing up I always loved the smell of spring…the grass, the way the pavement smelled after months of snow sitting on it like a couch potato. Loved it. So for my rendition of spring I turn to what else, orange.

Left: Farmer's Market Right: Whole Foods

I can’t tell you the difference between coffee blends or if you should buy or lease a car,  but I can pick out juicy oranges.  As you can see above the one on the left is smaller, and the skin is smoother with less dinosaur-looking creases…you want this. As much as you want to get your bang for your buck, the smaller one is going to pack more juices because it’s smaller real estate. (It’s like Snooki from the Jersey shore, she’s short and packs a lot of ‘tude up in that leopard spandex ensemble.) Next is the “smooth” factor, the skin is smoother because it’s juicer and the juices push the skin out…I have zero scientific evidence of this, it’s just the synapses in my brain who are forcing me to type that.

I mimicked my method of freezing fruit and then blending it to get that cool and creamy texture I so long for in sorbet. I then added my trick (not anymore) of adding soju because it’s pretty flavorless and will aid in keeping the sorbet from completely freezing. How did we do?

Sorbange


Somangon Sorbet

Yes the title sounds like a character’s  name from Avatar but in my world of ice cream Pandora, it stands for Soju + Mango + Lemon Sorbet.  I really want to work on my sorbets this year, make ’em creamy, full of flavor, and not icy…and by golly I think I’m onto something.

Just as a reminder, sorbets differ from ice cream in that they don’t contain any dairy…no milk or cream. They are basically just fruit, sugar and water.  With that kind of roster, sorbets run into the situation where there is nothing preventing it from freezing like an igloo. The fat in dairy breaks up the freezing process in ice cream leaving it creamy. (Wow this is getting very Bill Nye.) Being the texture/creamy freak that I am, I am always seeking to make a creamy, thick sorbet. [Insert: mission impossible music]

I started off with this guy…

 

Mango Man Mug Shot

(That pretty orange mouth is a sign of a perfectly ripe mango.)

I picked up two  other  mangoes, one was crap-o-la and the inside looked like a network of misguided intent, it was kind of stringy which makes me dry heave. The other mango wasn’t quite ripe enough but it had potential, so basically I had one good mango and a sidekick of potential. I scratched my head for a second and remembered I had frozen mangoes in the freezer…EUREKA! Poured half a bag of frozen mangoes and watched wonderful things happen. THICK. CREAMY. EDIBLE CEMENT. The frozen mangoes when blended turned into a wonderful thick spread which will come into play later.

I also introduced mango man to Soju man because alcohol, like fat,  breaks up the freezing process.

 

Soju Man

The results….

 

Somangon Sorbet

IT WAS CREAMY. [arm pump]. I think a lot had to do with the frozen mangoes which gets the unicycle wheel in my brain turning. Let’s just say……..I AM PUMPED  for spring and summer where my Pandora will be bustling with frozen novelties such as this.

 

Dollup of Somangon


Mangood Sorbet

Man this was good mango sorbet, hence the name. This was a request from a pal at work who at first claimed “oh I don’t want any ice cream.” Ew. She got sense back in her and requested mango sorbet:

Mango Mugshot

I love the skin of a mango, it’s like a hypercolor shirt, each day it could be a different color. My latest goal for sorbets is trying to make them creamier and less icy. I researched and found only  a handful of suggestions: increase the sugar, use alcohol or use some chemical sugar thing.  I actually try to use less sugar than most recipes call for in sorbets because I want the fruit to come out more and I don’t think it really needs it.  Alcohol does work effectively but I tried something new this time, salt. It makes sense because think about when it snows and you want to melt the ice quickly, you throw salt on there. Granted this is edible salt but still it gets in there to break up the freezing process. EUREKA!

Mangood Sorbet

This photo is a wee bit deceiving, it wasn’t THIS wet and shiny. I took it about 15 minutes after I made it so it was glistening like Edward Cullen in the sun.  Mangood did hold up though and was creamy after hours in the freezer. Would definitely make this again and would like to try it as a swirl with vanilla bean.


Hami Melon Sorbet R.I.P.

Not only is this my first post in over a month but it’s also not a fun tale.  It was my friend Hami’s birthday and since she was the friend who gave me the ice cream machine in the first place I found it appropriate to send her Hami Melon Sorbet.

Hami Melon Mugshot

Hami melons are like a cross between a cantaloupe and a cucumber. It’s flavor is like a faint cantaloupe, it dances a watery/candy tune,  but it’s crunchy and fresh like a cucumber.  It’s fun and refreshing like a moonwalk at a birthday party.

Hami Melon X-Ray (I see a monster mouth do you?)

Sorbets take such little effort it’s really not worth mentioning, puree + simple syrup = done.  Onto the DRAMA: I purchased some dry ice on Sunday afternoon and silly me didn’t read the bag which noted to not store in a home freezer,  so when I checked on it on Tuesday evening I discovered my dry ice friend turned into a ghost and disappeared. Literally. There was nothing left in the bag. Fail.

( another picture of the melon because it’s all I got)

Hami Melon Skin

So I got up early one morning and purchased some new dry ice, drove directly to the post office and packaged what I thought was a secure method. I lined the box with some squishy foam thing and wrapped the sorbet in a bag and inserted a card. Then came time to figure out what shipping method to do. The post office had limited options for box sizes so I had to do priority because the express box was for letter sized items, so I found the largest Priority Mail box and packed it like an elf the night before Christmas.   Off ya go to the lovely Garden State!

R.I.P

I had the assumption that the dry ice would flash freeze the sorbet for one day and then by the second the ice would have evaporated but the sorbet would remain solid. Not the case. My friend emailed/texted/called and reported some devastating news. It completely melted and the Post Office called my friend’s work and said a Federal Agent had to open the package because it was leaking. The only thing salvaged was the card which was soaked and had bits of the Hami melon sorbet soul on it.

The Ghost of Hami Sorbet

Lessons learned:

  1. NOT SHIPPING ICE CREAM.
  2. Post offices have really large plastic bags for little items.

Mintcumber Sorbet

I remember the first time I tried cucumber in water, it was in Palm Springs and I remember thinking why the hell didn’t I think of that? Crisp, subtle, quenching and refreshing…all adjectives that make me grin.

Cucumber Mugshot

I wasn’t sure how the consistency was going to be for this sorbet because cucumbers are kinda like a tomato…gutsy. I removed the seed layer of the cucumbers so I just worked with the straw-like tube of cool. I pureed it and got this mush of cucumber that smelled lovely. I then went to town with our other friend: Mint.

Mint Mugshot

Sliced and diced mint in the chopping robot while a really light simple syrup brewed on the stove. I reduced the simple syrup mixture because I didn’t want it to be the Kanye West of the show..I wanted the cucumber and mint to shine.

Mintcumber Sorbet

I thoroughly enjoyed the taste of this. My only wish is that it wasn’t so scrape-like, wanted the consistency to be a wee bit creamier. Overall though I really enjoyed this and it was really refreshing as my friends and I enjoyed it outside on a warm summer day.


Water vs. Melon Sorbet

Sooooooo I was looking forward to this for quite some time. Watermelon is like the bouncer of summer, you can’t really start the season without checking in with the refreshing fruit first.

Watermelon Mugshot

I was attending a BBQ and wanted to indulge the buffet o’ summer with a nice fruity sorbet. What I thought was going to be an easy experiment ended up not at all what I imagined. I bought a keg of watermelon, it felt and looked like it must have been 10 lbs. I chopped it up for what seemed to be forever and threw the chopped up pieces into the blender. (NOTE: It was room temperature. This will come into play later to my theory.) I blended it for a while because I didn’t want the watermelon texture involved in the affair. I can’t really pinpoint it but it didn’t work. I thought the simple syrup mixture would lighten the mood but no, the flavor was not sweet, not tasty, not flavorful at all. Correction: there was flavor but it came at the end when it hit your mouth and it was like stale plastic. I can’t really describe it but it was not nice in my opinion.

Water vs. Melon Sorbet Cowlick

Back to my theory. The watermelon needed to be chilled BEFORE I started to slice it. The juices needed to settle and get acquainted in this sandbox of fruit.  That’s what I’m saying. I only sliced half of the watermelon at the time and left the other half in tact in the refrigerator so when I went to make another batch I noticed that the flavor was 1.3 billion times better and more flavorful. EUREKA!

Watermelon Sorbet Smile

I also threw in some fresh lemon juice which high-fived the watermelon. The texture and consistency was very icy, similar to loose Italian ice. This one is going to take some work and I have some ideas for next time, one is to freeze the chunks of watermelon before blending so it’s like a smoothie. I won’t give up on you watermelon…never!

Watermelon Scoops