Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Using the fruits (and greens, and flowers) of the season

We've been eating a lot of chard lately. We have lots in the garden, along with red lettuce. We put them together in salads and they're very yummy. I just wish my tomatoes, carrots, and cucumbers were ready too. By the time they're ready for harvest, though, the greens will be history. Unless I plant more. Which I may.

Another way I've used the chard is on pizza. We had homemade pizza the other night that had chard and spinach from our garden included in the toppings. It was very yummy. I'll be trying some other cooked chard recipes soon, although you really can't beat it taken fresh from the garden and put into a salad.

Another thing I have a lot of right now is lavender. I just finished making a blueberry and lavender gelato with the help of my ice cream maker. It's tucked away in the freezer waiting to be pulled out as a treat after dinner, but you can bet that I already had a taste. Mmm, I can't wait till after dinner so I can have more.

Here's the recipe for my lavender and blueberry gelato. It's extremely easy:

Lavender and Blueberry Gelato

1 pint fresh blueberries
2 Tbsp. fresh lavender blossoms (just the little blossoms pulled off of the flowering heads)
1.5 cups granulated sugar
1Tbsp. honey
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1.5 cups cold heavy cream
1.5 cups cold water

Clean and wash the berries. Place blueberries, lavender blossoms, sugar, honey, vanilla, and water in a blender and blend until smooth.

In a bowl, beat the cream until it is only slightly thickened - like the consistency of buttermilk.

Pour the berry mixture into the cream and mix thoroughly.

Now you're ready to freeze the mixture as instructed by your ice cream maker.

That's it! No cooking! I came up with this recipe by modifying this extremely good strawberry gelato recipe.

EDIT and REVIEW of my recipe: My family thinks that the lavender taste is too strong in this gelato. If you decide to make it, I would recommend using less lavender (maybe only 1/2 to one Tbsp. of fresh blossoms). I would also recommend using more blueberries - up to 1 pound of fruit, as is called for in the extremely good strawberry gelato recipe (which I have made with great success using 1 pound of mixed berries: strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries). I only had one pint of blueberries on hand today and thought it would be enough with the lavender. Back to the drawing board with this recipe.

Happy eating!


jo©o said...

I agree with your family: I was given this lavender flavoured icecream once and was sick for three days after. And I am not really a fussy eater. Sardines, chard and garlic are my only other non-foods.

Mind you, if they like the unusual taste of chard (which I hate), they are probably capable of taking in a soupçon of lavender.

My suggestion would be to leave the lavender out altoghether and put a few sprigs on the icecream scoops for decoration only.

Do you sieve the purée to get rid of the blueberry skins?

You might try leaving out the 1.5 cups of sugar and replace it with just the honey or possibly a teaspoon marmelade. How was the bass?

Ocean Girl said...

And I thought lavender is just for perfume and not edible. Your recipe was yummy just reading it :)

ICQB said...

Hi Jo!

I liked the gelato, but only a small scoop at a time. Not something to fill your bowl with and chow down on :-)

I didn't sieve the blueberry skins out, mostly because I'm lazy, partly because they probably contain lots of good things for you, and also because my sieve was all garlic-y from having made a beetle repellant earlier.

The bass was delicious! And what made it better was that I ended up not having to lift a finger in the preparation :-)

ICQB said...

Hi Ocean Girl!

Lavender is edible, some varieties are better for this than others. I used Provence lavender in the gelato.

It can be a strong flavor, though.