Saturday, July 10, 2010

Herbs Spice 'Em Up

I like to throw together the unexpected and see what happens.  I know, you're surprised.  I seem so even-keeled and predictable.  When I paint or sew or make jewelry, I like to mix colors that people don't normally think go together.  Normally, it adds dimension and makes the colors really pop.

The same goes for cooking.  After all, cooking is another form of art.  I think we forget that sometimes.  We can follow a recipe and duplicate someone else's masterpiece (or dogs playing poker print).  Or we can make it our own, adding unexpected strokes of bold colors or flavors.....making it three dimensional instead of flat.  Sweet potatoes are already sweet, so instead of adding sugar and cream, I like to round them out a little by tossing them with cinnamon, chili powder, salt and cumin and roasting them in the oven.  It doesn't make a dessert-like dish but a side with depth, a touch of sweet, with a tickle of salt and spice.

With summer upon us, and the colors of the garden to inspire me, I have been playing with adding herbs in unexpected ways to my everyday cooking.  Not where you expect to find them, like basil in my pasta sauce....but in desserts.  A little color and texture to please the eye and tickle the palate.

Now, you must know that I'm not very good at following directions when it comes to cooking.  Maybe I want to be an original artist and not a forger of a masterpiece.  Maybe I'm just a rebel.  I don't know.  I just can't seem to take simple directions and follow them without tweaking them in some way.  I used to collect cookbooks and peruse them for fun.  It just isn't fun anymore though.  Recently, I've found myself glancing through those same beloved cookbooks, and throwing them aside in frustration.  "That's just not what I'm looking for.  Oh, forget it, I'll just wing it!"

So, here are a couple of herbalicious recipes I discovered by 'wingin' it'.  You may enjoy them, and you may think I'm off my rocker (like I haven't heard that before).  I hope they at least inspire you to color outside the lines and think outside the box.

Lemon-Lime Coconut Rosemary Ice Cream

4 cups sugar
2 cups half and half
zest of two lemons and one lime
1 cup fresh lemon and lime juice (4 lemons & 3 limes for me)
2 T fresh rosemary
1 can coconut milk
Goat milk to fill lime of ice cream freezer (you can use whole cow milk if you wish)

Chop lemon and lime zest and rosemary.  Or if you are lazy like me, pulse it in the food processor with your sugar.  Mix first ingredients together.  Add to ice cream freezer.  Top to fill line with whole milk.  Freeze per instructions for your ice cream freezer.  Enjoy. 

This is a light refreshing ice cream....not really an ice cream, not really a sherbet,
but great for those triple digit days we've been experiencing.

Lavender Lemon Pizzelles
(sorry I forgot to take a picture and they are SO gone!)

3 eggs
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 t lemon zest
1 teaspoon lavender, crushed
1 t vanilla extract
1 1/2 t lemon extract
1 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2 t baking powder

Beat eggs and sugar together.  Stir in butter and extracts.  Combine flour and baking powder, and blend into batter.  Heat pizzelle iron and lightly oil.  Drop one Tablespoon of batter onto each circle of iron.  Cook according to manufacturers instructions for your particular pizzelle iron.  Remove and cool completely before storing (or you can form them into cones while they are still hot....I bet they'd be good with lemon-lime coconut rosemary ice cream in them).

I hope you enjoy....or create a few funky recipes of your own. 

Psalm 63:3
Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.

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