I mentioned in an earlier post that I actually had the pleasure of performing my first “solo” catering gig, that is one where it was not part of some other promotion, and very much beyond simply cooking for friends, and as a bonus, it actually tied in pretty neatly with one of the purposes of this blog, that is being a cook for geeks.
I didn’t go too much into it last time, but I’ll rectify it with this post.
When my host, Steve, described the campaign, which placed a large focus on both human hegemony and an elven rebellion. While he wasn’t sure that I would be able to tie in the campaign content with the menu content, I think I did a pretty good matching up food to themes.
Between what I’d consider hearty human food and a slightly more exotic leanings from what I would surmise to be in elven cuisine I detailed the following menu (which admittedly pulls quite a bit from tried and true standards):
- Wild Mushroom Pancakes
- Serrano Pepper Hummus
- Two batches of No Knead Bread, one with dried cherries and roasted almonds
- Curried Lentil Soup
- Fry Bread Tacos, with fajita style beef or spicy marinated tofu and pico de gallo
- Sweet Yam Curry and Naan
To provide an interesting finish, I thought that a slightly exotic twist on a straightforward dessert would really do the trick, and so I opted to make a strawberry sorbet, augmented with basil from my garden.
Had I known Steve was such an aficionado of spicy things I might have went with the white pepper variant instead! But then again for some reason the thought of basil in dessert seemed to mesh better with my perception of “elven” sensibilities.
Maybe I’m totally wrong there.
It’s a pretty straightforward recipe. Sliced recipes are macerated in sugar and some light corn syrup (to cut off any crystallization from happening.) Let this sit at room temperature for at least an hour. Or longer is fine.
Then several leaves of basil are washed, stacked…
And cut into ribbons.
A side of lemon is also employed.
The strawberries and basil are added to a blender or food processor, along with the juice of the lemon, and pulsed and blended into a smooth puree.
This mixture is then chilled for at least an hour before being placed into the ice cream maker.
Just go with your manufacturer’s instructions and things should go well.
About 30 minutes later for me and we’re ready to scoop it out. Perhaps resist trying a spoon out, as there will be plenty left stuck to the canister if you’re using that style of ice cream maker.
Scrape into a freezer safe container with a lid.
Spread it out as best you can.
For extra protection, press a layer of plastic wrap onto the top before covering the container. Freeze for at least a few hours, but overnight would be ideal.
Before serving, check to see if the sorbet is a good scooping consistency, and let soften if necessary. It wasn’t necessary for this batch! Then serve, enjoy, impress.
Strawberry Basil Sorbet
- 1 basket of strawberries, washed and sliced.
- 3/4 cup of sugar OR 1/2 cup of sugar + 1/4 cup of light corn syrup
- A good squeeze of lemon juice.
- A large pinch of basil leaves, about 8-15 leaves, cut thinly or into julienne.
- Combine the strawberries with sugar and corn syrup if using. Let sit at room temperature for at least an hour.
- Add this mixture to a blender with the basil leaves and the lemon juice. Pulse to get it going then blend until smooth.
- Pour it out into a covered container and chill for a few hours.
- Freeze in an ice cream maker per manufacturer’s instructions.
- Scoop out to a sealable container, press down with plastic wrap, close and freeze for at least two hours before serving.
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