When I had the delight of touring my friend Susanna’s garden a while back, she told me one of those stories only another passionate digger can appreciate. Seems that in winter, by the time she got off work and got home to cover the things in the winter beds, it was already pitch dark. So a friend got her a headlamp and they would laugh at the sight of the little headlamp out flickering in the yard as Susanna tended her leafy flock in the darkness….Read More
Lemon Verbena has a heavenly scent so strong and amazing it is hard to believe it’s real. Like basil, it seems to have a human-catnip effect on me. The plant I bought this year is growing wonderfully, so what to do with all those lemon scented leaves? The answer was to be found as close as the nearest French food blog, Chocolate & Zucchini, where I found a recipe for Lemon Verbena Sorbet. I read it and swooned. Oh yes, I have to make this.
But I had no ice-cream maker. Hmmm. I couldn’t really see myself doing it without it, even though the French blog says that’s no problem and to just ‘put the mixture in the freezer first thing in the morning, then stir every hour, and it will be ready for dinner.’ Luckily our friends who were coming to dinner were willing to bring along this wonderful little Krups ice-cream maker shown below. The bottom bowl, where the ingredients go, is kept frozen until you are ready to use it, then the mixture is ready in only about 30 minutes. It’s now officially on my wish list!
Then I got a little confused with what exactly the French mean by the ‘soft kind’ of sugar, not granulated. And I knew for sure I could not locate a rare Italian vodka mentioned in the recipe by dinner time. Hmmm. Since I’ve only taken up cooking in my middle ages, maybe the French blogs are a high bar for me. So a little more searching and I found a simple recipe from The Splendid Table:
Lemon Verbena Sorbet
Nothing but vibrant and refreshing it’s lemon heaven.
Makes 1 quart, 8 servings
- 1 cup (gently packed) fresh lemon verbena leaves
- 1 cup superfine sugar
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 3 cups cold water
Grind the lemon verbena leaves and sugar together in a food processor until the mixture turns into a bright green paste, about 30 seconds; stop to scrape down the sides as necessary. Add the lemon juice and process for 15 seconds longer, then add the water. Strain the resulting liquid through a fine sieve to remove any bits of leaf. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions.
The sugar + leaves combo in the food processor was pretty amazing green. I didn’t have any superfine sugar, so I made sure the sugar was well dissolved in the water when the time came. The little strainer below worked both to get the seeds out of the lemon juice as well as to get the leaves out of the herb mixture.
The results were divine. WHAT a flavor!! And what a lively color. I took the French advice to serve with ginger cookies and that was perfect, of course. Those French folks know their flavors! This is going to be one of those treats that comes to symbolize true summer — like the first perfect watermelon. We were all so anxious to try the results I took it out of the ice-cream freezer when it was still a little soft. The leftovers in the freezer firmed up just right…but they never made it past midnight…. Thanks for stopping by Larrapin Garden on a foodie night!