Summertime: Sour Cherry Frozen Yogurt

Ever since I started working in and around food publishing in New York, I have read about the short sour cherry season and how important it is to keep one’s eyes peeled for them at farmers’ market, their presence more like a mirage in the summer heat than a reality. And so, every year, I dutifully look and buy, bringing them home with absolutely no idea what to do with them.

Photo courtesy of Fruit Acres Farm.

In the past, I’ve experimented with various cakes and compotes, but given this summer’s heat, I decided to try a recipe for sour cherry frozen yogurt. It required minimal time over a stove to heat the cherries once pitted, then chill and churn for a quick and deliciously tangy summer treat. Given that I inherited a bottle of agave syrup at work, something else that I had no idea how to use, I thought this would be an ideal opportunity to try it out. Proportions of agave are slightly less than that of sugar, so when you see the measurements for sugar, multiply by 2/3 for the correct amount of agave. I also added a little Greek yogurt, whose tang I thought would nicely complement that of the cherries, as well as temper the agave, which does have its own distinct flavor profile. It’s easy to tweak the final flavor to your liking before you churn, so make sure you taste along the way!

Sour Cherry Frozen Yogurt

  • 1 pint of sour cherries
  • 1/2 cup of agave syrup
  • 1 cup of whole milk plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt

Stem and pit the cherries. Place in a saucepan with the agave and bring to a simmer over medium heat (agave has a lower boiling point than sugar, so keep your eye on it) until the cherries are tender and cooked through. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

Purée the cooled cherries and their liquid until almost smooth (I like to leave a few chunks). In a medium bowl, mix with the yogurt until fully combined, then chill in the refrigerator for at least two hours. Freeze in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions.

Recipe adapted from David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop.

Quick and Easy: Caprese and Pesto

One of the things I miss most about not living at home anymore is that I can’t go out into my mom’s garden and snap off a sprig of rosemary whenever a recipe calls for it. I especially hate this during the summer when I have to buy huge bunches of basil that I can’t entirely use before the leaves begin to wilt. However, I had my heart set on a caprese salad; since I had some leftover chicken in the fridge, I thought a pesto pasta main course would be an agreeable way to use up the rest of the basil.

 Insalata caprese

One of my co-workers has been on the hunt for the perfect burrata this summer and recommended I try Bel Gioioso’s version. On my way home from work, I grabbed it, along with some Roma tomatoes, an ear of corn, and pine nuts. Once I washed the basil leaves and set a few leaves out for the caprese, I put the rest into a food processor and began to add a little bit of pine nuts, parmigiano, black pepper, and olive oil quanto basta, tasting as I went along until the flavor was just right.

Pesto pasta with corn and chicken

In the meantime, I set some balsamic vinegar over low heat to reduce and put a pot of salted water on to boil. I threw in the pasta and, at the very end, the freshly-shucked ear of corn. Once I drained the water (reserving some in a separate pot to add to the pesto sauce if needed), I heated up my leftover  chicken breast with the pesto and corn off the cob before tossing it all together for a delicious Italian-American feast.

Food Travels: San Francisco

I got out to San Francisco a few months ago to visit Stevie and Josiah in their new abode. We celebrated the end of spring’s bounty with some fabulous meals. Here’s a quick round up of some of my favorites:

Dinner at Bar Agricole with Stevie and Alli. 
Beautiful, refurbished industrial restaurant space with 
spot-on seasonal menu and a funky wine list.
Stevie and me on the tram through downtown SF,
one of the oddest public transit experiences of my life.
Ogling the goodies at the Ferry Building’s Farmers’ Market.
We picked up a few treats to make dinner. 
Mexican food at the market. Spicy and delicious,
with refreshing strawberry and ginger-peach aguafrescas.
Rabbit stew, made with broccolini, asparagus, potatoes, favas, peas, and more.
Topped with watercress and served with a California Fume Blanc.
This time, we left the pits in for the famed bitter-almond notes they provide.
We also used half of a vanilla bean instead of extract 
Last morning at Tartine, the famous bakery in the Mission. 
Those pains au chocolat are as big and as tasty as they look…

Food Adventure: Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Shop

So, it took me until the Times article came out last week to finally get myself over to Cobble Hill to sample the delicious, homemade sodas at Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Shop, but boy was it worth it! The decor, inside and out, is straight out of the 1950s, and the atmosphere was fun and energetic, full of patiently-waiting families and waitresses with their order up’s reaching across both sides of the counter.

I sat at the counter and read, while my order moved along in the queue. I watched the barbacks whip up delicious sundaes and egg creams; blend the perfect milkshakes; and mix up sodas from the syrups on hand. When my Pink Poodle finally came, I was shocked by how delicious it was. I grew up loving coke floats (but don’t get a root beer float anywhere near me please) and somehow hadn’t quite connected the dots that I had essentially ordered that, flavored with hibiscus instead of cola. It was surprisingly refreshing and delicious after the long bike ride over, and I couldn’t help feeling like kid again as I alternately sipped the soda and spooned out the ice cream. It was so hard not to drink it down in one fell swoop.

Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Shop
513 Henry Street at Sackett St.
Cobble Hill
Brooklyn, NY 11231