After a magical year-long travel adventure with my family, I was kinda scared to come home and have it all end.
But now that I am here in our Berkeley house, it feels sooooo good.... seeing friends and family, sleeping in my cushy bed, checking out my jungle-like backyard. And being the food-obsessed person I am, I am blown away by the abundance of good eats. I have always known what a special, lush food world we have here in the Bay Area, but after being away for a year, I am stunned to come back to this food-lovers paradise.
Every trip to Monterey Market is a dream of stone fruits, juicy berries, countless herbs, tomatoes, cheeses, farm eggs. It is almost too much deliciousness for me to take in. We've been going to the market every day, buying just enough ingredients to toss together summer salads, morning fruit, and simple dinners. My cooking is a little rusty (a few steps beyond rustic!) after being away and having really limited access to ingredients and kitchen supplies. Now, with sharp knives, a working stove, a spacious fridge, and endless gorgeous produce, I am getting back into my old Berkeley cooking groove and it feels damned good.
In honor of summer and my love for Berkeley, I give you this homecoming recipe from Chez Panisse Desserts. It couldn't be more simple and it is totally yummy. I have always been a fan of sherbet, especially Rainbow Sherbet: Lindsey Remolif Shere's Nectarine Sherbet has the all festive fun of childhood without the naughty chemicals - the vibrant flavor and playful "sherbet" color are all thanks to mother nature. Does it get better than this?
(Keep in mind that this dessert is only as good as its ingredients - make sure you use sweet, fragrant, ripe nectarines.)
By the way, I made this sherbet without an ice cream machine, so there's excuse not give this easy recipe a try...
INGREDIENTS - adapted from Chez Panisse Desserts by Lindsey Remolif Shere
- 1 3/4 pounds ripe nectarines (or peaches)
- 2 tablespoons water
- 3/4 cup sugar
- lemon juice
- (Shere suggests a splash of kirsch to taste. I didn't use any, although I'm sure it's good.)
First, wash nectarines.
Remove the pits, and rough chop nectarine flesh. (If you use peaches, Shere suggest removing the peels, but this is not necessary with nectarines.) Place chopped fruit and 2 tablespoons of water into a heavy bottomed sauce pan or dutch oven. Stew nectarines for 10-15 minutes, over low heat, until they are warmed through.
Scoop warmed nectarines into a blender or food processor. You may need to do a couple of batches depending on the size of your blender. Don't fill the blender too high, or you could burn yourself with the hot fruit. Puree until smooth. Add sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice and blend again. Taste for sweetness and add a little more sugar if you think it needs it.
You should have about 3 cups of puree.
(If you have an ice cream maker, go ahead and follow its instructions.)
If you are going old-school, as I did, transfer the puree into a freezable container. I used one of my glass storage bowls that has a lid. Place the covered puree in the fridge until it cools. When the fruit has cooled, put the container in the freezer. Every thirty to forty five minutes, thoroughly stir the fruit mixture. Be sure to especially scrape the frozen bits on the sides of the bowl and keep the mix well integrated, and smooth. (I used a metal soup spoon to do my stirring, but you could also use a whisk, wooden spoon, or even try an egg beater.) After a few hours of freezing and stirring, you are ready to eat.
I hope you enjoy this as much as we did!
Makes about 1 quart.
If you need more frozen dessert inspiration, check out my friend Phyllis at Dash and Bella's new post on making Caramel Ice Cream. Yum!