Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Week 4: Minted Simple Syrup and Honeydew-Mint Sorbet
Oy, mint. Garden herb and invasive weed. We pulled up a patch of it years ago, and I haven't missed it much. Except ... every now and then I come across a good use for mint -- tabbouleh or this falafel and tzatziki combination -- and I think: Maybe we could keep a container of mint growing outside. A small container. One that's quarantined from the actual garden.
The spearmint that came from the farm in our share tasted a lot better than whatever variety of mint we once grew. Spearmint, lime, sugar, and rum are the flavorings of a classic mojito. Drop the rum and add in cubes of honeydew and you have the makings of a refreshing melon salad. Freeze the honeydew and you are on your way to making a minty sorbet.
The real find of the week was the recipe for the minted simple syrup that flavors the sorbet. It's ideal for sweetening glasses of plain-brewed iced tea, and would no doubt be handy in all sorts of mixed drinks. You can swap out the mint to make other herb-infused syrups.
Minted Simple Syrup
1.5 cups packed fresh mint leaves
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
Chop the mint. Place all of the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Simmer the syrup, without stirring, for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Pour the syrup through a fine sieve, pressing on the chopped leaves to extract as much liquid as possible, and cool. Makes about 1.25 cups.
(Adapted from Gourmet, using the food-processor sorbet technique.)
6 to 8 cups frozen honeydew cubes (cut from 1/2 large melon)
About 1 cup minted simple syrup
Juice from 1/2 lime
Place half of the frozen melon, lime, and simple syrup in a food processor bowl fitted with a steel blade. Process until pureed and creamy, but not liquified, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Remove from the food processor and process the remaining ingredients the same way. Combine the two batches. Eat immediately or transfer the sorbet to an airtight container and freeze. Makes about 6 cups. If the sorbet freezes too hard for later scooping, allow it to sit at room temperature 10 to 15 minutes to soften before serving.