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Tangerine Sorbet

14 Aug

The summer of 2010 was full of micro-farming, friendly dinners and lunches, and delicious learning experiences thanks to my friends Eddie, Stephanie, and Iris. They are the founders of Cuatro Caminos Collective. They planted the seed to what is now a number of micro-farms, gardens, coops, and urban dinner gatherings. (Yes, yes, I know.)

That same summer, Atticus, Christopher, and I enjoyed the fruits of our labor (ba-dam-bam!) in the cozy little home in San Dimas, California. A bountiful pomegranate tree, a couple of varieties of summer squash vines,  a sun-ripened berry bush, gigantic Swiss chard plantings, and fragrant herb plants provided the food that graced our breakfast, lunch, and dinner plates.

One superstar that has since perished was the tangerine tree. Those were the absolute best tangerines I have tasted! My father-in-law, along a few other nit pickies, complained about the amount of seeds in these tangy, sweet treats. But, I grew up accustomed to seeds. In fact, I am completely freaked out that in the US we are hard pressed to find a single grape (organic or otherwise) that contains a single seed. It’s just doesn’t seem right.

This recipe is one that everyone with a fondness for citrus, even those folks who cannot stomach the idea of unwanted seeds touching your lips, will enjoy. To quote my pal Eddie about this one, “I felt like I was in that one movie, Ratatouille. But instead of food, I was chasing after an ice cream truck.”

Well, I have seen the flick, and I’ve enjoyed it, so I’ll take that as a compliment to the nature gods of tangerine fruit trees.

Be sure to always use the most fresh and tasty ingredients. It makes a world of difference.

Tangerine Sorbet


3/4 C sugar, organic, raw
3/4 C water
2 c tangerine juice, from about 16 tangerines, CHILLED
1 C liquid of choice* (milk, cream, rice water, Prosecco), CHILLED
*I used water in which rice had been soaking overnight, and I thought it was perfect.
1/4- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (make sure it’s pure … no added shtuff)

ice cream maker


Make-ahead Syrup
Stir water and sugar in a small saucepan.
Heat over medium heat until sugar is just dissolved (no more stirring).
Put in refrigerator in a small container.
Allow to chill completely.

Pour syrup, juice, chilled liquid of choice, and vanilla into the opening of the ice cream maker.
Turn machine on.
Allow 25-30 minutes to work into an icy goodness.
Pour into a freezer-safe container with lid and allow to set for 2 hours in freezer.
(I stirred it up after 30 minutes, so that the end-product was not too stiff or icy.)


Grilled Corn on the Cob with Aioli

20 Jun

Barbecue fare is the epitome of summer nostalgia. One of my childhood favorites, the corn on the cob, never quite gets old. Mine is a twist on the elote sold from carts on the streets of Mexico City and Los Angeles alike. Oh, and why not add that French je ne sais quoi to the mix? Corn, cotija, paprika, and tangy aioli make for quite an irresistible side. Enjoy!

Grilled Corn on the Cob


2 egg yolks
1 T. Dijon mustard
1 cloves garlic
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
½tsp. red wine vinegar
½ tsp. Worcestershire sauce
½ tsp. sea salt
1 C olive oil

(other dressings)
4 T crumbled Cotija cheese
1 T paprika

4-6 ears fresh corn, husks on

To prepare the aioli combine yolks, mustard, garlic, lemon juice, vinegar, Worcestershire and salt in a blender or food processor. With motor running, slowly drizzle in the oil—drop by drop at first, and then more quickly once you see the mixture begin to emulsify.
Chill until ready to use.
(Will keep for 2 weeks in the refrigerator.)

Prepare your grill, gas or charcoal, with direct, high heat, about 550°F.

Place the corn in their husks on the hot grill. Cover. Turn the corn occasionally, until the husks are charred on all sides, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Remove corn from grill. Let sit for 5 minutes. Use a hand towel to protect your hands while removing the silks and charred husks from the corn.

Spread aioli on the corn, sprinkle with crumbled cheese, and dust lightly with paprika.

Happy eating!

Quinoa, Feta, and Ham Lettuce Wraps

10 Apr

As I glanced into the Svendsen kitchen, it seemed that our party of 20 had barely put a dent into the delicious Easter ham prepared by Christopher’s great-cook-of-an aunt, Gail. Atticus had gobbled the slices up without protest (that’s always a wonderful sight for parents who are constantly coaxing and enticing their toddler to take ‘just one more bite’), so Christopher and I jumped at the chance to take home some of the leftovers.

I overheard someone mention a Denver omelette as a favorite way to use up the ham, and began to wonder how many families in the United States might be in a similar predicament– what to do with the leftover ham.

Recently, as many other foodies everywhere, I’ve been caught with the quinoa bug. Not only is quinoa a superfood, it’s also very easy and quick to prepare.

I used tri-color quinoa for this one, but any variety will do.

So, I’ve been using quinoa in everything from veggie patties to green salads. I’m even going to try using it instead of granola in the near future. One of my favorite things to make is a risotto-like dish. And, here’s what I came up with yesterday:

Quinoa, Feta, and Ham Lettuce Wraps

2 c quinoa, prepared in vegetable broth (1 c quinoa and 2 c liquid)
1 c roasted corn
3-4 slices roasted ham
1 large carrot, shredded
2 T goat feta, cubed
1 T olive oil
4-6 cloves garlic, roasted (brushed with olive oil) and sliced
1 tsp Spike seasoning (found in natural food stores)
1/3 c Curtido (El Salvadoran Slaw), optional

4-6 T hummus

6-8 red or green-leaf lettuce leaves, whole, washed, and dried

Heat oven or toaster oven to broil. Prepare quinoa as directed in a medium-large shallow pan. Add the roasted corn kernels after the first 5 minutes that the quinoa is on a low boil. Meanwhile, set the garlic on a baking sheet and broil for about 7 minutes, or when garlic reaches desired golden brown. Turn the garlic over once about halfway through.

Keep quinoa and corn on low heat, making sure that the bottom does not stick to the pan. Add roasted garlic.
Remove from heat. Add ham, carrot, feta, and slaw. Mix in olive oil and sprinkle with Spike seasoning to taste.

Serve with a side of hummus and leaf lettuce.

Spread hummus on each leaf and fill with quinoa mixture.

Next time I have a ripe avocado at hand, I might try to use smashed avocado instead of hummus for the spread.

Happy eating!