With A Rosemary Simple Syrup
We’ve made it to the final post of my blood orange series, and I really do believe we’ve saved the most dazzling share for last. I planned it just in time, because Boston’s lingering bits of sidewalk-hugging snow mountains have finally melted, the sun is producing weather in the 60’s–pure gorgeousness!–and I literally woke up in a heat sweat last night. Sicilian icees are needed now.
This recipe blew me away, so I recommend if you’ve just bought your sack of gorgeous moros, you might want to make this one first, and then turn to the other recipes to use up the scraps -only kidding. But not kidding about you falling teenagerly-obsessed-in-love with my “Blood and Honey” Granita. Name’s inspired by an ale I’ve been crushing on as of late, and, one I recently just learned is finished with a hit of blood orange zest and Texas honey, no wonder. And here I was thinking they just picked that name because it sounded badass. hmph
Granita Vs. Sorbet Vs. Sherbet: In the U.S., sherbets are fruit juice-based desserts that are made using cream, gelatin, or egg whites making them much creamier than both granitas and sorbets, and more like ice cream. Granitas and sorbets are pretty similar on the other hand. Sorbets are a little more complicated to make, and require special equipment, or patience and constant stirring. You must churn or stir pureed fruit (sometimes spiked with a liqueur or something that won’t allow it to freeze completely) and that creates a smoother texture with less ice crystals. Granitas fall closer on the side of crushed, flavored ice. So it’s served more like a drink in Italy than a dessert (although we treat it like a dessert in our house), and it doesn’t require much work at all. Just freeze a fruit syrup and scrape away at the surface of the frozen mass to create nice, large, chunks of crunchy ice. It’s a much more casual approach, and I happen to be in the mood for casual this time.
Tart and Sweet: Throughout my week of experimentations with this particular orange, I found that its tartness was balanced so well when I paired it with honey; the tart raspberry-like profile of the citrus trying to cut through the viscous honey, all the while the honey fighting back, coating that sharp acidity with a bit of floral earthiness. It’s perfect!
Rosemary Simple Syrup: I should infuse liquids and oils more often. You need just a little bit of patience with this technique, but the layer it creates adds miles of flavor. It was while I was in LA earlier this month, that a friend let me taste some rosemary-infused simple syrup she’d made, and when I tried it, I thought it was a shame that more foods weren’t injected with this magic liquid on the daily. Also, citrus and rosemary love each other too, I forgot to mention, so this is the perfect threesome*. It’s important to use fresh rosemary when making the syrup, because fresh is much more intense than dried, and you’ll find that all of the ingredients end up fighting for the center stage, so you don’t want that rosemary essence to get drowned out.
Here’s How I Made It:
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/2 cup water
- 4 sprigs of rosemary
- 2 cups blood orange juice (juice of about 8-10 blood oranges)
In a small saucepan, combine the honey and water. Submerge 3 of the sprigs of rosemary into the liquid. Bring to a boil, and let cook for just 1 minute. Then immediately, turn the heat off, and let sit and steep for at least 30 minutes. Be sure to taste the syrup to ensure the rosemary is coming across, or if it needs more steeping time.
Pull the leaves off the final rosemary sprig, and finely chop them. Make sure there are no large chunks of rosemary. It can be unpleasant to chomp into the hard leaves while eating.
In a large bowl, combine the steeped, rosemary simple syrup, freshly squeezed blood orange juice, and finely chopped fresh rosemary. Pour the mixture into a large enough baking dish (I used 2 loaf pans) and freeze overnight. When ready to serve, scrape the surface with a fork to fluff the ice, scoop into dishes, and serve!
Not Food Talk (because I have yet to invest in a handheld journal or have I found a sensible way to organize my OneNote): We just watched, I can’t remember if it was an Amazon Prime Special or a Netflix Series?, “The Art of Design” It was a special on Christoph Niemann, a brilliantly reflective illustrator who has done dozens of covers for The New Yorker. His story reminded me of when I was in Design school at RISD. It’s funny, I actually took a specific class on how to design covers for the New Yorker–how to create the most well-timed, pithy, and witty commentary through perfectly placed and reduced symbols that speak exactly to their point and that tell a story encapsulating global issues through the NY lens. I’m sure my professor must’ve mentioned this guy’s name, but anyway, I was terrible in the class. There is something so difficult about simplifying concepts for me, which is the crux of symbology and the beauty of graphic design. I could just run around in circles trying to explain a single concept, confusing the fuck out of everybody trying to understand me, muddling it with nonsense and feelings, but some, some people, they just have this gift of concise communication. Or they just practice it all their lives. I completely fell in love with this artist and his approach to design thinking, the way they romantically portrayed him, let him narrate, and him always in a fight against his own mind. It was a great story, but there were times I found myself disagreeing with some of his sentiments, like when he chose to quote Chuck Close:
“Inspiration is for amateurs, the rest of us just show up and work.”
I should clarify that I’ve been challenging this concept a lot recently in my life. If you read my last post, I mentioned how I’m currently stepping on the side of this theory to help alleviate some anxiety. So I’ve just made the decision to work and write or just sit at my computer all day or switch between here and my kitchen with the awareness that something will eventually pop out of my head and when it does I’ll catch it like a fish and write it straight down or saute it up immediately. There is certainly something to this idea of sitting down with your materials in hand, despite inspiration, and creating a rhythm and ritual to your day and work life. BUT I still disagree with the quote at face value. People need time away from their work to gather experience from the outside world, in order to come back with something worthy enough to write down. Also, and most importantly, I can’t help but notice that my best ideas come when I’m submerged deep in my steamy bathtub (my kitty staring eerily into my eyes then trying to claw at my toes) or I’m just waking up from a nightmare in the middle of the night. So there’s that. I’ll just keep struggling to simplify, taking pleasure in seeing the multi-dimensions of things, and everyone else just do what works for you, ya know?
Anyways, definitely watch the series if you ever find out where it lives. It’s a good one.