Saturday, April 14, 2007

Blood Orange Spearmint Sorbet... Huzzah!

Not really even sure what Huzzah means, but man, is it fun to say! Anyway, this here's my riff on Sweet Napa's blood orange chocolate mint sorbet (as in "chocolate mint," the herb; chocolate itself was not involved). While the Nap deserves most of the credit for the inspiration, this was also inspired, co-inspired you might say, by a tangerine mint sorbet I had a few weeks back at Screen Door, which was excellent (and it came with a ginger cookie! For those of you here in Stumptown, Screen Door is a newish place on the east side, Burnside & 24th, and it's well worth a try). I couldn't find chocolate mint, so I fell back on trusty old spearmint instead.

I made this by first creating a sugar syrup of 1 1/4 C of sugar (evaporated cane juice in this case) dissolved into 1 3/4 C of water (just regular old water). After bringing to a boil, I took it off the heat and added the zest of one lemon and one orange, and two sticks of Wrigley's Doublemint gum (kidding, kidding... chopped spearmint, about 1/4 oz) to steep for an hour. Checking it with my refractometer (finger), I determined it to be at approximately 26.475 Brix (sweet). Heh. Heh. Heh... Into the fridge it went to hang out overnight.

For today's final assembly, I added the juice of 3 blood oranges and 1 lemon (about a cup altogether), and put it into the freezer. I pulled it out after a couple hours, put it into a blender and pulsed a few times, then stuck it back in the freezer. I did this on the hour three more times before letting it freeze for good.

The texture was nice, although a little more liquid than Screen Door's. The flavor was citrusy, sweet but not too sugary, with a tart, somewhat astringent yet not unpleasant finish (had it not been for the lemon, this would probably have been overpoweringly sweet). The spearmint was subtle. It was definitely there, but existed more in the sinus cavity than on the tongue.

The color was a bit lighter than I'd expected (click here to see the Nap's raspberry-esque version). The juice around the sorbet is that of a Moro blood orange (as are the slices) which I picked up this afternoon at the food co-op on my way home from the farmers' market. The blood oranges used in the making of the sorbet itself were of an indeterminate variety, Tarocco perhaps, but obviously not Moro.

All things considered, it was a success. Although I may kick this idea around in sherbet form at some point in the future... Filing that one away...

In other news, today was Burke's first trip to the farmers' market. That went... well... kind of okay. For those of you not familiar with Burke, he's my mentally ill border collie. Here's a photo (that's Burke on the right, and on the left, my previous border collie - also mentally ill in his own special way - the mighty Copilot, may he rest in a constant state of fetch; the leg at far right belongs to Jodi, one of Burke's previous foster-moms):

Burke is a rescue dog, and experienced untold cruelties in his obscure and mysterious past, which have made him very apprehensive of unfamiliar situations and sudden loud noises. He would also seem to have a touch of agoraphobia. But he's gotten much better in the five months I've had him, and has generally loosened up when it comes to walks, and to some degree, crowds. So I figured I'd introduce him to the market.

Now Burke and I have a routine when I'm walking him and we encounter any frightening, startling or otherwise surprising circumstance. Burke goes into a panicked crouch and digs his claws in to the grass, pavement, cement... I try to reassure him. This doesn't work, and in order to get him to move, I drag him a few feet until he finally realizes that it's time to start walking again. This is our routine. And it works. But it can't look very good to the Birkenstocked, hemp tote carrying folks at the noisy, crowded, chaotic farmers' market, where Burke went into his crouch about every ten yards. Burke and I got more than a few horrified looks, with me trying to explain, "He's a rescue dog! He was abused! Believe me, this is normal! We go through this on every walk! He's fine!" Yeah, right you jerk! I oughtta call the Humane Society on your sorry ass, you monster! Nobody actually said that, but I could feel them thinking it. I guess Burke and I have a little more work in front of us before he goes back to the market.

Burke did come out of this experience with a dividend, however: a pig's ear! Which he ate. I thought he would just sort of gnaw on it, but he actually consumed the thing. And quickly! Can't wait for that to pass through...


The Pastry Pirate said...

Burke is adorable... but why is it that every border collie I've ever met/heard of has been mentally ill? No, really. I think the least you could do is get him a couple sheep to herd about. In a pinch, I imagine some mindless teenagers at the mall will do.

tommy said...

On paper, border collies don't make good pets. They really do belong on farms. I've somehow managed to find two relatively mellow specimens, which is to say I've been very lucky (and of course, now I'm ruined for any other breed). That said, I don't think there are any sheep in Burke's future. I can see a little herding drive kick in when he encounters a cat, but he's probably far too messed up to work livestock. Copilot, on the other hand, had huge herding potential. I really regret never having put him on stock. Oh well... next dog maybe.

Nina said...

The sorbet looks great! And that table cloth is quite an impressive color match. :)

I was just reading about the "blender method" of making sorbet the other day -- good to see that it works so well.

And I don't think I've had sugar from evaporated cane juice before. Does is taste or act much differently from regular sugar? I'm always looking to play around with my sorbet and ice cream formulations... although I probably should finish at least some of the 7 frozen concoctions in my freezer first. :)

And I like the dual-blood orange combo. I've had sweet kinds and sour kinds, and putting them together like this would be cool.

tommy said...

Hey, thanks! Yeah, that tablecloth is pretty bad, isn't it? That was left behind by a previous housemate. But he also left the table underneath it, so I can't complain too much.

This is the first sorbet I've made, so I really have no idea how the evaporated cane juice acts, respective of other kinds of sugars. As for the blender method, it worked pretty well but I have to wonder if whisking it vigorously wouldn't do just as good a job. I'll try that next time.

Trisha said...

Yum sorbet! My friend Heather makes a Guinness ice cream in a Wilson Sonoma ice cream maker she bought at for supa cheap! It's not sorbet but if you ever want to venture into that realm I'll get the recipe for you.

tommy said...

By all means, do!