Friday, September 14, 2012

Lemon Verbena Recipes

Lemon Verbena Recipes! 

The recipes were contributed by two of our La Canada Market customers, and this gorgeous quad of photos was taken and provided by the talented Emily Sandor (who first MADE the Ice Cream, Simple Syrup and Sorbet, and THEN shot the photos!) Emily is a professional photographer (obviously!) and has just released a new cookbook entitled Pure Vegan. She can be reached at her website: 

Lemon Verbena Ice Cream
About 1 quart
--1 1/2 cups (10g) loosely-packed fresh lemon verbena leaves, rinsed & dried
--1 1/2 cups (375ml) whole milk
--1 1/2 cups (375ml) heavy cream
--3/4 cup (150g) sugar
--pinch of salt
--6 large egg yolks

optional: a dried leaf of lemon verbena, to crumble in the just-churned ice cream, or a very-finely chopped fresh leaf
1. In a medium saucepan, warm the lemon verbena leaves with the milk, 1/2 cup (125ml) of the cream, the sugar, and a pinch of salt.
2. Once warm, remove from heat, cover, and let steep for one hour.
3. To make the ice cream custard, pour the remaining cream into a large bowl set in a larger bowl of ice water, and put a mesh strainer on top.

4. Use a strainer or slotted spoon to skim the lemon verbena from the cream & milk mixture and squeeze the leaves to extract as much liquid as possible back into the saucepan, then discard them. Rewarm the lemon verbena-infused cream & milk, then

5. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs together in a small bowl and slowly pour in the warm infusion, whisking constantly.

6. Scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan and cook, stirring continuously with a heatproof spatula, until the custard leaves a trail on the spatula when you drag your finger across it. (If using a thermometer, it should read about 175ºF, or 79ºC.)

7. Immediately strain the custard into the bowl of cream. Stir until cool.

8. Chill thoroughly, then freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. When done, crumble a dried verbena leaf in the ice cream, or finely-chop a fresh leaf and stir that in.

Lemon Verbena Simple Syrup

--1/2 cup sugar
--1/4 cup fresh lemon verbena leaves
--1/2 cup water

Chop and bruise the lemon verbena. Put sugar in a small saucepan with 1/2 cup water and stir to dissolve as it comes to a simmer over low heat. Let it simmer for just a couple minutes. Stir in the lemon verbena and take off the heat. Let steep for fifteen minutes, then put in the refrigerator to cool completely. 

Lemon Verbena Sorbet
 Makes about 750 ml (3 cups); the recipe may be halved.

-- 15 grams (about 2 cups) fresh lemon verbena leaves, rinsed and gently patted dry
-- 180 grams (1 cup minus 2 tablespoons) unrefined cane sugar (the soft kind, not granulated)
-- one large organic lemon, scrubbed
-- 1 tablespoon limoncello (optional, but a bit of alcohol helps keep sorbet smooth)

In the bowl of a blender or food processor, combine the lemon verbena leaves and the sugar. Using a vegetable peeler, shave three strips of zest from the lemon, and add them in. Process until finely ground. Transfer to a mixing bowl, add the juice of the lemon, the limoncello if using, and 600 ml (2 1/2 cups) cold water. Whisk to combine, cover, and let this mixture steep in the fridge for 2 to 3 hours. Strain through a fine sieve to remove the little flecks of leaf (teeny bits may remain, but that's okay), and churn in the ice cream maker. Serve with hazelnut or gingerbread cookies. The texture is best when the sorbet is freshly churned. If you have leftovers, apply a piece of plastic wrap closely to the surface to prevent crystallization. Let the sorbet soften for 20-30 minutes in the fridge before serving.