A Brief Intermission
No. The Kalispell Adventure is not finished. A brief intermission, however, seemed appropriate during my excited morning pioneering in the kitchen. Reentering my work life last week was an adjustment. A culture shock-infused sense of withdrawal. I am an optimist, nevertheless, and I believe we have a considerable influence in creating our own experiences. I want — no, I will have happy, life affirming, creative experiences. This is the story of travels in the forgotten caverns of your pantry, the lost recesses of your refrigerator, and the wilds of your summer garden.
The School of “Odds and Ends” Cooking
Creating art is, of course, my addiction of choice. But, I often find that the molding of sustenance takes less time, is something I must do anyway, and often creates a flow experience and, especially, great delight over successful creations. A regular amusement is making something from whatever is currently in the house.
Returning from my commune with nature reinforced my concern about my own ecological footprint and I resolved to conserve creatively however and whenever I can. I admit—watching “Chopped” on the food network has also piqued my self-sense of competition. I want to triumph in that question of whether I can make something palatable from odds and ends. There is true elation when I actually concoct something I would like to make again (and the challenge of remembering how I made it).
Today, my friend Ev comes for lunch. Truth on the table. I don’t have trouble using guests as culinary guinea pigs. But that is not even a thought. Ev, Becky, and I all engage in mutual food experiments. This is wonderful because I am feeling particularly motivated and creative. Chicken for kabobs has been marinating for several days. White wine or a spritzer would be easy—my wine rack is full. But a bottle of Limoncella has been chilling and unopened in the frig since I received it as a hostess gift over a year ago. In the pantry is a bottle of club soda nearly as old. The wheels are turning. On the web I found a recipe for a gin and limoncella cocktail. As luck would have it, I have just enough Tanqueray for two drinks and fresh lemon basil growing outdoors. I’ll share the recipe if they turn out.
Gin, Limoncella, and Lemon Basil
The coup today is dessert. Earlier in the summer I indulged in buying a Krup’s ice cream maker at a garage sale. Worth every penny. My first experiment? Lemon ice. I’ve been thinking of getting mangos for sorbet and toyed with using coconut milk that’s been in my pantry for a long time. For some reason, iced coffee came to mind. This is my current favorite summer drink. Why not a coffee sorbet?
Final Resting “Grounds” of Leftover Mint Coffee
Back to the web and a recipe for coffee chocolate sorbet. The prerequisites? Not much prep time and all the ingredients had to be in my pantry. I had water, cocoa, vanilla, a pinch of salt and coffee to make espresso. As luck would have it, I had a bag of mint coffee of which I was not particularly fond as coffee. But mint in ice cream? Marvelous! And it is! Cleaner than ice cream but a “full flavor profile with great depth” as the Chopped judges would comment. And, I have fresh mint from my garden to garnish. Based on what I tasted cleaning the ice cream maker paddle, it is terrific! Here’s the recipe from Yummly:
2 1/4 c. water • 1/2 c. sugar • 1/2 c. cocoa • 1/4 c. espresso • 1/4 t. vanilla • pinch salt
Bring to a boil whisking cocoa into the liquid. Cool and throw into the ice cream maker for 30 minutes.