23 hours ago
August 30, 2008
Today I received my first paycheck in what feels like eons. Can you hear my sigh of relief from where you're sitting? If not, it sounds something like this: Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.
It's been 2 months since I've been paid. Or more. At this point, I've stopped counting.
Like they say in Argentina when the wallets are light, "No tengo ni un mango," or, "I don't even have a mango." (Thanks to credit cards, however, I DID have berries. Lots and lots of berries. No mangoes, though.)
So, after picking up my first check from payroll, I did what any (fiscally irresponsible) girl would have done: I shopped like an aristocrat.
Forgetting, for just an hour, about my accrued debt, I loaded my shopping basket with the following items: strawberries, Mascarpone cheese, whole milk & whipping cream & butter from Maple View Farm (an NC dairy just north of Chapel Hill), red wine, Belgian beer, dark chocolate bars, organic thyme, etc.
My excuses for such exorbitant purchases are numerous, ranging from the celebratory to the, uh, celebratory? Whatever! I don't have to explain myself! I don't regret these purchases! In fact, I already have plans for all of these items, beginning with the dessert I created tonight that rings with the bells of celebration: Thyme, Wine & Berry Sorbet.
It's been hot and muggy in Wilmington the past few days, so I knew I needed something frozen to break the tension. My mind was instantly reminded of the blueberries and blackberries I had thrown in the freezer a few weeks back. Hmmmm...what goes perfect with berries? WINE! Of course!
This sorbet was still in need of a little umph. Berry sorbet? Good, but nothing new. Berry sorbet with wine? Yeah, sounds good...but not yet fantastic. Berry sorbet with wine and...thyme?! Yes! Thyme would be the herbal thread to sew together the dryness of the wine with the sweetness of the berries.
I love finding ways to bring herbs into the dessert world. Our pallets seem ever-surprised when they encounter a hint of basil in dark chocolate, or the sharp echoes of cilantro in a lemon bar. Thyme is one of those herbs that, in my opinion, goes great in just about any fruity dessert. I've used it before in apple tarts, peach pies, and mascarpone-berry parfaits.
There are also some delicious mojito recipes out there that call for thyme. Maybe part of my next paycheck can wander down this refreshing path.
What follows is the recipe for what I call Payday Sorbet, a yummy combination of thyme, wine, blackberries, blueberries, and pomegranate molasses.
1 cup berries (I used blueberries and blackberries)
1 cup wine
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup water
5 sprigs of thyme
juice of 1 lime
2 t. pomegranate molasses (optional)
Mascarpone & Honey Whipped Topping:
1/2 cup Mascarpone Cheese
3 Tbs. honey
1 t. vanilla extract (optional)
zest of 1 orange (optional)
1. Simmer together the sugar, water and thyme in a 4-quart saucepan. Stir mixture frequently. Bring to a boil. Once mixture comes boils for 1 minute, set aside and let cool to room temperature.
2. In a food processor, puree the berries, wine, lime juice and pomegranate molasses. Blend for 1-2 minutes, or until berries are completely pureed.
3. Once sugary liquid has cooled, extract the sprigs of thyme (and maybe save for some roasted veggies!) Pour sugary liquid into the food processor that still contains the berries & wine, and blend for a few seconds. Once the thyme-infused syrup is combined with the berries, pour mixture into an 8x8 casserole dish.
4. After an hour, take the sorbet mixture out of the freezer and rapidly blend with a whisk. This will prevent your sorbet from crystalizing. Repeat this quick whisking every hour for 3-4 hours. Some recipes recommend putting mixture in a blender or food processor every hour, but I find this to be a hassle. Whisking works just as well.
5. While your sorbet miraculously transforms into frozen goodness, get out a small bowl in which you will blend your whipped topping. Whip the half-cup of Mascarpone cheese until it softens and smooths out. Add the honey, orange zest and vanilla. Whisk for 30 seconds. This delicious topping can be stored in a refrigerator for 2-3 days.
6. When your sorbet is ready to devour, scoop some into a cup or bowl, and then pile on as much creamy topping as you like. Maybe add a sprig of thyme to the dessert if you wish! This topping also works nicely in a fruit parfait.
Treat yourself to this decadent dessert on your next payday!