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Saturday, May 24, 2008

SHF #43: Citrus - Blood Orange Basil Mint Sorbet

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The very first blog event that I ever entered was for Sugar High Fridays. Though it's only been seven months, it seems like a lifetime ago - long before I became the tough, seasoned blogging pro that I am now - NOT! But seriously, when I look back at those early posts, I realize that I have come a long way. Now, as I write my posts, I no longer feel like my 8th grade English teacher is looking over my shoulder. I try to write as though you were all sitting at my kitchen table, sharing a cup of coffee and some friendly conversation.

And the photos......bleck! I absolutely cringe when I look at those early ones! I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. Actually, I still have no idea what I'm doing. I'm just a little better at faking it now. Thank goodness there were some kind and generous bloggers out there to help me, one of whom is the lovely and talented Helen, from Tartelette, our host for this month's SHF. I've missed a few SHF deadlines in the past several months. They just keep sneaking up on me! But, when I saw that Helen had selected Citrus as this month's theme, I knew I had to make the time to participate.

Living in the Sunshine State, I have access to many genres of citrus fruits in all forms, shapes and sizes. Like any good Florida girl, I have an ample arsenal of recipes using lemons, oranges, tangelos and grapefruits, all which are indigenous to the area. So, when it came time to pick which one to use, what did I choose? Blood oranges, that's what! It was a perfectly logical choice
since blood oranges are neither indigenous to Florida, nor are they readily (or hardly ever) available here.
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The blood orange is a variety of orange with a crimson, blood-colored flesh. The fruit is smaller than an average orange. The juice is sweet but somewhat bitter and less acidic than that of regular oranges. Blood oranges are believed to have originated in Sicily. While the tree will grow and bear fruit in Florida, it is believed that a significant variation in temperature between day and night is necessary to develop the distinctive red color. Since there is no such variation in our climate, blood oranges grown in Florida often have little or no red pigmentation.

So, why did I choose them? Because I love them. They're different and exotic to me. The first time I ever heard of a blood orange was twenty years ago during my first trip to Italy. One morning for breakfast, I was served a large glass of the most gorgeous deep, dark red-orange liquid. I'd never seen anything like it before. Since I had ordered orange juice, I politely called
our Cameriere over to explain the mistake.
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"Ma signora," he said, trying to stifle a smile, "Prometto. Ciò è succo di arancia." (I promise. This is orange juice.)
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Thus, began my long distance love affair with blood oranges. For the entire month I was there, I gorged on them wherever I found them. Back home, I sought them out everywhere, usually without success. When I did find them, it was like a reunion with an old paramour - fleeting, but filled with sweet memories.
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A few weeks ago, I came across a bushel of blood oranges in the grocery store. They looked like they'd been around the block a few times, but I bought some anyway. Out of a half dozen, only one was lovely and juicy inside. The rest were kind of dry and shrivelled up. Crap! I went to my fridge and pulled out a bottle of blood orange juice that I keep stashed in there to mix with Campari. The bottle said "Fresh. Not from concentrate". It also said that the juice came from oranges from Italy. Score! I figured that the best way to use this kind of juice was to make a sorbet with it, and that's what I did. Yes, I know that it would be much better to use juice that I squeezed myself, but work with me! I'm doing the best I can! I can't afford to be a snob.
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Sorbet is one of the easiest things to make, and the payoff is big in terms of color and big, bold, fruity flavor. My sorbet was no exception. I infused some fresh basil and mint into the simple syrup and added a little lime juice and Cointreau too. The result was beautiful to look at, and cool, smooth and delicious to eat. The blood orange flavor came bursting through. Definitely a success!
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Sugar High Fridays was founded by Jennifer at The Domestic Goddess.
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Blood Orange Basil Mint Sorbet
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1 cup water
1 cup sugar
2 cups blood orange juice
1/2 cup packed basil leaves
1/2 cup packed mint leaves
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons orange liqueur* (such as Cointreau or Grand Marnier)
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Combine the water and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and add the blood orange juice, basil and mint. Let steep for about 5 minutes.

Add the lemon juice and strain into a bowl. Chill completely.

Stir in the liqueur and freeze mixture in your ice cream machine according to manufacturer's instructions. Once the sorbet is frozen, transfer to 1-quart container and store tightly sealed in the freezer for a few hours until firm.

Makes approximately 1 quart.

*The liqueur can be omitted from the recipe, if desired, but it is recommended to keep the sorbet from getting too hard and icy.

Enjoy!

36 comments:

Cakelaw said...

This looks devine - blood orange juice gives this sorbet the most gorgeous colour. I could easily eat this right now, even though it is about 5 degrees celsius outside.

familiabencomo said...

You are too darn cute! I have a similar blood orange introduction, good Lord!, 20 years ago too. It was a high school trip to Italy & the teacher had bought them for a picnic at the Boboli gardens in Florence - great memory. Thank you for the recipe & walk down memory lane.

xoxox Amy

LyB said...

The color of blood oranges has always impressed me, so beautiful! I bought some a while ago for a TWD recipe and my kids were so surprised at the color of the oranges, it was worth buying them just for their reaction! That sorbet looks wonderful, I wish I could make some right now! :)

Ginny said...

I first discovered blood oranges in Italy and was hooked...hard to get decent ones around here though! The sorbet looks so fresh and delicious!

My Sweet & Saucy said...

I love blood oranges! The color of the sorbet is just gorgeous looking!

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

These are many of my favorite things, all in a sorbet, which is one of my favorite things! What a gorgeous, delicious dessert!

Bellini Valli said...

We only get blood oranges during February here...but when they are here I make good use of them that's for sure:D Wonderfully flavourful sorbet:D

Peter M said...

The sorbet looks "bloody" good, too bad we can't get them in the summer. ;(

Nicole said...

Wow! I can't believe you have only been blogging for 7 months. I thought you had been at it for years! And what a following you have. THESE photos are amazing!

Jessica said...

I haven't been able to locate blood oranges for about a year here in NY...but I'm going to search high and low to make the sorbet for my solstice/welcome summer party.

Kevin said...

That sorbet looks so cool refreshing and good. Great colours.

Lois said...

That looks delicious! mmm... :)

Mike of Mike's Table said...

This looks amazing and I love the presentation! Also, I entirely sympathize with your struggles--I'd looked high and low for blood oranges this season to no avail. The best I could get was juice...but it was from concentrate. Needless to say, it tasted like a stick of chalk. I would eat red navels pretending they were blood oranges, lol.

Oh, and about looking back and old posts? lol, same here! I almost want to take some of my old ones down--yikes, haha!

CookiePie said...

This is some beautiful sorbet! I love the combo of flavors. It looks so refreshing!

StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

Cakelaw- Thanks! Glad you like it. I keep forgetting that your seasons are the opposite of mine.

Amy- High school? Yikes! I was already married 20 years ago. You're making me feel old! ;)

LyB- The color was what first intrigued me too. Go ahead and make some. It is super easy!

Ginny- Thank you! The varieties in Italy are supposed to be the sweetest.

Jen- Thank you so much! I love a sorbet too. My daughter and I were fighting over this one! ;)

Val- Thank you! You're lucky. We rarely get them at all.

Peter- Lol! Thanks!

Nicole- Thank you! I'm blushing. I'm so glad you like them.

Jessica- Sounds like a great plan. Good luck!

Kevin- Thanks!

Lois- Thank you!

Mike- Thanks! I'm glad you like it. Isn't it awful? You would think that we could find these things. It's not like they are that unusual.

Lol! I know what you mean. I've thought about replacing some of those old pics too. ;)

CookiePie- Thank you! I really like the herbs in this. Kind of like a palate cleanser.

nicisme said...

Oh look at the colour of that!!
Beautiful, and great photos - I know how hard it is to take photos of ice creams and sorbets, even if they are easy to make!

Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm) said...

This looks Bloody delicious!!!!! I can feel the tang in my mouth - mouthwatering!!!!

Sally Parrott Ashbrook said...

I love blood oranges, as well--they're somehow ... more generally fruity than a regular orange is. And mint and blood orange together sounds fabulous.

Patricia Scarpin said...

I absolutely love this, Susan! And the photos are stunning, I love the black in the back (wow, that's a rhyme). :)
I tried blood orange juice last year, while in Germany, and fell for it. So, so delicious!

diva@theSugarBar said...

OH what a lovely sorbet. would love some now!

Cookie baker Lynn said...

This looks gorgeous! I've never tried a blood orange (something about the name, maybe), but your sorbet looks amazingly tasty and refreshing.

Heather said...

Blood oranges really are a special thing. I love them! I will definitely try them with Campari (I also like them in a mimosa with Prosecco).

StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

Sweet & Saucy- Thanks! I'm glad you liked it!

Nicisme- Thank you! It is a bit hard, especially when it is 85 degrees!

Nina- Thanks! Lol! Tell me how you REALLY feel! ;)

Sally- Thank you! Blood oranges seem so luxurious to me. The herbs really did go nicely with it.

Patricia- Thank you so much! I'm so glad you like the photos. I really spent a lot of time with these.

Diva- Thank you! Glad you like it!

Lynn- Thanks! My mom won't try them for the same reason. You could make the sorbet with any other citrus. I've done it with lemons and limes before and it was delicious.

Heather- Mix a shot of juice with a shot of Campari and plop a scoop of sorbet in it. Heaven!

Lore said...

Now this looks intimidating! It's like it encapsulates so much power. I don't no why but this was the feeling I got when looking at the photos.

Kim said...

Fabulous! I love blood oranges and eat them when I am Europe. In fact I just found someone who ships them and was thinking of ordering a few. Thanks for the recipe it looks refreshing.

Jessica said...

Hi there,
Thanks for stopping by my blog! I really enjoy yours! I definitely put coffee grounds in my flower gardens (roses really love the grounds) but I haven't put them in a veggie garden...but only because I don't have one. I do know that coffee grounds are fantastic for your compost, so I'd imagine the veggies would like them, too. Again, thanks for stopping by!

Joanna Schmidt said...

You have inspired me to make a soap like this... I wrote about it on my blog...http://thesoapbar.blogspot.com/2008/05/blood-orange-basil-mint-sorbet.html

Thanks for the beautiful recipe. I can't wait to try it!!

Tartelette said...

Super creative again Susan! Love all the falvors in the sorbet!
Thank you for participating this month!

aria said...

oh my god that looks fantastic!!! wow, i love the looks of that...

Deborah said...

This sorbet looks amazing!! I love the color - just beautiful!

Y said...

Mmm.. I miss fresh blood oranges. I still consider them to be quite exotic even though I've eaten quite a few of them. The colour alone when you slice into one, is breath taking.

Evelin said...

Oh, how I'd like to try fresh blood oranges now!
The combination sounds like a brilliant success! And the photos are gorgeous;)

kimberleyblue said...

I just made an orange sorbet - mine pales in comparison to yours! I love the mint - awesome idea.

I didn't use a liqueur for mine, but champagne...I have a feeling a liqueur might lend a stronger taste to the sorbet though. Thanks for the idea!

Hillary said...

That sounds amazing! Nice addition of herbs in a fun refresher!

Melanie said...

mmmm, these look so yummy! And I just bought a mint plant for mojitos!!

Dazy said...

I'm making this tonight. I think I'll try to shoot it, but I don't think it will be as pretty as your picture!