The rest of the country may be suffering from the winter cold, but it feels like summer here in Southern California. Keep it light and fun tonight with three savory granitas and sorbets:
Cucumber granita: Fresh cucumber, lemon juice, onion, green pepper, salt, mint, oil and water are pureed together then frozen in a baking dish. Before serving, flake the frozen puree with a fork. Serve it on top of a cool gazpacho, or savor it on it's own. Best of all? You don't need any special ice cream-making equipment.
Spicy gazpacho sorbet with balsamic vinegar: Gazpacho works wonders as a chilled soup to ward off the summer heat, but have you ever tried it frozen? Serve scoops of this creamy sorbet in large shot glasses or small martini glasses, drizzled with reduced balsamic vinegar and oil, and sprinkled with diced apple, bell peppers, cucumbers and mint.
Poblano sorbet: This sorbet, from Rivera chef John Sedlar, combines fresh poblanos with lime juice, simple syrup and tequila for a spicy yet refreshing treat. The base comes together in only 20 minutes and freezes quickly in an ice cream maker. You can find the recipe below.
Total time: 20 minutes, plus cooling and freezing times | Serves 6
2 cups water
2 cups sugar
In a saucepan, combine the water and sugar, cooking over low heat until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate until needed. Do not use the sorbet syrup while it is still warm because it will darken the color of the sorbet.
3 poblano peppers, seeded, deveined and cut into medium pieces
3 cups sorbet syrup
1 1/2 tablespoons tequila blanco
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
3/4 cup water
Place the peppers in a blender, along with the sorbet syrup, tequila, lime juice and water; depending on the size of the blender, this will probably need to be done in batches. Blend until the chiles are completely puréed. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer, removing and discarding the chile pulp. Freeze the sorbet in an ice cream maker, then cover and store in the freezer until ready to serve.
Each serving: Calories 229; Protein 1 gram; Carbohydrates 55 grams; Fiber 2 grams; Fat 1 gram; Saturated fat 0; Cholesterol 0; Sugar 50 grams; Sodium 4 mg.