Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Two new recipes please
points-watching parents

On the weekend, my husband and I made a birthday dinner for my Mom and Dad.
   It was my Dad’s birthday on Sunday, and it was my Mom’s birthday the week before.
   The two of them are currently on Weight Watchers, so I wanted to make a meal they could enjoy and feel comfortable eating without worrying they were blowing their day's points out of the water.
   I relied on a few faves, including rum punch, spicy grilled shrimp, and grilled halloumi with watermelon.
   But I also tried out two new recipes, both of which worked very well.

The first was Peaches with Serrano Ham and Basil (click for the recipe), which served as the evening’s appetizer.
   They were a knockout. Fresh and delicious, each piece was like a happy little treat.
   And they were so simple to make.
   Peaches are cut into wedges and tossed with sugar (a tiny bit!), sherry vinegar and ground cumin. In the absence of sherry vinegar, I used balsamic vinegar instead.
   Serrano ham is cut into small pieces and wrapped around each wedge of peach (the recipe says to use half a slice of ham for each, but I only used a small piece and it was plenty). A basil leaf is pressed onto the ham and secured with a toothpick.

The second new recipe I tried was Cherry Sorbet (click for the recipe), which was dessert. My Mom was pleased we were had this instead of cake and ice cream.
   The sorbet was perfect: The cherry taste was highlighted nicely without it being sickeningly sweet.
   The recipe calls for confectioners’ sugar or superfine sugar.
   Normally I would use Splenda as a substitute for sugar in sorbet, but since the recipe is so specific about the kind of sugar required, I decided to use superfine sugar (sometimes labeled berry or extra-fine granulated sugar), because I wanted the recipe to work properly. Besides, only four tablespoons are needed.
   Like the peaches and serrano ham, the sorbet was easy to make.
   Pitted sweet or sour cherries, fresh or frozen, are puréed with water and sugar in a blender until smooth. The mixture is strained through a fine sieve. The mixture, now without extra solids, is processed in an ice cream maker.
   I was only able to get the sorbet to the slightly-slushy stage in the ice cream maker, which I was fully expecting.
   I transferred the sorbet to an airtight container and froze it until it was ready to serve. It takes about eight hours for the sorbet to freeze completely.

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