Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Three obsessions in one day

I think today is going to be a good day--I plan to indulge three of my four obsessions with worthy materials.

I picked up these books at the library last night:

From the top down:
Sorbets and granitas: Icy Delights, Cookies, and Sauces from the Duane Park Cafe (really fabulous looking recipes)
London 1945 (gasp--yes I'm reading non-fiction that has nothing to do with food!)
Florida (the NBA finalist, not a travel guide)
In My Other Life (more Joan Silber after loving Ideas of Heaven)
Matilda (all the buzz about the latest Charlie and the Chocolate Factory movie has led me to crave a re-read of some Roald Dahl)

While cracking the cover of London 1945 I can have another bowl of Chocolate Orange Sorbet:

I had some last night and, once again, found reason to praise Mark Bittman to the stars. The sorbet is idiotically simple to make; as Bittman himself says at the beginning of the recipe (in his tome, How to Cook Everything) "The biggest bang for your buck in the dessert world." I made a slight alteration, replacing the vanilla he called for with 1/4 t orange oil.

Here is the recipe in its entirety:

Chocolate Orange Sorbet
adapted from Mark Bittman

1/2 C sugar
3/4 C unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Hershey's European style Dutched cocoa which came in second in a Cook's Illustrated tasting and is half the price of the only cocoa to beat it--Callebaut)
2 C hot water
1/4 t orange oil (they sell this with essential oils at natural food stores and yes, it is edible in a diluted form like this. The original recipe for plain chocolate sorbet has 1/2 t vanilla extract. I bet it would also be terrific peppermint oil or extract.)

1. Mix together the sugar and cocoa then, stirring constantly, add enough hot water to make a thick paste. Add the remaining hot water and stir or whisk until smooth. Add the orange oil (or vanilla).
2. Refrigerate until cool and churn in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's directions.

That is it! Intensely chocolately, lovely finish of orange flavor, simple to make and fat free (if you care about fat). It was far more refreshing than an equivalent quantity of chocolate ice cream or gelato and a very nice addition to the desert repertoire at our house.

And tonight is knitting night at Sweetwaters cafe with the Ann Arbor Knit In.
There I can poll knitters as to whether it is worth continuing this:

This is the beginning of the Broadripple sock pattern from Knitty.com. It isn't the pattern I'm questioning but whether it is worth continuing in this yarn--Knitpicks Sock Garden in colorway Pansy. Unfortunately the yellow in the yarn does not blend smoothly into the black and combines to form a color I can only call dinge. Whenever I get to a stretch of this color I am knitting with an expression on my face that approximates what I look like when facing and smelling a week old dead mouse (something I did find in our basement recently--damn mouse crawled into a trash can and couldn't get out). Can I make it through 2 socks worth of repetitive ick-color-knitting-face?


Kimberly said...

If you are already making the ick face, rip it out! You will never be happy with it & why spend all that time knitting something you'll hate! :)

Miss Tenacity said...

I've made a similarly deadly sorbet, which uses 1 cup of cocoa powder and replaces the water entirely with coffee and adds a small amount of bittersweet chocolate (1-3oz, depending on your preference). Insane!