I scream, you scream, we all scream for Strawberry-Vanilla Gelato!

SCN_0001We are close to the end of strawberry season, and I’m eating them every chance I get! A true Montreal summer has hit us, heat and humidity and best of all sunshine 🙂 And who doesn’t associate ice cream as of th best hot summer enjoyments? Maybe because we all  associate this cold desert with our childhood memories of excitement and anticipation. My favourite ice cream flavours generally tend toward chocolate and nut flavours, but as everything food related, I like to challenge myself and make things I wouldn’t necessarily order at a restaurant or café. At first I wasn’t thinking of making ice cream, as I bought this big basket of strawberries , I was going over the dessert options using strawberries in my mind, eliminating all those that would be too heavy. I also am not very enthusiastic about turning the oven on in the summer heat. And being in surgery recovery, I don’t want to deal with weight issues because I’m eating all these rich foods and not really moving about much. Then, looking over different recipe books, i started to compare classic ice cream recipes versus gelato. The gelato is kind of a cross between a sorbet and ice cream, that kind of sold it! If you have an ice cream maker, it makes it very simple, it’s a matter of making a light syrup, blending ingredients, cooling them and then putting them in the machine. I must say, I am very pleased with the results. Now I’m imagining all the different gelato flavours I can make with the fruit coming into season soon… Stay tuned!!!!IMG_0885IMG_0887IMG_0888

INGREDIENTS

4 cups strawberries, rinsed and hulled

3/4 cup sugar

2/3 cup water

3/4 cup cream

1 vanilla bean, scraped

Juice of 1 lemon

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INSTRUCTIONS

Place sugar and water in small saucepan over medium high heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved. When syrup comes to a boil, remove from heat, add vanilla pod and let cool to room temperature. Place strawberries with lemon juice and vanilla seeds in bowl of a food processor, pulse to blend then add syrup (careful to remove vanilla pod) and pulse until blended with small pieces of fruit remaining. Chill in the fridge for 2 hours. Place in ice cream maker as per manufacturers instructions. Makes 1 quart. Enjoy without reserve!

 

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Surgery & Strawberry Jam

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So the proper strawberry season has started. I bought a big bunch of them, had them with breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert! I even had some left over for some jam 🙂 Last weekend was a mad frenzy of getting the house and fridge ready for my knee surgery recovery. Cooking, cleaning, more cooking, more cleaning… And now I need to sit still and rest, not the easiest feat for me. I am slightly depressed I can’t go to the market to walk the aisles and take in the beauty of all that summer bounty.  I hope I can make it at least once or twice before my 6 weeks of recuperation are up… I hope I get some more recipes up here before the summer is up!!! For this strawberry jam, I made a large quantity (6 jars), but you can make as much or as little as you like. Just be sure to weigh your hulled strawberries to get the right ratio of sugar to fruit. Usually, jam is a 1 to 1 ratio of sugar to fruit, I prefer my jam on the more fruity side, so I go for a 3/4 to 1 ratio of sugar to fruit. I have been making it this way for years and my jam has always kept well, just make sure to properly sterilize your jars and you should be good 🙂 Another particularity of my jams is that I like them on the slightly runny side, again you can do it the classic way and have them firm, it’s all about finding your personal preference! I’ve made enough to treat myself through the year and a few to treat friends and family 🙂

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STRAWBERRY JAM

3 quarts strawberries, rinsed and hulled and weighed

3/4 to exact weight of fruit in sugar

1 vanilla bean, halved and scraped

Juice of 1 lemon

EQUIPMENT

Jam mason jars, 250 ml or 125 ml for offering ( this recipe made 4 250ml + 3 125ml jars)

Jam funnel

Ladle

INSTRUCTIONS

Place strawberries, sugar, vanilla bean and lemon juice in saucepan and blend well. Cover and allow strawberries to let out their juice ( 2-3 hours ). Bring a large pot of water to a boil and place a tea towel at the bottom, then jam jars inside to sterilize. After 20 minutes, turn heat off and keep covered until jam is set. Place saucepan on medium-heat and bring the strawberries to a boil, lower heat to medium for a soft boil on jam. Place a small plate in freezer for testing jam. occasionally stir jam. After 20 minutes start checking for jam set by putting a spoonful in the frozen plate. Jam is set when you can run your finger through the jam and it stays streaked. Continue until desired texture, making sure not to overcook as jam will harden. Remove jars from hot water bath and let them drip dry on clean kitchen towel. Using a jam funnel, ladle jam into sterilised jars. Screw on the jar lids and let the jam cool. The lids should pop, confirming that your jam is properly sealed. If some jars don’t, you can refrigerate them. Enjoy on weekend croissants, toast or as an ice cream and yogurt topping!

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