Oh, hi.

It’s been a while since those Wondrous Pillows of Carbtastic Splendor graced my editing window, and I want to assure you we haven’t been starving in the silence.  Since that post, I’ve been traveling, working, and thinking (and, admittedly, making several things that have needed a bit of tweaking before I present them to you – such is the mystery behind the food blogger’s curtain).

I’ve been thinking a lot about Gourmet. Though I had only just begun my subscription (ironically, the first issue I received was its last), I could not help but recognize the magnitude of this loss. When so much talent dissipates after accumulating so handsomely, the void is severe and deep. I read post after eloquent post from others, eulogies for this publication that brought elegance to so many dining tables. It was heartening to see a fitting tribute assemble itself from the food community.

But then came Christopher Kimball’s New York Times editorial about Gourmet, the internet, and the current state of recipe writing.  In his hamfisted attempt to explain how a publication with such a dedicated following could meet its end, Kimball took several  cheap shots at food bloggers, calling us a “ship of fools” who will never produce results as reliable as his hermetic  test kitchen.


I have been tempted to respond.  Kimball is someone I have, admittedly, looked up to in the past.  He has worked tirelessly to craft a franchise of publications and programs that have helped a growing generation of home cooks achieve consistency in their kitchens.  I regularly participate in test panels for America’s Test Kitchen.  It’s a bit disheartening to see that Kimball holds such a contemptuous view of the food blogosphere. In my head, while driving to work or peeling apples for pie (coming soon) or pushing a cart through the grocery store, I have written several rejoinders that delve into my beliefs about the essential, communal qualities of cooking and creating recipes.    But I haven’t let any of those arguments make their way to the page.  There’s no need.  As his subsequent responses show, Kimball really believes his way of cooking and writing recipes is the best.  He doesn’t value the things we, as food bloggers, bring to the proverbial table.  If the mountain of other feedback he has received from the blogosphere hasn’t given him pause about holding so steadfastly to a view that continues to alienate a community of people who could lend substantial support and conviviality to his business, then one more rant from me won’t do it either.


To tell you the truth, I’m grateful to Kimball.  His editorial and its aftermath have served as a lightning rod to motivate me to examine my own beliefs about food, about cooking and, most importantly, about what I’m doing here with The Salty Spoon.  Without boring you with a manifesto, let me simply say this: cooking is a part of my life and always will be. I share that part of my life with many people, both online and in person. I work at incorporating good food into my life and my household every day, and I hope by showing you, my readers, this process and my joy in executing it that you might be moved to join me. I am not an expert or a trained chef. Rather, I’m a kinesthetic learner with a big appetite and a warm heart. I love to eat and I love to laugh, and I try to inspire you to do the same. If that means I’m sailing blissfully along on Kimball’s ship of fools, so be it. I rather like the view from here.


Fall recipes are coming soon.  Though it’s a bit of an ephemeral concept here in Los Angeles, these pictures from our recent trip to Ithaca help me imagine cooler air, musty leaves, and good things made from apples.  The moon is waning, and all is well when a cup of cider is close by.


I learned to arm wrestle really, really well working at the Olive Garden.  It had almost nothing to do with being a hostess there, but the arm wrestling champion of Butte, Montana taught me herself.  Her name was Mary, and she was a great teacher.

The key to winning at arm wrestling, according to Mary, is two-fold.  Getting the knot of forearms, hands, and elbows into a configuration that allows you to pull with your bicep is of paramount importance.  Getting there quickly, to the abject shock of your opponent, is equally critical.  Done correctly, you’ll leave them painfully mumbling in your dust as you swagger away, heady with the pride of your win.  Though the expression is woefully time-worn, it really is all in the wrist.

For two summers and a winter break in college, I was part of the front of the house “A team” at the Olive Garden in Billings.  I had applied for work at several restaurants in town, and the Olive Garden was one of my last stops because it was the furthest strip mall from my house.  It shared a parking lot with Red Lobster, where I failed the 300-question personality test prior to my interview.  By the time I received a Dear Bria letter informing me that my immediate future did not include reciting pithy witticisms about a menu filled with shellfish, it was the OG or nothing.


My arm wrestling lesson came around the same time gnocchi were added to the menu, during my second summer. New additions to the menu meant team meetings at the restaurant on Saturday mornings, where we put the “know your food” OG principal into practice (the other four principals being hot food hot, cold food cold, money to the bank, and clean restrooms).  I don’t remember anything else from the tasting that day, nor do I really remember whether or not the gnocchi were any good.  I can only recall the moment that marked what would prove to be a weeks-long process in fighting about the pronunciation of “gnocchi.”  It was not, as I emphatically argued, acceptable to refer to it as “nookie.”

It’s a good thing none of us are 19 for more than, say, a year.  It’s just so difficult to know Everything and struggle to communicate it to the rest of the world given a paltry allotment of only 24 hours per day.  I believe Mary was neutral on the pronunciation debate, but favored some sort of object lesson that would shut me up for the sake of keeping the peace.   Somewhere between hearing her credentials and that first, brutal loss, I managed to forget about the pedantry of the matter.

Today, I don’t care if you call them gnocchi, nookie, or Wondrous Pillows of Carbtastic Splendor.  Just make them, and soon.

The ricotta quantity is stated in ounces, rather than cups.  If you buy your ricotta, it should make a difference to you as 15 to 16 oz is a standard size.  If you made whole-milk ricotta with me and are staring at a giant wad of cheese, wondering how much to use, get thee to the store and pick up a food scale.  It’s an excellent way to maintain consistency and accuracy in the kitchen.  Fundamental recipes are ratios based on weight, not volume, and you will open many doors for yourself with the ability to scale recipes up or down based on weight.  Get one.

Regarding the bread crumbs: I cheat.  If you happen to have a few slices of white sandwich bread laying around, remove the crusts and blitz them in a food processor.  Toast the resulting crumbs in a 300 degree oven for 10 minutes until they are golden and use them here.  Despite my bread-making proclivities, honey-oat whole wheat bread is the only kind we (almost) always have readily on hand.  It doesn’t make for very good bread crumbs, so I cheat with the kind in the little cardboard can.

(Keep reading Ricotta Gnocchi…)


I think we have talked about the way I pine for lazy weekend mornings to while away with plates of fresh muffins.

A recent foray into vegan, gluten-free cooking (long story) left me with a sizeable quantity of almond milk and gluten-free all-purpose flour (“GF AP”). I didn’t have specific designs on them at first, but figured the inventive mood would strike at some point. One morning, it did.


And here is where I confess something slightly embarrassing. I make biscuits with Bisquick. I know, I know. It’s rather antithetical to all of my feelings about baking. I’m wrapping myself in a little shower curtain of shame in order to explain this, but it’s relevant to the how and why I decided to try using almond milk in muffins, so stick with me. After months of enjoying the splendor of traditional baking powder biscuits made with butter, John and I decided to get back on Weight Watchers (a wagon from which we have long since fallen). After recommitting to the double-W, we couldn’t justify the eleventy vermillion points in a serving of those biscuits (vermillion is a number with so many zeroes it turns red). One day, I discovered that Bisquick’s Heart Healthy baking mix made decent, though not equivalent, biscuits. What can I say, they are incredibly fast and relatively low in calories and fat.

Have I lost all baking credibility with you? I hope not. Remember the marshmallows? The bread? The olive oil cake? Surely you can cut me a smidgen of slack for this one thing. Oh, and if John tries to tell you about a bag of frozen potstickers that allegedly appears in our freezer on occasion, HE IS LYING.


So. As I was saying, I had gobs of almond milk and GF AP and no plans for either. On a whim, I decided to see what would happen if I used almond milk in place of regular milk in my Bisquick biscuits. My reaction, upon opening the oven, summoned from my core an authentic, Utahn OH MY HECK that would have made Norm Bangerter proud. They were HUGE and had the most amazing texture – pillowy soft with the tiniest crumb.

Since the basic muffin recipe is quick and quite malleable when it comes to ingredient manipulation, I decided to take the almond milk for another spin and see what it could do. When combined with GF AP, the result is scrumptious and workable for the gluten-free and dairy-free crowds (so long as your dairy-free parameters concern Things That Come From a Cow; the recipe includes eggs).

Food allergy/intolerance struggles are near and dear to my little peanut-allergic heart. I’m pleased to offer this recipe for my gluten-free and dairy-free friends who yearn for baked things that don’t suffer in texture or taste.  All too often, recipe adaptations for food allergies/intolerances are woeful approximations of the real thing.  In tasting these muffins (and sharing them with my lovely, gluten-free neighbor), I was really heartened to see that they taste and feel like…muffins.  They aren’t a weak knock-off, they’re just good.  Give them a shot, whether or not you happen to have a hard time with gluten or milk proteins.  You’ll have something wonderful to share with those who do.


The blueberries get a subtle but beautiful boost from the maple syrup (again, thank you Flavor Bible). If you want your berries to be further and fewer between, skip folding them into the batter and sink them, individually, with your fingers once you’ve portioned the batter into the wells.

Note that this recipe also works with spelt flour, if you happen to have some around. If you go with spelt flour, I recommend a food scale so you can measure out 8 oz – it’s a little more dense than GF AP, and you’ll want slightly less than the 1 ¾ cups called for here. Spelt, for the uninitiated, is not gluten-free; if you swap it in place of the GF AP flour, you can’t feed these to your Celiac friends. If gluten isn’t an issue, I highly recommend playing around with spelt flour – it’s high in protein and has a lovely nutty, sweet flavor.

(Keep reading Gluten-Free Blueberry Muffins…)


I lost my mind while studying for the bar.  Sort of.  For the uninitiated, bar study is a long, lonely process that readies you, in part, for the actual exam by making you so vomitously tired of the studying that you arrive on test day with a head so swimming with “let’s just do this thing” that you forget to be nervous.

One of the few unscripted days in our agenda that summer was July 4.  Overwhelmed by the promise of an utterly free day, I decided to make things.  Two things, to be exact.  I made the chuppah for my wedding, and I made a fruit buckle.  The former took about 14 hours that day, and another 20 hours the week before the wedding; the latter took about an hour and made for a lovely breakfast.


Even today, I can’t quite explain why I found it important, nay, necessary to make the canopy for our chuppah.  Nor can I explain why I thought it would be a good way to learn to quilt.  And, even when pressed, I come up completely empty-handed when it comes to explaining how my calculations that day resulted in a chuppah canopy that is substantially larger than a king-sized bed.  Apparently, I wanted to make sure we had room to both get married and do the Highland Fling underneath its gentle, convex arc.

The ladies at the quilt shop were not particularly convinced that this project was going to be a success.  I think I explained the whole venture about 8 times, though several of those iterations were spent describing How a Jewish Wedding Works to these septuagenarian Protestant women.   In the end, we figured it out.  They sent me on my way with a bag full of quilting tools, a bundle of gorgeous fabric, and good wishes underscored by a Germanic skepticism that’s undetectable to those who haven’t spent quality time in the Midwest.  I still owe them a picture.


I think the fact that I stuck with the quilting until the end really illustrates the insanity that flourishes during bar study; when faced with a free day, I shunned the temptation of naps and television in order to work my fingers to the bone and give myself a neck cramp that lasted for the ensuing two months.   Still, 14 episodes of Law & Order later (I studied for evidence by shouting out objections throughout the trial scenes), I had made enough progress in piecing together the quilt squares that turning back was impossible.  It was a devil’s bargain, bound up in fat quarters of gold calico.

The buckle, on the other hand, was a no-brainer.  As I have mentioned here before, my mom is an excellent cook.   So when she calls me and says “I’m sending you a recipe; I think it’s the best thing I’ve ever eaten,” I listen.


A buckle is characterized by a rich cake batter mixed with fruit, topped by more fruit and a crunchy streusel topping. Some variations involve spreading the cake batter over a layer of fruit at the bottom of the pan, but I prefer to fold the fruit into the cake. Blueberries are the classic buckle accompaniment, but wonderful things can come from using raspberries, huckleberries, blackberries - whatever suits you that happens to be fresh and in season.   Somewhere, between the jammy layers of berries and the brown sugar splendor of the crumb topping, you’ll find a moment where you can’t help but furrow your brow and exclaim “Mmm! That is good.”

(Keep reading Berry Buckle…)


When you feel helpless, the urge to search for ways to contribute something, somehow, overrides the little voice that says Hey, This Might Hurt. This is why a woman I knew volunteered to have her bone marrow tested for its compatibility with her brother’s even though his doctors were much more confident their other brother would be a match. Her name was Randy, and I was training her to replace me as the director of catering at a hotel in Montana.

Her brother had been diagnosed with leukemia, and it was both a crushing disappointment and a relief to him and his family. Though the outlook was fairly grim, everyone exhaled for the first time in months, now that they finally knew what was ailing him. Randy was tall, a sturdy Montana girl with a giant skull and beautiful skin. When she spoke, a northern Midwest accent chimed through each word. It’s the accent many people associate with North Dakota, because of Fargo, but sounds more like Montana to me. She offered up an honest-to-goodness doncha-know every third sentence. As she hung her massive head and cried about the diagnosis, she told me she wanted to be tested as a potential donor because it seemed like the only thing she could do to help.


She sat gingerly in my office – soon to be her office – after the appointment where they extracted a sample. The procedure had been painful, though no more so than one would expect to find any process that involves taking a bit of the good stuff out of your hip bone through a needle. Still, more than the pain, Randy was bewildered by what the extracted marrow actually looked like. “It just looked like a little tube of blood!” she exclaimed. I wondered, out loud, what she had been expecting. “Well, from the pictures on the wall in the office, I was expecting it to look like…like…” she paused, “what’s in manicotti?” I blinked. “Ricotta?” She slapped the top of my desk and grinned. “Ricotta! That’s what I thought it would look like. I’ve been thinking of nothing but ricotta for a week.”

I was then faced with one of those adult moments, where one has to balance discretion and self-control with a serendipitous opportunity to be really, really funny. Should I smile and nod and suggest we hit the new burrito stand across the street? Or should I take advantage of the best segue ever to land in my lap and ask if she wanted to try the hotel chef’s newest lunch creation, pasta shells stuffed with sausage and ricotta?

The burrito was delicious.


Now, how about some ricotta! It’s actually pretend ricotta. Proper ricotta is made from leftover whey after making cheese, but this is a nice approximation for home use. It’s ridiculously simple and leaves you with that lovely, smug look-at-me-being-very-Laura-Ingalls-Wilder feeling without taking much in the way (whey, heh) of time or special equipment.

(Keep reading Whole-Milk Ricotta…)


The bakery cupcake phenomenon kind of escapes me. It highlights my fleeting disconnect from people who don’t see cooking as Something You Do.  Living in Los Angeles, I’m within each reach of at least a dozen bakeries with beautiful and famous cupcakes…but I’ve never been to any of them.

My reasons are two-fold. First, the few I’ve had have been fine, but not great.  It’s not that they’re bad, exactly, they’re just not something I’d go out of my way to track down. Second, I can’t fathom paying someone several dollars for a single cupcake when I can make piles and piles of them at home with the staples in my pantry and fridge.

However, I wholeheartedly support the cupcake movement, such as it is.  Tiny cakes that can be dressed and frocked to suit the wildest and mildest palates alike are whimsical genius, in my best opinion.  Cupcakes are simply fun. It has been delightful to see something so fun and so manageable at home become so broadly popular recently.  I only wish I could convince more people to make their own.

Do you want to know the secret to true cupcake perfection?  Take an unfrosted cupcake and slice it in half on its horizontal axis so that you have top and bottom pieces that are of roughly equal thickness.  Next, spread a generous layer of frosting on the bottom layer and set the top layer on top.  Frost the top as you normally would.  Carefully spread a final layer of frosting around the sides and voila, a tiny layer cake for one.  Enjoy with a fork.


Of course, cupcakes in wrappers are also lovely.  I made these Red Velvet Cupcakes for a friend’s birthday a few weeks ago when she told me her list of cake likes include lemon, chocolate, and cream cheese, in no particular order.  Red velvet has experienced a bit of a renaissance in the past two years or so.  No longer a regional staple of Southern birthday parties, it has gained a place in this new canon of cupcake frippery. I think it brilliantly exemplifies the genius of cupcakes. Here is a hyper-pigmented, sugar coma-sweet confection, packaged for one. It’s Dolly Parton as a dessert. A perfect platform for its flavor foil, frosting energized by the tangy snap of cream cheese; a perfect symbol for our national sweet tooth.

If you don’t have a pastry bag for piping the frosting, don’t worry about it. You can do a swell job with a dinner spoon.  Load up the spoon with frosting.  Holding the spoon in one hand and the cupcake in the other, set the spoon down on the center of the cake and rotate the cupcake in one, clean circle so that the frosting sweeps the whole top.  Touch up as needed – you’ll end up with a lovely look.
(Keep reading Red Velvet Cupcakes…)


As I have mentioned, we’ve been enjoying Shabbat dinners on a regular basis. Jewish or not, I think everyone should give the Shabbat dinner concept a go. You don’t have to light candles or say prayers, just try on the meal for size. It doesn’t have to be Friday, either, though I think the tandem formality and comfort of the meal creates a beautiful bookend to a hectic work week. Set a table. Pour some wine. Turn off the television and the phones. Enjoy the company of another person. Prepare something delicious and savor each bite. If you want to learn how to eat, how to really enjoy food, this is a good place to start.


Last Friday, we had lamb chops with our challah and wine. John threw together one of his beautiful chopped salads and we were set for a fine meal. Though we both intended to do more work after dinner, somehow the soft glow of the Shabbat candles made it impossible to abandon the remainder of the challah. So we sat there, making our way through a bottle of wine and the rest of the bread, talking and laughing about everything and nothing. You couldn’t plan a more perfect evening if you tried.

Though it was the challah that kept us at the table for over an hour, the lamb shone brilliantly in its own right. Lamb is a lovely addition to your regular meat routine. I’ve been delighted to find packages of 8-10 beautiful little chops at Costco in recent weeks. You can also usually find them at the meat counter in your regular grocery store. Plan to serve between 3 and 5 chops per person as there is typically a smallish teardrop of meat on each bone.


I like my lamb to be simple and very rare so that the wild, rowdy flavor comes through without a lot of interference. This sauce is a basic ratio that will handle 8 small chops – adjust up or down as needed. Note that although the chops will be fully coated in the sauce in the beginning, much of it will cook away. Fear not, the blissful melody of the mustard and olive oil will still sing out in every bite, especially the bite you follow with a final morsel of challah.


(Keep reading Mustard-Glazed Lamb Chops…)


Today I share with you one of my all-time favorite dishes.  It kept me warm and happy on many a cold winter night in Ann Arbor, yet still tastes good in the laughable gesture Los Angeles makes towards colder weather.  Oh hell, it’s great in summer months, too.  The earthy gravitas of the beans blends so well with the spirited mirth of the basil amidst the tomatoes’ warm embrace.  I’ve given you two variations here, one with meat and one with vegetables.  Though different, the flavors of these two anchors complement the rest of the dish handsomely and with gusto. The method is essentially the same for both.  I recommend using turkey Italian sausage rather than pork to keep it on the lighter side.  If you go the vegetable route and can’t find anything other than gargantuan eggplants, use half of a big one.


I can’t go any further into a recipe about eggplant without telling you how I was afraid of eggplant when I was little.  Petrified. It wasn’t that I didn’t like the taste; I’m not even sure I ate enough to have an opinion either way.  I was actually scared, in the don’t-turn-your-back-on-this-horrid-threat way.  And it was Brian Petersen’s fault.  He was a few years older than me, and our families attended the same church.  He was the charming lad who told me the Easter bunny was really my parents (this, obviously, during my pre-Jew days).  You’ve met this kid, or at least someone like him.  One afternoon, he told me in no uncertain terms to watch out for eggplant, because they were what happened to bald men’s heads after death.  If you look at an eggplant and pretend you are 4 years old, you can see that this is just credible enough to warrant careful consideration. I don’t remember when I realized it wasn’t true, but it wasn’t before a piece of eggplant parmesan fell on my knee and PANIC ENSUED.  It was like having a giant bee on my shoulder.  I wanted to get it off as quickly as possible, but I didn’t want to anger it with any sudden moves.  I came unglued quickly and quietly until I couldn’t keep it in any longer and had the mother of all meltdowns.  If I was able to explain any part of the problem through my hysterics, I’m sure it didn’t clarify anything about what was going on.  It was a tantrum co-directed by Tarantino and Dali.  Thankfully, eggplant and I have since reconciled.


The yield for this recipe isn’t a typo - it really makes about 10 servings.  It may surprise you to know that I fell in love with this recipe when I was single and living alone.  Why?  It’s fast and freezes beautifully.  I recommend getting your hands on a pile of 1-2 serving-size storage containers (I like Gladware, but go with what moves you) and portioning it out among them.  This way you can take one or two out of the freezer when you need them and keep the rest in icy hibernation until you’re ready for pasta again.


Because of the yield, you need a large skillet and a large mixing bowl to pull this off.  Any skillet under 14″ will make you break out in hives as you try to mix it all together at the end without spilling the whole mess on your stove.  If you can’t swing a big skillet, a large saucepan will also work - just make sure it has at least a 3-quart capacity.
(Keep reading Hearty Garden Pasta…)

This Wednesday marks the one-year anniversary of the publication of  The Flavor Bible, a book that should hold a prominent place in any curious cook’s library.  I’ve previously mentioned it here and here.

Recipes are lovely, and I can’t possible buy or read enough traditional cookbooks in this lifetime.  But there is another side to cooking that I think is just as important for cooks, especially home cooks, to explore.  It’s the improvisational side.  The process that starts with a blank slate of a clean kitchen and comes to life with one or two ingredients - something that looked particularly good at the store that week, a memory of a favorite dish, a scene from a movie, a song, a mood.


To make something edible out of this process, it’s important to have a basic grasp of cooking fundamentals - how to saute, how to poach, how to steam, how to broil, etc.  But it’s also critically important to have a way to get your hungry head around the flavors before you begin, lest you waste perfectly good chocolate chip cookies by sullying them with mint (hypothetically, of course).   Authors Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg help guide this process by providing (though what can only have been a Herculean effort) an index of ingredients and the flavors that best compliment them.  Need a hand figuring out what to do with the basket of figs that called out to you at the farmers’ market?  Turn to page 162 and see the 70+ flavors that will best compliment them (personal favorite: goat cheese).

My own improvisational process has benefited greatly from The Flavor Bible, and I’m happy to help Page and Dornenburg celebrate the anniversary of this wonderful text.


I offer you a pair of recipes to answer the age-old question “oh my goodness, what on earth was I thinking buying all of these lemons and what the hell am I going to do with them?”  Oh Costco, how often you force me to summon the wellspring of my kitchen charisma so that I may flick it, liturgically, on the remnants of your bounty lest we commit the sin of food waste.

Not that I’m complaining.


This is a sorbet with two faces  - think of them as fraternal twins.  The first twin is pleasant, fun, easy-going.  Interesting, but never controversial.  She’s the kind of gal you can invite to  any gathering with confidence that she’ll probably get along with most everyone.  She would always be there to help  you move, but probably wouldn’t be up for a spontaneous trip to Wendover.  Her sister, on the other hand, is one of those people who is consistently described as a “firecracker” and with good reason.  She is always intense, always the one ordering another round of shots and challenging you to a taco-eating contest.  She probably owns leather pants.

So, too, are the two preparations of this sorbet.  Both are perfect, refreshing ways to bid adieu to summer, but the latter is rather intense because it derives quite a bit of extra citrus flavor from the alternative approach to the simple syrup.  If you go this route, aim for substantially smaller portions or you will end up with a totally stripped tongue.


The candied lemons and limes are delicious in their own right and worth a try even if you don’t use the syrup to intensify your sorbet.  They are sensational atop a bit of citrus-glazed salmon.

Candied Lemons and Limes

3 lemons, washed and sliced into 1/8” slices
3 limes, washed and sliced into 1/8” slices
1 cup water
1 cup sugar


  • Bring sugar and water to a boil
  • Add citrus
  • Simmer 8 minutes
  • Dry on parchment

In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the water and sugar to a boil.  Gently drop in the lemon and lime slices and reduce the heat to medium-low.  Cover the pan, and simmer gently for 8 minutes or until the peels begin to look waxy and translucent.

Remove the pan from the heat.  Use a slotted spoon to transfer the slices one at a time to a parchment-lined baking sheet to cool and dry.  Reserve the liquid from the pan.

After 30 minutes, carefully lift the parchment paper (with the slices intact) from the baking sheet and set aside.  Line the baking sheet with a fresh layer of parchment and sprinkle with a layer of granulated sugar.  Gently transfer the citrus slices to the new parchment (I used a pair of tongs) and sprinkle with a bit more granulated sugar.  Cool completely, and store in a sealed container in the refrigerator.


Lemon Lime Sorbet

Adapted from Jamie Oliver

Serves at least 6

Reserved liquid from the candied citrus above (optional)
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
Zest and juice from 5 lemons and 5 limes
10-15 fresh mint leaves, washed, dried, and finely chopped


  • Boil the sugar and water
  • Measure out the reserve syrup, if using
  • Mix in the rest
  • Freeze
  • Stir
  • Freeze
  • Stir
  • Etc.

Bring the sugar and water to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat.  Boil for 5 minutes, remove from the heat, and allow it to cool for at least 10 minutes.

If you are not using the reserve syrup from the candied citrus above, skip the remainder of this paragraph and go to the next step.  Measure the reserve syrup in a liquid measuring cup with at least a 2-cup capacity.  Note the quantity, and add enough of the plain simple syrup you just made to bring the total liquid to 1 ¾ cups. Store the remaining simple syrup in a sealed container in the refrigerator and use to sweeten lemonade, mojitos, whathaveyou.

Combine the syrup, juices, zest, and chopped mint in a plastic or earthenware container and mix well.  Cover it and place it in the freezer.  In 45 minutes, the edges will be starting to freeze.  Give it a good stir, taking care to scrape down the frozen bits along the edges, and return to the freezer.  Continue checking on it and stirring well every 45 minutes or so until it’s firm.  This will take anywhere from 2 to 4 hours, depending on how much you let the syrup cool when you took it off the stove.  If you forget the interim stirring, eh.  It will still be fine.

Serve with a slice or two of candied citrus on top.

« Previous PageNext Page »