Friday, August 23, 2013

Chocolate Sorbet, Lotusland and Willie Nelson.

Three unrelated but amazing occurrences...

Last week I spent two hours on the most fabulous garden tour at Lotusland. It is worth a glance at the website to learn more about Ganna Walska and her unique gardens. It is definitely worth a trip down to Santa Barbara area to tour the estate.

There is a Japanese Garden.

A formal garden with odd topiary.

Cactus, succulents and euphorbia in huge numbers.
And one of the largest collection of cycads in the country.

Speaking of country...
We saw Willie Nelson in concert the other night. Hard to believe he is 80 years old. He played that guitar with such energy and enthusiasm. 

You can tell we were excited.

Speaking of exciting... last but not least the chocolate sorbet, another amazing event ;-) 
A few weeks ago my favorite vegan and her family were coming for dinner. I usually make my vegan chocolate cupcakes, which are wonderful but I wanted something different. 
To fit with the theme of our taco bar meal I decided on a Mexican chocolate sorbet, wise choice.

Laurie's Mexican Chocolate Sorbet

2 1/4 cups water
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

      1) Finely chop two 3 ounce bars of very dark chocolate. These bars were actually 3.5 ounces, more chocolate the better, right ??!
      2) In a large saucepan, whisk together 1 1/2 cups of the water with the sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. 
    3) Bring to a boil whisking frequently. Let it boil, continuing to whisk for 45 seconds.

    4) Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate until it has melted, then stir in the vanilla extract, cinnamon and the remaining 3/4 cup water. 

    5) Transfer the mixture to a blender and blend for 15 seconds, careful as the mixture is hot. 
        Actually I am not convinced this step is necessary. My mixture was very smooth.

    6) Chill the mixture thoroughly, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. If the mixture has become too thick to pour into your machine, whisk it vigorously to thin it out.

This photo doesn't do this sorbet justice. It is so creamy with such a full chocolate flavor with the hint of cinnamon.

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