Ice Cream Sunday: Watermelon-Lemonade Sorbet

Two refreshing summer treats–watermelon and lemon–combined into one. And even better, they are combined into a sorbet for an extra refreshing frozen treat.

I must admit this sorbet has a slightly funky taste that I can’t quite put my finger on. I don’t know if it was the fruit combo, the corn syrup, or the lemon zest. Or it may have been the tartness of the lemon.

Nonetheless, I still enjoyed it and found myself returning for more as the days passed. It was particularly cooling as the recent heatwave enveloped the house, and as I finished off the final spoonful, I felt sad to see it disappear.

I spotted the recipe on Scoop Adventures, a blog site all about ice cream and well worth a visit if you are interested in tons of ice cream recipes. Lindsay, the writer of Scoop Adventures, gushed about the book from which she found it, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home, which I have added to my ever-growing wish-list of books.

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams is a chain of shops in the Columbus, Ohio area that offers an array of artisanal ice cream blends using peak season ingredients. Since some of hubby’s family lives in Columbus, Ohio and we visit occasionally, I knew I would have the opportunity to try Jeni’s flavors one day. And sooner than later, for by the time this posts, I will be in Ohio blissfully spooning Jeni’s Splendid ice cream into my mouth! I’ll let you know all about it next time I post about ice cream.

Until then, give this recipe a whirl and let me know how you like it.

Watermelon-Lemonade Sorbet

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  • 2 1/2 cups watermelon purée (about 3-4 cups cubed watermelon)
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 tsp. lemon zest


  1. Place watermelon in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth.
  2. Combine sugar, corn syrup, lemon juice, and lemon zest in a small saucepan and place over medium heat. Bring mixture to a boil and cook until the sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
  3. Pour sugar syrup into bowl with watermelon puree and stir to combine.
  4. Pour sorbet base into a sturdy gallon Ziploc bag and seal tightly.
  5. Place the bag in an ice-water bath, place bath in refrigerator, and let stand until base is chilled, approximately 30 minutes (or chill base overnight in refrigerator).
  6. Once chilled, pour into ice-cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. Freeze in freezer until firm.

SOURCE: adapted from Scoop Adventures via Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home

Lemon Bars

Calling all lemon lovers! Have I got a recipe for you!!

I’ve made lemon bars many times–from a recipe from my first ever cookbook as a young adult: Betty Crocker’s Cookbook, 1987 edition. And friends have asked for that recipe when I’ve brought the dessert to gatherings.

But I’ve found a new recipe that far surpasses the lemon zing of that one: Ina Garten’s Lemon Bars. Wow! These are loaded with sweetness and tanginess. This dessert melts in the mouth and tickles the taste buds with zesty lemon sourness. Oh, scrumptious indeed are these creamy babies. But that is their danger, for eating just one is impossible if you love the tartness of lemons.

And as a testament to how delicious these are, I had my socks knocked off when my mother asked me for the recipe. You see, I brought these to the 4th of July barbecue, and my mom, who expertly bakes delicious old-style European treats, couldn’t eat just one either. And she doesn’t often choose my desserts over her European treats. So I know these are indeed tasty.

Lemon Bars

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  • 1/2 lb. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/8 tsp. kosher salt (if using table salt, use less as kosher salt is grainier)


  • 6 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp. grated lemon zest (4-6 lemons)
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 cup flour
  • powdered sugar, for dusting



  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Using mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light (if using a standing mixer, use the  paddle attachment).
  3. Combine the flour and salt; with mixer on low, add to the butter until just mixed.
  4. Dump dough onto a well-floured board and gather into a ball. Using floured hands, place dough into a 9x13x2 inch baking dish and flatten, pressing to build up a 1/2-inch edge on all sides. Chill for 15-30 minutes, until firm.
  5. Bake crust for 15-20 minutes, until very lightly browned. Let cool on wire rack. Leave oven on for filling.


  1. Whisk together eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour. (Although the oil from the zest adds flavor, I let the filling sit for a few minutes so the flavors could meld; I then strained the filling through a sieve to eliminate any graininess from the lemon pulp and zest. I wanted a really smooth and creamy filling.)
  2. Pour over the crust and bake for 30-35 minutes, until the filling is set.
  3. Let cool to room temperature.
  4. Dust with powdered sugar (if you’ve never “dusted” before, use a sieve to achieve light, even dusting; I actually have a special little cup with a sieve on top just for dusting).
  5. Cut into squares or triangles and serve.

SOURCE: adapted from Becky Bakes who got it from Ina Garten on

Chopped Salad with Tuna (and a way to use up cucumbers, tomatoes, and radishes from garden abundance)

When I had a wedding shower five years ago, I received The South Beach Diet book from a dear friend. Looking up in puzzlement after I opened it, for I was slim and trim back then and in need of no diet, she laughed and announced, “I didn’t buy it for you to diet. I thought you would like some of the recipes in it.”

Well, this dear friend is my summer scrapbooking buddy, and a couple of summers ago we decided to serve our scrapbooking-day lunches solely from the South Beach books since we both owned them. It forced us to explore some of the recipes, and we found quite a few that we continue to make.

One such dish is this Chopped Salad with Tuna. Not only is it loaded with healthy veggies and protein from the tuna, but the dressing adds quite a punch of flavor for it includes tangy lime juice, pungent garlic, and spicy pepper.

Although the recipe calls for lime juice, I often use lemon instead simply because it’s more accessible to me since we have a lemon tree in the backyard. I have begun buying limes, though, and freezing the juice in ice-cube trays then storing them in Ziploc baggies after frozen–very handy and useful for the variety of recipes I come across that call for lime juice.

And rather than layer all the chopped items as the recipe states, I mix it all up, including dressing.

I highly recommend trying this salad. It’s easy, healthy, and delish.

Chopped Salad with Tuna

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Serves 1



  • 1 can (6 oz.) water-packed tuna
  • 1/3 cup chopped cucumber
  • 1/3 cup chopped tomato
  • 1/3 cup chopped avocado
  • 1/3 cup chopped celery
  • 1/3 cup chopped radishes
  • 1 cup chopped romaine lettuce


  • 4 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper



Layer the tuna, cucumber, tomato, avocado, celery, radishes, and lettuce in a decorative glass bowl.


Mix the olive oil, lime juice, garlic, and pepper. Drizzle over the salad.

SOURCE: The South Beach Diet (page 140)

Zucchini & Carrot Slaw with Asian Dressing

After trying several zucchini slaw recipes, this version ended up my favorite. I love the flavor of the dressing. It comes across with a slightly nutty, earthy taste balanced by the saltiness of the soy sauce and with a bit of spice from the hot sauce–lots of layers of flavor to dress up the zucchini and carrots.

I actually used a mix of yellow squash and green zucchini because that is what our garden produced. However, I thought the rainbow of colors from the orange carrots, yellow squash, and green zucchini produced a very festive presentation. You can even add radishes for a touch of red color.

The dressing can be made a day or two ahead of time. I even saved the undressed and unused shredded veggies for more yummy slaw the following day, so perhaps even that can be prepared ahead of time.

Overall, very easy and very tasty recipe.

Zucchini & Carrot Slaw with Asian Dressing

Serves 4

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  • 2 tbsp. cider vinegar (I used white vinegar)
  • 1 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. sesame oil
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 3 drops hot sauce (chile sauce, Srihacha, Tabasco…any will suffice)
  • 1 large zucchini (8 oz.), shredded (can also use yellow squash)
  • 4 carrots (8 oz.), shredded
  • toasted sesame seeds for garnish


  1. Dressing: Combine vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, and hot sauce. Mix well.
  2. Shred zucchini and carrots with grater, either by hand or using food processor.
  3. Toss grated veggies with dressing.
  4. Sprinkle with sesame seeds for garnish.

SOURCE: adapted from

Interested in more zucchini recipes? Check these out:

Zucchini Fries

Zucchini Melt

Stuffed Zucchini in Tomato Sauce

Grilled Zucchini Greek Salad


Chocolate Chip Cookie from the New York Times

So what’t the big deal about the New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookie, otherwise known as the Jaques Torres cookie? I saw it pop up on food blog after food blog. Okay, the dough rests for 36 hours. So what in the world does that accomplish except a long, torturous wait?

Thankfully, one blogger included a link to the original article from the Times, which explained the science behind what happens in those 36 hours of torture as well as a few other insights into what makes this cookie so spectacular.

For those of you who don’t want to read the entire article, let me to offer you a recap of the highlights:

    • 36 hours allows the dough time to soak up the liquids, which creates a firmer consistency
    • large cookies–six inches, to be precise–allows for a crunchy outer ring and a soft center
    • use high-quality chocolate–at least 60% cacao–to maximize the vitality of flavor
    • a sprinkling of salt plays up the sweetness factor

And here’s an interesting factoid from the article: the original creator of the chocolate chip cookie, Ruth Wakefield, owner of The Toll House Inn, included the instructions in her 1953 Toll House Cook Book to “chill this dough overnight.” Ever seen that little tidbit included in the recipe on the back of the package of chocolate chips? Seems this little secret has been around for a long time yet not shared with the public.

Okay, back to the recipe. So, I finally tried it and was not impressed. Gasp! I swear I must be the only person with this reaction based on what I’ve read in other blogs. It wasn’t bad; it just didn’t live up to the hype, in my opinion. I like a thicker cookie. These came out too thin for my liking.

However, I did make a discovery that blew me away. You see, I made a handful of gigantic cookies as per recipe after the 36-hour mark. Two nights in a row. Not impressed. Hubby thought they had way too many chunks of chocolate. So, I fished out quite a bit of the chocolate chunks, tried again, and still wasn’t impressed.

Rather than toss the dough, which I was sorely tempted to do, I decided to try making a large pan cookie. Why not? The dough was already mixed and I wasn’t going to make the humongous individual cookies anymore and I really didn’t want to waste the dough.

This bar version blew me away. Now I could really taste the melding of flavors and understand the hype: rich and buttery toffee flavor interspersed with deep chocolate delight. Plus, I loved sinking my teeth into the softness of the hunky bar form and feeling the explosion of the deep caramel notes. This bar version gave me the thickness I desired in combination with the hyped-about flavors I’d been reading on other blogs.

Although several weeks have passed since I’ve made this cookies, I still drool about it and crave more. However, I avoid making it for the simple reason that I would eat the entire pan of cookies!!! When I make this again, it will be to share with others to save myself from pigging out.

And now, time for the infamous Jacques Torres Chocolate Chip Cookie straight from the July 9, 2008 New York Times article:

Chocolate Chip Cookie

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Adapted from Jacques Torres


  • 2 cups minus 2 tablespoons
  • 1 2/3 cups (8 1/2 ounces) cake flour
  • 1 2/3 cups (8 1/2 ounces) bread flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 pounds bittersweet chocolate disks or fèves, at least 60 percent cacao content (Note: Disks are sold at Jacques Torres Chocolate; Valrhona fèves, oval-shaped chocolate pieces, are at Whole Foods. I didn’t find them at Whole Foods. Although I chopped up the pricey Scharfenberger chocolate, I recommend using the Ghiradelli chips most markets carry.)
  • sea salt (Note: this is coarser than regular salt. Also, I forgot to include this when I baked the bar version.)


1. Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.

2. Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Drop chocolate pieces in and incorporate them without breaking them. Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. Dough may be used in batches and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.

3. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside.

4. Scoop 6 3 1/2-ounce mounds of dough (the size of generous golf balls) onto baking sheet, making sure to turn horizontally any chocolate pieces that are poking up; it will make for a more attractive cookie. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then slip cookies onto another rack to cool a bit more. Repeat with remaining dough, or reserve dough, refrigerated, for baking remaining batches the next day. Eat warm, with a big napkin.

Yield: 1 1/2 dozen 5-inch cookies.

SOURCE: Cherry Tea Cakes blog; New York Times recipe

Ice Cream Sunday: Lemon-Thyme Sorbet

My mouth puckered big time, my eyes watered, and I shouted out some kind of exclamation. Yep, it tasted tart.

The lemons from our tree produce overly sour citrus; hence, I need to use less juice and more sugar next time.

Speaking of thyme, the herb itself has lemony undertones, so it serves as a perfect complement in the sorbet. And it provides a fun, subtle addition to an ordinary lemon ice cream.

I suppose using the coveted Meyer lemons would make this much more palatable, but alas, those are not within my reach.

Despite the acerbic quality of this batch, lemon sorbet offers a refreshing, cooling treat for a hot summer day.

Lemon-Thyme Sorbet

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  • 2 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice, divided
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large bunch of fresh thyme, tied with kitchen string
  • 2-3 tbsp. limoncello, an Italian liqueur (optional, but it helps keep sorbet smooth rather than icy)


  1. In medium saucepan, combine only 1 cup of lemon juice and sugar; stir over medium heat, just until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat, add thyme, cover saucepan, and let stand at room temperature for at least two hours or refrigerated overnight.
  2. Once mixture is cooled, squeeze the thyme to extract as much flavor as possible, then discard it.
  3. Add the remaining 1 cup of lemon juice and limoncello, stirring to mix.
  4. Freeze the sorbet in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to container and freeze until it firms up, about two hours or overnight.

SOURCE: Cilantropist

Wasabi Cucumber Sesame Salad

In addition to an abundant supply of zucchini and squash, our garden is cranking out an excessive amount of cucumbers, too. And they seem to grow overnight, just like all the squash. One night we actually harvested eight!

I haven’t come across as many recipes for using cucumber…yet. However, this salad made with cucumbers and wasabi dressing rivals that served in sushi restaurants.

The wasabi, mind you, gives quite a peppery kick, but that is exactly what makes this a sublime dressing. The combo of sugar and soy sauce gives a sweet and salty flavor while the sesame seeds provide a slightly nutty crunch. Of course, all of these flavors enhance the crisp fruit (yes, it’s called a fruit).

To get the cucumber slices very thin, I used a mandoline. Oxo makes an inexpensive version if you need one.

Served with fish made Asian style or gyoza or any Asian dish, this serves as the perfect accompaniment–light, tasty, refreshing.

Wasabi Cucumber Sesame Salad

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Serves 6


  • 3 medium-sized cucumbers, sliced thin
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp. prepared wasabi (you can use the prepared paste or the dry mix)
  • 1/4 tsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. sugar


  1. In a colander, spread sliced cucumbers out and sprinkle with 1 tsp. of salt. Let stand and drain for about 15 minutes. Gently squeeze out any excess water (I used a cheesecloth) and add to bowl.
  2. While cucumbers are draining, toast sesame seeds in a dry pan over medium heat, until browned, stirring and tossing occasionally–about 5 minutes (or, just buy already toasted sesame seeds).
  3. Mix rice vinegar, wasabi, soy sauce, and sugar.
  4. Toss cucumber, sesame seeds, and wasabi dressing until combined.
Note: I also sprinkled on an Asian topping mix of sesame seeds with seaweed bits and a few other spices

SOURCE: adapted from She Wears Many Hats who found this on the Epicurious app