keito potato

Chocolate and Rosemary Sorbet
August 3, 2011, 9:54 pm
Filed under: desserts, recipes | Tags: , , , ,

This is my very favorite sorbet!  The combination of rosemary with chocolate is haunting and earthy.  Because it’s a sorbet, it’s clean and icy (instead of creamy), making it perfect for summer evening.   This has been my “go-to” dessert for casual dinner parties for the past several summers, and I’ve so glad to finally share it here. 

The recipe comes from the fabulous cookbook Crazy Water Pickled Lemons by Diana Henry.  My cousin Phyllis turned me onto this cookbook 4 summers ago when I was visiting her in France.  This cookbook is a treasure for those who are looking for fragrant, spice-laden, and sensual versions Mediterranean-style dishes.  Some other favorite recipes are lavender-orange-almond cake, lemon-basil ice cream, and roasted sweet potatoes with marinated feta and olives.  The cookbook is organized in chapters according to the flavor profile (for instance lavender, rosemary, olives, honey, oranges, etc), which is a refreshing way to categorize dishes, rather than their course assignment.

This sorbet is dead-easy to make, especially if you have rosemary bushes growing around the house or neighborhood.  It simply consists of cocoa power, sugar, water, and rosemary.  If the idea of a chocolate sorbet sounds intriguing, but you don’t care for rosemary, I imagine you could experiment with infusing the chocolate syrup with other herbs and aromatics like spearmint, lavender, orange zest, cinnamon sticks, or ginger. 


2-4 sprigs rosemary (Diana suggests 2, but I usually use 4)

7 oz. superfine or granulated sugar

2  1/4 oz. cocoa powder

2  1/4 cups (18 fl oz) water


Bruise the rosemary — just bash it with the back of a wooden spoon — and put it into a saucepan with the sugar, cocoa powder, and water.  Heat gently, stirring a little to help the cocoa and sugar to melt.  Bring the liquid up to the boil, and boil for 1 minute, stirring occasionally. 

Take the pan off the heat and leave to cool with the rosemary still in the chocolate syrup.  Once it has cooled off to room temperature, chill it in the fridge for about an hour.

Remove the rosemary sprigs, and churn the liquid in an ice cream machine.  If you don’t have an ice cream maker, still-freeze the mixture in a container in the freezer, and beat the mixture a few times during the freezing process.  That will break up the ice crystals sufficiently.

Serve the sorbet in pretty little bowls or goblets.  You might want to garnish it with a dollop of sweetened Greek yogurt and a handful of raspberries.

Rosemary Potato Soup
May 22, 2010, 9:51 pm
Filed under: recipes, soups | Tags: , , , , ,

It’s been 3 full years since a rattlesnake’s skin was found in my front yard rosemary, but I’m still cautious about fetching the herbs. The rosemary bush has grown over a stone wall, and apparently the rattlesnake squeezed between 2 stones to shimmy out of its skin. To this day I still approach the rosemary bush with a yardstick and massive kitchen scissors. The nice thing about rattlesnakes is that they warn you by rattling — as long as they sense you approaching are not caught off-guard. So I stomp around awhile as I approach the rosemary, and pause to listen for a soft rattle. Maybe I’m going overboard, but rattlesnakes are not pals.

That said, a recipe featuring rosemary has to really put me over the edge before I’m willing to venture out into my front yard desert habitat. I felt this recipe was worth it, a rosemary potato soup made with a simple garlic broth.

I’m falling in love with Bryant Terry’s new cookbook Vegan Soul Kitchen, a healthy and passionate “remix” of southern classics. If you’re familiar with how I cook, you would understand that I can’t help be swept away with a cookbook that is healthful, ethical, and sustainable, while also being sensual, vibrant, and sexy. He wants to push African American cuisine into a more “creative, cutting-edge, and refreshing” direction. I’m smitten.

This soup looks like a traditional rich cream soup, but is completely vegan (no butter, no cream, no cheese). I think it actually has more flavor because it is built on aromatics instead of dairy. I’m not a vegan, but I love pureed vegan soups that are rich and smooth, having fluffy pureed vegetables camouflaging as dairy.

This soup starts with a garlic broth, the easiest one I’ve discovered: just garlic, water and salt. After simmering an hour it has a soft gentle aroma, and perfumes the whole house.

Yukon Gold potatoes are the potatoes of choice here. If you haven’t used this variety yet, the flesh is a rich butter yellow color, and they make fantastic mashed potatoes. If you can’t find them, red potatoes would work, but the soup would end up paler in color.

GARLIC BROTH RECIPE (makes about 6 cups)

4 whole garlic bulbs, unpeeled, broken up, and smashed with the back of a knife
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
9 cups water

In a large pot over high heat, combine these 3 ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, uncovered, for about 1 hour. During this time, the liquid will have reduced to about 6 cups.

Strain the garlic cloves, pressing down on them in the strainer to extract all their liquid, and discard (compost) them.


3 tablespoons olive oil
3 2-inch sprigs of rosemary
2 large yellow onions
1 teaspoon cumin
coarse sea salt
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups garlic broth
2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced
white pepper

Remove the rosemary from the sprigs. In a large saucepan over high heat, warm the olive oil until hot but not smoking, about 1 minute. Turn off the heat and immediately add the rosemary to the hot oil. Cook until crispy, shaking the pan to ensure that all the rosemary is covered in oil. Remove the rosemary and set aside.

Turn the heat back on to heat the oil again. Add the onions, cumin and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Saute until soft, 5-10 minutes. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, 1-2 minutes.

Add the garlic stock, potatoes, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium, and simmer, covered until the potatoes are tender, about 25 minutes.

Bryant then purees the soup in a blender, then presses it through a strainer or sieve. I prefer to just use a “stick” immersion blender. Use what works for you. Season with salt and white pepper to taste. Add additional stock to thin, if necessary. Serve hot, garnishing each bowl with crispy rosemary.