Sharpe Preserved Lemon


Pale lemon.

One of my friends has spent a lot of time in the Middle East and North Africa, where preserved lemons are de rigueur, and she was tickled when I told her I had made preserved lemons. I did it because I had too many lemons on hand and it seemed like a fun project. I haven’t had the chance to use them in cooking, but of course I wanted to see how it work in ice cream.

Preserved lemons have a bit more umami than regular lemons, so it’s a different flavor profile than a standard lemon ice cream. The recipe I used had peppercorns and bay leaves as well. Also unlike, a regular lemon ice cream, this has a salty tinge that, when combined with the lemon and other notes, is delightfully unusual and unclassifiable. Much like Ms. Sharpe herself.


In its raw form.

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Pesto is my favorite pasta sauce — it’s got salty, spicy, nutty, and herbal notes. I like a modified classic version with basil, pine nuts, Parmigiano Reggiano, olive oil, salt, garlic, and a touch of lemon juice. But I’m often too cheap and I swap out the basil for spinach and the pine nuts for walnuts. It’s still amazing.

Pesto is Ligurian in origin. My friend Musetta has family from Abruzzo (where, as she notes, the ladies are known to be stubborn), so it’s not quite on point, but she was completely supportive of my desire to make a pesto style ice cream. Unlike some other people that will remain nameless. “But I wouldn’t use cheese, of course,” I said. “Well, of course not.” she replied. But if you want to sprinkle some as a garnish, I won’t tell.


Master of None?

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Lauren’s Chili Vanilla with Lemon Curd

I have been absent for longer than I had planned — a trip to New York and work busyness has prevented me from writing up all the installments bouncing around my mind. Happily, I have been able to make some new recipes, so we’re not lacking in ideas around here.


Lauren’s favorite lemon curd.

The New York trip was in celebration of my dear friend Lauren’s baby shower. I’d never actually been to one so it was a novel experience, and a relaxed one (no stupid games, very little pomp). Lauren has always loved my lemon curd, which I frequently add to cakes and cookies, but I’d never actually done it as an ice cream swirl. The trip got my mind going — you’d want a basic flavor, but with a subtle flavor to make it not just lemon + vanilla. Enter the chilies. They add a kick, but not an unwelcome one. People who hate spicy food probably shouldn’t try this, but the mix of spice, sweetness, and tart — complete with the richness of the vanilla, use seeds and good extract if possible — make it an unusual, addictive combination. The friends who tried it while watching the Oscars very much enjoyed it. Continue reading