So often, we want our food to be geographically transformative. We want to stand in our kitchens in New York or Los Angeles or Kalamazoo and be taken via the stove to India or Tangiers or even just that really cool place in Oregon where they had that pudding thing that was so damn delicious.
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Other times, we want to taste where we live. This was the case with Fresh Honeydew Sorbet with Lime and Black Pepper. Our author, hope.thurman, sets you up for the vernacular eating experience, by telling you how she was inspired by gardenias in Bel Air and purple tulip magnolias around the UCLA campus. Here in L.A. as elsewhere, it’s the height of fruit season, so we need to work it every way we can.
I am a huge fan of all frozen desserts, but not necessarily of making them. I have curdled my share of ice cream custards in my day, and in any event while most frozen desserts need to spend the night in the fridge, most of us don’t have time midweek to prep them. But this recipe is really no trouble at all, provided you have an ice cream maker, which I really think you should, because after all you probably own a popover pan and how often do you use that space taker of a thing?
So, here is how I would like you to structure your day: Get up, make breakfast for yourself and anyone else you have hanging around the house. While you sip your coffee, make the simple syrup this recipe calls for. Put it in the fridge. Go about your business, but while you are out during the day, pick up the most lovely looking honeydew (or its closest melon equivalent) you can find, and make sure to pick up some peppercorns if your black pepper is on the wane. Grab some limes, too.
As you make dinner (or after you order it in) call your friend in some other state and gossip a little bit as you take an ice cream scoop to your lovely melon. Say things like “Really? And are you going to stand for that? ” and “I don’t know, I always thought turquoise was a great color for a kitchen.” Soon your friend will have to hang up and go back to her email.
That’s when you put your mixture in the ice cream maker and go do something else for 30 minutes. I might give my six-year-old a bath. You should feel free to spend a long time online studying cork floors. Once it is done spinning around, throw your sorbet in the freezer, and crawl into bed and watch your DVR episode of Hot in Cleveland. Feel no shame. Here is what I DON’T want you to do: leave your delicious sorbet in the ice cream maker bowl, as I did, or it will be hard as a rock when you attempt to serve it to your dinner guests the next night. Instead, remove it, transfer it to a Tupperware or some such.
That light and almost ethereal taste of honeydew will remind you of that time of night in Los Angeles when the sun is about to set, but hasn’t yet. The black pepper will be a welcome smack across the palate, like a Pacific wave rolling up on you while you were standing examining a starfish. The lime may elude you, like a parking spot in West Hollywood after 5.
My dinner party guests politely stood for the sad little scrapes they got before I wised up and transferred this to another bowl for refreezing, and proclaimed it delicious. I am sorry they could not have more. But I will enjoy it as I have so many things in Los Angeles, alone in the quiet of the dusk.
Halve and seed the melon. In a blender, combine the honeydew, juice of the limes, salt and pepper. Puree until very smooth. Adjust seasonings to taste.
In a small saucepan, combine the water and sugar and warm over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Pour in the melon puree and heat until just combined. Chill well.
Freeze mixture in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. Once frozen, allow to harden overnight, or at least 12 hours.
By day, Jennifer Steinhauer, aka Jenny, is the Los Angeles Bureau Chief for The New York Times. By night, she is an obsessive cook.
A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).