September 2, 2011

Cantaloupe Frozen Yogurt

Have you noticed that cantaloupe has a really overpowering smell?  Or is it just overpowering to pregnant woman (which I am not) and people silly enough to store one under their desk at work after a lunch hour trip to the Wednesday farmers market?  It's very pungent and musky, and frankly, not very pleasant after being stuck with it for a few hours.


Late summer: Its peak season for melons of all types right now, as well as tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and cucumbers.  This week at the market I picked up four pounds of sweet peppers, a couple cucumbers, some green beans and some purple beans, a bunch of cilantro, a bunch of super thin green onions, some nectarines, grapes and a couple of cantaloupes.

...And then I put them by the air conditioning vent under my desk, because I didn't want them to wilt in a hot car.  And every person who walked into the office got a funny look on their face and asked, "What's that smell?"

You'd think I'd be so sick of the smell of those melons that I'd stick them in the fridge and hope Jason and the girls ate them; but no, that overpowering smell somehow mingled in my consciousness with my recent ice cream obsession.

I had never heard of cantaloupe ice cream, so I googled it and I read a few recipes.  And then I decided to forego the ice cream custard-making and do frozen yogurt instead.  The tartness of yogurt pairs well with fruit and a batch can be completed in less than an hour.

I feel a bit silly sharing a recipe though, when what I did take some odds and ends from the fridge, and combine them in a blender with cantaloupe and yogurt to make a quick dessert.  The thing about an ice cream maker is that it not only makes ice cream, but frozen drinks and frozen yogurt and sorbet, too.  I imagine you could take any smoothie recipe, add a little extra sweetener and churn it into a rather wholesome dessert.  Nowhere near as decadent as homemade ice cream, but as time-consuming either.

Cantaloupe Frozen Yogurt
Amounts are approximate. With the coconut, lime and ginger this has a tropical-floral flavor.  If you're missing an ingredient or two, improvise and let me know what you come up with.
Makes 1 quart.

Blend together:
1/2 a ripe cantaloupe, peeled, seeded and cubed (yielding approximately 2 cups cubes)
1/4 cup coconut milk (Use the rest of the can to make this or this.)
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
the juice of one lime
1/4 cup sugar, plus a glug of honey
1-2 tablespoons tequila (optional)*
Add and blend once more:
1 1/2 cups plain whole milk yogurt
Churn in ice cream maker according to manufacturer's directions.  Transfer to a storage container and freeze.

*I added the tequila because alcohol is supposed to make homemade ice cream or frozen yogurt freeze not-so-hard.  Out of the ice cream maker the yogurt was soft.  An hour or two later it was perfect and the next day it was hard as a rock.  (Let it sit 10 to 20 minutes before scooping and the texture is fine.)  So maybe the tequila didn't do anything for the texture, but I think it may have brightened the flavor a bit.  Take it or leave it.

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