A while back, I donated a menu to a nonprofit silent auction to promote my business and give back to the fabulous Ithaca community that taught me so much about local food and cooking. Up to Ithaca I drove on Easter Weekend to cook an Interactive Funky Foods Brunch for Two to auction winner, Laurie Konwinski, and her husband Todd. Here’s the menu:
Chayote Frittata with jalapeño, cotija cheese, pico de gallo, avocado
Yuca Homefries with aioli
Dragon Fruit Salad with mango, kiwi, pomegranate seeds
Gjetost Muffins with assorted jams
We had a great time chatting, chopping, tasting, and cooking. As a heartfelt thank you, they sent me home with yogurt made from their friends farm-fresh cow’s milk. So when life gives you 2 quarts of homemade yogurt, you make fro-yo, right?
This is no frozen yogurt that comes from a nozzle or ice cream machine, but an ice cube tray and food processor. My mythical bird-inspired hot and cold treat features a unique natural sweetener of exquisite delicacy. Grown from the ashes of forest fires, Fireweed makes a honey that’s floral and a little spicy, adding a lovely sweetness and subtle kick to plain yogurt. I will warn you tho, this isn’t entirely yogurt. I include a bit of heavy cream in this recipe to achieve that soft-serve style creaminess we all know and love. If you want a healthier version, you can leave it out, your fro-yo will just be more firm.
~*~ PHOENIX FROZEN YOGURT ~*~
SERVES: 4 ⎪ DIFFICULTY: EASY | FUNK: CASUAL
Mise en Place
1 quart (about 4 cups) plain whole-milk yogurt
1/2 cup heavy cream or half and half
1/4 cup fireweed honey
3 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
1 small lemon or lime, zested and juiced
pinch of kosher salt
ground cayenne, to taste
Playlist—A Taste of Honey
1. STRAIN THE YOGURT
Line a fine-mesh strainer with cheese cloth. Place the lined strainer in a bowl and pour in the yogurt. Place in the fridge and strain overnight. The yogurt will reduce in volume significantly.
*WHY?* Straining out the liquid will prevent the frozen yogurt from developing ice crystals, resulting in smooth and creamy frozen yogurt.
2. MIX THE INGREDIENTS
Discard the yogurt liquid (whey), or reserve to make into gjetost. Whisk together the strained yogurt in a bowl with heavy cream, honey, ginger, lemon, salt, and cayenne. Spoon the mixture into the wells of the ice cube trays. You don’t have to fill them all the way, it will be quicker to freezer and easier to process if the cubes are smaller.
3. FREEZE THE MIXURE
Freeze the mixture until solid, about 3-4 hours.
*PLAN AHEAD* You can freeze up to 1 week in advanced. Once frozen, pop them into an airtight container or freezer bag and leave in the freezer until ready to use.
4. PULSE THE MIXTURE
Put the frozen cubes in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until roughly chopped, then let the machine run until the mixture is smooth and the texture of soft-serve ice cream. Stop and scrap the sides of the bowl every few times. If the mixture isn’t smooth, let the mixture sit for a few minutes to defrost before pulsing again. Depending on the size of your food processor, you may need to work in batches.
5. SERVE & STORE
Scoop the frozen yogurt into serving bowls and top with your fruit of choice and drizzle with extra fireweed honey and a pinch of ground cayenne. Pour the remaining frozen yogurt mixture into an airtight container and freezer for up to one week. Let sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes before serving.
~*~ NUT-MILK VARIATION ~*~
Skip Step 1 and replace yogurt with your favorite nut milk.
~*~ COCONUT MILK VARIATION ~*~
Skip Step 1 and replace yogurt with 1 13oz can of full-fat coconut milk, shaken.
~*~ LOW-SUGAR VARIATION ~*~
Use 1-2 tablespoons honey.
How would you use Fireweed Honey ?