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Strawberry Rhubarb Sherbet-7

Strawberry Rhubarb Sherbet + Giveaway

This Strawberry Rhubarb Sherbet recipe, which I originally posted in the early, early days of Cafe Johnsonia, remains one of our very favorites to this day. I know we typically think of rhubarb as a late spring/early summer thing, but I’ve still been seeing rhubarb all over at nearby farm stands. That’s a good thing because I can’t get enough of it! Though if I’m honest…I’m guilty of buying the gorgeous red stalks and then forgetting about them in the back of my fridge. I’m always saving the rhubarb for pie, which I never get around to making. Am I the only one who does that?

Strawberry Rhubarb Sherbet-2
Anyway, this is a good way to add some cold, creamy strawberry rhubarb flair to the hot summer days that remain, especially if you can still find rhubarb. Of course, you can make this anytime if you use frozen rhubarb and strawberries. :) I think you’ll really love this take on the classic strawberry rhubarb flavor combo.

Strawberry Rhubarb Sherbet-3
This recipe is based on a favorite of mine from Cooks’ Illustrated magazine from ages and ages ago. And it’s still the best sherbet recipe out there! Chilled fruit puree is slowly added to freshly whipped cream and then the mixture is poured into an ice cream maker. The result is extra creamy, not at all icy, and very fruity.

Strawberry Rhubarb Sherbet-4
As these long, warm days and nights start to dwindle, we are trying to enjoy every last bit of summer. We’ve been pulling out the ice cream maker as often as we can. And we’ve been sipping cold drinks out on our back patio. Oh, how we love summer!

Hot August Nights Gluten-Free Ice Cream Social + Giveaway!

Today I’m taking part of a virtual ice cream social along with some of my favorite gluten-free bloggers. We’ve all teamed up to share some delicious recipes (plus fun giveaways!) to keep you cool as you see summer into fall.


AND…so you can make your own ice cream at home, I’m giving away a Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker (valued at $69.95). If you already have one, this would be a great upgrade or a gift for an ice cream lover, or to keep on hand for when you want to churn one batch after the other. In addition to ice cream and sherbet, you can make frozen yogurt, sorbet, or icy drinks. (We love ours so much we have two machines!)

Cuisinart Ice Cream MakerGiveaway rules:
-Enter once a day through the form below.
-Open to US residents with valid shipping address. (No P.O. boxes)
-Giveaway ends on Wednesday, August 24, 2016 at 11:59 pm MST.
-Winner will be chosen at random.

Take some time to visit all of the other recipes from our Virtual Ice Cream Social. All are gluten-free, some are dairy-free as well. Each blogger is hosting their own giveaway too!

Paleo Hot Fudge Sauce by What the Fork Food Blog

Ice Cream Crunch Bars by Meaningful Eats

Gluten-Free Vegan Mug Brownie Sundae by Gluten Free Palate

Peanut Butter Ice Cream Topping by My Gluten Free Kitchen

Peaches & Cream Protein Ice Cream by Making It Milk Free

No Churn Dairy Free Honey Vanilla Ice Cream by Flippin Delicious

Ice Cream Sandwich by Vegetarian Mamma

GF, Vegan Waffle Cones by Gluten-Free Homemaker

Gluten Free Vegan Chocolate Fudge Waffle Sundaes by Sarah Bakes Gluten Free

Granola Bar “Fried” Ice cream w/ Creme’ Anglaise by Gluten Free Frenzy

Strawberry Rhubarb Sherbet-6Strawberry Rhubarb Sherbet

Strawberry Rhubarb Sherbet
Recipe type: dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1.5 quarts
A creamy, fruity sherbet made with strawberries and rhubarb.
  • 10 oz. (about 1 cup) rhubarb, chopped
  • 16 oz. (about 3 cups) fresh or frozen strawberries, quartered
  • 1¼ cups granulated sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • ⅔ cup heavy cream, very cold
  1. Prepare to use ice cream maker according to manufacturer's directions. (I put my Cuisinart bowl in the freezer at least 24-36 hours before I plan on churning the sherbet.)
  2. Place rhubarb, sugar, and water in a stainless steel (or other non-reactive) pan.
  3. Bring to a simmer and cook until sugar is dissolved and rhubarb starts to soften.
  4. Add the the sliced strawberries and cook for a few more minutes just to soften the strawberries a bit. Remove from heat. Let cool for 10-15 minutes.
  5. Transfer to a blender and puree until smooth. Strain, if desired, into a clean bowl. Add the lemon juice. Chill until very cold, about two hours.
  6. In a clean bowl, beat or whisk the cold heavy cream until soft peaks form. Slowly drizzle the cold fruit puree down the side of the bowl into the cream, while beating or whisking.
  7. Turn the ice cream maker on and pour the liquid through the feed hole. Churn until the sherbet is thick, like soft serve ice cream.
  8. Transfer to an airtight plastic or metal container. Press waxed paper against the surface to prevent hoar frost from forming. Freeze until firm enough to scoop.
Adapted from Cooks' Illustrated magazine.

Strawberry Rhubarb Sherbet-5

Pitcher of Lemonade Sparkler for the 4th of July

Two Refreshing Cocktails for the 4th of July

Firecracker Tomato Juice Cocktail for the 4th of July-21

Monday is the 4th of July here in the U.S. It’s always been one of my favorite holidays – the early morning pancake breakfasts, the laid back lunch at the pool or beach, evening BBQs, and of course, the fireworks. But mostly, I guess, for me it’s all about the fun food and drinks. I’ve teamed up again with Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice to create two festive cocktails for the 4th of July using their newest juice, Tomato, and an old favorite, Natural Lemonade.

Firecracker Tomato Juice Cocktail for the 4th of July-19

Natalie's Orchid Island Juice

Natalie's Orchid Island Squeezed Fresh Juices

Natalie’s juices are all squeezed fresh which ensures the most delicious, fresh tasting juices and lemonade out there. And if you want the best recipe outcomes, well, then you better use the best ingredients. So that’s what we’re doing for these cocktails. (p.s. If you want non-alcoholic versions, I’ve included that in the notes below.)

Firecracker Tomato Juice Cocktail for the 4th of July-18

Firecracker Tomato Juice Cocktail and Lemonade Sparkler for the 4th of July

The Natural Lemonade only contains lemon juice, cane sugar, and water. And the Tomato juice only contains squeezed fresh tomatoes and a little bit of lemon juice. That’s it! That makes a really big difference, I’m telling you.

Firecracker Tomato Juice Cocktail for the 4th of July-2

Firecracker Tomato Juice Cocktail for the 4th of July-4
Firecracker Tomato Juice Cocktail for the 4th of July-17

Now, when you think of tomato juice cocktails, I’m sure the first one that comes to mind is a Bloody Mary. It’s the favorite of many brunch lovers. The most common recipe for a Bloody Mary contains tomato juice, vodka, Worcestershire, lime and/or lemon juice, hot sauce, horseradish, salt and pepper, and sometimes a little celery salt. And then there are infinite variations from there.

Firecracker Tomato Juice Cocktail for the 4th of July-3
I’ve created my own take on a Bloody Mary using Natalie’s squeezed fresh tomato juice, cucumber vodka, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, smoked salt, celery salt, a big pinch of cayenne, and freshly ground black pepper. To quote my husband, “This tastes like a garden in a glass.” And then came the delightful burn that helped give this cocktail its name: Red Firecracker. So light, so refreshing, and basically what I want in my hand as I’m hanging out over the holiday weekend. Man is it good!

Firecracker Tomato Juice Cocktail for the 4th of July-6
My recipe uses a little more tomato juice than other recipes because the flavor is more delicate than canned tomato juice. I wanted to taste the tomato in there, not just the spices.

Speaking of spices, the smoked salt adds such an interesting flavor element that we really love. I buy mine from a specialty market, but I’ve seen it in well-stocked grocery and kitchen stores. It’s now something I always have on hand. (I’ll share more ways we use it in another post.) From there, the other ingredients are pretty simple. We found an incredible cucumber vodka, thanks to my sister’s suggestion, at our liquor store and it is amazing. I’m not usually a fan of flavored vodka, but the cucumber flavor here is perfection, especially in this cocktail. We LOVED it. And we tried it with regular vodka, too, but we missed that nuance of cucumber. Trust me, it’s worth it!

Firecracker Tomato Juice Cocktail for the 4th of July-7
You can go easy or heavy on the cayenne according to your preference. I put a nice big pinch because I love the heat that follows each sip. It’s sort of like firecrackers going off in your mouth. ;) I recommend not adding too much if you make this mixture ahead of time, for example, if you’re making a pitcher for a crowd. Let people add their own because it can get quite a bit spicier as it sits. (From experience. haha)

Firecracker Tomato Juice Cocktail for the 4th of July-12
Firecracker Tomato Juice Cocktail for the 4th of July-14

I probably don’t need to tell you that this Firecracker cocktail tastes infinitely better with this fresh squeezed juice than with that thick canned or bottle stuff you find on the grocery store shelves. (The kind that tastes like overly salty tomato sauce? You know? Yeah, you know.) This tastes like a ripe, juicy tomato…in juice form. That’s why everyone needs some Natalie’s in their fridge. (All of their flavors are crazy fresh and delicious, but I beg you to seek out the tomato juice. You will not be sorry!)

Red Firecracker (Cucumber Bloody Mary)
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (5 ounces) Natalie’s Orchid Island Tomato Juice
1/2 cup (4 ounces) cucumber vodka
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, or more to taste
1/4 teaspoon smoked salt, or more to taste
1/4 teaspoon celery salt
Large pinch ground cayenne
10 coarse grinds black pepper
2 cups crushed ice
Sliced cucumber rounds, for garnish

In a small pitcher or 16 ounce measuring cup, stir together the tomato juice, cucumber vodka, lemon juice, smoked and celery salts, cayenne, and black pepper. Taste and add more lemon, salt or pepper, to taste.
Place 1 cup ice each into two glasses. Pour the tomato mixture over the ice. Garnish with cucumber rounds. Serve immediately.

Serves 2.

-To make ahead, prepare cocktail mixture, minus crushed ice, and store in fridge until ready to serve.
-To make for a crowd, quadruple the recipe and place in a large pitcher.
-To make a stronger cocktail, use 5-6 ounces of vodka.

And now for the Lemonade Sparkler!

Lemonade Sparkler with Blackberries-6

Pitcher of Lemonade Sparkler for the 4th of July-2
As a companion to our Red Firecracker cocktail, I made a pitcher of Lemonade Sparkler. I went with my favorite flavor combo for this and that combo is elderflower liqueur (a.k.a. St Germaine…mmm…my very favorite), lemonade, blackberries, and sparkling water. We make some kind of version of this quite often in the summertime. It’s incredibly refreshing, and it’s fun to eat the berries afterwards. They soak up the bubbles from the water and the floral essence from the St. Germaine. Such a yummy little burst of flavor when the lemonade is all gone.
Natalie's Orchid Island Squeezed Fresh Lemonade
One thing I really love about using Natalie’s Natural Lemonade is that it’s sweet, but not TOO sweet. You know how sometimes lemonade is so sugary you wonder where the lemon is? Not this lemonade. It’s sweet enough to balance out the lemon, but you definitely know the lemon is there. It’s tart and refreshing like lemonade should be.

Lemonade Sparkler with Blackberries-3

My recipe will serve 8. If you want a 1-2 servings, it’s easy enough to cut the recipe down. But I think it’s safe to say you’ll want a pitcher of this stuff. And it will last a few days in the fridge, if you leave out the ice and add the sparkling water just before serving. This is perfect for a party drink. Give the kids lemonade and give the grown-ups this stuff. They’ll love it.

Lemonade Sparkler with Blackberries-2

Lemonade Sparkler with Blackberries
Pitcher of Lemonade Sparkler for the 4th of July

Lemonade Sparkler (Sparkling St. Germaine Lemonade)

Two 16-ounce bottles Natalie’s Orchid Island Natural Lemonade, chilled
8 ounces St. Germaine (elderflower liqueur), chilled
1 quart sparkling water or club soda, chilled
1 1/2 cups fresh blackberries
2 large lemons, thinly sliced
Crushed Ice

In a large pitcher (86 ounces or larger), stir together the Natural Lemonade and St. Germaine. Add 1 cup of the blackberries, one sliced lemon, and a few cups of ice, then add enough sparkling water to fill pitcher to the top. Fill glasses or jars with ice. Add a few blackberries and lemon slice to each glass, then fill with the lemonade. Serve immediately.

Serves 8.

-To make this non-alcoholic, use 1/2 cup elderflower syrup (found at Ikea and in some specialty stores) and use extra sparkling water to dilute, or it will be too sweet.
-For a stronger drink (wink, wink) use your favorite sparkling wine in place of all or some of the sparkling water. Or add 1/2 cup of vodka to the pitcher.
-Other berries and fruit can be subbed for the blackberries – cherries, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, etc.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post and these recipes were developed in partnership with Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice Co. All opinions expressed are 100% my own.

Ginger Lemon Creme Cookies-3

Gluten-Free Gingersnaps with Lemon Cream Filling

Gluten-Free Gingersnaps with Lemon Cream Filling

This is the first time I’ve actually been excited for January. Usually I’m like, “Ugh. Can we just fast forward through January, February, and March and get to the nice weather?” But then last year I fell hard for citrus of all kinds and citrus time is here once again! Nature’s gift to get us through the cold weather doldrums. In this month’s #EatSeasonal roundup, you’ll find quite a few citrusy recipes. Friends after my own citrus-loving heart. My contribution is a recipe for Gluten-Free Gingersnaps with Lemon Cream Filling. And holy moly are they tasty cookies!

GF Ginger Lemon Creme Sandwiches-3
But first, the gorgeous recipes made with January’s cold weather produce. So many good things to love! Follow along on social media using #EatSeasonal.

EatSeasonal recipes for JanuaryOatmeal and Citrus Smoothie by Floating Kitchen
Butternut Squash, Carrot and Orange Detox Soup by Vintage Mixer
Winter Minestrone Soup with Pancetta by Flavor the Moments
Broiled Grapefruit by Bless This Mess
Gluten Free Gingersnaps with Lemon Cream Filling by Cafe Johnsonia
Meyer Lemon Tart by Kitchen Confidante
Potato and Leek Soup with Kale by Mountain Mama Cooks
Grapefruit and Avocado Green Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette by Food for My Family
Creamy Mushroom and Leek Chicken Breasts by Foodie Crush
Blood Orange Brûlée Upside Down Cake by Suitcase Foodist
Maple-Cayenne Sausage, Brussels Sprouts and Potato Sheet Dish by Project Domestication
Pink Grapefruit with Brunt Honey Custard by Letty’s Kitchen
Yogurt Brûlée with Winter Fruit by Completely Delicious
Grapefruit Pound Cake with Ginger Marshmallow Icing by Climbing Grier Mountain

And now about those cookies of mine. . .

Years ago I fell in love with Carr’s Ginger Lemon Cremes. They quickly became my very favorite store-bought cookie, a) but they are difficult to find and b) they are not gluten-free. I’ve actually never found a gluten-free equivalent, so it’s been quite a long while since I’ve enjoyed those cookies! This year I decided that I wanted to tackle finally making a homemade version. I’ve tried so many different recipes for ginger cookies over the years. I love a good ginger cookie whether they are light and crisp, dense, or chewy. It’s all about the molasses and ginger for me. I found a recipe from Martha Stewart that promised thin, crisp ginger cookies. I modified the recipe a bit and came up with a simple lemon cream filling that is perfectly tart and lemony.

Ginger Lemon Creme Cookies-5

It can be really difficult to make chewy gluten-free cookies. Almost impossible at times. It’s just the nature of gluten-free cookies. BUT these can be chewy or crisp. I discovered that under-baking just a bit left the cookies nice and chewy. And baking them a little longer gave me crisp cookies like the Carr’s Ginger Lemon Cremes. Woohoo!

candied and gresh ginger

I combined my favorite gluten-free all purpose flour mix and almond meal for the dry ingredients. I like using a really deep, dark blackstrap molasses. I feel like the deeper flavor is just a wee bit better, or more pronounced. And I like that. The other awesome thing these cookies have going for them is three kinds of ginger. Are you a fan of ginger? Because I don’t think it’s possible for these to have too much ginger, so I used ground, freshly grated, and chopped crystallized ginger. Also, I should mention that this recipe make A TON of cookies. Like 6 dozen which makes 3 dozen sandwiches. That’s a lot of cookies. But that’s a good thing if you need to make cookies for a crowd, or just want to keep your cupboard stocked up for a long time. (Unless you have three children who are equally addicted to ginger cookies like their mother.) ANYWAY.

lemon fillingginger cookies and lemon filling-2

The filling needs to be loved on a little bit too. Guys and gals, three ingredients are all you need. For reals. Just powdered sugar, good butter, and fresh lemon juice. I say “good butter” because not all butters are created equally. The flavor of the butter comes through. That goes for butter that’s been hanging around in the freezer too long.You know when you forget about a pack of butter and it’s been hanging out next to the salmon for a few months? Yeah, don’t use that. Get some fresh butter.

If I could only have one cookie for the rest of my life, I’d probably choose these.