Last week, I had the good fortune of landing my butt in midtown west at Lior Lev Sercaz's spice shop La Boîte a Epices.
It'd been a long time coming too. Years ago, I met Lior at a coffee shop before he had a stand alone store, and scored about 10 different spice blends for my pantry.
Years of following his growth on instagram and using his blends to flavor my meat and fish dishes, we met again at a pop up at Bar Bolanat, where he and Chef Einat Admony cooked a multi course family style meal, inspired by the many flavors of Israel's rich diaspora.
My new friend, vegetarian food blogger and writer Liz Rueven of Kosher Like Me invited me to that pop and then to Lior's basic spice class which he was giving to 8 Kosher food bloggers.
Not sure he knew what he was getting himself into with our bunch of sassy Jewish ladies who can cook their tushy's off but there we were yapping, excitedly asking questions(sometimes making side talk) and making our own spice blends from Lior's amazing collection of some the world's finest high quality ingredients.
Anyway, I could go on and on about the many amazing things Sercaz shared, but I'd rather suggest you just take one of his classes yourself.
The energy I had to run back to my kitchen to taste, smell, combine and explore reminded me why I started cooking 10 years ago. Its that sense of harnessing all of yourself- body, mind, instinct, thoughtfulness into a dish, which is simply a fleeting expression that only you or a few others may enjoy.
The following morning as I was planning my Shabbat dinner for my husband's co worker and fiancee, I decided to experiment with two of my favorite flavors: citrus and cardamom. With a bag full of clementines and green cardamom, I decided to combine just these two bright and warm flavors into the base for a sorbet.
The result was magic, and definitely an amazing way to put all those extra clementines instead of inhaling them in front of the telly.
Super summery and light, it was the perfect palate cleanser to end the sasquatch meal I cooked of brisket, persian rice, sour, vegetables, salad, challah, smashed avocado and tahini.
One of my favorite things about cooking is when you can really taste the exact ingredients in the dish and this is no exception. It's all juicy citrus and warm exotic spice. Really a great marriage of flavors. I hope you'll agree when you try it home!
The recipe makes a little more than 3 cups of sorbet, but if you don't have an ice cream maker, you could totally freeze this and prepare a granita which I've included the technique for below.
Enjoy! From my kitchen to yours!
Serving Size: Serves 4-6
Clementine and Cardamom Sorbet (or granita)
16 fl oz. or 500 ml strained fresh clementine juice (about 30 clementines), chilled
1 cup sugar
8 fl oz. or 250 ml water
6 green cardamom pods
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
Combine the water and sugar in a small pot.
Press the cardamom seeds with the back of your or the heavy bottom of your knife just to split the pods. Add the pod and seeds to the pot and bring to a boil. Simmer a few minutes just until glossy and allow to cool completely.
Refrigerate overnight or at least 6 hours.
You can squeeze the clementines now and strain or do ahead of time and keep chilled while the cardamom syrup infuses.
Combine the the syrup, juice and a small splash of lemon juice to add a little brightness.
Freeze in an ice cream maker according to directions. Freeze for at least 1 hour before serving.
Can be stored for up to 1 week. If super frozen, allow to temper in the fridge for about 30-40 minutes for a softer consistency.
Combine the syrup, juice and lemon as stated above and pour into a shallow pyrex dish. Freeze for 2 hours and scrape with a fork. Continue to freeze and scrape every hour for the next 3 hours until you get a granular icey and serve!