One invitation Mark and I had this summer to enjoy a sunset on the riverside deck of some new friends was memorable and delicious. Our hostess (thank you, Kay) served us a stunning view, fascinating conversation, and fresh fruit with peach sorbet. We loved it and are grateful that she kept things relaxed, people-focused, and healthful. It was a good reminder to me that simple is delightful. Simple entertaining is certainly better than a complex, fussy meal with an over-worked, tense host who can't even sit down to converse. If you would like to entertain, but feel that it would be too much work, I'd encourage you to emulate Kay. Gathering friends together is primarily about the people.
If you have time to prepare a dessert the day or evening before entertaining, the lemon ice cream in the photo is a delicious choice. Yes, it is rich, including both cream and sugar. But for most people, a small serving is just right--so serving and eating this ice cream should be guilt-free. Somehow, it seems both lusciously rich and refreshingly light. I am grateful to my brother's wife, Betty, for the recipe--both of them are accomplished, creative cooks.
The dessert requires five hours to freeze through, although you could cut that time by freezing it in a thin layer and then scooping it into serving dishes.
Lemon Ice Cream
makes 5 - 7 small servings
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
1 Tbsp. fresh grated lemon peel (I use a zester)
2 cups half & half cream
1 cup sugar
Squeeze juice and prepare peel.
In medium sized bowl, stir cream and sugar together until sugar is well dissolved. Then, stir in lemon juice and peel. The mixture will thicken almost immediately.
Pour into individual dishes, sherbets, or 8" square pan. Freeze at least 5 hours (overnight or even a few days is fine; cover with plastic wrap if it waits awhile).
Set out at room temperature at least 10 minutes before serving; the ice cream freezes quite hard.
I often set out a small plate of nice purchased cookies with the ice cream. Using limes instead of lemons also makes a yummy dessert.
I don't know if you can see the short tines on the spoon in the photo; these special silver ice cream spoons were my mother's--using them is a small source of memories and joy. When we serve this dessert, our guests are always impressed--I hope you give it a try.
Question of the day: If you like to entertain, what's your secret for keeping it fun and easy?