greek yogurt

Greek Cherry-Basil Pops

One of the best things about coming home from New York City was being able to actually experience a true, suburban summer. Hearing the birds chirp, smelling freshly cut lawn and actually being able to lay outside without hearing 14 ambulances drive by are just among the list of things I love about a suburban summer in Cleveland. While I’m still in the pre-back-to-school-summer mood, I wanted to create something that would capture summer in just one taste. Alas: the popsicle. A summer dessert icon- so sweet and frozen, with all the flavors you want compacted into one swift lick. I would make popsicles.

My mom bought me POPS! Icy Treats for Everyone, by Krystina Castella at the beginning of the summer, after I raved about Jeni’s Mango Lassi Pop. I was unable to utilize the cook book in New York but was determined to make at least one of the recipes while I was home for just 10 short days. I have tweaked the recipe a little to make it my own, but it was definitely inspired by this amazing book full of more popsicle recipes than you could ever make in your lifetime. Here is my recipe for Greek Cherry-Basil Pops (inspired by Bing Cherry and Vanilla Pops):

Ingredients

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup water

1 bunch basil leaves, roughly chopped

3 cups fresh cherries, pitted and chopped

3/4 cup cherry juice

1 cup greek yogurt

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Sweet Summer Cherries

Directions

In a medium saucepan, bring the water, sugar and basil to a light boil. Allow the sugar to dissolve. Remove from the heat and let cool before straining into a bowl. Discard the basil. This will be your basil simple syrup.

In the same saucepan, simmer the cherry juice, 1/4 cup basil simple syrup and cherries over low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let cool, then add the yogurt and vanilla extract. Stir until the mixture is completely uniform in color. Pour into six 8-ounce popsicle molds and freeze for at least six hours.

Cherries in 3 beautiful shades of pink (from left): cherries in the pot, cherries with juice and syrup simmering, cherry mixture once yogurt and vanilla were added.

Let the pops stand at room temperature for about five minutes before removing from the molds. If they are still stuck, try running the molds under hot water for a few seconds, and they should slip right out! Your result: sweet summer in one swift lick- just what I intended.

So they didn’t come out perfectly, but tasted just as sweet!

Note: if you have extra mixture, like I did, you can pour it into small ramekins and freeze for a frozen yogurt-ice cream-like treat instead!

Paper Magazine’s Super (Duper) Market

Last weekend was the 1st annual Super Duper Market, a “three-day pop-up super-store featuring our favorite vendors, retailers and food fanatics from East Coast to West Coast selling their goods under one roof,” according to its host, New York’s very own Paper Magazine. I say “1st annual” because the event seemed so successful that I hope to be returning next year.

I attended the event on Saturday with my best friend, Lizzy, and a very empty stomach. ‘Twas a good thing, because I ate more food than a human should physically be able to digest… and that was just off samples. I’ve highlighted some of my favorite vendors from the event. May the drooling commence!

Nordic Breads (Long Island City) putting together tea sandwiches of Ruis whole grain rye bread, butter, cheese and cucumbers

A variety of flavors of Empire Mayonnaise (Brooklyn). I generally don’t care for mayonnaise (tip: I use greek yogurt in place in chicken, tuna and egg salad), but their truffle mayo was to die for. I could see myself using this on sandwiches, with crudités, or licking it right off the spoon.

The Salted Sailor S’more from S’more Bakery (NYC).  A cakey, shortbread-like graham cracker hugs a homemade vanilla bean marshmallow, toasted to order, coated in salty vanilla bean caramel sauce. Definitely not a traditional s’more but I loved it nonetheless.

Speaking of s’mores, I just had to create this before-and-after shot of the s’mores pie from First Prize Pies (NYC). This was the last item we bought before leaving the market, and I’m so glad we did. The crust was crumbly, buttery and sweet; the perfect vessel for a creamy, rich, decadent chocolate pudding filling, topped with toasted fluff. This was the epitome of a true s’more, in pie version. So sinfully delicious, and as full as we were, we gobbled it up (clearly).

Finally, I was so amazed by the flavor of Humphry Slocombe’s (San Francisco) chocolate and smoked sea salt ice cream that I forgot to take a picture of it. I also generally do not like chocolate ice cream (I know, such a crime) but this is the exception. The milky chocolate flavor had the perfect undertone of salty and smoky. I get it, chocolate and sea salt are the new peanut butter and jelly. But when you smoke that sea salt, it’s a totally different sensation, and I hope to be seeing more of this combination (and maybe even using it myself!). It’s a shame- or blessing in disguise, depending on how you look at it- that Humphry Sloccombe’s only has a storefront in San Francisco, or else I’d be buying this stuff by the bucket. Props to you, Mr. Slocombe.

So there you have it, an afternoon of indulgence at the Super Duper Market. I was happily full until Sunday, and came home with some great products and memories.