Mr. Penpen and I have noticed on the television show “Top Chef” the cheftestants often create “duos,” which are dishes with two preparations of the same ingredient. A duo of lamb, chicken, shrimp – you get the picture. Tom Colicchio, the head judge, has chided them for it, saying they should concentrate on making one great dish rather than attempt two (though there have been instances when the duos have been well-received). Anyway, after five seasons of “Top Chef” – and even at restaurants – we feel like we’ve seen quite a few duos (and some trios), and we always giggle when they appear. So let me amuse myself by presenting a duo of Champagne.
I’ll start with dessert, since that’s the dish that prompted me to purchase a bottle of Champagne. I had a surplus of grapefruit from this week’s CSA box, so looked in The Perfect Scoop to see if there were any grapefruit sorbet recipes. And there was one called Pink Grapefruit-Champagne Sorbet! And it is fabulous: it has that lovely tart and sweet combo, with a great kick (and mild alcohol flavor) from the Champagne. This sorbet is the quintessential palate-cleansing dessert for a heavy dinner and would also be very refreshing on a hot, lazy summer afternoon. It’s rainy and cold today, and I still enjoyed it! This sorbet gets an 8 for Deliciousness and a 2 for Effort, giving it an EDR of 4.
Pink Grapefruit-Champagne Sorbet, adapted from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz
1 1/3 cups Champagne or sparkling wine
1 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 cups freshly squeezed pink grapefruit juice
Combine the sugar and about half the Champagne in a medium saucepan over low to medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and combine with the remaining Champagne and the grapefruit juice in a medium bowl. Chill the mixture and then freeze it in your ice cream maker. Note: mine took longer than usual in my Cuisinart ice cream maker, more like 30-35 minutes rather than the typical 25.
Since I had the bottle of Champagne and fresh asparagus, I decided to make one of our very favorite meals, Giada De Laurentiis’s Champagne Risotto, which you can find the recipe for here. I rarely make risotto, but every time I do I’m reminded how delicious it is, particularly this recipe. And it’s really not that difficult, especially if you have someone to take turns with for stirring duty. The meat on top is prosciutto, but if you are of the vegetarian persuasion, I think it would be a substantial dish, not to mention healthier, without it. This recipe gets a 10 for Deliciousness and a 3 for Effort, giving it an EDR of 3.33.