Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

Coconut Vanilla Sorbet


When you’re looking for a cool treat that’s light and refreshing, you need to try my Coconut Vanilla Sorbet.


Prep Time: 30 minutes for churning
Inactive Prep Time: 49 hours
1). 1 hour to steep cooked coconut mixture before cooling.
2). 24 hours to chill (refrigerate before going into the ice cream machine)
3). 24 hours to freeze the sorbet mixture.
Total Time: 49 hours 30 minutes
Yields: 4 servings

Cooking Time and Temperature:
Medium-low heat, long enough to *scald the coconut milk mixture. Turn the heat off and steep for 1 hour.
Ice Cream Machine Churning Time:
30 minutes or until the mixture starts to thicken.

2 13.5-ounce cans of unsweetened coconut milk
1 1/4 cups of granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups of coconut water
1 whole vanilla bean, halved, seeded, and scraped
1 spring of fresh mint leaves
pinch of Kosher salt
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut, toasted for garnish

Combine the coconut water, sugar, 1 sprig of fresh mint leaves, vanilla bean (including the pod), salt, and coconut milk into a saucepan set over med-low heat. Bring the mixture just up to the scalding point stirring occasionally. You want to make sure all the sugar dissolves completely.  Remove from the heat. Let the mixture steep for 1 hour. Strain into a bowl, removing the mint and vanilla pod.

Next, cover and refrigerate the mixture for 24 hours.

Note: Refrigerate the bowl insert, for the ice cream maker, overnight. Pour the mixture into the frozen freezer bowl, turn the machine on and churn for 30 minutes.

Note: Don’t worry if the mixture doesn’t thicken as much as you’d like. Whenever any type of sugar and water mixture is used, without the proteins that eggs add, there becomes a lower freezing temperature.

Transfer the mixture into an airtight container, place into the freezer for 24 hours.

Place your dessert glasses in the freezer for 30 minutes before serving. Remove the Coconut Sorbet from the freezer for 10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle some toasted coconut over the top and garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.

Toasted Coconut:
Add unsweetened coconut to a dry sauté pan over medium-low heat. Swirl the pan around until you start to smell the coconut flakes and they become a light golden brown color.

*Scald: As the liquid heats, bubbles will appear around the outer rim, just under the boiling point.



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Sweet Potato Burgers

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It’s become so much easier to get Steve to have a meat-free night once a week. I’ve been really expanding my recipes to exclude meat and even gluten. This dish hits on both those marks. My Sweet Potato Burgers are so flavorful and satisfying, the fact is, you won’t miss the meat. Topped with avocado slices, wrapped in a whole grain gluten-free flatbread or just using bib lettuce as your vessel, makes no difference. My Sweet Potato Burgers are delicious.

I wanted to use a flatbread as a vessel for these burgers. I wasn’t able to find this particular hinged-brand in a gluten-free variety but they do offer gluten-free flatbreads. I’d previously bought a package of these hinged flatbreads to try because they’re great for burgers and sandwiches.

I used one of the hinged flat-breads as a pattern to follow, making the regular whole grain flatbreads into a hinged-style flatbread. I used a piece of parchment paper to trace the outline of the hinged-flatbread. I laid it over the gluten-free flatbread, and cut it out using a paring knife. Now I have a slice of gluten-free hinged bread. In time they may offer this type of bread in a gluten-free variety. You could use a leaf of Bibb (Boston) lettuce as a vessel too!

These are some of the ingredients I’m using to make these delicious Sweet Potato Burgers. First, I think the best way to incorporate sweetness, and to keep these burgers moist, not dry,  is to add a little apple sauce. When I go to the market, I’m looking for something completely natural. I decided to use a jar of baby’s puréed first apples as one of the ingredients. What’s more natural than that!  Okay, so here’s how I start.

Yields: 6 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hr 45 minutes
Equipment: 12-inch non-stick sauté pan, parchment paper, paring knife, large mixing bowl

Pesto Mayo Sauce
1/2 cup of good mayo
2 heaping tablespoons of fresh basil pesto

Avocado Slices
2 avocados, sliced
1 tablespoon of fresh lime juice
Kosher salt to taste
Fresh ground black pepper to taste

Ingredients For Sweet Potato Burgers:
6 gluten-free whole grain flatbreads (trace and cut into hinged flatbreads)
3 med-size sweet potatoes
2 15-ounce cans of drained and rinsed Cannellini beans
1 large egg, beaten
1/4 cup of organic baby apple purée
1/4 cup of flat-leaf Italian parsley, chopped
1/2 cup of baby Arugula
1 tablespoon of chili powder
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of granulated sugar
1 teaspoon of Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
1/4 cup of gluten-free flour
2 cups of gluten-free bread crumbs (this amount may vary slightly)
1/2 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons of olive oil, divided
3 tablespoons of unsalted butter, divided

Basil Pesto Mayonnaise:
1/2 cup of good mayonnaise
2 heaping tablespoons of basil pesto (store-bought fresh basil pesto)

Preheat oven to 400-degrees F.
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Set the sweet cleaned and dried sweet potatoes on the baking sheet. Prick the potatoes with a fork to release steam, and bake until soft, about 1 hour. Remove from the oven and let cool.

While the sweet potatoes are baking prepare the gluten-free hinged flatbreads using the store-bought hinged flatbread as a pattern to follow. Prepare a total of six.

For the basil mayonnaise, take a 1/2 a cup of good mayonnaise and add 2 heaping tablespoons of basil pesto, stir to combine. Refrigerate until needed.

Note: Take advantage of fresh store-bought basil pesto in the refrigerated section of the grocery store.

When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut in half, scoop out the flesh into a large mixing bowl. Using a potato masher, mash the sweet potatoes together with the Cannellini beans. It’s fine if the beans are not fully mashed into the potatoes. This gives the burgers great texture.

Add a beaten egg, apple purée, chili powder, ground coriander, granulated sugar, ground cinnamon, ground cumin, gluten-free flour, gluten-free bread crumbs, grated Parmesan cheese, chopped flat leaf Italian parsley, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper. Mix together until fully combined. You want the sweet potato mixture to be similar to the consistency of ground meat.

Note: Just like if you were making crab cakes, place the sweet potato mixture into the frig, for 30 minutes, to firm up before making the patties. Divide the sweet potato mixture into six equal portions and form into patties

In a large sauté pan over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon each of butter and olive oil together. Add the patties to the pan two at a time. Cook until golden brown and caramelized, about 4 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer the cooked patties to a plate lined with a paper towel to drain. Repeat the process until all 6 patties are cooked.

Note: Transfer the cooked patties to a plate and cover tightly with foil to keep warm while you finish cooking the remaining patties. You can also refrigerate the uncooked patties. Place them on a plate tightly wrapped in plastic wrap until you’re ready to cook them.

To Serve: Spread 1 tablespoon of the Basil Pesto Mayonnaise on one side or both sides of the hinged flatbread. Add a Sweet Potato Burger, a few baby arugula leaves, and top with slices of avocado. Finish by wrapping the Sweet Potatoes Burgers in parchment paper.



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Shrimp Cocktail

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It’s really all about taking a simple dish and making it look like a million dollars. I mean we eat with our eyes first, right?

When I make Shrimp Cocktail for an appetizer, I like to buy the extra large jumbo shrimp. When you’re buying shrimp, you’ll notice a number underneath the price, there are numbers like 16 to 20, or 8 to 10. These numbers let you know about how many shrimp are in a pound. The smaller the numbers, the larger the shrimp.

I like to leave the tails on. This allows you to have something to hold onto while dipping. I also like to steam my shrimp instead of boiling them. Sometimes I may even roast them.

Once I’ve cleaned and prepared the shrimp, I season them simply with Kosher salt,  freshly cracked black pepper, and garlic powder. In a large mixing bowl give them a good toss, making sure they all are nice and coated. I have a pot that has a removable basket with a glass lid. I like the glass lid for this because it allows me to know the second the shrimp are ready.

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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 4 to 5 minutes, per batch
Total Time: 55 minutes
Equipment: paring knife, steamer, large mixing bowl, rimmed baking sheet pan

2 pounds extra-large jumbo shrimp (8 to 10 count per pound)
1 1/2 tablespoons Kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly cracked black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons of garlic powder

Favorite cocktail sauce
Garnish with lemon slices
Garnish with leafy greens

Use a paring knife to cut up the back end of each shrimp, exposing the vein if there is one. Rinse out any dirt or vein with cold water. Leave the shell to the tail on each one.

Once I’ve cleaned and prepared the shrimp, transfer the shrimp to a large mixing bowl. Season simply with Kosher salt,  freshly cracked black pepper, and garlic powder and toss to coat. The amount of seasoning may seem like a lot but, most of the seasoning will fall off during the steaming process.

Use a steamer with a removable basket and a glass lid. The glass lid allows you to know the second the shrimp are ready.

Fill the bottom of the steamer pot with water to the “Fill Line”. The water should not touch the shrimp. Turn the heat to medium. Bring the water to a hard simmer. Next, place 8 to 10 seasoned shrimp, the first batch, into the steamer basket then lower the basket into the pot. Place the lid on. Steam for 4 to 5 minutes until just cooked through. Repeat this process for the second batch.

Note: A great rule to follow when cooking shrimp.
Once the shrimp form the shape of the letter “C” they are done. If they form the shape of the letter “O”, they’re “overcooked. Do not overfill the steamer basket with shrimp. You may have to do this in batches.

Transfer the steamed shrimp onto a rimmed baking sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Spread the cooked shrimp out into one even layer and chill for 30 minutes.

To Serve: Cover a serving plate with leafy greens. lay the shrimp down around the cocktail sauce. Having a homemade cocktail sauce or a really good store-bought one works just fine.  Shrimp Cocktail, simple but elegant.

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