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A friend gave me a gorgeous cantaloupe and I thought about all the things I wanted to do with it. Usually I would make 2 or 3 different things, including fruit salad, maybe a smoothie, maybe wrap slices in wedges with a little prosciutto… mixed it into a summer salad.

However, we are kicking off a stunning heatwave in Minnesota, so I regrouped under the circumstances and made a frozen version of one of my favorite combinations of fruits – Cantaloupe, Blueberries (both of which are Superfoods) and fresh mint.  This is light on the dairy, but it does use a little heavy cream.

It’s nice to be back food-blogging again after being away for a good part of the past 2 months on travel: I’ve been to Chicago, North Dakota, Washington DC, Idaho, Denver, South America, and I think I’m forgetting one or two places. Michigan at the end of the month. I gathered cattail pollen this year, so if the pollen survived the trip back from the northern plains, that might very well be my next recipe. Here’s how I made the sherbet:

Cantaloupe Sherbet
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Pinch salt
1 cantaloupe (about 2 1/2 pounds), seeds and rind discarded and the flesh chopped (about 3 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup frozen blueberries, wild if you have them
1 Tbsp fresh mint, minced or chiffonade

In a blender or food processor purée the first 4 ingredients, scraping down the sides with a rubber spatula, until it is smooth.  Pour the mixture into an ice-cream freezer and process according to manufacturer instructions, adding now the cream and mint. When the sherbet has frozen, remove to your serving or storage container & scatter and fold-in the blueberries, not over mixing.
Freeze to temper further, or serve at once.

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Happy new year- maybe this title should read Mid-east meet West.  Sitting here protected from the -30F windchill Minneapolis with The Dubious Citty Katt- and we just had a successful food experiment.  However, faithful reader, I put my camera somewhere that I could easily find it, so of course I can’t find it and we must ask you to take our word for it- we can’t document it at the moment 🙂

This pizza was born from a lump of beautiful Cossetta’s pizza dough from St. Paul across the river; cleaning out of my cabinets and inspired by Lebanese meat-bread.  In this case, Lamb is the secret ingredient.

Take a pound of ground lamb and brown in a skillet over medium heat with a tablespoon of olive oil;  mix into the meat a tsp of crushed dried mint, 2 cloves of garlic, smashed into a paste, a pinch of cinnamon a couple of gratings of nutmeg, a generous amount of black pepper, a tsp of crushed red pepper flakes, the rind of 1/2 lemon, 1/2 tsp cumin and let this come to  a nice brown in the skillet  Allow to cook until all liquid has evaporated- cool slightly.

Meanwhile, you will have put a pizza together- enough to cover  a 16  x  12″ jelly roll pan, or baking sheet.  Brush very lightly with olive oil, spread evenly a cup of good pizza sauce from a can, and one medium onion, shaved thin and covering the whole affair.   Crush between your fingers and sprinkle a generous tsp of dried oregano over all and bake for 10 min at 400F.    Remove from the oven as you proceed with the final assembly.

1 small head of radicchio (about the size of a large grapefruit), quartered, sliced

1 small can of artichoke hearts, chopped roughly

a big handful of fresh basil, roughly chopped (even though adherents of the Goddess of the Hunt, Diana, will tell you unfailingly to never apply any blade to the herb dedicated to Diana-you must only tear the leaf with your hands.)

Sprinkle everything evenly over the pre-cooked pizza base, including the crumbled, spiced lamb, and cover with about 1/2 pound of thinly sliced overlapping Provolone.  This will appear to be piled a little too high for a conventional pizza, but the radicchio will cook down, and the sliced cheese will help steam everything beneath it.  Bake at 400F for 10 minutes, lower the heat to 350 for another 20 minutes, and finally brown lightly under a broiler until the cheese looks irresistible and you want to dive into the thing head first and never come out again.