Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Ouzo Sorbet: A Greek-Themed Frozen Treat for Cook The Books: Harlot's Sauce

One day I will go to Greece. I say this every time I open up a cookbook full of Greek food, or eat at my favorite Greek(ish) restaurant, or see a picture of the brilliant blue water, or read a book like Harlot's Sauce: A Memoir of Food, Family, Love, Loss, and Greece by Patricia Volonakis Davis.

Harlot's Sauce is the current selection for Cook The Books, the virtual foodie book club I host along with Rachel, The Crispy Cook and Johanna of Food Junkie Not Junk Food, our host for this round. It's a colorful memoir about the author's experiences meeting "gorgeous Greek" Gregori and ends up marrying him, against the wishes of her Italian-American family, particularly her Sicilian father. Major clashes of culture ensue of course as the author deals with her husband's family and adjusting to life in Greece.

I like how descriptive Volonakis Davis is in her writing--especially in describing what life is like for an American expat in Greece. She has a sense of humor too, so as much as I wanted to grab her and shake her multiple times throughout the book for some of her choices, I was also able to laugh along with her. I do think that the book's tagline "A Memoir of Food, Family, Love, Loss and Greece," should be re-ordered to be like the ingredient list on a package with the order of the "ingredients" based on the amount contained inside. There just wasn't quite as much food presence as I was looking for/wanted and it was listed first. ;-) Still, the writing was engaging, and at the end of the day, I admired the author for owning the mistakes she made and ultimately finding her voice and herself.

I was a little stuck about what to make for this round. Of course, Patricia's grandmother's (Nonnie) salsa puttanesca or "sauce of the harlot" would have been a great choice. Ultimately, I chose something simple, an Ouzo Sorbet. The book starts with the author recounting a night that she accidentally drank too much ouzo and was dropped off ("abandoned") at her hotel by (her then "lover of three months") Gregori. After a shower she finds two "uninvited guests" (ginormous winged cockroaches) in her room and panic reigns as one flies onto her pillow. I can totally relate to the horror of "B-52" roaches, also common here in Hawaii. I attended a Thanksgiving dinner at a friend's house soon after I moved here and all the doors and windows were open on a humid, rainy night. All of a sudden a half-dozen or so of the disgusting creatures flew in and started dive-bombing the table and the group of us gathered around. It was not pretty! Enough to make me want to drink a lot of ouzo, or at least enjoy it as a frozen treat. This recipe is from one of my favorite cookbooks, Food From Many Greek Kitchens by Tessa Kiros.

Tessa Kiros says, "This is like a soft snow, sweet and ouzo-y, and it works well after a meal--like an after-dinner mint."

Ouzo Sorbet
Food From Many Greek Kitchens by Tessa Kiros
(Serves 6 to 8)

1 cup sugar
7 Tbsp ouzo

Stir the sugar into 3 cups of water and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes. Cool. Stir in the ouzo and transfer to an ice-cream machine. Freeze following the manufacturer's instructions. Alternatively, pour into a shallow baking sheet and out in the freezer, breaking it up and beating with a fork 3 or 4 times before it becomes solid.

Notes/Results: Oh this is GOOD! Sweet, refreshing, slightly licorice-esk. The nice man at the liquor store told me the "better" ouzo was worth the extra few dollars and I think he might have been right--it is very smooth. (Although I am not sure his claim of getting "less of a headache" from it is really true!) This sorbet is so simple and would be perfect either after dinner, or for a palate cleanser in between courses. This will be featured at a Greek-themed dinner party in my future. ;-)

I am sneaking this post in under the deadline once again (surprise). If you like reading, food and cooking, consider joining us for the December/January round of Cook the Books. We will be reading Outlaw Cook, a book of food essays by John and Matt Lewis Thorne, hosted by Rachel.


  1. I also thought "love" was a bit high up the ingredients - there really wasn't much of it in evidence!

  2. What a great idea with the ouzo. I bought some for some recipe and havne't figured out what to do with the rest. I did read this book, but was not at all impressed, and then forgot to make something.

  3. reminds me of the ouzo sorbet I tried at the Greek Festival in Hawaii :)

  4. I am officially going to have nightmares about the thought of all those cockroaches. But then I'm going to dream about this sorbet and all will be right.

  5. I have never tried Ouzo...but I've always wanted to...this sounds wonderful! What an inspired dish for this book. Even though I didn't finish it, I've loved the writing so far and will finish even though I missed the deadline :D

  6. B52 Roaches at a Dinner Party! Argh.

    I might try trading insects though when we have our black flies just as the weather gets wonderful in May.

    This Ouzo Sorbet sounds wonderful, though.

  7. I can't tell you how delighted and honored I am that you've chosen Harlot's Sauce to read for your book group and have come up with such fabulous recipes. Ouzo ice and Greek pizza will definitely be two I remember!

    Many, many thanks,
    Patricia V. Davis, author of "Harlot's Sauce" and "The Diva Doctrine"

  8. Foodycat--good point. ;-)

    Pam--I liked the book, just wanted more food. ;-) The sorbet is a great use for your extra ouzo.

    Kat--I have had it before too at Oliver's (store next to Olive Tree in Kahala) but it is so easy to make at home. ;-)

    Joanne--the roaches were pretty freaky but enough of this sorbet and you'll forget! ;-)

    Heather--bummer you missed the deadline on this one. Try "good" ouzo when you do try it. ;-)

    Rachel--since the roaches are fewer and farther in between I am not sure I want to make the trade--creepy as they are. ;-)

    Patricia--Thank you! It was fun to "travel" to Greece with your book. I am a bit in love with Eliot's Eats Greek Pizza too! ;-)

  9. Ouzo is also good for "Greek Lemonade", which I was introduced to by my (at the time)Greek son-in-law. Your sorbet sounds like another delicious use for that Ouzo in my cupboard.

  10. Once again I've read the book, but not posted about it. Duh! I love your ouzo sorbet. I've always loved anisette and sambuca, so when I traveled through Greece, ouzo won me over quickly. Great use of ouzo.

  11. Great idea for a recipe based on the book! I wonder how much ouzo sorbet you could have with OUT getting a headache?

  12. This is a recipe I will most DEFINITELY make! Many thanks for the post and the wonderful photos. What a brilliant food blog!

    Blessings and good appetite,

  13. Very nice idea and lovely photos. I have never tasted ouzo, but my father kept a bottle of sambuca in the kitchen and would put a drop in his after-lunch coffee. I liked a few drops in the water to see it become milky.

  14. I absolutely LOVE this! I am a big fan of ouzo and its use in different ways is very "in" right now, as part of a new approach towards traditional Greek ingredients.

  15. I love how you used the ouzo in such a unique way. I think this would be a perfect dessert for date night and I can't wait to try it!!

  16. Wow, you get my vote for most creative! This looks so refreshing.

  17. Claudia--I am going to make some lemonade with the rest of my ouzo now. Could be trouble. ;-)

    Arlene--thanks! One of these days we are actually going to get you to make and post a dish for CTB again! ;-)

    US Tax--thank you! ;-)

    Eliotseats--I can only vouch that a couple of scoops doesn't do it. ;-)

    Patricia--thank you! It was fun to make! ;-)

    Simona--I have only had sambuca once so I need to try it again to see the "milky" trick. ;-)

    Foodjunkie--thanks! I'd love to find even more ways to use it. Thanks for hosting too. ;-)

    DaniD--thank you! I hope you like it. ;-)

    Ann--thanks! It is refreshing for sure. ;-)


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