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Archive for July 2, 2014

JULY 4TH: Red, White & Blue Ice Pops

We received this perfect July 4th ice pop recipe from Zulka, producers of sugars that are minimally processed and come straight from freshly-harvested sugar cane. There‘s more about the company below.

The vivid colors come from berries, strawberries and coconut milk. The berry purées can be made using either fresh or frozen berries. Simply de-stem, wash and pat dry the fruits; then purée in the food processor.

RECIPE: RED, WHITE & BLUE ICE POPS

Ingredients For 10 Ice Pops

  • 1 cup strawberry purée, cold
  • 1 cup coconut milk, cold
  • 1 cup blueberry purée, cold
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • 10 compartment ice pop mold (or equivalent molds that will make 10 pops)
  • 10 wood sticks (if molds don’t have individual handles)
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    Great-looking ice pops for July 4th. Photo courtesy Zulka.

     

    Preparation

    1. MAKE the simple syrup: Bring water and sugar to a simmer in a small saucepan. Stir until sugar is dissolved and let cool.

    2. ADD 1 tablespoon of simple syrup to each of the purées and coconut milk. Stir well. Fill molds 1/3 of the way with the strawberry purée. Place the lid on the mold and and the wood sticks, letting them protrude about 1/2 inch above the top. Let freeze 40-50 minutes or until somewhat firm.

    3. REMOVE the lid of the mold and fill compartments another third of the way with the coconut milk mixture. Replace the lid, making sure all of the sticks are in place; freeze another 40-50 minutes.

    4. REMOVE the lid and fill the compartments with the blueberry purée. Replace the lid and freeze completely, at least 8 hours or overnight. When ready to serve…

    5. RUN cool water over the sides of the mold and carefully loosen each pop by gently pulling on the handle or the stick. Remove all pops. If not serving immediately, wrap individually in plastic wrap and store in a freezer bag.

     

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    High quality sugar that’s superior to
    commodity brands. Photo courtesy Zulka.

     

    ICE POP VS. POPSICLE

    Popsicle® is a trademarked name owned by Unilever’s Good Humor Division (here’s the history of the Popsicle and the Creamsicle®).

    Everything else should be called by the generic “ice pop.”
     

    ABOUT ZULKA

    More than 100 years ago, the Zulka family built mills among the lush sugar fields of Mexico, in a tropical area ideal for sugar cane farming. They remain a family-run company, continually investing and modernizing so that these same facilities can process more than six million tons of fresh-cut sugarcane each year.

    All of the sugar cane they process comes from local small family farms, owned by hard-working people who are dedicated to producing top quality sugar cane. “We are proud of our workers, partners, and product,” says Zulka.

    With most sugar coming from enormous, soul-less companies, it’s a great mission to support. Check the store locator to see where you can buy Zulka products.

     

    You can also find them on Amazon.com in white sugar, brown sugar and individual white sugar packets.

    The company will soon be introducing powdered sugar and chili sugar, with a touch of chili spice.

    Find more delicious recipes on Zulka.com.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Rhubarb Ice Cream

    While rhubarb has fallen out of fashion since our grandmother’s generation, it is enjoying a renaissance thanks to the efforts of a new generation of professional chefs, who use it in sweet and savory preparations.

    Rhubarb is a spring vegetable. You may still be able to find it in your market, but if you can’t find fresh, frozen rhubarb works just as well in this ice cream recipe.

    Our Nana was a big fan of rhubarb, which she stewed with sugar into a wonderful sweet and tart dessert. Many years ago, we chanced across a celestial dish of rhubarb ice cream at the Grand Central Oyster Bar in New York City. When we returned for more, it was off the menu. Most customers, unfamiliar with rhubarb, weren’t enticed to order it.

    So when we received this recipe from Taste Of Home, we raced to the store for rhubarb and dragged out the ice cream machine.

    Consider making a double or triple batch, since this recipe yields only 2-3/4 cups.

       

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    Pretty in pink: rhubarb ice cream. Photo courtesy Taste Of Home.

     

    RECIPE: RHUBARB ICE CREAM

    Ingredients

  • 3 cups sliced fresh rhubarb
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
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    rhubarb-SLT-beauty-230

    The tops, not shown, are large, attractive
    green leaves, but they’re mildly toxic. Photo
    courtesy Sur La Table.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 375°F. In an ungreased 13×9-in. baking dish, combine rhubarb and sugar; toss to combine. Bake, covered, 30-40 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Cool slightly.

    2. PLACE rhubarb mixture in a blender; cover and process until pureed. Transfer to a bowl; refrigerate, covered, until cold.

    3. STIR lemon juice into rhubarb. In a small bowl, beat cream until stiff peaks form; fold into rhubarb mixture. Transfer to a shallow 1-qt. freezer container.

    4. FREEZE 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Freeze, covered, overnight or until firm. Yield: 2-3/4 cups.

     

    WHAT IS RHUBARB

    Rhubarb, Rheum rhabarbarum, is a vegetable in the family Polygonaceae.

    The leaf stalks (petioles) are crisp like celery with a strong, tart taste. Rhubarb looks like rosy-pink celery, but is no relation (celery is a member of the Apiaceae family).

    Before it was sweetened by British cooks and turned into pies and other desserts, it was added to soups (try it in lentil soup), sauces and stews—Moroccan tagines and Middle Eastern stews, for example. In the current rhubarb renaissance, it is braised and served with meats and as a savory garnish.

    Be sure to cook only the stems; the leaves, though lovely in appearance, are mildly toxic.

    While rhubarb is botanically considered a vegetable, a New York court decided in 1947 that since it was used in the United States as a fruit, it counted as a fruit for the purposes of regulations and duties. A side effect was a reduction on imported rhubarb tariffs, as tariffs were higher for vegetables than fruits. [Source: Wikipedia]

    And that’s only one example. Science notwithstanding, on May 10, 1893, tomatoes, a red fruit/berry of the nightshade family, were declared a vegetable by the United States Supreme Court. At the time, there were import tariffs on vegetables but not fruits, yet tomatoes were still being subjected to the tax. In 1887, an importing company had sued the tax collector of the port of New York to recover back duties collected on their tomatoes, which they claimed had been wrongfully classified as vegetables. The Court decided that the tariff act should be based “in common language of people,” not botanists, so tomatoes should be taxed like potatoes, carrots, parsnips, turnips, beets etc.

    More proof that justice is blind.

     
    MORE RHUBARB RECIPES FROM TASTE OF HOME

  • Rhubarb Upside Down Cake
  • Pineapple Rhubarb Jam
  • Rhubarb Scones
  • Rhubarbecue
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    PRODUCT: Cascadian Farm Organic Protein Bars

    For breakfast on the go and better snacking, we’ve been enjoying Cascadian Farm’s new chewy granola bars in Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip and Honey Roasted Nut.

    Most varieties of Cascadian Farm granola bars (and other granola bar brands) contain 2-4 grams of protein. The new protein bars use organic pea protein to amp up the level to 9 grams. (You can’t taste the pea protein, a hot new ingredient used in better brands.)

    The texture is great—not dry, like some protein bars.

    And they’re very filling, standing in for a light meal on a busy day.

    Both flavors are delicious, although we admit a preference for Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip.

    By the way, there’s no granola in the bars. Ingredients include:

  • Honey Roasted Nut: peanuts, peanut butter, honey, tapioca syrup, pea protein, almonds, rice flour, sunflower oil, sea salt
  • Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip: peanuts, peanut butter, honey, pea protein, tapioca syrup, rice flour, chocolate chips, sunflower oil and sea salt
  •  
    The bars are available at natural food stores and other retailers nationwide.

     

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    Chewy Honey Roasted Nut protein bars from Cascadian Farm. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     
    Find more of Cascadian Farm’s excellent organic products at CascadianFarm.com.

    ABOUT CASCADIAN FARM

    One of the country’s leading brands of organic foods with some 75 different products, Cascadian Farm is a real place: a working farm founded 40 years ago on a stretch of land next to the Skagit River in the Cascade Mountains of Washington. It became a pioneer in converting conventional farms to organic.

    From cereals and granola bars to spreads and relishes to frozen fruits, vegetables and juices, it’s a wonderful line, delivering delicious, better-for-you foods in a sustainable manner.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Cream Sandwich Sundaes For National Ice Cream Month

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    The Strawberry Rainbow: sugar cookies with strawberry ice cream, sauce and lots of rainbow sprinkles. Photo courtesy Sugar Factory.

     

    Sugar Factory, which has locations nationwide, shows us how to make memorable ice cream sandwiches to celebrate National Ice Cream Month. The tip: garnish, garnish, garnish!

    The result: ice cream sandwich sundaes!
    Start with ice cream and cookies, but add on:

  • Candy: crushed candy canes, flavored baking chips (butterscotch, mint, peanut butter, vanilla), mini M&Ms, mini Reese’s Pieces, toffee chips and anything you find at the candy store
  • Chocolate: chips/mini chips, shavings
  • Fancy garnishes: dragées (silver, gold, pastel mix), edible glitter
  • Fruit: berries, cherries, coconut, grapes, mixed fruit salad
  • Cookie garnishes: crushed cookies or cookie crumbs, fan cookies (gaufrettes), mini meringues, rolled wafer cookies (like Pirouettes)
  • Nuts: chopped or whole, toasted or caramelized, mini chocolate chips, mini M&Ms, mini Reese’s Pieces, sprinkles
  • Sauce: caramel, chocolate, maple syrup, strawberry, etc.
  • Sprinkles
  • Whipped cream, marshmallow cream
  •  

     

    COMBINATIONS FOR ICE CREAM SANDWICH SUNDAES

  • Bananas Foster: white chocolate macadamia nut cookies with bananas foster ice cream, garnished with whipped cream and white chocolate shavings.
  • The Classic: chocolate chip cookies with vanilla or chocolate ice cream, garnished with whipped cream and chocolate chips.
  • Minty Goodness: double chocolate chip cookies with mint chocolate chip ice cream, garnished with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.
  • Mudslide: double chocolate chip cookies with coffee fudge ice cream, garnished with whipped cream and Oreo crumbles.
  • Peanut Butter Cup: peanut butter cookies with chocolate ice cream, garnished with whipped cream and Reese’s pieces.
  • Strawberry Rainbow: sugar cookies with strawberry ice cream, garnished with whipped cream and rainbow sprinkles.
  •  
    How about a make-your-own party bar?

     

    classic-ice-cream-sandwich-garnished-sugarfactory-230

    Chocolate garnishes galore, plus silver dragées on top. Photo courtesy Sugar Factory.

     

      

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    JULY 4TH RECIPE: Oreo Cookie Balls

    oreo-cookie-balls-230

    July 4th Oreo Cookie Balls. Photo courtesy
    Kraft.

     

    This no-bake recipe for Oreo Cookie Balls is fun to bring to a July 4th event. It’s easy enough so that you can delgate it to younger members of the household, who may just discover a love of making their own desserts.

    Just by changing the garnish, it can be customized for Chanukah, Christmas, St. Patrick’s Day, Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day. There are also links below to recipes that add specific touches for different special occasions.

    RECIPE: OREO COOKIE BALLS

    Recipe For 48 Pieces

  • 1 package (8 ounces) Philadelphia cream cheese, softened
  • 36 OREO cookies, finely crushed
  • 3 packages (4 ounces each) white chocolate, broken into pieces, melted
  • 1 tablespoon red, white and blue multi-colored sprinkles (or other colors to match the season or occasion
  • Preparation

    1. MIX cream cheese and cookie crumbs until blended.

    2. SHAPE into 48 (1-inch) balls. Freeze 10 min. Dip in melted chocolate (see dipping tip below); place on waxed paper-covered rimmed baking sheet. Top with sprinkles.

    3. REFRIGERATE 1 hour or until firm.

     

    How to Easily Dip Cookie Balls

    To easily coat cookie balls with the melted chocolate, add the balls, in batches, to bowl of melted chocolate.

  • Use 2 forks to roll the balls in chocolate until evenly coated.
  • Remove the balls with forks, letting excess chocolate drip back into bowl.
  • Place the balls on a prepared baking sheet; let stand until chocolate coating is firm.
  • Store extras in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator.
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    oreos-melting-snowmen-kraft-230

    Melting Snowmen Oreo Cookie Balls. Here’s the recipe. Photo courtesy Kraft.

     
    MORE OREO COOKIE BALLS RECIPES

  • For Anytime: Oreo Raspberry Cookie Balls and Triple Double Oreo Tartufo
  • For Chocolaholics: all chocolate Oreo Cookie Balls
  • For Christmas: Peppermint Oreo Cookie Balls
  • For Glamour: paint with edible gold dust and top with a chocolate-covered coffee bean
  • For Halloween: tint the white chocolate coating orange, paint the jack o’lantern face with melted chocolate or gels and use bits of pretzel thins for the stems
  • For St. Patrick’s Day: Oreo Mint Cookie Balls
  • For Valentine’s Day: Oreo Cherry Cookie Balls
  • For Winter: Melting Snowmen Oreo Cookie Balls
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