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Archive for September 16, 2015

FOOD FUN: Ice Pop Cake

According to Country Crock, more Americans have their birthdays in September, and September 16th has the most birthdays.

Whether or not you’re celebrating today, here’s a new take on ice cream cake from Country Crock: Add ice pops—sherbet or ice cream pops—around the perimeter of the cake.

Called Rockin’ Rainbow Cake, the recipe begins with your favorite frosted layer cake. Bake it or buy it.

  • After you frost the cake, garnish the top with multicolored sprinkles.
  • Just before serving, press ice pops vertically around outside of cake. Cut so that each wedge has an ice pop.
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    TIP

  • We suggest that you unwrap all the ice pops first and place them on a wax paper-covered cookie sheet in the freezer until you’re ready to serve the cake.
  • Then, press them into the sides, bring the cake to the table and slice and serve real fast.
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    Here’s the complete recipe.

     

    Birthday Cake With Ice Pops

    A different approach to “ice cream cake.” Photo courtesy Country Crock.

     

      

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    RECIPE: Apple Sangria

    apple-sangria-230

    Ready for a glass? You can use red and
    green apple slices, in addition to the
    strawberries, for extra color. Photo courtesy
    U.S. Apple Association.

     

    It’s so hot here today (87°F) that we can’t get into fall recipes. But this Apple Sangria recipe is a compromise, turning the most popular fall flavor into a refreshing drink.

    There are actually two recipes below: the first, sangria with Calvados and sparkling wine; the second, a mocktail.

    The first recipe makes eight 8-ounce servings or ten 6-ounce servings. If you don’t have Calvados (apple brandy), you can substitute plain brandy or Cognac.

    RECIPE: APPLE SANGRIA

    Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup Calvados
  • 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 5 cups apple juice or cider, chilled
  • 1 medium crisp* apple, cored and cut into thin wedges
  • 2/3 cup sliced strawberries
  • 1/2 cup halved white or red seedless grapes
  • 1 750-ml bottle extra-dry chilled Cava (Spanish white sparkling wine) or Prosecco (Italian white sparkling wine)
  • Ice
  • Preparation

    1. MIX the Calvados and brown sugar in a large pitcher until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the apple juice, apple, strawberries and grapes. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or more.

    2. ADD the sparkling wine just before serving and gently stir (you don’t want to break the bubbles). Pour into ice-filled glasses.
     
    *Crisp green apple varieties include Crispin/Mutsu, Ginger Gold, Granny Smith, Newtown Pippin. Crisp red apple varieties include Braeburn, Cameo, Gala, Fuji, Honeycrisp, Jonathan.

     

    APPLE SANGRIA MOCKTAIL

    This recipes makes eight 8-ounce, or ten 6-ounce, servings of non-alcoholic sangria.

    Ingredients

  • 3-1/2 cups apple juice
  • 1 medium crisp apple (such as Crispin or Honeycrisp) cored and cut into thin wedges
  • 2/3 cup sliced strawberries
  • 1/2 cup halved white or red seedless grapes
  • 1-1/2 cups club soda, chilled
  • 1 bottle (25-1/2-ounces) non-alcoholic sparkling apple cider, chilled
  • Ice
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the apple juice, apple, strawberries and grapes. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or more.

    2. ADD the club soda and sparkling cider just before serving and gently stir. Pour into ice-filled glasses.

     

    crispin-mutsu-nyapplecountry-230

    The Crispin apple, also known as Mutsu, has a green skin. Honeycrisp apples have a red skin. Photo courtesy New York Apple Association.

     
     
    THE HISTORY OF SANGRIA

    Around 200 B.C.E., the conquering Romans arrived in Spain and planted vineyards. They soon discovered that red grape varietals produced the best wine in the local soils. While some was enjoyed locally, the majority of the wines were shipped to Rome.

    The locals created fruit punches from the wines and called these drinks sangria after the Spanish word for bloodletting.

    While sangria was drunk in Spain for more than 1,000 years, it didn’t arrive in the U.S. until 1964—at the Spanish Pavilion at the World’s Fair in New York. It was quickly adopted by Americans.

    Since January 2014, the use of the word “sangria” on bottle labels is restricted by the European Union. Only sangria made in Spain and Portugal can be sold under that name.

    Sangaree, a fruit and wine punch from the West Indies, is the same drink. The name is an archaic English term for sangria.

    December 20th is National Sangria Day. Here’s more about sangria.

      

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    TIP: Create A DIY Guacamole Party Bar

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/guacamole sabrinamodelle calavocomm 230

    Guacamole with crispy bacon and shredded
    cheddar. Here’s the recipe. Photo and recipe
    courtesy Sabrina Modelle | The Tomato Tart
    via California Avocado Commission.

     

    National Guacamole Day is September 16th, and we wondered: If there are salad bars and frozen yogurt bars, cereal bars, baked potato bars and chili bars*, why not a guacamole bar? Who doesn’t love the opportunity to customize their foods?

    Individual bowls and an array of ingredients enable each person to start with a base of smashed avocado, and pile on the fixings. They can then be mixed in or eaten as is—a mountain of flavors and textures.

    Whether for a general party or drinks, we like to include a crunchy salad base, to make a more substantial dish. We prefer shredded cabbage, a.k.a. coleslaw mix. You end up with “guacamole coleslaw” at the bottom of the dish.
     
    INGREDIENTS FOR A GUACAMOLE PARTY BAR

    To encourage creativity, mix some non-traditional items (bacon? mint? pineapple?) with traditional ones.

  • Avocado: mashed, smashed or diced†
  • Cheese: crumbled cotija, goat cheese, queso blanco, queso fresco or queso oaxaca; shredded cheddar or jack
  • Diced veggies: bell pepper, carrot, cucumber, green and/or red onion, jicama, radish, tomatillo, tomato/sundried tomato
  • Seasonings: cayenne, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder and/or minced garlic, hot sauce, lemon and/or lime wedges, paprika, salt/seasoned salt, Worcestershire sauce
  • Heat: chile flakes, minced chipotle and jalapeño‡
  • Herbs: chives, cilantro, mint, parsley
  • Salad base: arugula, chicory, escarole, iceberg, radicchio, romaine, shredded cabbage, watercress
  • Toppings: bacon, corn, crushed pineapple, diced mango, olives, salsa, sour cream or plain yogurt, toasted nuts
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    Plus:

  • Chips and dippers: celery sticks, crostini (toasted or grilled baguette slices), endive leaves, pita chips, tortilla chips, flatbread
  • Drinks: beer, white wine (Sauvignon Blanc or other crisp, medium-body white wine), white sangria
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    Set the dishes on a table or buffet in this order: bowls, salad, avocado, veggies, heat, seasonings and toppings; include serving utensils with each option.

    At the end of the table, place the forks and spoons for blending and napkins, and dinner plates for the individual bowls and chips. Place large bowls of chips or other dippers on the tables.
     
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    *More food bar ideas: Breakfast & Brunch Bar, Lunch & Dinner Bar and Dessert Bar.

    †Hass avocados are preferred. While other varieties are larger, the Hass variety is creamier, a desired characteristic for guacamole.

    ‡To accommodate those who just like a little heat, have two bowls of jalapeño: one minced and served as is, one with the heat-carrying seeds removed before mincing.

     

    THE HISTORY OF GUACAMOLE

    Mesoamericans cultivated the avocado, a fruit which had grown in what we now call Central America for millions of years. The conquering Aztecs‡‡ called it ahuacatl; the “tl” is pronounced “tay” in Nahuatl, the Aztec language. Guacamole was compounded in a molcajete, a mortar and pestle carved from volcanic stone.

    When the Spanish conquistadors arrived in 1519 under Hernán Cortés, they heard ah-hwah-cah-tay as “aguacate,” the spelling and pronounciation they adopted.

    The name guacamole comes from Mexican Spanish via the Nahuatl “ahuacamOlli,” a compound of ahuacatl [avocado] + mOlli [sauce]. The chocolate-based mole sauce comes from that same word, mOlli.

    Ahuacatl means “testicle.” Aztecs saw the avocado as resembling testicles and ate them as a sex stimulant. According to Linda Stradley on the website WhatsCookingInAmerica.com, for centuries after Europeans came into contact with the avocado, it carried its reputation for inducing sexual prowess. It wasn’t purchased or consumed by anyone concerned with his or her reputation.

     

    Guacamole On Spoon

    Custom-blending guacamole is not only fun; you get exactly what you want. Photo courtesy McCormick.

     
    American avocado growers had to sponsor a public relations campaign to dispel the myth before avocados could become popular. After then, their dark green, pebbly flesh also earned avocados the name, “alligator pear.”
     
    ‡‡The Aztecs, who probably originated as a nomadic tribe in northern Mexico, arrived in Mesoamerica around the beginning of the 13th century.

     
    FUN FACTS

  • Avocados been cultivated for over 10,000 years.
  • Avocados have more potassium that a banana, plus many other health benefits (here are the 12 health benefits of avocado).
  • Leaving the pit in to keep it from browning doesn’t really work.
  • The largest-ever serving of guacamole weighed 2,669.5 kg (5,885.24 lbs), created by the Municipality of Tancítaro Michoacan in Tancítaro, Mexico, on April 4th 2013. But how many tortilla chips were needed?
  • During festivities for the last Super Bowl, 104.2 million pounds of avocados were consumed nationally, mostly as guacamole.
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