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TIP OF THE DAY: Treats For Banana Lovers

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Banana Split

Banana Hot Fudge Sundae

Bunch of Bananas

[1] A grilled banana split: no need for a special banana split dish (photo courtesy Pampered Chef). [2] Another presentation from Women’s Day. Here’s their recipe. [3] Fusion food: a grilled banana hot fudge sundae (photo courtesy Weber). [4] The world’s most popular fruit (photo Nathan Ward | SXC)!

 

Who doesn’t love a banana? It’s the world’s most popular fruit. Some 25 pounds of bananas are consumed per capita each year.

In the U.S., more bananas are consumed than oranges and apples combined! And August 27th is National Banana Lovers Day.

Bananas were introduced to the U.S. in 1880. By 1910, bananas were so popular that cities—which then lacked sanitation systems—had a problem disposing of the banana peels.

People were literally slipping on banana peels that were discarded on sidewalks and streets (a reality appropriated by comedians), leading to injuries. The Boy Scout Handbook recommended picking up banana peels from the street as a Scout’s good deed of the day (source).
 
MORE BANANA TRIVIA

  • Man has been growing bananas for some 10,000 years, since the dawn of agriculture. It’s the oldest cultivated fruit.
  • Bananas don’t grow on trees: The banana plant is actually the world’s largest herb. It’s a cousin to ginger and vanilla.
  • There are more than 1,000 varieties of bananas. The majority grow in Africa and Asia: 600 varieties in India alone.
  • The American supermarket banana is a variety called the Cavendish. It’s a more bland banana, but it travels well.
  • Bananas float in water (so do apples)!
  •  
    WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE BANANA RECIPE?

    Banana Bread? Banana Cream Pie? Banana Daiquiri? Banana French Toast? Banana Ice Cream? Banana Pudding? Peanut Butter and Bananas?

    We say YES! to all, but today are focusing on two: the kid favorite Banana Split and the over-21 Bananas Foster.
     
    BANANA SPLIT HISTORY

    Two towns in the U.S. lay claim as the home of the banana split.

  • In 1904 in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, David Strickler, a 23-year-old druggist’s apprentice at Tassel Pharmacy is said to have created the first banana split sundae for the local college crowd.
  • In 1907 in Wilmington, Ohio, restaurateur Ernest R. Hazard held a dessert contest among his employees at The Café. One came up with a sundae of sliced banana topped with three scoops of ice cream, chocolate syrup, strawberry jam, pineapple bits, chopped nuts, whipped cream and cherries.
  •  
    Fortunately for the rest of us, the concept spread nationwide, affording all of us the joy of a Banana Split.

    RECIPE: GRILLED BANANA SUNDAE

    Banana splits are easy to make: Split a ripe banana vertically, place it in a long dish, top with three scoops of ice cream (traditionally vanilla, chocolate and strawberry) and toppings of choice. (You can get Anchor Hocking banana split dishes for about $2 each.)

    Here’s a twist: a grilled banana sundae, a cross between the classic and Bananas Foster. In the latter, bananas are caramelized in butter with brown sugar and cinnamon, then topped with dark rum and flambéed, with the bananas and the flaming sauce served over vanilla ice cream.

    We’ve included a Bananas Foster recipe below. The recipes are very similar, except that for Bananas Foster, the bananas are sautéed in butter instead of grilled; and alcohol is added to the caramel sauce. The banana is typically sliced in half lengthwise and crosswise.

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 2 firm, ripe bananas
  • 2 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups vanilla ice cream
  • 1/4 cup fudge sauce
  • 1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT a grill pan over medium heat for 5 minutes.

    2. CUT the bananas in half lengthwise and crosswise for a total of 4 pieces each. Combine the brown sugar and cinnamon in shallow dish. Gently coat the bananas with the sugar mixture.

    3. SPRAY the grill pan lightly with vegetable oil and add the banana pieces, cut sides down. Grill for 2-3 minutes per side or until grill marks appear.

    4. SERVE warm with ice cream, ice cream topping and almonds.
     

     

    RECIPE: BANANAS FOSTER

    The original Bananas Foster recipe was created in 1951 by Paul Blangé (1900 to 1977), the Executive Chef at Brennan’s in New Orleans. The dish of sautéed bananas, flambéed and topped with ice cream, was named in honor of Richard Foster, a regular customer and friend of restaurant owner Owen Brennan Sr.

    Note that while both the recipes above and the original Bananas Foster cut the bananas into oblong pieces (see photo above), we prefer the round slices of banana, about 3/4-inch thick.

    While igniting the dish tableside is dramatic both at a restaurant and at home, it isn’t necessary.

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 4 firm, ripe bananas
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 pint vanilla ice cream
  • 1/4 cup banana liqueur
  • 1/2 cup dark rum
  • Optional garnishes: toasted chopped pecans, grated orange zest
  •  
    Preparation

    1. CUT the bananas in half lengthwise and crosswise for a total of 4 pieces each (alternative: cut 3/4″ rounds; you’ll have more than 4 pieces).

    2. MELT the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the brown sugar and cinnamon and cook, stirring until the sugar dissolves (about 2 minutes—this creates a caramel sauce). Add the bananas and cook on both sides until they begin to soften and brown (about 3 minutes).

    3. ADD the banana liqueur and stir to blend into the caramel sauce. If you want to flambé, follow the instructions below. However, the drama of the flambé works only if the dish is prepared tableside. Otherwise, the drama is lost in the kitchen (the flame extinguishes quickly).

    4. LIFT the bananas carefully from the pan and top the four dishes of ice cream; then spoon the sauce over the ice cream and bananas and serve immediately.
     
    TIPS ON HOW TO FLAMBÉ

  • Liquors and liqueurs that are 80-109 proof are best to ignite. Don’t use a higher proof; it is highly flammable.
  • The liquor must be warmed to 130°F before adding to the pan. Higher temperatures will burn off the alcohol, and it won’t ignite.
  • Always remove the pan from the heat source before adding the liquor to avoid burning yourself.
  • Vigorously shaking the pan usually extinguishes the flame, but keep a pot lid nearby in case you need to smother the flames. The alcohol vapor generally burns off by itself in a matter of seconds.
  •  
    MORE

  • Read these tips
  • Watch this video
  •  

    Bananas Foster

    Bananas Foster

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    [1] Bananas Foster at the Bonefish Grill, looking like a more complex Banana Split. [2] It’s harder to sauté a lengthwise half of banana without breaking it. Hence, the suggestion of slicing lengthwise and crosswise (photo Fotolia). [3] This recipe from Taste Of Home slices the bananas into coin shapes (a.k.a. chunks), easier to salute.

     
    READY FOR A DRINK?

    Relax with a Banana Colada.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Make Cherry Ice Pops For National Cherry Popsicle Day

    Cherry Juice Ice Pops

    Cherry Yogurt Ice Pops

    Twin Popsicle

    [1] Frozen cherry juice ice pops in Tovolo molds. [2] Greek yogurt and cherry ice pops from ChooseCherries.com. [3] The first Popsicle was a single: one pop, one stick. Then came the twin Popsicle to share with a friend (photo courtesy Popsicle).

     

    August 26th is National Cherry Popsicle Day. First, a bit of law:

    Popsicle® is a registered trademark of Unilever, which owns the brand. Any other frozen juice on a stick is a generic “ice pop.” Now…
     
    THE HISTORY OF THE POPSICLE

    In 1905, 11-year-old Frank Epperson mixed together a fruit drink (believed to be orange-flavored) from powder and water and inadvertently left it on the porch. It was an unseasonably cold night in the San Francisco suburbs, and when Frank found his drink the next morning, it was frozen.

    He eased the frozen liquid out of the glass and, holding it by the stirrer, ate it. While Frank may have enjoyed his frozen fruit drink over the years, the public story doesn’t continue until 1923.

    A 29-year-old husband and father working in the real estate industry, Frank made what he called Epsicles for a fireman’s ball. They were a sensation, and Frank obtained a patent for “a handled, frozen confection or ice lollipop.” His kids called the treat a Popsicle, after their Pop.

    So Frank created the Popsicle Corporation and collaborated with the Loew’s chain of motion picture theaters for the nationwide marketing and sales of the product in movie theaters. By 1928, Epperson had earned royalties on more than 60 million Popsicles.

    But his happy days ended with the Great Depression. In 1929, flat broke, Frank had to liquidate his assets and sold the patent to, and his rights in, the Popsicle Corporation. Following three more corporate sales over the years, Popsicle® and the other “sicles” are now part of Unilever’s Good Humor Division.

    While the record isn’t clear, Frank may also have invented the twin Popsicle, with two sticks. The concept was that it could be broken in half and shared by two children.

    Over the years, the Popsicle Corporation continued to create frozen treats on a stick, including:

  • The Fudgsicle, a chocolate-flavored pop with a texture somewhat similar to ice cream.
  • The Creamsicle, vanilla ice cream and orange sherbet.
  • The Dreamsicle, vanilla ice milk with orange sherbet (now discontinued).
  •  
    In additional to National Creamsicle Day on August 25th, there’s National Creamsicle Day on August 14th.

    We’ve got three different ways for you to make cherry ice pops. The first couldn’t be easier: Just freeze cherry juice.

    Pick a recipe and get out the ice pop molds.

     
    RECIPE #1: THE EASIEST CHERRY ICE POPS: FROM CHERRY JUICE

    Ingredients

  • 1 32-ounce bottle Montmorency cherry juice (see note)
  • Optional inclusion: 1/8 to 1/4 cup fresh mint or basil, cacao nibs, lemon zest, pitted fresh or frozen cherries
  • Variation: Mix with lemonade or limeade to taste; for a diet pop, use 1/3 or more Crystal Light lemonade or cherry pomegranate
  •  
    Preparation

    1. POUR the cherry juice into ice pop molds and freeze for 6 hours. If using inclusions, add them when the juice turns to slush, stirring each mold with a chopstick or other tool to distribute the ingredients.

    NOTE: Ice pop molds vary in size, often from 2.5 to 4 ounces, and from 6 to 8 pops. A 32-ounce bottle of juice, or concentrate reconstituted to that amount, should cover all bases.
     
    RECIPE #2: CHERRY POPS FROM FROZEN CHERRIES

    Ingredients

  • 1 bag frozen tart cherries
  • Sugar to taste
  • Optional: fresh mint, chopped
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PURÉE the frozen cherries in a blender. Taste and add sugar as desired.

    2. ADD the optional mint, process and pour into ice pop molds.
     
    RECIPE #3: GREEK YOGURT & CHERRY ICE POPS

    This recipe was published with permission from Rocket Fuel: Power-Packed Food for Sports and Adventure, by Matt Kadey, RD, via ChooseCherries.com.

    Ingredients

  • 1-1/4 cups plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon honey (more to taste)
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • 1-1/4 cups Montmorency tart cherry juice
  • Juice of 1 lime (2 tablespoons)
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh mint leaves
  • Variation: coconut milk instead of yogurt (see recipe)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. STIR together yogurt, honey, and lime zest. In a separate bowl, stir together the cherry juice, lime juice, and mint.

    2. SPOON two alternate layers of the yogurt and cherry mixtures into each popsicle mold. Insert the sticks into the molds and freeze until solid, about 6 hours. They will keep in the freezer for 2 months.

    3. UNMOLD: Run the mold under warm water for a few seconds, being careful not to thaw the pops.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Create A Signature Niçoise Salad

    Niçoise (nee-SWAHZ) refers to something from the city of Nice, on the French Riviera in the region of Provence.

    You can find the following popular Niçoise dishes in restaurants around the U.S., and they’re easy to make at home (except for the truffle omelet, which is easy to make if you can afford the truffles):

  • Aïoli, a garlic mayonnaise used as a spread, dip and condiment with potatoes, shellfish and vegetables (aïoli recipe).
  • Alcohol: The local favorites are pastis, an anise liqueur and apéritif; and rosé wine.
  • Bouillabaisse, the signature dish of Marseille. It’s fish stew with vegetables, garnished with croutons and rouille*).
  • Daube, beef stew braised in red wine and served with polenta or gnocchi (influences from neighbor Italy).
  • Fromage de chèvre, goat cheese, fresh and aged.
  • Nougat, the chewy white confection made from egg whites and almonds.
  • Omelette aux truffes, made with black truffles harvested in Provence from November through March.
  • Ratatouille, a casserole of tomatoes, onions, eggplant, zucchini, peppers, garlic and herbs.
  • Tapenade, a spread made from anchovies, capers and black olives.
  • And then, there’s Salade Niçoise (Niçoise Salad in English).

    The classic Salade Niçoise recipe is a composed salad (i.e., not tossed, but placed) of tomatoes, tuna (cooked or canned), hard-boiled eggs, Niçoise olives and in season, young haricots verts (French green beans). It is served with a Dijon vinaigrette, and can be served with or without a bed of salad greens. It is an entrée salad.

    Each cook can customize the salad to his or her taste. We’ve included optional extra ingredients below.
     
    RECIPE: SALADE NIÇOISE

    This take on the classic Niçoise salad from McCormick uses two twists: a poached egg and a zesty seasoning blend (the recipe is in the footnote below).
     
    Ingredients For 6 Servings

    For The Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon seasoning blend†
  •  
    For The Tuna

  • 1 rectangular piece (6 ounces) sashimi-grade ahi tuna loin
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, coarse grind
  • 4 teaspoons seasoning blend†
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  •  
    For The Tuna & Salad

  • 6 each baby yellow, red and purple new potatoes
  • 1/2 pound fresh French green beans (haricot verts), trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup assorted grape/teardrop tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced baby cucumbers
  •  

    Salade Nicoise
     
    Nicoise Salad

    Kale Nicoise Salad

    Deconstructed Nicoise Salad

    [1] A classic Salade Niçoise from French chef Jacques Payard. [2] McCormick’s version substitutes a poached egg for the traditional hard-boiled. [2] Trending in America: Kale Niçoise. [4] Deconstructed Niçoise at the Seafire Grill.

  • 1/4 cup pitted Niçoise olives, halved (substitute picholine, kalamata or other flavorful black olive)
  •  
    Serve With…

  • Plain sliced baguette with olive oil for dipping (add herbs to the oil)
  • Garlic bread
  •  
    ________________
    *Rouille (roo-EE, the word for rust in French) is a sauce made from olive oil with breadcrumbs, garlic, saffron and red chiles, which give it the rusty orange color. It is served as a garnish with fish and fish soup, and is an essential with bouillabaisse, the signature fish stew dish of Marseille.

    †Substitute another spice blend or some lemon zest. McCormick’s spice blend recipe is 1 tablespoon chia seeds, 2 teaspoons grated lime peel, 2 teaspoons chili powder, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon ground chipotle powder. Blend and store tightly capped in the fridge. Makes 2-1/2 tablespoons.

     

    l-isola-d-oro-jar-lisoladoro.it-230

    Anchovies

    [1] L’isolo D’Oro, a fine Mediterranean used in Nice in the best salads in Nice. [2] Anchovy lovers: layer them on (photo courtesy Flavor Your Life).

      Preparation

    1. MAKE the vinaigrette. Place the oil, vinegar, mustard and sea salt in a blender container; cover. Blend on high speed until smooth. Pour into a small bowl. Stir in the seasoning blend. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

    2. SEASON the tuna with salt and pepper. Coat with the seasoning blend, pressing firmly so the mixture adheres to the tuna. Grill or sear: Heat the oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add the tuna and sear 1-1/2 to 2 minutes on all sides. Remove the tuna to a plate; set aside to cool slightly. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

    3. COOK the potatoes. Add them to a large saucepan with simmering salted water to cover. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until fork tender. Drain and rinse with cold water; drain on paper towels to remove the water. Meanwhile…

    4. COOK the green beans in a large saucepan of simmering salted water to cover, 3 to 5 minutes or until tender-crisp (don’t overcook). Drain and rinse with cold water; drain well on paper towels. Place in large bowl with green beans. Add 1/4 cup of the vinaigrette; toss to coat. Season with salt to taste. Set aside.

    5. CUT the potatoes in half or quarters, depending on size. Add to a bowl with the green beans.

    6. POACH the eggs. Fill a large, deep saucepan with 2 inches of water and 1 tablespoon vinegar. Bring to boil and reduce the heat to medium. Break 1 egg into a small dish and carefully slide it into the simmering water (bubbles should begin to break the surface of the water). Repeat with the remaining eggs. Poach the eggs 3 to 5 minutes or until the whites are completely set and the yolks begin to thicken. Carefully remove eggs with slotted spoon. Drain on paper towels.

    7. SERVE: Slice the tuna into thin slices. Divide the potato mixture, tomatoes, cucumbers and olives among 6 plates (aim for an attractive presentation). Top each with tuna slices and a poached egg. Drizzle the remaining vinaigrette over the tuna slices. Sprinkle the egg with additional seasoning blend.

     
    OPTIONAL INGREDIENTS FOR A NIÇOISE SALAD

    Make it your own with added ingredients or substitutes. Just keep the five basics: tuna, tomato, egg, green beans and olives, plus the vinaigrette.

  • Cooked vegetables: broccoli florets, broccolini or broccoli rabe.
  • Greens: arugula, bell pepper, carrots, celery, cress, cucumber, fennel, fresh herbs (basil, cilantro, dill, mint, parsley), frisée, kale, radicchio, radishes.
  • Tomatoes: Substitute halved cherry or quartered larger tomatoes (in the off season, substitute sundried tomatoes in olive oil or roasted red pepper).
  • Onions: green (scallions), grilled onions, red, shallot, sweet onions.
  • Proteins: anchovies, bacon, beans or lentils, canned or grilled salmon or other grilled fish, sardines.
  •   

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Make A Cuban Sandwich

    Cuban Sandwich

    Pressed Cuban Sandwich

    Cuban Sandwich

    [1] The Cuban Sandwich: composed but not yet pressed (photo courtesy National Cuban Sandwich Day | Facebook). [2] The sandwiches are pressed under hot irons. You can use your George Foreman grill or a panini press (photo courtesy Florida Girl Linda C | Flickr. [3] The crust is now crunchy and the sandwich is ready to enjoy with a cold beer (photo courtesy Columbia Restaurant | Ybor City).

     

    Depending where you reside, you may never have heard of a Cuban Sandwich.

    But August 23rd is National Cuban Sandwich Day, honoring a pressed hero-type sandwich that originated in Tampa and traveled to Miami and points beyond. In fact, there’s a rivalry between the two cities over small details (check out this article on NPR.org).

    National Cuban Sandwich Day even has its own Facebook page.

    The annual Cuban Sandwich Festival in Ybor City attracts competitors from around the United States. This year’s winner is from London!

    In 2015, participating restaurants joined forces to make a 105-foot-long Cuban Sandwich, the world’s longest. Alas, we could find no photo.
     
    WHAT’S A CUBAN SANDWICH?

    The original Cuban sandwich from the Ybor City district of Tampa, Florida is a type of hero sandwich made with glazed ham, shredded roast pork, Swiss cheese, Genoa salami, dill pickle chips and yellow mustard, on Cuban bread.

    Cuban bread itself originated in Ybor City, most likely at La Joven Francesca bakery, established by a Sicilian-born baker in 1896 (it closed in 1973 and is now part of a museum). It’s a long, baguette-shaped loaf made with a bit of added fat (photo below).
     
    The Beginning

  • The late 1800s. The Cuban sandwich we know today originated in Tampa, Florida in the late 1800s, in the now historic cigar-producing neighborhood, Ybor City. The neighborhood was populated by many Cuban immigrants, who came to work in the cigar industry, as well as German cigar workers and Italian laborers.
  • The early 1900s. The sandwich achieved popularity among workers in the district’s many cigar factories. One popular eatery, Columbia Restaurant in Ybor City, has been around since 1905. (It’s now an elegant restaurant, with a dolphin fountain in the courtyard.)
  •  
    Ingredients

  • While it’s called “Cuban,” the sandwich has influences from other immigrant groups, particularly the German cigar workers and Italian bricklayers in the area.
  • Genoa salami was added by Italians, who found that placing a hot brick on top of the sandwich for a few minutes pressed it flat and made it taste better—warm and crusty. This led to use of a cast iron grill press, still used today. At home, you can use a George Foreman grill or panini press (both are electric grill presses, with flat and ridged plates).
  •  

  • Mustard was a condiment preferred by the Germans. It also didn’t spoil in the Florida heat as mayonnaise could. Refrigeration was scarce in the early 20th century.
  •  

    Tampa Versus Miami

    Tampa and Miami have an ongoing a rivalry over the correct ingredients for a Cuban sandwich.

    Miami avows that salami should never be used. Plus, Miami-style Cuban sandwiches can be spread with butter!

    But there’s no doubt about the original ingredients.

    In 2012, the Tampa City Council passed a resolution designating the “Historic Tampa Cuban Sandwich” as the “signature sandwich of the city of Tampa.”

    The Council proclaimed that a traditional Tampa Cuban is to include Cuban bread, ham, mojo-spiced pork, Genoa salami, mustard, Swiss cheese and three pickle chips.
     
    Worldwide Demand

  • By the 1970s, the Cuban Sandwich had spread to menus around the United States.
  • In 2015, the Cuban Sandwich Factory opened in Belfast, Ireland.
  • In 2016, the Tampa Cuban Sandwich Bar opened in Seoul, Korea.
  •  
    In fact, London’s Jama Cubana restaurant won first place in The World’s Best Cuban Sandwich category at the 2016 Annual Cuban Sandwich Festival (held in Tampa on March 5th). It too is newcomer, opened in 2015.
     
    MEDIANOCHE, THE CUBAN SANDWICH SIBLING

    Very similar to the Cuban Sandwich is the Medianoche (“midnight”), which originated in Cuba.

    As the name suggests, this sandwich is popular late-night fare, served in Havana’s nightclubs. It contains the same ingredients as the Cuban Sandwich—ham, roast pork, Swiss cheese, mustard and dill pickles.

    However, it is smaller and uses a different bread: rolls made from an egg dough with a bit of sugar (similar to challah but a different shape).

    Like the Cuban sandwich, the medianoche is typically warmed in a press.

     

    cuban sandwich bread

    Cuban Sandwich

    [1] Cuban bread is a long loaf like a baguette, but is doughier and without the crustiness of a French or Italian loaf. Here’s the recipe to bake it at home, from The Stay At Home Chef. [2] The best Cuban Sandwich in the world is from London’s Jama Cubana restaurant.

     
    So warm up the press: Wherever you live, today’s the day to enjoy a Cuban Sandwich.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Savory Ice Cream

    We thought about labeling this article Food Fun instead of a Tip Of The Day. After all, savory ice cream isn’t everyday fare.

    Then, we remembered that our purpose is to expand your food horizons (and impress your guests), so here goes.
     
    SAVORY ICE CREAM

    Savory ice cream flavored with cheese and/or herbs—no sugar or just a small amount—is not a new concept.

    We published a large collection of cheese ice cream recipes 11 years ago, but the savory recipes date to way before that.

    You can find recipes for formaggio gelato (cheese ice cream) and formaggio di parmigiano gelato (Parmesan ice cream) in older Italian cookbooks.

    It replaced the cheese course at the end of summer lunches, or was cut into slices and served as a first course with ham and hard-boiled eggs.

    We have several recipes, below; but the basic Italian recipe is simple:

    1. GRATE one pound of Grana Padano or Parmigiano Reggiano (or crumble Gorgonzola; combine with one quart of heavy cream and a pinch of salt and pepper.

    2. STIR over a moderate flame until the mixture becomes creamy. This infuses the cream with Parmesan flavor.

    3. REMOVE from the heat, cool, strain and process in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, you can freeze the mixture in a container and stir at regular intervals (for a less creamy texture).
     
    HOW TO SERVE SAVORY ICE CREAM

    Use your imagination! For starters:

  • Baked potato, instead of sour cream
  • Cheese course, single or trio scoops—Parmesan, Cheddar and Stilton, for example
  • Chilled soups, savory like gazpacho or sweet like fruit soup
  • Compound butter substitute: for example, a small scoop of blue cheese ice cream on a hot steak, or a scoop of herb ice cream on grilled fish
  • Cone or taco shell
  • Cream puffs or éclairs: substitute the vanilla ice cream for blue cheese or Parmesan
  • Dairy on dairy: with cottage cheese or yogurt
  • Ice cream sandwich with tuilles or waffles
  • Fruit or nut pies
  • Salad: green herb salad or fruit salad
  • Shortcake: on a biscuit with fresh berries
  • Parfait with melon and prosciutto
  •  
    Optional Garnishes

  • Dried fruit: dates, figs or others depending on flavor
  • Fresh fruit: diced apples with cheddar ice cream, berries with goat cheese ice cream, etc.
  • Fresh herbs: basil sprig, herb blossoms, lavender, rosemary sprig, sage leaves, tarragon or thyme sprig
  • Grape tomato, olive or other wee vegetable
  • Nuts
  •  
    RECIPE #1: QUICK PARMESAN ICE CREAM BALLS

    This recipe is much simpler to make. Use it with cold vegetable soups and the other serving suggestions above.

       

    Rosemary Ice Cream

    Cheddar Ice Cream

    Savory Ice Cream Sandwich

    Dill Ice Cream

    [1] Rosemary ice cream on an herb salad (photo courtesy Rosetta Restaurant | Mexico City. [2] Cheddar ice cream on an apple crumble (photo courtesy Hannah Kaminsky | Bittersweet Blog). [3] Avocado ice cream sandwiched by 34 Degrees crisps (photo courtesy Food Flirt) [4] Dill ice cream cone with smoked salmon topping (here’s the recipe from Cup Of Sugar Pinch Of Salt.

     
    We make a similarly simple recipe of blender gazpacho: tomatoes, basil and olive oil with optional chopped bell peppers, cucumbers and onions (it depends on how much time or desire we have for chopping). Serve it in a Martini glass or large wine goblet, topped with a small scoop of ice cream.

    Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Fresh herbs for garnish
  •  
    Preparation

    1. HEAT the cream in a saucepan over medium heat; bring to a simmer.

    2. STIR in the Parmesan cheese and continue stir until the cheese is melted. Stir in a dash of fresh ground pepper and remove to a small bowl to cool. When cool…

    3. PLACE the mixture in a small freezer-proof bowl or plastic container. Cover the container and place it in the freezer for 1-2 hours.

    4. SCOOP little balls of the frozen Parmesan ice cream, using a melon baller or a teaspoon. Place a ball of into each bowl of soup just before serving. Garnish with a sprig of fresh herb.

     

    Blue Cheese Ice Cream

    Goat Cheese Ice Cream

    Rosemary Ice Cream

    [1] Blue cheese ice cream (photo courtesy Yummly). [2] Goat cheese ice cream (photo courtesy Charlie Trotter). [3] Rosemary olive oil ice cream (here’s the recipe from Local Food Rocks.

      CHEESE ICE CREAM RECIPES

  • Parmesan Ice Cream from Ferran Adrià
  • Blue Cheese Ice Cream from Point Reyes Farmstead
  • Cheddar Ice Cream
  • Goat Cheese Ice Cream from Charlie Trotter
  •  
    You can turn any of these recipes into herb ice cream, by substituting fresh herbs for the cheese. Our favorites are basil and rosemary; there’s a recipe right below.
     
    Bonus

  • Sweet Cream Cheese Ice Cream for dessert: the best “cheesecake” ice cream.
  •  
    RECIPE #2: ROSEMARY ICE CREAM

    This recipe is sweetened, but you can reduce the honey to 1/8 or 1/4 of a cup for a more savory ice cream, or add just a tablespoon. You can also substitute basil. If you’d like the herb flavor to be stronger, use more next time.

    You can make this recipe up to four days in advance.
     
    Ingredients For 1.25 Quarts

  • 2 cups whipping [heavy] cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 1 6-inch-long fresh rosemary sprig
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • Large pinch of fine sea salt
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the cream, milk, honey and rosemary in large saucepan. Stir over medium heat until small bubbles form around edges of pan. Remove from the heat; cover and let steep 30 minutes.

    2. DISCARD the rosemary and put the pan back on the stove. Bring the contents to a simmer, then remove from the heat.

    3. WHISK the egg yolks and salt in a medium bowl. Gradually add the hot cream mixture, whisking until thoroughly combined. (The eggs and cream make this a custard, the style known as French ice cream. See the different types of ice cream.)

    4. RETURN the custard to the saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat until the custard thickens slightly and coats back of spoon. This should take 4 to 5 minutes and the mixture should register 165°F to 170°F on a thermometer. Do not boil!

    5. STRAIN the mixture into a medium bowl. Set the bowl into a larger bowl containing a slurry of ice and water. Allow to cool, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

    6. REMOVE the custard bowl from the slurry. Cover it with plastic wrap and chill for at least 4 hours.

    7. TRANSFER the custard to an ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer the churned ice cream to a container. Cover and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours.

     
    THE HISTORY OF ICE CREAM

    Fruit ices are thousands of years old, dating back to ancient China. But gelato, the first type of ice cream, is comparatively recent.

    The original concept, a sherbet-like concoction, came from Northern China in the more than 4,000 years ago, before the 2nd century B.C.E. Snow and saltpeter in a container served as an ancient ice cream maker to freeze ingredients, the snow mixed with fruit juices, honey and aromatic spices.

    A modern form of it still exists, called snow cream. You can make it with a fresh batch of snow: Here’s the recipe.
     
    Fruit Snow Travels West

    Through trade routes, the frozen dessert recipe was introduced to Persia—about 2,500 years ago. The Persians called the frozen concoction sharbat, “fruit ice” in Arabic. We know it as sherbet, sorbet or sorbetto.

    Alexander the Great, who battled the Persians for 10 years before finally toppling the Persian Empire in 330 B.C.E., “discovered” the fruit ices and returned to Greece with the knowledge. Within three centuries, Emperor Nero was serving fruit juices mixed with honey and snow at his banquets, dispatching the fastest runners to the mountaintops to bring back the snow.
     
    On To Europe

    Fruit ice arrived in Europe with the Arab invasions of Sicily in the fifth century. Italian granita was born, flavored with a wide range of fruits including citrus. Coffee ice was also made.

    It took until the late 1500’s in Florence, for fruit ice to be adapted to gelato. The original ice cream, gelato was (and is) made with cream and eggs. This combination enables a more intense showcasing of the fruits, nuts and other flavors. (The key differences between gelato and ice cream are less cream/more milk and less air [overrun].)

    The invention is credited to Bernardo Buontalenti, a multi-talented genius born Bernardo Delle Girandole (c. 1531 to 1608). Buontalenti, his professional name, means great talent. He was an architect, theatrical designer, military engineer and artist.

    It is believed that he created gelato for a Medici banquet.

    Buontalenti, who spent his life in the employ of the Medici family, was, among other things, the impresario of the fabulous Medici banquets. While no historical record exists that names Buontalenti as the creator, he is a likely candidate.

    Gelato spread from Italy to the rest of Europe. This is attributed to another Italian, Catarina de’ Medici, who married the future King Henri II of France. (She was only 14 when she married; no wonder she liked ice cream).

    Here’s the full history of ice cream, to modern times.

      

    Comments

    FOOD 101: Vanilla Vs. French Vanilla

    A reader writes: What’s the difference between vanilla and French vanilla? Simply this:

  • Vanilla is the flavoring made from the vanilla bean Vanilla beans themselves are identified in the trade by origin: Indonesian, Madagascar (Bourbon), Mexican, Tahitian, etc. (see the different types (origins) of vanilla beans). Vanilla ice cream without eggs is called Philadelphia-style ice cream, dating back to the 18th century when it was developed as an alternative to French vanilla.
  • French vanilla is a classic French technique to enrich ice cream, by adding egg yolks to the recipe. The egg combines with the cream to create a custard base, which in turn provides a richer flavor, creamier texture, and a yellowish tinge to the color. USDA regulations require ice cream labeled “French vanilla” to be at least 1.4 % egg yolk.
  • Vanillin, artificial vanilla, is a cheaper alternative. It is used in products called vanilla-flavored.
  •  
    Beyond ice cream, French vanilla refers to a vanilla flavor is caramelized, eggy, custard-like.
     
    WHAT IS NOT FRENCH VANILLA

    As with so many other terms, people misuse “French vanilla,” either through ignorance or for marketing. French vanilla, after all, sounds more exciting than vanilla.

    Worse, “plain vanilla” has become an expression for bland and boring, the simplest version of something. It may be “plain vanilla,” but it’s still the most popular ice cream flavor in the U.S.

    Products that have co-opted the French vanilla name include coffee creamers, flavored coffees and teas, vanilla-flavored drinks (shakes, lattes) and syrups.

    It even extends to aromas, such as French vanilla candles and potpourri.

    French vanilla means added eggs, and none of these products contains them.
     
    MORE VANILLA FACTS

  • The small flecks of ground vanilla pod added by some manufacturers do not in of themselves indicate the best ice cream; in fact, the flavor is negligible if at all. They do, however, have eye appeal and may provide a bit of texture.
  • Vanilla bean versus extract: When using top-quality vanilla extract is near impossible to taste whether the ice cream is made from extract or by first infusing seeds from the pod in the cream.
  • Vanilla comes from a orchid variety called flat-leaved vanilla. The fruit of the plant is called the pod, which contains the beans that are used to make vanilla flavoring by extracting the flavor from the beans.
  • Most vanilla is made from Madagascar vanilla beans, also called Bourbon vanilla because the French Bourbons ruled Madagascar at the time. Vanilla is native to Madagascar.
  •  
    ALSO CHECK OUT:

    HISTORY & TYPES OF VANILLA

    THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF ICE CREAM

    CHOCTÀL SINGLE ORIGIN ICE CREAM, made in four different vanilla flavors using different vanilla beans, as well as chocolate ice creams made with cacao beans from four different origins

    Plus:

  • Tahitian Vanilla
  • Caring For Your Vanilla Beans
  •  

    Vanilla Beans

    Egg  Yolk

    French Vanilla ice Cream

    French Vanilla

    [1] Vanilla beans, from a particular orchid, are most often converted into vanilla extract by soaking the seeds in an alcohol base (photo courtesy Natures Flavours). [2] To make French vanilla, egg yolks are required. They blend with the cream to create a custard, which makes the ice cream richer (photo courtesy ANH-USA.org). [3] Flavors called French Vanilla should have egg yolks, as this one does (photo courtesy Dreyers.com). [4] One of many examples where marketing trumps fact (photo courtesy Bigelow).

  • Thomas Jefferson’s Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe (he brought the recipe back from France)
  • Make Your Own Vanilla Extract (fun and great for gifting)
  •  

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: The Different Types Of Rum

    August 16th is National Rum Day.

    Rum can be a confusing spirit for the everyday consumer. What’s silver versus white rum? What’s silver versus gold rum? Which one should you use for a rum cocktail?

    It starts with distilling molasses.
     
    A BRIEF HISTORY OF RUM

    Sugar cane grew wild in parts of Southeast Asia. It was first domesticated sometime around 8,000 B.C.E., probably in New Guinea. It arrived in India, where better extraction and purifying techniques were developed to refine the cane juice into granulated crystals.

    Sugar then spread quickly. By the sixth century C.E., sugar cultivation had reached Persia; and, from there to elsewhere in the Mediterranean, brought by Arab expansion and travel.

    In 1425, sugar arrived in Madiera and the Canary Islands. In 1493, his second voyage to the New World, Christopher Columbus brought sugar cane seedlings. They were grown, first in Hispaniola and then on other islands. The main sugar-exporting countries in the Caribbean today are Barbados, Belize, Cuba, Guyana and Jamaica.

    In the 17th century, Caribbean sugar cane planters produced sugar by crushing sugar cane, extracting and boiling the cane juice, then leaving the boiled syrup to cure in clay pots. A viscous liquid would seep out of the pots, leaving the sugar in the pot.

    The seepage was molasses—and no one wanted the thick, cloying by-product. It was fed to slaves and livestock, but a monumental amount of molasses was still left over. Sugar was a great cash crop for European planters, but two pounds of sugar yielded a pound of molasses!

    There were no customers or known uses for molasses, so the planters dumped it into the ocean: very sweet industrial waste.

    Finally, slaves figured out a use, and a great one at that. They fermented the molasses and distilled it into alcohol, to yield what became known as rum (source).

    Then, playing around with the now-valued molasses, it was discovered to be as good as sugar in baked goods, and more flavorful.
     
    THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF RUM

    There are several types of rum, known as grades of rum, in the industry.

       

    Aged Rum On The Rocks

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01 data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/jamaican iced coffee 230

    [1] Enjoy aged rum on the rocks. [2] Add the basic grade, known a light, silver, white and other names, to an iced coffee for Jamaican Iced Coffee (photos courtesy Appleton Estates rum).

     
    The different types based on factors such as distillation technique, blending technique, alcoholic content and style preferences of the country or the individual distiller. One of the easiest differentiators to understand is aging.

    Aged rums will differ based on type of barrel and length of time in the barrel. Anejo means old in Spanish; Extra-Anejo is the most aged rum you can buy.

    The better rums are made with high-quality molasses, which contains a higher percentage of fermentable sugars and a lower percentage of chemicals.*

  • Light Rum or Silver Rum or White Rum or Crystal Rum. This is “entry-level rum,” offering alcohol and a little sweetness, but not much flavor. Light rums can have a very light color, or can be filtered after aging to be totally colorless. It is aged briefly or not at all. It can be filtered to remove any color, earning it the names “crystal” and “white.” Light rum is typically used for mixed drinks.
  • Gold Rum, Oro rum or Amber Rum. Medium-bodied rum, midway between light rum and dark rum, gold rum is typically aged in wooden barrels. Use it when you want more flavor than light rum provides, for example in a simple cocktail like a Daiquiri or a Mojito.
  • Dark Rum. The rums in this group are also called by their particular color: brown, black, or red rum. This category is a grade darker than gold rum, due to longer aging in heavily charred barrels. As a result, dark rum delivers stronger flavors, more richness and a full body. There are strong molasses or caramel overtones with hints of spices. Dark rum is used to provide a deep flavor in cocktails and is typically used in baking and cooking (it’s the rum used in rum cake).
  • Flavored Rum. Following the growth of the flavored vodka market, you can now find light rum flavored in apple. banana, black cherry, citrus, coconut, cranberry, grape, guava, mango, melon, passionfruit, peach, pineapple, raspberry, strawberry, spiced…and on and on. They have a base of light rum, are mostly used to make cocktails, but are also enjoyable drunk neat or on the rocks.
  • Spiced Rum. Spiced rum is infused with spices—aniseed, cinnamon, pepper and rosemary, for example—and botanicals such as orange peel. The better brands use gold rum and are darker in color, but cheaper brands made from inexpensive light rum will darkened their products with caramel color.
  • Single Barrel Rum. This is the finest rum for sipping. The term “single barrel” refers to the process: After its initial aging, the rum is handpicked and blended before it is barreled for a second time in new American oak barrels, which impart flavors. It is slowly aged again, and finally bottled.
  • Overproof Rum. For serious tipplers, these rums are much higher than the standard 40% ABV (80 proof). Many are as high as 75% ABV (150 proof) to 80% ABV (160 proof). Bacardi 151, for example, is 151 proof.
  • Premium Rum or Viejo Rum. This long-aged spirit is like Cognac and fine Scotch: meant for serious sipping (viejo means old, añejo means aged—it’s semantic). The rum can be aged 7 years of more, and is produced by artisan distillers dedicated to craftsmanship. Premium rum has far more character and flavor than “mixing rum”—it’s a different experience entirely, enjoyed for its complex layering of flavors. The 18 year old Centenario Gold from Flor de Cana is a wonderful sipping experience, but also is priced at $65 or so. You can find a nice 12-year-old in the $25 range.
  •  

    Flavored Mojitos

    Daiquiri Cocktail

    Use silver/white rum for mixed drink. [1] Mojitos—original, mango and lime—from RA Sushi in Orlando. [2] The classic rum drink: the Daiquiri (photo courtesy Tempered Spirits).

     

    WHAT SHOULD YOU BUY?

    For mixed drinks, use the basic light/silver/white rum. Here are the top rum cocktails.

    For sipping, look to aged rums. Compared to aged Scotch, they’re relatively inexpensive.

    Here are some tasting notes from Ethan Trex at:
    Here are recommended brands from Ethan Trax at MentalFloss.com. Unlike pricey aged whiskey, you can pick up some for $25 and $40.

  • Bacardi Anejo
  • Brugal 1888 Gran Reserva
  • Cruzan Estate Single Barrel
  • Don Q Gran Anejo
  • El Dorado Special Reserve 15 Year Old (Guayana)
  • Gosling’s Old Rum
  • Mount Gay Black Barrel
  • Pyrat XO
  • Ron Zacapa Centenario 23 Year Old
  • Ron Vizcaya VXOP
  • Sugar Island Spiced Rum
  •  
    WHAT ABOUT CACHAÇA?WHAT ABOUT CACHAÇA?

    Cachaça (ka-SHA-suh) is a sugar cane distillate made in Brazil, in the style of gold or dark rum. It is the ingredient used in the popular Caipirinha (kai-puh-REEN-ya), Brazil’s national cocktail.

    Cachaça is often called “Brazilian rum,” but the Brazilians take exception to that. They consider their national drink to stand in a category of its own.

    The actual difference between rum and cachaça, which taste very similar, is that rum is typically made from molasses, a by-product after the cane juice has been boiled to extract as much sugar crystal as possible. Cachaça is made from the fresh sugar cane juice (but so are some Caribbean rums, particularly from the French islands). Both are then fermented and distilled. The style is usually like that of light rum, but some cachaça brands are in a style similar to gold rums.
     
    Cachaça has its own holiday: International Cachaça Day is June 12th.

    Here’s more about cachaça.

     
    __________________
    *The chemicals, which are used to extract sugar crystals from the sugar cane, can interfere with the actions of the yeast that fermentat the molasses into rum.

    †Black rum is so-named for its color; brown rum and red rum are dark rums described by their colors.

      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Alcohol & Gummy Candy

    Champagne With Gummy Worms

    Gummy Worm Mojito Cocktail

    Gummy Worm Cocktail

    [1] Champagne with gummy bears. [2] Mojito with a gummy worm garnish—although a Mezcal drink might make more sense with the worms (photos 1 and 2 courtesy Monarch Rooftop). [3] Gummies slithering in a Tequila Sunrise (photo courtesy Drinking In America.

     

    Search for “adult gummies” and you’ll turn up bottles and bottles of nutritional supplements.

    They’re not just multivitamins but biotin, fiber, fish oil, melatonin, vitamin C and more. (Caveat: Before you get too excited, check the grams of sugar on the bottle.)

    Let us introduce you instead to our kind of adult gummies: soaked in wine or spirits.

    Some background: A few months ago, a candy boutique in Los Angeles, Sugarfina, introduced rosé-infused gummy bears. Thanks to social media, they were sold out by pre-order before they even arrived from Germany; there’s a long waiting list (Monarch Rooftop says the number now exceeds 14,000).

    We had tried the Champagne Gummies, which are still available. There also are Cuba Libre Gummies, infused with rum and Coca-Cola.

    We wouldn’t have known the Sugarfina gummies were infused with Champagne, much less with Dom Perignon. (We deduced that the amount of champagne used was “just a splash.”)
     
    REAL ADULT GUMMIES

    Monarch Rooftop, a lounge with a view of the Empire State Building (71 West 35th Street, Manhattan), infuses its own gummies for a selection of creative cocktails. The current menu offers:

  • Tipsy Teddy Bears: gummy bears soaked in Champagne/Rosé.
  • Rummy Worms: gummy worms soaked in rum and paired with a Mojito.
  • Fish Out Of Water: vodka-soaked Swedish Fish laid atop a blue Jell-O shot.
  •  
    They inspired us to infuse our own gummies by soaking them in alcohol. We first tried spirits, then wine. We briefly considered a Boilermaker: beer with whiskey-infused gummies instead of the shot. Maybe for the Super Bowl?

    Whatever you want to infuse, the recipe is below.
     
    National Gummy Worms Day is July 15th, giving you plenty of time to test your own cocktail menu.

    MAKE YOUR OWN ALCOHOL-INFUSED GUMMY CANDY

    The hardest part of this is deciding which spirit and which fruit juice to use. You can halve the spirits and juice and make a split batch to see which you like better. Flavored vodka is even better.

    Beyond Gummy Bears & Worms

    So many decisions! There are gummy butterflies, Easter bunnies, fish, flower blossoms, frogs, fruits, gummy rings, lobsters, peaches, penguins, pigs, rattlesnakes, sharks, Smurfs, soda bottles and turtles.

    You can make your own adult gummy recipe book, with different shapes and flavors for different occasions. Tequila-infused gummies for your Margarita? Certainly: And get the Mexican Hat gummies.

    Check out the novelty gummies on Nuts.com.

     

    Tips

  • Look for a large size of gummies: a 1 kg tub (2.2 pounds) or bulk pricing. A five-pound bag of Haribo Gold-Bears is $12 on Amazon.com. That’s $2.40/pound. If your local store sells them in bulk for much more than that, you may wish to consider your options.
  • Don’t overlook flavored vodkas. We think they’re a better choice than plain vodka. We also loved sipping artisan gin, so made them for a small snack bowl. We ours soaked in gin; although we used everyday Tanqueray to infuse.
  • Test the amount of alcohol. You can make a split batch, or vary the amount your next batch.
  • Make them as gifts, too, with a reminder note to consume within five days.
  • These are not Jell-O shots. Don’t expect a buzz.
  •  
    RECIPE: ALCOHOL-INFUSED GUMMY CANDIES

    Plan ahead: The gummies need to infuse in alcohol for five days.

    Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups of vodka or other spirit or wine
  • 2 pounds gummi candy
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PACK the gummies into a lidded container and cover with the spirit. The alcohol should barely cover the top of the gummies.

    2. STIR, cover with the lid and place the container in the refrigerator.

    3. STIR twice a day for five days. If you use a large enough container, you can simply shake it. When ready, drain and serve.

    That’s it!
     
    What If They’re Too Alcoholic?

    First, taste them on the third day. If they’re what you expect, drain them and enjoy. If they’re still too boozy, try them with a cocktail. The combination may provide the right counterpoint. If not…

    You can fix the batch by draining the alcohol and covering the alcohol in apple juice. Shake and taste in a few hours. They may need to juice-infuse overnight.
     
    THE HISTORY OF GUMMY CANDY

    Gummi candy was first produced by Haribo, a Bonn, Germany, confectioner. Haribo is a contraction of Hans Riegel Bonn.

    Founder Hans Riegel invented the Dancing Bear, a fruit gum made in the shape of a bear, in 1922. It was succeeded in 1967 by what would become known worldwide as Gummi Bears, which would spawn an entire zoo of gummi animals.

    Gummi worms, however, were introduced by another gummi candy manufacturer, Trolli (named for forest trolls), in 1981.

    Many Americans use the English spelling, gummy, instead of the German gummi.
     

     

    Gummy Bear Sangria

    Cocktail With Gummy Candy

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    [1] Wine-infused dummies with sangria. Given all the fruit, we’d serve them on the side. Here’s the recipe from TrendHunter.com. [3] A root beer float with soda bottle gummies. Add vanilla vodka along with the root beer and ice cream. Check out these alcoholic root beer float recipes on Yummly.com. [4] What to drink while watching “Shark Tank.” At the Sugar Factory in New York City, it’s called The Ocean Blue (photos 2 and 3 courtesy Sugar Factory).

    MORE WAYS TO SERVE GUMMIES

    Beyond filling candy bowls, you can:

  • Garnish the rim of soft drinks or cocktails.
  • Garnish desert plates.
  • Top cupcakes or iced cookies.
  • Use as ice cream/sorbet toppers.
  • Make gummy fruit kabobs, alternating gummies with fresh fruits.
  • Dip in chocolate and harden on wax paper or parchment, for “gourmet” gummies. For this one, it’s better to avoid the smaller gummies like bears.
  • Decorate the rim of cocktails.
  • Add to popcorn.
  • Make gummy trail mix: gummies, M&Ms or Reese’s Pieces, nuts, pretzels and raisins or dried cherries or cranberries.
  • Make the classic Dirt Cake or Dirt Pudding.
  •   

    Comments

    RECIPE: Atlantic Beach Pie, A Spin On Lemon Meringue Pie

    Lemon Meringue Pie Slice

    Atlantic Beach Pie Recipe

    Lemon Meringue Pie

    Chess Pie

    [1] A slice of classic lemon meringue pie (photo courtesy IncredibleEgg.org). [2] The Atlantic Beach Pie variation substitutes a crunchy saltine crust (photo courtesy Crook’s Corner | Our State magazine). [3] You can never have too much meringue (photo courtesy McCormick; here’s the recipe). [4] Chess pie is a lemon custard pie baked in an all-butter pie crust (photo courtesy Good Eggs).

     

    August 15th is National Lemon Meringue Pie Day, celebrating one of America’s favorite pies.

    THE HISTORY OF LEMON MERINGUE PIE

    Lemon-flavored custards, puddings and pies date to the Middle Ages, which concluded in the 15th century. Meringue was perfected in the 17th century.

    The modern lemon meringue pie is a 19th-century recipe, attributed to Alexander Frehse, a baker in the Swiss canton of Romandie. By the late 19th century, the dish had reached the U.S. and achieved popularity.

    It combines a lemon custard single crust pie with meringue, the fluffy topping made from egg whites and sugar, baked on top. Here’s the classic lemon meringue pie recipe.

    Fast-forward a century to Atlantic Beach Lemon Pie, a Southern specialty from the beaches of North Carolina.

    It’s a lemon meringue pie with a twist: It has a crunchy, salty crust made from crushed saltine or Ritz cracker crumbs.

    It fell out of fashion for decades, until it was rescued from obscurity by Chef Bill Smith of Crook’s Corner in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

    Chef Bill added his own touch, substituting whipped cream for the meringue topping.

    Chef Bill has been generous with his recipe. We encountered this recipe in OurState, magazine in Greensboro, North Carolina, whose editor asked him to write about it. Here’s the original article.

    RECIPE: ATLANTIC BEACH PIE

    Ingredients For The Crust

  • 1½ sleeves of saltine crackers
  • 1/3 to ½ cup softened unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  •  
    Ingredients For The Filling

  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 egg yolks (tip: eggs separate more easily when cold)
  • ½ cup lemon juice* (about 4 juicy lemons) or Key lime juice (16 Key limes, or substitute juice from 5-6 regular limes)
  •  
    __________________
    *To get more juice from a lemon (or any citrus), microwave it for 10 seconds. Then roll it on the counter, exerting pressure with your palm. You’re now ready to halve and juice it.
     
    Ingredients For The Garnish

  • Whipped cream
  • Coarse sea salt (especially black lava or pink salt like alea for contrast)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Place the crackers in a plastic bag, seal and crush crush with a rolling pin into tiny, flaky pieces. You will have about 2½ to 3 cups of cracker crumbs. Do not use a food processor or you will end up with cracker dust that doesn’t work.

    2. ADD the sugar, then knead in the butter until the crumbs hold together like dough. Press into an 8-inch pie pan. Chill for 15 minutes, then bake for 18 minutes or until the crust colors a little. While the crust is cooling…

    3. BEAT the egg yolks into the milk, then beat in the citrus juice. It is important to completely combine these ingredients.

    5. POUR into the shell and bake for 16 minutes until the filling has set. The pie needs to be completely cold to be sliced. Serve with fresh whipped cream and a sprinkling of sea salt.
     
    WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PIE?

    Check out the different types of pie in our yummy Pie Glossary.
     
    PIE HISTORY

    The ancient Egyptians, who were great bread bakers, worked out the details of early pastry. Theirs was a savory pastry: a dough of flour and water paste to wrap around meat and soak up the juices as it cooked.

     
    Before the creation of baking pans in the 19th century, the coffin, as it was called (the word for a basket or box), was used to bake all food.

    Pastry was further developed in the Middle East and brought to Mediterranean Europe by the Muslims in the 7th century. Another leap occurred in the 11th Century, when Crusaders brought phyllo dough back to Northern Europe (the First Crusade was 1096 to 1099).

    Greek and Roman pastry did not progress as far as it could have because both cultures used oil, which can’t create a stiff pastry. In medieval Northern Europe, the traditional use of lard and butter instead of oil for cooking hastened the development of other pastry types.

    Pies developed, and the stiff pie pastry was used to provide a casing for the various fillings. By the 17th century, flaky and puff pastries were in use, developed by French and Italian Renaissance chefs. These pastry chefs began to make highly decorated pastry, working intricate patterns on the crusts.

     
      

    Comments

    FOOD HOLIDAY: Recipes For National Creamsicle Day

    Creamsicle Cheesecake Recipe

    Creamsicle Cheesecake

    Creamsicle Milkshake

    [1] How about a Creamsicle cheesecake for National Creamsicle Day? Here’s the recipe (photo courtesy Sweet Street Desserts). [2] This recipe from Cook’s Country layers the cake, sherbet and ice cream in a springform pan lined with lady fingers. [3] Prefer a drink? Try a Creamicle shake or cocktail (photo courtesy Williams-Sonoma).

     

    The Creamsicle® was created by the Popsicle Corporation, established in the Depression by Frank Epperson, who had invented the Popsicle®. The vanilla ice cream pop, coated with orange sherbet, became a sensation.

    Today Creamsicle® and Popsicle® are registered trademarks of the Unilever Corporation. Any company wishing to use the name for a product must get a license from Unilever.

    But in the Wild West of online recipes, anything goes.

    Here’s more Creamsicle history.

    Since August 14th is also National Creamsicle Day, take a look at other Creamsicle-inspired food.
     
    FAVORITE CREAMSICLE VARIATIONS

    The easiest, and a favorite of ours, is a simple bowl of vanilla ice cream and orange sorbet (mango sorbet is a great substitute).

    You can also make vanilla cupcakes with orange frosting or top vanilla ice cream with orange liqueur.

    Here are more celebratory recipes:

  • Creamsicle Cheesecake
  • Creamsicle Cocktail
  • Creamsicle Ice Cream Cake
  • Creamsicle Milkshake (recipe below)
  •  
    Also check out fior di Sicilia, an Italian essence used to flavor baked goods and beverages. Its flavor and aroma are reminiscent of a Creamsicle.
     
    RECIPE: CREAMSICLE MILKSHAKE

    Make this recipe, from Williams-Sonoma kitchens, in 5 to 10 minutes.
     
    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 1/2 cup vanilla ice cream, firmly packed
  • 1/2 cup orange sherbet, firmly packed
  • 1/3 cup milk, plus more as needed
  • Optional garnish: orange wheel/wedge or whipped cream
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the ingredients in a blender and process on the low setting. If the shake is too thick, add more milk until the desired consistency is reached.

    2. POUR the shake into a tall glass and garnish as desired.

     
     
      

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