Thursday, May 3, 2012
The Drinks Are On Me!
There is nothing more satisfying than a cold smoothie or shake or even a parfait, for all those who don’t drink alcohol or want something fun for their kids. So belly up to the bar! The drinks are on me!
Dairy Free Avocado Smoothie
(Sinh To Bo)
Traditionally, sweetened condensed milk is used to make Sinh to Bo. I made this dairy free by using a non-dairy coconut milk beverage. This is more of a pudding than a smoothie. If you like a thinner consistency, just add more coconut milk beverage. The chocolate syrup is strictly optional, but makes this more kid-friendly.
1 ripe avocado
1 c. ice
1 c. Coconut Milk or almond milk
2-3 tbsp. honey
1/8 tsp. vanilla
Chocolate syrup, optional
Blend all ingredients until smooth.
If desired, put a few small spoonfuls of chocolate syrup along the inside rim of the glass. Let the syrup drip down the sides of the glass.
Spoon the avocado smoothie into the glass.
Vietnamese Tomato Shake
(Sinh To Ca Chua)
½ c. Ice cubes
1-2 Tomatoes, depending on the size
1 tsp. Sugar
Blend until ice is crushed. Add more sugar if necessary. It’s like biting into a crisp cold tomato. Except instead of worrying about the juices running down your chin, you drink it all up. Enjoy!
Strawberry Cheesecake Parfaits
The other day, I stumbled upon a recipe for Strawberry Parfaits. It took just one look and I knew I needed them in my life.
And really soon. No doubt about it.
They looked scrumptious and refreshing and irresistible and… simply excellent. If something in this big wide world can be referred to as ‘perfection in a glass’ then it’s definitely this dessert.
Please, please, you have to make it. It’s that last step you need to make to achieve true happiness.
1 lb. Strawberries
2 tbsp. Sugar, divided
1 c. butter biscuits
2 tbsp. Butter, melted
12 oz. Cream cheese
½ c. sour cream
2/3 c. confectioner’s sugar
1 c. whipping cream
1 tsp. Almond extract
First, in your food processor, crush the biscuits finely. Mix the crumbs with one tablespoon sugar and 2 tablespoons melted butter. You can use a fork to combine it all together. Then, in the bowl of your electric mixer, mix the cream cheese, sour cream, sugar and almond extract. In a separate bowl, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Using a spatula, gently fold the cream cheese mixture with the whipped cream just until combined. Slice the strawberries into a larger bowl, sprinkle them with a tablespoon of sugar and toss them around the bowl a little. Then we are going to need four glasses.
Place about a tablespoon of the crumbs in the bottom of your glasses. Then layer some of the cheesecake filling, then add some strawberries and repeat this procedure once more.
Sprinkle the top with some more crumbs and garnish with strawberries and a mint leaf.
Refrigerate for about 1-2 hours before serving.
Banana Cream Meringue Parfaits
I got this craving for banana cream pie over the weekend, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it was the banana pie filling that I was craving. It’s important not to question these cravings, but to sometimes just hang on for the ride, which is exactly what I did. And what a fun ride this turned out to be! Banana pie filling led to parfaits which led to layers of chocolate chips which led me to that little bowl of egg whites (leftover from the filling) sitting forlornly on the sink, possibly destined for the drain.
Heck, no! No way was I throwing out any part of my chickens’ eggs, so, of course, that led to meringue. And that led me to pull out my crème brulee torch from the back of the pantry, and well, that led to the rather delectable dish of goodness up there in the photo and some creamy, dreamy spoonfuls of banana cream pudding and chocolate parfait deliciousness.
The end. Here's the recipe...
¾ c. sugar
¼ c. cornstarch
2 ½ c. milk
1 tbsp. banana extract
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut in small pieces
¼ tsp. salt
3 egg yolks (reserve the whites)
3 bananas, sliced
1 c. mini chocolate chips
For the meringue:
3 egg whites
¼ tsp. cream of tartar
¼ c. sugar
Combine the sugar and cornstarch in a 3-quart saucepan and place over medium heat. Gradually stir in the milk and cook until mixture thickens, about 11 minutes.
Remove pan from heat and whisk in the extract, salt and egg yolks until smooth. Place the pan back over heat, bring back to a simmer and stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, cook for 1 more minute. Be sure wooden spoon touches the bottom of the pan when stirring. Remove from heat; stir in butter and set aside.
Place some of the banana pudding in the bottom of each parfait glass and top with a layer of sliced bananas and then cover the bananas with a layer of chocolate chips. Top that with more of the pudding and a few more slices of banana.
Place the egg whites and cream of tartar in a medium bowl and using an electric mixer begin beating them. As they thicken, slowly add the sugar, and then continue beating until stiff peaks form.
Spoon the meringue on top of the parfaits, making sure to seal the edges so it doesn't shrink back. You may use a blow torch to caramelize the meringue, or if you are using oven-safe dishes, you can do this under the broiler.
Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Rice Pudding and Mango Parfait
3 c. whole milk
2 to 4 tbsp. sweetened condensed milk (see Note)
¼ c. white basmati rice, rinsed and drained
1 tsp. cardamom seeds, extracted from the pods and crushed finely
1 ripe mango, peeled and diced
In a deep saucepan, bring the whole milk and condensed milk to a boil over medium heat. Stir constantly to prevent scorching. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the rice and cardamom and mix well. Continue to cook for about 50 minutes, until the milk has reduced by half and you obtain a creamy consistency. Stir frequently while cooking.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Refrigerate, covered, for at least an hour.
When ready to serve, spoon some pudding into a wine glass, layer with some mango, and add another layer of rice pudding. Serve immediately.
Note: Use 4 tablespoons of condensed milk if you like your rice pudding really sweet. With 2 tablespoons, it is sweet but not overwhelmingly so.
Note: If you have a mango that is firm, peel it and then use a vegetable peeler to create thin mango slices. Arrange the slices on a plate and place a scoop of the rice pudding in the center of the mango “carpaccio.”
Did you know… green cardamom is used in various forms around the world: people brew it in coffee, add it to liquors and perfumes, sauté it with rice and meats, and in India it is eaten raw, whole (pod and seeds and all) as a digestive after a meal. It is also sold covered in vark, an edible silver foil, which makes it appear like a small shiny stone.
10 oz. frozen sweetened sliced strawberries, thawed
1/3 c. Pina colada mix
2 c. ice
2 ripe bananas
2 fresh strawberries
Use a blender to puree the entire contents of the thawed box of frozen strawberries.
Add 1/3 cup Pina colada mix and 2 cups of ice to the blender.
Cut the end off end banana -- set these pieces aside to use later as a garnish -- then put the bananas into the blender.
Blend on high speed until the ice is crushed and the drink is smooth.
Pour into two tall stemmed glasses, such as daiquiri glasses.
Slice each strawberry halfway up through the middle and add one to the rim of each glass.
Cut each banana slice halfway through the middle and add one to the rim of each glass next to the strawberry. Top with whipped cream and serve with a straw.
Chocolate Root Beer Float
1 tbsp. Sugar
2 tsp. Cocoa powder
1 tbsp. Hot water
1 scoop of vanilla ice cream
Cold Root Beer
Stir together sugar and cocoa in a 12 oz. Glass, stir in the hot water. Add ice cream and enough root beer to ½ full. Gently stir to mix all the ingredients together. Then fill the glass with more root beer to make it full. Stir and serve immediately. Makes one 12 oz. Serving.
Peachy Chocolate Yogurt Shake
2/3 c. Peach slices, peeled**
¼ tsp. Almond extract
2 c. frozen vanilla yogurt**
¼ c. Chocolate syrup
¼ c. milk**
Place peaches and almond extract in blender and blend until smooth. Add frozen yogurt, syrup and milk. Blend until smooth. Serve immediately.
**Chef’s Note: For peaches, you can use 1 package (10 oz.) of frozen peach slices, thawed and drained. As for the yogurt and milk, you can substitute with lowfat brands.
Peanut Butter and Jelly Swirl
8 tbsp. Creamy Peanut Butter
8 tbsp. Jelly or Jam, Grape, Raspberry or Strawberry
2 c. Milk
4 c. Vanilla Ice Cream
Combine peanut butter and jelly. Place mixture in a blender. Add milk and ice cream. Blend until smooth, pour into 4 tall glasses and serve immediately.