Recipes by Type

Desserts

Behold, the Amazing Cherry Milkshake Sans Ice Cream

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Most people young and old love milkshakes! I am certainly no exception to that, but for years have stayed away from this frozen treat most of the time due to the unhealthy nature of ice cream, milk and sugar. What if you could cut out the ice cream and most of the sugar while still having a fantastic tasting shake? Well look no more because I give you the amazing no ice cream milkshake! Yes deep in the Fast and Furious test kitchen I have developed the oh-so-versatile no ice cream milk shake that will rock the foodie world! You would not know in a blind taste test that this contains no Ice cream!

 

This milkshake can be made with whole milk , 2% milk, almond milk, coconut milk, or combination of any of the above with excellent results. It can be made with frozen cherries, frozen strawberries, frozen peaches,

frozen raspberries or a combination of the above. It just takes three simple ingredients, a decent blender and a bit of creative experimenting to see which combination you like best.

 

If you don’t drink alcohol, or are fixing it for children just use vanilla extract, orange extract or similar flavorings. If you do drink alcohol try it with different liquors like:

Frangelico, a hazelnut liquor that would work well with peaches.

Apricot brandy would go well with peaches, or a mix of peaches and strawberries.

Bailey’s Irish Cream, would go well with just about any frozen fruit combination.

Chambord, a raspberry cordial would enhance a raspberry milkshake.

Lemoncello might be nice with a strawberry, or peach shake if you love lemon.

 

Depending on your blender this will take 1-5 minutes to blend properly. You may have to stop the blender, and stir with a spoon once or twice, and may need to add more milk or booze to get the consistency you desire. There will be variables in the ratios you use but the basic recipe is this:

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2 1/2 cups frozen fruit, see note

1 cup of milk, 2%, whole, almond or coconut

1 ounce of booze, liquor, cordial

substitute booze with 1 tablespoon vanilla extract or appropriate flavoring

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Add all ingredients to the blender and blend to desired consistency.

Makes 2-4 servings.

 

blender ready!

blender ready!

Note:

I have used cherries with Grand Marnier for this recipe, but have also used a combo of raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries with Grand Marnier that tasted great!

 

If you are not driving after consuming this you might even want to kick up the level of the booze a bit:)

frozen godness

frozen godness

Dessert Emergency, Strawberry Shortcake to the Rescue!

Ah the special foods of summer call each and everyone of us to remember why we love food so much. We all draw pictures in our minds that connect us to food and family memories, and love to re-live those memories. I can see in my mind’s eye that flagstone patio in Lakewood, Colorado where I grew up, and the table with all the yummy things mom put on it throughout the summer. There was home made ice cream, blueberry pies, cherry pies and more. One dish in particular has the ability to take me back to that flagstone patio and that’s strawberry shortcake. Now even though my mom was a good baker she usually bought the spongecake type of shortcake from the local grocery store for the ground floor of our strawberry masterpiece. It wasn’t until I was 15 and spent most of the summer at my Aunt and Uncle’s house south of Cleveland I learned about the biscuit dough type of shortcake. It changed my mind for ever on what was the best base layer in this favorite American Strawberry dessert. I like the way the biscuit dough soaks up the juices  and still have a wonderful texture to it. It does add a bunch of calories though so I don’t have it very often like that. My wife on the other hand likes pound cake on the base layer. On Saturday night we had a dessert emergency. You know the kind where dinner is over and there is nothing suitable in the house for a special weekend dessert. My wife decided it was time for Strawberry Shortcake and wanted her version on poundcake served with real home made whipped cream. Resistance was futile, and off I went to the local grocery store to buy the goods. I brought it all home and set to work on 15 minutes of Fast and Furious style dessert prep. Photos were not part of the prep but I’m glad I shot the finished product. Here’s what went into it:

one pound strawberries sliced

one half pint heavy cream whipped with a bit of powdered sugar

one small package of Monkfruit in the raw, for the berries

one half teaspoon of Grand Marinier

a touch of ground nutmeg for garnish

I laid the foundation of poundcake and  poured on top the Grand Mariner.

Next I piled sliced sweetened strawberries on top.

Then I piped the whipped cream through a pastry bag on top of the berries.

Finally the nutmeg graced the the top of the whipped cream.

The result? It was fabulous! The Grand Marnier gave it a lovely orange spice that set the pace for the sweet, crisp strawberries to mix with. The whipped cream created a smooth silky binder to keep it all together and the nutmeg added an exotic complexity to tantalize the palate. This was the first time I made the version of strawberry shortcake. It might make another appearance later this year, but even if it doesn’t it created a memory of a perfect late spring day enjoying fresh fruit gifts of the season.

 

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Disclaimer:

I was gifted some Monkfruit in the Raw from the good folks at In The Raw at the recent Eat Write Retreat bloggers event, however their gift did not influence my opinion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Disclaimer:

I was gifted some Monkfruit in the Raw from the good folks at In The Raw at the recent Eat Write Retreat bloggers event, however their gift did not influence my opinion.

Sweet Stuff

Good news! According to the US Agricultural Department us Americans now only consume 76.7 pounds of sugar each year. I read this in an article from the NY Times from October, 2012 about the USDA’s new sugar numbers. That is down from what they say was 100 pounds of the white bad stuff. Some how or another the USDA decided to use a new methodology to compute sugar usage. Curious how they do that sort of thing since this might mean we aren’t actually eating less sugar. Regardless of how they are computing this sugar usage I believe we Americans eat too much of it, and that includes high fructose corn syrup too! It shows up in so many foods we consume on a fairly regular basis, like ketchup for instance. There was a time,quite a bit of it, when I didn’t even know there was sugar in ketchup. I used to think I ate less than 5 pounds of sugar per year until I took a closer look at all the foods that contain hidden amounts of sugar. Of course there are the obvious sources of sugar like sodas,cookies, cakes etc. We all would be well served to take a closer look at the ingredients list of everything we buy from the grocery store to know what we are putting into our bodies, and cut down on our consumption of sugar. There are many health concerns for consuming too much sugar like:

diabetes

increase risk of cancer

acne

depression

yeast infection

dental cavities

 

and the list goes on and on. I don’t get to concerned on who’s study is right or wrong on the effects of sugar as there is a quite bit of conflicting information out there. For instance, the American Heart Association says the average American adult eats around 150 pounds of sugar per year. That’s quite a bit different from the USDA’s new numbers. There are numerous health studies that can confuse us too on the health effects of sugar. Why not just err on the side of caution and do what I do. I use very little white sugar. Maybe 5 pounds per year in my kitchen, but probably less. What white sugar I use is usually for gifts of baked goods for people who aren’t as health conscious as I am. When a recipe calls for sugar I’ll usually use a less refined type of sugar,( brown sugar, honey, molasses, or tubinado) and less of it. I find that most baking recipes can do with 25% less sugar than called for and still be plenty sweet. Eat more fruits for your sweet tooth, which brings us to today’s healthy and quick recipe. This is a dish I use in some variation or another often. Yesterday when I saw beautiful organic strawberries at the grocery store I knew what to do with them. Give this one a try and let me know what you think.

Fresh fruit salad

16 ounces of fresh strawberries sliced, or quartered

1 apple or pear peeled, cored and cut into bite sized pieces

1 banana sliced

juice of 1 fresh orange

1/4 cup sweetened coconut chips, or shredded coconut

 

In a medium size mixing bowl toss strawberries, apples, and banana with the juice of 1 orange. Chill for 30 minutes or more, and serve with in small bowls with coconut on top.

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Note:

You can use fresh squeeze grapefruit instead of an orange.

Pineapple is a good fruit for this dish.

If using apples I recommend Honey Crisp, or Braeburn.

Caution, this gets a bit mushy if kept too long. I like to eat it up with in 8 hours of making it.

A Healthy Recipe for Brownies?

 

Where Did We Go Wrong?

Healthy recipes for baking go back centuries before the advent of white flour yet most of us have been fed little in the way of whole grains most of our lives. It was after 1870 that wheat grinding changed significantly with the advent of iron, steel or porcelain rollers instead of stone. This produced a more refined flour and the rest is history. I could go on and on, but would instead send you to http://www.grainmillandwheatgrinder.com/history-of-white-flour.html where in just a few minutes you can get the rest of the story. My story is that I use way less white flour in my baking, choosing instead whole wheat, and sometimes using oat flour, or even barley flour. I experiment using these whole grains in bread, muffins and cookies. Consider that all whole grain flours are not created equal. I like getting my whole wheat flour, and white flour from King Arthur Flour Company after I read an article about them in Smithsonian Magazine several years ago. It stated that King Arthur was the only flour the French imported from America it was that good! I get my other flours and cornmeal from the small producers like Arrowhead Mills, Red’s Mill, or Hodgson Mill. I encourage you to add more whole grains in your diet which may be a challenge at first, but if you get the book, Whole Grain Baking by King Arthur Flour you will be exposed to over 500 pages of whole grain baking recipes, and information about whole grains in general. There is a baker’s hotline included in the book that has been quite useful to me on several occasions.One of the things I learned from the hotline was to keep my whole grain flours in the freezer as whole grains can go rancid. The phone number for the hotline is 802-6493717. Not all these are healthy recipes, like the lovely Lemon-Raspberry Cake that graces the cover, but there are hundreds of recipes that are healthier than most baking recipes us Americans use. Try increasing your whole grain consumption by getting a copy of this amazing baking book, and see if you agree with me that it is the best whole grain recipe resource out there.

Almost all of my posts include my original recipes, but when I find a recipe worth sharing I change my routine for you dear readers. Today’s venture into whole grain baking took place here at the Fast and Furious test kitchen,(my home), and featured brownies from page 341 in the above mentioned baking book. I tried the applesauce version that cuts the amount of butter or oil in half. I have baked with applesauce to cut down on fat in baking recipes for years with excellent results, and recommend you give it a try too if you haven’t already. Today’s experiment is going to be a gift to the staff and volunteers of St Vincent’s Villa in Timonium, Maryland where I volunteer each Wednesday mentoring a 12 year old boy that lives there. I bet they won’t even know that these are a healthier recipe for brownies unless I decide to tell them. If you want to try this recipe, it is here by permission of the good bakers at King Arthur Flour.

ingredients

ingredients

 

 

Double Fudge Browines

 

 

 

 

 

1 cup unsalted butter

2 cups packed light brown sugar

3/4 cup Dutch processed cocoa

1 t baking powder

1 t salt

1 t espresso powder (optional)

1 T vanilla extract

4 large eggs

1 1/2 cups traditional whole wheat flour

2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and lightly grease a 9×13 inch pan.

 

Melt the butter in a medium microwave-safe bowl or in a saucepan set over low heat. Add the sugar and stir to combine. Return the mixture to the microwave (or heat) briefly, until it’s hot and starting to bubble. Heating this mixture a second time will dissolve more of the sugar, which will yield a shiny top crust.

mixing time

mixing time

 

Stir in the cocoa, baking powder, salt espresso powder(if using) and vanilla. Cool the mixture until you can test it with your finger: it should feel like comfortably hot bath water. Whisk in the eggs, stirring until smooth, them add the flour and chips, again stirring until smooth. Spoon the batter into the prepare pan.

 

Bake the brownies until a cake tester or sharp knife poked into the center reveals wet crumbs but not raw batter, 30 minutes. The brownies should feel set on the edges and in the center. Remove them from the oven and cool on a rack: cover when cool. Let sit over night before serving: this gives the bran a chance to soften, giving the brownie a more pleasing texture.

 

Lower-fat version.

Cut the fat by substituting 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce for 1/2 cup butter: add after the vanilla. The brownies will have a slightly milder chocolate flavor and slightly less fudgy texture.

time to eat!

time to eat!

Baked Stuffed Apples

2 organic granny smith apples
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup dried cranberries, sweetened or unsweetened
1-2 teaspoons honey
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Optional: 1/2 teaspoon butter or butter substitute like Smart Balance

Using an apple corer take out the the core of both apples with one cut each. Then take out an additional part with a half moon cut to allow the stuffing to fit. Most apple corers don’t get all the core out or leave enough room for the stuffing so it’s best to do the extra cut.
Mix walnuts and cranberries with cinnamon in a small mixing bowl, and spoon into apples just until filled to about 1/4 inch above the top of the apple. It’s OK to push the stuffing in gently. Pour honey on top of stuffing and top that with the butter. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 22-25 minutes. Makes 4 servings if cut in half or 2 big ones if left whole. Good for breakfast with oatmeal or for dinner desert.

Coconut cookies

I love these cookies and have no self control over them whenever I make this recipe. Therefore I only make them about once a year. Once you smell the coconutty, buttery goodness coming from your oven you will be hooked too. Very simple and easy to prepare. When I was baking with a 12 year old boy that I mentored at St Vincent’s Villa residential treatment facility we could hammer these out in 20 minutes flat from start to out of the oven finish.

1 3/4 cups flour
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 1/4 cup coconut
1 stick plus 6 tablespoons butter
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 360 degrees. Cream butter and sugar together, scrape bowl and mix in the egg, salt and vanilla until well blended. Add flour in two parts, then mix in coconut. Drop  rounded teaspoons of cookie dough on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes.

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Did you ever come home from work or a busy day and thought you didn’t have time to cook a healthy great tasting meal? Many of us have this problem, but there is a way to conquer that beast. You just need the recipes, basic supplies and support of this blog to get you through it. I have learned over the last twenty years how to create great, healthy meals in very little time. You don’t need to be a chef to make this work for you. I have done the hard work of developing a plan for you.
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