Happy New Year!! I hope everyone was able to ring in the new year in a special way. For my part, I was invited to a “Fattening” party, a potluck with fun people and delicious food, and watched the Badgers try unsuccessfully to bring home a Rose Bowl win. I’ll admit that the football game, though fun to watch, was a bit disappointing. The Fattening party on the other hand, was a huge success. Not only did I get to eat a lot of tasty food and enjoy tons of good laughs, I won Bananagrams at the gift exchange! Clearly, my year is off to an excellent start.
My contribution to the New Year’s Fattening was twofold. I brought a version of this squash and lentil salad as my contribution toward health, and Aunt Pat’s Grasshoppers as my contribution toward gluttony. This is the same Aunt Pat of Brandy Slush fame, so I knew it would be a hit. That and this was perhaps one of the best parts about the holiday season while growing up, so I saw no reason why it wouldn’t be a wonderful way to ring in the new year with some new friends.
But the best part about these Grasshoppers is that you don’t really need a holiday as an excuse to enjoy them. I recommend mixing up a batch today to enjoy throughout the new year!!
Aunt Pat’s Grasshoppers
1 pail vanilla ice cream
1/2 c. creme de cacao
1/4 c brandy
3/4 c creme de menthe
Allow ice cream to soften. Mix in liquors and freeze. Enjoy!!
I have been completely uninspired about cooking this summer. Even when I’m not making anything that requires actual heating, I want to spend as little time as possible in my kitchen chopping or mixing ingredients. But every so often, I am asked to bring a dish to pass somewhere so I suck it up, turn on the oven, bake my heart out, pack up my goods, and leave my hot apartment to enjoy my food in someone else’s hopefully air-conditioned abode.
Last week Monday, I attended an “American Desserts Potluck” event in honor of a group of visiting Chinese ESL teachers. I knew some of the other American teachers were bringing rhubarb pie and apple crisp. So, charged with the task of making a very American dessert, and thinking of a good summer dessert at that, I decided to whip up a batch of Grandma’s VVG Shortcake. The Chinese teachers told me that they really enjoyed this dessert because it’s not too sweet. Rich, yes, but not too sweet.
1/3 c. shortening (I used butter)
2 c. flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt (optional – ok, maybe not for Grandma, but definitely for me)
3/4 c. milk
Cut shortening into flour. Mix in remaining dry ingredients. Mix in milk until just blended. Roll dough onto a floured board and knead 20 – 25 times. Roll or pat into 1/2″ thickness and use a 3″ cookie cutter* to make shapes. Bake at 450º for 10 – 12 mins. Bake a little longer if you decide to put the dough in a cake pan.
*Normally, I use a 3″ cookie cutter to make the shapes, but went with a smaller one this time so that all of the Chinese teachers could have a little taste of shortcake. I baked them for about 8 mins.
Sorry for the delay in posting this week’s recipe. As it turns out I had to do a fair bit of writing for work this week and just couldn’t bear the thought of doing more on the blog.
Anyway, as mentioned in the last post, I went to the Motherland last week and restocked my store of maple syrup. On Sunday I had some friends over for dinner (we ate a variation of this recipe, but with venison and beets) and wowed them with the following maple soufflé recipe for dessert. Not only does it include one of my favorite things on earth – liquid gold (aka maple syrup) – but it also includes bourbon! Really, what more could a girl ask for in a dessert? Or life, really? The other nice thing is that I got to use my power tools when I made this recipe. Oh, and my cute Fiesta ramekins. Plus, there are all the oohs and aaahs you get when you pull these babies out of the oven. And it’s not even that difficult to make!
If you’re diabetic you might want to stay away from this one. It’s awfully sweet. If you have a sweet tooth, or a whole mouth full of sweet teeth and an affinity for maple syrup, this will be right up your alley.
Hot Maple Soufflés (from November 2002, Cooking Light)
1 Tbsp butter, softened
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
3 Tbsp bourbon
3 Tbsp maple syrup (I know a guy in Milladore who sells it if you need a supplier)
1 c. maple syrup
4 large egg whites
1/8 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 Tbsp. sifted powdered sugar*
1. Preheat oven to 425º.
2. Coat 6 (10 oz.) ramekins with butter; sprinkle evenly with granulated sugar. Combine bourbon and 3 tbsp maple syrup and microwave on high for 1 1/2 minutes or until mixture boils. Pour about 1 tbsp bourbon mixture into each ramekin.
3. Cook 1 cup syrup in sauce pan over medium-high heat 8 mins or until candy thermometer registers 250º.
4. Beat egg white and salt with a mixer until foamy. Pour hot maple syrup in a thin stream over egg whites, beating at medium speed until stiff peaks form. Add baking powder, beat well.
5. Spoon evenly into ramekins; place on a jelly roll pan. Bake at 425º for 13 minutes or until puffy and set. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve immediately.
*I did Grandma proud this week. I sifted.