Sunday, June 16, 2013

Vegetables on a stick? Ice pops like you wouldn't believe

Vegetables on a stick? Ice pops like you wouldn’t believe

When I was a kid, the thought of a gazpacho ice pop would have terrified me. Now, I’ll give it a shot. With peach daiquiri or white Russian pops, you can literally “give it a shot.”
You can hardly go wrong with fudge and sweetened-condensed milk, but where Andrew Chase will truly surprise you is his takes on tea, coffee and vegetable variations. He’s apparently tried even more combos than beet and cucumber, avocado and chocolate chile, because in this Robert Rose book, he offers “200 Best Ice Pop Recipes.”
Creamed corn with brown butter and nutmeg or sweet potato pie sound adventurous, but you can sure shake a little wooden stick at something with lemon, all manner of fruits and honey and caramel. Adults will have fun with these, but he’s got a whole section on less-drip blends for the youngest of pop lovers. Gelatin powder is the secret. Here’s one of the 200 that is very easy and should prove very popular this summer:

Peanut Butter Ice Pops
2 ripe bananas, sliced
½ cup smooth peanut butter
½ cup water
¼ cup sweetened condensed milk
Pinch salt
1.   In blender at medium-high speed, puree bananas, peanut butter, water, condensed milk and salt.
2.   Pour into molds and freeze until slushy, then insert sticks and freeze until solid, for at least 4 hours. If you are using an ice pop kit, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Moon Shine’s done right on left coast
Fog’s End Distillery makes spirits distilled from corn that pack a powerful punch. California Moon Shine boasts it is “made right on the left coast.” While this “no-cook, traditional sour-mash whiskey” white corn concoction is nearly clear and comes in a narrow-necked bottle, it serves beautifully in Mason jars.
I just mixed up a couple of jars and sat on the stoop and turned on the radio to hear Port Arthur’s own Janis Joplin singing her heart out. I think she would have enjoyed that southern summer night.
Fog’s End Primo Agua Ardienteis is a spirit distilled from corn and cane sugar with chili pepper added. I’m hearing its’ great with an equal amount of horchata.
But here’s what I did: I snipped a stalk of lemon grass from my doorway garden, pounded the root and steeped it in hot water with brown sugar. When it cooled I gave it a shot of corn liquor and served it iced in the Mason jar. It took on a pale yellow-green hue with an ever-so-light kiss of spice. Here’s another idea for corn spirits:

Moonshine Mojito
2 oz California Moonshine
2 oz lime juice
1 teaspoon sugar
6 whole mint leaves
                  2 oz. soda water
Put juice and sugar into a highball glass and stir until dissolved.
Rub mint leaves on inside of the glass and discard.
Fill with crushed ice, MoonShine, and then stir. Top with soda water and garnish with a sprig of mint.

Licorice and dairy
I really thought I needed to change my eye wear when I read the label on some nice Virgen del las Nieves Artesones Tempranillo 2011 Red. “Intense cherry color….fully ripened fruit such as blackberry…. Nice fruity finish,” it all made since. I thought I saw the tasting notes to read licorice and dairy. They actually did. I’m I really becoming an expert, because when I breathed in the aroma, I thought I got a sense of the dairy. At any rate, it paired really well with a Christopher Walken movie. Here’s why: It’s from Castilla-La Mancha, said to be the most expansive wine-producing region in the world. The limestone clay and a variety of subsoils is good for the grape vines.
Wine lovers, if you try this one, please let me know if you picked up on the dairy.

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