Showing posts with label popsicles/ice pops. Show all posts
Showing posts with label popsicles/ice pops. Show all posts

Friday, February 14, 2014

Lemon, Tarragon and Gin Slushie: A Donna Hay Frozen Cocktail

If you are still shoveling piles of snow and slush off your walkways, a frozen cocktail slushie may currently not be your beverage of choice. This Lemon Tarragon and Gin Slushie from Donna Hay is worth tagging to make when you thaw out though. It's fast and easy to toss together and it's a great combination of sweet, tangy, and herby frozen goodness.

Lemon, Tarragon and Gin Slushie
Donna Hay Magazine, Oct/Nov 2013
(Serves 4

1 litre store-bought lemon sorbet
2/3 cup (160 ml) gin
1/3 cup tarragon leaves

Place sorbet gin and tarragon in blender and process until smooth. Divide between glasses and serve immediately. 

Notes/Results: Very tasty! Lemon pairs well with the slight anise and herbal flavor of the tarragon and it makes for a pretty green cocktail. Being a fan of more tart-flavored drinks loving cocktails with herbs in them, this drink really works for me. One note--the only lemon sorbet in the two stores close to my house was Haagen Dazs Zesty Lemon Sorbet. Wonderful flavor but much more creamy than icy and I think an icy sorbet would give more of that true "slushie" experience. This was still frozen and good but next time I will look for an icier texture. I also want to try it with pineapple sorbet as I think that would be a great combination with the tarragon. I will make this again.

It's time to "Raise Your Glass" at I Heart Cooking Clubs this week. You can see the different Donna Hay beverages everyone made by going to the post and checking out the picture links.

Happy Aloha Friday!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Coconut-Chai Fudge Pops: Dairy-Free Frozen Treat for Food 'N Flix July: Monsoon Wedding

Weddings are always a fun and crazy setting for a movie. Make that a Punjabi wedding in New Delhi where family and old traditions and current practices clash and you have Monsoon Wedding, a colorful, feel-good romance film and our Food 'N Flix selection for July.

Directed by Mira Nair (Mississippi Masala, The Namesake and Vanity Fair are just a few of her other films), Monsoon Wedding is the story of the Verma family. Father Lalit, is trying to pull off a large wedding for his eldest daughter Aditi. Aditi, is set to marry Hemant, currently living in Texas, in an arranged marriage while she still pines for her married lover. The wedding preparations are complicated by the lackadaisical event planner Dubey, who finds himself falling for Alice, the family's house maid. Family is arriving from all over and their various stories and sub plots, combined with the threat of having an outdoor wedding smack in the midst of a monsoon season add drama to the proceedings.

I love this movie--the color, the music and dancing and the themes of love and family. I first saw it when it came out with some good girlfriends after going out for an Indian feast and I bought the DVD when it came out. It's sweet and fun and although Aditi (the bride) spends most of the movie pouting and I want to smack her because her groom is great (and hot!) and her ex-lover is just creepy--things of course seem to work out for everyone by the end. ;-) Even owning it, it had been a while since I had watched the movie all the way through so I was happy when Heather of girlichef, our Food 'N Flix founder, picked it. Monsoon Wedding isn't necessarily a foodie movie, but it's a wedding, it's India, and food finds its way into the film with glimpses or mentions of tea and pakoras, coconut curry, mangoes, wedding sweets, salt lassi,and samosas.

I took my inspiration from the chai tea mentioned or shown a few times and "chuskis"--ice pops that popped up in the film. The ice pops in the film were red and yellow but I was craving the Coconut Black Chai Tea that I enjoy hot and made with chocolate non-dairy coconut milk during the cooler months and thought it would be tasty as a frozen fudge pop. Seems perfect for a warm summer monsoon to me. 

Coconut-Chai Fudge Pops
by Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Makes about 6 pops--depending on mold size. Drink any extra over ice!)

2 cups non-dairy chocolate coconut milk (or sub chocolate almond milk, reg milk, etc.)
3 bags coconut-flavored black chai-flavored tea (or regular chai tea)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
honey or agave to taste, optional

In a small saucepan, heat chocolate coconut milk until just boiling. Add tea bags, ground cinnamon and cardamom and stir. Remove from heat and let steep for 10 minutes. Remove tea bags. Add vanilla extract, stir and taste for sweetness, stirring in a bit of honey or agave if needed.

Place into pyrex measuring cup and place in the fridge for a few hours to cool. When mixture is chilled, fill popsicle molds and place in freezer for at least 4 hours or until completely frozen.

Unmold and enjoy!

Notes/Results: Cool, sweet and yummy. For dairy-free fudge pops, these are nice and creamy and the flavor of the spices and coconut come through nicely. They are more chai spice-flavored than chocolate, so if you want a more chocolate-flavored pop, add in some cocoa powder or chocolate syrup when heating up the milk. Because the chocolate-coconut milk that I used was sweetened, I didn't add any more sweetener and they were perfect for me. I will make these again. 

Heather will be rounding up the entries for this edition of Food 'N Flix shortly at girlichef. If you like food and movies and foodie movies, join us for August when we will be watching When Harry Met Sally, hosted by Caroline Makes.

I am also linking these up to girlichef's Summer of the Popsicle!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Book Tour Stops Here: A Review of "This is Paradise" by Kristiana Kahakauwila with Opah (Fish) Tacos & a Tangy Yogurt Dressing

A good friend and co-worker took me to a hula performance at the gorgeous Hawaii Theatre shortly after I moved to Honolulu in 2001. Performed by a contemporary hālau (a hula group/school) out of San Francisco, the dances interpreted the story of Hawaii's history; primarily the impact of the missionaries coming to Hawaii in the 1800's and the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy in the late 1800's by American and European citizens. As I sat in the historic theater, moved by both the dance and the history itself, and feeling slightly set apart from the what felt like mostly local crowds, I was somewhat uncomfortable. Part of me wanted to spend the intermission apologizing to every native Hawaiian I could find for the past acts of those who came to the islands, even for moving my own haole (Caucasian) self to Honolulu for work and adding yet another mainland-transplanted body to the mix. 

Living in Honolulu for just over 12 years now and spending five years making frequent business trips here before moving, I don't often feel isolated or excluded like I did that night. I have friends from all walks of life--locals who grew up "on the rock" and never left, those born here that went to school or lived on the mainland but eventually moved back, those not born here that have been here for much longer than I have, and those that more recently came to the islands on vacation and just never went back. For myself, I have found the islands and the people who call it home to be warm and welcoming overall and that when a genuine interest and respect is given to others, it comes back to me. I am lucky to live here but it isn't always pretty---racial tension, crime, death, violence, sadness, and poverty all do exist in paradise. Being a haole transplant who wasn't born here and didn't grow up on the islands, there are some locals who will look at me as an outsider and there are places I will never see, people I am unlikely to interact with and experiences that I will probably never have. "This is Paradise" by Kristiana Kahakauwila digs deep into the culture and gives the reader those rare glimpses of life in "real" Hawaii and not the rainbow-studded tropical paradise surface that people most often see in movies or on vacation.

Paperback: 240 pages / Publisher: Hogarth (July 9, 2013)

"This is Paradise" is comprised of of six short stories spread throughout the islands of Oahu, Maui, Kauai and the Big Island. In the title story, three groups of local women from different walks of life take turns observing and judging the behaviors of a young female tourist in Waikiki who learns that "paradise" has a darker side. "Wanle" looks at betrayal, revenge and the underground world of cock-fighting on Maui. "The Road to Hana" finds a young couple traveling in Maui and struggling with which of the two is more Hawaiian--the Caucasian male, Honolulu born and raised or the native Hawaiian female who was born and raised in Nevada. "Thirty-Nine Rules for Making a Hawaiian Funeral Into a Drinking Game" is the humorous but poignant observations of local family behaviors from a hapa haole ("Half white. Half foreign") female, born and raised in California but in Kauai for her grandmother's funeral. "Portrait of a Good Father" explores the effects of grief on the members of a Honolulu family (father, mother, father's mistress, daughter/sister) when their son/brother is killed in a hit and run. "The Old Paniolo Way' has an in-the-closet gay son returning to the Big Island to support his sister and be with his dying cowboy/rancher father while struggling with both his impending loss and the secrets he is keeping from his family.  

These stories aren't "pretty" with happily ever-afters, they are raw and real, moving and full of angst, and strong emotions. Author Kahakauwila truly captures the essence of Hawaii--its beauty as well as its warts and brings it to life in colorful descriptions and language choice--lapsing into Hawaiian Pidgin, (the form of language or communication used in varying degrees by many Hawaii residents) when appropriate in the dialogue. I found myself laughing in parts, moved to tears in others and finding familiarity--I do know some of these people and have been to many of these places and events. This short story collection is a fabulous debut and I can't wait to see more from this author. The 240 pages are a quick and engaging read and would appeal to those who currently live or have lived or spent time in Hawaii, as well as those who want a peek at what life can really be like in paradise or those are interested in different cultures. 

Author Notes: Kristiana Kahakauwila, a native Hawaiian, was raised in Southern California. She earned a master’s in fine arts from the University of Michigan and a bachelor’s degree in comparative literature from Princeton University. She has worked as a writer and editor for Wine Spectator, Cigar Aficionado, and Highlights for Children magazines and taught English at Chaminade University in Honolulu. She is an assistant professor of creative writing at Western Washington University.


If you read this blog regularly, you know that I usually cook a dish inspired by the books I read and review. 'This is Paradise"--much like Hawaii itself, has snippets of all different kinds of food woven into it. Foods like Kona coffee, mac nuts, burgers, fried eggs with shoyu, freshwater shrimp grilled over a campfire, peanut butter and guava jelly sandwiches, sweet potato manju, chocolate mochi, kahlua pig and laulau, sashimi, chicken long rice, mango wedding cake, mai tais, spam musabi, loco moco, shave ice, pickled radishes and beef curry with rice--plenty of inspiration. In the end, with a busy week and a house full of visiting family (My sister Linda, nephew Sean, niece Kayla and her boyfriend David), I chose none of that and instead made fish tacos with Hawaiian opah (moonfish). Not a local dish but an easy dish of blended ingredients--local fish and veggies with a little Baja influence. ;-) 

A family dinner, enjoyed outside on the lanai--just a quick picture  of my plate before digging in. Simple and good. Since I am pretty sure most everyone can make a fish taco, I am just posting the recipe for the Tangy Yogurt Sauce that I tossed together. Mostly because it turned out well and my sister wanted me to write down the recipe.

Tangy Yogurt Dressing for Fish Tacos
by Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Makes about 2 cups)

12 oz non-fat plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried dill
1/4 tsp chipotle chili powder (or cayenne), or to taste
2 Tbsp fresh cilantro
fresh lime juice to taste
salt and black pepper to taste

Whisk together yogurt and mayo until well combined. Whisk in minced garlic, cumin, coriander, oregano, dill, chili powder and cilantro. Add lime juice and salt and pepper to taste. Cover and place in refrigerator for 1-2 hours before serving. 

Notes/Results: Just an easy sauce with lots of cumin and lime. I keep mine on the cool and refreshing side and serve salsa for the heat. Thin it out a bit with a little milk and it makes a good creamy dressing for a salad. 

Note: Review copies of "This is Paradise" were provided by the publisher and TLC Book Tours. I was not compensated for this review and as always my thoughts and opinions are my own


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Parsley-Lemonade Ice Pops: Guest Posting at girlichef for the Summer Of The Popsicle!

Stop by girlichef and you can find me hanging out, guest posting for my pal Heather's Summer Of The Popsicle event. I linked up a few of my popsicles last year when Heather first created her gathering of icy treats. This year, since I am "holding the (popsicle) stick" for this week, I came up with some tasty ice pops just for this fun event. 

Sweet/tangy/slightly herby Parsley-Lemonade Ice Pops were inspired by the house lemonade at my favorite restaurant, Town in Kaimuki on Oahu. 

You can find the recipe for these refreshing treats here at girlichef

If you are a fan of tasty frozen treats on a stick, Heather has them featured every Wednesday throughout the summer! You can link up your own ice pops, popsicles and paletas there too. (You can also find this fun event on Twitter at #SummerOfThePopsicle
Check it out!

Summer of the Popsicle 2

Friday, July 27, 2012

(Canary) Melon Cooler Paletas: Sweet and Refreshing Ice Pops

Nothing says summer like a cold and refreshing ice pop or paleta. One of my very favorite summer flavor combinations is mint and melon so when I saw some different melon variations at Whole Foods this week, I had to give a less-familiar melon a try. I went with the Canary Melon, said (by Wikipedia), to have a "distinctively sweet flavor that is slightly tangier than a honeydew melon. The flesh looks like that of a pear but is softer and tastes a little like a cantaloupe.

Although Rick Bayless has several fresh fruit paleta recipes, the recipe I actually looked at first and consider my starting point was his Fresh Melon Cooler. I just omitted the water and sugar and put in some mint. My changes are in red below.

Canary Melon Paletas
Adapted from Fresh Melon Cooler Agua de Melon,
(Makes about 1 quart( (As adapted makes about 6 Paletas)

4 cups (packed) fresh melon (such as cantaloupe, honeydew melon, watermelon—peeled, and seeded, as appropriate) (used 2 cups canary melon)
1/2 cup water, plus more if necessary (omitted)
1/4 cup sugar, plus more if desired (omitted)
about 2 tablespoons lime juice, plus more if desired (used 1 Tbsp)
(added about 6 large mint leaves)

Scoop the fruit into a blender, then add the water, sugar and lime. Blend until smooth. Add more water, if necessary, to achieve a light, easy-to-drink consistency. Taste and season with more sugar and lime if you think necessary.  Refrigerate to chill or serve over ice. (I blended the melon, lime juice and mint in blender until smooth, poured into molds and froze overnight.)

*Rick says, "You can add extra flavorings (mint to honeydew, orange juice to cantaloupe, and blended raspberries to watermelon) if you like". 

Notes/Results: This was my first time eating canary melon. I was hoping the flesh would be bright yellow like the exterior but it is a pale white-yellow-greenish hue. The taste is like a slightly sweeter cantaloupe, very tasty and in absolutely no need of any added sugar. In this pop, the lime and mint off-set the sweetness making it bright and fresh tasting--perfect for cooling down on a warm afternoon. I will make these again.

We are celebrating "Nieves"--frozen desserts and icy treats over at I Heart Cooking Clubs this week and my good pal and co-host Heather is celebrating "The Summer of the Popsicle" over at girlichef. These tasty pops are headed to both events.

Happy Aloha Friday!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Pineapple, Mint & Serrano Paletas Mexicanas (Mexican Fruit Pops): Sweet and Cool Ice Pops with a Kick

Nothing cools down and satisfies like a paleta or frozen fresh fruit pop on a warm day. There has been a fair amount of humidity here lately and I was craving some icy goodness. My favorite paletas come from OnoPops, an Oahu company that combines local fruit and ingredients into unique and delicious combinations. One of my favorite OnoPops variations is the Mango-Habanero which has just the right amount of spicy kick in a sweet and fruity base. It was my inspiration for these Pineapple, Mint & Serrano Paletas, adapted from the Paletas Mexicanas recipe from Salsas That Cook by Rick Bayless. 

(My changes/adaptations to the recipe are in red below.)

Rick says, "On warm days all throughout the neighborhood, I can hear the jingling bells of paletero signaling to all of us the arrival of his sweet frozen fruit on sticks--from guanabana and papaya to coconut and tamarind."

Pineapple, Mint & Serrano Paletas Mexicanas (Mexican Fruit Pops)
Adapted from Salsas That Cook by Rick Bayless
(Makes Eight 2-oz Pops)

scant 2 cups coarsely pureed, peeled & pitted fruit* (I used fresh local pineapple)
(2 Tbsp coarsely chopped mint leaves)
(1/2 serrano pepper, seeded)
1/2 to 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice (I used 1 1/2 Tbsp)
superfine sugar to taste, optional (I didn't use any sugar)

*Note: Rick says, "For really thick purees, like mango, you'll probably want to use 1 1/2 cups fruit and 1/2 cup water, with looser purees, I wouldn't add any water."

(Puree pineapple, mint and serrano chile in blender until smooth.)

Combine pureed fruit with the minimum quantities of sugar and lime in a 1-quart measuring cup with a spout. Taste and determine what your fruit needs. (Remember, when the mixture is frozen, flavors will be slightly muted; go for slightly sweeter and slightly tarter than you'd normally like. Stir the mixture until the sugar has dissolved completely. Fill your molds, leaving about 1/4-inch headspace to allow for expansion, set the lids in place.

Freeze until firmly set (this should take a couple of hours, though feel free to make them several days ahead if that's more convenient). Remove pops from molds (if necessary,  rinsing molds briefly under hot water first). The pops look festive and fun displayed in a chilled bowl, all the sticks poking up. 

Notes/Results: Oh these are GOOD! (If I do say so myself) ;-) The sweet juicy pineapple is the star, but the lime adds a tangy bright burst of flavor that combines well with the cooling mint. The serrano is just enough to let you know it is there and leave a bit of heat in the mouth. You could add more if you like the burn or take it out for kids. My Maui Gold pineapple was so sweet I didn't feel that it needed extra sugar at all, making it a very healthy and guilt-free snack or dessert.

We are celebrating the color Yellow this week at I Heart Cooking Clubs. You can check out the golden-hued Rick Bayless dishes that everyone created by following the links.

Happy Aloha Friday!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Goji Berry Ice Pops and My "Captain Cooked" Giveaway Winner!

I must confess, I am in a bit of a cooking, blogging funk the past couple of weeks so please pardon my lack of frequent posting. I have been living on the leftovers of the few things I have cooked, and otherwise it has been a rotation of popcorn, green salads, watermelon, organic pluots from the co-op, and pieces of pan-toasted millet bread with yellow tomato slices and Hawaiian salt--easy and good but nothing too interesting to blog about! I think it's a combination of the humid weather, being busy with work and school and whatever little mood I have gotten myself into. I am sure I'll snap out of it soon. ;-)

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention the ice pops. I have been eating lots of ice pops, mainly from my friends at OnoPops who keep making so many darn delicious, creative flavors of paletas with all local ingredients, that it is impossible for me to not stop by the booth and see what's new. This last weekend it was Watermelon-Hibiscus (I now know exactly what to do with all the dried hibiscus I still have in my pantry), Star Fruit-Lemon Grass, and Mountain Apple-Rose, plus I *needed* to throw in a Mexican Chocolate too. Yum! So probably the last thing I needed was more ice pops, but when I saw a recipe for Goji Berry Pops in a great little raw cookbook I bought, "Alive in 5: Raw Gourmet Meals in Five Minutes" by Angela Elliot, I had to try them.

Considered to be one of the most nutritionally packed fruits, goji berries (also known as wolfberry), are chock full of amino acids (19), carotenoids, Vitamins C (more than oranges) B & E, and 21 different trace minerals. Traditionally they are considered to be a food that promotes longevity and strength and boosts the immune system function. They are fairly tart--kind of a cross between a cranberry and sour cherry and I happened to buy a big bag of them from Chinatown and was in need of using some of them up. For the ice pops, the goji berries are soaked overnight in filtered water then dumped in the blender with some fresh-squeezed orange juice (and in my case, a Tablespoon of local honey--what can I say--I like sweet-tart more than just tart.), and then they are frozen in popsicle molds.

Elliot says, "Goji berries are so nutritious, it's impossible to eat too many of them."

Goji Berry Ice Pops
From "Alive in 5"
Makes 6 or more pops)

1 cup goji berries
2 cups filtered water
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

Place the goji berries in a bowl, and cover them with the water. Let soak in the refrigerator for 8-12 hours. Place the goji berries and their soak water in a blender. Add the orange juice, and process until smooth. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze.

Note: The trick to making these lovely pops quickly is to always have goji berries soaking in water in your refrigerator.

Notes/Results: Different but pretty good--they grow on you. My first bite I wasn't that thrilled about, but as I ate more, I liked them better and even found them kind of oddly addicting. They have sort of a tart-fruity-earthy taste to them, if that makes any sense. With all the vitamin C and other nutrients in them, they are a good-for-you snack and a good way to cool down on a humid day. I would make them again, but I might try mixing them with another dried, soaked fruit for a taste variation. Fun to try, but OnoPops can rest easy that they won't have any competition from me!

And now what you were probably really reading this blog for... The winners of my "Captain Cooked"--Hawaii-based foodie mystery giveaway. I got to choose two lucky winners who will each receive a copy of the book, signed by author S.P. Grogan, plus a few fun mystery ingredients to help them cook from it. (I like saying mystery ingredients, plus I still have to get them together but I'll let you know what goes in the packages.)

So I put in all the entries (up to 3 per person depending on how many entries they did) and shook them up in a little steamer basket and (drumroll please)....drew two little slips of paper out of the basket.

And the winner was...

girlichef and...girlichef! OK, I don't know what kind of weird voodoo, mojo, funky vibes that Heather was putting into the air for this drawing but I need me some of that because I drew her name TWICE! Too funny! I really did shake the basket with the lid on and everything!

Since Heather can only read one copy, I shook the basket again, reached in and this time drew...Kim from Liv Life!

So our two lucky winners are girlichef whose setting for her foodie mystery seems well-planned. She said, "Um, do you know that I toss the idea of where my culinary mystery would be located. Often. Since I do plan on writing one someday, I'd probably set it in Michigan... having grown up there and all, I know the "feeling". The people, the land, the secrets and mysteries, the nooks and crannies!!! Or else Nothern Indiana...perhaps it'd cross over since they're border states. OOOOOHHHH!! So excited ;)"

And Kim from Liv Life who said, "For my foodie mystery I'd love to be in the South Pacific with all the fresh fruits, fish and coconut... amongst the swaying palms of course...!"

Congratulations ladies! Please email me with your shipping addresses and I'll get your packages out to you ASAP. I expect to see some fun cooking going on after you read the book! ;-)

Thanks to everyone who entered--I really had fun reading all your comments about your foodie mystery settings! I promise to read all your books!


Saturday, May 29, 2010

Cucumber-Lime-Mint (& Rum) Ice Pops: A Frozen Cocktail and Simple Saturday Sipper

This week my Simple Saturday Sipper is a bit more solid than the usual drink I feature. These Cucumber-Lime-Mint (& Rum) Ice Pops are a fun way to enjoy a delicious cocktail. They are from my new cookbook, "Ice Pops: Recipes for Fresh and Flavorful Frozen Treats" by Shelly Kaldunski, from the wonderful Kim at Stirring the Pot. I made and enjoyed the Mexican Chocolate Pops earlier in the week and this recipe also caught my eye. My first thought after reading the recipe title "Cucumber-Lime-Mint" pops, was that it sounded like the base for a great mojito. Then I got down to the bottom of the recipe where it said you could make these into a frozen cocktail by adding vodka or gin and knew I was in business. In keeping with the mojito theme, I decided on rum as my alcohol of choice. Although you can't sip these--they are simple and refreshing.

Kaldunski says, "The cool and refreshing combination of cucumber, lime, and mint will surprise and delight all ice pop lovers. A perfect way to beat the heat in the summer, these ice pops are elegant enough to impress and far too delicious to resist."

Cucumber-Lime-Mint (& Rum) Ice Pops
"Ice Pops" by Shelly Kaldunski
(Makes 8-10 Ice Pops)

1/2 cup (4 oz/125 g) sugar (I used 1/4 cup agave nectar)
1 English cucumber, cut crosswise into thin slices
1/2 cup (4 oz/125 g) freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup (2 oz/ 7 g) fresh mint leaves
1 tsp finely grated lime zest

(I added 1/4 cup rum--see "Pop Swap" notes below)

In a saucepan, combine the sugar, half of the cucumber slices (about 20), the lime juice, and the mint leaves. Pour in 1 3/4 cups (14 fl oz / 430 ml) water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.

Strain the cucumber mixture into a 4-cup (32 fl oz/1-l) measure with a pour spout. Add the lime zest and stir to combine.

If using conventional ice pop molds. divide the cucumber mixture among the molds. Then, divide the remaining cucumber slices among the molds, using a stick to push the slices down into the molds. Cover and freeze until solid, at least 4 hours or up to 3 days. If using sticks, insert them into the molds when the pops are partially frozen, after about 1 hour, then freeze until solid, at least 3 more hours. If using an instant ice pop maker, follow the manufacturer's instructions to fill the molds, adding the cucumber slices as above, and freeze the pops.

Pop Swap: To turn this pop into a frozen cocktail, add 1/4 cup (2 fl oz / 60 ml) vodka or gin to the strained cucumber mixture. Increase the freezing time to 5 hours.

Notes/Results: Like a mojito on a stick--with cucumber of course! This is a great, refreshing combination of flavors. I was surprised and pleased with how well the cucumber flavor comes out--in fact none of the flavors overpower each other--they just work well together. Rather than using the 1/2 cup sugar, I substituted 1/4 cup of agave nectar instead. Of course if you want to give these to the kiddies or don't want the alcohol, they would be perfectly delicious without it too. These pops are really good and perfect warm weather party fare. I will be making them again, and probably often throughout the season.

Happy Saturday!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Things I Am Loving This Week

It's time again for the Things I Am Loving This Week--those (mostly) food-related things I am enjoying and want to share.

First up, I love my blogging friend Kim from Stirring the Pot who I have gotten to know pretty well since the Tyler Florence Fridays days, and she is now one of my lovely co-hosts for I Heart Cooking Clubs. Kim has a fun new feature on her blog called Popsicle of the Week, where she features different ice pops, and to celebrate she gave away a copy of "Ice Pops: Recipes for Fresh and Flavorful Frozen Treats" by Shelly Kaldunski. Guess who won?! Yep, that would be me--love that random number generator!

On Friday I received a package from Kim with the cookbook as well as some samples and treats from one of my favorite places--LUSH. I was so excited as soon as I smelled the box, I knew it had to have LUSH goodies in it and it did--a couple of bath bombs, a bath melt (a little too melted to be in the picture, but it worked just fine), some sample soaps and a lip scrub). ;-) A very fun box to open and enjoy--mahalo Kim!

Of course I had to try out an ice pop right away and since I had some vanilla rice milk in the fridge, I tried the recipe for the Mexican Chocolate pops.

Kaldunski says, "Mexican chocolate has a good dose of cinnamon to lend a spicy flavor. Here it is used in two forms, both ground and whole, for layers of cinnamon flavor. Rice milk, instead of cow's milk, imparts a frosty, refreshing quality."

Mexican Chocolate Ice Pops
"Ice Pops" by Shelly Kaldunski
(Makes 6-9 Ice Pops)

2 cups (16 fl oz / 500 ml) vanilla-flavored rice milk
1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tbsp packed light brown sugar
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
2 oz (60g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

In a saucepan over medium-high heat, warm the rice milk, cocoa powder, brown and granulated sugars, cinnamon stick, ground cinnamon, and salt, stirring occasionally, until the mixture comes to a boil and the sugar is completely melted. Remove from the heat, add the chopped chocolate, and stir until smooth. Let cool to room temperature. After the mixture has cooled, remove the cinnamon stick.

If using conventional ice pop molds. divide the mixture among the molds. Cover and freeze until solid, at least 4 hours or up to 3 days. If using sticks, insert them into the molds when the pops are partially frozen, after about 1 hour, then freeze until solid, at least 3 hours. If using an instant ice pop maker, follow the manufacturer's instructions to fill the molds and freeze the pops.

Notes/Results: Very chocolaty and the nice kick of cinnamon gives these pops a lot of flavor. Texture-wise, they are definitely thin and frosty rather than thick and creamy, and I think I prefer my chocolate pops at least a bit creamy. (Maybe I will add coconut milk instead next time). They are still quite tasty and would be fun with a little hot chili kick too. I can't wait to try some of the many other ice pops in the book. Again, big thanks to Kim for such a special treat.

Lately I am loving culinary programs and the students in them. I recently had the opportunity to attend a cooking demonstration, tasting, and scholarship fundraiser for the UH Culinary Institute of the Pacific at the Sub-Zero / Wolf Showroom. My friend Yuri's son, Tate was one of three chef students leading the demos and cooking their own recipes.

Such incredible food! We had aloe vera three ways--in an Aloe Cucumber Lemonade, Fried Marinated Aloe, and a Peppercorn Crusted Seared Ahi with an Avocado Mousse and an Aloe Vera Ponzu sauce cooked by Meng-Ling Erik Kuo. Next we had slices of Baby Rack of Lamb with a Heart of Palm, Asparagus, and Mizuna Green Salad with an incredible Lilikoi Mint Vinaigrette and Crusted Big Island Goat Cheese by Tate Nakano-Edwards. Tate was followed by Rena Suzuki with a Beef Tongue and Hamakua Mushroom Stew, Stuffed Cabbage Roll, Two-Colored Potato Gratin, and Orange-Fennel with French Beans. Although everything was very good, Tate's lamb and salad combo was my favorite (and not because he is part of my Hawaii ohana (family)! The lamb was perfect, the passion fruit dressing was amazing, and of course crusted goat cheese---need I say more!?!). The event was hosted by local chef and restaurant icon, Roy Yamaguchi, and the three different settings throughout the day helped raise tuition for the participating student-chefs. There was even dessert--a Chocolate Eclair Cake from the showroom, and I had a great time hanging out with my friends and we were all very well-fed, especially for a "tasting."

Also all about culinary programs and students--I watched "Pressure Cooker" this weekend, a movie about a year with three inner-city high school seniors in Philadelphia, entered in a culinary scholarship competition, and their instructor Ms. Stephenson, who has a definite tough-love style as she yells, gets involved in the lives of her students and pushes them to succeed. It's a fun foodie documentary to watch--compelling story, humor and the suspense and excitement of the culinary competition itself. (My man Iron Chef Morimoto is a judge--although just a small cameo). Finally I just finished "The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry: Love, Laughter, and Tears at the World's Most Famous Cooking School" by Kathleen Flinn. Flinn, a journalist and tech executive is down-sized and loses her job and decides with the encouragement of her boyfriend, to live out her dream of going to Le Cordon Bleu. A fun foodie read that makes one want to pack up, move to Paris and enroll in cooking school. A good follow your passion and bliss story, and an inside view of life at Le Cordon Bleu.

And of course, I wouldn't be me if I wasn't loving some chocolate--two different bars this week in fact. The first: a Chocri chocolate bar was personally designed for me by my best pal Natashya at Living in the Kitchen with Puppies for the Chocri Blog Relay Race. Since the "girls" won, we are all supposed to get the bars that were designed for us and I got mine on Friday. Natashya made me a "Middle Eastern" bar with dark chocolate topped with candied rose petals, fig bites, cashews, fennel seeds, and pistachios. This was my first time to try Chocri and the dark chocolate was rich and creamy. The toppings worked very well together, nothing overpowered and it was quite unique. The thick bar was beautiful with all of Natashya's toppings and some small flecks of gold leaf that you can't really see in the pictures. Very fun--Natashya knows me well! ;-) I can't wait to see how my bars for Kat & Rebecca turned out--hope they get them soon.

You may remember the Salty Dog chocolate bar (here) that I tried from B.T. McElrath. Well I decided to try another of their bars, the Passion Fruit & Tangerine Bar. A mix of white and dark chocolate infused with the flavors of the fruit. It's a pretty bar--with the swirls of the chocolate. I liked the fact that the dark chocolate kept the white chocolate from being too sweet--and I enjoyed the strong passion fruit taste. (I tasted passion fruit more than the tangerine flavor). A great fruit-flavored bar but the Salty Dog with it's dark chocolate, salt and butter toffee pieces, still has my heart--at least when it comes to the B.T. McElrath chocolate bars.

Well my friends--these are the many Things I Am Loving This Week. I feel a little spoiled. ;-)

How about you--what things are you loving?