Archive for the Category ◊ Drinks ◊

05 Jul 2011 Strawberry Agua Fresca

My Strawberry Man came again yesterday.  He’s been stopping by with a flat of strawberries, every month or so, for about a decade now.   With the temperatures in the triple digits I’ve been in a hurry to use  up the strawberries before the heat gets to them. We had Strawberries with Brown Sugar and Sour Cream for dessert, which is our very favorite way to eat strawberries, but that only used up about three baskets, which left nine baskets sitting in the heat.  I made Chocolate Strawberry Tarts for our July 4th bake off.  Now I have six baskets to go.  Time to hit the Internet…

After a lot of scrolling and clicking, I landed at Heat Oven to 350°.  Strawberry soda!  Since I don’t drink alcohol or anything like Coke or Pepsi, I am always looking for something interesting to drink.

I like this!  This drink is sort of in the lemonade family, not that it is tart, but that it is fruity, and pulpy, and is a very summery good-for-you feel drink.  Not sure I’ll be giving up iced tea or iced lattes anytime soon, or my Blueberry Lemonade, but I’m certainly glad to have one more drink to add into my rotation! And one with the added bonus of letting me drink some fruit, too!

My daughter suggested the name Strawberry Fizz, since I add carbonated water (most of the time) to the base mixture, but it’s also good with the so called “flat” water.  As I noted above, the original recipe was entitled Strawberry Soda, but that doesn’t work for me. Do you remember Strawberry Soda?  It’s bright red, super bubbly, and very, very sweet (with no taste of real strawberries), this  isn’t.  It’s refreshing. It’s very similar to the Central American Agua Frescas. We North Americans should look more closely at Agua Frescas.  They are delicious, and a good alternative to fizzy dark brown chemicals, syrupy frappuccinos, and girly cocktails.  Well, you won’t get the buzz from a Strawaberry Agua Fresca as you would from a girlie cocktail, but you could certainly put it in a fancy glass with lots of crushed ice and a paper parasol 🙂

The Strawberry base syrup is easy to make and keeps for about a week in the refrigerator.  Just mix the desired amount of the syrup with club soda and ice (a quarter cup of the base, a cup and a half of club soda, and half a glass of ice work for me).  Add a straw and take your flip-flopped self out in the backyard to enjoy the summer.

I was going to try this with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, to see how stupendous a Strawberry Float would be, but my son came home with a sugar-free, low fat, store brand of vanilla ice cream.  He was quite proud to tell me it was the cheapest. Ummmm, no. He can eat that carton all by himself. Maybe he’ll be more discerning when picking out ice cream in the future.

Strawberry Agua Fresca

  • 3 lbs strawberries, trimmed and hulled (about three baskets)
  • 4 T white vinegar
  • 2 cups sugar
  1. Place strawberries in a food processor and pulse until liquified. Add vinegar and mix well.
  2. Transfer liquified strawberries to a medium pot and add sugar. Stir and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat and let simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Remove syrup from stove. Cool. Syrup will keep one week, covered, in the refrigerator.
  5. To serve:  eventually you will hit on your favorite proportions.  I like one-quarter cup of syrup mixed with 1 1/2 cups soda water and poured over a glass of ice, stirred, not shaken, and with a pretty straw!  A paper umbrella would be a nice addition, too.

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today.  Believe-it-or-not, this might be a healthy week.  My friend Barb is guest posting tomorrow with her delicious Fennel-Apple Salad, but later in the week I think I will post my recipe for Chocolate-Strawberry Pie.  I stuck an American Flag in the middle of it, and won the July 4th Dessert contest at our neighborhood July 4th party!  But I STILL have three boxes of strawberries to mess with….

Note:  I liked this so much that I made my next batch with blackberries.  Delicious! And I feel so healthy!

Polly

26 Feb 2011 Chai Hot Chocolate

Snow in San Jose and San Francisco?  We all have our hopes up!  But even if it doesn’t snow, it’s going to be c-c-c-cold.  Freezing even.  On a weekend!  What great timing. Time to huddle in front of the fire with a good book, a quilt, and a cup of grown up hot chocolate, Chai Hot Chocolate.  I think you’ll like this. It’s familiar but different, and it’s a bit lighter than regular hot chocolate. A hot chocolate for grown ups! <sigh>  I enjoyed mine as I got started on my 2010 taxes…

This recipe is from my favorite Christmas Cookie Annual, Better Homes and Gardens “Christmas Cookies”, from the year 2000 (I have every issue since 1989!)

Chai Hot Chocolate

1 English tea bag
½ cup hot water
3 T. sugar
2 T. cocoa powder
2 c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
optional: whipped cream for serving

Place tea bag in a small saucepan, pour boiling water over it, cover, and let stand for 3-5 minutes. Stir in sugar and cocoa powder. Bring the mixture to a boil. Add milk, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg and stir to blend. Heat to about 150 degrees, do not boil. Pour into 2 or 3 cups. Top with a bit of whipped cream, if desired. Sit down, relax, and enjoy!

Here’s hoping you fully enjoy your winter weekend!

13 Feb 2011 French Hot Chocolate

Just in time for Valentine’s Day: French Hot Chocolate!

This is soooo good, made with real cream and real chocolate–bearing no resemblance at all to that powdery mix in a paper packet. The serving ritual makes this really special. Pass a bowl of the chocolate cream mixture, then pass a pot of steaming hot milk (I like to put the milk in a teapot).  Let each person scoop a desired amount of the chocolate cream into their cup.  Pass the hot milk so the person can fill the cup up the rest of the way.  Make sure everyone has a spoon.  Stirring the hot chocolate is the fun part.  So is the sipping to taste.  Then maybe adding a bit more chocolate cream.  Then stirring some more and sipping some more.  Ahhhh.   So civilized.  So social.  So calming.  So special.

I was going with ¼ chocolate cream to ¾ hot milk, when one of my taste testers announced that half chocolate cream and half milk was just about right!  Serve this in small cups. This is rich. To cut the fat, I put non-fat milk in the teapot 🙂

I found this recipe at MakeAndTakes.

The chocolate cream mixture can be kept for a few days in the refrigerator, but you need to put the cream in a sieve, and then cover with plastic. This is, truly, the best hot chocolate you’ll ever make.

French Hot Chocolate

To make the chocolate cream:

1 cup chopped chocolate (your choice–milk, semisweet, bittersweet, or combination. You can also use chocolate chips!)
1 cup corn syrup
1/4 cup water
2 cups cold whipping cream

To serve:

2 quarts (8 cups) hot milk (go ahead and use non-fat or low-fat, it will make you feel better!)

To make chocolate cream: Heat chopped chocolate, corn syrup, and water in a small saucepan, stirring until chocolate has melted.  Set mixture aside to cool. Beat the cream in a large mixing bowl until peaks form.  Slowly add the chocolate sauce to the whipped cream in a steady stream while beating.  After all the sauce has been added to the cream, beat for a few more seconds until the cream is thick.  Place in chocolate cream refrigerator until ready to use.  To keep chocolate cream for longer than an hour or two, place the chocolate cream in a sieve over a slightly larger bowl and cover with plastic warp.

To serve: Heat the desired quantity of milk (2 qts if using the whole batch of chocolate cream, and serving 10-12 people) until steaming (I heat the milk in the MW).  Pour hot milk into serving pitcher (I use a teapot).  Pass the chocolate cream, and spoon a bit of the into the bottom of cup or mug.  Add enough hot milk to fill cup.  Stir to combine.

One batch makes enough to serve 10-12 people (depending on size of cups or mugs).

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today! Take the time to make an occasion of serving this hot chocolate.  You’ll be glad you did!

31 Oct 2010 Pumpkin Spice White Hot Chocolate and Mochas

One of my daughters doesn’t drink coffee.  How she managed to grow up in this house and not drink coffee is a mystery.  She’s not into tea either.  It’s shocking!  She’s left out when the rest of us sit around enjoying the serenity and civility of  good cup of coffee (or tea, when the English relatives stay with us).  As a good Mama, I am trying out some hot chocolate recipes so she can join us for a cuppa.  Last year I found a winner in Chai Hot Chocolate.  This year, and just in time for Halloween and Thanksgiving, I have found another winner, Pumpkin Spice White Hot Chocolate, which I found posted at Good Life Eats.

Note:  I upped the cocoa powder a bit, reduced the white chocolate a bit and upped the milk a bit because I found it unbearably sweet at first.

When I tasted this concoction, it was just crying out (yes, crying out) for coffee.  So I gave it some. YES!  Beautiful!  Perfect!!!  So, not only do I have a delicious Pumpkin Spice White Hot Chocolate for my daughter, but the rest of us can enjoy Pumpkin Spice White Mochas!  (To make a mocha, combine equal parts of the base mixture and a very strongly brewed coffee–see recipe below).  YUM!

I love it when things work out like this!  Everyone in the family gets just what they like, with almost no extra work. Aaahhh, I can’t wait until they all get home and we canhave a cuppa together!  Having a cup of coffee, or a cup of tea, together is an honored ritual the world over, and for good reason.  Take the time!

Pumpkin Spice White Hot Chocolate

6 cups milk (I used 2%)
1 bag (11 ounces) white chocolate chips (Ghiradelli or Guittard, NOT Nestle)
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1  teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup pure pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon cardamom
1/8 teaspoon allspice

In a heavy saucepan, combine 2 cups of milk, white chocolate, and cocoa powder. Cook over medium heat, whisking periodically, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is well combined. Whisk in the pumpkin puree, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, allspice, and ginger. Add the remaining milk, 1 cup at a time, until the desired consistency is reached. Makes six servings.  Top with whipped cream, if desired.

Pumpkin Spice White Mocha

Brew some very strong coffee, 1 cup ground coffee to 4 cups water.  For each serving combine equal parts of the strong coffee and the Pumpkin Spice White Hot Chocolate from the recipe above.

Isn’t this a perfect recipe for a family to enjoy together this time of year? Thanks SO much for stopping by my kitchen today!

13 Jun 2010 Fresh Blueberry Lemonade

Thought I might like this…and I was right! Loved it. The blueberry taste is not pronounced, but the color they give to the drink is fantastic. Bbbb…b…bbut…the lemonade is pinkish RED, not blue! Surprise! Our delightful 4 year old guest, who was dressed as a doggie AND a superhero (yes, at the same time!) drank 10 cups of this (at least), and she called it Pink Lemonade.  I was going to follow her lead, but that would be even MORE confusing…so Blueberry Lemonade it remains!

I found this concoction to be more refreshing than straight up lemonade. It’s not as harsh, not as much acidity, I think. Yep, this recipe is a winner, a keeper. Be sure to make a batch for the July 4th picnic. Make several batches as once, in “concentrate” form, so you can serve it up when it is most needed and wanted without any fuss or bother.

This recipe was pulled together from two sources. My original long-relied upon lemonade recipe from “Too Busy to Cook” (a cookbook from the 80’s or 90’s) and a recipe from Family Fun Magazine attributed to Anne Coleman.

Fresh Blueberry Lemonade

1 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 1/3 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice
grated zest of two lemons
1 sliced lemon
extra handful of blueberries (for garnish, if desired)
Additional water, about 6 cups.

Combine blueberries, sugar and water and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat until blueberries soften and release their color, about 5 minutes. Strain liquid and discard solids. Let cool. Stir in lemon juice,lemon zest, and sliced lemon along with enough water to have liquids measure 2 quarts. Flavor from lemons develops over time. Let mixture sit for a few hours or overnight. Serve over ice with a slice of lemon and a float of 5 or 6 blueberries.

Make your own Blueberry Lemonade Concentrate!

Make the sugar-blueberry-water syrup. Strain. Stir in the lemon juice and lemon zest. Freeze. When needed just add 1 sliced lemon and enough water to made 2 quarts of drink, stir briskly to dissolve the concentrate. YUM. How impressive would that be to pull out on a Tuesday night?!

Thanks for visiting!

03 Jun 2010 Polly’s 3-2-1 Smoothies

I’m pretty sure I was one of the first people ever to taste a smoothie. There was a smoothie man on campus at San Diego State University in 1976. He had a blender, fresh pineapple, fresh bananas, and a bunch of fruit juices. Every smoothie consisted of a large slice of fresh pineapple, half a banana, ice, and juice. The juice determined the flavor of the smoothie. They smelled divine, tasted divine and the memories lasted…

I’ve been making smoothies at home for a long, long time. Probably since 1977. I have spent 33 years perfecting this recipe…, it’s GREAT, better than the smoothie man’s, and it’s simple. Even I have this one memorized: 3 cups of frozen fruit, 2 cups of juice, and 1 cup of yogurt with an optional squirt of honey or spoonful of jam. (I use honey or jam only if the yogurt is plain and the fruit tart–usually the sweetening is not needed.) The recipe makes 4 cups of smoothie goodness. Enough for a 2, 3, or 4 people for breakfast. Just making one for yourself? Get out the blender (you don’t even have to measure)… Pour in one to one-and-a-half cups of frozen fruit, 3/4 to 1 cup of juice, and a small container of yogurt. Whirl on high for about a minute. Done. What a way to start a summer day!!!

I like using the frozen fruit because then there’s no need to use ice–which dilutes the intensity and the goodness of the smoothie. Now don’t be using packaged frozen fruit this time of year. I know you want to buy all those fresh berries from the market. Go ahead! Freeze the leftovers. When the strawberries get a bit past their prime…, rinse, pull the stem off, freeze. Same with peaches nectarines, apricots, plums, and bananas. No need to peel them. Just wash, slice, and bag. Leftover fresh pineapple? mango? Slice, freeze, and bag along with some blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. (OK…,it’s best to ‘open freeze’ the fruit first. Place the sliced fruit on a tray, freeze as is, then remove to a Ziploc bag. If you freeze wet fruit it tends to freeze into a solid ball. Starting out the morning with a cleaver and a ball of frozen fruit can be frustrating…). By the end of the summer you will have a wide variety of frozen fresh fruit for your smoothies and think how great you’ll feel having had a few healthy servings of fruit each day for breakfast.

I made our first smoothies of the season yesterday. Frozen strawberries (all the frozen fruit we had, usually I have more of a variety), orange-mango juice, plain yogurt, and a squirt of honey.One for me, one for my nineteen year old son and his friend, and one for my eighteen month old grandson. My son, texting away, drank a third of his and said, “Can you make more of these?” I said, “Sure. Are you that hungry”. He said, “Yeah, I’ll have another one…, but my friends are driving by and they want to stop by and have one. I told them how good they were.”!

Tonight for dinner my grandson and I had smoothies made out of frozen strawberries and raspberries, orange juice, and blueberry yogurt. Delicious (even though the picture is one of the worst pictures I’ve ever posted). My son’s favorite is frozen peaches, peach yogurt, and any kind of juice. I like to jazz his up with some frozen raspberries or raspberry yogurt. My daughter likes a citrus smoothie–frozen pineapple, sometimes with some mango and banana, lemon or plain yogurt and grapefruit juice, orange juice, or lemonade. I like frozen raspberries and blueberries, plain or berry yogurt, and any kind of juice…, but orange-passion fruit is to die for…

Let me know your favorite flavor combination! Enjoy!

Polly’s 3-2-1 Smoothies

3 cups of frozen fruit
2 cups of fruit juice (start with orange…then experiment)
1 cup of yogurt (any kind)
optional squirt of honey or spoonful of jam

Put frozen fruit in blender. Cover with juice. Add in yogurt. Blend until thick and frosty. Add in a squirt of honey or jam, if desired. Whirl again to blend. Makes four cups of smoothie goodness. Pour into 2, 3, or 4 glasses. Add a straw…, and maybe a squirt of whipped cream. Serve. YUM!