Category Archives: Summer

Beach Party Pearl Cookies

These cookies are not actually made, as much as they are compiled. However, if you need a cute dessert for a summertime party, but don’t have much time, these cookies might be the solution you’re looking for.

IMG_20170606_134903

The shopping – or ingredient – list to make one dozen cookies is a walk on the beach-easy:

2 dozen cookies – I found these almond flavored shell-shaped cookies at Dollar Tree.

24 tablespoons (or 1 1/2 cups) flavor-compatible frosting – homemade or not

1 dozen candies – Sixlettes, M&Ms, gumdrops, etc.

Pipe or drop about two tablespoons of frosting on the flat side of one half of the total cookies, being a little more generous with the frosting near the front of the cookie.

Place the second, unfrosted cookie on top of the first, on an angle <  like a clam shell.

Using the tips of your fingers, or kitchen tongs/tweezers, place one candy inside the cookie, resting in the thick frosting. The idea is to make it look as if there is a pearl inside each cookie sandwich.

sun-in-the-hand-615285_1920

Courtesy of skeeze on Pixabay

I used a few additional ingredients to create what I envisioned as individual aquariums – but the end result left plenty of room for improvement!

Using individual plastic cups, attempt to stuff edible blue Easter grass inside said cups. Divide the S’mores variety of Goldfish cookies into one dozen fairly equal portions, and tuck, poke, and shake the fish evenly-ish into blue grass filled cups.

IMG_20170606_134104

Top the cups, now overflowing with wild edible blue Easter grass, with one clam cookie.

Wrap each cup with plastic wrap – telling yourself that the plastic wrap makes it look kinda-sorta like an aquarium. In truth, it does little else than contain the out of control Easter grass and prevent those little S’mores fishes from S’mimming away and all over the floor!

IMG_20170606_142416

And there you have it – a mini-aquarium complete with ocean, fish, and a clam bearing a pearl!

Happy Summer!

W is for Wiggle Jiggle Gelatin

A quick dessert, an unexpected ingredient, or a sneaky way to include veggies in any meal … available in a rainbow of flavors and colors … tah dah – it’s gelatin!

IMG_20160428_143205

Since 1682, this versatile ingredient has been used as a simple source of protein ideal for soldiers on the move. But within 200 years, patent-holders and cooks pushed that proverbial envelope and began mixing the granulated gelatin with fruit juices and syrups to make tasty jellies.

I am delighted to write about gelatin because I have two vintage cookbooks that elevate this wiggly-jiggly desert of my childhood to unexpected – and sometimes bizarre – culinary heights.

From the 1928 cookbook comes a sponge made with pineapple juice and rice. Other delicacies include a shrimp and orange salad, or the refreshing cucumber and Cayenne pepper salad.

Included near the end of the same cookbook are certain Rules that hold true even today; Metal molds chill more quickly than those made from other materials; placing the filled mold in a bowl brimming with crushed ice and salt speeds the jelling process considerably, and a rotary beater is necessary when whipping the dissolved gelatin.

Although undated, the ‘newer’ cookbook appears to be an early 1970s collection of recipes. Returning to gelatin’s roots as a basic protein, some of the recipes combine lemon, orange or cherry gelatin with ham, duck, bleu cheese, chicken or crab meat.

At first those might sound like unnatural pairings, but the flavors of ham and pineapple or turkey and maple are really quite good- even without the neon coloring.

IMG_20160428_154841

Whipped Blue – 1 small pkg blue gelatin dissolved into 3/4 cup boiling water, then whipped until doubled in bulk. Serve cold!

So, here are some handy ideas for easy gelatin desserts that have been inspired by 1928 cooks and 1970s kitchens. Have fun!

Creamy Delight

1 ( 3.4 package) Jello gelatin

3/4 cup boiling water

1 cup heavy cream

Stir the instant gelatin in the boiling water until completely dissolved. Cool in fridge until syrupy. Add the heavy cream, and whip until soft peaks form. Serve immediately or chill in fridge. As mixture chills, it will become more firm.

Seafoam Splurge

It tastes much better than it looks – really it does!

Mix equal parts Whipped Blue with Creamy Delight, while still soft.

Chill and serve … perhaps with gummy fish?

Festive Coconut

1 tablespoon brightly colored gelatin powder

1 1/3 cups coconut

1 clean jar

Combine powder and coconut in jar, shake vigorously until coconut is uniformly colored.

Happy Cake

1 pkg cake mix, flavors such as yellow or white are best

1 small pkg instant gelatin, any flavor

3/4 cup water

1/2 cup vegetable oil

4 eggs

  • Preheat oven to 350*

Combine all ingredients in large bowl. Mix until smooth, but do not overbeat.

Pour into prepared tube pan. Bake for 50 minutes, or until knife inserted in center come out clean. Dust with powdered sugar, colored sugar or coconut.

V is for Veggies

One of my favorite dishes is veggies and rice … or veggies and cheese … or veggies and eggs … or just plain veggies.

Veggies Dinner CloseFor those of you for whom gardening is like breathing; walking outside and picking a clean dishpan full of onions, peppers, okra, corn and tomatoes is the first step in preparing any summertime meal.

Unfortunately, I am not a particularly successful gardener, but I have been spoiled by the bounty of – and learned many lessons from – gardens tended and loved by Aunt Betty, Isabelle and of course, Mona. SAM_1021

As I wash the radishes and slice the onions, I revisit those fragrant gardens of the women who guided me; who shared their quiet strength and immeasurable beauty through their actions; who loved me and taught me and rolled their eyes when I pulled up perfectly good plants, mistaking those oval leaves for mere weeds –again.

If you have a gardener’s soul, know that you are treasured by those of us who cannot grow a vegetable garden so lovely it becomes a wonderland of color and flavor and scent.

Thank you.

 

T is for Tarts

So simple, but so lovely and delicious. These tarts are perfect as a little something to take to a potluck, or to share with the office, or to give as a thank you gift.

Make as many or as few as you need; taking into account their nibble-bility factor!

Choose your favorite, most flavorful preserves and prebaked, ready-to-use tart shells.

Tart with Preserves

Combine two parts preserves to one part confectioner’s sugar, adjust as needed until thickened. Add two teaspoons almond extract. mix well.

Spoon into prepared tart shells.

Tarts Spoon

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Add a touch of whipped cream or frosting.

Tarts Pan

S is for Salad

Happy Earth Day!

In honor of this incredible planet, this post celebrates gardens and gardeners.

Salads are actually quite a lot of fun to create – the components are limited only by the season, one’s preferences, and the size of the bowl. Any memory of salad as iceberg lettuce with pale tomato quarters drenched in heavy dressing is nothing more than a fading gastronomic nightmare.

Fresh greens are just the beginning.

Add some fruit, a splash of fresh lemon juice …

Homemade dressing, beans, shredded veggies and cheese …

Hard boiled eggs, raw cauliflower, a sprinkle of seaweed …

With sun and rain and fish emulsion (yuck), bright and happy gardens will flourish and soon fill farmers’ markets and our kitchens with dew-fresh veggies and fragrant fruits. Splurge, indulge and delight in the bounty that is spring and summer!

Best FriendsFor Mona.

 

I is for Ices

When the sun scorches and the breeze is nothing more than moving dust, the following recipe can be relied upon to bring some much needed blizzard-cold refreshment.

(It is also a perfect ending to a rich meal, or a light lunch.)

Lemon IceIces Lemons

3 cups water

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 tablespoon finely grated lemon rind

3/4 cup lemon juice

Bring water to a rolling boil.

Add sugar, stirring until completely dissolved. Remove from heat, allow to cool.

When cool, add lemon rind and juice.

Ices Ingredients

Ices Lemon Frozen

Freeze in metal tray or bowl – or cake pan.

To serve, use fork to shave ice, scoop into cold individual serving dishes – serve immediately.

The Historic Michigan Road

Explore Indiana's Pioneer Highway

Mark Allen Editorial

Thoughts on journalism and copy editing, including grammar, usage and style. For more about me, click My Home Page to go to www.markalleneditorial.com.

Invisible Indianapolis

Race, Heritage and Community Memory in the Circle City

A Word Of Substance

"Object Relations"

Mountain People's Assembly

Be Part of the Movement!