What Floats Yours?

Ahhh…the dog days of summer. When cold refreshing drinks are calling your name. Made from fruits, ice creams and sodas. Fancy and plain. Adult versions for, well, adults. It’s all a great part of summer. Read on for some really tasty recipes.

 

Summer.  August. Hot days. Beautiful nights.  Time for sitting on the back porch and sipping on a tasty float. Yep – big glasses, lots of ice cream, goodies, and bubbly beverages.  Open the windows, and let the breeze blow in, while enjoying yours.  As you know, I pretty much eat, and like, everything. (I am blessed this way!)  Ice cream floats – oh yea, bring ‘em on especially with freshly made popcorn or pretzels or crackers – see my dilemma!  My favorite is (Good ole vanilla ice cream and coke!) Jackie and the girls on the other hand love trying all sorts of different concoctions. They are not ice cream purists like myself – I love ice cream the way it was intended – Vanilla! Here’s some fun trivia, great variations, and a link to wonderful recipes. Thanks to tasteofhome.com, Wikipedia and the inventor of ice cream, King Tang – according to Google, an ice-cream-like food was first eaten in China in 618-97AD. King Tang of Shang, had 94 ice men who helped to make a dish of buffalo milk, flour and camphor – way easier now just going to the grocery store … or was it a kind of ice-cream said to be invented in China about 200 BC when a milk and rice mixture was frozen by packing it into snow… so where did the cherries and strawberries come from??

The ice cream float was invented by Robert McCay Green in Philadelphia, PA in 1874during the Franklin Institute‘s semicentennial celebration. The traditional story is that, on a particularly hot day, Mr. Green ran out of ice for the flavored drinks he was selling and used vanilla ice cream from a neighboring vendor, thus inventing a new drink.
His own account, published in Soda Fountain magazine in 1910, states that while operating a soda fountain at the celebration, he wanted to create a new treat to attract customers away from another vendor who had a fancier, bigger soda fountain. After some experimenting, he decided to combine ice cream and soda water. During the celebration, he sold vanilla ice cream with soda water and a choice of 16 flavored syrups. The new treat was a sensation and soon other soda fountains began selling ice cream floats.
Green’s lastwill and testament instructed that “Originator of the Ice Cream Soda” was to be engraved on his tombstone.
There are at least three other claimants for the invention of ice cream float: Fred Sanders, Philip Mohr, and George Guy, one of Robert Green’s own employees. Guy is said to have absent-mindedly mixed ice cream and soda in 1872, much to his customer’s delight.
In Australia and New Zealand, an ice cream float is known as a “spider”, because once the carbonation hits the ice cream, it forms a spider web-like creation.  In Mexico, it is known as “Helado flotante” (floating ice cream) and in Puerto Rico it’s referred to as a “black out”.
Root beer and Coke are typical carbonating beverages, but many variations exist (see recipes below).  Here are some fun variations – Although Root Beer and Coke are my favorites!

  1. Chocolate ice cream soda – this ice cream soda starts with approximately 1 oz of chocolate syrup, then several scoops of chocolate ice cream in a tall glass. Unflavored carbonated water is added until the glass is filled and the resulting foam rises above the top of the glass. The final touch is a topping of whipped cream and usually, a maraschino cherry. This variation of ice cream soda was available at local soda fountains and nationally, at Dairy Queen stores for many years.  A similar soda made with chocolate syrup but vanilla ice cream is sometimes called a “black and white” ice cream soda.
  2. Root beer float – Also known as a “black cow” or “brown cow”,the root beer float is traditionally made with vanilla ice cream and root beer, but it can also be made with other ice cream flavors. The similarly flavored soft drink birch beer may also be used instead of root beer.
  3. Coke float – A coke float can be made with any cola, such as Coca-Cola or Pepsi, and vanilla ice-cream.
  4. Boston cooler – A Boston cooler is typically composed of Vernors ginger ale and vanilla ice cream.
  5. Snow White – Snow White is made with 7 Up or Sprite and vanilla ice cream. The origin of this variation is unknown, but it is found in some Asian eateries.
  6. Purple cow – In the context of ice cream soda, a purple cow is vanilla ice cream in purple grape soda. In a more general context, a purple cow may refer to a non-carbonated grape juice and vanilla ice cream combination.
  7. Sherbet cooler – The American Friendly’s chain also had a variation known as a “sherbet cooler,” which was a combination of orange or watermelon sherbet, vanilla syrup and seltzer water. (At present, it is billed as a “slammer”.)
  8. Vaca-preta – At least in Brazil and Portugal, a non-alcoholic ice cream soda made by combining vanilla ice cream and coca-cola is known as vaca-preta (“black cow”).
  9. Helado flotante – In Mexico the most popular version is made with cola and lemon sherbet.
  10. Orange float – An orange float or orange whip consists of vanilla ice cream and orange soft drinks.
  11. Beer float – adult version is Guinness stout, Chocolate ice cream, and espresso. Although the Shakin’ Jesse versionis blended into more of a milkshake consistency, most restaurant bars can make the beer float version. When making at home, the beer and espresso should be very cold so as to not melt the ice cream.
  12. Nectar soda  A flavor popular in New Orleans and parts of Ohio, made with a syrup consisting of equal parts almond and vanilla syrups mixed with sweetened condensed milk and a touch of red food coloring to produce a pink, opalescent syrup base for the soda.
  13. Melon cream soda – Cream soda with melon flavor is a common drink in Japan. Melon soda is served with ice and a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.

 

THREE VERY COOL VIDEOS:

Homemade Ice Cream in 5 Minutes – no ice cream maker is needed.17,376,100 views

Fred the bartender details his Top 5 Alcoholic Ice Cream Drinks: Barnamint Baileys, Mudslide, Creamsicle, Chocolate Monkey, Razzbaretto. 90,488 views

TYDUS – ICE CREAM (Official Music Video) 6,886,079 views

 


 

Got the craving?

(top bunch of photos) Mmmm. From a pumpkin spice latte to pumpkin spice muffins, pies, pancakes, dough nuts, bread and creamy soups, these wonderful smells and tastes tell you it’s fall. (row two left) Raw pumpkin spice–see the recipe below. (row three) Just a sampling of the many, many products that add pumpkin spice flavoring this time of year. Most are a lot of fun but pumpkin spice Doritos, even for me, is over the top. (row four) Speaking of over the top, really? These products need pumpkin spice flavoring & smells?? Really??? Hahaha… Turns out these are all fake. The creations of people with a working knowledge of Photoshop and a bunch of time on their hands making a statement on the pumpkin spice craze. BTW, the pumpkin spice Dorito’s are fake, too. Whew!

 

Each fall, as the leaves turn golden, footballs start flying and the crisp autumn air carries the scent of pine, I anxiously wait for Jackie to bring home one of my favorites – the fixens to make pumpkin pie, of course it must also include the “a la mode!”  Everything is always better with a la mode!  You know me, and my love of food.  To be honest, I think this pumpkin spice craze is kind of funny – but then find myself stopping to “sample” a latte, eating an entire box of pumpkin-spiced Cheerios or the whole package of orange and black fall flavored Oreos.  Scientists and nutritionists call the current trendiness of pumpkin spice “a fantastic example of the psychology of consumer behavior and fads.” Here’s some fun facts, science and links to some great recipes – enjoy those lattes!

 

  1. History shows that pumpkin spice-like combinations have been used for millennia in various cultures,” says Kantha Shelke, an adjunct professor of regulatory science and food safety at Johns Hopkins University. “Similar mixtures of spices are used in Indian masala chai and Middle Eastern baklava. These mixtures are often used in celebratory occasions, most often to ease the digestive impacts of overindulgence.”
  2. The sweet smell and tantalizing taste of pumpkin spice triggers a nostalgic emotional response in our brains. Spice blend has been used in popular baked goods for quite some time, but mostly in home-baked goods.  Since these are popular spice combinations, it’s very likely we have encountered some or all of them combined in a favorite baked good in a comforting situation, like a family gathering, early in life. (ever walk into a home that’s smells like cinnamon or hot apple cider?)
  3. Pumpkin spice seems to have emerged as a common seasonal scent and taste in the home and food market a couple of decades ago, when spiced pumpkin candles grew in popularity. Back then, a few high-profile companies, like Starbucks, ran some super successful experiments, and then you add in the fantastic marketing strategies, and you’ve got a fad that turns into a trend.
  4. Most pumpkin spice mixtures don’t involve an actual pumpkin. Typically, it contains ground cinnamon, nutmeg, dry ginger and clove or allspice mixed together.
  5. When many food companies use a pumpkin spice flavor, they often develop a synthetic version with various compounds and aromas designed to trick your brain into thinking you consumed a mix of cinnamon, nutmeg and other spices. Included in many of these synthetic pumpkin spice flavors are top notes that mimic the aroma of butter browning with sugar, which creates an olfactory illusion of a freshly baked pumpkin pie.
  6. Starbucks first developed its pumpkin spice latte, known as the PSL, in early 2003. In a news release, Peter Dukes, the product manager who led the development of PSL, said, “Nobody knew back then that it would grow to be so big – It’s taken on a life of its own.” The seasonal beverage, which has its own verified Twitter and Instagram accounts, returned to stores nationwide last week for the fall.
  7. The marketing behind many pumpkin spice-flavored items, like the latte, condition our brains to expect that pumpkin spice is the flavor of fall and to anticipate the flavor’s arrival each season as something comforting.
  8. According to scientists, we don’t have innate odor responses. We learn odors through associations, but the associations we make with pumpkin spice are generally all very positive. Though, even without the seasonal marketing, the brain has a special response to pumpkin spice when the flavor is mixed with sugar. It’s kind of addictive.
  9. When an odor or flavor — and 80% of flavor is actually smell — is combined with sucrose or sugar consumption in a hungry person, the person learns at a subconscious, physiological level to associate that flavor with all the wonderful parts of food digestion. By combining the recognizable pumpkin spice flavor with sugar, we train your brain and body to remember how delicious the combination is – and as soon as you smell or even imagine pumpkin spice, our body has an anticipatory response and craves it.
  10. On the other hand, natural pumpkin spice mixtures without added sugars, fat or salt offers some potential health benefits if used in a pumpkin soup or to flavor vegetables. Pumpkin is a source of vitamin A, fiber and other nutrients. Spices are powerhouses of phytochemicals — chemicals that the plant makes to protect itself — that can afford us health and protection from many health issues. Like with any food, the amount consumed determines the experience and the benefits.
  11. All spices come from plants. There are no spices from the animal kingdom, so spices are perfect for vegetarians, vegans and those who follow Halal and Kosher diets.
  12. As with all good marketing, sometimes the manufacturers go a little too far with the pumpkin-spice trend – Just consider – Pumpkin Spiced (PS) Twistix Dental Chews for Pets, PS buttery blend margarine, PS Pringles, PS Bar soap, PS body powder, PS bagels, PS peanut butter and Milano cookies.

 

So, go ahead and enjoy your pumpkin spice and everything nice.  And here’s a simple recipe to make your very own pumpkin spice at home (fresh is better!

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 Tablespoons Ground Cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons Ground Ginger
  • 2 teaspoons Nutmeg
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon Ground Allspice
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon Ground Cloves
  • Splash of sugar

INSTRUCTIONS

In a small bowl, whisk together cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, cloves and sugar until well combined. Store in a small jar or container.

 

 


 

The Big Game = Big Food

Have the essentials on hand:
Remote? Check.
Plenty of napkins? Check.
Add food from these starter recipes and your favorite beverage. Now sit, watch, eat, cheer!! 

 

This weekend, we get to watch “the big game” – a tradition in our house.  And with it, of course, is what I like to call “big food” – and lots of it.  It’s a chance for me to go off my regiment a bit, and enjoy pretty much everything Jackie, the girls and I put out in the kitchen – old favorites, new flavors and new dishes.  Aside from the traditional chips, dips, snacks, chili, vegies, desserts, and of course, my favorite (any meatball variation on the end of a toothpick or in a bowl!) I like to go looking for some recipes we may have not seen or tried before.  Touchdown!! – I found a great website called delish.com with a link titled “108 Amazing Super Bowl Party Foods That Are Guaranteed to Score” (HERE) and a perfect teaser line: If your eats aren’t touchdown-worthy, your team might lose. It was tough, but here are a couple of my favorites – with over 100 ideas, I’m sure you’ll find some to try – (the Reese’s peanut butter ball just made me laugh out loud).  Enjoy!


TATER TOT SKEWERS
(come on, just not fair – bacon, cheese and tater tots … should be outlawed!)
INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb. frozen tater tots, defrosted
  • 12 slices bacon
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 2 tbsp. chives
  • Ranch dressing, for serving

DIRECTIONS

  • Preheat oven to 425º. Place a wire rack inside a large rimmed baking sheet.
  • Place a metal rack inside a large baking pan. On a skewer, pierce one end of a strip of bacon. Pierce and place a tater top on top of the bacon, then pierce the same strip bacon again (to top the tater tot) to form a weave. Repeat with two to three more tater tots, depending on the size of your skewers. Repeat to finish the rest of the bacon and tater tots. Place on wire rack and roast for 20 to 25 minutes, until bacon is cooked through.
  • Sprinkle cheese over the cooked skewers and bake until the cheese has melted, about 2-3 minutes more. Garnish with chives and serve with ranch dressing, for dipping.

JALAPEÑO CORN FRITTERS
(these are made with corn … so I figured they must be healthy, right?

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cup fresh corn
  • 2/3 cup cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup shredded Cheddar
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese
  • 2 scallions, sliced
  • 2 slices cooked bacon, chopped
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 jalapeño, finely diced
  • kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lime, divided
  • Sour cream, for serving

DIRECTIONS

  • In a medium bowl, combine corn, cornmeal, cheddar, cream cheese, scallions, bacon, eggs, the juice of half a lime, and jalapeño. Stir to combine and season with salt and pepper to taste. Using your hands, form the mixture into small patties.
  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Working in batches, fry the patties until they’re golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes per side.
  • Garnish each with sour cream and a squeeze of lime, if desired.

WAFFLE FRY SLIDERS
(OMG – fries and burgers and waffles – just shoot me!! – pickles too!!)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 bag frozen waffle fries
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 2 tsp. yellow mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 slices of cheddar, quartered into small squares
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • Bread and butter pickles, for serving
  • Lettuce, for serving

DIRECTIONS

  • Bake waffle fries according to package instructions. Pick out 16 large, round waffles to act as the buns.
  • Meanwhile, make the sliders. In a medium bowl, mix the ground beef, yellow mustard, garlic powder and onion together with a wooden spoon. Season to taste with salt and pepper and stir gently to combine. Form the mixture into small patties. You should end up with about 8 patties.
  • Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the beef patties and cook for about 3 minutes, until the bottoms develop a nice seared crust. Flip and cook for another 1-2 minutes, then add the cheese slices to the tops of the patties. Cover the pan with a large lid and cook until cheese melts.
  • Assemble the patties. Place 8 waffle fries (or however many patties you have cooked) on a serving platter. Top with cooked sliders. Then garnish with tomato slices, pickles and lettuce. Top with waffle fries and serve immediately.

If you have a family favorite, I’ll share it with the gang – just email me at skowalski@khtheat.com.