Monday, June 15, 2009

Beat the Heat

I don't know about you, but I've been staying inside with the air conditioner lately. This time of year, I look for "cool" recipes. I've been going through my recipe collection (I've got TONS of recipes) and have selected a few of my favorites to share with you. The first is for a salad, but it's a little more special than your regular green salad. Next is a recipe for ginger ale. I don't like soft drinks, but I do like good ginger ale. I like Reed's Ginger Brew but it's around $1.50 a bottle. This recipe allows me to enjoy inexpensive ginger ale without artificial ingredients. Finally, I'm including my homemade ice cream recipe. If THAT doesn't cool you off, nothing will.

Strawberry Salad (I don't know where my aunt got this recipe.)
lettuce, torn
strawberries, sliced
celery, sliced
green onions, sliced
pecans, chopped
raspberry vinaigrette dressing (I bought some Annie's Naturals Lite Raspberry Vinaigrette when it was buy one get one free.)

Toss the first 5 ingredients. Serve with raspberry vinaigrette. You could make your own raspberry (or strawberry) vinaigrette. There are lots of recipes on the internet.

Ginger Ale (I changed the directions a little. Grating the ginger is difficult, so I put it in the blender.)
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon active baker's yeast
1 1/2 - 2 tablespoons fresh ginger root
juice of one lemon
cold fresh pure water

With a funnel, add the sugar and yeast to a plastic 2-liter bottle. Thinly slice the ginger root against the grain (or you'll have ginger "strings" in your drink). Put in a blender with lemon juice; blend, adding a little water if necessary. Add this to the bottle. Pour more water into the blender to rinse out the dregs; pour into the bottle. Fill the bottle with water, leaving about an inch of head space. Screw cap on securely. Invert repeatedly to dissolve the sugar. Place in a warm location for 24 to 48 hours. Do not leave at room temperature longer than necessary to feel "hard." The excess pressure may cause an eruption when you open it, or even explode the bottle! (Been there, done that.) Test to see if carbonation is complete by squeezing the bottle forcefully with your thumb. If it dents in, it's not ready. Once the bottle feels hard to a forceful squeeze, usually 24 - 48 hours, place in the refrigerator. Thoroughly chill before opening. Crack the lid of the chilled ginger ale just a little to release the pressure slowly.

Rachel's Ice Cream (6 quarts)
3 cups sugar
1 quart cream
3 - 4 tablespoons vanilla (I never measure, so I'm guessing)

Pour sugar into ice cream freezer. Add cream and vanilla. Stir until sugar no longer sticks to the bottom. Add milk until it reaches the fill line. Freeze according to manufacturer's directions.

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