Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Food

March 6, 2012

Smoothies make good use of fruit, yogurt

ASHLAND — My husband used to make a delicious peach-canteloupe smoothie I’ve never been able to recreate, so if anyone has any suggestions, please send them to me. I know he also used honey and vanilla yogurt, but mine just aren’t turning out as delicious as his.

To me, you can’t beat a good old banana-strawberry smoothie, but the Nestle Co. has made a few delicious suggestions.

ORANGE VANILLA BLISS

Makes two servings

1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

1⁄4 cup Vanilla Flavor Nestle Coffee-Mate Natural Bliss All-Natural Low Fat Coffee Creamer

1⁄2 frozen or room temperature banana

1⁄2 cup ice cubes

Place orange juice, Coffee-mate, banana and ice in blender; cover. Blend until smooth.

BONE-BUILDING SMOOTHIE

Makes one serving

1 cup ice cubes

2⁄3 cup (5 fluid-ounce can) Nestle Carnation evaporated fat-free milk

1⁄2 cup fresh or frozen berries or 1⁄2 of a banana

1⁄4 cup vanilla fat free yogurt

1 packet Strawberry Sensation or Classic French Vanilla Flavor Carnation Breakfast Essentials Complete Nutritional Drink

Place ice, evaporated milk, berries, yogurt and Carnation Breakfast Essentials Drink in blender; cover. Blend until smooth.

Kid-Favorite Variations: Use 1⁄2 cup Berry or Apple Flavor Nestle Juicy Juice All-Natural 100 percent juice in addition to evaporated milk and proceed as above or use 2 tablespoons Nestle Nesquik strawberry flavor syrup in addition to Carnation Breakfast Essentials Drink and proceed as above.

t

A “frullati” is an Italian milk shake. Try this version with bananas, peaches or strawberries.

FRULLATI

Makes two servings

1 to 2 cups ice cubes

1⁄2 cup milk

1 small banana, cut into pieces

1⁄4 cup Italian Sweet Crème Flavor Nestle Coffee-mate Liquid Coffee Creamer

Place ice, milk, banana and Coffee-mate in blender; cover. Blend at high speed until smooth. Serve immediately.

NOTE: 1⁄2 cup peach or strawberry pieces may be used in place of banana.

t

Smoothies don’t have to be just for breakfast and neither do muffins.

This Blueberry Muffin recipe, provided by the Culinary Institute of America, makes the old favorite a little bit healthier.

BLUEBERRY MUFFINS

Makes 18 muffins

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

3⁄4 cup all-purpose flour

1⁄4 cup almond flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda

1⁄2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon orange zest

2 cups fresh blueberries

2 eggs, large

11⁄4 cups low-fat (1%) buttermilk

1⁄2 cup brown sugar

6 tablespoons canola oil

1 tablespoon orange juice

1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla

Place the rack in the top third of the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line muffin tins with paper liners.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and orange zest. Add the fresh blueberries and toss gently to coat the blueberries in flour. This will help keep the blueberries suspended in the batter instead of falling to the bottom.

In a medium mixing bowl, lightly beat the eggs, then whisk in the buttermilk, brown sugar, canola oil, orange juice and vanilla. Don't be concerned if the mixture looks curdled or lumpy.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until most of the flour is incorporated. The mixture can be slightly lumpy; don’t over-mix. Divide the batter among the 18 prepared muffin cups.

Bake 12 to 14 minutes, until the muffins are golden brown around the edges.

t

Not intended to be healthy, these two pretty and delicious recipes come from the website Recipes4us.co.uk.

CHOCOLATE PEAR

PANCAKES

For the pancakes

2 ounces plain flour

½ to 1 tablespoon pure cocoa powder

1 egg

5 ounces milk

For the pears

2 pears, peeled, cored and cut into ½–inch pieces

About 4 tablespoons sugar

1-inch cinnamon stick

Cold water

For the chocolate sauce

2 ounces good-quality dark chocolate, broken into small pieces

1 ounce butter

3 tablespoons honey

Vegetable oil

Place the flour and cocoa powder in a mixing bowl or large jug, mix well then add the egg and milk and mix until well blended and smooth using a whisk or hand mixer. Set it aside while you prepare the pears.

Place the chopped pears in a small saucepan together with the cinnamon and sugar and enough cold water to come halfway up the fruit. Place over a medium heat and bring to simmering point, mixing well and continue to cook for about 5 minutes or until soft.

Meanwhile, put the chocolate, butter and honey in a heat-proof bowl and place over a pan of simmering water and leave until the chocolate starts to melt. Mix well until you have a smooth sauce. Remove the pan from the heat, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, but leave it in the pan, and set aside.

Once the pears are tender, turn the heat off, drain excess liquid, remove the cinnamon stick then crush the pears with a fork. Cover with a lid and set aside while you cook the pancakes.

Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a small frying pan until very hot, swirling it around to coat the base of the pan. Pour off most of the oil then add one- sixth of the batter to the hot pan, tilting the pan so the batter covers the base evenly. Cook for about 1 minute until just set then loosen the edges using a spatula, turn the pancake over and cook 30 seconds or so longer until lightly browned. Repeat with the remaining batter, keeping the cooked pancakes warm under the grill or in a low oven.

To serve, fold each pancake into quarters, place three on a plate, put the pear mixture over the pancakes then drizzle with the chocolate sauce.

STRAWBERRY

CUPCAKES

For the cakes

4 ounces butter, softened

4 ounces sugar

2 medium eggs, lightly beaten

4 ounces self-rising flour, sifted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the filling

3 tablespoons jam

For the topping

4 ounces very soft butter

8 ounces confectioner’s sugar

6 medium strawberries, fresh or frozen (defrosted)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and place 12 heart-shaped silicone molds onto a baking tray. You can also use cupcake paper liners or a cupcake tin.

Place all the cake ingredients in a large mixing bowl and beat together with a wooden spoon, electric hand whisk or in a bowl food processor, until well blended.

Divide the cake mixture between the molds, filling to about two-thirds, level the tops with a small spoon or spatula and bake for 15 to 20 minutes until well risen and firm to the touch. If using silicone molds it’s easier to remove the cakes from the molds while they are still hot. Allow the cakes to cool completely on a wire rack before filling/decorating.

 Meanwhile, make the butter icing. Place the butter in a large mixing bowl and beat with a wooden spoon until very soft then pass the strawberries through a large sieve onto the butter and mix briefly. Discard the pulp and seeds.

Sift in the icing sugar and beat with a wooden spoon until well blended and very smooth. Set aside until you are ready to assemble the cakes but do not refrigerate as the mixture will “set” and be more difficult to pipe.

Cut each cupcake in half horizontally as you would a layered sponge sandwich, spread with a little strawberry jam then replace the top.

Pipe or spread the butter icing onto the top of each cake.

t

While I don’t claim to be an expert cook, I do like to cook and love to eat. Readers are encouraged to send questions about food and cooking; I’ll try to find the answers. Also, if you’re looking for a specific recipe, send your request, or if you can offer a recipe to someone looking for something specific, please send e-mail to lward@dailyindependent.com.

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