Although this may not be true for everyone, I think Texas has finally seen the last of winter. A couple weeks ago, we had some crazy cold temperatures, but now we seem to have finally gotten past it; this week our temps are in the 90s. Since there’s little chance that we’ll get anymore cold weather for a while, I thought I should post the last of the wintery recipes that were in my files. But before I can share them, I get to tell you about several summery deals I’ve recently heard of.
I think fast food places have figured out that it’s hot in Texas. Each of these deals is offering a refreshing, cold treat. Let’s start with Orange Leaf. They have just introduced their latest seasonal flavor: pink lemonade. I’ve mentioned before how much I love Orange Leaf’s frozen yogurt, and pink lemonade sounds delicious. Needless to say, I’ll be wanting to try it soon.
Starting Thursday (5/1) and through 5/10, Starbucks is once again offering their Frappuccino happy hour. If you go to a participating Starbucks between 3-5 PM, you can purchase any size or flavor frappe for half off. I’m always up for a frappe, so I might have to stop there soon too.
Lastly, Sonic is once again embracing summer by offering shakes for 1/2 price after 8 PM all summer long (now til 9/1). I’m not personally a fan of shakes (I prefer my ice cream spoonable.), but my husband really loves them.
So if you’re already beginning to swelter from the high temps, you’ve got several frosty options to rejuvenate you. If you are sweltering, you might not be too enthused about these recipes, but you can always save them for a cooler day. This first recipe is a bright, warm dessert for a chilly night. I made it for a potluck we had some time ago, and it was a huge hit. It was quick and easy to make and the flavor was pretty good too. I would’ve personally liked a stronger lemon flavor, but that didn’t stop me from taking the leftovers home.
Warm Winter Lemon Cake (from Kraft)
1 pkg. yellow cake mix (and whatever ingredients it calls for)
2 c. milk
1 1/4 c. water
2 4 serving size packages instant lemon pudding mix
1/3 c. sugar
2 tbsp. confectioner’s sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare the cake batter as directed on the package. Pour into a greased 9×13 and set aside.
2. Pour the milk and water in a large bowl. Add the pudding mixes and sugar. Whisk for 2 minutes or til well blended. Pour over the cake patter. Place the 9×13 on a sheet pan to catch any spills.
3. Bake the cake 55-60 minutes or til a toothpick inserted in the center removes cleanly. Cool 20 minutes and serve topped with some confectioner’s sugar.
This next recipe doesn’t have to relegated solely to winter, but that’s usually when I think of eating apples. The hubby wasn’t thrilled with this salad (He ate it, he just would never ask for it.), but I thought it was really bright and crisp. This is another recipe that takes a little prep work, but none of it’s hard or very involved. Since there aren’t a ton of components, you definitely want to make sure that you take the extra step of toasting the walnuts and breadcrumbs. I went ahead and chopped the walnuts, then toasted them and the crumbs together in a saute pan. I know you can do it in the oven, but I can keep a better eye on it on the stove.
Apple Salad with Walnuts and Lime (from Bon Appetit)
1/2 c. walnuts
2 thinly sliced, crisp apples
4 thinly sliced scallions (I just used 1.)
1/4 c. flat-leaf parsley
1/4 c. lime juice
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
1/2 c. shredded provolone or white cheddar
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 c. coarse breadcrumbs (This is a LOT of breadcrumbs. I used half and felt like it was still more than enough.)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread the breadcrumbs out on a small, rimmed baking sheet; toast, stirring occasionally, til golden brown, 6-8 minutes. Let cool.
2. Spread the walnuts on another small, rimmed baking sheet; toast, stirring occasionally, til golden brown, 8-10 minutes. Let cool and coarsely chop.
3. In a large bowl, toss together the breadcrumbs, walnuts, apples, scallions, parsley, lime juice, and pepper; season with salt and pepper. Add the cheese and oil and gently toss.
This last one isn’t necessarily a winter recipe, but I think you’ll see why I included it. These little treats were so easy to make and addictively good. At first I thought they were supposed to be cookies, then I realized that they were more like little truffle bites. They take just a few minute to whip up, and they were just SOOO good. They’re pretty sweet, so next time I’d add more lime to balance it out. (Probably more zest, I wouldn’t want to mess up the consistency with more juice.) As a bonus, these could easily be made gluten-free if you use a gluten-free graham cracker for the crumbs. (You could also try it with pulverized oats, but I can’t be sure how that would work.)
Key Lime Coconut Snowballs (from the November 2005 issue of Cooking Light)
2/3 c. graham cracker crumbs
6 tbsp. sweetened, condensed milk
1 tsp. key lime zest (Next time, I’d try doubling this for extra oomph.)
1 1/2 tbsp. key lime juice
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. shredded, unsweetened coconut
1 1/4 c. confectioner’s sugar
1. In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sweetened condensed milk, key lime zest, key lime juice, and vanilla in a medium bowl. Add 2/3 c. coconut and beat on medium for 1 minute or til no longer grainy. Add the sugar 1/4 c. at a time, beating til well combined. Cover and chill 20 minutes.
2. Shape into 24 balls, about 1 tsp. each. Place 1/3 c. coconut in a shallow ball and roll the balls in the coconut. (I blitzed my coconut a little in the food processor so that it would stick better.)
So don’t let the name put you off from making these. A tropical “snowball” might be just the thing to help you beat the heat.
So, has your locale embraced spring/summer yet or are you still suffering from the chills?