Chillin' out


Published: Saturday, January 1, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, August 24, 2004 at 10:45 a.m.

On a sultry summer day, ice treats are the cure. Not just a pleasure for children whose parents crush ice cubes in a blender and serve it in a cup with sweetened Kool-Aid poured over the top, ice treats come in many styles and flavors, more varied than the people buying them.

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In summertime, the livin' gets easier with shakes, smoothies and snow cones

Laura Bentley/NYTRNG

Facts

Tips for smoothies and snow cones

Select fruits that are fully ripe for maximum flavor.

Cut, chop or slice fruit before freezing.

Freeze at least one of the fruits in a smoothie.

Freeze all fruit for snow cones.

Keep ice cubes solidly frozen before blending.

Portion fruit for the freezer in recipe-size amounts.

Peel, wrap and freeze over-ripe bananas for smoothies.

Avoid using sweetened fruit if calorie-watching.

If the smoothie is too thin, add more ice or frozen fruit.

If the smoothie is too thick, add more juice.

If the smoothie is too tart, add a little sugar, honey or sweetener.

Source: Black & Decker

Shaved ice has long been popular. In the old days, strong-armed men and women would scrape ice blocks by hand to produce these delicious frozen treasures. But elbow grease has now given way to an easier procedure, with special machines that produce small slivers of ice. A very sweet fruit flavoring is poured over the top, and sometimes it's even crowned with cream. Shaved ice can be slurped from the cup or eaten with a spoon.

The history of these frozen treats goes back to the days of Alexander the Great. After the conquest of Egypt in 345 B.C., Alexander requested 15 trenches to be dug and filled with snow brought down from higher elevations. The snow was then flavored with fruit pulp, honey and nectar and served in cups.

Then there was Nero, the Roman Emperor. During the first century A.D., Nero had runners along the Appian way pass buckets of snow hand-over-hand from the mountains to his banquet hall, where it was mixed with honey and wine. From these origins, the delicious treat spread throughout the world.

Smoothies are a different story. What began as a health-food fad in the 1960s quickly hit the mainstream because they are so easy to make.

Smoothies aren't just ice with a flavoring. They're like shakes, but with nutritious ingredients such as fruits, yogurt, milk or ice cream blended together until thick and smooth. Some folks use fruit that's frozen, some add ice to the blender to give the drink its iciness.

Not all smoothies have to include a milk product. Simply using fruit and fruit juices does the trick.

Shakes, on the other hand, do use milk products along with other ingredients - flavored syrup or fruit, for example. Some folks even enrich them with an egg.

So try these recipes and cool off this summer:

CARIBBEAN COLADA

3/4 cup cream of coconut

2 cans (6 ounces each) unsweetened pineapple juice, about 1 1/2 cups

12 ice cubes, 1-inch size

1/2 cup fresh pineapple cubes, 1-inch size

Combine all ingredients in a blender and cover.

Blend, using crush ice button, about 30 seconds.

Pour into 2 large glasses, and garnish tops with toasted coconut, if desired.

Makes 2 servings.

CREAMY ORANGE SMOOTHIE

1 frozen banana (peel banana before freezing)

1 cup orange juice

1 container (8 ounces) vanilla yogurt

1 navel orange, peeled

Slice frozen banana into 4 pieces and place in blender.

Add orange juice and vanilla yogurt. Quarter the peeled orange and cut each quarter in half; add to blender.

Cover, and use the crush ice button for 20-30 seconds, or until well blended.

Garnish with fresh orange slice, if desired.

Makes 2 servings.

BERRY BLAST

1/2 pint raspberries, about 1 1/4 cups (reserve 6 raspberries for garnish)

1/2 pint blueberries, about 1 1/4 cups

1 cup milk

1 cup frozen strawberry yogurt or ice cream

Combine all ingredients in blender. Cover and blend thoroughly.

Garnish top with reserved raspberries.

Makes 2 servings.

FRUIT SPLISH SPLASH

10 ice cubes, 1-inch size

1 cup cold water

1 cup fresh pineapple cubes (1-inch pieces)

1 cup fresh cantaloupe and honeydew chunks (1-inch pieces)

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon lime juice

Combine all ingredients in the blender and cover.

Using the crush ice button, pulse about 6 times, or until well blended.

Pour over ice and garnish with fresh pineapple, if desired.

Makes 2 servings.

GINGER MANGO TANGO

1 cup orange juice

10 ice cubes, 1-inch size

1 mango, peeled and cut into pieces

1 cube (1-inch size) ginger, cut into 2 pieces

Combine all ingredients in blender and cover. Using the crush ice button, pulse about 6 times, or until well blended.

Serve over ice cubes, if desired.

Makes 4 6-ounce servings.

ZESTY GREEN TEA SNOW CONES

2 pieces (about 3-by-1/2-inch each) lemon rind

4 green tea ice cubes, 1 1/2-inch size (see note)

1 tablespoon honey

Combine lemon rind and ice cubes in blender jar and cover. Blend, using the crush ice button, until ice cubes are all snow, about 30-45 seconds.

Mound into 2 snow cone shapes, and serve drizzled with 1/2 tablespoon honey over the top of each.

Makes 2 snow cones.

Note: Brew green tea and when cool, pour into ice cube tray and freeze until firm.

FROSTY GRAPE 'N' LEMON SNOW CONE

4 lemonade ice cubes, 1 3/4-inch size (see note)

11 red seedless grapes, frozen

Combine lemonade ice cubes and 10 red frozen grapes in blender and cover.

Blend, using the crush ice button, until ice cubes and grapes are all snow, about 30-45 seconds.

Remove snow from blender.

Using an ice cream scoop, mound into a snow cone shape.

Garnish top with remaining grape.

Makes 1 snow cone.

Note: Pour lemonade into ice cube tray and freeze until firm.

ORANGE PINEAPPLE SNOW CONE

4 orange juice ice cubes, 1 3/4-inch size (see note)

4 pieces (1 inch each) fresh pineapple, frozen

Combine orange juice ice cubes and pineapple pieces in blender and cover.

Blend, using the crush ice button, until ice cubes and pineapple are all snow, about 30-45 seconds.

Remove snow from blender. Mound into a small paper drink cup.

Makes 1 snow cone.

Note: Pour orange juice in ice cube tray and freeze until firm.

DOUBLE STRAWBERRY SNOW CONE

6 ice cubes, 1-inch size

4 medium frozen strawberries

1 tablespoon strawberry flavored syrup

Combine ice cubes and strawberries in blender and cover.

Blend using the crush ice button until ice cubes and strawberries are turned into snow, about 10-15 seconds.

Transfer to disposable plastic glass. Drizzle syrup over top.

Makes 1 snow cone.

ICED MOCHA SNOW CONE

6 coffee ice cubes, 1 3/4-inch size (see note)

Chocolate syrup

Chocolate sprinkles (optional)

Sweetened whipped cream (optional)

Combine 6 coffee ice cubes in blender and cover.

Pulse, using the crush ice button, until ice cubes are all snow, about 15 seconds.

Remove snow from blender. Mound into a custard cup. Drizzle chocolate syrup over top.

Garnish with chocolate sprinkles and whipped cream, if desired.

Makes 1 snow cone.

Note: Pour coffee, flavored the way you like it, into ice cube tray and freeze until firm. Leftover coffee works well.

- Recipes from Black & Decker

GREAT GRAPE SMOOTHIE

1 cup seedless grapes

1/2 cup frozen cherries

1/2 cup frozen strawberries

1/2 cup peeled and sliced orange

1/2 cup peeled and sliced banana

Combine all ingredients in blender container.

Blend until mixture is smooth.

Pour into two 12-ounce glasses.

Makes 2 servings.

Tip: For a thicker consistency, freeze grapes before blending ingredients. To freeze grapes, rinse, dry and spread grapes in single layer in cake pan or pie pan. Freeze 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until solidly frozen.

GRAPE ICE

1 pound seedless grapes

2 tablespoons sugar, optional

Remove grapes from stems, rinse and drain well.

Puree grapes in food processor or blender; strain and add sugar if desired. Freeze until slushy.

Blend in food processor or blender and pour into muffin tins or custard cups. Freeze until solid.

Remove from muffin tins and serve in small bowls.

Makes 6 servings.

Rainbow Variation: Use two different colors of grapes. After blending slushy mixture for each color separately, pour half of one slush into muffin tins or custard cups. When slushy, pour other color slush over first layer to create a two-layered effect.

- Recipes from California Table Grape Commission

CANTALOUPE CRUSH

1/2 cantaloupe

1 cup fat free milk

1 1/2 cups ice

Sugar or artificial sweetener

Cut cantaloupe into small cubes.

Blend all ingredients until smooth.

Sweeten to taste.

Serves 4.

FRUIT SLUSH

3 cups frozen fruit (such as frozen strawberries, blueberries, raspberries or melon)

1 cup fat-free milk or non-fat plain yogurt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Sugar or artificial sweetener

Blend first three ingredients until smooth.

Sweeten to taste.

Serves 4.

TROPICAL EYE-OPENERS

1 large, ripe mango

1 large banana

1 cup 100 percent grapefruit juice

1/2 cup non-fat vanilla frozen yogurt

1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg

1 1/2 cups ice

Sugar or artificial sweetener

Peel the mango over a bowl to catch the juices. Then, use a paring knife to slice the flesh away from the stone. Add all ingredients to blender container. Blend until smooth. Sweeten to taste.

Serves 4.

EASY GREEN GRAPE GRANITA

3 cups seedless green grapes

2 tablespoons 100 percent apple juice

Juice of one lime

1 fresh mint leaf (optional)

Blend grapes, juices and mint until smooth.

Freeze the mixture in a shallow baking pan until almost solid, which will take 1 to 2 hours depending on your freezer.

Remove from the freezer, break up the pieces, and blend in the blender again.

Serve with a lime wedge.

Makes 4 servings.

- Recipes from 5 A Day

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