Categories
Desserts with Fruit Fancy Pantsy Frozen Desserts Grown Up People Desserts No-Bake Recipes Strange and Yummy

May Contain Whiskey. Can I See Some ID?

There’s whiskey in this post, not in me. Okay, there’s whiskey in me too, but to be fair, I’m Indian. Johnnie Walker runs through my veins. It’s science. Doctors are mystified.

My friend and compadre, Mr. J. Walker.

So if we were to put today’s post to a soundtrack, this would probably be the first song on the playlist. I am, and have been for quite some time, enamored with this immensely talented bluegrass band. And even though the lead singer of the Punch Brothers thwacked me in the knee with his bleedin’ mandolin case, I am inviting you all to blast this fun tune whilst making and enjoying the following frozen concoction.

Yes, yes, I am continuing the frozen treat theme. I did warn you all ahead of time in my last post. Since that entry, though, New York City has endured a record-breaking heat wave that would make these popsicles seem, to me, to be a necessity. The whole world is a giant pizza oven right now, it is too sticky to enjoy a proper happy hour, and I need peaches in my life. Enter Peaches and Cream Whiskey Poptails. Exit problem.

So, obviously I needed company for these popsicles. After all, who eats poptails alone (I do!)? Share the wealth, I say. I crashed the twins’ bachelor pad and we went to work. Now, I know the original recipe calls for bourbon, but bourbon’s quite pricey, and since we would only be using a small amount of the liquor (alcohol doesn’t freeze well in large amounts), Jeff and I made the executive decision to purchase a travel-size bottle of scotch whiskey. Actually, we purchased three and now each of the boys has a special souvenir from our adventure.

Here’s what we used:

Peaches and Cream Whiskey Poptails

1 cup of canned crushed peaches (in syrup), drained

2 cups of nonfat plain yogurt

1 tablespoon of honey

1/4 cup of whiskey (just about the contents of one 50 ml bottle, so if you’re taking a trip soon be extra nice to your flight attendant and perhaps you’ll score a free one for this project)

You’re also going to need some mini paper cups and popsicle sticks for this. We purchased Dixie Dinosaur cups because…well, why not? They’re DINOSAURS! Really, though, you won’t want to make these in traditional popsicle molds because they’ll be huge and extra potent. The miniature portion provided by the tiny cup molds will be more than enough to keep you happy without turning you into a sloppy, inebriated mess. Trust.

To start, mash the peaches in a medium-sized bowl until fully crushed. Mix in the yogurt, honey and whiskey. Divide the mixture evenly among the cups. You should end up with about ten. Throw these into the freezer for about an hour, then take them out, stick a popsicle stick in each one, and send them right back in to freeze completely, about 3 to 4 hours. When they’re done, peel off the paper cups and enjoy!

(For my homies who couldn't be here)

Now, there’s an added bonus to making these pops: the cost. Altogether, we spent about 6 bucks to make ten pops. That includes the Dixie cups and cookie sticks (We couldn’t find popsicle sticks. But why are cookie sticks easier to find than popsicle sticks? And what are cookie sticks?).  That’s 60 cents a pop! $2.00 a person! And that’s me showing off my math skills, by the way. Anyway, these were powerful little suckers (haha…suckers…because they’re popsicles…haha), and also pretty refreshing. I highly recommend them for a lazy day of [responsible] imbibing.

Before I leave you all to bask in the glory of a super cheap, very delicious homemade happy hour, I have good news to share: I’ll be officiating two weddings this Saturday, July 30th as part of the Pop Up Chapel! The Pop Up Chapel is celebrating marriage equality by marrying 24 same-sex couples at Merchant’s Gate in Central Park for free. Fantastic, right? I’m excited and honored to be participating in it, and hope some of you can join the festivities to watch and cheer on the lovely couples.

So, why’d I decide to do it? Well, my first answer to that question, no matter what it’s in reference to, is always “why not?” The general answer is, “Dude, we all pay the same taxes. Come on, now. It’s a no-brainer.” The more specific answer is that my very best friend is gay and it used to confound me that she didn’t have the same rights that I did. I’m fortunate enough to have a best friend whom I’ve known for most of my life and who’s seen Super Duper Sad Shibow more times than I’d care to admit. She’s stuck by me anyway. (She’s also seen Very Adventurous Shibow, since we have an annual Risk/Death Wish Day that I’ll get into in a future post). If anyone deserves even the option of this institution, it is her. I won’t go into that much more detail about this, and I’m not even sure she knows that that’s why I’m doing this, but yeah…there it is. Well, this entry got heavy pretty quickly, huh? Maybe the soundtrack to this part of the post should be the tiniest violin in the world.

Categories
Desserts with Fruit Easy Baking Frozen Desserts No-Bake Recipes Sort of Healthy Strange and Yummy

I Will Make You a Popsicle. And Then I Will Marry You.

It’s been a strange couple of weeks. Good things and bad things, sad things and rad things have all happened in quite a short span of time. Here’s a list:

1. I am an ordained minister and am registered with the City of New York! Yes, really! Yes, I’ll marry you! (good/rad thing)

2. One of my favorite coworkers is leaving for something called Utah (Ok, I know what/where Utah is. I found it on my world map shower curtain!). She’s the best. She also subscribes to this blog and always has nice things to say about it. She’s also just generally awesome. I could give you specifics, but then I will cry and this will become a whole different post. I am not happy about this development. (bad/sad thing)

3. Apparently my mom’s been handing out my email like it’s candy (or curry?) to the mothers of random Indian boys looking to wife me up. Inappropriate! (VERY bad/VERY sad thing)

4. I’m running my first 5K in September! It will probably take me all day, but it’s for a good cause, the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. Support us! (good/rad thing)

So, #4. That’s a very bad thing she did. And I am punishing her by writing about it on this blog. So bad, right? She might as well have posted an ad on Craigslist. Oh, that reminds me of my Craigslist story! But that’s another post. Anyway, I’m on sabbatical from that whole game. Single Shibow. The Lone Wolf. And being The Lone Wolf rules. In short, I’d rather marry other people to each other right now. Unless this guy comes a-proposin’. Ma, quit blowin’ up my spot.

So, in addition to avoiding my mother and very carefully screening my emails, I’ve been trying to think of more light, sweet summer treats that will also help cool me down in this hot-as-an-overbearing-Indian-motha heat. I came across quite a few that have sort of helped, but none that have had quite the impact of these Blackberry Greek yogurt pops. They require a bit of time, love, tenderness, and Michael Bolton (last one’s optional) but they do not require an oven! By the way, I am all about trying those avocado pops at a later date, but if anyone gets to them before I do, please tell me how they are! In the meantime, let’s work on the yogurt ones:

Blackberry Greek Yogurt Pops

– Peel of 1 lemon

– 1/2 cup of water

– 1/2 cup of sugar

– 1 1/2 cups of plain nonfat Greek yogurt (Fage or Chobani are your best bets)

– 2 tablespoons of honey

– 2 cups of fresh blackberries (feel free to sub in your very favorite berries if you’re not a fan of the tartness of these)

To start, make sure you’ve got either a peeler or the hands of a surgeon while going at that lemon. I have neither. I and all nine and a half of my digits (I have a wonky thumb, which I’ll explain some other time…maybe when I tell you my Craigslist story) miraculously survived anyway. Throw the water and sugar into a saucepan and fire it up to medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar’s dissolved and the mixture has come to a boil. Toss in the lemon peel, then lower the heat to a simmer for about five minutes. Let it cool, then strain the syrup through a sieve and refrigerated until chilled.

Mix the yogurt and honey together in a bowl, then stir in the syrup until fully blended. Use your blender if you’re lazy. I did not use mine because I am a different kind of lazy. I do not like doing dishes. Pour a little bit of the mixture into each of your popsicle molds, then throw these into the freezer until the mixture just starts to set, about 40-45 minutes.

Take the molds out and divide your berries evenly among them. Pour in the rest of the yogurt mixture, snap the lids of the molds shut (some of the yogurt will likely splatter and land on or near your face, so feel free to lick it away), and freeze for at least three hours.

Sylvia enjoying her second pop in a row.

So, were these any good? Um…well…YES. I was a little uneasy about these at first because of both the tartness of the yogurt and the tang of the blackberries, but these were pretty phenomenal. My sister was in love, as you can see. This recipe will most certainly be used and tweaked a million times over the next couple of warm, steamy summer months. I see chocolate pops, raspberry pops, avocado pops and booze pops in my future. Lone Wolf baby!

Categories
Cookies Strange and Yummy

Sad Shibow and Friends Make One Smart Cookie

My friends are geniuses. I like to keep good company in the hopes that one day I will absorb these smarts through osmosis or telepathy or science or something. Remember what I said about trying to get smart? I need me some knowledge work.

Anyway, my friend Jeff has been wanting to make potato chip chocolate chip cookies, which are exactly what you think they are. The twins and I have a list of activities we are trying to complete before we all drop dead, and these cookies are pretty high up on the list. I’m not sure if we’re all convinced we’re going to expire by the end of the summer or something, but we’ve been making good progress on the list so far. This post got really dark really quickly.

Um…

Oh, also, the other night Jeremy and I went running (it’s this new “thing” I’m trying that involves Usher songs, an inhaler and a lot of trash talk about how awesomely fast I am) and then spontaneously decided we were going to buy a watermelon and fill it with vodka (this was also on our list). We cut a hole in the watermelon, stuck a bottle of Smirnoff into said hole, and waited a few days. Here’s what it looks like. I’m not going to walk you through the whole process. I’ll tell you why in a minute.

Basically the vodka is supposed to seep into the entire watermelon, so that when it’s cut up and scooped out, you get a sweet, spiked treat. That’s what’s supposed to happen. What actually happened was both boys got chunks of pure watermelon while I consumed globs of vodka that had the texture of watermelon. Then I gagged and completely freaked out. We’re pretty sure that the vodka only made it to the top halves of the watermelon. So maybe next time ladies do not go first.

Anyway, that sucked. What did not suck, on the other hand, was our crazy Everything Cookie. I don’t know what else to call it really. Aren’t there times when you’re sitting around watching The Soup and wishing you could shove those potato chips you’re chomping on into a cookie? Yes you do. And yes we did. And si se puede.

College staples.

See the above picture? That is basically the recipe for the absolute perfect cookie. Seriously, this took, like, hundreds of seconds of planning. Here’s what went into our process: the three of us rolled into Stop and Shop, called out junk food we enjoy, bought said junk food, debated buying beer too, decided not to buy the beer because we needed to eat our vodka watermelon (we didn’t find out it sucked until later), and stood in the checkout line looking like a trio of college kids aiming to pack on the freshman fifteen. Welcome to the good life. Let’s get started.

Everything Cookie

1 3/4 cup of all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon of baking soda

1/2 teaspoon of salt

3/4 cup of softened butter

1 cup of brown sugar

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract

1 cup of semisweet chocolate chips

2 Almond Joy bars, broken into 1/2 inch chunks (Jeff’s absolutely genius addition, but if you’re not into coconut you can use your favorite candy bar)

3/4 cup of crushed potato chips (we used Kettle Brand Twice Baked Potato Chips, highly recommended)

3/4 cup of crushed pretzels

This dough’s going to need about an hour to chill, so wait to preheat the oven. Cream together the butter and sugar in a large bowl. When fully creamed, beat in the egg, then the vanilla. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt, then fold into the wet ingredients. When that’s mixed, fold in the chocolate chips and then go crazy with the chips, pretzels and Almond Joys. You can even shove your hand into the bag of potato chips and start crushing them over the bowl. I have a feeling I probably said something like “this is for my homies who couldn’t be here” while I sprinkled some over the bowl, because I am messed up like that.

Mix it just a tad more than this.

Chill the bowl of dough in the refrigerator for about an hour. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Drop tablespoon-size balls of dough onto a cookie sheet, then pop into the oven for 11-13 minutes. Cool. Eat. Repeat.

Fat cookies = happy cookies.

I don’t think I can adequately express how much I loved these cookies. These cookies were as good as the watermelon was bad. These were my Glen Hansard of cookies. If Kanye saw Chips Ahoy! getting an award for Greatest Cookie, he’d interrupt its acceptance speech to say the Everything Cookie was the best cookie of all time. Of all time!

Was that last one too much? Maybe it was too much. But it’s true. And I love me some Kanye references.

Categories
Strange and Yummy Vegan Desserts

Magic Food! It’s Quick, it’s Healthy, and It’s All From Scratch.

Tuesday was Free Cone day at Ben & Jerry’s. It was also rainy and miserable here in New York City. I love free stuff. I love ice cream. And yet, I declined to attend this glorious occasion (see: rainy and miserable). I was sort of disappointed and seriously have been craving ice cream ever since. I could a. Continue to wallow and refuse to spend money on a scoop of deliciousness, b. Uh, go to Ben & Jerry’s or…

Holy Fake Out Batman! There’s a way to get my Chunky Monkey on for a fraction of the calories, price AND time?! Sorcery!

Ok, it’s not “magic food,” it’s bananas. More specifically, frozen bananas. Which always makes me think of George-Michael Bluth’s Frozen Banana Stand.

Add Arrested Development to your Netflix queue, peeps!

So bananas tend to ripen and over-ripen rather quickly. If you live alone like I do, you end up with browned, bruised fruits that you absolutely must use to make muffins or bread because you live on sugar/waste nothing. Or, you decide to use your brain and your freezer, which is what this utterly brilliant blogger has done. Just in time for summer! This is also probably a great way to get your kids to eat more fruit, too. Tell them they’re eating ice cream. That’s right…LIE.

If you don’t feel like clicking over, all you have to do for two servings is puree three bananas in a blender until they’re smooth and start to resemble frozen yogurt/ice cream. Then, add your toppings. Smithfield recommends topping with heart-healthy walnuts and dark chocolate chips.

I’m but a small woman trying to conserve bananas for, um…my own frozen banana stand? For one serving, I pureed one banana with a touch of soy or regular milk. I’d suggest throwing in some blueberries and adding a bit of cinnamon to the finished product too.

Here’s what I created. The Smithfield version is much prettier, and I’m sure whoever made that bowl didn’t drop her glasses into her bowl in a fit of glee. Even that really didn’t stop me from polishing off this yummy creation and congratulating myself for eating healthy. I’m awesome.

To your health!
Categories
Chocolate Cheer Strange and Yummy Vegan Desserts

Listen Up, Fellow Weirdos! We’re Making Chocolate Avocado Cupcakes With Avocado Frosting!

Now, now, don’t get all offended. I said fellow weirdos, didn’t I?

The whole hernia thing has put me in a weird mood. Weird mood = weird food!  Anyway, a little over a year ago, when I was a poor, bored, unemployed graduate student with a sad and random pantry, I came across a recipe on Glamour.com (it doesn’t appear to be on the site anymore, otherwise I’d link to it) for Chocolate Avocado Cupcakes with Avocado “Buttercream” Frosting. Why the quotation marks? Well, the recipe also happens to be vegan. And, I happened to have everything I needed in my sad and random pantry! My life’s EXCITING!

So, yes, it seems strange. And avocados are not exactly cheap. Still, if you’ve got the time, the curiosity, and some eager taste-testers (or you’re just willing to eat like two dozen cupcakes all by your lonesome, no judgment), they are absolutely worth it. They’re moist, rich and perfectly chocolate-y. Vegan and non-vegan friends and family loved them. Also, since the only fat in these babies are oil and avocado meat, you’ll be doing yourself a favor by scarfing a few down. Let’s get our folic acid consumption on, homies!

Lovely, isnt she?

I know there are still some skeptics out there who aren’t fans of the fruit (It’s a fruit!), so let me say this: you don’t absolutely have to make the bright-green avocado icing. Since the avocados are used in the cupcake batter only as a binding agent in place of eggs and butter, and since the taste of avocados on their own is quite mild anyway, you won’t taste them at all in the finished cake. You will taste them in the frosting, though, and in my opinion, you should. Do it! Be weird! Get crazy!

What you’ll need for a dozen cupcakes:

1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons of cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon of baking powder

1 teaspoon of baking soda

1 cup of granulated sugar

2 tablespoons of vegetable oil

1/4 cup of avocado (usually the meat of half an avocado)

1 cup of water

1 tablespoon of white vinegar

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 365°F. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda and baking powder.

In a separate medium-sized bowl, mash the avocado with a fork or your hands if you’re super angry and powerful.

Its guac night! Yay! Wait...

Add to this wonderful gooey mixture your oil, water, vinegar and vanilla, then fold in the sugar until fully incorporated. Um…use a wooden spoon for this part. I used an electric hand mixer and now I’ve got a weird Kermit thing going on. Baking night is also now laundry night.

Add to dry mixture and whisk using a hand mixer or, again, get all up in there with that wooden spoon and start beating.

The batter, or as I like to call it, "health yum yum soup"

Now, it’s almost impossible to get a totally smooth mixture without a stand mixer or magic or Jesus at your disposal. Don’t be frightened by the tiny specs of avocado in the chocolate mixture. Pour what you’ve got into your cupcake tin, filling each about 3/4 of the way. Pop them into the oven for about 15 minutes.

While you wait, lick the bowl. No, really…lick the bowl! Since there are no eggs in this batter, it’s totally allowed. Tell your moms Shibow told you to lick the bowls, kids!

Or, instead of sitting around cleaning your baking dishes with your tongue, you could be productive and make some frosting. This recipe was cribbed from Alton Brown, ultimate food dork, and halved to frost a dozen cupcakes:

8 ounces of confectioner’s sugar

4 ounces of mashed avocado (the meat of one medium-sized avocado)

2 teaspoons of lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Mix the mashed avocado with the lemon juice, then add in the sugar in increments, beating after every few additions. When all sugar has been added and the mixture looks fairly smooth, mix in the vanilla. It should look a lil’ summin’ like this:

Look how green! And yes, nerd keeps a recipe book.

Your cupcakes should be just about done by now. Maybe they were done a little earlier, or maybe you forgot about them until your smoke alarm sounded and now you’re standing outside shivering in polar bear pajamas and hot firefighters are giving you the evil side-eye. This has never happened to me. Anyway, if you’re still inside and safe, and your cupcakes are cool, get frosting!

In case you couldnt tell, I used a fancy icing decorator for this one. The other eleven werent as fortunate.

What do you think? Too weird? Just weird enough?