Recently in Recipes, Sweet But Not Chocolate Category

Ginger Limeade


The worst illness I've had in years coincided with my mother's death. Travel arrangements were complicated by the fact that I was too sick to fly after I went to meet my mother's doctor at the Mayo Clinic, which actually worked for the best since it meant I couldn't leave my parents' house when I'd planned and instead was there when my mother collapsed and entered the final phase of her illness.

But it still really sucked to have a head so full of phlegm that I couldn't get on a plane without my eardrum bursting. I had a chest infection, an eye infection, and both a middle and inner ear infection. God, it was AWFUL, though admittedly not as bad as liver failure.

I finally resorted to antibiotics to clear it all up, which I don't like doing because I'm allergic to a lot of them. I also tried every home remedy I'd ever used successfully in the past. My favorite was hot water with lots of lemon, ginger and honey. It's not surprising that I would like that, since I love ginger beer, which is basically the same thing except served carbonated and cold.

I almost bought a four-pack of Reed's Ginger Beer the other day at the grocery store. It's been so hot, and a cold, crisp ginger ale is really refreshing.... but Reed's is a bit pricey and I'm trying to economize. Then it occurred to me to me to wonder: could I make my own?

So here's what I did:

Something You Wouldn't Expect, and Rice Pudding

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Last night I went to a terrific party in the neighborhood of Main Street and 1700 South, which, I learned, is one of the main spots in SLC where prostitutes hang out, waiting to be picked up. But they don't like to just stand on the street corner, because they're more likely to get attention they DON'T want that way, so they walk, up and down various streets, including some of the residential streets just off Main. This means that occasionally, my hosts explained, that they will glance out a window and see a john picking up or dropping off a prostitute, right outside their house.

They also said that two of the busiest times for SLC prostitutes are--that's right!--the first weekend in April and the first weekend in October, which, in case you didn't know, is when the church holds its General Conference. On those two weekends, Mormons from all over the world converge on Salt Lake's downtown in order to listen to exhortations about how to be righteous. Some of them stay with family in the suburbs, and some of them rent hotel rooms and have sex with prostitutes.

It makes a sort of sense but it just wasn't something I had thought about or ever expected to hear.

Anyway. The party had a theme: Bollywood, and guests were asked to bring Indian food. I am a dessert gal, so I volunteered to bring rice pudding.

Big Soft Ginger Cookies

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A friend and I recently discussed our fondness for big soft cookies. My favorite big soft cookie is the chocolate chocolate chip cookie I've already shared the recipe for, but these are good too. They're more like gingerbread than gingersnaps. They're not something I make very often, but from time to time, they really hit the spot.

2 & 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp ground ginger
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
3/4 cups butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup sugar for rolling

Combine dry ingredients; set aside. Cream butter and sugar well; add egg and molasses. Stir in dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. You can chill the dough for a couple of hours if you want. Otherwise, shape into 1&1/2 inch balls and roll in sugar. Place on ungreased cookie sheet about 2&1/2 inches apart. Bake at 350F for ten minutes (twelve if you chilled the dough) or until light brown and still puffy. Do not overcook. Let stand for two minutes before transferring to a wire rack. They're especially good with milk.

It's a Date


You know how people make yummy treats and share them at Christmas time? This recipe for date caramels was the best such treat I've encountered in a long, long time. I made a batch a few weeks ago and ate the whole thing myself--it stores well enough that you can do that, just eat all the candy yourself over a week or two.

In large saucepan, mix together

3/4 cups butter
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups sugar
1 cup chopped dates

Bring to boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and cook ten minutes at low boil, stirring constantly to avoid scorching. Remove from heat and stir in

1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup coconut
1 tsp vanilla

Pour into buttered 9x9 glass baking dish. Sprinkle more coconut on top.

Blueberries Are Good


Fresh blueberries have been on sale in my grocery store for the past few weeks, which makes me happy because I love love love love LOVE blueberries. I think they're among the cuter fruits the planet produces: OK, they're not big, prickly and imposing like a pineapple or a drag queen, but their tiny round vulnerable neatness appeals to me, as does the delicate little crown on the bottom (I wonder what purpose it serves), and I also love that blueberries really truly are blue! How many other naturally blue foods exist in the world? And they taste good. I like them fresh, but I especially like them cooked, so that they burst open and the insides turn purple from the juice in the skin and the sugar in them caramelizes a bit.

I didn't know I loved blueberries when I was little; I thought they were only OK, and this is entirely my mother's fault. The only way she fed us blueberries when I was growing up was in blueberry muffins--made, of course, from a mix that included canned blueberries. (I asked her about this recently; she said they were too expensive to buy fresh in Arizona, and it never occurred to her to buy them frozen.) I have compensated for this mistake by making blueberry muffins a grand total of once in my adult life: a few weeks ago I got to thinking about how I'd never made blueberry muffins and decided to try it, but I couldn't leave well enough alone and had to spiff up the recipe with cream cheese and chocolate chips, and the results were edible but not worth repeating.

But I love blueberry crumble--I LOVE it. I especially love it for breakfast, smothered with Stonyfield Farms Full Cream French Vanilla yogurt. YUM! I also love blueberry sorbet. Both recipes are below.

More on Avocados


In the comments on my guacomole recipe, Juti (thanks, Juti!) provided a link to this recipe for an avocado milkshilk on this very cool blog, the Traveler's Lunchbox, written by a gastronome named Melissa.

I just tried the recipe. I can't decide whether it is more aptly described as "heavenly" or "obscenely delicious."

It was also ridiculously easy.

I'm posting the recipe here the way I made it, because I want easy access to it. But you should follow the links and read Melissa's essay about "the secret life of avocados" and check out the rest of her entries as well.

Holly's ever-so-slightly-modified Avocado Milkshake

1 ripe Haas (dark-skinned) avocado, peeled and pitted
1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 cup cold milk, more or less depending on thickness desired
several handfuls of ice
a splash of amaretto (Melissa recommends a few drops orange extract, or some vanilla, rum or coffee, but as I didn't have rum or orange extract or brewed coffee and wanted something more exotic than vanilla, I tried a substitution, which worked OK)

Put everything in a blender and blend on high until the ice is chopped fine. Pour in a glass and enjoy.


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