New Castle News

June 8, 2012

Culinary Conversation: Like life, treats can be smooth, rocky

Lugene Hudson
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — The phrase I heard the most while working on a story about summer safety was, “Be alert to your surroundings.”

I really should have paid more attention.

Seriously, when you’re outdoors, there are so many unforeseen things that can happen.

So it’s an irony that as I’m thinking safety, I disobeyed the rules and was injured.

While running through Mill Creek Park, I decided to change my return route and take the trail instead of the main road. The path is about 200 yards from the road and runs along a hill and down to a lake. Things were going well until I tripped over a tree root and tumbled down onto my knees. My MP3 player and sunglasses flew off my head and face. I looked down to assess my injuries and it wasn’t a pretty picture. Thankfully, two young women were to be on the road above me at the same time and got me to a safe place where I called for help.

Back home, after some serious clean-up, antibiotic cream and lots of bandages, I was hobbling along and began healing.

I counted my blessings as it could have been much worse. I could have easily fallen down that short hill and even into the lake.

Lesson learned — always take the high road.

Life can be smooth and life can be rocky.

In that vein, today’s recipes capture some of both.

And remember, Culinary Conversation seeks your best summer recipes for picnics and gatherings. We would love to receive your contributions.

Cantaloupe Smoothie

Place unpeeled banana in the freezer overnight. Remove banana from the freezer and let it sit for 2 minutes or until the skin begins to soften. With a paring knife, remove the skin. It’s OK to have a little fiber remaining. Cut the banana into chunks and put in a blender or food processor. Seed the cantaloupe quarter and cut the flesh from the rind. Cut the flesh into chunks and add to the blender. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.

Frosty Mocha

In blender container, combine all ingredients except ice; blend until well mixed.

Add ice cubes a few at a time, blending well after each addition until smooth.

Red Pepper Gazpacho

Peel, seed and finely dice 2 cucumbers and 2 red bell peppers. Place in a bowl and combine with 1 minced garlic clove, 3 sliced scallions, 1 small diced tomato, 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley and 1/2 cup chopped jalapeno chile.

Add 2 1/2 cups vegetable juice, 4 tsps. olive oil and 1 tbsp. cider vinegar; season with salt and pepper; stir to combine. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate until ready to serve, up to 2 days.

Rocky Road Fudge

Line 9-inch square pan with foil so that foil extends over sides of pan; butter foil. In large saucepan, combine sugar, margarine and milk. Bring to a boil; stirring constantly. Continue boiling 5 minutes over medium heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add marshmallow creme and chocolate chips; blend until smooth. Stir in walnuts and vanilla. Stir in miniature marshmallows. The marshmallows should not melt completely. Quickly spread in prepared pan. Cool to room temperature. Score fudge into 36 or 48 squares. Refrigerate until firm. Remove fudge from pan by lifting foil; remove foil from fudge. Using large knife, cut through scored lines. Store in refrigerator.

Rocky Road Sauce

Cream butter; gradually add powdered sugar, beating well. Add beaten egg yolks in thirds, beating thoroughly after each addition. Blend in chocolate sauce.

Beat egg whites until stiff, not dry, peaks are formed. Gently fold into the chocolate mixture. Fold in the pecans and marshmallows. Chill.

Serve over slices of angel food cake, ice cream or other dessert of choice.