Food & Drink

Everybody Eats: From smoothies to adult cocktails, blender recipes for any time of day

Raspberry Champagne Cocktail for Everybody Eats food column. Photographed in North Liberty, Iowa, on Thursday, Aug. 1, 2019. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
Raspberry Champagne Cocktail for Everybody Eats food column. Photographed in North Liberty, Iowa, on Thursday, Aug. 1, 2019. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
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My youngest leaves for college later this month. Her departure means my husband and I will be empty nesters.

I remember back in the days of diapers, tears and constant questions that the idea of a house without children was heaven. My kids are less than two years apart, so, of course, my toddler son didn’t nap while his infant sister was sleeping. From the moment they woke up to bedtime hugs and kisses, it was go-go-go in a sleep-deprived haze.

Aw, sleep. Sweet, sweet sleep.

So yes, there were times — many times — I dreamed about the kids being out of the house so I could catch 40 winks. Of course, there are things you imagine doing in the future, especially when your present isn’t so great. Looking ahead is normal. I remember being my daughter’s age, counting down the days until I left for college so I could do all the things I wanted to do without my parents’ permission.

And now, with my 18-year-old’s college departure on the horizon, I wish I didn’t remember that.

Other examples of things I thought I’d do when I grew up include going to Happy Hour every night — Jack, Chrissy and Janet were always at Happy Hour at the Regal Beagle on “Three’s Company.” I didn’t know what that meant as a child, but it sounded cool. Now I wonder who is lucky enough to enjoy Happy Hour specials during the week. Don’t adults have to work? Run errands? Pick up kids from school? Am I doing this grown-up thing right?

Kitchen appliances are another area where past me believed simply having them in my possession would change my life. Once upon a time I bought a juicer, thinking I’d use it to meet my daily required fruit and vegetable intake. Not only was that an expensive and bulky purchase, it continued to be expensive because it takes a lot of food to make one glass of juice.

Unfortunately, it was not lesson learned. When I saw a blender on sale at a popular store, I bought it. Also, a blender isn’t a juicer, it can do a lot of things. That’s what I kept telling myself every time I opened my pantry and saw it sitting on the top shelf, still in the box.

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Six months later, I finally got it out of the box, thanks to my son. He was home for the summer and had a new infinity for smoothies. We looked up recipes, I stocked the freezer with frozen fruit, and for two weeks, we used that blender daily.

Take that, juicer!

Our blender use has since declined, as smoothie love gave way to actual food that my 20-year-old doesn’t have to cook, but I don’t think I’ll add it to my pile of kitchen appliances to take to the consignment store anytime soon, especially after trying some funky new milkshake recipes.

Who needs Happy Hour and the so-called grown-up life? Maybe I’ll spend my empty nest years regressing, starting with naptime.

PETITE RASPBERRY CHAMPAGNE COCKTAILS

1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries

3 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon honey

1 1/2 cups vodka, divided

1 bottle champagne or sparkling wine, chilled

1 cup Chambord, divided

Garnish: 12 fresh raspberries

Place raspberries, sugar, honey and 1/2 cup of vodka into a blender. Puree until smooth. Pour mixture through a fine sieve into a small pitcher. Pour remaining vodka into raspberry mixture and stir.

Divide puree mixture among 12 small glasses. Pour the champagne over each glass and top with a small amount of Chambord.

Drop a fresh raspberry into each glass and serve.

Source: “Tiny Food Party! Bite-Size Recipes for Miniature Meals” by Teri Lyn Fisher and Jenny Park (Quirk Books; 2012)

MAPLE-BACON SHAKE

2 slices bacon, cut into thin strips

6 tablespoons cold whole or low-fat milk

2 tablespoons pure maple syrup, preferably grade B

Pinch of salt

8 medium scoops French vanilla ice cream, softened until just melty at the edges

Fry the bacon in a small skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until rendered and crisp, about 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove the cooked bacon to paper towels to drain, and nibble on it or reserve it for another use. Off the heat, briefly cool the fat in the skillet.

Place the milk, maple syrup, 1 tablespoon of cooled bacon fat (discard the leftover fat), salt, and ice cream in a blender and pulse several times to begin breaking up the ice cream. With the blender motor off, use a flexible spatula to mash the mixture down onto the blender blades. Continue pulsing, stopping and mashing until the mixture is well blended, thick, and moves easily in the in the blender jar, roughly 30 to 90 seconds. Pour into a chilled glass or glasses and serve at once.

Make about 3 1/2 cups.

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Source: “Thoroughly Modern Milkshakes: 100 Thick and creamy Shakes You Can Make at Home” by Adam Reid (W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.; 2009)

TOASTED MARSHMALLOW MILKSHAKE

Nonstick cooking spray

9 large marshmallows

¼ cup whole milk

11 ounces premium vanilla ice cream, about 1 3/4 packed cups

Toasted marshmallows for garnish, optional

Preheat the broiler. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray.

Arrange the marshmallows flat on the baking sheet and place under the broiler until the tops are golden brown color, about 40 seconds. Remove from the oven, carefully turn the marshmallows over, and broil until they are a deep golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.

Combine the marshmallows and milk in a blender and blend for 5 seconds. Add the ice cream and blend until smooth, about 10 seconds. Serve immediately.

Makes one 16-ounce milkshake.

Source: “Bobby Flay’s Burgers, Fries & Shakes” by Bobby Flay with Stephanie Banyas and Sally Jackson (Clarkson Potter; 2009)

BRAZILIAN LEMONADE

1 cup sugar

6 cups cold water

4 juicy limes (Tip: Smooth, thin-skinned limes are the juiciest and least bitter.)

6 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk

Mix cold water and sugar very well and chill until ready to use. This step could be done ahead of time.

Wash limes thoroughly with soap (just use hand-dishwashing soap or regular hand soap); you need the soap to get the wax and pesticides off the limes because you’re using the whole lime. Cut the ends off the limes and then cut each lime into eighths.

Place half of the limes in your blender. Add half the sugar water, place the lid on your blender and pulse 5 times.

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Place a fine-mesh strainer over a pitcher (the one you’ll serve the lemonade in) and pour the blended mixture through the strainer and into the pitcher. Use a spoon to press the rest of the liquid into the pitcher. Dump the pulp and residue in the strainer into the trash. Repeat with the remaining limes and sugar water.

Whisk in sweetened condensed milk.

Serve immediately over lots of ice. This does not keep well, so while you can mix the sugar and water ahead of time and slice the limes, don’t mix them in the blender until you are ready to serve.

Source: “Our Best Bites: Mormon Moms in the Kitchen” by Sara Wells and Kate Jones (Shadow Mountain; 2011)

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