Get Yo Paczki

This morning while sipping my coffee I realized it was Fat Tuesday aka Paczki Day and I was without a paczki. While in some parts of the world revelers are dancing in the streets for carnival, today is the day I always indulge in one (or a few) of Poland’s most calorie-laden pastries, the paczki. Keep Reading!

Not Your Grandma’s Casserole: 29 Modern Casserole Recipes

If you can fit it all in one dish, call it a casserole. The beloved retro dinner that touched the hearts of housewives across America is back in a big way. We have 29 revamped one-pot meals that will not only have your taste buds reeling for more, but they’ll save you time and effort too. Keep Reading!

Iced Pumpkin Spice Cookies

Forget PSL’s, these cookies are what pumpkin spice is all about! Cakey, soft, melt-in-your-mouth pumpkin cookies with hints of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Oh and the icing on the cake – these cookies are drizzled with a vanilla and spice icing that makes every single bite, worth it! Keep Reading!

Strawberry Pretzel Salad

No matter how you say it this dessert has absolutely no class!  What it does have is the perfect blend of sweet and salty and a flair of 1950’s Jello!  Strawberry Pretzel Salad is common place on the potluck or buffet table, and  makes its rounds about once a year for family holiday gatherings.

Today was one of those days when I had to turn to some sugary goodness for an uplift.  I should make note of the major food groups involved in this “salad”…Carbs, Dairy and Fruit!  Perhaps, not the most helpful or healthy option but you know what they say, desperate times cause for desperate measures!

Strawberry Pretzel Salad
Photo by Michelle

To recreate this dessert-type salad requires a few ingredients (not found in the perimeter of the grocery store) and a knack for layering!  I think this would be great served up in individual ball jam jars like My Baking Addiction does here:

http://www.mybakingaddiction.com

To make this yourself peruse your cookbook shelf for a community or church cookbook for a recipe or use the one below from About.com

Strawberry Pretzel Salad

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 24 to 36 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups crushed thin pretzel sticks (see Notes)
  • 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks or 12 Tablespoons) butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 package (6 ounce) strawberry flavor gelatin.
  • 8 ounces (1 large block) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup whipped topping (see Notes)
  • 2 heaping cups sliced strawberries, fresh or frozen
  • Additional whipped cream for garnish, optional

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 400 F.Finely crush pretzels with a rolling-pin or food processor. Combine crushed pretzels with 3 tablespoons sugar and butter. With a spatula, press pretzel mixture into the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking pan to form a crust. Bake 6 to 10 minutes until lightly browned. Cool completely.Pour 2 cups boiling water over strawberry gelatin. Stir until melted and let cool to room temperature.

Beat cream cheese, 1 cup sugar, and whipped topping until combined. Spread evenly over cooled crust.

Add strawberries to cooled gelatin and let thicken slightly. Spread strawberries and gelatin over cream cheese layer. Refrigerate until firm.

Cut into squares to serve.

Yield: 24 to 36 servings, depending on cut size

Notes: As for the pretzels, select thin pretzel sticks. A 9-ounce package is plenty for the pie shell. Real whipped cream may be used, of course, but Cool Whip and prepared Dream Whip work equally as well and are not quite as rich and heavy. You may also use sugar-free gelatin and sugar-free and/or low-fat whipped topping. I have not tried it with sugar substitutes in place of the sugar, though. Please comment if you try it.

Coconut Sticky Rice with Mango

The most important ingredient in this dish is the mango.  The sticky rice and coconut milk are the backdrop to this “king of fruit”.  The best mango for this dessert is a small, sweet yellow type called Ataulfo (Honey Mango or Manila Mango).  It is non-fiborous and widely available throughout the United States.  Only the ripest (sweetest)  mangoes should be used and can be detected by touch and smell.  The ataulfo mango will be yellow, supple to the touch with a full-fruity aroma and the skin may have a slight wrinkling to it which means it is at perfection!

Ataulfo Mango

The next important ingredient is the sticky rice–it’s not so much the rice itself but the manner in which the rice is cooked.  Sticky rice is also referred to as glutinous rice or sweet rice.  Do not be fooled because sticky rice does not contain gluten it actually has a higher starch content = sticky.  This rice is traditionally cooked by steaming in a woven bamboo basket. Due to lack of space and ease of use I usually perform the ol’ boil in a pot method.  However, I have heard of some cooks using a splatter guard atop a pot of boiling water and covering with a large bowl as a ‘homemade steam method’.

*When shopping in U.S. Asian markets sticky rice is usually labeled as sweet rice.

*Thai people believe that sticky rice makes you mellow and that mangoes are a comfort food which also aid digestion.  A    satisfying ending to any meal!

This is how my Coconut, Mango Sticky Rice turned out:

photo by michelle.

I basically followed the recipe (shown below) from Darlene Schmidt.  I added cardamom and a drop of almond extract as well.

Classic Thai Mango Sticky Rice Dessert (Khao Niaow Ma Muang)

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Thai Sweet Rice (also called ‘sticky rice’ OR ‘glutinous rice’, available at Asian food stores
  • 1-2 ripe mangos, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 4-5 Tbsp. palm sugar OR brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 can good-quality (thick) coconut milk
  • water (for boiling or steaming the rice)

Preparation:

  1. Soak the rice in 1 cup water for 20-30 minutes, OR up to 4 hours.
  2. Do not drain the rice. Simply add 3/4 cup (more) water, plus 1/4 can coconut milk, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1 Tbsp. brown sugar. Stir this into the rice.
  3. Bring to a gentle boil, then partially cover with a lid (leaving some room for steam to escape). Reduce heat to medium-low.
  4. Simmer in this way for 20 minutes, or until the coconut-water has been absorbed by the rice. Turn off the heat, but leave the pot on the burner with the lid on tight. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes.
  5. To make the sauce, warm (do not boil) the rest of the can of coconut milk over medium-low heat (5 minutes). Add 3 Tbsp. sugar, stirring to dissolve.
  6. Taste-test the sauce for sweetness, adding more sugar if desired. (note that it will taste less sweet when added to the rice).
  7. To assemble, place a few ‘mounds’ of sticky rice in each serving bowl. Top with slices of the mango, then pour sauce over. It should look like an English pudding with custard sauce, with the mounds of rice swimming in sauce.
    OR, here’s another method that results in even more coconut-ty flavor (optional): Add scoops of rice (portion out 1 scoop per person) directly to the sauce pot and stir over low heat, gently breaking apart large lumps, but leaving smaller lumps/chunks). Now add the mango pieces and gently stir until everything is warmed through. Portion out into serving bowls, making sure everyone has equal amounts of rice, mango, and plenty of sauce.