Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Red, White & Blue Trifle

Because sometimes, you need a red, white and blue dessert. 

1 loaf pound cake (either frozen or fresh)
2 C heavy cream, whipped
1 small package (3.4 oz) instant white chocolate or cheesecake flavor pudding
1 1/2 C cold milk – the package instructs to use 2 C milk.  You want to use less so that it is thicker than normal.
1 pound fresh strawberries (this is the typical size sold in most grocery stores)
2 C frozen blueberries (do not thaw)
Trifle bowl or tall round glass bowl

Cut pound cake into 1-inch cubes.  Measure the first cuts to be sure they are about an inch.  You don’t want them to be too big since this is a “scoopable” dessert.
In a large, very cold mixing bowl, beat the heavy cream until firm peaks form.  Set aside in the refrigerator until ready to assemble the trifle.
Using a whisk or a hand mixer, prepare the pudding in a medium bowl, using 1 1/2 C milk, not the 2 C as instructed on the package.  You want to use less milk so that it is thicker than normal.  Set aside in the refrigerator until ready to assemble the trifle.
Rinse strawberries, remove stem and leaves and slice the berries.  You want to slice them “lengthwise” so that they look sort of like hearts. Reserve the best looking, most uniform-looking 24 or so slices for the ones that show on the side of the trifle.  Coarsely mash or chop the rest of the strawberries and set aside.
Place blueberries in a bowl in the refrigerator.  They will be ready when you are ready to assemble the trifle, but not too thawed out.  You may use fresh blueberries if desired, but I use frozen because when they thaw, they are softer than fresh and create lovely blue streaks that look pretty in the trifle bowl)
Now that the ingredients are ready and waiting for assembly, gently fold the prepared pudding into the whipped cream and set aside.

Trifle Assembly:
Begin first layer by placing half of cake cubes in the bottom of the bowl.
Spoon a third of the whipped cream / pudding mixture onto the cake layer.
Spoon half of the chopped or mashed strawberries and half of the frozen blueberries on top of the cream / pudding layer.
Place some strawberry slices flat against the bowl's side for appearance.
Place some blueberries against the bowl’s side for appearance as well.

Repeat the layers with the remaining cake, a third of the cream / pudding mixture and the remaining half of the berries, then the remaining third of the cream / pudding mixture.
The last layer will be just the berries and the cream / pudding mixture on top.
It should go like this:
Cake, cream, berries
Cake, cream, berries, cream

Carefully cover the trifle and refrigerate for several hours; let it chill for a minimum of one hour.
Trifle is best when made and consumed the same day because the pound cake gets soggy after a day.  Any leftovers may be refrigerated for up to three days, but the texture will not remain the same as the first day.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Homemade Pickle Juice

Homemade Pickle Juice
(without pickling cucumbers)
This recipe gives the brine a sour dill pickle taste.

Why on Earth would someone want to make the juice without the pickles?
#picklebacks for one thing! And for cramp relief for another.  Ever wake up in the middle of the night with a debilitating Charlie Horse?  Hobble to the kitchen and take a shot of this medicine!  

2 C purified / filtered water
1 C white vinegar (5% acetic acid)
2 T kosher salt
1 T pickling spice

Dash of sugar
Fresh dill sprigs (4) OR 1/2 tsp dried dill weed
Clove of garlic (partially crushed)

Mix all ingredients in a sauce pan, on low to medium heat, stirring constantly to dissolve all salt and sugar. Pickling spice can be added in the pan or in the container. It can be added loose or within a tea ball (for those who like clear pickle juice). Let cool, pour into container and store in the refrigerator.  Gently shake 1 time per day to redistribute herbs and spices if pickling spices are used.

If the resulting mixture is too vinegar-heavy, add more filtered water.
Take 1-4 ounces per day.  If you start to cramp, take a swig and swallow. 1 oz. = a single shot. In my experience, muscle cramping is gone within 30-90 seconds.

A basic pickle brine will include 1 or 2 parts water to 1 part vinegar (the stronger, the faster it will pickle), and about 1 tablespoon of salt per cup of water.

To that you can add any spices you want.  The easiest solution would be to pick up a jar of pickling spices at the grocery store.  Add about 1 tablespoon pickling spice per cup of brine. 


You can make Pink Pickled Eggs by making the above concoction then adding the juice of one 14 ounce can of beets. Put 6-12 cooked and peeled eggs in an extra large jar or container and pour the mixture on them after it cools. Cap off and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.