Along the Grapevine


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Snow Treats

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Snow in a Bowl

It’s the end of the week and that means another Fiesta Friday with The Novice Gardener and her guests. Can’t wait to see what they post this week. My guess is that some will mention snow, or cold. Another event today is the opening of the Olympic Games. And this is my blog’s 50th post – so 3 good reasons to celebrate!

Instead of offering something to keep you warm and fight off the winter chills, I have decided to take you out into the snow and have some fun with it. This winter, after all, we are making memories of “that winter with all the snow”. Especially for people too young to have experienced a real winter, this will be talked about for years to come. So let’s enjoy it.

I do remember some very snowy past winters of my childhood, when eating snow was just what we did. ‘Safety’ meant looking both ways before you crossed the road – and that was it. When looking up eating snow recipes, I read several which said simply “Do not eat”. Apparently, flakes form around dust particles and goodness knows what else in the atmosphere. However, I did read one which said if it snows a lot, the atmosphere gets cleaned up, and the surface of the fallen snow is relatively clean. I also read quite a few posts where people did add snow to some rather fun recipes, and didn’t worry too much about its safety. After all, who hasn’t tasted snow, or dust for that matter? So, now I have that out of the way, I present some very simple, easy-to-make ‘snow ice cream’ recipes.

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Some Ingredients for Snow Treats

This can be a great activity for children. It involves mixing one base ingredient (whipped cream, pudding, milk, yogourt, sour cream), some sweetener, and any combination of flavours such as fruit, seeds, nuts, sweets, chocolate, etc. I enjoyed combining ingredients in a way I hadn’t thought of before, and after this exercise I will take some of these ideas and put them to use in real cooking. I was not able to do all the combinations I thought of, as I found my hands getting too cold since I had to assemble everything myself and take pictures. I recommend, if you can do this with others, place all the ingredients on a work surface outside and assemble it there. If you can’t eat it right away, just cover the dishes and stick them in the freezer.

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Some More Ingredients for Snow Treats

My first ‘recipe’ was made with 1 cup of whipped cream, 1 heaping Tbsp thick honey and a teaspoon of lavender infused sugar. It was heavy on the lavender (I made it with the flowers from my garden in the fall), and I feared it would be too strong, but I loved it. Add about 1 cup of snow and mix well. I sprinkled a few lavender petals on top.

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Lavender and Honey Snow Cream

The next one I made was with chili chocolate made from a powdered drink mix I found in my cupboard. Also 1 cup of cream, chili chocolate to taste and another spoonful of honey. The same amount of snow, and voila!

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Chocolate Snow Cream

I wanted to make dulce de leche with the evaporated milk, but ended up just using the latter. I simply mixed it with snow, and layered it with sliced banana. By this time, my hands were frozen, so I kept it simple.

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Snowy Banana Pudding

The next one is a savoury ice cream, inspired by a dessert I had at St. Anselm in New York a while ago. Although it was delicious, I thought the presentation a little sloppy, so I improved on my own by chopping the bacon.

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Blue Cheese Ice Cream at St. Anselm

It was a blue cheese ice cream with candied bacon and reduced balsamic vinegar. My version consisted of real yogourt (not 2% or fat-free) or you could use sour cream, mixed with a generous chunk of blue cheese. Mix that with the same volume of snow, and sprinkle candied bacon and dribble some reduced balsamic on top. This is fancy dinner party good. To sweeten the bacon I just sprinkled some sugar during the last few seconds of frying.

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And the final one, also savoury, I could say is in honour of Sochi as a Russian inspired recipe, but really I just had some red caviar to use up, and thought it a pretty colour for a festive dish. This consisted only of yogourt and caviar. I think a small shot of vodka on the side would go well, but not necessary.

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I did not manage to use any of my coconut milk or several other items I had lined up. But I hope you get the idea. I’m thinking maybe I should put some snow in a plastic bag and keep it in the freezer to make a snow treat on a hot day in July.


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Maple Taffy

This post is for blog event organized by The Novice Gardener. Bloggers are invited to submit a post showing how they celebrate Friday with some fun, fiesta-like activity. Surrounded by all this beautiful snow, I am certainly in a fiesta mood. As a forager, I can’t help looking at all this snow-buried landscape and wondering ‘what can I do with this while it lasts?’ So I am making a special treat with snow and maple syrup.

The Driveway

The Driveway

This is hardly a new recipe. I have seen it made and eaten many times, usually during the maple sap season and as part of the maple syrup production at a sugar shack. I have never tried it, so this seems a perfect opportunity to see if I can do it myself, and have some fun at the same time. The maple syrup is local – not from my property. The foraged ingredient is the snow!

To make this taffy, fill a cookie sheet with clean snow and keep cold. Boil some syrup until it reaches 235-245 degrees F, or the hard ball stage. Pour it in strips over the snow, and roll a popsicle stick or other similar utensil over the strip, rolling the maple around the stick as you go.

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For a little variety, and to cut the sweetness to some degree, I added chopped salted peanuts.

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Maple Syrup Taffy with Peanuts