In this issue:
With summer here and the late afternoon activities pushing dinnertime later and later in the evening, you might think there's no time for show stopping desserts. But you can satisfy your family's sweet tooth when you choose classic dessert recipes, which have been updated for today's busy cooks. Save preparation time by choosing recipes that substitute quick-to-fix mixes for more complicated cooking steps and by keeping a few versatile ingredients on hand for spur-of-the-moment dessert plans.
Instant pudding trims preparation time for classic desserts and stands on its own for a quick ending to an everyday meal. No need to cook and stir - these mixes are ready to eat in minutes. And they make classic desserts like banana cream pie an easy addition to a weeknight menu. Kosher cooks will be happy to hear that some brands of instant pudding have been certified as kosher by the Orthodox Union.
Another favorite staple for snacking and baking is vanilla wafers. Offer them from the box to satisfy the entire family's desire for a sweet snack with wholesome goodness. In addition, top an ice cream sundae with a dollop of whipped cream and a vanilla wafer for a quick dessert with restaurant-style panache. Layered desserts get a touch of elegance served in a clear glass dish that's been lined with vanilla wafers. Or crush the wafers and mix them with a bit of sugar and margarine for a kid-proven-favorite pie crust.
Look to the produce section for other quick dessert ingredients. Bananas are the ultimate convenience food - they're available year- round and are a family favorite. Those with just a few brown spots have reached their maximum sweetness and are ideal for baking. Fresh- cut pineapple, available in the refrigerated section of the produce department, combines fresh taste with canned convenience. For an extra sweet treat, try specially grown Extra Sweet Pineapple with twice the sweetness and four times the vitamin C of other pineapples.
Easy Banana Pudding
Makes 8 servings
2 (4-serving size) packages instant vanilla or banana cream pudding &
3 cups milk
43 Nilla Wafers, divided 5 to 6
4 cups sliced ripe bananas, divided 2 cups each
prepared whipped topping
banana slices and Nilla Wafers, for garnish
Prepare pudding according to package directions. Spoon 1/2-half cup pudding in bottom of 1 half-quart serving bowl. Top with 8 wafers, a generous layer of sliced bananas and two-thirds cup pudding. Stand 10 wafers around outside edge of bowl. Continue layering 11 wafers, sliced bananas, two-thirds cup pudding, 14 wafers, sliced bananas and remaining pudding. Cover; chill 3 hours or overnight to soften cookies.
To serve, spread whipped topping over pudding; garnish with additional banana slices and wafers if desired.
*For Individual Servings: Prepare pudding as directed above. Into each of eight dessert bowls, stand 4 to 5 wafers around outside edge. Layer pudding with half the banana slices. Garnish with remaining bananas, whipped topping and remaining wafers.
Boston Cream Pie
Makes 8 servings
1 (4-serving size) package vanilla pudding & pie filling
1/2-cup cold milk
1 (9-inch) baked and cooled yellow cake layer, split horizontally
2 (1-ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate
2 tablespoons margarine or butter
1 cup powdered sugar*
3 to 5 tablespoons hot water
1/2-teaspoon vanilla extract
Prepare pudding according to package directions. Spread pudding on bottom cake layer; top with remaining layer. Melt chocolate and margarine or butter in small saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently; remove from heat. Blend in sugar, 2 tablespoons hot water and vanilla. Gradually stir in enough hot water until glaze consistency is reached. Spread glaze over top of cake. Refrigerate 1 hour before serving.
*Sift powdered sugar if lumpy.
Chocolate Banana Cream Pie
Makes 8 servings
30 Nilla Wafers, finely crushed
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4- cup margarine or butter, melted
2 (4-serving size) packages instant chocolate pudding & pie filling
3 cups cold milk
2 large bananas, sliced (about 2 cups), divided
Prepared whipped topping and chocolate curls, for garnish
Mix wafer crumbs, sugar and margarine or butter in small bowl. Press firmly on bottom and side of 9-inch pie plate; set aside. Prepare pudding according to package directions for pie. Arrange 1 cup banana slices over bottom of crust. Top with prepared pudding. Refrigerate at least 1 hour.
Serve garnished with whipped topping, remaining banana slices and chocolate curls.
Makes 4 servings
32 Nilla Wafers, divided
1 (8-ounce) package whipped cream cheese
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/2- teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups prepared whipped topping, divided
1/3 cup coffee
Chocolate-covered coffee beans and cocoa powder, for garnish
Reserve 4 wafers for garnish. Coarsely break remaining wafers; set aside. Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla in medium bowl with electric mixer at medium speed until creamy. Stir in 1/2 cup whipped topping. Drizzle coffee over wafer pieces in small bowl. Spoon 2 tablespoons cheese mixture into each of 4 (12-ounce) parfait glasses; top with 1 to 2 tablespoons soaked wafer pieces. Repeat layers; top with remaining cheese mixture. Refrigerate parfaits at least 1 hour. Top with remaining whipped topping and reserved wafers. Serve garnished with coffee beans and cocoa powder.
Y2K and Food Stockpiling
In a previous issue of Foodstuff, I asked how people are preparing for the possible Y2K crisis. Here are the answers I received:
No, I will not be stockpiling food nor water. I believe this is much ado about nothing. -Waldine
I do plan to make extra purchases starting in August, and starting with bottled water. I don't plan to go over board and buy freeze- dried food or anything, I'll just prepare as though a blizzard is coming. All the food that I buy will be just more of my normal purchases so that if I don't need them for Y2K problems they'll just become a part of my normal household stock. I also plan to buy extra charcoal this summer so that if I have no electricity, I can cook on the grill. - Sheila
I plan on stockpiling food and water beginning in November. I will have gas for the generator. I hope food stores do not hike prices the last quarter of 1999. I am seeking Y2K compliance assurances from my grocers, gas stations, banks, credit unions, stockbrokers, bakers. - Edward
It can't hurt to be prepared. I already have emergency earthquake kits, so I'm just adding a little more to that. - Linda
Absolutely not. This is all being blown out of proportion and it's silly. - Tom
Yes, I plan to start storing extras soon. Especially water and canned foods. - Beverly
Our church has always recommended keeping a good emergency food supply. I'm already prepared. - Noah
I have started to explore just how serious this whole Y2K shebang is. So far, I haven't met too many intelligent sources that are overly concerned (and I don't think airplanes will be falling out of the sky. ) - Kyle
There are many different types of vegetarians spanning from individuals who eat vegetarian occasionally to those who avoid specific types of animal products. Here are the most common types of vegetarians and what they eat:
ALMOST VEGETARIAN: Eats poultry, eggs, fish and dairy products, but avoids eating red meat.
PESCO VEGETARIAN: Eats fish, eggs and dairy but avoids poultry in addition to red meat.
LACTO-OVO VEGETARIAN: Eats eggs and dairy but avoids all animal flesh.
LACTO VEGETARIAN: Eats dairy but avoids eggs and all animal flesh.
OVO VEGETARIAN: Eats eggs but avoids dairy and all animal flesh.
VEGAN: Avoids all animal products; consumes an entirely plant-based diet.
Will You get Enough Nutrients?
There are lots of good reasons to cut back on your meat consumption. Switching to a vegetarian, and an almost vegetarian diet, is no longer a radical, counter-culture kind of thing to do. Meat no longer holds a position of domination on nutrition charts, and a well- balanced vegetarian diet has been shown to provide all the protein and nutrients that meat-eaters are getting. Suzanne Havala, author of _The Complete Idiot's Guide to Being Vegetarian_, recommends a gradual diet change and a minimum of guilt. "Most people far best taking the gradual approach to adopting a vegetarian diet, letting their diets evolve at their own pace as they master new skills and educate themselves about this new eating style," she points out. "Eventually they become secure and comfortable with meal planning and handling a variety of food-related situations."
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Being Vegetarian by Suzanne Havala (Alpha Books, 1999) is available for $16.95 postpaid from Outrider Books, Box 277, Shoshone, ID 83352-0277; fax (209) 396-8354.
Another great book making a strong case for eating less meat, is the best selling Diet For a Small Planet by Frances Moore Lappe. The essence of the argument is that producing meat is an extremely inefficient way of producing enough protein to feed the world's population. The supporting argument is that in a world of six billion people, hundreds of millions of which face malnutrition every day, we humans ought to be concerned about how much protein everyone is getting. hat remains a complete guide for eating well in the 90s. Diet For a Small Planet features simple rules for a healthy diet, with a streamlined, easy-to-use format. The book includes hundreds of wonderful recipes featuring protein-rich meals without meat, and a fascinating philosophy on changing ourselves--and our world--by changing the way we eat.
The 50th Pillsbury Bake-Off
Pillsbury has announced a milestone event - the 50th Anniversary of the Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest. The best recipe will earn a $1million grand prize at the competition in San Francisco, California, February 26-29, 2000. And, for the first time, Pillsbury is providing on-line entry to the contest via the www.bakeoff.com website.
Also new to the contest this year is the announcement of the Bake-Off Contest Hall of Fame. Pillsbury is honoring the 10 most treasured Bake-Off recipes in the all new on-line Hall of Fame, which can be found at the web site. Here are a few of my personal favorite Bake- Off winning recipes, taken directly from the www.bakeoff.com website.
TUNNEL OF FUDGE CAKE
$5,000 Second Prize Winner in the 1966
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 3/4 cup margarine or butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
2 1/4 cups Pillsbury BEST® All Purpose Flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups chopped walnuts*
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
4 to 6 teaspoons milk
1. Heat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour 12-cup Bundt® pan or 10- inch tube pan. In large bowl, combine sugar and margarine; beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually add 2 cups powdered sugar; blend well. By hand, stir in flour and remaining cake ingredients until well blended. Spoon batter into greased and floured pan; spread evenly.
2. Bake at 350 F for 45 to 50 minutes until top is set and edges are beginning to pull away from edge of pan. **Cool upright in pan on wire rack 1 1/2 hours; invert onto serving plate. Cool for at least 2 hours.
3. In small bowl, combine all glaze ingredients, adding enough milk for desired drizzling consistency. Spoon over top of cake, allowing some to run down sides. Store tightly covered.
HIGH ALTITUDE (ABOVE 3500 FEET): Increase flour by 3 tablespoons. Bake as directed above.
* Nuts are essential for the success of this recipe.
**Since this cake has a soft filling, an ordinary doneness test cannot be used. Accurate oven temperature and baking times are essential.
MAGIC MARSHMALLOW CRESCENT PUFFS
$25,000 Grand Prize Winner in the 1969 Bake-Off® Contest
Prep Time: 20 minutes (Ready in 35 minutes)
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons Pillsbury BEST® All Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 (8-oz.) cans Pillsbury Refrigerated Crescent Dinner Rolls
16 large marshmallows
1/4 cup margarine or butter, melted
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 to 3 teaspoons milk
1/4 cup chopped nuts, if desired
1. Heat oven to 375 F. Spray 16 muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray. In small bowl, combine sugar, flour and cinnamon; mix well.
2. Separate dough into 16 triangles. Dip 1 marshmallow in margarine; roll in sugar mixture. Place marshmallow on shortest side of triangle. Roll up, starting at shortest end of triangle and rolling to opposite point. Completely cover marshmallow with dough; firmly pinch edges to seal. Dip 1 end in remaining margarine; place margarine side down in sprayed muffin cup. Repeat with remaining marshmallows.
3. Bake at 375 F. for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. (Place foil or cookie sheet on rack below muffin cups to guard against spills.) Remove from muffin cups; place on wire racks set over waxed paper.
4. In small bowl, blend powdered sugar, vanilla and enough milk for desired drizzling consistency. Drizzle over warm rolls. Sprinkle with nuts.