We have an idea to better recognize the good cooks in our community and spice up this column at the same time.
Some years ago, we had a popular feature in Wednesday’s Food section called “In the kitchen with ...” Each week, a local home cook was profiled via a question-and-answer format, and the cook also shared a favorite recipe. The people profiled were nominated by family, friends and co-workers as worthy cooks.
We would like to revive that as part of this “Now We’re Cooking” column. At the same time, we’ll continue to welcome your recipe requests and responses. If you would like to suggest someone to be profiled, email food@post andcourier.com with “Good Cook” as the subject line. Briefly describe the person’s talent and how you know him or her, and provide their phone number or email address so we can contact them.
Shaking things upSharon Cook of Charleston recently made an interesting and unusual request for a beverage. She had worked with foreign students from Central America who made a smoothie-type fruit drink that included cantaloupe and milk. She also thought they added a simple syrup made from pineapple rind, sugar and water.
This didn’t ring a bell with any of our readers, apparently, so I decided to poke around online. Again, the search was “fruitless” (sorry), at least concerning all of the ingredients she mentioned. Perhaps the smoothie was a Costa Rican refresco, which typically are made with milk or water and a tropical fruit such as pineapple, mango, strawberry and coconut. So why not cantaloupe, too?
I like the idea of shaking up the smoothie or milkshake routine this summer with out-of-the-ordinary fruits and combinations. Be bold.
Cantaloupe Milkshake3 servings
Ingredients1 medium cantaloupe
2 tablespoons sugar2 cups crushed ice
1 cup milk, cream or water as desired
2 tablespoons vanilla ice cream
DirectionsHalve cantaloupe and remove the seeds.
Peel and finely chop 1 cup melon.
Chop remaining cantaloupe into big pieces, place in a blender and add sugar, ice, milk/cream/water and ice cream, depending on whether you want juice or shake.
Blend well until smooth and frothy.
Serve immediately, dividing chopped melon among each serving.
Top with more ice cream if desired.
While poking around, I learned of other intriguing Central American drinks, some of which likely can be found in local Mexican “tiendas” (stores) or supermarkets that have a wide selection of ethnic food and drink.
Here are a few I would like to taste:
Atol de Elote is a Mayan beverage made of corn, water, sugar and cinnamon (see recipe below) that’s served hot. With sweet corn now in season, there’s no better time to try it, if you dare.
Horchata is a sweet rice or morro seed-based beverage flavored with cinnamon and sometimes vanilla. Horchata can be made with other seeds and nuts.
Kolachampan, a sugarcane-flavored soda.
Atol De Elote (Sweet Corn and Milk Drink)
4 servingsIngredients5 ears corn
3 cups milk, divided1 cup sugar
2 cinnamon sticks1 pinch kosher salt
DirectionsUse a sharp knife to remove the kernels from the corn and place them in a blender.
Add 1/2 cup milk and puree until completely smooth, 2 to 3 minutes.
Transfer the mixture to a medium pot, add the rest of the milk, sugar, cinnamon sticks and salt. Stir.
Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring constantly. Then reduce heat to medium low and simmer, still constantly stirring, until the mixture is slightly thickened (about 15 minutes).
Serve hot.It there’s a recipe you’ve lost, have memories of, or a dish you are just wondering about, let us know. Email Food Editor Teresa Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org.