Friday, April 30, 2010

Recipe - Strawberry - Rhubarb Crisp


¾ pound rhubarb, cut into ½-inch pieces

¼ cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon flour


1 cup fine gingersnap cookie crumbs

½ cup sliced almonds, coarsely chopped

½ cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup light-brown sugar

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened


1. Larger strawberries should be cut in half; smaller strawberries can be left whole. Combine with the rhubarb, granulated sugar and flour. Set aside while preparing the topping.

2. Combine cookie crumbs with the almonds, flour and brown sugar. Cut in butter until well-blended.3. Spoon the fruit into a 9-inch-square pan and sprinkle with topping. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven 35 minutes. Serve warm with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream if desired.
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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Ice-cream leads Unilever revenue growth

In a statement sent to shareholders, the company’s management attributed the increase in revenues largely to the success of the ice-cream division, citing the successful launch of new products in that line of business such as the Cornetto Double Chocolate and the Zapper. The company also launched the “Healthy Lunch Box Campaign” which their management deemed a success. The quarter follows a record year for Unilever. In 2009, the company’s net income jumped by 54% to reach Rs3.1 billion ($36 million).

In what was probably a good sign for personal hygiene in Pakistan, that growth was led by the “home and personal care” segment of Unilever’s business, which includes soaps, shampoos and detergents. Ice cream sales last year grew at a somewhat tepid 9%, which may have been the reason why the company’s management decided to pursue an aggressive marketing and distribution strategy. The firm placed visicoolers (freezers with transparent lids) in several small towns across the country to improve its distribution network, spending an additional Rs230 million on the overall distribution effort compared to the same quarter last year.

The increased distribution costs largely account for the flat earnings, which only grew by 4% to Rs582 million. Unilever has been facing stiff competition over the last year from Engro Foods, a subsidiary of the Engro Corporation. Engro only has Rs15 billion in revenues compared to Unilever’s full-year Rs38 billion but the company is growing rapidly and shaking up the food products market in Pakistan. Analysts attribute pressure from Engro Foods as the leading cause of the higher expenses being incurred by Unilever in its marketing and distribution efforts, which in turn has kept its bottom line flat for the quarter despite a stellar growth rate in revenues.

Nevertheless, Unilever’s management feel that they have a diversified portfolio of brands which will hold them in good stead over the next few years. However, they do worry about the rise of commodity prices and power outages, which have squeezed their gross margins from 33.4% in the first quarter of last year to 30.8% in the first quarter of this year. Another concern for the management has been the smuggling of tea, which cuts into their revenue growth and ultimately hurts the company’s bottom line. Unilever has been advocating lowering the import tariffs on tea to discourage smuggling, but has not yet been successful in persuading the government of its position.
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Friday, April 23, 2010

Ice cream cookie cups win Pillsbury Bake-Off

Sue Compton is having a pretty sweet day. She's a newly minted millionaire, courtesy of her Pillsbury Bake-Off win, announced live Wednesday morning on "The Oprah Winfrey Show." Her original recipe for Mini Ice Cream Cookie Cups took top honors in the 44th annual contest. The winning baker said it wasn't a stove-slaving process of trial and error for her.

"Just once and done. For real. It just came together and I'm very lucky." She sought inspiration from the list of potential ingredients required by Pillsbury -- eligible recipes must include two, in specified minimum quantities -- and wandered the aisles of her local market. "The ideas came as a result of trying to combine ingredients I thought would taste good together," she said.

Compton said she doesn't anticipate getting tired of serving up her now-signature dish -- "I like desserts a lot, and you don't see people getting tired of cookies or ice cream" -- or making a foray into the professional baking arena. "I don't see living my life any differently. I'd just like to put the money toward my retirement."

The Delanco, New Jersey, woman took the top prize by whisking past stiff competition like Evelyn Henderson's Salmon Pecan-Crusted Tartlets, Kellie White's Zesty Lime Fish Tacos and Niki Plourde's Tomato Basil Eggs Alfredo in Bread Baskets.

Contestants, who must be amateurs, have been tossing their toques into the ring since the Bake-Off's inception in 1949. That year, Theodora Smafield of Rockford, Illinois, took home $50,000 for her No-Knead Water-Rising Twists recipe -- a sum doubled from the advertised $25,000 pot by a promotional token that she'd run across two months before.

Though her initial win stirred a national obsession with the contest, it still took 44 years for a man -- Kurt Wait -- to rise to the top with a Macadamia Fudge Torte in 1996.

The finished dishes are judged on taste, appearance, creativity and consumer appeal.

Here is the winning recipe for Mini Ice Cream Cookie Cups:


Makes 24 tartlets


• 1 package (16 ounces) Pillsbury Ready to Bake refrigerated sugar cookies (24 cookies)

• 4 teaspoons sugar

• 1/3 cup finely chopped Fisher Chef's Naturals walnuts

• ½ cup Hershey's semisweet chocolate baking chips

• ¼ cup Smucker's Seedless Red Raspberry Jam

• 1½ cups vanilla bean ice cream, softened

• 24 fresh raspberries

Prep time: 20 minutes. Start to finish: 45 minutes


Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 24 mini muffin cups with Crisco Original No-Stick Cooking Spray. Place a cookie dough round in each muffin cup. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Place 2 teaspoons of the sugar in a small bowl. Dip the end of a wooden spoon handle in the sugar and carefully press into the center of each cookie to make a 1-inch-wide indentation. Cool completely in a pan for about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix walnuts and remaining 2 teaspoons of sugar, then set aside. In a small microwaveable bowl, microwave chocolate chips uncovered on high for 30 to 60 seconds, stirring after 30 seconds, until smooth.

Run a knife around the edges of the cups to loosen, and gently remove them from the pan. Dip the rim of each cup into the melted chocolate, then into the walnut mixture. Place the walnut side up on a cookie sheet with sides.

In another small microwaveable bowl, microwave the jam uncovered on high for about 15 seconds until melted. Spoon a half-teaspoon of jam into each cup. Freeze cups for about five minutes or until the chocolate is set.

Spoon the ice cream into the cups, using a small cookie scoop or measuring tablespoon. Top each cup with a fresh raspberry. Store in the freezer, then let stand at room temperature for five minutes before serving.

Nutritional Information:

In one serving, there are: Calories: 150 (calories from fat: 70); total fat: 7 grams (saturated fat 2½ grams, trans fat: 1½ grams); cholesterol: 0 milligrams; sodium: 60 milligrams; total carbohydrates: 19 grams (dietary fiber: 0 grams, sugars: 12 grams); protein: 1 gram.

Percentage daily values* are as follows: Vitamin A: 0%; vitamin C: 0%; calcium: 0%; iron: 2%.

*Percentage daily values are based on a 2,000-calorie diet.
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Friday, April 16, 2010

Cardamom Ice Cream


4 cups 2% milk
2 cups light cream
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
8 whole green cardamom pods, lightly crushed
1 1/2 cups sugar
8 egg yolks
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1 12oz bag semi-sweet morsels or chunks, chopped


Place the milk, cream, vanilla bean and crushed cardamom pods into a large saucepan. Bring slowly to a near-boil. Take out the vanilla bean and scrape the vanilla seeds into the milk mixture. Remove the crushed green cardamom pods and return the cardamom seeds to the milk mixture.

In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks and sugar until the mixture is pale yellow and falls in a thick, ribbon-like stream when lifted with the whisk. Gradually mix in a small ladleful of the milk into the egg yolks, whisking continuously. In a slow stream, whisk the remaining milk mixture into the bowl with the eggs, then return the liquid to the saucepan.

Over low heat, stir until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 5-6 minutes. Do not let it boil, or the mixture will curdle.

Remove the pan from the heat and add the ground cardamom. Allow to cool completely, then stir in the chopped chocolate. Freeze in an ice cream maker following the manufacturer’s instructions.
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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Cookies 'n' cream

Ashby's Sterling Ice Cream Parlor 46540 Van Dyke, Shelby Twp.; 586-268-6222: This old-fashioned ice cream parlor serves 44 flavors of premium, hand-dipped ice cream. No shortcuts here: Ashby's starts off with the creamiest 14 percent butterfat ice cream mix and adds your favorite ingredients. In addition to ice cream, choose from shakes, malts, floats and sodas to settle your sweet tooth. Ashby's also carries Alpine Chocolat Haus of Gaylord items, which include caramel corn and brittle.

Astoria Pastry Shop 541 Monroe St., Detroit, 313-963-9603; 320 S. Main St., Royal Oak; 248-582-9220: Next year, Astoria will have logged 40 years in its Greektown location. This pastry shop serves the kinds of desserts that make you want to snap a photo of them before they go down the hatch.

And it's quite a sight: a glistening array of mouthwatering cakes and pies and cookies and puddings. Then there's the chocolate-peanut butter frozen yogurt, a rich delight made from low-fat frozen yogurt, but chock-full of thick peanut butter, a necessity for low-carbers. They'll happily box them up for a gift or to go.

Benny's Bakery 111 W. Michigan Ave., Saline; 734-429-9120: When you need a specialty cake — and by that we mean a cake shaped like a hat or a purse or an Army helmet or even an armadillo — Benny's is your go-to spot. They also do an array of creative cookies shaped like anything you can imagine: hearts, crosses, bunnies, groundhogs, fire trucks, shamrocks. And their cupcakes are so cute you'll have a sugar overload without even taking a bite, adorned with yellow duckies, baby bibs, sleeping tots, baby booties or kitty faces. See their Flickr site for examples.

Cake Nouveau 206 N. Fourth Ave., Ann Arbor; 734-994-4033: Another specialty cake shop, Cake Nouveau specializes in creative cakes for special events. Their artistic flair and whimsical elements are nothing like the boring white wedding cakes of yesterday, with bright colors and unique shapes. Trained in French pastries, their award-winning resident "artist," Courtney Clark, can tailor a pastry to your taste — in flavor and shape. Open daily.

Calder Brothers Dairy 1020 Southfield Rd., Lincoln Park; 313-381-8858: Having logged 62 years of operation, the Calder Brothers' spot may be the last remaining Downriver dairy. They still make their ice cream fresh and serve it up in cones, malts and shakes in their own ice cream parlor. Whether you're just getting a scoop to go or loading up by the gallon, their 38 flavors, ranging from reliable vanilla to cinnamony horchata, aim to please. The ice cream is reportedly notable enough to draw the occasional out-of-state visitor.

Cannella Patisserie & Creperie 300 Hamilton Row, Birmingham; 248-203-9704: Serving fancy pastries and delicious crêpes, Cannella offers treats with intriguing combinations. In the Normandie crêpe, raspberries are cooked combined with apple slices and brie and folded inside and scattered fresh on top. The desserts are also carefully constructed with unique blends of flavors. It opens for breakfast and stays open until midnight on weekends for the post-movie crowd across the street at the Uptown Palladium 12.

Champagne Chocolates 54 Cherry St., Mt. Clemens; 586-468-1170: Boxed chocolates, toffees, "clusters" — bite-sized chunks of chocolate-coated peanuts, almonds, raising, dried cherries, or coconut — or "barks" — cooled sheets of chocolate mixed with fruit and nuts that are broken into delectable shards. You'll also find a creative assortment of wedding favors — and even sugar-free chocolate. Ask about their "chocolate parties," which give kids and adults alike the opportunity to create your own confections.

Chocolate Bar Café 20737 Mack Ave., Grosse Pointe Woods; 313-881-2888: This old-fashioned soda fountain serves classic sundaes, malts, real sodas and some of the best homemade chocolates around. The Chocolate Bar Café still serves the same Alinosi chocolate and ice cream that has been around since 1921. Along with the usual desserts, the Chocolate Bar Café offers special made-to-order cakes, cupcakes and treats. You can even customize a box of truffles or even personalize a chocolate bar with your own logo.

Clark's Ice Cream & Yogurt 3312 12 Mile Rd., Berkley; 248-541-6560: With about 60 different flavors, Clark's is a well-stocked roadside stand with a small lobby inside and benches and picnic tables outside. The stand has been in business for about 30 years, as Clark's for almost 20. They sell Blizzard-like Clark's Chillers, with soft-serve, Oreos and Butterfingers, as well as a host of hand-dipped cones. The most popular flavors of ice cream include "moose tracks" (a vanilla-chocolate mixed with peanut butter cups), amaretto cherry and butter pecan. Cones come in regular, sugar and waffle. A two-scoop cone runs between $3 (child's size) and $3.75 (adult size). Open from 1 to 9 p.m., with expanded hours as summer gets hotter.

Christine's Cakes and Pastries 45883 Hayes Rd., Shelby Twp.; 586-566-5545: As the name suggests, cakes are right up front on Christine's product lines, and they come in more than a half-dozen flavors, with options that include rich butter cream frosting and their "famous" poured-chocolate cakes. The pastry choices include more than a dozen tortes, as well as cannolis, chocolate mousse tarts, cream puffs, éclairs, cordials, brownies, strawberry crêpes and a full line of gourmet cookies. Christine's has a reputation for using only the finest ingredients.

Culver's Frozen Custard and Butterburgers 11001 Belleville Rd., Belleville; 734-699-6100; 30820 Little Mack Ave., Roseville; 586-415-8804: 14800 Racho Rd., Taylor; 734-287-3147; 6500 Newburgh Rd., Westland; 734-595-1883: The popular "Turtle" sundae is made with hot fudge, hot caramel and pecans over vanilla custard. Or try the sundae with hot fudge, peanut butter sauce and Reese's Pieces. There are about 100 flavors. Each store arranges its own flavor of the day as it sees fit; some schedule a monthly calendar, others pick a new flavor each morning. They try to select flavors suitable to holidays, like the Red, White and Blueberry on Memorial Day (vanilla ice cream with strawberries and blueberries). The menu includes the burger that made them famous, the ButterBurger (natch).

The Cupcake Station 136 N. Old Woodward Ave., Birmingham; 248-593-1903; 116 E. Liberty St., Ann Arbor; 734-222-1801: The Cupcake Station prides itself on making every batch 100 percent from scratch, so you need never worry about biting into a stale cupcake. Think you can create a cupcake worthy enough to be deemed the "cupcake of the month?" Well send in your ideas because the Cupcake Station always welcomes new ideas to further their cupcake inventory.

Doc Sweet's Candy Company 120 S. Rochester Rd., Clawson; 248-597-1051: There's no missing this candy store: Its red-and-white striped awning makes it look like a big box of candy itself. It may as well be: It's Michigan's largest retail candy store, a self-dubbed "gigantic candy wonderland with 5,000 square feet of candy." It stocks everything from Abba Zaba to Zotz, running from nostalgic candy sticks to chocolate-coated insects. Open seven days a week, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays.

Erma's Original Frozen Custard 6451 Auburn Rd., Shelby Twp.; 586-254-7280: This roadside custard stand stocks a few flavors a week, but what flavors! How about mai tai or white chocolate almond? Located between Mound and Van Dyke roads just north of M-59, open 11 a.m.-9 p.m. daily. One of our fellow employees recommends the "custard puff" highly.

Gayle's Chocolates 417 S. Washington Ave., Royal Oak; 248-398-0001; Go beyond the mass-produced candies for a true Michigan luxury. At Gayle's, chocolatiers will design a label for you and wrap candy bars with it, or, with enough lead time (4 weeks), can design a signature chocolate piece. Their present-ready truffles, hand-dipped and made from all-natural ingredients, are among their most popular holiday items. And check out the whimsical gift boxes or chocolate molds: flowers, sharks, motorcycles, stars and shoes (golf cleats and pumps) among the choices. From the double vanilla latte to the hand-dipped Grand Marnier truffles, this place is oozing the sweet stuff.

Guernsey Farms Dairy 21300 Novi Rd., Northville; 248-349-1466: You can go to Guernsey Farms just for an ice cream cone, or to buy dairy products from a little convenience store, or you can go for a meal. For less than $4, the black-and-white sundae — a combination of chocolate and vanilla ice cream with marshmallow and hot fudge, sprinkled with nuts, piled with whipped cream, and a cherry — is a meal itself! Guernsey Farms has kept families lapping up quality ice cream since 1940. With 60 flavors to choose from and an assortment of cones, sherbets, sorbets and other ice cream desserts, you'll probably have a hard time deciding what to order. There's no need to worry — free samples are available upon request. If you're stunned by the selection, ask for butter pecan, take a seat outside in the shade on one of the many boulders and lick it up — you won't be disappointed. For a fruity sensation, try their recent flavor, Grandpa's Blueberry Way — a combination of blueberry and pomegranate blended with dark chocolate pieces in honor of the founder's 100th birthday. If you can't get enough of the creamy delights, most flavors are available in both half-gallon and 3-1/2 gallon sizes for purchase.

Josef's European Pastry Shop 21150 Mack Ave., Grosse Pointe Woods; 313-881-5710: From grand wedding cakes to simple pastries, Josef's has almost 40 years in the business of providing customers with rich European-style pastries. Owners Anthony and Jimmy Cavallo are award-winning master pastry chefs from Montreal, and their artistic creations run the gamut, including cakes, pies, tea cookies, tortes, breads and croissants.

Just Baked 2463 A West Stadium, Ann Arbor; 734-585-5354; 33309 Seven Mile Rd., Livonia; 248-306-0296; 32828 Woodward Ave., Royal Oak; 248-255-1441; Somerset Collection, 2800 W. Big Beaver Rd., Troy; 248-255-1441; Twelve Oaks Mall, 27500 Novi Rd., Novi; 248-859-4340: This local mini-chain is a cupcake shop and bakery, offering more than 30 different flavors of gourmet, "jumbo" cupcakes including: rocky road, s'mores and white chocolate raspberry, as well as butter cream "mini" cupcakes. You'll also find homemade brownies, cookies, scones, decorated layer cakes and more.

Leason's Dairy Bar & Grille 11475 E. 13 Mile Rd., Warren; 586-977-2680: If the neon-orange sign doesn't attract you, then the nostalgic ice cream shop atmosphere certainly will. Family-owned and -operated since 1970, this shop's menu has a variety of soft-serve and yogurt delights, but also offers eight classic ice cream flavors, including cookie dough and "moose tracks." The "Glacier" is a popular item that mixes some of your favorite candies with vanilla soft-serve. Soft-serve wonders at Leason's include the "Gold Digger," with your choice of vanilla soft-serve or yogurt with hard chocolate topping, caramel and pecans; and the "Hot Fudge Crème Puff," a crème puff topped with your choice of vanilla soft-serve or yogurt, hot fudge and additional toppings. In addition to frozen treats they also serve pitas, gyros, burgers and hot dogs, and even "Chicken Sliders."

Paciugo Italian Gelato 1198 E. Walton Blvd., Rochester Hills; 248-608-6751; A chain based in Texas ought to know how to cool customers off! And this joint in the Boulevard Shoppes in Rochester Hills has what it takes to put a freeze on the heat. With milk-based, water-based, soy-based and sugar-free flavors running into the dozens, there should be something here for everybody, whatever their dietary concerns or preferences.

Ray's Ice Cream 4233 Coolidge Hwy., Royal Oak, 888-549-5256: This family-owned ice cream parlor has logged a half-century in the business. They make gourmet ice cream on premises, more than 50 flavors of it. Among the favorites are butter pecan, "Huckleberry Pie," "Almond Joy," blueberry pie and black cherry. Unique to this shop is the "Fat Elvis," a confection made with banana and peanut butter — in honor of the King's love for peanut butter-and-banana sandwiches. They have a small fountain area, a counter and booths to seat 25, in addition to two seats from old Tiger Stadium. Though they're open all year, summer is the season that provokes lines that stretch out into the parking lot. Ray's also offers gourmet ice cream molds for parties. They're open till 11 p.m. every day.

Sanders Candy & Dessert Shop 16837 Kercheval St., Grosse Pointe Park; 313-882-4966; for more locations, see You'll find plenty of flavors of ice cream here: moose tracks, chocolate chip cookie dough, cookies and cream, chocolate, strawberry, butter pecan, Mackinac Island fudge, mint chip, black cherry, "Bumpy Cake 'n' Cream" and "Superman." All can be made into sundaes, shakes, sodas, malts or the venerable Boston Cooler, here dubbed a "Detroit Cooler" (Vernor's ginger ale and ice cream).

Shatila Bakery & Café 14300 W. Warren Ave., Dearborn; 313-582-1952: Don't be confused by the fruit names — these are not sherbets. They combine fruit purees with butterfat to produce that rich velvety texture that only cream can bestow. Nonfruit ice creams are equally inspired. The array of Mediterranean and European pastries is vast and changes daily. Shatila has a few nonsweet offerings, and they are quite tasty, not also-rans at all: sausage rolls, a tangy and flaky spinach pie and tiny star-shaped cheese pastries. Shatila's high-ceilinged space is filled with customers sipping coffee or raw fruit juices, busting their diets, and enjoying the air-conditioning.

Truan's Candies 22200 Ford Rd., Dearborn; 313-562-3880: A family business since 1929, Truan's has been a Dearborn tradition. Expect boxed candies, make special orders, discover chocolate in unique molded shapes. Truan's can handle any quantity you or your business require. If they have the time, they may even make you a fresh malt from their classic soda fountain!
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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Any given sundae

The Abington Shopping Center is home to a spot where ice cream and football come together. This place is Campus Creamery, 1150 Northern Boulevard, Clarks Summit.

In the location formerly held by Quiznos. Campus Creamery is an independently-owned ice cream shop with a theme of Penn State University, where the ice cream is created.

Jason Iyoob, the owner, ships the ice cream, made at Penn State University main campus’ Penn State Creamery, to Campus Creamery.

Before opening Campus Creamery, he visited Penn State campus at University Park to visit his friends, who were students there, to watch games and go to Penn State Creamery with them. “That was one of our favorite stops,” he said. “There’s a lot of Penn State alumni that enjoy eating Penn State’s ice cream.” He opened his own ice cream shop so people can enjoy Penn State’s ice cream without the two-hour drive to Penn State’s main campus.

Campus Creamery sells 20 varieties of hard ice cream and 24 varieties of soft-served ice cream, including sugar-free. They sell low-fat yogurts, slushies, smoothies, with or without supplement, and breezes, which are slushies mixed with ice cream. They offer specialty sundaes named after local college sports teams who have donated jerseys.

These jerseys decorate the ice cream shop walls. Currently, Penn State, Lackawanna College, Misericordia University, Marywood University, Baptist Bible College, King’s College, Keystone College and The University of Scranton have sundaes named after them. The ice cream shop, open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., currently has 12 employees. Campus Creamery opened its doors Tuesday, April 6. Iyoob is planning Saturday April 24 as a grand opening date..

By April 24, the location will televise games, including football played at Penn State University, on the one or two TV sets coming soon to the creamery. “You can come to the creamery to get your favorite ice cream, and watch your favorite team play,” said Iyoob. Campus Creamery will add Penn State photos, jerseys and autographed footballs to the decor. Currently featured are photos of athletes and cheerleaders from Penn State Worthington Scranton campus in Dunmore.

Iyoob hopes that the Penn State alumni in this area will enjoy the Penn State University’s ice cream. “I feel there are lot of Penn State alumni in the area that made numerous trips to the Creamery,” he said. “Instead of driving two and a half hours to the Creamery, you can get your favorite ice cream here.”
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Friday, April 9, 2010

The Joys of Homemade Ice Cream

Ice cream and pizza are alike in a lot of ways. First of all, they are both universal favorites, loved by young children, teenagers and adults or all ages the world over. Both ice cream and pizza start with very simple basic recipes that can be altered to provide endless variety, making it possible to enjoy different delicious choices every day of the year.All ice cream recipes begin with three basic ingredients: vanilla, cream and sugar.

By simply allowing you imagination to take control, you can add just about any combination of fruit, nuts, flavored syrups and toppings to easily create your very own unique concoctions. Why not give your creations a brand name all its own or come up with some fancy titles for the different flavor you dream up? After all, one of the world’s biggest ice cream distributors did exactly that with flavors named after famous people and even animals.

You can even make ice cream alternatives such as sorbet, frozen yogurt and sherbet, which can also be adapted and enhanced with flavorings, fruit, nuts, syrups and other toppings to create an altogether different range of tempting treats.

If you happen to be lactose intolerant or if you are calorie conscious, there is no need to eliminate your beloved frozen treats from your diet. By making your own ice cream, sorbet, sherbet and frozen yogurt, you can still enjoy all your favorites because you make them yourself, using alternative low fat and lactose free ingredients.
One more thing pizza has in common with ice cream is that both can very easily be made at home. Easy to use electric ice cream makers can be purchased for home use starting at prices as low as $40 or less. You can even turn ice cream making into a challenging fun filled game for the children with a couple of coffee cans and some duct tape. Making ice cream at home can become so addictive it can become a passion of the whole family with dad, mom and the kids coming home nearly every day with a whole set of brand new ideas for making ice cream.

Regardless of whether your favorite ice cream recipe is as simple as the three basic ingredients of vanilla, sugar and cream or if you take a shortcut and just buy your favorite brand of vanilla ice cream and add on your favorite toppings, the outcome is the same. By personalizing your ice cream, you are among a legion of ice cream lovers around the world who take great delight in enjoying one of life's simplest and most delicious pleasures.
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Thursday, April 8, 2010

We all scream for ice cream

Rosalva Perez believes she has the best job in the world. Each March, the Liberal business owner opens her ice cream shop, La Michoacana, selling frozen treats to anyone looking to cool off on a hot day.

On Wednesday, Perez smiled and giggled with customers as she passed a fruit cocktail sprinkled with chili powder and a splash of lime to a young women.

The next customer ordered a watermelon and a pineapple popsicle. The customer told Perez he is visiting from El Paso, Texas, and her shop has the best popsicles.

Popsicles similar to the ones he has tasted in Mexico. She hears compliments like that regularly. She has built her business to provide Mexican-styled frozen treats to Liberal. The desserts she creates stem from her Mexican heritage and family recipes. Perez is originally from Los Angeles and moved to Liberal at 15.

“In Mexico, they have a lot of ice cream shops like mine,” said Perez. “I imagined if I bought something like that up here it would sell. A lot of people know what I sell just by the name of the business, La Michoacana. It is a state in Mexico. That is the name they use on these types of ice cream shops all over Mexico.” Perez opened La Michoacana in July 2005. Opening her own frozen treat shop had been a dream since she was young. Her cousin owns two ice cream shops in Juarez, Mexico and taught Perez how to make ice cream, popsicles and flavored water drinks.

“We make everything here,” said Perez. “I make all of our ice cream and store it in a freezer. I usually make my ice cream one day a week and it is not in the freezer longer than a week. Everything is fresh here.”
The popsicles are also homemade by Perez. She creates the icy treats in a variety of flavors: strawberry, raspberry, mint, mango and banana, just to name a few.

“The popsicles are the hardest part of the job,” said Perez. “They are heavy and it fits 40 in a container. I have to cut the fruit into pieces, add sugar and a little bit of coloring. Actually, the only thing that is artificial is the coloring. Other than that everything is natural.”

Hand-made signs accompany the home-made treats. A menu in English and Spanish hangs on the wall listing the options and prices. In addition to the ice cream, popsicles and flavored juice drinks, Perez offers strawberries and cream, fruit cocktail, snow cones and even, nachos.

The most ordered item by adults is the flavored juices or "aguas frescas." She offers flavors in pina colada, cantaloupe, lime and horchata. For children, the popsicles are the most popular.

Around October each year, Perez closes her shop for the season. The near-five months off allows her to spend time with her children and experiment with new ice cream and popsicle treat flavors.

“It gives my customers a break,” said Perez. “When it is snowy and icy outside people don't want ice cream. When I open again they really want to come in.”

As the temperatures begin to rise, so does business at La Michoacana, said Perez.

The shop's name has been great for Spanish-speaking customers but Perez believes the name might hesitate individuals in the community unfamiliar with traditional Mexican treats.

“I had to build my business on the name because people do know what I sell and come in,” said Perez. “If others knew what I sold, I know they would like it.”

La Michoacana is opened from noon to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday and noon to 10 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The shop is located in the El Kan shopping center off North Kansas Avenue.
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