"Perhaps the most impressive of all the cookbook blogs are the three devoted to the 2004 edition of Gourmet magazine's "The Gourmet Cookbook" -- all 5¼ pounds and 1,300-odd recipes of it. Befitting this culinary Everest, all three writers are overachievers in their professional lives."

--Lee Gomes, The Wall Street Journal, May 28, 2008
"I should have told you before how much I've been enjoying reading your thoughts. You seem like such a great cook."

--Ruth Reichl, Editor-in-Chief of Gourmet Magazine, June 8 2008, comment on "Chocolate Velvet Ice Cream".

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Strawberry Margarita Ice Pops and a thing or two about tequila

Readers, this is what I learned while I was gathering the ingredients for Strawberry Margarita Ice Pops: white tequila is what you want for mixing in with food or drink.

"What about Cuervo Gold?" I asked the friendly fellow at Cork n Cask.

"You could use it," he said, "but the only difference is coloring."


Reader, if you're like me, you probably have the notion that Cuervo Gold is some kind of good tequila. Marketing, says my friend at the liquor store. Do you know how Cuervo Gold is transported to the United States from Mexico?

That's right. Tanker truck.

"Oh yeah," says my friend, "The Mexicans laugh at us about Cuervo. You know what else they laugh at us about? Corona. Because it's so bad we have to put a lime in it."

Then he points me to the good stuff. I mean, topping $60/little bottle good stuff. And he bemoans the fact that people use it in margaritas, because it's wasted there-- it's meant for sipping neat, or maybe with an ice cube.

Friends, I don't drink Corona (ever) or margaritas (rarely) so I don't have any reason to change my ways (at least not in this regard--we can talk some other time about my unnatural obsession with Planter's chocolate-covered almonds). But if you are in the habit of showing off at bars by ordering margaritas with the good stuff in it--stop it right now and save yourself some bucks. Would you mix Dom Perignon with OJ to make mimosas? No.

If you drink Coronas, I'm sorry, there's no help for you. (I'm kidding! Jeesh.)

OK, on with the ice pops.

My major anxiety about this recipe was finding popsicle molds. On Cape Ann we don't really have department stores, or kitchen stores, just a lot of little stores with odds and ends. The one I thought most likely, Crackerjacks, I wouldn't be around during opening hours.

I didn't have to go too far afield (I was worried about a run down the line to Target) because, in a dusty display on top of an end-cap ice cream freezer at Crosby's, were 4-packs of plastic molds--an ingenuous design with a short straw built into the "hilt".

Making them was a snap, and congratulations whoever did the measurements on this recipe because it filled 8 molds perfectly--not an extra drop! Although I doubled it so I could make twelve, and I did have a lot left over on the second batch. Don't worry, it didn't go to waste.

Now. Regular readers of this blog may remember that at Christmas time I had some difficulty with a cranberry mold because I impetuously ran it under scalding water to loosen it up and ended up with a partial mold and a lot of melted cranberry juice.

You would think I would learn from my mistakes, wouldn't you?

Apparently not.

After one or two passes under water at the sink didn't loosen these up, I ran them under hot water, and then all kinds of things happened. The straw-stick holder thingys came out. Of all of them. So I had to dig the pops out with a butter knife into bowls where it was sort of like a very soft sorbet.

But they were pretty! And tasty--my book group loved them. I got all kinds of advice on how to not melt your popsicles (plain old tap water will eventually do it) and I see on epicurious that some readers left them to thaw for a bit.

Next time.

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