May 12, 2015

Sweet Memories

I have sweet memories of my childhood. In 1952, I was 8, we lived in Jacksonville, Florida, in an area called Ortega Forest. Our house was right on the Ortega River. Life was a lot different in those days, kids had to pretty much entertain themselves. There were no cell phones, video games, or computers. My older brother and I were like Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, a couple of river rats. We had a little boat called a dinghy, with a small Evinrude outboard motor that our father bought us. We would take it up the river to fish for speckled perch. 

In those days I mowed lawns to make money, I also received a small weekly allowance. After I finished my chores, I would head over to the Five Points drug store on my red Schwinn Hornet bicycle, with a basket in the front, to buy baseball cards and comic books. I never cared much for the bubble gum that came with the baseball cards, too hard and not as tasty as Bazooka bubble gum. With Bazooka, I could blow bigger bubbles than other brands. Even then I had discriminating taste.
The newly restored Pickwick soda fountain in Greenville SC
sort of reminds me of the Five Points Drug Store I used to go to.
The Pickwick was named one of the best soda fountains
in the U.S. by Food &
Photo courtesy of the Pickwick Soda Fountain

Almost every drug store had a soda fountain. Kind of a local hangout, with old-timey knickknacks lining the walls, cola syrup made from scratch and kids sipping shakes at the counter overlooking the mirror-backed fountain. The guy serving you was called a soda jerk. He would prepare the best ice-cream sodas, banana splits, or milkshakes, served with a long-handled spoon and a straw. I would sit on the stool sucking down my favorite, a root beer float. 

My brother emailed me today after reading this blog. He said that he and his wife visited our old neighborhood 4 years ago. Our house was still there and so was the drug store. I hope they still have the old soda fountain inside.

I feel sorry for kids today, they will have different memories, probably not as sweet as mine, but maybe... I hope so.

Here are some sweet soda fountain tropical ice-cream treats for you to try, 
but first you will need an ice-cream machine.

Mango Tango Ice Cream
Mango Tango Ice Cream
Click on photo to view larger
This is my favorite tropical ice cream recipe to date. I have made this many times for dinner parties with no complaints. I suggest you make two batches so you will have some for yourself when your guests leave.

1 1/2 cups pureed fresh mango
2 whole eggs
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 of a 15 fluid ounce can of coconut cream (shake can just before opening)
1, 14 fluid ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
fresh mango cut into small cubes for garnish (optional, but recommended)

In a food processor puree fresh mango. Add the rest of the ingredients except the garnish. Blend together. Pour into your ice cream maker. Process until frozen to a soft consistency which should take about 1/2 hour. Freeze for several hours until solid. Serve with fresh mango cubes. One batch makes just over 2 pints, or 6 servings.

Coconut Raspberry Ice Cream
1 box (16.9 ounces) Kara brand UHT Natural Coconut Cream (Friendly Market)
2 cups half & half
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup of frozen raspberries, partially thawed
toasted sweetened coconut flakes for garnish (optional)

Place the coconut cream, half & half, sugar, and vanilla extract in a blender or food processor. Blend until combined, about 30 seconds.

Freeze using an ice cream maker, according to manufacture's instructions. During the last few minutes of churning, add in the raspberries. You can serve immediately for a soft serve texture or you can place the ice cream in a container and freeze for a firmer texture. Garnish with toasted sweetened coconut flakes. Makes 2 pints.
Note: Place the cream of coconut can in the fridge the night before or a few hours before you make the ice cream. If you don't have chilled cream of coconut, you can always place the ice cream mixture in the fridge for 30 minutes before churning up the ice cream.

Macadamia Nut Ice Cream 
with Roasted Apple Bananas
6 eggs, separated
1⁄2 cup caster sugar
1 cup milk
2 cups heavy cream
3⁄4 cup macadamia nuts, lightly toasted and finely chopped

In a bowl, beat together the egg yolks and sugar until pale and fluffy. Over medium heat, combine the milk and half of the cream in a saucepan over medium heat, cook until bubbles form along the sides of the pan. Add a little of the hot milk mixture in with the yolk mixture, whisking well. Whisk the milk-yolk mixture into the saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, 5-8 minutes. Do not allow the mixture to boil. Remove from the heat and place the pan in a sink of ice water to cool, stirring frequently to prevent a skin from forming.

In medium bowl, beat the remaining cream until soft peaks form. Fold the whipped cream into the cooled cream mixture. Stir in the macadamia nuts. Pour into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions. Freeze for 3 or 4 hours before serving with roasted bananas. Makes 1 1/2 pints.

Roasted Apple Bananas
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
2 ounces (1/2 stick) butter, melted and cooled
8 apple bananas
1 quart macadamia nut ice cream (recipe above)

Preheat oven to 425°F. Coat baking sheet with cooking spray.

Combine brown sugar, sugar, and allspice on large plate. Place butter in shallow bowl.

Halve large bananas lengthwise, then cut halves in half, or halve apple bananas lengthwise. Coat banana pieces in melted butter, then in sugar mixture, then set cut-side down on prepared baking sheet. Roast 10 minutes, or until sugar melts and turns to bubbly caramel sauce. Cool 5 minutes. Transfer bananas to plate, and scrape sauce into measuring cup with rubber spatula.

Scoop ice cream into bowls. Top each serving with 2 banana pieces, and drizzle with caramel sauce. Makes 8 servings.

Note: For a lot more ice cream recipes on this site, click here, or click on the "Recipe Index" tab above and look under "Desserts".

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