Saturday, December 20, 2014

Sparkling Punch

As someone who doesn't drink alcohol, I am always on the hunt for non-alcoholic drinks for special occasions.  Growing up the standard 'party' drink around my house was lemon-lime flavored soda with lime sherbet floating around in the punch bowl.  While that recipe is tasty, it's nice to have other options available.  This is a light and refreshing drink; bubbly, not too sweet and a pretty color to boot.


1 (6 oz) can lemonade concentrate, defrosted (can use pink or yellow depending on what color punch you are aiming for)
1 liter club soda, chilled
2 (750 millimeter) bottles sparkling apple cider, chilled
1 Tbsp. white sugar, optional (I didn't add the extra sugar, taste your punch beforehand to decide if you would like it sweeter)

2 lemons, chilled
3 large oranges, chilled
2 trays ice (I made ice cubes with premade lemonade so it wouldn't dilute the punch.  I read online that other people made ice cubes with maraschino cherries for added color.  Other people sliced their citrus fruits and froze them instead of adding ice cubes.)

1.  Thinly slice the lemons and oranges and place in a large punch bowl.  Pour in the thawed lemonade.  Gently stir in the club soda and sparkling apple cider.  Add sugar to taste.  Stir in ice.

Yield: 20 servings

Creamed Corn

I know what you're thinking: Creamed Corn?  Really Creamed Corn?!  Creamed corn is slimy and sticky, and gross.  
Not this creamed corn folks.  If your experiences with creamed corn have always been with the stuff in the can, then of course you think that creamed corn is gross.  My neighbor sent me this recipe that she swore would change my outlook on creamed corn.  She was right.  This is sweet, and corny, and creamy, and good.  The cayenne pepper adds just a tiny bit of heat, and the use of butter and heavy cream make it rich and delicious.  
I made this the first time for our Thanksgiving dinner and everyone liked it.  It even reheated well.  The next time I made it was for our annual Christmas party.  With 26 people eating I had to get as much done early in the day as possible.  I made the creamed corn in the early afternoon, put it in a slow cooker on the 'warm' setting and it stayed the right consistency for the party.  


2 (20 oz) pkg. frozen kernel corn (I use white corn, but yellow is fine)
8 oz. (1/2 pint) heavy cream (whipping cream)
8 oz. (1/2 pint) milk - I've used fat free and half-and-half on separate occasions, obviously, the half-and-half made the corn much creamier but the fat free milk was also very good, so feel free to use whatever percentage of fat milk you have on hand.
1 tsp. salt
pinch of white pepper or cayenne according to taste
2 Tbsp. melted butter
2 Tbsp. flour

1.  Combine all ingredients except the last two in a medium pot and bring to a boil.  Simmer 5 minutes (if corn is frozen hard it will take longer).  In a separate small bowl, blend the butter and flour; stir into the simmering corn, mix well until corn is thickened to your liking.  Remove from heat.

Yield: 8 servings.