Northeast Times

Snow in the summer

Sum­mer sav­ings: Why waste your money on Mr. Softee when you can make these?

As we flip the cal­en­dar and leave Ju­ly, we leave be­hind Na­tion­al Ice Cream Month, which was first de­clared by Pres­id­ent Re­agan in 1984. Au­gust usu­ally brings even hot­ter tem­per­at­ures and high­er hu­mid­ity to Philly. What bet­ter way to beat the heat than to en­joy some icy in­dul­gences? 

With far few­er cal­or­ies, shave ice or snow cones are cool cous­ins to our fa­vor­ite ice creams. These ices are also re­lated to wa­ter ice, even though the frozen treats are not “a Rita’s.”

The oth­er day, when it was very hot, a memory of Mat­sumoto Shave Ice (snow)-drif­ted in­to my head. In a men­tal brain freeze, I en­vi­sioned those piles of shaved ice, moun­ded in­to a snow-cone form, rest­ing atop a dol­lop of vanilla ice cream with sweet, Ja­pan­ese azuki red beans. The fluffy ice was covered with pine­apple, coconut and green tea syr­up, and con­densed milk was just so lightly drizzled across the top. Yumm.

Since there’s not a snow­ball’s chance that fate and/or des­tiny, wheth­er by wish or by pray­er, will find me any­time soon in Halei­wa, on the North Shore of Oahu, I de­cided to make a few ver­sions of this shave ice to keep cool and beat the mug­gies here at home.

De­pend­ing on where you live, snow balls and snow cones can mean dif­fer­ent things. I al­ways think of both as tiny beads of coarse, gran­u­lated, crunchy ice shav­ings moun­ded in­to a cup, and topped with a fa­vor­ite syr­up.

Ice houses in 1850s New York sold blocks of ice that were trans­por­ted by wag­on as far away as Flor­ida. When the ice passed through Bal­timore, the chil­dren would ask for ice shav­ings. Their moth­ers made a fla­vor­ing for them to put on top of the ice. By the 1870s, warm weath­er theat­er-go­ers en­joyed hand-scraped snow­balls between acts. Then, dur­ing the 1890s, elec­tric ice-shav­ing ma­chines be­came avail­able. Be­cause snow­balls were cheap to make, dur­ing the De­pres­sion and World War II, they be­came known as “Hard Times Sundae,” or “Penny Sundae.”

It’s easy to make snow ball ice by us­ing blenders, ice crush­ers or food pro­cessors. Then, just mound ice in­to a cup, shape and form it in­to a dome, and poke a few holes in the ice be­fore adding the syr­up. Or, make a gelati by put­ting a scoop of vanilla ice cream in the bot­tom of the cup be­fore adding ice and flavored syr­up.

Re­cently, I ac­quired an in­ex­pens­ive, small Hawaii­an shave ice ma­chine via the In­ter­net, and have en­joyed both snow cones and shave ice. The fol­low­ing ava­lanche of syr­up re­cipes should help snow ball eat­ers keep cool in Au­gust.

Here is a ba­sic syr­up made from wa­ter, sug­ar or Spl­enda, and Kool-Aid. These brightly colored cones will be en­joyed by kids – young and old.

BA­SIC SYR­UP FOR SHAVE ICE & SNOW CONES

1 cup wa­ter

1 cup sug­ar or Spl­enda (gran­u­lated)

1 pack­age un­sweetened Kool-Aid (Your Fla­vor Choice)

- Bring wa­ter to boil in a pan.

- Stir in sug­ar or Spl­enda, re­duce heat and al­low to gently boil for three minutes, stir­ring oc­ca­sion­ally.

- Re­move from heat and gradu­ally add the Kool-Aid to the sweet wa­ter. Con­tinu­ously stir to make sure Kool-Aid is com­pletely dis­solved.

- Re­fri­ger­ate.

- Crush ice and fill cups. Pour syr­up to taste over ice.

VANILLA SYR­UP

1 cup wa­ter

1 cup sug­ar

1 Tb­sp. vanilla ex­tract

- In a sauce pan, bring wa­ter to boil.

- Add sug­ar, stir­ring to dis­solve. Turn down heat, and gently boil for three minutes.

- Re­move from heat and add vanilla ex­tract. 

- Re­fri­ger­ate.

- Crush ice and fill cup. Pour syr­up to taste over ice.

CHOCOL­ATE SYR­UP

1 cup wa­ter

1 cup sug­ar

¼ cup co­coa powder

- In a sauce pan, bring wa­ter to boil.

- Add sug­ar, stir­ring to dis­solve. Turn down heat and gently boil for three minutes.

- Re­move from heat and stir in the chocol­ate powder to dis­solve.

- Re­fri­ger­ate.

- Crush ice and fill cup. Pour syr­up over ice.

GREEN TEA SYR­UP

1 cup wa­ter

2 Gun­powder Green tea bags

1 cup sug­ar

- Boil wa­ter and pour in­to cup.

- In­sert tea bags, and al­low tea to seep for 10 minutes.

- Pour tea in­to a sauce­pan, and bring to a boil.

- Add sug­ar, stir­ring to dis­solve. Turn down heat and gently boil for three minutes.

- Re­move from heat.

- Re­fri­ger­ate.

- Crush ice and fill cup. Pour syr­up to taste over ice.

Eat well, keep cool, en­joy!

(Ques­tions or tips can be sent to Donna Zit­ter Bor­de­lon at Whats­cook­in­NEPhilly@gmail.com or in care of the North­east Times, 3412 Pro­gress Drive, Suite C, Ben­s­alem, PA 19020)

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