Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Super Milk Drinks

Milk marketing at its finest.
As the solstice approaches, kids stream out of school and the yawning, lazy days of summer beckon, my thoughts naturally turn to … milk.

Well, they do now that I’ve read the fun and thorough booklet, 15 Super Milk Drink Recipes, produced by the Washington Dairy Products Commission. Milk, it turns out, is “a natural for summer.” In fact, the milk marketing verbiage is so good I’ll just quote it:

“Satisfy summer thirsts with ice cold milk. Milk is so refreshing and it can help you feel good … Make ice cold milk your summer thirst quencher. Right now is the time for milk.” (I might have employed more exclamation points, but you get the picture!)

Purple Cow
As an avowed dairy lover, I cannot dispute any of those claims, but I must admit to never truly reaching for a glass of moo juice when the hot rays of the summer sun beat down upon my parched body. But now, thanks to this pitcher’s worth of options, perhaps I will.

Sadly, there is no date on my almost-pristine booklet. But because it’s hole-punched and marked “Free! Take one.” I venture to guess this came from the grocery store, probably the now-defunct North Everett Albertson’s to which my parents were loyal in the early-to-mid 1980s. The reliance of several recipes on wheat germ, as well as raw egg, further dates it to that era.

Peachy Banana Flip
But let me not overlook the obvious: These recipes seem designed to compete with the original (and some would say, best) commercial smoothie. Yes, I’m talking about the Orange Julius, which, just last year merged with Dairy Queen – another tent pole of ‘80s mall culture. (Quick Orange Julius history lesson: A man named, yes, Julius, started it and his original drink was simply called “Orange.” Customers would order by saying: “Give me an Orange, Julius.” And thus an icon was born.)

Raspberry Delight
And so, it was hard to know where to start with this new batch of smoothies. I thumbed thorough the (really very uplifting) booklet for one last fillip of encouragement: “Enjoy these Refreshing Milk drinks. Satisfy your thirst while you give yourself a lift." Thus, I chose these four to (excuse the pun) give a whirl:

Purple Cow
Peachy Banana Flip
Raspberry Delight
Tropical Breeze

I started with the simplest – the Purple Cow. Not to be confused with the delicious, fizzy Purple Cow served at the Evergreen State Fair in Monroe, sadly – that concoction featuring blackberry ice cream, blackberry syrup and 7Up  – but a violet-hued delight nonetheless. Whip up grape juice concentrate and milk and prepare to avoid a diabetic coma. It’s that sweet. It tastes nothing like milk. Although it looks slightly curdled and separates into a fluffy upper layer and dense juicy layer after about five minutes, this one is surprisingly refreshing. (Made more so by the addition of ice cubes, unless you’re starting with frozen concentrate.)

Next up with Peachy Banana Flip, which was definitely a walk on the milder side. It’s light blush color hinted at its mellow flavor. Not peachy enough for me.  It did, however, froth up as promised.

Tropical Breeze
Raspberry Delight, not to be confused with the other Raspberry Delight I’ve already attempted, was my favorite so far, perhaps because it contained two ultra-‘80s ingredients – raw eggs and wheat germ. I really could have been at Orange Julius as I took a sip. This had the best flavor, and a shot of protein and vitamin E to boot! The wheat germ fits well here – it is nutty and mild, but feels kind of like you’re enjoying an oatmeal cookie with your smoothie.

And so I came to the Tropical Breeze, not knowing that I had unintentionally saved the best for last. Despite paying $5 for a single papaya, this one truly took me away to the isles. It may have been the super-delicious local strawberries, or the half-cup of honey. Heck, I’m even wiling to allow it may have been the icy cold milk that made this one such a winner. But it did what the Dairy Products Commission had been promising all along: It refreshed and tasted, well, super.

Purple Cow
1 can (6 oz.) frozen grape juice
1-1/2 cups milk
Whir all ingredients in blender. Makes about 2 cups.

Peachy Banana Flip
1 banana
2 ripe peaches or 3 drained canned peach halves
1 tbs. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups milk
1 carton (8 oz.) plain yogurt
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 or 4 ice cubes, cracked
 Peel and slice banana. Peel, seed, and cut peaches in chunks. Combine all ingredients in electric blender. Whir until smooth and fluffy. Makes about 5 cups.

Raspberry Delight
1 carton (10 oz.) sweetened frozen raspberries (DO NOT THAW)
1-1/2 cups milk
2 eggs
1 tbs. wheat germ
Whir all ingredients in a blender. Makes 2 generous servings.

Tropical Breeze
1 papaya, peeled and seeded
1 cup sliced fresh or frozen strawberries
1/2 cup honey
2 tbs. lemon juice
1-1/2 cups milk
4 ice cubes, cracked
Scoop papaya pulp into blender. Add remaining ingredients and whir until smooth. Makes about 3 cups.

Why Don’t You …
·      Serve these as appetizers in shot-glasses. You could have a real rainbow of flavor that would look so pretty on your sideboard. With apologies to the good folks at the Dairy Commission, no one will guess the star ingredient.

Feeling nervous about using raw eggs? Try the pasteurized egg whites sold in the refrigerated section instead. The carton will have equivalents to equal the amount of egg you need.

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