- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 15, 2006

It’s mid-August, and I don’t mind saying that it’s just too hot to cook.I know that our ancestors labored far longer than we do and that they endured temperatures far more uncomfortable, and I appreciate them for that. But in August, I lose the urge to bake poundcake. I feel no hankering for slowly cooking pork barbecue. I am in no mood for mashing potatoes.

What I want is food that is crisp on the palate and spends no time in the oven. I want a meal that can be sliced and presented and is ready pronto.

Such a meal exists if you build it around cold salads of pasta and sliced cheeses. Add some good bread and olive oil. Even fire up the grill outside and place on sliced zucchini and eggplant that have been salted and peppered and lightly brushed with oil.

Then, for dessert, pull out that show-stopper of a freezer cake — soft pieces of angel food cake, rich ice cream and chocolate whipped cream all layered in one pan.

This recipe is a little different from one in my book. It calls for a store-bought angel food cake that you rip into pieces instead of baking the cake yourself. Enjoy.

Five time-shaving menus when it’s too hot to cook

Grilled panini sandwich of sliced ham and fontina

• Pasta tossed with olive oil, pressed garlic, shredded Parmesan cheese and fresh tomatoes

• Cold fried chicken with sliced tomatoes and sauteed fresh corn

• Caesar salad topped with steamed shrimp

• Toasted English muffin topped with a grilled burger and sauteed mushrooms

Deep chocolate almond angel icebox cake

FILLING:

1 pint chocolate almond ice cream

1 pint vanilla ice cream

CAKE:

1 large angel food cake baked in a tube pan

2 tablespoons amaretto (optional)

CHOCOLATE WHIPPED CREAM:

2 cups heavy (whipping) cream

2 to 3 tablespoons chocolate syrup

1/3 cup grated semisweet chocolate

Remove the ice cream from the freezer to let it soften. Place clean mixer beaters and a large bowl in the refrigerator to chill.

Break the cake into 1-inch pieces. Scatter half the pieces in the bottom of a clean 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Drizzle a tablespoon of amaretto over the cake, if desired. Spoon both of the ice creams, alternately, over the cake pieces.

Smooth the ice cream out with a rubber spatula. Cover the ice cream with the remaining cake pieces. Drizzle another tablespoon of amaretto over the cake, if desired. Cover the dish with foil and place it in the freezer for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the chocolate whipped cream: Remove the beaters and bowl from the refrigerator. Pour the cream into the bowl. Using the chilled beaters, beat on high speed for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the mixture thickens to soft peaks.

Drizzle the chocolate syrup over the cream. Continue beating on high speed until the cream forms stiff peaks.

Remove the dish from the freezer. Spread the chocolate whipped cream over the cake mixture, spreading it out to the edges. Cover the dish with foil and return it to the freezer. Let it freeze for 1 hour, or until hard. Remove the dish from the freezer 15 minutes before serving. Scatter the grated chocolate on top, and spoon into serving dishes. Makes 16 servings.

TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES

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