Desert Companion

Cooking: Flight of flavor

Parents and kids will enjoy creating these recipes together — and taking a flavorful flight of international delight

Iced oranges

These orange ices come from the South of France. They make perfect picnic treats, especially on a hot day.


2/3 cup of granulated sugar

1/2 cup plus 6 tablespoons of water

 juice of 1 lemon

14 oranges

chocolate curls and festive cocktail umbrellas for decoration



1. Warm a heavy-based pan over low heat, and add the sugar,   cup of water and half the lemon juice.

2. Stir until the sugar melts. Bring the mixture to a slow boil, and cook, stirring often, until the syrup becomes clear. Cool on the counter.

3. Cut the tops off eight oranges, and keep the tops for later use. Scoop out the flesh and set aside in a small bowl. Place the orange shells and tops on a tray and freeze until needed.

4. Grate the rind of the remaining oranges and add to the sugar syrup. Squeeze the juice from the flesh of all the oranges until you have about 3 cups of orange juice.

5. Add half of the reserved orange flesh (just for texture), freshly-squeezed orange juice along with the remaining lemon juice and the 6 tablespoons of water to the sugar syrup. Taste to adjust for sugar. Freeze in a shallow tray for about 3 hours.

6. Remove the sugar syrup tray from the freezer. The mixture shouldn’t be completely frozen.  Place into a bowl, stir gently and return in the bowl to the freezer for 4-5 hours, or until firm but not frozen.

7. Fill the frozen shells with the mixture and replace the tops. Store in the freezer until ready to serve.

8. Before serving, push the cocktail umbrellas into the tops and enjoy!

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PancakesRussian apple pancakes

Russian pancakes, or oladyi, are light and delicate, and the apples add natural sweetness, plus vitamins. The vanilla sugar in this recipe can be store-bought or homemade. It’s versatile and easy to make, but if you decide on the homemade version, you do need to prepare it ahead of time: Simply place a vanilla bean into a one- to two-pound container of sugar, and store for about a week for the vanilla scent to infuse the sugar. Use vanilla sugar in pastry and dessert recipes, even coffee.



2 Granny Smith apples, cored and peeled

1-2 tablespoons of vanilla sugar (adjust to preference)

1 tablespoon lemon juice

3 eggs, separated

1 cup half-and-half

1/2  cup milk

3 tablespoons melted butter, more if needed for cooking

1 cup plus 4 tablespoons unbleached all-
purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon white vinegar

1/2  teaspoon baking soda

1/2  teaspoon salt



1. Slice apples thinly and toss with the vanilla sugar and lemon juice. Set aside.

2. Sift together the flour and salt.

3. In a separate bowl, beat egg yolks, half-and-half, milk, and 3 tablespoons of melted butter. Add the flour mixture and whisk until smooth. Stir in the baking soda and vinegar. Let stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes.

4. Add the apples to the batter and mix well

5. Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form, and add to the batter.

6. Pour 3 tablespoons of batter per pancake onto a hot griddle or a heavy skillet. Cook for about 3-4 minutes, or until golden-brown on both sides. Because the mixture already contains melted butter, you shouldn’t need any oil on the griddle. However, if pancakes stick, lower the heat and add additional butter as needed.

7. Keep the prepared pancakes in a warm oven until ready to serve.

8. Serve with maple syrup, or be creative with jams, fresh fruit, and sour cream.


Moroccan chickpea tagine

A dish perfect for young vegetarians-in-training. It’s delicious and versatile, and can be served as-is or with a side dish of meat or fish. If you have picky eaters, you can always leave out the spices and herbs, or substitute with the ones they like. However, crusty bread is a must!


3/4 cup of chickpeas

2 tablespoons of sunflower or good quality olive oil (any oil will do here, so don’t be afraid to substitute for the type your family enjoys most)

1 large onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, crushed

1 large tomato, chopped, or 14 oz. canned chopped tomatoes

1 teaspoon ground cumin

2 tablespoons fresh coriander, chopped

1  1/2 cups of vegetable broth

1 lemon


1. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan, and fry the onion and garlic until golden-brown, about 10 minutes.

2. Add the chickpeas, cumin, tomatoes, and broth. Bring to a boil, and simmer covered over low heat for 40-60 minutes, or until chickpeas are soft.

3. Before serving, cut the peel of the lemon into slivers and stir into the tagine.

4. Serve while warm, with a side of crusty bread.



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