Icy Pops for Grownups

This all started because I wanted a Cel-Ray and they are now impossible to find in this town. (Feig’s Deli, I miss you so!) Of course, next I asked our Google Overlords about making it at home and that rabbit hole led to the most amazing discovery: celery popsicles.

Now, hold it right there. I know you just went “eeewww” in your head. I get it – but you have to try these. Everyone who has is now a convert.

It’s summer and I’m on a not-too-sweet icy pop obsession. It started with the salty-sweet celery basil and has grown. As in, I have a Pinterest Board for them. Here are four I tried this weekend, still haven’t decided which I like the best.
I have two popsicle molds, but honestly I prefer the fill-it-yourself otter-pop style zippie bags. Mainly because they are neater to eat, you don’t have to unmold them, and you don’t have to wash the mold. I got a set of 125 at Amazon, including a little funnel (be sure to get that – makes a HUGE difference). Each baggie holds 1/2 cup.

So, these recipes make 6-8 pops each, depending on how full you make the pops. Give ’em a try, love. They’re tastee!

Biggie Pops – Four Ways

Salty-Sweet Celery Basil
(slightly tweeked version of the Jerry James recipe linked above.)
2 c. celery juice (about one hefty stalk [12-ish ribs] of celery)
1 c. simple syrup
20 basil leaves
1 tsp. Kosher salt
Make the syrup first. In a saucepan, put ¾ each water and sugar. Put on a medium heat stirring occasionally until it is clear. Remove from the heat, throw in the basil leaves, stir and then leave it to cool.
Wash and trim the celery, cut in to 2”-3” lengths and puree in the food processor. Strain. If you are a little shy of two cups, add a little water. If you are off by more than half a cup, puree more celery.
When the syrup is room temp, mix it with the celery puree and the salt. Pour in to the pop mold of your choice and freeze for four-plus hours.

Roasted Nectarine with Brown Sugar and Bourbon
5 ripe nectarines, halved and roasted in 400* until brown and bubbly (about 20m)
1/3 c. dark brown sugar
1 Tbsp. bourbon

Roast the fruit, mix the rest of the ingredients in a metal bowl. When the nectarines come out of the oven, toss them hot into the bowl, give it a couple stirs and leave it to cool. When it’s room temperature, puree the fruit (reserve the liquid) and then add the liquid in until it is to your taste.

Pour in to the pop mold of your choice and freeze for eight-plus hours.

Cucumber Lemon
3 c. strained cucumber puree (4 large cucumbers, seeded and peeled made in to liquid in the food processor)
Juice & Zest of 1 lemon
1 c. simple syrup

Stir everything together, pour in to the pop mold of your choice and freeze for four-plus hours.

Mango Lime Chamoy
3 c. mango puree (four mangoes, peeled and pureed in the food processor)
Juice of three limes
¾ to 1 c. simple syrup
8 Tbps. chamoy

Mix the mango puree, lime and simple syrup. Drizzle a little chamoy down the sides of the pop mold of your choice, and then fill with the mixture. Freeze for eight-plus hours.

The pops made with pureed fruit, the more dense ones, took much longer to freeze than those that were mostly juice.

Interestingly enough, it was the cucumber lemon that was the most popular at my office, seconded by the mango chamoy.

Crispy Spicy Jicama Slaw

This is an easy, pretty, and super-fresh side for the summer – especially when you’re grilling or having tacos, but rice and beans on the side just seem way too heavy.

I was making mexi-pizza* last night, and I wanted something a little more than the usual cabbage and onion on top. And rice and beans, and even calbacitas, just sounded too heavy. So I made a batch of jicama slaw and it hit the spot.  It is so fresh, with a little zing from the vinegar and a little heat from the jalapeno.

*Mexi-pizza – When you spread refrieds between two small flour tortillas and then bake them until brown and crunchy. Like a flat chimichanga. Mmmmm….

Jicama Slaw

2 Tbsp sugar (or agave sweetener, or honey, or…you get the idea)
2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
2 Tbsp vegetable oil

½ small yellow or white onion, cut in ⅛” crescents
½ to 1 fresh jalapeno**, de-seeded and de-veined, sliced in ⅛” crescents
½ c. chopped cilantro
2 c. jicama, in 1” long matchsticks

Whisk together the sugar and vinegar until the sugar is dissolved. Then whisk in the oil.  Add the sliced veg, stir and eat. The amount of jalapeno is going to vary depending on the heat of the pepper (because we’ve all been surprised by that one that burns your lips off) and how hot your fam likes their food.

Try this – it’s fast and delicious, and oh so easy and fresh.

**Can you leave out the jalapeno? Of course – this will still be delicious.