March 11, 2013

Green is described as, "Lively. Radiant. Lush. A color of elegance and beauty that enhances our sense of well-being, balance and harmony," by Pantone Corp. Pantone is a provider of color systems and technology and releases an annual color at the beginning of each year. The color for 2013 is emerald green.

It is said we eat with eyes first and green is certainly a color our eyes notice. With St. Patrick's Day less than a week away, it's time to start planning a treat or two fit for a leprechaun.

Grasshopper Cake

Janice Dass, a third-grade teacher at my school, found this recipe on Pinterest and recently shared it with school staff during treat day featuring all green foods. Janice has baked this cake several times for her family and it's been a big hit every time.


1 box Betty Crocker Super Moist White Cake Mix with pudding in the mix

1 1/4 cup water

1/3 cup vegetable oil

3 egg whites

4 oz Creme de Menthe (liqueur or syrup)


1 or 2 (16 oz) jars hot fudge topping

1 (8 oz) container Cool Whip, thawed

2 oz Creme de Menthe

chopped Andes Mints for garnish, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees for shiny metal or glass pan or to 325 degrees for dark or nonstick pan. Spray the bottom only of 9x13 pan with cooking spray. In a large bowl, beat the cake mix, water, oil, and egg whites on low speed for 30 seconds, then on medium speed for 2 minutes more. Scrape the bowl occasionally. Batter will be a bit lumpy. Stir in the Creme de Menthe. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 27 to 32 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Be careful to not over bake, as it will end up dry. Cool completely.

Heat fudge in microwave until you can pour it out of the jar. Gently spread the fudge topping evenly over the cake. In a medium bowl, stir together the Cool Whip and 2 ounces Creme de Menthe. Spread mixture evenly over the fudge. If desired, garnish with chopped Andes Mints. Store covered in the refrigerator.

Notes: If you really, really like fudge, use 2 jars to make an extra thick layer of fudge. Also to make the cake look extra fancy, use a sharp knife and slice the mints lengthwise to make "curls" of Andes Mints for the garnish.

Yield: 16 servings

Chopped Pesto

Typically pesto is made in the blender, adding the basil and garlic first, and streaming in the olive oil last. This version is all hand chopped, giving it a more authentic texture. Dip Italian bread in pesto or serve it over any variety of pasta.

1 large bunch of basil, leaves only, washed and dried

3 medium cloves of garlic

1 small handful of raw pine nuts

roughly 3/4 cup Parmesan, loosely packed and freshly grated

a few tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil

Special equipment: large mezzaluna (moon-shaped knife with a handle) for chopping, if possible

Start chopping the garlic along with about 1/3 of the basil leaves. Once this is loosely chopped add more basil, chop some more, add the rest of the basil, chop some more. Scrape and chop, gather and chop. At this point the basil and garlic should be a very fine mince. Add about half the pine nuts, chop. Add the rest of the pine nuts, chop. Add half of the Parmesan, chop. Add the rest of the Parmesan, and chop. Cover with a bit of olive oil, it doesn't take much, just a few tablespoons.

You can set this aside or place it in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it. Just before serving give the pesto a quick stir to incorporate some of the oil into the basil. If needed thin the pesto with a splash of pasta water for better coverage over pasta of your choice.

Makes about 1 cup

Minty Green Pinwheel Cookies

Looking for a way to "go green" this St. Patty's Day? Slice up some pretty pinwheel cookies to share with whomever you'd like.

1 cup butter, softened

1 1/4 cups sugar

2 eggs

1/4 cup light corn syrup

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

3 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

green food coloring

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in corn syrup and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture. Divide dough in half. To one portion, add peppermint extract and food coloring. Wrap each portion in plastic wrap; refrigerate for 2 hours or until firm.

On a baking sheet, roll out each portion between two sheets of waxed paper into a 14x9 rectangle. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Remove waxed paper. Place plain rectangle over green rectangle. Roll up tightly jelly-roll style, starting with a long side; wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 2 hours or until firm.

Unwrap and cut into ¼ inch slices. Place 2 inches apart on greased baking sheets. Preheat oven and bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until set. Cool for 2 minutes before removing to wire racks.

Yield: 4-1/2 dozen

Ribbon Jell-O Salad

Jazz up a Jell-O salad by showcasing green and yellow layers of Jell-O. Save the recipe for Christmas and swap out the top green layer for red.

1 (3 oz) pkg lemon Jell-O

1 small can crushed pineapple, drained

2 (3 oz) pkg lime Jell-O

1 (3 oz) pkg cream cheese, softened

1 cup fresh whipped cream, plus some for topping (or Cool Whip)

Bottom Layer: Dissolve lime Jell-O according to package directions. Pour into a 9x13 dish and set until firm.

Middle Layer: Dissolve lemon Jell-O according to package directions. Let set until partially firm. Mix whipped cream, cream cheese, and pineapple and fold into the lemon Jell-O. Carefully pour over first layer and set until firm.

Top layer: Dissolve second box of green Jell-O according to package directions. Carefully pour on top of the middle layer. Set until firm. Top Jell-O salad with thin layer of fresh whipped cream.