Sweetened Condensed Milk and Graham Cracker Icebox Cake

This is the dessert that never should have made it to He Cooks, She Cooks.

Even as I made it, I joked to a friend, “This is the stuff you don’t see on the blog.” But you know what? The result was too good not to share. And we are college students. It wouldn’t hurt to include a recipe that others could recreate in a dorm room.

The whole thing started as a last resort dessert. Too lazy/hungry to start baking, I suggested my friends and I dip graham crackers in sweetened condensed milk and call it a night. I don’t have high maintenance friends, so that’s what we started to do. But after a few dips, I got an idea. What if I layered the graham crackers and condensed milk?

Gwen encouraged me, saying it could work like an icebox cake. (I’d never made or

eaten one, but remembering photos of the Smitten Kitchen icebox cake, I figured this was a good thing.) So full steam ahead I went, putting graham crackers into a plastic sandwich container and pouring sweetened condensed milk on top. By the second or third layer, I decided cinnamon and fresh grated nutmeg would be a good idea. Just before the final layer, Kat suggested strawberries.

We were about to dig in when my roommate’s friend walked by and said, “What is that? It looks so fancy!” To which we cracked up laughing because nothing has ever been quite so un-fancy in my kitchen ever.

But it was delicious! It was incredible! No one believed it would be, but it was!

Somehow it wasn’t too sweet. The spice was nice, reminiscent of rice pudding. And the strawberries were perfect. Next time I won’t just use them as garnish. I’ll probably slice them thinly and add them between the layers. We ate some right away and didn’t mind the crunch of the graham crackers, but it’s also good after a night in the fridge so they soften up. My new guilty pleasure…

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Farmer Portraits: Jacques Laboile (Bon Femme)

Jacques Laboile, originally from France, keeps bees all over Columbia (these were just in his backyard).  He prides himself on subtle flavors other than clover honey.  Besides making honey, he also is the Executive Chef of Boone County National Bank, and all around awesome guy.  Strike up a conversation with him next time you see him at the farmers market.


Farmer Portraits: Missouri Legacy Beef

Located in Salisbury, MO Mark and Susie have been trying to raise cattle like his grandfather did 100 years ago. The cattle are combination grass and grain fed, and they

have well over 1000 acres for the cattle to graze and roam on. Good mission, great beef. I’m going to be making tacos de lengua this weekend (tongue!) and eating the smoked brisket soon too.


Cinco de Mayo Cooking Demo with Chef LaLa

With a name like Chef LaLa and a cookbook called Latin Lover Lite, Laura Diaz-Brown highlights her funky — and easily marketable — side. But after a Cinco de Mayo cooking demonstration, I found more to admire about the woman.

Chef LaLa cooked and spoke at an Inside Columbia Magazine event Friday night. She was also in town for the Speaking of Women’s Health conference. In an hour, I learned she used to be a pop singer, went to med school to be a heart and lung specialist, became a certified nutritionist and studied at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris.

She also made four dishes in real time — without the tricks cooking demonstrators usually use. On her menu was:

  • Coca-Cola-Marinated Pork with Fruit Salad
  • Chicken Fajitas
  • Chicken Enchiladas
  • Colorful Bean Salad (Recipe on her website here.)

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Farmer Portraits: Danjo Farms

Dan & Joanne Nelson run a pretty busy farm up in Moberly, MO.  Known for their heirloom tomatoes (more than 50 varieties!), they also grow a plethora of produce and berries, keep a few hogs, chickens and turkeys.  They run a country store, and consider themselves the largest CSA (community supported agriculture) in the area.  They’re in the process of building a professional kitchen to promote Joanne’s baking.   Their products are often found at the three farmer’s markets nearby.

Wild Turkey Breast Sandwiches

My roommate’s boyfriend has been doing a lot of turkey hunting lately. And since every time he sees me I’m in the kitchen, he figured I’d enjoy some wild turkey breast. I’d never cooked anything wild before, so I did some research. I didn’t want the meat to be too tough or too gamey tasting.

On the Missouri Department of Conservation website (of all places) I found a recipe for a white wine and lime marinade. Sounded tasty and nice and acidic to tenderize the turkey. Then I baked the strips of turkey breast in a pan with some of the marinade to keep it moist.

The result was still a little tough since the turkey was not only wild, but a little older, too. I didn’t notice the toughness at all once I put the meat on a sandwich with tons of fixins. I think sauces and other additions are what make a good sandwich, so we had lots of options:

  • Guacamole
  • Chili-garlic tomato paste
  • Sun-dried tomato cream cheese (from Panera)
  • Mustard
  • Mayonnaise
  • Monterey jack cheese
  • Thin slices of carrots and cucumbers
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • Red romaine lettuce

I hadn’t had a good sandwich in a while, so this hit the spot.

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