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Turn ice cream from the store into tempting cool treats

The Scoop: How to Change Store-Bought Ice Cream into Fabulous Desserts

By Lori Longbotham

Villard; $17.95

Ice cream is the ultimate summertime treat. Sure, it's available year round, but it's just more appealing during hot months, of which Florida has plenty. In her new cookbook The Scoop, Lori Longbotham successfully transforms ice cream bought at the supermarket, including sorbet, gelato and frozen yogurt, into luscious desserts suitable for every occasion.

Kids will especially love the Classic Fountain Drinks chapter. Who could pass up chocolate malted or strawberry milkshakes, a root beer or purple cow float, or a black and white ice cream soda? Adults will dozens of other treats in chapters with enticing titles such as Scoop Dreams, Frosty Pies, Chilly Cakes and Baked Alaska, Frozen Assets and Just Add Ice Cream. Sky-high layered ice cream cake, snowballs, three-layer ice cream bombe, and toasted pound cake and ice cream are just some of the treats included in these chapters.

Because purchased ice cream is used in these recipes, the preparation is simple; so this cookbook is perfect for any skill level. Desserts with a caramel or chocolate sauce or slightly sweetened whipped cream refer cooks to the sauce chapter, but some also suggest using store-bought varieties. This chapter would also be good for making holiday or hostess gifts. Most of the sauces can be refrigerated, tightly covered, for up to two months. The most labor-intensive recipe is probably for profiteroles because the pate choux is make from scratch. There is really no substitution for this French dough.

With The Scoop, possibilities are endless. Variations and flavor inspirations accompany many recipes. For the lemonade 'n' sorbet recipe, a variation includes adding a spirit or liqueur to the lemonade before adding the sorbet, or for a flavor inspiration try using raspberry, mango, orange or lime instead of lemon.

Beyond Gumbo: Creole Fusion Food From the Atlantic Rim

By Jessica B. Harris

Simon & Schuster; $27

Creole food is more than the deep, rich flavors of Louisiana gumbo. Its range encompasses foods from Haiti to Brazil to Barbados. Beyond Gumbo shows that Creole cooking is the original fusion food, where African, European and Caribbean cuisine came together in the Americas.

Each recipe in Beyond Gumbo includes the origin of the dish, such as black bean soup from Cuba, chicken and andouille etouffee from New Orleans, pumpkin fritters from Curacao, or blanched okra from Brazil. The book also include dishes from a variety of Caribbean islands including marinated green mangoes from Martinique, rum punch from Trinidad, a rub for pork from Jamaica and chicken curry from Guadeloupe.

Most ingredients are easy to find and may even be a staple in your pantry. Some, however, such as Creole tomatoes, beetroot or Peruvian purple potatoes, may require a stop at a specialty market. Few recipes offer substitutions for these items, but author Jessica B. Harris includes mail-order sources as well as a glossary of items.

If a novice home chef can get past some unusual ingredients and the time needed for preparation, these recipes are relatively simple to make. Prep work includes nothing more difficult than mincing, chopping, peeling and cutting.

Beyond Gumbo provides recipes for a complete meal, from appetizer through salad, main course and dessert, including recipes for condiments and sauces along the way. For anyone looking for a culinary tour of the Americas, this cookbook with its more than 170 recipes fits the bill.

Caribbean Cocktails

By Jennifer Trainer Thompson

Simon & Schuster; $15.95

Just perusing the new cookbook Caribbean Cocktails will make you want to throw a party. It's filled with familiar concoctions and tantalizing combinations that will transport you to a tropical island with warm breezes and starry nights.

Among the rum drinks included in Caribbean Cocktails are planter's punch, rumrunner, lime cay, buccaneer and Hemingway daiquiri. Although rum is probably the most popular spirit in the Caribbean _ just about every island makes one of its own _ other spirits are featured in this cookbook. The chapter on tequila drinks features tequila sunrise, my blue heaven, margarita and green agave. If rum and tequila aren't favorites, other spirit drinks include hibiscus cosmopolitan made with vodka, sticky wicket made with gin, and between the sheets made with brandy. Teetotalers shouldn't shy away either. Non-alcoholic drinks, made primarily with fruit syrups, fruit juices and fresh fruit include mango morning, slippery banana and citrus swing.

Appetizers and snacks to round out the book include Jamaican patties, grilled shrimp with Caribbean spice paste, jerk pork and pineapple skewers, conch fritters with key lime remoulade and arepas with goat cheese. Of course, preparing cocktails is easy, and virtually all of the ingredients necessary can be found at a local liquor store. These food recipes are considerably more involved. Easier and less time-consuming eats could be found in other cookbooks or on the Internet.

Caribbean Cocktails offers a fun twist by including music selections with every drink. Listen to Rum and Coca-Cola by the Andrews Sisters while sipping a cuba libre, or enjoy a pink drink while singing along to No Woman, No Cry by Bob Marley.

Ellen Folkman's cookbook review column appears monthly in the Taste section.

Lemonade 'n' Sorbet

1 cup of sugar

Pinch of salt

1 whole lemon, thinly sliced, or the zest of 1 lemon removed with a vegetable peeler

1 cup fresh lemon juice (from about 4 large lemons)

1 to 2 cups lemon sorbet

Bring 3{ cups water, the sugar and the salt to a boil in a large saucepan over high heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Remove form the heat, add the sliced lemon and let stand covered for 10 minutes.

Pour the syrup into a pitcher or glass measure, straining it, if desired. Stir in the lemon juice. Refrigerate, covered, until very cold.

Partially fill four chilled glasses with the lemonade. Scoop large or small balls of the sorbet and add to the glasses. Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

Source: The Scoop: How to Change Store-Bought Ice Cream into Fabulous Desserts By Lori Longbotham (Villard; $17.95).

Marinated Green Mangoes

4 small green mangoes

Juice of 2 limes

1 clove garlic, minced

[ teaspoon minced hot chili, or to taste

4 tablespoons peanut oil

Peel the mangoes and cut into a medium dice. Place them in a salad bowl with the lime juice, garlic and chili. Mix well. Slowly add the peanut oil. Mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator for one to two hours. Serve as an appetizer.

Serves 4.

Source: Beyond Gumbo: Creole Fusion Food From the Atlantic Rim By Jessica B. Harris (Simon & Schuster; $27).

Buccaneer

1{ ounces Malibu or other coconut rum

1{ ounces Amaretto

1{ ounces Captain Morgan Spiced Rum or other spiced rum

1{ ounces cranberry juice cocktail

1{ ounces pineapple juice

In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine all ingredients. Shake vigorously five times, then strain into two martini or other festive glasses.

Serves 2.

Source: Caribbean Cocktails by Jennifer Trainer Thompson (Simon & Schuster; $15.95).

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