Archive for July, 2009

TWD #30: Vanilla Ice Cream

July 28, 2009

My fifteen year old boy is simultaneously dreading the return to school while counting down the days until he can get his driver’s license. (In November.)

My fourteen year old girl bemoans her boredom and doesn’t appreciate my suggestions.  “If you don’t have anything to do, you can scrub the kitchen floor” is my helpful version of “If you’re going to cry, I’ll give you something to cry about.”

My thirteen year old nephew, a newcomer to the household, will say, on the phone, “Hold on,”  <rustle, rustle,> “Did you hear that? I just farted in the phone!”  He also “caught” one in an empty jar.  (BTW, never say “yes” to “smell this,” even especially if it’s an innocuous looking empty pickle jar.)  Yesterday he taught the dog to sit (with microwave popcorn as the bribe.)   And made “bombs” out of flour and Kleenexes.  Which I must say smelled worse (when lit) than the “fart in a jar.”

He also ate the rest of my tub of mint chocolate chip ice cream.  Before I managed to get a photo!

Nevertheless, I’m thankful for his non-picky-eating ways.  Neither Tay nor Rea would even taste the mint chocolate chip ice cream.    To them, mint is for toothpaste, and toothpaste only.  They don’t delight in York Peppermint Patties, or my favorite, Andes Mints. 

Either of which would have been a great addition to this ice cream.   I followed the “playing around” directions for this variation of Dorie’s Vanilla Ice Cream.   The next day I made the actual vanilla ice cream recipe as written, but, at the last moment, decided to make it butter pecan.   I lined a cookie sheet with foil, dropped on 2-3 tablespoons of butter and put it in the oven to melt.  I added 1 1/2 cups of chopped pecans to the melted butter, stirring to coat, sprinkled them with sea salt and popped them back in the oven for about 10-12 minutes.   Once cool I added the nuts to the churned ice cream.  

Only, apparently the nuts weren’t as cool as I had thought, because the ice cream started to melt.   I put it in the freezer, and, while I anxiously waited for the butter pecan milk shake to turn into scoop-able ice cream, I decided to make a pecan topping.   I looked in my favorite ice cream cookbook, “The Perfect Scoop,” for inspiration and made a variation of one of the sauces.  (Only I can’t for the life of me remember what it’s called!).    I toasted pecans in the toaster oven while melting butter mixed with sugar and corn syrup on the stove top.   Once the butter mixture turned a nutty brown color I removed it from the heat, added water, put it back on the heat, whisking to make the mixture smooth, then I added heavy cream, 1 tbs of cognac and 2 tsp of vanilla.    When the pecans were done toasting I dumped them in.   

It turned into a delicious buttery-caramel-y-super-pecan-y type sauce which was great on the butter pecan ice cream.

Which, again, I did not get a picture of, as I ATE IT ALL.   YES, one small bowl at a time over the course of a couple of days.  I ATE IT ALL.  It was that good.   If you like ice cream, *you really should make this;  the recipe is at Lynn’s blog,  CafeLynnlu,  or buy the book.  (And if you are an ice cream lover, you really must check out “The Perfect Scoop,” too.)

*And, yes, to some making ice cream might sound a bit crazy.  But it’s really not difficult and sooooo, soooo good.

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TWD #29: Raspberry Blanc Manger

July 22, 2009

I told the WordPress tech guy, “I’m late!  I’m late!  For a very important date!”

I’m not sure he got the “Alice in Wonderland” reference.  Or understood the importance of  “I must post my ‘Tuesdays with Dorie’ recipe TODAY!  On TUESDAY!

Yes, I got a little snippity.

You see, yesterday I logged into my WordPress blog, (the bad blogger that I am, I hadn’t checked it since, oh, LAST Tuesday) and was unable to post.  Due to “a concern about the content of my blog.”

WHAT?

My PG-13 food/”mommy” blog has “content” that someone found objectionable?  

Okay, maybe that’s not such a stretch.  I can be a bit “out there.”  But it still made me wonder.  I contacted WordPress, asking about the situation.  Wrote my post.  Clicked on “Submit for Review”  (which had replaced the normal “Publish” button.)

And waited.

And worried.  Would I be able to post my TWD recipe?   

Honestly, I was pretty bummed about it, frequently bemoaning the situation via IM to my dear friend SS.    (Luckily she’s very patient.)

Finally, a response from WordPress.   A man had left a comment on a long ago post.   A racist comment in which he used someone else’s name, work email, and a link to a well known chain of stores.        

Ahhh….  

Honestly, I had wondered what kind of dumbass would leave comments of such a nature WITH HIS WORK EMAIL.   Seemed less-than-wise to me, but naive chick that I am, it honestly never struck me that it was fraudulent.

I’m feeling pretty stupid.  

I deleted the comment.   Actually made the whole post (it was about racism) password protected, as I really was getting tired of the aryan youth leaving me enlightened comments (such as “your (sic) a stupid bitch”).  

While I’m glad it’s resolved (I have my “Publish” button back!), somehow my post (the one I submitted for review) got lost in the ethernet, so now I’m trying to resurrect it.  

My best recollection is this astute piece of advice:

DON’T SNIFF THE GELATIN!

Yes, I really am shouting that.

I caught a whiff of it while making my first of two blanc mangers, a strawberry one.   Wet dog hair?  Wild boar?   The reptile area of the zoo?  I can’t quite put my finger on it, but it’s a very animalian smell (is that a word?)

My family ate that blanc manger before I managed to snap a photo, so I did a redo for my book club on Sunday, making a strawberry-blueberry one on top of Dorie’s sweet tart dough with nuts.

Blanc Manger

Making it I thought, “the gelatin didn’t really smell that bad, did it?”  

AND I SNIFFED IT AGAIN!

See, I really am that, uh, gullible?  Naive?  Stupid?   (Maybe the aryan youth are right about ONE thing… )

It was just as bad the second time.   

Nevertheless,  the blanc mangers were delicious.  

And not at all smelly (or stupid.)

So, sorry for the late post and if you are interested in the recipe, make sure you visit Susan of Sticky, Gooey, Creamy, Chewy.  (Even if you aren’t interested in the recipe, you should take a look at her blog; it’s really lovely.

TWD #28: Brioche Plum Tart

July 14, 2009

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This delectable recipe was chosen by Denise.  You can find her write-up and the recipe at  Chez Us.  

I ran into a few problems implementing this week’s recipe:

1.   The plums at Cub Foods were pretty darn expensive.  And I’m cheap.  (I went with nectarines.) 

2.   Plum jam must not be popular in my area.  I once spied it at Big Lots, so I stopped there, no luck.  (But they did have peach jam, which seemed to go well with nectarines.  They also had several different jars of jam labeled “Fruits of the Forest;”  the ingredients were in German and made me picture German men and women, dressed Bavarian-style, singing folk songs while picking fruit off of prickly bushes.   Despite the bucolic setting, I’m somehow certain they’ll come to a classic Grimm’s ending, possibly involving a prick of a poisonous thorn, a buxom maiden disguised as an old lady, a wolf, several bags of gold, and a lecherous frog.)       

3.   I didn’t realize that I was out of aluminum foil until I needed to put it on the tart to prevent overbrowning.   (Luckily we live down the street from a small grocery store.  I grabbed my credit card and literally ran there, arriving sweaty and out of breath, I grabbed a roll of foil and headed to the check out lane.  No one in line.  Hurray!   The cashier rang up the foil, I babbled on about my brioche-getting-too-brown!   And the credit card machine was down.  

My purse was at home.   No cash in my running shorts.

Ugh.

The owner told the clerk, “Write out an ROA.”  

I had no idea that any stores still did that, even small town grocery stores.   It was literally a receipt with my name and $3.18 written on it, stowed in the bottom of the register.)

I ran back home.  The tart had ten minutes left and was pretty brown already.   I covered it with a piece of foil, let it finish baking, took a shower, threw on some clothes, took a photo and headed to work with the tart on a cooling rack.

Now I’m eating it for breakfast and it’s good.   The bottom part is a little, um, bready?   It came out slightly thick and I think it’s a tad overdone.   Not for lack of aluminum foil retrieval efforts, though!

Next time I would use a larger pan (I used a 9″ tart pan) and more fruit (I only used one nectarine, despite purchasing four.  I really should have made the slices bigger).   Despite the obvious danger from trolls,  wicked witches, and stepmothers, I might actually attempt to make this using “Fruits of the Forest.” 

If, that is, I am able to figure out what they are!

Even better than the “*Tractor Story.”

July 9, 2009

Over the weekend I took my nephew A. and Reagan, my fourteen year-old daughter, to watch fireworks at a nearby small town.   After the spectacle, the kids made a mad dash to the car; it must be totally uncool to go to a family event,  you know, with your family.  When I arrived at the car, I asked Reagan, “Where’s A?”   She responded, “peeing on a tree.”

When A. got done, Rea said “You better be careful.  You might get crabs doing that.”

A. incredulously replied, “Tree Crabs?”

I think Rea’s abstinence-only sex ed class may not have been very informative.

But, I must admit, I laughed all the way home about the “Tree Crabs.”

*Is it lame that I’m still making Seinfeld references?

Rea, overall, hasn’t been very fun or funny lately.   She’s a bit bored with summer and whiny.  Oh, the whining.  “Why can’t you drop us off at the mall?”  “Why can’t we go to a movie tonight?”   “Why… Why….  Why….”  She’s worse then a four year old.  Plus, I think she’s forgetting that SOME of us have to go to work the next morning.  NOT everyone can stay up late.  (Hmmm… now who sounds whiny?)

But right when living in a box down by the river starts to sound appealing,  she always redeems herself.

For example, recently a teenage relative came to stay with us for awhile.  I heard Rea talking to him while leading him around the house.  “Here’s the fridge, there’s always good food and milk to drink.  Here’s the microwave.  Don’t turn it and the toaster oven on at the same.  You’ll blow a fuse.  The bathroom is right here.  Don’t use too much TP or you have to plunge it.  My mom and dad’s room is right there.  They are pretty cool and will take good care of you.”

“Pretty cool” and “take good care of you”  are high praise from a child who is more likely to say to me “**Why don’t you trust me?”  “**Why are you so strict?”  “***Why can’t I _____, ______, or ______ like everyone else?”

(**Because you’re a teenager.)

(*** Because you might get “tree crabs”)

TWD #27: Katharine Hepburn Brownies *Updated with Photo

July 7, 2009

Lisa of Surviving Oz  picked our TWD recipe of the week, an easy breezy brownie, perfect for packing in picnic lunch.  

Or for munching on all daywhile you are frantically cleaning your house in preparation for an energy audit done by a man you’ll never see again but who you are still terrified will judge your toothpaste-laden sink and un-mopped floor.

The night before my cleaning frenzy I baked the brownies. I couldn’t find my eight inch square pan, so I did some math:

8 in x 8 in = 64 inches squared

a 9 in circle pan:

4.5 squared x pi = 63.59 inches squared

Winner winner chicken dinner! 

(Which reminds me, my nephew was over for the weekend and my husband and daughter taught him to play poker AND to *bet on horse racing.  I live in a den of iniquity.)

But with a few improvements, at least it’ll be energy efficient.

I buttered the pan, put a circle of parchment paper in the bottom, buttered that, then floured the whole shebang while a stick of butter melted in a sauce pan.  I added my not-finely- ground instant coffee;  luckiIy it dissolved just fine.    (I wasn’t as lucky with my race picks.   Or in Poker.  Maybe because I’m always “all in.”  Even when I have a pair of twos.) 

Once the butter was melted, I add the cocoa powder, let the mixture cool briefly and added the eggs and vanilla.  I carefully mixed in the chocolate and dry ingredients (including a scant 1/4 cup of flour) and spread the thick walnut-laden batter into the pan.

They baked for thirty minutes, then I let them cool overnight before attempting to cut them.  

One flaw to my pan substitution plan, these brownies are very rich.  A serving size is very small and it’s pretty darn hard to thin enough slices.   Thus I was forced to eat a slice (or three) that was way over the actual serving size.

Of course, I did burn off a lot of calories rooting for my horses and cleaning house!

*Honestly, we DON’T actually bet, my husband just has the kids pick an amount and then figure out what they would have won/lost.   Emphasis is definitely on how much EVERYONE loses.

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I finally got out the camera to take a picture of my brownies, only to find the pan empty!   So, yes, I guess you could say my family enjoyed these!