Thursday, February 11, 2016

And the Winner Is

 Strawberry!  Remember last week's stuffed turkey dinner and I said I made four different ice creams?
Those were Buttered Pecan, Blueberry, Lemon and as a last thought, this strawberry. Oh, my. I mean really.  It's a good thing Lent hadn't started, I'd be on my knees all month for this one.

I'm a substitution cook.  Generally I follow a recipe as given the first time but not always. I like to think of recipes as "suggestions."  If you cook a lot and know flavors, you can generally read a recipe and taste it.  If I don't have a listed ingredient I will substitute something else.
     This is my go to recipe for ice cream.  I like it because it doesn't contain eggs so it's a lighter tasting ice cream (the one I use for lemon ice cream is a bit different but not much.)  You can see I've also made it with peaches, apple butter, and now the strawberry.  And my big substitution is for the half and half.  I don't go out and buy a container of something I can do myself.  Half and half is just half cream and half milk so for that part of the recipe I make my own. Even if that isn't what Half and half technically is (it is) I'd still do that substitution.  I mean, why not?  Who cares?  Who is the ice cream monitor???

     In strawberry season I like to make up a small container or two of sliced, sugared berries to put in the freezer for this time of year when I want a taste of summer and hanker for a strawberry sundae.  I don't make freezer jam (or cooked jam) because I don't eat it much and Friend Marge gives us a jar of black raspberry jam for Christmas and it lasts a whole year for me.  PH doesn't eat it and I have some only occasionally.
     Last summer I made a small batch of freezer strawberry jam.  I don't know why.  I think the freezer jams taste so much closer to the actual fruit I guess I was just thinking I'd be hungry for some come winter.
      Last week I had enough whipping cream to make one last batch for the friends dinner Friday night and I thought of the frozen ice cream strawberries I usually have.  I dug through the freezer and couldn't find any, but there was one lonely little cup of freezer jam.  I looked at it and thought, "hmmmmm...." I knew it would taste truly strawberry-y and it was already sugared so the sweetness factor would be jumped up.  It was runny, as freezer jams are.   Hmmm.....
      I put it on the counter to thaw and when I ran the cream mixture through the ice cream freezer I opened the strawberry jam and dumped it in.  I stuck a spoon down into the mixture to taste and knew I had a winner.
      Our daughter loves strawberry ice cream and when the family came to help eat the turkey leftovers on Sunday I pulled out our four flavors.  She thought this one was over the top.  She said,
"This is what I want for my birthday.  No cake.  Just this."
      Of all the ice creams I've made this one is the clear winner.  

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Paris Street Style

Paris Street Style  - a coloring book  by Zoe de las Cases

We can hardly walk into a store without seeing a huge display of coloring books for adults.   I love the new relaxation trend because it really works.  I remember thinking  that when I was a kid there was nothing like opening a new box of crayons.  The waxy smell meeting your nose, the colors all lined up with perfect dusty points.  Choosing which one to use, and thus dull, first.  I was always careful of the box flap, trying not to tear it.  I always put the color back in its factory position in line.  So, no, I see nothing wrong with the plethora of coloring books for adults.  The only problem is which to choose.

I received a copy of Paris Street Style from Blogging for Books and fell in love with it immediately.  What a fun, fun collection of pictures to choose from!  These aren’t crazy busy pages of images you have to concentrate on.  These are pictures of things you’d see if you were observant, walking along a Paris street….or your own.  A page of sneakers or sandals or bow ties or combs or outfits you’d find in a boutique or the boutique exterior or Provence wallpaper (or fabric!) or the contents of a purse, neatly arranged or the front of a young woman with her camera hanging around her neck.  These pictures bring a smile to my face even before I choose one to color.  

The book is more compact than the other coloring books, it has a nice little band to bring around for closing, immediately giving it a little class.  There is a ribbon to mark the page you may be working on.  Small details but details lacking in other books.  

I worked on my first page the other night while listening to the Republican debate on television.  It helped.
I was truly reluctant to request this book, what I considered yet another coloring book, but I am so very glad I did.  Look for this one!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Happy Birthday

It was Michael's birthday.  He's three so he wanted a super hero birthday.
 We had super hero cake
 Super hero guests in the battle of the fog machine (hint: don't give the remote to the three year old.)
 We sang to our little superhero (and so did he!)
Happy Birthday, Mike!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Boning the brontosaurus

Actually, it was a turkey, but close enough.  Do you remember the chicken I practiced on a couple of weeks ago?  Well, it was dinner party time with friends and I was determined after reading about Jenny's boned, stuffed, rolled turkey Christmas tradition (Bird on the Border blog on my sidebar) I was going  to try it. 

 I armed myself with a hopefully sharpened dull knife, a 12 pound turkey and a Youtube video going in the background, which I kept replaying over and over and over as I was coached through.
It wasn't pretty, dull knives being what they are, but I did it.  It took about an hour. Now for the insides:

 crunched pistachios
 Camembert cheese
 cranberry jelly.  

Next came the part where Jenny's hubby said you should have an extra pair of hands to help and your divorce lawyer on speed dial.   Trying to roll this overstuffed slippery bird wasn't as hard as I thought, but getting it secured shut was.  PH wasn't here to help.  So we were spared the divorce, but now that our daughter lives two blocks away and didn't work on Fridays she came to help.  We rolled and tied and sewed this puppy shut.
 She (the bird) was exhausted so she napped for the rest of the day in the fridge. And I was worried this wouldn't feed eight people.  But I have trouble with math.
 The recommended cooking time was about 350degrees for 1.75 hours.  I went with two hours just to be sure, and basted a couple of times with what very little juice there was.
It didn't look as pretty when cut as Jenny's did but holy cow, what a hit!!  This was just about the most delicious thing I had ever tasted and that's saying a lot because I also made four kinds of ice cream for dessert and I'm an ice creamer.

Thank you Jenny and hubby for posting about this and inspiring me and tutoring me along for about 300 emails.
    Oh, and if you think you can get your butcher to bone this for you, think again.  Mine couldn't say no fast enough.  I didn't even get the word 'turkey' out of my mouth entirely before he bellowed, "NO!"
You just have to sharpen your knife and go for it.  The end product is worth every single effort.