Wednesday, December 26, 2007
I love Christmas morning. There's something magical about gathering around the tree, anticipating each person's reaction to a special gift, opening up surprises, watching my children's faces.
Grace rolled out of bed just in time to open gifts. Here she is, wearing the scarf and gloves I knit for her (the hat is in her lap). She's holding a book that Aunt Terry got me called Hardware: Jewelry From A Toolbox, and it's rather cool.
I don't usually wear jewelry at the moment because it tends to be impractical with maintaining the little people, but this book makes me want to hit the hardwear store and make turn it all into wearables.
Lavella, wearing a hoodie from Jom.
The entire outfit from Jom. (Jonathan expressly asked to see a picture of her in it within the first three days. You asked my dear, and here she is.)
Greg got this big guitar pedal from his family, and as soon as we were done with gifts, he hooked it into his system upstairs to test it out.
I love these books!
A dinosaur set!
Greg surprised the boys with a set of drums.
The Tiny Beautiful, playing drums.
And of course there was cooking. Grace and I managed to pull together a dinner that was not too time consuming, yet very special. The menu:
Romaine Salad with Pears and Cheese
Bread Pudding with Wild Mushrooms (made with Brioche)
Oven Roasted Brussel Sprouts
Tomato Sherry Confit
Broiled Flank Steak with Soy Citrus Mayonaisse
Greg bought a delicious, round red Reisling which complemented the meal well.
For the past few days we've been baking cookies and cupcakes, so instead of a big, rich dessert, we decided to eat cookies, and have a post-dinner appetizer course of interesting cheeses, crackers, and shrimp cocktail. After the children were in bed, we mixed up some Mojitos and watched the movie "Waiting". Fun times.
It was a wonderful Christmas, but we missed all of you back home. Much love to our family, and thank you all for the lovely gifts!
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Next year I might play a little more with miniature realism, but I really like the way these came out.
Setting up to decorate:
A pallet of candy.
My tiny elves, working away at their houses. This kept them busy for over an hour.
I found that by giving their houses a thick spackle of royal icing, that then they could just decorate by themselves -- whatever they pushed into the icing stuck right there.
So much fun! (Andrew's is on left, Elijahs' is right.)
I'm nearly done with all of my Christmas knitting. That should be finished tonight before bed, and then tomorrow is baking. I've already got dough in the fridge for 2 different kinds of cookies all set to go.
I hope that you all have a merry Christmas!!
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Brilliantly orange-yellow and pungent with spices, this soup is warming and invigorating all in one.
The recipe called for sweet potatoes, but I used white potatoes instead, and it was quite good. My husband is not overly fond of sweet potatoes, but I think that the spice quotient is high enough that it might balance the flavors out, so I might try that next time. I used my own chicken broth instead of the low-sodium canned stuff. There is also supposed to be a teaspoon of hot chili paste in the soup, but I think that I might have singed my nosehairs off if I'd done that. Recipe is adapted from Jan '08 Bon Appetit (my changes are reflected below).
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons chopped shallots
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tablespoons minced lemongrass (from bottom 4 inches of about 3 stalks, tough outer leaves discarded)
2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
2 tablespoons Thai yellow curry paste
2 tablespoons curry powder
2 13.5- to 14-ounce cans unsweetened coconut milk, divided
5 cups chicken broth
2 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
3 cups snow peas, cut into 1/4's
2 cups 1/2-inch cubes peeled white potatoes (about 2 smallish ones)
1 pound dried rice vermicelli noodles or rice stick noodles
3/4 pound skinless boneless chicken thighs, thinly sliced
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 red Thai bird chiles or 2 red jalapeño chiles, thinly sliced with seeds
1 lime, cut into 6 wedges
Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add next 4 ingredients; stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium-low. Stir in curry paste, curry powder, and chili paste. Add 1/2 cup coconut milk (scooped from thick liquid at top of can). Stir until thick and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add remaining coconut milk, broth, fish sauce, and sugar; bring broth to boil. Keep warm. IF YOU WANT TO DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Refrigerate until cold, then cover and keep chilled.
Cook snow peas in large pot of boiling salted water until bright green, about 20 seconds. Using strainer, remove peas from pot; rinse under cold water to cool. Place peas in medium bowl. Bring water in same pot back to boil. Add sweet potato and cook until tender, about 7 minutes. Using strainer, remove sweet potato from pot and rinse under cold water to cool. Place in small bowl. Bring water in same pot back to boil and cook noodles until just tender but still firm to bite, about 6 minutes. Drain; rinse under cold water to cool. Transfer to microwave-safe bowl. IF YOU WANT TO DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 hour ahead. Let stand at room temperature.
Bring broth to simmer. Add chicken; simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Add sweet potato; stir to heat through, about 1 minute. Heat noodles in microwave in 30-second intervals to rewarm. Cut noodles with scissors if too long. Divide noodles among bowls. Divide snow peas and hot soup among bowls. Scatter red onion, green onions, cilantro, and chiles over soup. Garnish with lime wedges and serve.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Bread is baking in my bread machine, making the house smell like my mom is here. It's a good day.
Besides opening a door of an Advent calendar each day in December and coloring Christmas themed pages (great ones on the Jan Brett site!), I've also started reading Christmas books to them, and next week we're going to make a gingerbread house together.
In my last post, I promised a recipe for breadsticks. I've finally finished most of my Christmas knitting, so I have (a little bit of) time for blogging again.
Crisp, slightly chewy, salty and well seasoned. Who doesn't like a good breadstick? I got the original recipe from the blog Baking Bites, and adjusted it just a bit. I don't like to separate eggs if I don't have to, especially if the recipe doesn't use the other part of the egg, so instead of using two egg whites, I used one whole egg. Also, I didn't have garlic powder, so I omitted that and the salt, and substituted two teaspoons of garlic salt instead. They turned out wonderfully! And you've gotta love a recipe that can succeed even with extensive help from a toddler.
These are quick to whip up -- no yeast and waiting for things to rise -- and they taste great. I could easily see these with chili, soup, or a huge dinner salad. This recipe can be easily adjusted by changing the seasonings to suit whatever you'll be serving them with (i.e. chili powder and finely chopped pickled jalapeno peppers for Mexican food, finely chopped rosemary for beef barley stew, basil and oregano for Italian inspired bean soup, etc.)
Garlicky Polenta Breadsticks
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp dried dill
1/4 tsp ground pepper, to taste
4 tbsp butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1/2 cup milk
1 egg, lightly beaten, for brushing
garlic salt or coarse salt, for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 425 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or foil.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, sugar, garlic powder, dill, salt and pepper. Add butter and rub in with your fingertips until mixture resembles sand and no large chunks of butter remain.
Combine milk and egg whites in a small bowl, then add to flour mixture, stirring until a dough is formed. Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface until it is a 10×12 inch rectangle and approximately 1/4-1/2 inch thick (about 1 cm). Trim rough edges. Use a pizza cutter or sharp knife to cut into 16 even strips.
Transfer strips to baking sheets, leaving room between them. Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle generously with garlic salt (or regular coarse salt).
Bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown.
Allow to cool before serving. Leftovers can be wrapped and re-crisped in the oven for 5 minutes at 400F.
Makes 16 sticks.
Monday, December 10, 2007
Elijah, giving some breadsticks and egg wash.
Andrew, showing off a "special" outfit he put together, all on his own (can you tell?)
No pics of Lavella, but she's yelling to me from her room, so I'd better go. I'll post again when I have time, along with the breadstick recipe, which was yummy and simple. It's a version of something I found online recently. Look for it soon!
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Today, Greg came home!!
We were all so excited to see him again. It's been four weeks!
I haven't been doing much cooking lately, so to ease into it, Andrew and I made my mom's Honey Whole Wheat Bread in the bread machine last night, and tonight I made hummus, and baked up a double batch of whole-wheat pita. I always forget just how great warm, fresh homemade pita is. Mmmm.
Tomorrow's Thanksgiving dinner has taken a bit of planning. Greg is not a traditional sort of guy, and doesn't enjoy most of the dishes that make up the usual meal (i.e. any sort of pie, sweet potatoes, turkey). We all love ham, but he wanted to keep the crowd to just our little family for tomorrow (since we've been apart for so long), and I didn't want to have to dream up ham-inspired dishes for the next 6 months just to use it all up. Another challenge is that I have a tiny oven here that has only one rack. Everything has to be done very strategically for a large meal. Thus, the following menu:
Appetizer: Shrimp with Caribbean inspired lime spiked cocktail sauce (Cook's Illustrated Best Recipes)
Salad: Spicy mustard dressing on mixed greens with pear (Gourmet Magazine, most current issue)
Side: Potatoes (not sure how yet -- probably just boiled with salt and butter)
Bread: Slightly sweet Cardamom Bread (Taste Of Home...I'll have to find the issue)
Main: Stuffed Beef Tenderloin -- meat is wrapped around a mixture of sauteed mushrooms, onions, garlic and water chestnuts. (Also Taste Of Home)
Dessert: Zabaglione Parfaits -- a Marsala flavored custard, layered with whipped cream. Mine will have chocolate curls on top, but it can also include fresh fruit.
I've also made a double pie crust (using the best recipe I've found so far! Its has the consistency of play-dough, and yet still manages to be tender and flaky), so the following may make their appearance, although Greg won't touch them:
Bittersweet Chocolate Pecan Pie - chocolate is layered between crust and filling rather than being mixed in. (Gourmet Mag -- current issue)
I might be eating pie for the next two weeks, but worse things could happen. I also considered cupcakes, but really, that might be taking things just a bit too far.
Pie crust recipe (Cook's Illustrated magazine):
Foolproof Pie Dough
- makes one 9-inch double-crust pie -
The trick to this pie crust is the inclusion of vodka. Eighty-proof vodka, which is 60 percent water and 40 percent alcohol, adds moistness to the dough without aiding in gluten formation since gluten doesn't form in ethanol. Although the recipe includes 8 tablespoons of liquid, the alcohol vaporizes during baking, resulting in a tender crust that only contains 6 1/2 tablespoons of water. Because of the extra liquid, the dough will be moister than most standard pie doughs and will require up to 1/4 cup more flour.
2 1/2 cups (12 1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon table salt
2 tablespoons sugar
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/2 cup cold vegetable shortening, cut into 4 pieces
1/4 cup cold vodka
1/4 cup cold water
1. Process 1 1/2 cups flour, salt, and sugar in food processor until combined, about 2 one-second pulses. Add butter and shortening and process until homogeneous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 15 seconds (dough will resemble cottage cheese curds and there should be no uncoated flour). Scrape bowl with rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade. Add remaining cup flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around bowl and mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses. Empty mixture into medium bowl.
2. Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together. Divide dough into two even balls and flatten each into 4-inch disk. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Stuffed Beef Tenderloin
Serving Size : 12
1 cup olive or vegetable oil
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon each dried oregano, basil and thyme
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 (3- to 4-pound) whole beef tenderloin -- trimmed
2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1 (8-ounce) can water chestnuts -- drained and chopped
1/2 cup butter or margarine
2 cups seasoned bread crumbs
3/4 cup egg substitute
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary -- crushed
1 teaspoon fennel seed
1/2 teaspoon pepper
In a large resealable bag, combine the oil, Worcestershire sauce and seasonings. Make a lengthwise slit about three-fourths of the way through the tenderloin. Place in bag; seal and turn to coat. Refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight. In a skillet, saute mushrooms, onions and water chestnuts in butter until onion is tender. Remove from heat. Add remaining stuffing ingredients; mix well. Discard marinade. Open tenderloin; spoon stuffing on one side. Close and tie with kitchen string. Place in a greased shallow roasting pan. Bake, uncovered, at 350' for 1-1/2 hours or until meat reaches desired doneness (for rare, a meat thermometer should read 140'; medium, 160'; well-done, 170'). Let stand 10-15 minutes before removing string and slicing.
Finnish Cardamom Braids
2 pkgs.(1/4 oz each) active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water(110-115 deg)
2 cups warm milk(110-115 deg.)
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. ground cardamom
1 Tablespoons Vital Wheat Gluten
7 to 8 cups all puirpose flour
In a mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add milk, sugar, butter, salt, cardamom, eggs, Vital Wheat Gluten, and 3 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Turn onto a floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface, divide in half. Divide each half into thirds. Shape each piece into a 13-in. rope. Place 3 ropes on a greased or parchment paper covered baking sheet. Braid ropes, pinch ends to seal and tuck under. Repeat with remaining dough. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.
After loaves have risen, before baking, I paint them with mixture of:
1 beaten egg
2 Tablespoons milk
Sprinkle librally with granulated sugar. Bake at 350 deg. for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool.
Yield: 2 loaves.
Note: if possible, after braiding loaves, place on parchment covered baking sheets. When pre-heating oven, put two baking stones in for 20 minutes to heat through. Slide loaves on parchment off of baking sheets on to baking stones and bake as directed. This adds to the great texture of the bread.
Monday, November 19, 2007
Note: all collages are clickable and will take you to their respective albums.
Paris. This was one of the coolest places we've been yet, I think. The top two pictures in the collage below are from a stop we took at the side of the road for the little guys to stretch their legs and Lavella to eat. Greg always knows how to make things fun for everyone, no matter where we are. (The boys are actually running on a deserted farm road that ran parallel to the road we were driving on, which was on the other side of the hedge.)
Bottom left, you can see the "roller cops". Would be interesting to be accosted by one of these dudes.
At bottom right, Andrew looks over the whole of Paris from the grounds of the Sacre Coeur.
The science museum was great! For the children, we had to buy a ticket for a 90-minute session of age-appropriate play and discovery. It was so cool. There's way too much to point out things in each shot, so here's an overview:
The food. As expected, food in Paris is great. We weren't looking for the fancy super high-end places that give you "bites" of food in little towers on gold-edged plates. Instead we wanted the people's food, things we could sink our teeth into, get our hands dirty.
Bottom row: a diaper incident led to Elijah eating his dinner pants-less and proud.
Top row (of collage below) is from an open-air market we came across. The breads, cheeses and cured meats were uncovered and just out there on the displays. So unsanitary! So utterly delectable!
Second and third rows are of a place called Fauchon. Now, I did just say that we were not in search of high end food. I must admit, however, that we were in search of high end chocolate. Fauchon is also a patisserie. It was an incredible place, and is recognized as one of the finest of chocolatiers. We were prohibited from taking pictures inside, so instead I went all around the outside and took shots of each of their display windows (!). (Really though, click on the Fauchon link -- you can buy their chocolates online too!!)
Bottom row is some souvenirs. I don't think I have to specify who got what of those last two. Not included in these pictures is a watercolor print of the Awful Tower (as the boys called it), which we hung in their room, and they love.
Here are some shots from just general sightseeing. The top left corner was of a random bronze statue of a man coming out of a wall. No explanation to it's significance, and the boys were a bit disturbed by it, but we thought that it was pretty cool. The picture immediately below it is of the Cartier flagship store, located on the broad, beautiful "avenue des Champs-Elysees", lined with other flagship stores like Gucci, Vuitton and Cavalli (just to name a few).
Third and most of fourth row are, of course, the Eiffel Tower. I never knew why it was there or what it was for. Now I do, but if you want to know, you'll have to read about it for yourself. It's pretty interesting, and not at all what I thought. (Well, actually, I don't know that I thought anything about it 'till I saw it in real life.) The image copyright portion of the Wikipedia article, however, just completely make me see red (if you click on that link above, click on number 7 in the contents box).
Bottom row: Moulin Rouge, Sacre Coeur, and a view of Paris from the Sacre Coeur grounds.
We didn't go up into the Eiffel Tower, and we didn't plan to. There's no way that I'm going to wake up early to stand in line for hours to go up to the top of a tower -- especially when I can see it some other way. Through the use of a great guide book and some direction from a message board I'm part of, we felt like we got a great slice of the essence of Paris, and someday hope to return after Greg retires (from the military) to explore it fully.
One of my favorite things about traveling with Greg is that he makes it a point to take time to make sure each person has fun, from the smallest to the tallest. When we're plotting our journies, he always researches things that will be interesting to each one of us, not just things that he thinks would be cool. Because of that style of planning, the trip to Paris was a great success for all of us, and even the boys have great memories that they still talk about.
Friday, October 26, 2007
We've been having a great time visiting so far. Today we spent the day at Poppy and Nana's house:
(Click, of course, to go to the set if you wish.)
Yesterday, I made S'mores Cupcakes:
Cupcake recipe from Cupcake Bakeshop, marshmallow frosting from Yumbrosia. At Cupcake Bakeshop, Chockylit filled the cupcakes with marshmallow fluff, but I didn't want to loose any of the graham crackery goodness, so I decided to spread the ganache over the top like she did, and then to pile on some marshmallowy meringue on top (piped out of a plastic bag with corner snipped off). My little sister (9-year-old Rachel) helped me with the double-layer frosting, and we had quite a fun time in the kitchen together.
Chockylit found that her cupcakes didn't quite rise and shrunk while cooling, and I had the same experience. I didn't think that it affected the overal quality of the final product though, so it was fine. Next time, I'd add less butter as she suggested to see if that helps any.
They've been a big hit with everyone who's tasted these so far. There's a buttery graham cracker crust on the bottom, and then a graham cracker-laced not-too-sweet cupcake. The ganache is bitter dark chocolate, which contrasts nicely with the fluffy, supersweet billowy topping. I tosted them under the broiler as a last step (with oven door open, of course!), which really took them over the top. I was going to stick a square of chocolate into the marshmallow frosting, but decided to stop while I was ahead.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
On an entirely unrelated note:
Maybe its' because I have a teething-soon-to-be-crawling baby, maybe it's because I have two little boys who are rather rough on their toys (and I am sooo sick of gluing back together toys all day), but I've become kind of concerned about toy safety in the light of so many recent (toy) recalls. If you click on the button above, it will take you to a list, compiled by some moms, of safer alternatives. They are more expensive than cheap WalMart finds, but the stuff on that list looks like it's built to last -- and it's supporting indi toy makers (independant, rather than "big box" stores like WalMart, KB Toys and the like), as well.
(Did I say "toy" enough times in the above paragraph? Yup, I thought so too.)
For the moms who read this blog, click on over to the CoolMom blog -- they post interesting kid friendly things at least once a day!
Here are some Demon Hunter fans:
"Rock and Roll!!"
(Photo taken this morning.)
Saturday, October 20, 2007
Friday, October 19, 2007
Playing in French dirt (just as fun as German and American, as it turns out!)
I promise that I really will put together pics from our trip soon, but I've been so busy...
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Yesterday, I had a few spinning friends over to play (Rachel, Dina, Gina, and Jillian). Most of us have children, and they all kept each-other occupied for a good deal of the time. Most importantly, we created a new spinner! My friend Jillian has been wanting to learn, and her husband is buying her a wheel for Christmas. The get-together was set up in part so that she could try out wheels and get a feel for things.
Here she is, spinning for the very first time, with Rachel's guidance.
It's always interesting to watch other people spin. Similar to watching other people knit -- I always learn something from checking out someone else's technique. (Jillian is actually very happy and excited in this picture, but that's the serious look of deep concentration.)
Dina and Gina.
Ever since I started reading the Cupcake Bakeshop blog, I've been looking for an excuse to use one of her recipes (her photographs make me feel like I could just reach out and eat one!). I finally got the chance!
Chocolate Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting
I knew that I would love them, but I wasn't sure how they'd go over with everyone else, especially the children.
I shouldn't have worried. (Dina's daughter "Nugget" on left, Rachel and "K" on right.)
Topped with a square of salted caramel and a sprinkle of Fleur De Sel
I baked up half of Chockylit's recipe which supposedly should have given me only a dozen cupcakes, but even after overfilling the muffin cups (resulting in flat topped confections), I still turned out 15. I'm pretty sure I could have gotten 24 if I'd filled them half-way, like I usually do. Next time I'll make a little more frosting too -- I piped generous swirls out of a plastic bag (Ziploc bag with the corner snipped open), and ran just a little short. Here's the halved recipe that I used -- the only changes are that I've taken out the "gluten free" half of it (full credit to Cupcake Bakeshop):
Chocolate Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting:
18 regular cupcakes / 350 degree oven
3-1/2 ounces (100 grams) Valrhona 85% cacao (or any bittersweet chocolate)
1-1/2 sticks (171.5 grams) butter
1 cup + 2 Tablespoons (222.5 grams) sugar
1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons (90 grams) flour, all purpose
2 tablespoons cocoa powder, unsweetened
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1. Chop the chocolate and transfer into the bowl of a standing mixer.
2. Add the butter to the chocolate and place the bowl over a pan of simmering water. Stir until the chocolate melts and the butter is combined.
3. Remove from heat and stir in the sugar. Let the mixture cool for 10 minutes.
4. Measure out the flour, 2 tablespoons cocoa, 3/4 teaspoon baking powder, and 1/8 teaspoon salt into a small bowl.
5. Transfer the cooled chocolate/butter mixture to the electric mixer and beat for 3 minutes.
6. Add one egg at a time, mixing for 10 seconds between each.
7. Sift the flour mixture into the wet ingredients and mix to combine.
8. Scoop into cupcake cups only 2/3s full. Bake all the cupcakes at 350 F for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Note: If the oven is not hot enough than these cupcakes may over-flow. One way to be safe is to either fill 2/3’s full or another trick I use is to preheat to 375, then drop the heat to 350 once I put the cupcakes in. I also rotate the pans after 15 minutes of baking. It is safe to gently move them at that point and I find the lower back of my oven to be a bit cooler.
2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt, kosher or sea
1. Combine the water, sugar, and the corn syrup in a deep saucepan and cook over medium heat.
2. Stir together with a wooden spoon until the sugar is incorporated.
3. Cover the saucepan and let it cook over medium heat for 3 minutes.
4. After 3 minutes, remove the lid, increase the heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil.
5. Do not stir from this point on, but it is important to carefully shake the pan so that one area of the caramel doesn’t burn.
6. Continue to cook until the caramel turns an even amber color then remove from the heat and let stand for about 30 seconds.
7. *** This is the dangerous part *** Pour the heavy cream into the mixture. Wear oven mitts, stand away from the pan, and be careful. The mixture will bubble up significantly.
8. Put the mixture back on the heat, and stir, again being careful. Add the butter, lemon juice, and salt. Stir until combined.
9. Measure 1/2 cup into a Pyrex measuring cup. Stirring occasionally, allow to cool until thick like molasses and warm to the touch, about 20 minutes.
Note: There was a small bit of extra caramel that I poured onto a small plate that I covered in aluminum foil and greased with vegetable oil. I transferred the plate to the freezer for about 30 minutes. I chopped the caramel quickly into squares (its starts to get soft) and topped each cupcake with a square.
Salted Caramel Frosting
1 stick butter
4 ounces or 1/2 package of Philly cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup salted caramel
1. Bring butter to room temperature by letting it sit out for 1 or 2 hours.
2. Beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed until creamy.
3. Add 1/2 cup of the salted caramel and beat to combine.
4. Sift powdered sugar a little at a time into the butter/cream cheese mixture and beat to combine. (Taste as you mix and add more or less to suite your specifications)
5. Chill to thicken up, if needed.
1. Frost cooled cupcakes with a generous amount of frosting.
2. Sprinkle each cupcake with sea, kosher salt, or Fleur De Sel.
3. Top with a caramel candy, homemade or otherwise.
Thursday, October 04, 2007
Double fountains at the beginning of the shopping area
A rock thing in the center of one of the walking streets served as a sort of "slide" for a bunch of children
Police car ride outside of the toy store
Lions statues that we couldn't figure out the meaning of
We found a good use for them though
We ate at an Asian Bistro, which served Thai and Chinese food. It was pretty good and very reasonably priced.
Lavella delivers a knock-out punch (notice her handspun, handknit sweater)
Of course, as always, there was ice cream. This particular Eis Salon had the best ice cream that I've had in Germany so far.
Elijah got Pistachio and Greg got Vanilla and Green Apple (complete with tiny bits of unpeeled Granny Smith apple)
Andrew ordered Blood Orange, which was perfectly delicate and floral, tasting exactly like a perfectly ripe blood orange. I got a Nuss Becher, which has one scoop of each of their four "milch eis" (milk-based ice creams), which ended up being vanilla, pistachio, hazelnut and chocolate. It was topped with tiny nut clusters, un-sweet whipped cream and drizzled with a creamy liqueur.
Up until this point, I haven't really liked any of the milk-based ice creams here in Germany, because they're just not as creamy as American ones, and Vanilla usually ends up being touched with a lemon taste, which to me is no good. The fruit based ones are always good though, tasting of pure, perfect fruit, which I will miss when we move back. Anyway, everything that we had at this cafe was delicious, and my new favorite ice cream shop.