Thursday, July 21, 2011

Some things to keep you cool

For several years now I've heard about Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams in Columbus, Ohio via Ravelry via TNNA. I was seriously close to ordering pints online before but the pricey shipping stopped me. Lucky for me (and everyone really) Jeni Britton Bauer (the Jeni) has written an ice cream 'cookbook'. I picked it up a few weeks ago and it has so many delicious-looking recipes in it for all seasons of the year. I cannot wait to make the Pumpkin Five Spice in the fall. My favorite part of all the recipes is that none of them use eggs. I just don't like homemade ice cream with egg yolks, the texture always seems weird to me. Instead the ice creams in Jeni's book are made with whole milk, heavy cream, sugar, salt, cream cheese and then whatever the flavor components are. Perfect! The book is also just really well put together with lovely photos and cute artwork.
The first recipe I made was Pistachio and it is perfect! I used pre-roasted/pre-salted pistachios but other than that I followed the recipe exactly. I was so anxious to try it and it did not disappoint. The pistachios make the ice cream a pretty pale green. 
The second recipe I made was the Roasted Strawberry Buttermilk. We've passed prime strawberry season here but I picked up some non-local berries at the grocery store. To achieve the maximum strawberry flavor, you slice the berries, toss them with sugar and lemon juice and roast them for about eight minutes in the oven. After that you puree them in the food processor. Since you only use 1/2 cup of the puree, there's a lot leftover and I'll tell you what I did with the leftovers below.

I love, love, love this flavor. The pistachio is wonderful too but the strawberry is my favorite of the two. However, I managed to get some tiny cornstarch clumps so I guess I didn't get the cornstarch mixture fully incorporated. The flavor of the ice cream wasn't hurt though but I'll be more careful next time.
With the leftover strawberry puree I added a small amount of vanilla bean paste and a small container of vanilla yogurt. After I whisked it all together I poured the mixture into some of my popsicle molds and froze them.They turned out really well, not too sweet and lots of strawberry flavor. These particular molds remind me of a unicorn horn.
I love this book so much and I anticipate making many more of the recipes, mainly the Sweet Corn Black Raspberry!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Summer knitting

As I said to my friend the other day, I am convinced it will never be cold enough to wear wool. At least heavy wool. Yet we all still knit sweaters.

My knitting group has decided to do a knit-a-long this summer using the Narragansett pattern from Thea Colman. I'm using Classic Elite Solstice yarn, it's 70% cotton and 30% wool. It seems to be well-written pattern, it took me seven days to finish the sleeve increases (I knit slower than most folks). The yarn is knitting up really well though, it's similar to Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece.

I finally finished the Featherweight Cardigan in Madelinetosh Tosh Light. The neck  is somewhat wonky and my finishing skills need more work. The main issue I had was picking up the neckband stitches, they look pretty messy on one side. Oh and I changed the sleeves up a little from the pattern. I do like it though and I'll probably make another one. I think I'll get a lot of wear out of it.

Before we left on Megatrip, I made two baby shrugs for our Seattle friends baby girls. The pattern is Confection Baby Shrug and I used Blue Sky Alpacas Cotton. I used seed stitch for the cuffs and collar instead of the ribbing that the pattern calls for.
While on Megatrip, I only went to two yarn stores, such restraint! I went to Close Knit in Portland (which I had been to before) and bought two skeins of Madelinetosh Tosh Light. The colors are Silver Fox and Celadon and my intent is to use them for the Stripe Study Shawl.
In Lawrence, Kansas  my cousin took me to the Yarn Barn (how great is that name?) and I got two skeins of Claudia Hand Painted sock in Cherries. I really like this Fishnet Anklet pattern but who are we kidding here, I'm never going to actually knit two socks.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tennessee sucks, in the summer

Memphis is under a heat advisory for several days. When I got into my car at lunch yesterday the temperature gauge said this:  


This is why Tennessee sucks in the summer (not sure if that's what Ryan Adams meant though).

My co-worker and I were all alone in the office (our bosses were out of town) so I went over to YoLo after lunch and got frozen yogurt for us. Mine was white chocolate with strawberries, chocolate granola & mochi.

I'm currently obsessed with this song. I especially like to turn it up really loud in my car.

I think we're going to the beach in three weeks, which means I'll be using up some of my precious vacation time but it might be worth it to spend a week doing almost nothing. 

 Doug and I have become addicted to Buffy (the tv series). One Saturday afternoon a few weeks ago we got caught up in a marathon of it and couldn't stop watching. Luckily my friend Kenan has let us borrow seasons 1 and 2 on DVD. Yesterday we watched five episodes.

We bought a Kindle and I'm trying to get used to it. I bought Bossypants, A Visit from the Goon Squad and Under the Banner of Heaven on it but I find it a little harder to sit down and use. Part of that could be my reluctance to put down my knitting. 

I got a really short haircut. I used to have short hair. The first time I cut my hair short was junior/senior year of high school. It was not quite cutting edge and more suburban mom than high school student. Eventually I grew it out. The second time I cut my hair short was about a year into dating Doug. I kept it short for several years and started growing it out after we got married. Over the last year I've been hemming and hawing about cutting it again but couldn't decide. Then the other week I got tired of blow-drying and frizzy hairs so I made an appointment and got it all snipped off on Saturday. I love it so much. There are no frizzy hairs and the blow-dryer is put away for a bit. Plus since it's 104 degrees outside there's no hair sticking to the back of my neck. I'm hoping the new 'do doesn't make me look too much older.  

    Thursday, July 07, 2011

    Patriotic Pie & Lemon Blueberry Buckle

    On Monday we lazed around our house most of the day watching a Roseanne marathon on Oxygen (don't judge). Later in the day we were due at the home of friends for dinner. I had wanted to make an actual-real-from scratch cherry pie for awhile and the 4th of July seemed as perfect a day as any to make it. Since we don't get sour cherries around these parts I used the sweet cherry pie recipe from Smitten Kitchen. I used the butter-based pie dough recipe too. I feel like I worked the dough a little too much and it chewier than it should have been. The pie turned out well but it didn't slice up into neat triangles since there was no gelatinous goo to hold the cherries together. I attempted to use a USA shaped cookie cutter for the vent in the center. It looked somewhat abstract but most everyone knew what it was supposed to be. 

    I have a lot of cookbooks, most of them are baking-themed, and I'm trying to do better about using them. Over the weekend I pulled out Rustic Fruit Desserts and made the Lemon Blueberry Buckle recipe. It was very, very good. I did manage to accidentally caramelize the lemon syrup but it didn't diminish the overall taste. If have access to blueberries you need to make this. You also might consider doubling the crumb topping - just a suggestion...

    Wednesday, July 06, 2011

    Tuesdays with Dorie: Chocolate Chunk Muffins

    This week's selection was chosen by Bridget of The Way the Cookie Crumbles. I always like muffin recipes, they're so easy, usually the mixer is not required and they're pretty versatile.

    Chocolate Chunk muffins were good, moist and very chocolately but in retrospect I think I would have liked to add dried cherries to the mix. Chocolate + cherries are so good.