Monday, June 28, 2010

Give me some sugar, daddy!

So, its kinda a running joke with some of my friends that I/we are "on the prowl" for a sugar daddy. Its a joke because:

1. Its kinda ridiculous to call myself "on the prowl" when I prefer staying home and hanging out with my friends, and not hitting up local bars and hot spots looking for men.

2. I live in a small town which has a limited number of decent, available men...MUCH LESS...rather wealthy, decent, available men.

Moving on....

So my sister emailed me, my mom, and my sister-in-law her dessert idea for our father's day cookout. Its called sugar daddy a'la mode. I asked her if it helps attract them, because I could use one. I mean...I am 30 and I am single! Its about time I settle down....right? *as I roll my eyes and sigh...*

Anywayz, it was funny. To me at least. Probably no one else. But I am known to laugh more at my own "jokes" than other people. At least it gave me a laugh! : )

The sister ended up making the gooey, scrumptious dessert, and it was a total hit with all the men in my family. Maybe I should find a boy and cook it for him and see if it works! Ha ha!

Sugar Daddy a la Mode

30 light caramels
1/3 cup evaporated milk
1 pkg. Betty Crocker
German Chocolate cake mix
1 cup chopped pecans
3/4 cup melted butter
1/3 cup milk
12 oz. bag chocolate chips

Directions: Melt caramels in evaporated milk. Set aside. Combine cake mix, milk and butter. Mix well. Add nuts. Pat 2/3 of dough into greased 9x13 pan. Bake 6 minutes at 350. Remove from oven. Cake will have risen but still be quite soft. Sprinkle chocolate chips over crust, then drizzle caramel mixture over melting chocolate. Drop remaining dough over top by spoonfuls. Return to oven and bake for 15 minutes or until set. Cool completely before cutting. Serve with vanilla ice cream.
(PS - That's my real "sugar daddy" up above! He's a pretty good one! I think I'll keep him.)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Buttermilk Ice Cream

And they doubted me that it would taste good....

Last Saturday night I went home to visit the family and help my grandmother move. I ended up also cooking dinner for my parents, grandmother, sister, and kiddos. I made a thrown together version of the summery pasta that Jana and I cooked in Idaho last year. We used some of the vegetables my brother has been growing in his garden. (The compound really could be self-sustaining if it had to be. You can find fish and deer for meat (or cats, squirrels and raccoons if you are into that stuff), and eat corn, tomatoes, lettuce, peppers, pears, squash, zucchini, etc. That's how we roll!

Anyway, for dessert I wanted a special treat, and since my mom had some fresh (from the market) strawberries and (grown by a friend) blueberries, I decided to make some homemade ice cream to go with them. I flipped through my mom's ice cream cookbook, and stumbled upon a buttermilk recipe. I'm always looking for ways to use the buttermilk I buy when I make banana bread, and this is a great follow-up to that!

Buttermilk Ice Cream
(Adapted from A Passion for Ice Cream cookbook.)

6 large egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
1/8 tsp kosher salt
2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 cups buttermilk

Directions: Whisk together egg yolks, salt and 1/4 cup of sugar. Cook heavy whipping cream and remaining 1/2 cup of sugar on medium heat until almost simmering. Remove from heat, and slowly begin to temper eggs with cream mixture. As you add cream mixture into eggs, whisk and pour slowly in order to prevent "cooking" the eggs.

Return mixture to pan and cook on medium heat, stirring consistently with a wooden spoon or non-stick spatula. Use a candy thermometer to measure temperature, and continue cooking custard until it reaches 175 degrees and lightly coats the spoon. Strain custard into a medium sized bowl.

Fill a larger bowl with ice and water, and set medium bowl in the ice bath. Chill custard mixture in the ice bath for an hour or so. You can also put custard in fridge for four hours or overnight to chill.

When ready to put in ice cream mixture, stir in buttermilk. Then churn/freeze according to the manufacturer instructions of your ice cream machine. Serve immediately, or store in freeze. Top with fresh fruit or your favorite ice cream toppings.


Side note: I totally rocked this ice cream! It was amazing! My family doubted the yumminess of buttermilk ice cream at first, but ended up LOVING it! Its a great treat for a summer holiday...such know...4th of July!

Friday, June 18, 2010

A leave of absence

I'm taking a leave of absence. Its because I know what I need to write my next blog post about, for this one or the other one, and its going to be a hard post to write. Lots has happened over the last month, and my heart just isn't in it. But I will return soon, when I can muster up the courage and strength to write my tribute.

Friday, June 4, 2010

As American as Apple Pie


Correction: Usually at work I don't have time to blog...because I'M WORKING! And since I sit at a computer all day, the last thing I want to do is blog when I get home at night. Plus, I'm usually busy planting, weeding, mulching, baking, etc.

Last night I spent ALL NIGHT BAKING! It was kind of fantastic! I started out by making an apple pie for my new neighbors, then made dinner for me and my bro, followed by 2 loaves of banana bread. It was a long night. (But fun!)

My new neighbors moved in about a month ago, and I am just now getting around to meeting them. (Better than the 9 months it took for me to meet the other neighbors who ended up being introduced to me by a coworker.) They include a momma, a daddy, a three year old girl and a baby girl.

They moved into a house with a very neglected yard that was previously inhabited by a bunch a college kids. Since moving in, they have completely cut down all of the wild mess and are working to make the yard super beautiful. I can't tell you how happy this makes me! Before they moved in, I threatened to spray Round-Up on the yard in the middle of the night. It was that bad. Now its all gone, and its lovely!

I really like my new neighbors, so I made them an easy apple pie. I hope it tasted good, but here's the recipe:

Traditional Apple Pie

3 Granny Smith Apples, peeled, cored and sliced
3/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2-3/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
3-4 tbsp. butter, cut into small squares
1 frozen, 9-inch deep dish pie crust
1 flat (rolled) pre-made pie crust (You could just buy the flat kind and put one in a pie plate for the bottom and one on top)

Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Once preheated, "prebake" bottom crust for about 5-10 minutes. Mix dry ingredients in bowl and set aside. Peel, core and slice apples and set in a bowl. If desired, sprinkle with lemon juice to keep them from turning brown. Mix dry ingredients with apples and pour into pie crust. Place butter squares on top.

For top crust: Roll out flat pie dough and slice (with pizza slicer or knife) into long strips. Lay strips on top of crust in a basket weave pattern. Pinch top crust to connect to bottom crust. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top, if desired, for a little added sweetness.

Bake at 375 degree for 30-45 minutes.


Now, last night I did not use the basket weave pattern. I arranged the strips on top of each other to form a starburst pattern. I know, I should have taken a picture. I have also used a solid piece of dough on the top before, and cut little teardrop holes in it for a design. You can get really creative with your top crust.

I also use a pie crust shield to protect my edges from browning too quickly or burning. These cost just a few dollars, and are available at most home goods stores.

The recipe above was a first for me. I had never made this one before, and I hope it turned out okay. I looked really good! I guess my neighbors will tell me? Or not? Ha ha! However, I do have a "never fail" apple pie recipe that I typically make. It came from the Bell's Best Cookbook (I think in # 1, because I don't have that one, and I have it hand written in the front of # 2.)

In case you aren't from Mississippi, every true Southern cook I know has a set of Bell's Best Cookbooks. They are by the local AT&T Pioneers. I have #2 & #3. My mom has the first 3, and my grandmother has at least the first 2. My mom's books are so used that the pages are stained, falling out and the book is being held together by a rubberband. She's gotten her money's worth out of those! The Bell's Best cookbooks taught me how to cook when I was a kid!!! All of the first recipes I made came from one of them. Its like the Mississippi version of the Joy of Cooking! Trust me! Its a good investment!!!

You can view my Bell's Best Dutch Apple Pie recipe here.

If you want to buy a Bell's Best, go here. I think I need to get # 1 and # 4 to round out my collection...

What's your favorite cookbook?

(Side note...since we are on a cookbook kick, I met with a new vendor yesterday and his company prints a bunch of cookbooks. He asked if I liked to cook, and I said..."Uh...yes!!!" He's going to send me some samples! YEAH!!!! I can't wait!)