King Arthur flour – -

- – makes the best biscuits!


They are crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside.  Break one apart, hot from the oven, and watch the steam float toward the clouds.  Add fresh strawberry jam, and your taste buds will sing.

The recipe for these biscuits is adapted from one found at Carmen Cooks.  I replaced the 1/4 cup butter with half butter and half shortening, both frozen. 

lemon curd – my first attempt was a delicious success


Mix all the ingredients in the food processor (nothing curdling here!).

Pour into a heavy bottom pan.

Stir – stir – take it’s temperature – stir.

STOP when you see this – remove pan from stovetop.

Lick your fingers numerous times at this point.  This stuff is unbelievably good!
Strain to achieve satin.
Photo session

As a quick synopsis, I mixed all the ingredients in the food processor, cooked in my All Clad pan, took it’s temperature, and strained into my grandmother’s antique pitcher.  Oh, and I tasted – several times.  It is d-e-l-i-c-i-o-u-s!
The lemon curd is one of the ingredients used in this month’s “Sweet and Simple Bakes” recipe for lemon curd muffins. 
I read about 5 recipes for lemon curd, and combined parts of several to make this lemon curd.
Lemon Curd – -
zest of 3 lemons
1 cup (193g) granulated sugar
5 tablespoons very soft unsalted butter
3 large eggs
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, strained to remove pulp and seeds
Pulse the zest and the sugar in a food processor for about a minute.
Add the soft butter to the food processor and pulse again for about 30 seconds. 
Add the eggs, one at a time, to the mixture in the food processor.  Pulse 2 or 3 times between each egg addition.
With the food processor running, slowly pour in the lemon juice.  Continue to mix until all ingredients are incorporated – just a few more seconds.
Pour into a heavy bottom pan and cook on LOW, stirring constantly.  I cooked and stirred for about 10 minutes, gradually increasing the temperature from Low to Medium Low.  Watch closely when the temperature reaches 160 degrees F.  The curd will reach the proper consistency very quickly at this point.  Mine was ready at about 165 degrees F.
Remove from stove.  Test with a wooden spoon and your finger (this is to allow you your first taste!).  If the trail from your finger remains on the wooden spoon, the curd has properly cooked.
Let cool slightly.  Strain into glass dish and cover with plastic wrap.  Punch a few holes in the plastic wrap to allow the steam to escape; place the plastic wrap directly on top of the lemon curd.
(There were no pieces of cooked egg to strain out of the mixture.  The only accumulation in my strainer was some of the lemon zest that did not chop finely in the food processor.)
Store in the refrigerator for a week, or freeze.  Yield about 1 1/2 cups of lemon curd.

remembering

Daddy would have been 82 today.

That is me in the picture also.  If you can read the date on the old b/white photo, you will see that I’m no spring chick!

it’s all in the book..

food
recipes
friends

family

in-laws
step-parents
Step- MOM
basically the Mom
step-kids
marriage
career
location
a California girl
and a Memphis gospel choir
oh yes, and the cats
It sounds like the makings of a good southern novel, or a county music song.
A few minutes ago, I read the last page of “The Package Deal – My (not-so) Glamorous Transition from Single Gal to Instant Mom” by Izzy Rose.  Who of us cannot find ourselves some place in that mix-of-words title?
Here’s the link to the book on Amazon and here’s the link to the short video promotion of the book.
This book is Izzy’s memoir.  I have had the honor of watching this life story unfold from prior to the birth of ‘the Tall One.’  You see, I’m a friend of the ‘mother-in-law.’  Have you ever had the opportunity to read a book about the life of someone you know – someone you really know? It’s a strange feeling, seeing life written on the page.  We read fiction, we read biographies, we read autobiographies,  but how often do we read about real people with whom we talk and laugh and cry and hug and interact?
Izzy’s style of writing keeps the reader engrossed in the page.  I couldn’t put the book down.  I’m sure part of that was because I wanted to see how she would tell the family saga.  But, her use of words had me laughing out loud (sitting in a room alone; that’s a strange feeling to laugh out loud when no one is around) one moment, and wiping tears from my eyes the next.  And I knew the basic story line!  I knew what was coming next.  And I still cried!
I think I gave Hank and Izzy a cake stand as a wedding gift.  It was one of those pastel stands  from Williams Sonoma.  I hope it was pink; I just don’t remember the color.  Perhaps it has had the honor of displaying Gram’s Rum Cake (page 202).
You have to read the book.  Whether you are interested in the recipe for Gram’s Rum Cake or the 21 Stepmom rules, there’s something in the book for everyone.
Izzy, what’s next?  I’m (im)patiently awaiting your next book…
UPDATE:  June 11, 2009
Here’s the link to photos from Izzy’s book reading and signing in Memphis, TN

Strawberry Jam




I watch tooooo much Food Network, and specifically Barefoot Contessa.  She makes is all look….possible.  
Strawberries were cheaper by the flat at the farmer’s market.  I didn’t really need a flat, but my accountant’s brain said ‘cheaper is better.’  So, here I am – inspired, again, by Ina.  
The recipe was relatively easy.  The use of a thermometer eliminated any guess work involved in making jam.  I cooked the mixture on medium heat; there was some splattering as it cooked thicker and thicker.  I followed her recipe (found here) exactly as written.  One point I would stress – use a very heavy bottom pan to make the jam.  My jam did burn, just a little, in the bottom of my ‘not thick enough’ pan.  I quickly transferred the jam to another pan, cooked it a little longer, and hoped for the best.  Once that whiff of ‘something is not right’ drifts through the air, it’s advisable to check it out.
I am so pleased with the texture and color of my jam.  It does not taste like the jam MaMa made, but MaMa never added Grand Marnier, blueberries, nor apples to her strawberry jam.  I’m anxious to bake biscuits and really give this jam a true test drive.
I don’t know what will happen, but I froze some of the jam.  The sugar may crystalize.  I’ll report the results of that ‘experiment’ in weeks to come.

updated May 9, 2010:
The frozen strawberry jam is still as delicious as the day it was made.  The color is a little darker, but the flavor is great.

It’s not all bloggable

I make a lot of messes in the kitchen!  I mean, a lot.  I envision the baking results before I begin, and it just doesn’t always happen.  

Today, the strawberry ice cream overflowed the ice cream maker, and the latte squares were so soft, even after refrigeration, that they could not be cut into squares for baking.  And, the whole wheat pizza dough refused to form a pretty circle.  All three taste really good..they just aren’t….bloggable.
Here’s the success story for the day – Rose Water Almond Tea Cookies, originally posted by Baking Obsession.  After baking these, my entire house smelled of vases and vases of roses.  The first bite was crunchy, crisp, and flakey, dusted with powdered sugar.  These are the prefect ‘tea’ cookie.  Eating them makes one feel like it’s tea time.  The rose water taste is so very subtle, that it’s hard to distinguish, yet you know something unusual is adding to the
 cookie flavor.
  

I intended to follow the original recipe, but I added an extra ounce of butter in the creamed mixture by mistake . To compensate, I added 1/3 more flour, almond meal and sugar.  Even with this minor adjustment, the cookies were perfect.

Saturday morning tea…

…something I look forward to all week…

Noritake China Japan 5516
I have given away my wedding china.  This I inherited from my ‘Granny Reeves.’
Discontinued Actual: 1954 – 1959

Pattern: 5516 by NORITAKE [N 5516]    Pattern #: 5516

Description: PINK ROSES,GRAY/BROWN STEMS,GRAY LINE

under the cling wrap

Friday night – preparation for the weekend - 

What’s under the cling wrap.  The bowl is no indication.  It’s my newest batter bowl, and it was the size I needed; but, I should have used a light pink, floral bowl.   This is the cookie dough for Rose Water Almond Tea cookies that I found at Baking Obsession HERE.   I wanted to bake with rose water; I’ve found a recipe for madeleines and marshmallows using the rose water.  Watch for future posts. But, back to this cling wrap covered bowl.  The dough smells like two dozen roses sitting on my kitchen counter (I visualize them as pink roses.)  I tasted the raw dough (yes, I do taste batter containing raw eggs; I just don’t eat it by the spoon full!), and it did not taste like a flower - it didn’t taste like what I think a flower would taste like.  I’ll bake these during the weekend.
& & &
What’s under the cling wrap #2 (does this remind you of ‘Let’s Make a Deal’ – what’s behind door #2?)  Notice the old kitchen towel prop; that’s supposed to help you guess what’s under the cling wrap.  Whole Wheat Pizza Dough studded with roasted pumpkin seeds.  Process the seeds in the food processor; they give added texture to the dough.  The recipe lists sunflower seeds, but I used what I had in the freezer.  I’ll scale this into three – 8oz rounds of pizza dough, wrap each tightly in cling wrap, place in a zip lock bag, and freeze.  When I’m ready for a pizza, I’ll move the dough from the freezer to the refrigerator to the counter to rise again.
I made this dough (a similar dough) in a Viking Pizza class.  It’s so easily made in the food processor, and so much better than anything you would buy in the grocery store.