Saturday, March 28, 2009
The pears turned out delicious, by the way!
Peel and core pears from blossom end leaving stems intact. Using the smallest spoon you can find may help.
6 ripe Bartlett, Anjou, or Bosc pears
4 cups water
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 egg yolks
In a pan wide enough to hold all 6 pears, combine water, orange juice and sugar. Bring to boil. Add pears; poach gently 10-15 minutes or until tender. Remove pears and reserve 1/2 cup liquid.
Beat butter with powdered sugar until light. Blend in reserved liquid. Cook and stir over low heat 8-10 minutes or until sauce thickens slightly. In a small bowl, lightly beat egg yolks. Temper yolks by adding a few tablespoons of the sauce to the eggs while stirring constantly. Add a few more tablespoons of sauce to the eggs, still stirring constantly. Add the egg mixture into the remaining sauce and cook for 2-3 more minutes until thick. Serve warm or cold over pears.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Now, I don't usually measure these ingredients--it's a "shoot from the hip" kind of recipe--but I'll give you the basic idea:
2 lbs ground beef
Seasonings to taste
3 cups mashed potatoes
1 10oz can corn, drained
1 1/2 c shredded cheddar
Brown the ground beef and season to taste. I usually go with a subtle Italian flavor since that's what my family likes. A little "Italian Seasoning" mix, some garlic, and a little salt and pepper.
In a large casserole, mix the ground beef and 1 cup of the mashed potatoes. This step makes it easier to scoop out the meat in one piece and not have it crumble. Top with the corn. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of cheese over the corn. Top with mashed potatoes and sprinkle remaining cheese on top.
Bake at 350F for 20 minutes or until the casserole is warmed through and the cheese is melted.
Sunday, March 8, 2009
Whenever I make Mexican food, I make up a batch of Melissa Astle's world-famous tortillas. Little Mike calls them "yum yum bread." And she is correct when she claims that they are way better than store-bought!
I have used flour ranging from 100% white to 100% freshly-ground whole wheat in this recipe with good results. I always use butter-flavored Crisco.
I weigh each tortilla at 2 oz (plus or minus .1 oz), for consistency in size. I roll using either a traditional or a French rolling pin, and a silicone baking mat.
I cook two to three at a time using an electric griddle set at 375F, and store them in a heavy plastic tortilla warmer until its time to eat.
The recipe says that it serves 6-8 people, and we had 11 people, so I used three cans of everything, which turned out to be just a bit too much. But everyone ate until they were full and there were still leftovers, so I guess that's good.
About all you can do beforehand is to cube the sausage.
2 cans (10-ounce each) tomatoes
2 cans (10 1/2-ounce each) condensed French onion soup
2 cans (10 1/2-ounce each) concentrated beef consomme
2 cans (about 1 pound) white rice (measure using empty soup can)
2 cans (about 1 pound) kielbasa sausage (measure using empty soup can)
1/2 cup (1 standard stick) butter, cut into cubes
Combine all ingredients in Dutch oven. Bake using 8 coals under the oven and 17 coals on the lid. Cook for about 1 hour or until rice is tender, refreshing coals as required to maintain heat.
Monday, March 2, 2009
After a bit of web research, I found that there are two main ways of making a rope hammock--basically a net that you lay in. The first way is to have multiple pairs of cords running the width of the hammock, then knotting alternating pairs of cords to form the mesh. This seemed to be an easier concept, and perhaps easier to execute; however, very few of the hammocks I saw were knotted this way and I wondered why, if it seemed so easy.
The second way is to use one continuous cord (or several shorter cords knotted together) and...sew...the hammock. (The PDF I used to learn this technique can be found at the new URL of http://blogs.cornell.edu/garden/files/2009/04/technique4.pdf.)
This is the way I chose to go for a few reasons. First, it would be a challenge to learn a new knotting technique. Second, it seemed like a nifty skill to have. I can see it now...
Friend: "Here we are on our week long camping trip and I forgot my net! I wish I knew someone who could make a fishing net."
Me: "Have no fear! I can whip one up in no time at all. I just need to strip the inner bark fibers of that tree over there, twist them in to rope, and it'll be done in a jiffy!"
So here are a few pics of the hammock in progress. I figure I need about 30-40 more Meijer bags to get the job done. (So get shopping, Kara!) ;) Why am I insisting on using only Meijer bags? It's probably an OCD thing, but I don't want to have brown bags mixed in with the white ones. Or black Wal-Mart lettering mixed in with the red and white Meijer lettering. So it's purely cosmetic. However, if I had my way, I'd use 100% Target bags. They're larger (so I could use fewer), and they're a bit more rubbery than the regular plasticky grocery bags (so they'll be a bit more flexible, I think).