Message for Google+ folks: Would you please consider adding your own blog to your link list? That way, I'd have some hope of finding you. Otherwise, I'm going to have to let you go before I tear my hair out. Thanks!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Crème Brûlée and Butter Chicken

The crème brûlée was so good! For Christmas I gave John a Crème Brûlée Set because I'd he'd been dying for one. Turns out that I shouldn't have bothered with the set because the ramekins that came with the set are ridiculously small and the butane "torch" is as well. When it came time to fire off the brown sugar topping, John used the great big torch. Very exciting! As you can see, I'm just using Pyrex custard cups, which gives a more reasonable portion. In case you've never tried making this dessert, let me assure you that it was very easy and the results were over the moon. If you ever need to impress guests...

Here's the recipe that I used, which I've had floating about so long that I don't know where it's from. (Perhaps an old Country Living magazine?)

Crème Brûlée

-Ingredients-

√ 2 cups heavy whipping cream
√ ½ cup sugar
√ 1 TBS real vanilla extract
√ 5 large egg yolks
√ 12 tsp brown sugar

-Method-

* Heat oven to 325°
* Place six ¾-cup ramekins in a 13x9x2" baking pan.
* Mix cream, sugar, and vanilla in a heavy medium saucepan.
* Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves and mixture comes to a simmer.
* Cover pan and reduce heat to very low and simmer gently for ten minutes.

* Whisk yolks in bowl until blended well.
* Gradually whisk yolks into hot cream mixture (after the mixture has already simmered for ten minutes) until just blended.

* Divide custard between ramekins.
* Pour enough hot water into the baking pan until the water is halfway up the sides of the dishes.
* Transfer the baking pan to the oven.
* Bake custards for 35 minutes. Custards should be nearly set in the center when gently shaken.

* Use tongs or a spatula to remove the custards from the pan.
* Cool for 30 minutes.
* Chill at least three hours and up to two days.

* When ready to serve, sprinkle 2 tsp brown sugar over each custard, place on baking sheet for added protection and either broil to brown or use a butane torch to caramelize the sugar.


All I have to say is yummy!

And, just because a couple of you mentioned the Butter Chicken, I'll toss in that recipe, too.

Butter Chicken

-Ingredients-

☺ 2 beaten eggs
☺ 1 cup crushed Ritz crackers (What's fun about this is that any flavored cracker works...I've tried many different kinds and they all work, just be sure to use a cracker as that's the texture crumb you're looking for.)
☺ ½ tsp garlic salt
☺ ground black pepper to taste
☺ 4 skinless boneless chicken breast halves (I prefer to cut them into strips creating a chicken finger...more sides to coat, in which case, you'll need more crumbs.)
☺ ½ cup butter cut into pieces.

-Method-

* Preheat oven to 375º
* Place eggs and crumbs in two separate bowls.
* Mix cracker crumbs with garlic salt and pepper.
* Dip chicken in eggs.
* Dredge chicken in the crumb mixture until well coated.
* Arrange chicken in a Pam sprayed 9x13 baking dish.
* Place butter over the top of the chicken.
* Bake in oven for 40 minutes or until juices run clear.


Have a happy Saturday and, if you try either of these, please let me know!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

A Gratitude List

Maybe I didn't exactly celebrate, but I did consider being grateful...this is my gratitude list for a snow day (we're enjoying another today). I really should do these more often because even though a few nasty things crept into the day, a few disappointments, they were far outmatched by the delights. This really must be remembered.

1. After my beloved had been out plowing, shoveling the roofs and the walks, I made him some hot chocolate...from scratch.

2. He brought home some donuts.








3. And together we enjoyed a mid-morning snack. We used our Mr. and Mrs. mugs saved for special occasions. John's daughter sent those to us for a wedding gift.








4. I received an email from my daughter-in-law with a photo of my grands attached.



5. I was able to do a little decorating and some cleaning and organizing.








6. We had Butter Chicken for supper and my dishwasher cleaned up!















7. It was still light outside after five pm.








8. In the evening, I made crème brûlée...











9. using the new ramekins.












10. Such a cheery yellow...can't wait to taste one.











11. It was a wonderful and cozy jammie day.

Have a great weekend, Everyone. I'll catch you another day.

( Blogger always makes creating lists so much fun! Not. =} )

Celebrate Winter?

Spring is the only season that does not arrive a month early.

How pretentious can one be? (That's my own quote.)

It hasn't been a long, hard winter, though my heart hasn't figured that out. I am in some sort of winter in my mind that has lasted much too long. So this morning's snow matched my spirits...chilly.



After Valentine's Day, I changed the message on my little chalkboard immediately...



This morning, I was reminded to slow down, wait, abide, resist the urge to wish time away...

(You may read exactly what we did by following the link to Our Daily Bread on my sidebar.)

Check back tomorrow to see if I was able to do any celebrating.

Enjoy your day whether it be a spring one or, like mine, very much a winter one.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Johnny's

Oh boy! Look what came in the mail on Valentine's Day!


Er...let's try again...


If I could just move Fioré's behind a bit...


There! Johnny's Seed Catalog is a delight through and through. This year, I'm most interested in these...



If you visit Johnny's, they'll send you a catalog of your own. I'm certain that you'll love it as much as Fioré and I do.



Oh, and see why I'm in love with herb disks right *here* on this video. Fascinating!

While we're discussing plants...let me share this info on Christmas cactuses/cacti.

Christmas cactus will bloom if given long uninterrupted dark periods, about 12 hours each night. Begin the dark treatments in about mid-October to have plants in full bloom by the holidays. You can place the plants in a dark closet from about 8 P.M. - 8 A.M. each night for 6-8 weeks or until you see buds forming. Christmas cacti will also bloom if they are subjected to cool temperatures of about 50 to 55 degrees F, eliminating the need for the dark treatments. Plants should be blooming for the holidays if cool treatments are started by early November.
Source

Guess my sister was right after all! And, guess what just hit the basement this morning? I'll report back in a month. Will that be in time for Easter?

Happy Tuesday, Everyone!

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Power of Suggestion

Did you have a good Valentine's Day? I'm scooting around this morning to snoop and see what you have to say about it. My day was lovely, but I want to tell you about my Valentine's Eve. Don't get all **twitterpated, it's just funny. At some point in the night I became aware of my beloved standing over me offering something, something that smelled just like peanut butter. I'll use dialogue as it's so much easier that way.

I: What's that?!

He: A peanut butter sandwich.

I: Why?

He: (somewhat surprised) Because you asked me for one.

I: I asked you for a peanut butter sandwich? When?

He: Just now, you asked me for a piece of bread.

I: Are you kidding me?

He: Nooooo, and I repeated that back to you and you added 'with peanut butter on it.'

I: Well you know what you can do with it!

He: (muttering) Guess I'll be eating a peanut butter sandwich.

It's true love when your beloved eats a peanut butter sandwich that you ordered in the middle of the night. I was telling my son and daughter-in-law about this and my daughter-in-law told me that my son talks all the time in his sleep and that she just has to ignore it. Good advice for my darling, too, I guess. I truly had no idea that I talk/issue orders in my sleep.

Yesterday, I realized once again how powerful my suggestions are. I asked my sister how her Christmas cactus was doing. (Mine has one measly bud and I have followed "the rules" perfectly.) Again, dialogue...

She: Oh my yes, thank you for telling me how to take care of that cactus...it's loaded with blooms and has been blooming for months.



I: It has?!

She: Oh yes! Why within days of bringing it out of the basement it was blooming.

I: Out of the basement?

She: Yes, just like you told me. You said to leave it down there for a couple of months and forget about it.

I: Noooo, that's for geraniums, not for Christmas Cactuses.

At which point, my niece interjected...

"That Cactus was so happy to get out of that cold, dark basement it was willing to do anything."

Hmmmm, in that case, I think mine has earned some time in the basement!

Have a wonderful Monday, Dear Ones.

**twitterpated: excited for no account such as some (you know who you are) were wont to be over my Valentine Tea. Check comments for my response.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Prayer

Prayer is the language of a person burdened with a sense of need. It is the voice of the beggar, conscious of personal poverty, asking of another the things that are needed. It is not only the language of lack, but of felt lack, of lack consciously realized. "Blessed are the poor in spirit," means not only that the fact of poverty of spirit brings the blessing, but also that the poverty of spirit is realized, known, and acknowledged. Prayer is the language of those who need something — something which they, themselves, cannot supply but which God has promised them, and for which they ask. In the end, poor praying and prayerlessness amount to the same thing, for poor praying proceeds from a lack of the sense of need, while prayerlessness has its origin in the same soil. Not to pray is not only to declare there is nothing needed, but to admit to a non-realization of that need. This is what aggravates the sin of prayerlessness. It represents an attempt at instituting an independence of God, a self-sufficient ruling of God out of the life. It is a declaration made to God that we do not need Him, and hence do not pray to Him.

'Do you expect to got to heaven?" asked some one of the devout Scotsman.

'Why, man, I live there,' was the quaint and unexpected reply. It was the pithy statement of a great truth, for all the way to heaven is heaven begun to the Christian who walks near enough to God to hear the secrets He has to impart.

~selections from The Classic Collection on Prayer by E.M. Bounds




Keep on asking and it will be given you; keep on seeking and you will find; keep on knocking and the door will be opened to you.

Matthew 7:7


DB