Hot Polka Dot
7May/10

The Custard Thickens.

I consider this dessert a pivotal personal achievement. I've been putting it off for a long time now since a certain incident involving custard. Very stubborn custard. It was just awful. I don't like to talk about it...

...Ok you twisted my arm.

So it was New Year's Eve and I wanted to make something fancy to celebrate. We bought a shrimp ring and veggies with dip, I made sweet and sour cocktail meatballs and a layered salsa dip. There was just the dessert left to contend with. My mother started making this Angel Icebox Dessert for family functions years ago and it quickly became a family favourite even rivalling my Oma's coveted Cherry Delight. I thought I'd give it a try. How hard could it be right? Famous last words.

So there are three different layers. I didn't have the time or patience to make my own meringue nests or pavlovas so I bought some. Don't judge me, I'm impatient. Next is the whipping cream. That's easy. Then comes the custard.

Up until now I had never made custard and it was a little intimidating to say the least. Despite that I set aside my fears and soldiered on. I followed the recipe exactly. Six eggs yolks. Check. Sugar and salt. Check. Flour. Check. Scalded milk. After a googling what that even meant, check. Vanilla. Roger.

As I was stirring my custard in my makeshift double boiler feeling pretty darn happy with myself I'd come this far I realized to my horror that it wasn't thickening. Why was this happening? What had I done wrong? Were the custard gods punishing me for some significant sin? I read and reread the recipe dozens of times finding no evidence to my fault. After 45 minutes of tedious stirring to no avail I decided to refrigerate it and hope for the best.

Nope. Not even a little thickening. It was custard soup. That just won't do.

So my mother got a frantic phone call that day. Apparently the freshness of my eggs was questionable having bought them from a supermarket and not straight from the hen. I also should have used whole milk instead of 1% like I normally do.

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20Mar/10

I Scream, You Scream, We all Scream for Ice Cream.

Have you ever been personally judged by your ice cream choice? You probably have. You know how it is. Vanilla is safe, innocent, naive, uncomplicated and unimaginative. Chocolate is daring, adventurous, mysterious, spontaneous and creative. You might have had someone look at you funny when you order a vanilla milkshake or give you a wink when you get a chocolate sundae.

Just as the variety of ice cream flavours has broadened since, oh I don't know, the 1940's, we are realizing that there aren't a finite number of personalities. People aren't either a vanilla or a chocolate. They can be rocky road, neopolitan, chocolate chip cookie dough, raspberry sorbet, or even chunky monkey if they please. My favourite ice cream is Cherry Garcia. Does that mean I'm a combination of innocent and adventurous? I'm both daring and safe? Unimaginative and creative? What does the cherry part mean then? Sounds fun to me, whatever it is.

The lesson here is that you can't judge a person by their ice cream choices. There are millions of ice cream flavours and varieties just like there are millions of different personalities and preferences. Just because my favourite is Cherry Garcia doesn't mean that that's what I eat day and night, although I kind of wish I did. I also like lemon gelato, mint chocolate, rainbow sherbet, triple chocolate and countless others. Flavours change. Moods change. People change.

Why am I talking so much about ice cream, you ask? Because these delicious vanilla and chocolate Meringue Candies remind me of that freeze dried ice cream like the stuff astronauts chow down on in space. Have you ever had that? They sell it mostly in science center or museum gift stores so it's hard to come by. It tastes exactly like real ice cream except without the wetness or the cold. Sounds weird but, trust me, it's super good. It melts in your mouth literally like these things do and tastes much the same. If, like most of us, you are intrigued by this space ice cream idea and you lack the means to dehydrate your own ice cream, but you have three eggs and a bit of sugar, this is the treat for you.

Because in space no one can hear you (ice) scream.

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13Mar/10

How Not to Waste a Dozen Eggs.


I danced in my kitchen today. Have you ever done that? I highly recommend it. It's quite liberating.

I've actually done a great many things in the kitchen.

I've cried.
I've screamed.
I've drawn blood.
I've broken stuff.
I've burned myself.
I've threatened food.

Seriously, I wish I were kidding. You know, the usual.

But today, today was different. Today was the day I mastered a Martha Stewart recipe for the very first time, turned up the volume on Metric and danced my heart out. I also may or may not have screamed “I'm Martha Stewart!” Ok yeah, I did. You'll understand when you scroll down. Trust me. If you have five lemons and a dozen eggs you need to make this. Now.

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