Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Can You Feel Spring Coming?

I woke up this morning and there was frost on the lawn and ice on the windshield! It is April 30th for Pete Sakes. I just planted a couple of flowers, finally, in some of my window boxes and now the little flowers have a droop to them. So, what happens to the little hummingbirds when the weather behaves badly? I have always wondered where they sleep. I can not believe how much those cute little birds can eat. Ravenous at times. Definitely not scared of me anymore. Then there are the squirrels. I found one in the glass bird feeder, balancing with his big ol' wide load behind hanging off the edge of the dish. . .eating like he has never seen food before. One of the biggest squirrels I've seen yet!

To day was a long day so I thought I would come home and try working some more on my little sewing project. . .the ever awaited APRON! Isn't it cute? Bright and cheery with lots of little flowers. Do you know how many bolts of material I laid out all over JoAnn's Fabric store to find this material? There was many eyes a twitching until I reassured everyone that I was going to put all 40 or 50 bolts back when I was done. I had WAY to much fun! Anyways, I didn't get to sew tonight. Bummer. There were strawberries calling out to me that needed to be made into something quickly so that I didn't lose them. All 4 cups worth. Since they were not absolutely, perfectly fresh, I decided to make a custard and add pureed strawberries (I left a few strawberry chunks) to be made later into ice cream. That and dinner. Where do you go for a great ice cream recipe? I figured I would get a great one from Food Network and Emeril Lagasse. Yep and Nope! Found a recipe and the recipe was not even close to being correct and this was noticed BEFORE I even started. Can you imagine a recipe telling you that a custard will thickened within 4 to 6 minutes on simmer? What super custard ingredients was he using? Oh yes, and the recipe asks for 1/2 of a vanilla bean in the ingredients but says nothing about it in the directions. I thought that the overall recipe was a good base to go off of and that is just what I did. I have the custard chilling with Saran wrap on the surface so there will be no skin. Tomorrow I will process it. I have to admit that the custard turned out great and the pureed strawberries with 1/2 c. of sugar tasted fresh and delicious. All together, the flavor is wonderful!

Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream (Kind of From Emeril Lagasse)
1 quart fresh strawberries, washed, stemmed and quartered
1/2 c. granulated sugar
(His recipe called for 1 1/2 cups, which I thought was way to much)
4 c. half-n-half
1 c. granulated sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, split in half and scraped
(I scraped the seeds out and then added the bean itself)
6 egg yolks

In a food processor or blender, combine the strawberries and 1/2 cup of the sugar. Process until smooth. In a saucepan, over medium heat, combine the half-n-half, vanilla bean seeds, pod, and sugar. Bring to a simmer. In a small mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks until smooth. Add 1 cup of the hot liquid to the egg yolks and whisk until smooth. Add the yolk mixture to the saucepan of liquid and whisk until incorporated. Bring the liquid back to simmer and continue to cook for 18 to 20 minutes or until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. Remove the Vanilla Bean from the custard. Remove from the heat and stir in the strawberries. Whisk until smooth. Pour the mixture into a glass bowl and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the mixture. This will prevent a skin from forming while cooking. Cool the mixture completely. Process the mixture according to the ice cream machine instructions.

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