Today is our daughter Mia's birthday. Birthdays call for special treats. Birthdays of our children call for really special treats! Today I am making a caramel sauce for cheesecake. The easy cheesecake is made with (GASP) packaged sugar cookie crust and jarred caramel sauce in it and on it. I for one do not enjoy the cloyingly sweet, chemically taste of jarred caramel sauce so I make a quick microwave caramel sauce recipe I found at https://www.realmomkitchen.com/ (www.realmomkitchen.com/19662/quick-microwave-caramel-sauce-and-10-caramel-recipes/.) The recipe takes about 5 minutes to make and lasts a long time in the refrigerator IF and I mean IF there is any leftover.
Quick Microwave Caramel Sauce
It's not easy making green things grow before the earth is ready to receive them. It's not easy wishing and hoping for something that's weeks (or longer) away from happening. The garden departments and shops about town are getting stocked and it's difficult to resist buying and planting but resist I must. Our temperatures here in the east are still well below freezing at night so anything planted will not survive. I miss my home state of California and my adopted home state of Arizona where I can plant and have a garden all year round. I want to walk outside and harvest baby greens and fresh herbs. I want to get sunburned and toil. I want nurse a Mai Tai as I watch hummingbirds after a day spent gardening. For now, I will just have to wish and hope and resist...
Tonight is the Academy Awards ceremony. In honor of such a spectacle there is only one thing to do, Dear Readers, put a dollop of glamour in everything you do today. How? Easy. Sprinkle edible glitter on whipped cream and eat it while wearing sparkly. Silly? Yep. Fun? Yep. Over the top? Of course. Just like the Academy Awards.
Some days you feel like a drink. Some days you feel like a drink with cake. Why choose? I began with a craving for lemon cake and the desire for a drink. So, I searched the Internet for lemon cake made with buttermilk and oil. I got several hits for lemon cakes made with butter which was not helpful so I settled on a cake I found at: http://www.lordbyronskitchen.com/lemon-buttermilk-bundt-cake/ and made some changes to it.
I used 1 teaspoon of lemon extract instead of vanilla extract. I used the zest of two lemons and the juice of 1 1/2 lemons in the cake. I also increased the oil to 2/3 cup. The cake took nearly 55 minutes to bake instead of the indicated 45 and I used a silicone mold since I always have trouble getting the cake to come out perfectly from a Bundt pan. Just after the cake came out of the oven I brushed limoncello all over the top of it and waited 10 minutes before turning it out onto a rack set over waxed paper. My mold left me with a very flat, not terribly attractive cake so I just decided to put it baked side up. To be honest with you, Dear Readers, The top side of a Bundt cake is far more moist and tender than the bottom.; after all, it’s my cake and I can do what I want to do.
I then whisked to combine the juice of 1/2 a lemon with 2 tablespoons of limoncello and about 3/4 cup of confectioner’s sugar. I poured it over the top of my cake. Then I poured those drippings that dripped onto the waxed paper back onto the cake. The plan is to let the cake cool completely but we’ll see how that goes...
Cold. Tired. Busy. Starving. Sound familiar? Yeah, to me too, Dear Readers. What to do? What to do? Make a bacon and blue cheese omelette, of course. All that stood between me and sustenance? A bit of chopping and sizzling. That I can do and did.
Bacon and Blue Cheese Omelette for two people:
5 large eggs
2 egg whites
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper
2 strips bacon, chopped
1 shallot, sliced
2-3 tablespoons blue cheese
2 slices provolone cheese
Heat a frying pan over medium heat.
Crack the eggs into a medium bowl, add the whites, mustard and seasoning. Beat with a fork to combine well. Set aside.
Add the bacon to the pan, cook until crisp. Add the shallot. Cook 2-3 minutes, until softened. Spread filling out evenly over bottom and pour egg over the top. Allow to set about 2 minutes. Begin to draw cooked portion into center and tilt pan to allow liquid to run toward edges of the pan. Shake the pan and run a spatula around the edge. Repeat process until most of the liquid is cooked. Flip over, top with cheeses on one half. Flip other half onto cheese. Remove from heat and allow to sit about one minute. Serve.
All the east is in the middle of a thaw. Everywhere I turn, ice has formed and is melting. Branches are encased in it, icicles are dripping from the leaves like glistening diamonds. In the nearly nine years we have lived in east, this is the third time such a phenomena has happened. Seeing nature preserved like this, makes braving the snow and wind and slippery sidewalks worth it.
Today is a snow day, again. To cheer and brighten our day, I thought I would get to rolling out something sweet, Orange Sweet Rolls I found on the #Epicurious website to be exact. These rolls are guaranteed to brightened any day. Once I improve everyone's mood, it's time to think about what to make for dinner. I made a pot of chicken stock last night so I can make soup if I want. I defrosted some meat (I freshly ground) so I can make burgers or whatever else, if I want. I'm making fresh baguettes to shape into, you guessed it baguettes but was also considering stuffing some of the dough with meat and cheese and veggies like a pseudo calzone. (Defrosted, frozen bread dough could work for this if you want.) No matter what I make, I figure my culinary bases are covered.
I guess Mother Nature didn’t get my message about my being ready for spring because more snow and ice are coming to where I live. The old adage, ‘make lemonade out of lemons’ comes to mind and got me thinking about fun things to do relating to snow and ice. Aside from mulled wine, hot chocolate and tequila, ice cream and shaved ice come to mind. Bundle up yourself and the kids and make maple syrup candy or give everyone a little hot water in a cup and make slow motion videos of everyone throwing the hot water over their head and making more snow and ice. I know, I know but like I said, lemonade from lemons. After all this outdoor fun? What else? MORE mulled wine, hot chocolate and tequila, of course.
The wind outside is howling. Bits of ice and snow are beginning to fall. It's cold. I'm sick of it, Dear Readers. Enough of winter! I am in the mood for something green. Basically, anything green. The moss growing on the roof top outside my office window makes me smile; that kind of anything green. My avocado plant, AB (Alien Baby) is growing tall and green and sprouting leaves, that kind of something green makes me smile. I am planning a spinach salad slathered in homemade hummus and even that something green makes me happy. When you live in the east, in February, you're easy to please when it comes to green. I have a friend who colors her hair green to combat the winter blues. Although, I have no plans to go to that extreme, even that something green makes me smile. If you need cheering, think about something green and take comfort knowing spring is just around the corner. For now, we will have to hang in there together.
The sun is shining and it’s Sunday, Dear Readers. Sunny Sundays are meant for family, food and fun. Go out and enjoy some of everything!
Avid home cook and passionate instructor