Saturday, May 30, 2015

National Burger Month

Grandma's burgers


May is National Burger Month! Yup that’s right a whole month to celebrate all burger goodness. In fact did you know that there is a holiday to celebrate food every day? Everyday. 
Now I could just throw a burger on the grill, slap condiments on it, photograph it and post it. BORING!! No, I going to turn it up a notch and cook it the way my grandmother did. Have I mentioned my Southern grandmother? So, I’m going to fry it in bacon fat, yes I did go there, and I said BACON FAT.

Bacon fat makes everything taste better!




I spent the summer of 72 with my grandparents. Hamburgers were the one thing I wanted her to make morning, noon and night!  They were magical to me. Today I would call them crack burgers but when you are twelve and grew up way back when, then magic is what they were. Now my grandma was very southern and I seem to  remember she cooked and fried most things in bacon fat, burgers, cornbread and I’m many other things as well. I think that she had a jar of the stuff by the stove.
Now, back to those burgers. She would fry them turning only once. Once turned she would place one half of the bun on top to soak up the burger juice. What seemed like forever the burger was cooked she would place the burger on the bottom portion of the bun and serve them. Mustard, katsup whatever you need to put on your bun go ahead. Maybe a side of potato salad or a deviled egg or two and a big glass of tea, sweet tea to the south, just plain iced tea for me.          

Thursday, May 14, 2015

May Day, May Day


A birthday toast and cupcake to me

May Day, May Day, May Day, is normally the distress call at sea but for me it is the call of my birthday. Yes, I still love to celebrate. Why would you stop celebrating? It’s a day or month for some people that will not be named, that revolves around you! Presents, cake, dinner perhaps. Cake did I mention cake?
This year's celebration was a cupcake and a sip of Birkin, that oh so delicious liquor from Iceland. 
And as treat my plan was to make chocolate puff pastry. And I failed, well not that is was terrible or didn't puff up type of failing. I failed early in the process. What happens when you put the wrong paddle attachment on your stand mixer? You end up with cocoa and flour everywhere and a shirt that looks like you slept on the ground at Mardi Grais. It took an hour to clean up and I wasted the last of the flour and the KerryGold butter that I had. Needless to say there was no puff pastry for my birthday. I ended up making Pots de Creme a week later. Well since I celebrate all month then it's ok. The Chocolate Puff Pastry will have to wait for another time or another birthday! 

Aftermath of a flour and cocoa mishap


Pots De Creme


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Travel Ephemera or Souvenirs



the best bags and boxe

Trip ephemera or Souvenirs. It’s all the stuff you have to find room for on your return home from your trip.  Our last trip was no exception. No tee shirts or magnets this time. The one thing that I find myself in abundance this trip is bags and boxes. But not any ordinary boxes and bags, but boxes of gold foil  that once held the ever delectable French Macarons for the oh so chic Laudree. That recognizable green bag. I have started a collection of chocolate wrappers that are too pretty to throw away. They have the most unique origami illustrations on them, those are from Iceland.  Of course there are the beautiful tickets from the Opera house, even a lowly metro ticket. I also brought back paper models of city landmarks. They are fun to put together. I have others from Giverny, Arc de Triomph, Knossos and now the Opera House and Reykjavik.
The hubster’s souvenir of course is the marathon medal, the marathon bib, the bags and all the things he collected at the sports expo and the signs that we held along the race route for encouragement. 


souvenirs from the race and sports expo

Since we rented an apartment it was great not having to go out for every meal. Our breakfasts of course had croissants, cheese meats and all things for a proper continental breakfast. Including yogurt. These yogurts were pretty fancy in style but not price. At only 2.59 euro for two they were amongst the best buy of the entire trip. Yogurt in a stoneware crock! 


yogurt crocks

So now that I am the proud owner of 6 deciding what to make was easy. Chocolate pots de crème. I used Martha Stewart's recipe http://www.marthastewart.com/354091/chocolate-pots-de-creme
        
Adapted from Martha Stewart.com
I didn't use the Frangelico. And I used the 70% cocoa that I bought in Reykjavik.


INGREDIENTS


  • 1 1/4 cups half-and-half
  • 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon hazelnut-flavored liqueur, such as Frangelico (optional)
  • Whipped cream, for serving (optional)

DIRECTIONS


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Bring half-and-half just to a simmer in a small saucepan. Remove from heat; add chocolate and sugar. Let stand 5 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together yolks, vanilla, cocoa, salt, and liqueur if desired. With a fork, stir chocolate mixture until smooth, then gradually stir into yolk mixture. Pour through a fine sieve into a glass measuring cup.
  3. Place 4 custard cups or ramekins (3 to 4 ounces each) in a shallow roasting pan, and divide chocolate mixture among them. Pour hot water into the pan so it reaches halfway up the sides of cups.
  4. Bake until custards are almost set in centers, about 30 minutes (custards will firm as they cool). Carefully remove cups from hot-water bath; let cool slightly.
  5. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate. Just before serving, dollop with whipped cream, if desired.