This week was my first week back as an adjunct professor of Humanities. I teach six credits, two classes that last 3 hours each on Wed. and Thurs. evenings. When I walked through the door on Wed. night, the sweetest surprise was waiting for me. It was from my thoughtful "Young Women," the 16-18 year old girls I teach in my Sunday class. It was such a kind gesture, such a welcome gesture after a long night.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Psst.... Come on over here and I'll tell you my secret to perfectly grilled pork chops. I've bet you've heard about it before, but if you're like me, you hadn't tried it yet. It's easy and it's cheap. Interested?
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
This week's assignment for my weekly on-line baking club, Tuesdays with Dorie, was Creamy Lime Pie. It really was the creamiest and dreamiest lime pie. But I'll never make it again. Never, ever. Oh, the hassle and the mess! First you whisk the lime custard over a bowl of gently simmering water, hoping that it will reach 180 degrees on your akwardly dangling candy thermometer that clanks into your whisk every time you circle by. After twenty-three minutes, yes, twenty-three minutes, I had the heat cranked up to high, the water boiling furiously (and this in the middle of August), as I continued to whisk. I think I hit 175 degrees at best, and hung up my gloves. Then the hot mixture must be strained into the food processor, and if you're me, then you lose a few globs of custard on the way in. And a few more globs on the way back to the saucepan. And by the time I was done with this custard, I had Creamy Lime Chaos all over the kitchen. And to think, I probably had less mess than most, since I didn't make crust. I had itty bitty purchased graham cracker pie tins in my cupboard, leftover from a mini cheesecake class I taught at church. So at that point, after scrubbing up the kitchen counters and washing the pans, and zesters, and juicers, and strainers, and food processor, I almost quit. But the pie was supposed to be topped with a billowy meringue. Normally when I make key lime pie, you use the egg yolks in the custard and the whites for the meringue. Sigh. Lovely and economical. Not so with Creamy Lime Pie. Whole eggs go into the custard and so you must begin again with egg whites. It always bothers me to be lopsided like that. I know how to use extra yolks and extra whites, but I really prefer it to all come out even and symmetrical. So I went with a whipped cream a topping, and a little sprinkle of lime zest. The pies were superb, heavenly, ethereal. But I'll never make them again. And if you decided to make them, give yourself plenty of time. And Formula 409. And Palmolive.
This will make it look easy:
Click here for the recipe, plus gorgeous photos.
The Very Best Grilled Pork Chop with Grilled Peaches
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Thursday, August 20, 2009
I was thinking how lovely it would be to have a picnic on one of these Saturdays, these long, sizzling August Saturdays that are dwindling in number. August. August. I love the word August. I love the heavy, throaty, roundness of the sound. To me it is almost an onomatopoeia; I can almost feel the weighty heat, the lengthy hours, the sticky anticipation of Fall, just in the word "August." If you use august as an adjective it means "inspiring awe, imposing." You can even use the related adverb "augustly," as in, "Augustly, and with an air of assumed innocence, she sauntered into the courtroom." Or the noun, "augustness" as in "Struck by the augustness of her demeanor, he regretted his trite gesture of flowers." Or you can use the proper noun August, the one we know so well, the one that means the eighth month of the year. Or in bold augustness, you can skip the grammar indulgence, and just augustly plan a picnic in the august heat of August. Either way, I hope you'll include these chicken drumsticks.
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Yesterday was something of a beginning and an end. On the one hand, we began our homeschooling in earnest. In honor of the occasion, we surprised the charges by painting a four square court in the backyard, complete with an extra bouncy red rubber ball. (We painted a hop-scotch court as well, but so far it has been met with only casual interest.) In the evening, I attended my adjunct faculty meetings, gearing up for courses that begin next week. Enrollment is up some 23 percent over last year, so I've got full classrooms and lots of emails from desperate students hoping to add classes. There's an excitement in the air, and it looks like freshly sharpened pencils, Trapper Keeper notebooks, and juicy red apples.
But today is Tuesday, which means that I am morally obligated to share my assigned treat from TWD baking club. So here it is. It's an apple bar that I didn't quite love, but I didn't dislike it terribly either. Meh. That isn't much of an endorsement, so I'll move on.
Friday, August 14, 2009
Although I still firmly believe that the true back to school is in September, right after Labor Day, I'm forced to keep up with these modern times when plaid-clad students march back to active learning in August. We'll start our homeschool learning in earnest on Monday, just to keep up with the local kids who went back yesterday. And in two weeks, I'll head back to Dixie State College, where I teach Humanities in the evenings. I'm busy organizing my courses, preparing assignments, writing up syllabi, and collecting materials. But I'm never too busy to turn my attention to food. The first few weeks of school, I pack lunches for my children, simply for the sheer novelty of using a lunch pail and pretending that our school is as formal as any other brick and mortar institution. We set about making homemade crackers this week, which make a very fine lunch when combined with some sharp cheddar cheese and a crisp apple. I needn't tell you that making your own crackers is ever so much cheaper than buying them, but they do take a little effort to make. Enlist the help of your little charges, if possible, for the rolling out. I recommend making a double (or even a triple batch) and storing them in an airtight container. And don't blame me if they get devoured by the adult crowd before school ever starts. They're that good.
Homemade Wheat Thins
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Hiya cutie pies. I even like your darling little name: Brownie Buttons. You're brownies, but you're helpless little newborn brownie infants with a little sprinkling of baby powder-uh- I mean powdered sugar. You're so darn adorable, I want to sneak you into my Hello Kitty pencil pouch and carry you off to school. Or I could meet you later, when the bell rings. My house, say at 3? Wouldn't you like to have one of these waiting for you after a day at school with Mrs. Crabtree? The apple is only for decoration, dear readers.
Click here for the recipe. Just as a note, these are a little bit tricky to get out of the pan, so butter it well. I tried mini muffin liners-big sticky mistake. Also, this recipe makes 14 brownie bites, but I filled my 12 cup mini muffin pan a little full and they came out just perfect.
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Last week, my little sister went out to dinner with friends at the Cheesecake Factory, where she ordered a tamale cake appetizer. She wrote me an email telling me how good they were, with an attached copycat recipe, and promised to make them for me the next time she came for a visit. But then I couldn't stop thinking about them. Last thing before I went to bed, first thing when I woke up. Was it really possible to have the taste of tamales without all of the work? The notion made my heart leap up and dance the cucaracha. I was in love, enamorado, and we hadn't even been introduced. Mexican food, next to long walks on the beach and long stemmed red roses, has always had a special place in my heart. And so we met, and we've been inseparable ever since. You've got to try them to believe me. One bite and you'll find true love too.
Tamale Griddle Cakes