Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Welcome Green Zebra!

I present to you my first ripe Green Zebra of the year:
You can tell a Green Zebra is ripe when the background flesh becomes yellowish and the stripes stand out as bright green.
And here is how it was consumed this morning:
That's a Zingerman's bagel with cream cheese, sliced red onion, a sprinkling of cayenne pepper, the green zebra, ground black pepper and a little salt. Oh yum yum yum. Washed down with a cup of strong black coffee. The tomato's flavor is sharp and lemony--a high acid tomato, which I love dearly. It is also rather juicy.

My breakfast cravings alternate between the black coffee/savory bagel combo and the latte/snooty sounding tartine de confiture (simply a baguette with butter and apricot jam) combo. Now that the zebras have arrived in town, I'll be leaning towards the former combo.

And speaking of Zingerman's bagels, today is Tuesday which means buy 6 get 6 free bagels (if I can get there in time before they all sell out). Really the only affordable way to enjoy a good bagel on a regular basis.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Summer Dessert

It is peach season in Michigan which is cause for much rejoicing. Yesterday I obtained some Red Haven peaches from the Produce Station and combined them with lemon ice cream I made earlier in the week for a perfect summer dessert:

The peach was ripe enough that it could be cut with the spoon and a half a peach is a nice size for some ice cream, not so much as to make you feel overly full in the heat, but enough to feel like you have had a good treat. The flavor of the peach was intensely perfumed and the sharpness of the lemon enhanced it well.

The lemon ice cream is a recipe I modified from one found on the web and, I have learned, is not terribly kid-friendly. I served some to Ian and after about 5 minutes of him trying to separate the zest from the ice cream base he gave up and deserted his bowl (more for me!) It has a lot of lemon zest in it and I cut down the sugar in the recipe so it isn't too sweet. I suppose if you were a nicer mom, you could strain the custard after it has steeped and before freezing to get the zest out.

Grown-up Lemon Ice Cream
6 Lemons

1 C Sugar

6 egg yolks

2 C heavy cream

pinch of salt

2 C evaporated milk (since many cans of evaporated milk are about 1.5 cups, you could also do 1.5 cups evaporated and .5 cup of regular milk)

1 t vanilla


Use a Microplane grater and zest the 6 lemons into a bowl (this is the kind of Microplane grater I have--it is one of my favorite kitchen tools both for zest and grating Parmesan. If you are clumsy like me, you will want the one with a handle...). Mix the sugar into the bowl with the zest. Squeeze 3/4 C of juice from the lemons and set it aside.


Whisk the egg yolks with the cream and salt in a heatproof mixing bowl.
Put the evaporated milk and lemon-sugar mixture in a medium non-aluminum saucepan. Bring the liquid to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove pan from heat. Slowly whisk the hot milk into the egg yolk mixture. Then return the combined stuff to the saucepan. Stir constantly over medium-low heat until the mixture begins to thicken slightly and coats the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes. Pour the hot custard into a bowl without straining (unless you are the nice mom who makes this for her kids). Stir in the vanilla. Put a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the custard to prevent skin from forming. Chill custard--can be refrigerated for up to 48 hours.


Stir the lemon juice into the cooled custard and transfer mixture to an ice cream maker and freeze.
Makes about 1.5 quarts.

My sister is arriving for a visit tomorrow and since she has a sweet tooth of epic proportions, I feel pretty sure this week will be one of many desserts. Despite the number of postings I have about dessert, I actually have a salt tooth--I definitely appreciate a small amount of an intense dessert and I think making dessert is super fun cooking, but I can't say I really crave them. When I go to a nice restaurant I'd much rather have a good appetizer and skip dessert than the other way around.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Fat haters, avert your eyes...

I present to you what piggy Kate ate for breakfast this morning:

A big old plate of fat-loaded food!
In my defense, I didn't fry the bread in bacon fat (but instead smeared it with an obscene amount of butter...hmmm, maybe not such a good defense after all...), though the egg and tomato (homegrown!) were fried up in the same pan as the luscious thick cut bacon.

I craved this fat-fest of a breakfast because I have actually soldiered on and am reading the non-fiction London: 1945 despite my previous griping. I confess that I skimmed over the chapter on the Ministries--the author is trying hard to get you interested in the war-time bureaucracy, but it isn't thrilling reading. Once I got to the chapter on war-time food and rationing, though, I was hooked! Today's breakfast is an homage to all the Brits who had to deal with rationing until--get this--1951! That's right, you may have thought that the food situation would improve in 1945 after the liberation of Europe, but the rationing was worse than any prior year and it continued longer than anyone imagined. So this breakfast would have made many a Brit swoon with pleasure. And it did a pretty good job on gluttonous old me.

The biggest surprise is that I didn't get this bacon at Big 10 (Applewood Smoked Bacon = $14.99/lb) but at Meijers! It is the Meijers brand thick cut bacon and was dirt cheap and incredibly meaty. Ok, so it didn't quite have the depth of flavor the Applewood stuff, but for the money, pretty damn good.

On the knitting front, I have new inspiration for knitted toys. Jess Hutch has posted photos of her knitted robots on Flickr:

This one is out for a stroll.
Fiona's current favorite book is this one, Hello Robots.

I have to read it about 4 times each night.
We recently acquired a robot like this:

You wind him up and he walks forward with sparks shooting out of his eyes. You'd think this might cause nightmares among the two-year-old set, but Fiona just lets out squeals of glee. Fiona and I also went to see the wonderful Robots Like Us exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry when we were passing through Chicago.

So I'm hoping I can dig among the stash yarn and find appropriate weights and colors to make Fiona a softie robot of her very own. I like how serious Jess Hutch's robot looks, but since our favorite line from the Hello Robots story is "Hello Robots, happy robots, smiling bolt to bolt" the one I make should have a big smile on its face and I will probably need to figure out how to make a knitted bolt--bobble? little knot? a stitch or two of contrast color? Suggestions welcome.