Strawberries and cream

Yes, it’s officially too hot to do anything else besides make whipped cream. Toronto is under a heat and smog alert, but I, dear reader, ventured forth into that humid desert to find some strawberries and heavy cream, to make the only thing I could think of which doesn’t involve using the stove.

Making whipped cream is so easy, only a total twit could screw it up. (I’ve screwed it up before.)

Pour heavy cream into a chilled bowl.  Turn the mixer on, gradually increasing to full speed, and within moments, voila! Boyfriend likes to add vanilla and sugar, but I didn’t add anything. (It’s also too hot to be creative today. )

Whip the hell out of it in your awesome mixer. Go Nemo go!!

And once the cream reaches the desired consistency (like 40 seconds or something ridiculously short like that), it’s ready!

Hopefully you have somebody you can convince to wash, dry, and hull the berries for you.

And enjoy!

Yum. I think I am going to make strawberry shortcake next time.

After we ate some berries, I decided the time was ripe to convince Boyfriend that we really need the ice cream maker attachment for Nemo. There are people who accessorize their home, and there are people who accessorize their pets. I just want to accessorize my beautiful appliance. Did I succeed? Stay tuned.

Playlist: Aimee Mann – Pavlov’s Bell

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Jareth’s deep-dish streusel peach pie

In celebration of Labyrinth Day yesterday I made this last night:

Why do I celebrate Labyrinth Day? In the hopes that one bite will transport me to a place guy like this:

Goblin King! Be still my heart.

This recipe comes from KitchenAid 3 cookbooks in 1 which is available on Amazon.com  I bought the book for this recipe in particular actually, have been waiting for months for June 13 to roll round so I could try this out.

Time required: 2 hours

Yields: 9 pieces

Cost per slice: $4

Total cost if you have none of the ingredients: $36

Kitchen implements I used:

  • pastry blender
  • baking pan: 8″ x 8″
  • wax paper
  • rolling pin
  • mesh strainer

Ingredients:

  • 2 large cans of peaches, drained (save ¾ C of syrup)
  • ⅓ C granulated white sugar + 1 TBSP saved for later
  • 1 TBSP powdered corn starch
  • ½ TSP vanilla
  • ½ C packed brown sugar
  • 2 C flour, divided into 1½C and ½C
  • ⅓ C quick oats
  • ¼ C butter (half a stick)
  • ½ TSP ground cinammon
  • ½ TSP salt
  • ½ C white shortening
  • 4 TBSP cold water

Instructions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 176°C / 350°F. Drain peaches and save the syrup.

2. In a sauce pan on low, heat white sugar (all except the 1 TBSP) and corn starch.

When it melts, stir in ¾ C of the peach syrup, adding it gradually.

Keep mixture on low for 10 min, it should thicken. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Set aside.

3. Combine in a bowl: brown sugar, ½ C flour, oats, and cinnamon. Stir in melted butter and you’ll have a crumbly topping. Set aside.

4. Combine in a bowl: remaining 1½ C flour, 1 TBSP sugar, and salt. Cut in shortening.

5. Add water one tablespoon at a time and mix with fork.

6. Roll out crust until it measures 10″ square. I rolled it out between two layers of wax paper.

7. Trim away excess and press crust into pan. Peel off wax paper.

Tah-dah!

8. Drop peaches onto crust, add warm syrup, add topping.

9. Bake 45 min. Cool on wire rack.

The book says to serve warm. I tried one piece last night warm, and one piece this morning. I liked it better the next day.

Verdict: I liked this. I imagine with fresh peaches it would be extra good, but after what happened on Labyrinth Day 2011 I couldn’t be bothered. My big plan was to post this last night at the 13th hour (1am), but I got sleepy. I intended to send Boyfriend into work with some but I was enjoying a pleasant dream about Jareth and I didn’t get up in time. Goblin King, you can peach me away anytime.

Playlist: Labyrinth soundtrack

Banana bread in disguise

If it’s shaped like banana bread, and it smells like banana bread, but looks nothing like banana bread, is it banana bread? That is the question.

Banana bread is one of those. You know what I mean. Everybody and their granny can make it with their eyes closed, yet when I try, things just don’t happen the way they should. My first loaf was half-raw, my second was a brick. Third time was not a charm, I brought a bag of bananas to Hobby Victim’s house, and I don’t remember what happened but we didn’t end up making banana bread. The bag of ripe bananas lay forgotten on the counter, until her daughter discovered a putrid mystery mess. (I am still embarrassed.)

My failure to make a perfect tea bread came up with Best Friend the other week.

“I’m making banana bread soon, hopefully. My banana loaf never work out.”

Any loaf you make never works out.”

“Touché!”

Okay, I thought. Obviously my attempts to re-create family recipes isn’t working, so what do the pros do? I found this recipe in KitchenAid 3 cookbooks in 1: pies & tarts, cakes & cupcakes; breads which is available on Amazon.com and while it seemed pretty straight forward, I’m still not sure I have real banana bread.

Time required: 2 hours

Yields: 8-10

Total cost if you have none of the ingredients: $30.00

Cost per slice: $3.00

Kitchen implements I used:

  • Nemo the KitchenAid
  • flour sifter
  • metal loaf pan
  • tinfoil

You may be wondering why there are no bananas in this picture. Well. They uh… seemed over-ripe, almost to the point of “Should these be tossed out or are they still okay?” and I decided they looked too scary for the shot.

Ingredients:

  • 6 TBSP unsalted butter, softened
  • ⅓ C brown sugar, packed
  • ⅓ C granulated white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3-4 bananas, ripe
  • ½ TSP vanilla
  • 1½ C flour
  • 2½ TSP baking powder
  • ¼ TSP salt

Instructions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 176°C / 350°F. Line pan with tinfoil and grease.

2. Cream butter and sugars in mixer until light and fluffy.

3. Add eggs one at a time, then add bananas and vanilla. You’re supposed to mash the bananas first, but uh… mine had reached the point of cellular degeneration where mashing was no longer required.

4. In a bowl sift flour, baking powder, and salt.

5. Add gradually to wet mix and mix until just combined.

6. Spoon batter in pan and bake 50 min.

7. Remove from pan and set on wire rack, cool in pan for 1 hour. Toothpick test indicated doneness.

8. Remove foil and slice.

Hmm. Is this normal?

Verdict:

“Do you think it’s done?”

“I don’t know. Let’s eat some.”

“Why is it so light? It’s supposed to be dark brown… ”

“It tastes good, that’s all I care about.”

Playlist: The Servant – Cells