29 June 2008

I *heart* mangos. Or mangoes. Or however you spell them.

Remember the strawberry-balsamic vinegar ice cream and mango sorbet I was telling you about? They were amazing, if I may say so myself. And yes I can say so myself, because their success depended entirely on the recipes and not the cook. And a light hand when it comes to vinegar.
First, the strawberry-balsamic experiment. This one definitely sounded interesting, and I really wasn't sure if it was going to elicit smiles or puckers from my trusty taste-testers, but I think it went over pretty well. The vinegar adds a bit of bite and tartness to an ice cream base that would normally be too rich and dense/creamy to properly enjoy. Thanks to The Traveler's Lunchbox for the link to Delicious Days' version (above), as well as finally providing a clear explanation of the difference between ice cream and gelato! I was so relieved to finally have this bit of info. Why are you rolling your eyes? This is pertinent info! Especially as it relates to my next experiment, Chocolate Gelato #2.
Custard base with strawberry puree and cream
The finished product!
Oh, but up next--the mango sorbet... oh wow. I am in love. This was the star of the pair, in my opinion. I bought a box of mangos recently from Costco, and they were just right in ripeness, but I couldn't eat them all in a few days, no matter how hard I tried. :-) A bunch of them ended up in my freezer because I couldn't stand the thought of them going overripe. I thawed one later and ate it out of a bowl... hm... it was ok but I thought there had to be a better way to enjoy it. Well I never knew sorbet could be so good! This was creamy (despite not having any dairy in it) and sweet, but not icy, just full of deep, bright mango flavor. It might take up permanent residence in my freezer this summer, for however long I can get good mangos. Thanks to Ice Cream Ireland for inspiring me to visit Kerry County, Ireland, for the landscape and charming towns, if not simply for the ice cream. :-) It's on the travel list.

How To Use Just One Orange To Make Breakfast And Lunch

Somewhat muffiny Orange Scones, sans glaze...

and Orange-Onion Salmon Burgers, in which you roast the orange and onion slices with a bit of olive oil, then rearrange the pan with salmon added and roast some more. I'll let you know if these were worth it later this week. You're actually supposed to use salmon filets, but I had purchased a big bag of salmon burgers from Costco a couple weeks ago, and while they are good on their own or with ketchup (what? salmon and ketchup?? sacrilege!), I wanted to try something different. And I had the orange. How convenient.

24 June 2008

My new favorite cookbook

From the spring Library booksale. Score!

Channeling Paris Hilton...

Shrimp + romaine + carrot + green onion + mint + coconut + cucumber + fish sauce + lime juice + serrano chile = Thai salad.

So to summarize, in two words... "That's hot."

19 June 2008

It's Thursday Night

... and after making some mango sorbet and strawberry-balsamic vinegar ice cream* for book club tomorrow night, I'm sitting down to dinner with John Bunyan, to see what sort of Progress his Pilgrim will make.

BBQ chicken pizza and moscato... don't try this at home people--too sweet! :-(

*I just discovered recipes for this combination a few days ago. A few drops (or in this case, teaspoons) of balsamic vinegar actually highlight the flavor of strawberries. Make sure the fruit is ripe and sweet, and use a good oak-aged vinegar.

09 June 2008

A-Z: What does God do with his time?

HT: K's Cafe: The 30-second blog.

"Answers (Ps 17:6)
Atones for my sin (Rom 3:25)

Bears our burdens daily (Ps 68:19)
Blesses (Rom 10:12)

Creates (Gen 1:31)
Carries (Dt 1:31)
Cleanses from sin (Ezek 36:25)

Delights in people who put their hope in Him (Ps 147:11)

Establishes authority (Rom 13:1)
Examines my paths (Prov 5:21)

Forgives me (1 Jn 1:9)

Gives up everything for me (Rom 8:32)
Guides me if I am humble (Ps 25:9)

Helps me (Isaiah 50:9)

Is (Ex 3:14)

Justifies (Isaiah 53:11, Rom 3:26)

Knows (1 Sam 2:3)

Loves me (Isaiah 43:4)

Makes grass grow (Ps 148:7)

Never changes (Hebrews 13:8)

Overcomes evil (Rev 3:21)

Protects (Ps 116:6)
Perceives thoughts (Ps 139:2)
Plans (Ps 33:11)

Questions (Job 38:3)
Quickly rescues (Ps 31:2)

Rules over everything (even unruly me) (Ps 66:7)
Ransoms my life (Mt 20:28)
Refreshes (Acts 3:19)
Revives (Ps 85:6)

Satisfies (Ps 81:16)

Transforms (Phil 3:21)

Upholds (Ps 63:8)

Victory - has it (Prov 21:31)

Waits (2 Peter 3:9)
Washes hearts (Ps 51:2)

X-ray vision - looks at the heart (1 Sam 16:7)

Yearns for us (Jer 31:20)

Zeal - has it for justice & righteousness (Is 9:7) and for His people (Is 26:11) and for His Name (Ezek 39:25)"

A-Z: What should I be doing with my life?

HT: K's Cafe: The 30-second blog.

"Sometimes I want to know exactly what God wants me to do about stuff. Should I be living the USA? In France, the UK, Germany, Switzerland? Where does my future lie? Should I be in this house or another? This church or another? Where are you taking me, God?"

"My past is clear. My present is that He's not telling me my future just now. "

"In the meantime, I am getting the feeling He wants me to
- be content where He's planted me
- be thankful for all the blessings He so lavishly pours out
- trust Him for whatever is to come, and
- get on with all these crystal clear commands that He's already given me:

Act justly (Micah 6:8)
Accept one another (Rom 15:7)

Believe in the One He has sent (John 6:29)
Bear fruit in every good work (Col 1:10)
Be a blessing (Gen 12:2)
Bless and do not curse (Rom 12:14)

Consider the kindness and sternness of God (Rom 11:22)

Do not be arrogant (Rom 11:20)
Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought (Rom 12:3)
Do what is right (Romans 13:3)

Encourage (Rom 12:8)

Find rest in God alone (Psalm 62:5)

Give thanks to the Father (Col 1:12)
Give generously (Rom 12:8)
Grow in the knowledge of God (Col 1:10)

Hate what is evil; cling to what is good (Rom 12:9)
Honor one another above yourselves (Rom 12:10)

Integrity - have it! (1 Chr 29:17)
Instruct one another (Rom 15:14), gently! (2 Tim 2:25)

Join in the work (1 Cor 16:16)

no record of wrongs (1 Cor 13:5)
Keep in step with the Spirit (Gal 5:25)
Know that the Lord is God (Psalm 100:3)

Love mercy (Micah 6:8)
Love your neighbour as yourself (Rom 13:9)

Mind your own business (1 Thess 4:11)
Mourn with those who mourn (Rom 12:15)

Number our days aright (Psalm 90:12)

Overcome evil with good (Rom 12:21)
Offer your bodies as living sacrifices (Rom 12:1)

Pay taxes (Rom 13:7)
Practice hospitality (Rom 12:13)

Quarrel not with your Maker (Isaiah 45:9)

Rejoice with those who rejoice (Rom 12:15)

Serve (Rom 12:7)
Share with God's people who are in need (Rom 12:13)
Stand firm (1 Cor 15:58)
Stop passing judgment on one another (Rom 14:13)

Think of yourself with sober judgment (Rom 12:3)
Trust in Him (Rom 15:13)

U-turns: repent for wiping out of sins and gaining refreshment (Acts 3:19)

Vengeance - leave it entirely up to God (Rom 12:19)

Walk humbly with your God (Micah 6:8)
Win the respect of outsiders (1 Thess 4:12)

X-ray vision: look at the heart, not the appearance of people (1 Sam 16:7)

Yearn for God's presence & heaven (Ps 84:2)

Zeal for the Lord - have it! (Rom 12:11)"

05 June 2008


Ok. If you are a certain someone whose birthday is tomorrow, you shall immediately cease and desist reading of this post. Immediately. That means now, Meredith. :-)

Is she gone?

Tonight I had some time after packing for Nevada, so I made cookies for my brother. There is a certain recipe for which I have become famous within my family, a certain way of making cookies that my dad and my brothers like. So every time I visit one of them I bring those cookies. The funny thing is that I did not make up the recipe. It's from Charlene in Canada. Oh, you thought that would give me license to give out the recipe? Not on your life buddy. ;-) They are really just a simple oatmeal chocolate chip cookie, but they must have some sort of daughter/sister touch that makes them special. I'll take it. I like being the cookie lady.

Ok so now that Meredith has really stopped reading, I also had time tonight to make something she has been begging me to make for over a year now. Last summer, I tried a recipe that involved cooking cinnamon sticks, heavy cream, whole milk.... and throwing the whole thing into your typical home igloo and shaking a few times. Cinnamon ice cream. You have never tasted anything like this, I promise. It's like "Indian spice market vendor meets American homestead dairyman". Exotic but homegrown. This stuff is special. So tomorrow when I show up at her house to embark on our epic journey to the Land of Dust and Sagebrush (oh wait, what's that stuff in my backyard?.... never mind), I will have in hand a small container for the road and a larger container for her freezer. Happy Birthday Meredith!

A Foot of Grace

Well friends, tomorrow is the day. The day the BBB (Big Black Boot) is removed. It's been 12 weeks since surgery, long enough to get used to it, but not quite long enough to forget it's there. So tomorrow my foot will be forced to bend in ways it hasn't experienced in 3 months, and to support the rest of me properly in a way it hasn't done in at least 3 years. It might be painful, but that's yet to be seen. I'm glad I don't know what the future holds in the next few months, and the more I think about it, I'm rather glad I don't know what the future holds at all. If the Lord did not hold the future in his sovereign hand, but rather sat back and observed with no active power, or simply set the ball rolling and craned his neck to watch it splash into the river at the bottom of the hill, what meaning would the future have? I think we would all throw up our hands and say it's not worth it. But instead, we have a loving, holy father who ordains our future in a specific way and has already told us everything we need to know for our comfort -- that those who believe are forgiven through Jesus Christ and therefore our greatest need has been filled, that everything in the believer's life will be used by the Lord for his spiritual good, that God will never leave us or forsake us, and that we will join him in heaven if we die before he comes. At this point I say (as I talk to myself :-), "Christian, what else do you need?" And the real answer? Nothing.

04 June 2008

Happy June!

I've logged in a few times now to blog, but then something pulled me away. So stay tuned...

I just pulled a pan of shortbread out of the oven. While it's not necessarily my favorite baked thing, shortbread never ceases to amaze me and I love making it. How much more simple and spectacular can you get than a cookie made with just 3 ingredients? Who made the first shortbread and why? Were they looking around the old underground pantry and ended up using "oh, you know--whatever I happen to have on hand"? I imagine people have been combining fats and grains for most of history, but it took the mortar and pestle*, and later the mill, to truly transform grains into something that would bake up softer than a hockey puck. Sugar is a whole other issue. Who discovered that those reedy stalks were sweet inside? Was he a starving troubadour making his way across the south who decided he would risk the alligators to take a bite out of that thick woody grass over there?

Food history should have been my 7th major.

*mentioned exclusively for Meredith's benefit, per our scintillating conversation in TJMaxx the other day.