Happy, happy new year to everyone! Hope that your 2013 is off to a fabulous start!
In honor of the Smoothie Maker Gift Set Giveaway that we have going on this week, and because I just returned home from a carb-loading trip in Europe and am craving some lighter meals, I thought it would be fun to do a smoothie recipe roundup!
Last week I posted on Instagram my favorite way of making homemade whipped cream with a hand/immersion blender. And I immediately received a bunch of emails and comments from people who had never tried it, and had questions about what a hand blender actually does. So since we happen to be giving away a KitchenAid hand blender this week, thought it might be a fun time to post a quick tutorial!
This method is definitely not rocket science. But it is super easy, quick, and requires much less work doing dishes than if you were using a large stand mixer or food processor! And since hand blenders are so small and portable, this is also a great option if you are taking a dessert to a party and want to make some homemade whipped cream topping there on the spot. (Or, if you get asked to make some homemade whipped cream for a kittens photo shoot on location at work, I learned from experience this also randomly works well for that!) Oh the possibilities. :)
As I’ve mentioned before, I am not a huge fan of cold weather. I’m all for living in a place with the four seasons, and love the beauty of a freshly fallen snow. But when it comes to any form of shivering or a red nose, I would trade that for the sweltering summer heat anyday. I just do not like being cold! But alas, since I have chosen to make my home in the Midwest, I have learned to get through my winters. And one of the things I most look forward to is a warm bowl of homemade potato soup.
Today I made one of my favorites for a special treat — classic lobster bisque.
I have a long list of restaurants I whose lobster bisques I adore, but for some reason I had never before tried making it at home. (Somehow lobster tails don’t seem to make it into my budget too often!) But my recent discovery of a bag of frozen chopped lobster meat from Trader Joe’s inspired me to give it a try. And I’m pretty sure now that this soup may make it into “the rotation” (as my friend Christin calls it) of favorites from now on.
Ever since I saw Ina Garten make homemade fleur de sel caramels awhile back, I’ve been itching to give them a try myself. I have to admit that candy thermometers still make me nervous (always get so anxious waiting for candies to reach the right temperature!!), but these looked too good to resist!! And after conquering the homemade caramel sauce for this amazing buttercream earlier this year, I figured I could wait just a little longer for them to reach the “firm ball” stage for this recipe. :-)
So I dug out my candy thermometer, picked up an extra carton of heavy cream (somehow I always forget what’s behind the “creamy-ness” in caramel!), and decided to give these a go on my lunch break this week. And I’m pleased to report….
We have had some of the most amazing sales around here lately on bing cherries — which has been such a treat. I love cherries!!
Usually ours disappear from their little pint in the fridge before ever making it to a dessert recipe. :) But when I had a handful left this week, decided to give this new recipe a try. I had bookmarked it a few weeks ago — initially because I was intrigued by the name (a rustic French dessert, pronounced “klah-foo-tee”). But then when I saw that it called for such simple ingredients, I was hooked.
I remember as a kid growing up, my sister and I would always tease my parents about their love of freshly-cracked black pepper. We had a huge pepper grinder that used to be placed on the table for every meal, and — while we rarely touched it — they took great delight in cracking fresh pepper onto just about every meal.
Now, decades later, it’s Yours Truly who has a slight obsession with the pepper mill. :) Absolutely love filling it with all sorts of beautiful peppercorns that I come across, and enjoying the satisfaction of grinding out some amazingly fresh, fragrant and oh-so-delicious black pepper.