Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

 I wonder how many blog entries are titled "Merry Christmas!" today?
  Well, my writing may not be original, but our desserts last night were, at least.  The cookie Santa letters were for "Santa's Snacks," with two warm chocolate chip cookies, two cubes of carrot cake for the reindeer, a mug of Cruze Farm milk and the cookie letter.
  There was a Buche de Noel of chocolate and mocha, with meringue mushrooms and cocoa nib "dirt."  We had a hot fudge sundae and Liz's first BBF dessert, Angel Food, which was angel food cake, candied cranberries, cranberry gelee and white chocolate ice cream.  She made little dark angels of chocolate to perch on top of the cake.
  Tonight, the menu is set, meaning there is one menu, no choices, and we're doing a sampler dessert.  I made fruit cake last week with Jack Daniels' soaked fruit and candied citrus zest, and have been soaking it in vanilla-infused Jack Daniels' all week.  Should be good and pungent by now!  I'll team that with eggnog flan and gingerbread cookies, as well as something chocolate which I have forgotten already!  I have it on the prep sheet, though, so it will get made today.
  But first, Bella and I are going to Mom's to open gifts, with the phone on speaker for a simul-open with my sister in Virginia.  You know, where we open our gifts to each other and oooh and aaah via telephone!

Oh, yeah!  The chocolate dessert is Macaroons!  with a cup of cocoa!  Have a wonderful day!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Fringe Benefits

Today, it was back to work for me after two rather productive days, but since there were only 21 people for dinner tonight, my day could have been quite unproductive.  Instead, tired of my current menu, I came up with a new dessert, A Night at the Pub.  Most people would call it an Irish Car Bomb, but I hate the connotations of that.  This is chocolate stout cake, Bailey's ice cream, Guinness chocolate sauce, with some meringue pretzels and beer nuts.  Yummy, salty, sweet, crunchy, creamy.  I like it a lot.  Quite different from what was going on last week in the bake shop, with Chef Francois Payard.
  His dessert was a brown butter roasted pear on almond gateau with caramelized puff pastry, brown butter vanilla sauce and brown butter ice cream.  It was delicious and beautiful, and he was fun to work with.  He likes to work very fast, and I was nervous most of the time, but I enjoyed it.  And he asked Sam to send me to New York to spend two or three days working in his bakery.  I'll figure out a time to go in January when I'm on my vacation.  He says most of his macaroons and chocolates are made in a factory now, by 60 employees, which isn't something I ever want to do, but I'd be interested in seeing it in action.  And I love New York, so I will go and make sure I have time for art museums and fabric stores.  There are a couple of restaurants I'd like to check out, like Milk Bar by David Chang and Eleven Madison Park, mostly because of the beautiful new cookbook just out this month.
  Last night, I twisted the night away, beading the fringe on the grey tencel scarf.  I put big crystal beads on the ends, and have some beautiful purple, blue and pink beads to go between.  Pictures of that when I'm done, before it goes in the box to San Francisco!
  But now, it's time for bed.  Busy day tomorrow, and the weekend ahead.  Rainy, warm crazy weather and can you believe it's almost Christmas?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Speaking French with a Southern Accent

On their way to the Main House.
 At last, the cooking school I've been waiting for all year, since becoming the pastry chef for the second time at Blackberry Farm, is here! Chef Francois Payard (http://fpbnyc.com/) is here in east Tennessee!  Every time I've been to New York since becoming a pastry chef, I've gone to Payard Patisserie on Lexington to get a box of macaroons.  The pastry display cases lining the entryway were just like the pastry shops in Paris, full of beautiful, precisely-made pastries.  He's famous for his macaroons, and they are amazing.  The shop on Lexington closed, sadly, but I see from the web that he has two new bakeries open in New York.
All plated up and ready to go!
   I didn't find out until Saturday night at 10:30 that I'd be making the dessert for Sunday night, and I had no idea what to make.  It came to me early in the morning that I should combine something quintessentially Southern with something iconically French.  I don't care for Chess Pie, but I've seen a photo somewhere recently of a chess pie made of piped custard, rather than the baked kind.  I pulled out my notebooks from school and saw the St. Honore, a dessert made to honor the patron saint of pastry chefs.  He was the seventh bishop of Amiens in the 6th century.  I have no idea why he's our patron saint.  He never did any actual recorded baking, and his name is invoked against drought.  But, hey!  Bless his heart!  He's got a really cute little dessert!
  It's sweet pie crust topped with a ring of pate au choux, the stuff cream puffs are made of.  That is baked, then filled with chibouste, a cream made of pastry cream and Italian meringue.  In this version, I put some of our peach preserves on the very bottom and topped it with sorghum and Jack Daniel's flavored chibouste.  The cream puffs are filled with pastry cream made with Anson Mills corn flour, since there's cornmeal in Chess Pie, and more vanilla-infused Jack Daniel's.  Then they're dipped in caramel, an long, hot and possibly painful process, then attached to the rim of the cake.  The cream on top is piped with a special piping tip designed only for this dessert.  The schmear on the plate--that's a technical term--is pureed peach preserves.
  Et voila!  A dessert combining both my adopted Southern culture and my French education!  Today is the class lunch after Joseph's demo, and I'll be making Chocolate & Hazelnuts, a stacked torte of choco-nutty cake, Gianduja chocolate, tempered dark chocolate, chocolate mousse and Gianduja ganache.  It's yummy and pretty.  I'll probably make some orange sorbet to go with it, since there's orange zest in the cake, and the tortes are quite small.
  Chef Payard has his cooking demo tomorrow and his desserts will be served tomorrow night at the finale.  I'll be helping him make everything today and tomorrow, so I'd better get up and at it!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Like Magic!

Golly!  I sure do love hemstitching!
 On a rare Friday off, though I scheduled a mandatory team meeting at 2 that I can't miss, I have given myself a gift:  Do what I want and nothing I don't want to do.  Well, minus that whole drive to and from Walland, but it's a beautiful day and I can have the sun roof open, and then I can do a little Christmas shopping.
  Anyway, what I wanted to do is weave.  I fixed the mistakes in the too-small-for-shawls warp and threaded the "Lover's Knot" pattern that I found on http://www.cs.arizona.edu/patterns/weaving/, a wonderful site with monographs, old guild newsletters and a whole lot more. I hemstitched, which is so much more fun with 16/2 tencel than 8/2 cotton!  Oh, wait.  I thought sarcasm would print in blue.  Guess not.


 



Once I finished hemstitching, which takes longer when you wander around every few minutes looking for anything else to do, I started weaving the pattern.  Really, is there anything more magical than the way the pattern develops in overshot?  And the pattern looks even better in this photo than real life!  I'm using 16/2 silver tencel in this scarf, but I've also sampled with some lavender 10/2 cotton and some 6/2 black bamboo.  Not sure about the black; I think it's too heavy in color and weight for the warp, but the lavender is lovely, and will come next.  Maybe by the time I get to the third--there are 9 yards of warp, so 3 scarves--I'll have another option, maybe some finer black tencel or bamboo.
  And then I'll look for beads for the fringe, using Susan's methods of beading on fringe from her blog, weeverwoman.blogspot.com/.  She makes beautiful scarves, with amazing beading on them.  Her work is such an inspiration!  Makes me want more shafts on my looms!  But with so many more overshot patterns to try, I'll be busy enough for now.
 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Is it a dream, or a nightmare?

Lake Chocolate
 All summer and through the fall, our mantra at work has been, "Just make it through October."  October has always been our busiest month at the farm.  No one is allowed to ask for time off, and whining is definitely frowned upon.  In the bake shop, we've been four people short for most of the summer and early fall, and spent most of this fall training new people.  We've started having trouble remembering our staff's names, simply because we've gone through so many!
  But we made it through October, and it hasn't slowed down.  Sure, there was that one day with 29 guests, but they let in "outside diners," folks who don't stay at the hotel--usually employees--come in and eat without giving us notice.
  We're really happy the sales team is so good that we have secure employment in these troubled times, don't get me wrong! We're very thankful for our fabulous jobs.  We're just tired!  We want vacation!  We just want to stop working so darn much!
Bonbons, bonbons everywhere!
 


Well, it's starting to happen.  We have one more new team member starting Monday.  We are finally going to be fully staffed, though that actually means more staff than we've ever had in the bake shop.  Yesterday, I actually had two people doing what is usually my job!  I had time to spend all day in the chocolate room, something I desperately needed to do.  And Krissy was able to just make bread, something she hasn't been able to do in a long time.  This morning, she and I will have time to sit and schedule and plan for the next week.  Occupancy is low, but at the end of this next week, something very exciting happens.  Francois Payard, a very famous pastry chef, is leading the cooking school, and I'm going to be his personal assistant!  Woooohooo!  I'm terrified/delighted!
  So, I need to prepare now, by making enough turndown chocolates for the next week and a half.  No one else on my team knows how to make them, and I simply haven't had the time to teach them.  Our new team member learned to make chocolates in Switzerland, and I'm so looking forward to her help, but she has a lot to learn first about us and the farm before I can lock her in the chocolate room!  Just kidding, Liz!  I'll let you out for bathroom breaks!  
  Yesterday, I filled the tempering machine to the brim and let her rip!  I made four flavors of chocolate bonbons:  Kahlua, red wine, caramel apple and rosemary-lemon.  Today, I'm going to temper some milk chocolate and make Bailey's, peanut butter and marshmallow.  And if I have time, I'm going to temper some white chocolate and try to duplicate that amazing texture in the peppermint Hershey's kisses.  How do they keep the candy cane bits crunchy in the warm chocolate?  I will attempt to find out!
  But all night long, I dreamt of the chocolate room.  It was a disaster when I finished all those chocolates, and dark chocolate does not clean up easily.  The machine was the worst; much hot water and dish soap was used, and many, many towels.  So I relived that mess most of the night!  Dream in chocolate?  Oh, yes.  Yes, I do, and it's not quite as pleasant as one might think.  Milk and white chocolate are so much easier to clean up after.  They're just not quite as delicious!
  But now, it's out of the jammies and into my work clothes.  Everyone have a wonderful T-Day weekend!  Stay out of traffic jams and fights over big screen t.v.s!  Hug your family members and enjoy this beautiful late-fall weather!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Ladies, Hang on to Your Men!


Especially around the holidays.  It took two men to load this tree into my car, so why did I think I'd be able to get it from the car, through the back yard and into the front room by myself?  Because.  It's what I do.  When I want something done, I do it, or it doesn't get done.  So, when I hear my friends complain about their husbands, I listen, but all the while, I'm thinking:  Hang on to him.  He can carry stuff, open stuff, undo stuff you can't undo.  My friends know my horrendously bad taste in men, and I don't deny there are many, many reasons I'm single.  And most of the time, I prefer it that way.  My cats don't cheat or lie.  Neither does Bella.  And I'm grateful for that.  I just wish they could do a little heavy lifting once in a while.
  But the tree made the trip across the yard and through the house with very little damage to the floors or my back.  I will hang the lights on the porch this afternoon, haul the decorations up the basement stairs and light the tree tonight.  Thanksgiving is tomorrow for Mom and me, and I will have a merry holiday.  But who's going to get this tree out in January?  Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!




Thursday, November 17, 2011

This is a Day Off?

It all began early this morning.  Weftie was snug as a ... cat in a rug while I made coffee.  A couple of cups later, everyone fed their kibble, I took off on errands.






 I found a composter at Home Depot called the eComposter.  Makes it sound as if it should work on line, doesn't it?  But it's just a big, cheap plastic box with a couple of doors, one for in and one for out.  I put it together and lined it with old newspaper.  The ugly frost-bitten garden needs to be chopped up and put in it next.

But first, I wanted to plant the tulips, daffodils and grape hyacinths I bought earlier this fall.  I dug up the strip between the sidewalk and the street, planted them all, then laid mulch on top.  This time, I remembered to lay a stepping stone from the street to the sidewalk, so guests won't have to walk through the flowers.  The recycling bin will sit on it overnight, since tomorrow is recycling day.  And the leaves will be vacuumed up any day now, according to the news.
  The postal carrier brought my mail to me as I raked the mulch, and now it's time for a cup of tea and my mail.
And maybe a little nap...

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Bella visits Dr. Joe for her allergies.
   My adoring fans, both of them, have asked me why I haven't written in so long, and I will tell you that it's quite simple.  It's just about all I can do to write my weekly installment for Loomy Tunes!  I've even missed a few of them this summer and fall.  But here it is November, the month we kept promising ourselves when we would take vacation and just breathe.  Vacation is not yet on the horizon, but I do feel a little opening up of space and a little tension has left my shoulders.
  Just yesterday, I realized that I finally have--or will soon have-- enough staff to take the time to do nicer desserts.  Saturday morning, I opened an email that said a guest told a hostess that the desserts had not been "up to Blackberry standards."  It was eight hours before I could determine the cause of the unhappiness, and spent that time beating myself up internally.  Turns out it was frozen apples in the center of their fried pies, and if I was hard on myself, it was nothing compared to poor Jessica, who spent the following 24 hours agonizing over what I would do to her as a consequence.  I simply told her that it was a mistake to learn from and go forward.  There are far too many things she does well to let this one stumble make her fall down.
  But I've also made myself a promise to bring the level of my desserts up another notch.  Witness the sweets assortment I made for a group last night:
They could be so much better, so much more refined.  I've been following David Lebovitz's blog, Life in Paris at www.davidlebovitz.com, and have been so inspired by his photos and travels and writing.  He has a new app, even, for the pastry shops in Paris.  Every pastry in each row in Paris pastry shops are symmetrical, perfect and beautiful. That's what I want for my desserts.  I want guests' jaws to drop.  I want my desserts to be the best ____________ they've ever seen or tasted.
  A new p.m. pastry cook starts Thursday, and another starts the Monday after Thanksgiving, one who has experience in chocolate making, which will help me enormously.  I always mean to take photos of my chocolate work, but always have finger encased in chocolate when the urge strikes!  Not something I want to inflict on my iphone!  But I will be more vigilant, bring my camera to work more often and keep you updated on my journey!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Matt's & Dana's New Adventure


My son and his girlfriend are the two bravest people I know.  They spend their Christmas vacations in foreign and exotic places, like Iceland, Romania, Puerto Rico, Central Mexico and San Francisco.  The last may not be so foreign, but it's the one they've decided to move to.  They leave Tuesday, so Mom and I drove to Nashville to see them off yesterday.
  We went to Rotier's for lunch, where one of the cooks took our picture.  I took their chaise lounge home with me because they were going to sell it, and I've always dreamed of my very own chaise lounge.  I'll reupholster it this winter, an adventure of my own that I'll share with you as it happens.
  We said our almost-teary goodbyes, then followed them to the Belcourt neighborhood to do some shopping.  They took us to Pangea, www.pangaeanashville.com/.  It's an amazing store, filled with folk art, hand made jewelry and luscious accessories.  Then, goodbyes again, and Mom and I went next door to Davis Kitchen Supply.  Dangerous.  Dangerous store.  Many items of use and need to pastry chefs.  Dangerous.  Cut into my fabric budget.
And here we see my idea of heaven.  Textile Fabrics:  www.textilefabricstore.com/   I love this store.  I have to say that one thing I do not like about living in 
Knoxville is it's lack of a fabric store.  My wallet is probably healthier for it, but I sure do wish there was
 one like this.
And what would a Sweet Threads post be without SWEETS?   I've been dreaming of rocky road ice cream lately, but haven't bought any because of the mediocrity of the store-bought product.  So, for this week's cooking school, with Barbara Lynch of No. 9 Park in Boston (www.no9park.com/), I made this version.  It's chocolate ice cream poured into molds with vanilla bean marshmallows pushed into it before it froze solid.  The white square is another marshmallow, with toasted pecans and chocolate chips in it.  The sauce is caramel, and the crumbs are chopped pecan toffee.  The sauce is simply warm chocolate ganache.  Yeah.  Yum.
Well, I've just previewed the post and found the fonts and sizes of fonts to be completely haphazard!  
I apologize, but must fly off to work. 
 Please accept my apologies for those with damp keyboards!  
  

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Still Here!

I am still out here, still making desserts, still being crafty, and not just with looms, but work has been extra crazy!  Another pastry cook gave notice--is it something I said?--and we've been interviewing, working, baking and just generally trying to hold things together.  It's gotten so crazy, I've had to put my piano lessons on hold until after the first of the year.  I'm sincerely hoping it'll have calmed down by then at work so that I can actually practice more than a half hour a week!
  But I did take time to take a long vacation.  My sister came to visit, and she, Bella, Mom and I took off for Asheville.  It was hot there, too, but it was the weekend of Belle Cher festival.  I thought it was more of a music festival than it was.  It was really just a big street fair, but it was fun, anyway.  We stayed in a B & B in the town of Black Mountain, a big house that had at one time been a post stop on the pony express, and where Ernest Hemingway stayed once.
  It did us all good to get away from house obligations and to do lists.  Bella had a great time, even getting used to riding in the car.  She was very well behaved, and the women who ran the Doggie Jail at Belle Cher fell in love with her.  They don't allow dogs in town during the festival, and the B & B didn't allow her to be left alone, so she went everywhere we did.
  When we went to the yarn store three times--Sorry, Liz!--she waited outside with Liz, but other than that, Bella had her first vacation/road trip.  She even accompanied us to my birthday dinner, at a German restaurant in Black Mountain.  She's right behind me, in case you were looking for her.  It was a good dinner, but what was better, and what I didn't get pictures of was our lunch at Twelve Bones Barbecue in Asheville.  If you go to Asheville, promise me you'll go there!  It was absolutely amazing.
  

When we got back to Knoxville, Matt and Dana came to stay the night with me.  I bought a new barbecue grill for my own birthday gift, but it was Matt who got to break it in.  He and Dana made way too much food, as usual, and we enjoyed it all.  Leo particularly enjoyed the corn tassels as Matt waved them in his face.
 
It was a fabulous birthday, one of my best yet!  The family joke is that on the 30th, and days surrounding it, I am the Princess of Practically Everything, and this week was no exception.  I had a fabulous time!  I hope everyone else did, too!

  And then it was back to the grind stone for me.  Work welcomed me back with a more-than-full hotel, full of guests wanting special treatment.  That includes the family that owns the hotel, celebrating a big anniversary.  Most of the family is gluten free, following the current trend, and I had to come up with a gluten free special dessert for their celebration.  Here is a blue cheese semifreddo on Spanish almonds with port reduction and caramelized figs.  It's been voted onto the dinner menu, so I'll be making it tomorrow night.  The figs are local, tiny and delicious, and the bleu cheese is made from milk from our sheep.
  One day off this week, so I'd better get to the laundry!

  

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Plum Tuckered

It's been a while since I posted, not counting my weekly Wednesday wonderings on Loomy Tunes, simply because we still haven't found a p.m pastry cook and it's busier than I remember summers being at the hotel and a lot of other stuff going on called "life."
  Summer fruits are always arriving at our back door, or we have to go chase them down.  Here is plum cake, made with plums from North Carolina.  I had to take this off the menu because the servers didn't appreciate it and it never moved.  I served it with vanilla bean ice cream and plum preserves, but I guess it just wasn't sexy enough.
  I thought plums were done for the summer, but went into my favorite store, Horn of Plenty, the other day and they had lots of beautiful North Carolina plums.  I bought a basket and last night, Melanie and I designed a new dessert, plum custard tart.  I'll try to remember to take photos today when it's done.  I'll poach the plums in red wine with spices, make a sheet of custard to cut into squares, make Marcona almond pastry to bake to go under the custard, reduce the poaching liquid to dress the plate and hope it "sells."  Nothing actually ever sells.  All food is included in the room rate, so dessert is included in the meals, and almost everyone gets one.  It's up to the wait staff to convince the guests which dessert they should order, so if the wait staff doesn't like the dessert or doesn't know about it, it never gets ordered.  Some of my most favorite desserts have languished for lack of love by the wait staff.
  Blueberries, blackberries, peaches, nectarines and cherries are still all going strong.  I love summer!  So much so that I"m having trouble coming up with chocolate desserts, but my chocolate candy making is getting better every day.  Yesterday, I unmolded three flavors of white chocolate bonbons:  blueberry, coffee and grapefruit.  Today, I'll unmold the ones I made yesterday, dark chocolate with cherry filling and dark chocolate with Earl Grey tea filling.  Day before yesterday, I made the best Pecan Turtles I've ever made!  I was so excited, I made everyone taste them.  Kind of bragging, but really just trying to share the love!  Chocolate-y, caramel-y, pecan-y love!

Friday, June 17, 2011

P.M. Pastry Cook Needed!

 As stated in my last post, Suzie is leaving us for the bright lights of Chicago, after spending a year here at the farm.  We will miss her horribly, but that's part of this industry.  People come and go, especially at the beginning of their careers.
  I mentioned to the staffing coordinator that a lot of people had gone to my blog by googling "Help Wanted: Baker," since my post on that subject, and she asked me to do it for this position.  Here's the low down:





 P.M. Pastry Cook position:  Culinary school diploma necessary; must work nights, weekends and holidays; responsible for preparing and plating dinner desserts, mignardises, pre-desserts and ice creams; must be able to lift 50 pounds and stand for over 8 hours per night; ability to read, follow and write recipes a must; supervised by Pastry Chef, Sous Chefs and Executive Chef; position requires occasional mornings, but is primarily evenings.
 Apply on the website http://blackberryfarm.com/careers if you're qualified and interested.  You'll see the kind of desserts we do here.  The P.M. pastry cook is required to develop two new desserts every six months, including recipes and plating designs.  I need to stress the fact that we are a hotel, and everyone, everyone works nights, weekends and holidays.  We never close, so it's all the best, all the time.  It's a chance to be a part of an amazing team, in an amazing place.  Blackberry Farm is a wonderful place to work.  The work is hard, the hours are long, but we are part of a team that makes people's dreams come true.  We create lifelong memories for people, by providing the best quality food possible.
  The hotel is in Walland, TN, a little tiny blip on only the most detailed map.  Most of us live in Maryville or Knoxville, and there's really only one place to work in this area, if you want to work in fine dining.  Most of us are here just to work at Blackberry Farm, and most of us come from all over the country.
Okay!  There you go, Cindy!   Everyone have a love day!




Monday, June 13, 2011

A Southern Feast

Last night was the Spring meeting of GULP, a wonderful group of friends who cook for each other every three to four months.  The theme was Southern cooking, and with a beginning reading by the esteemed thespian, Bob Mashburn about what it means to be a Southerner, fifteen of us ate ourselves into a stupor.  Fortunately, we are all talented cooks, and all appreciative of each others' talents.
  I wish I had photos of the wonderful food, but somehow, I always forget my camera in the onslaught of courses.  There was cold melon soup by JudyAnn and Sue, followed by a version of Waldorf salad by John and RJ, including ham cured by Alan Benton.  There was an amazing cup of shrimp and cheese grits by our hostess, Ginna.  Then, we all bellied up to the buffet of fried chicken from Cindy's talented skillet; green and yellow beans from JudyAnn and Sue; cornbread and biscuits by Pat and Dan; Jeff's award-winning macaroni and cheese; Susan made a beautiful peach & tomato salad; Dennis brought potato salad and congealed salad.  Now there's something I definitely should have photographed!  It was a lovely pale shade of green, and much more delicious than promised.  And then plates were cleared for dessert.  I had promised strawberry ice box pie, but South Carolina strawberries have succumbed to the heat, and the peaches haven't achieved even goodness yet, let alone greatness.  I did find some North Carolina blueberries, though, and they became blueberry ice box pie.  They slid a little off-center in transit, but they were pretty yummy.  They're on graham crackers--yes, homemade!--and were served with some blueberry puree.  John provided a sprinkling of lavender, which harmonized lovely with the blueberries.
  And now we spend today recovering!  I have a house to clean and animals to hang out with before I go back to the sweet grind of work.  Sadly, Suzy gave notice this week, to move to Chicago.  I don't want her to leave, but I know that it's the right thing for her career at this point.  That's how we chefs build our resumes, moving every year or two to work with different people, learning and growing.  I'm a teeny bit jealous, because Chicago was one of those places I'd have enjoyed working in.  But I'm happy here, in my pastry home!
  Suzy got hold of the cotton candy machine last week, and has been developing sugar recipes to make for the treats our guests get at the end of dinner.  Here she is, making blueberry cotton candy:

 Playing with our food!  We get paid to do it!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

New Fruit!

 Ah, summer!  It might technically be two weeks away, but don't tell the fruit!  South Carolina peaches are finally here, but not quite ready for prime time.  They need a lot of coaxing, roasting, spicing and poaching to get much flavor out of them.  And so, I roasted them with vanilla bean and Jack Daniels' to get the mousse peachy.  I roasted more with just vanilla bean and browned butter for the puree, and the peach balls were sous vide cooked with lemon zest, raw sugar and more vanilla bean.  And voila!  Peach Ice Box Pie!  It's sitting on gingersnaps made with fresh ginger, and the whipped cream is slightly gelatinized to be able to cut it into the box shape.
  I love desserts lined up, and have to share this with you:
Lots of little boxy peachy pies!
Another fruit that's ready to go is cherries.  The only cherries that I've found locally are mean little sour cherries that are adorable but, in my opinion, inedible.  So, I cheat and buy Washington's best.  I simply can't stand the thought of letting cherries go by, just because they can't grow here!  And so, here is Cherry Clafouti on an almond crust with red wine caramel and almond milk sherbet.  Most of the time, I can't print recipes because they're in, or are going to be in, our cookbooks.   This almond milk sherbet is an experiment gone very, very well, and I want to share it with you.

ALMOND MILK SHERBET
Toast until golden brown:
  1 lb. sliced almonds
Pour over almonds while still hot:
  4 cups whole milk
Let steep for at least one hour.  Puree in a blender, then strain through a fine mesh sieve.  Discard almonds and add to liquid:
  2 cups simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water, brought to a boil then cooled)
  1/4 teaspoon almond extract
Freeze according to your ice cream maker's directions.
This is so yummy, and so simple, I hope you try it!  When blueberries and blackberries come in, around the 4th of July, this would go really well with them, too.  Hurray for summer!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Loomy Tunes Wednesday

 Today is the day I normally write on Loomy Tunes, but as many of you know, Blogger isn't cooperating, and hasn't really been behaving itself for the last week.  Desperate to post, I've decided to post here, and hope to get your attention on Loomy Tunes!
  Yesterday was my first Tuesday weaving in a very long time.  Check out Loomy Tunes for the goings on posted by LouAnn.  But here is my view of what happened.  I threaded the 8 shaft Mountain table loom, such a lovely piece of furniture!  I got everything ready, after a big hiccup threading, even wound my shuttles, but the clock struck almost 2, and normally, by that time of the afternoon, I need a cup of tea or a nap, so I quit.  I went home and had both tea and nap, but not simultaneously!
  I've enjoyed the last three days off, but it's time to head back to work tomorrow, shag rug not completed.  My dear son turned 35--gasp!--today, but did so without gifts from his loving parent.  Can you see the anchor I'm weaving in the shag?  Their downstairs bathroom is nautical themed, so I'm weaving it in teal, sea green and beach sand colors (see, Linda?  no food names!), with an anchor as the center.  It'll probably be another week or so before it's done.  This weekend is busy, busy, with the Second Annual International Biscuit Festival in downtown Knoxville--we're serving brunch--and a wedding at the farm, plus the annual ice cream social that always threatens to push me over the edge.  What fun!  So, no weaving.
  And while we've been pummeled by storms lately, like most of the rest of the country, we've been fairly lucky.  Unfortunately, my son's yard was hit yesterday, when a small tornado touched down in east Nashville at 3 in the morning.  This tree crushed their garden, a labor of love for the past five years.
  Many of their friends are still without power, but they are all safe and sound.  I hope you're all safe and sound, too, and hope the storms tomorrow are much less severe for everyone!
Happy Weaving!--Maggie