Thursday, June 24, 2010

Strawberry Shortcake - A La Jen

This Blog post is dedicated to Sweet Amy who forced me to lay aside my laxidazial cooking style long enough to actually remember and write down the "recipe" for my newest cake creation.

Of course I was "Flying by the seat of
my pants" on this one, adding and mixing ingredients at whim....therefore, I make no promises that this is EXACTLY what I did.
Then again, none of you tasted the original...(unless I work with you and did not know you were following my Blog)...the rest of you will never know the differences should there be any.
Amy, the future guests of my "One
Day Tea House" may very well need to thank you for forcing me to follow the conventions of baking and document this really yummy cake.
Enjoy...and Happy Canada Day Amy (and guests)!


1 white cake mix
1 tsp B. Powder
1 tsp Pure vanilla
1/2 tsp butter flavoring.
3 eggs
1 1/4 C. water
1/3 C. veg. oil

Add the B. powder to the dry cake mix and stir. Add the rest of the ingred. and mix according to pkg.
Cook in 2- 8" or 9" round pans as directed on pkg.

White Mousse

1 cup white chocolate
1/4 cup water
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup whipping cream1 tsp vanilla
Heat water in saucepan, with sugar, until sugar is dissolved. Add chocolate and melt until smooth. Set saucepan in cold water to cool mixture. Place in the fridge until thoroughly chilled. Whisk smooth. Beat cream and vanilla until stiff peaks form. Fold into cold chocolate mixture. Refrigerate until set.

Whipping Cream

Pour 500 ml. of whipping cream into bowl and begin mixing on low speed. Slowly increase speed as Cream begins to thicken. When soft peaks form add 1 tsp vanilla and 1/4C. icing sugar. (icing sugar is fine so incorporates more thoroughly, it also contains corn starch which helps stabilize the whipped cream).
Continue beating until very stiff peaks form. Watch carefully, you want it as stiff as possible without the cream starting to separate. Scrape down the bowl periodically. If you are unsure about the consistency stop the mixer and give it a stir. Always better to check it often than to over mix....unless you want sweet butter of course!

To Assemble

Place one layer of cake on serving plate. Arrange thinly sliced berries over the entire surface. Cover with White Mousse. Gently add second cake layer. Frost the entire cake with whipped cream smoothing the sides as much as possible. Arrange sliced strawberries (points out) in a circular pattern beginning about 1" from edge of cake. Fill top of cakes with over lapping circles of Strawberries.
Add a few more TLBS icing sugar to remaining whipped cream. Stir in and use piping bag and star tip to pipe borders around top and bottom edge of cake.
Arrange thin slices of Strawberries around sides of cake.
Store in refrigerator.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

I Love this Kid!

This weekend I have been on Chauffeur Duty.

(That in itself is a whole other blog post...
One I am fighting with myself daily NOT to write.
I think I will give you a hint though...
'cause hints are not the same as telling
and no one will bother to click the link to find out what I am babbling about anyway....)

Now, if you know me, you know I really am not a morning person.
I am on the other hand, a mom of a working teen.
A working teen without a vehicle, in fact, as a family of 6 we function with 1 vehicle.
Why spend money on a second one when we all live, work and play within a fairly small radius?
So I can have my own cute little sporty car! That's why!
(that is always my answer...but not yet)

So, My Jonny had to be to work yesterday and today for 6:30 a.m which meant I had to be up at 5:45...A.M!
The bonus yesterday, was I picked up a tea after dropping my son off, went down by the Bay in the middle of the rain, thunder and lightening and got to experience the awesomeness of God's majesty.

I went to bed early to prepare for my second unearthly morning drop off but when the alarm went...I simply could not do it. I sent Jon with the vehicle and went back to sleep...and did I ever sleep.
When I did wake up, there was a note on my floor that had been pushed under my door.

It was a mystery to me as to who could possibly have written that note. I mean, it's not signed and I am referred to as "Jen"...must have been Mark.
I also loved the part about not waking up until I was told....ummmm, too late.
Ah, a clue! I do have a child who refers to "getting up" as "Waking Up"...I wonder if that is who it could be?
The mystery was soon solved as I was presented with Fluffy scrambled eggs with Cheddar grated on top and a steaming cup of Red Rose.

As I thanked my youngest child and told her she was the best little girl in the whole world, she responded with....
"I know"

Oh we go again! Look out Jonathan/"Sheldon"...(Big Bang reference), there's another one coming up on your heels!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Tea Cup Gardening

Every once and a while, on a whim...a well intentioned, thought out whim....I decide to try my hand at gardening. All my friends tote the glorious, uplifting, grounding, self satisfaction of gardening.

All of them...except maybe "Sweet Pammy".
I, on the other hand...was born a family may not have realized it, my surroundings may not have reflected it...but make no mistake. I was born to be pampered, to shop, to enjoy the finer things in life. It's who God created me to be...what's a girl to do?

In all truth...I am allergic to dirt and all things "gardeningy". No, you have no idea!
All windows must remain closed all Spring, planting of 10 sunflower seeds last year sent me to bed with Benadryl...then there is this teensy weensy phobia of worms...
I'm lying...I can not STAND worms...they send me screaming under the covers. (It's my brother's fault...he and some other young boys chased me with worms as a child...then, I had, I am a wuss).

This year was different though...I have thoroughly enjoyed the great outdoors of Spring and have not paid with 14 hours of drug induced sleep for having indulged in this wondrous time of year. I am thrilled and very, very thankful. (I am listening to the sweetly singing birds and feeling the gentle breeze of Spring through my open window even now as I type...Truly a Miracle!)

My new found out door freedom, coupled with my family's love for what we call "Fresh salsa", (in reality it is Pico De Galla), adding in the idea that I might actually be missing out on some soul soothing rituals...I decided to plant a Salsa Garden.

Since I have not yet been miraculously delivered from the whole worm-nightmare-thing...I decided planter gardening was the perfect fit for me. That and the fact that weeding is a chore not fit for a princess.

I did some homework, I'm an intelligent princess after all...with a love for fine cooking, fresh food and the need to be creative. This can't be that hard right? EVERYONE posts these beautiful pictures of their lush, fruitful gardens...EVERYONE, (except Sweet Pammy), goes on and on about how wonderful it is to be one with the dirt. The absolute joys of sowing, watering, weeding and harvesting.
I WANT TO ENJOY BEING ONE WITH THE DIRT....but in a more refined sort of oneness.

I bought herbs...(seeds are still for the wonder women of gardeners), Tomatoes and Peppers and because I had been so proudly talking of my plans at boss bought me a lovely little bush of Cilantro.
Ahhh...Cilantro, the miracle herb that pulls the whole Salsa/Pico together...Yummy Cilantro.

I am not simply a summer-on-a-whim-cook, I am a serious year round cook who loves using fresh herbs....fresh herbs that are so very expensive to buy and then rot because you can't use them all up in a timely fashion.
My solution: An INDOOR herb garden to enjoy year round. Simple! I have everything I need except the artsy-Jen part: a wonderful planter.

Last weekend I found it.
Actually I liked it so much, I bought two!
Bold, Bright, Beautiful T-Cup planters....the color contrasts made me so happy I just KNEW my herbs would feel happy and thrive too.

Last Sunday, I rolled up my sleeves, recruited my youngest child and got busy. We planted our Rosemary in a large planter outside as I am told it likes to grow quite tall and full...(mmmmm, Pioneer Woman Rosemary Buns). We planted my 2 VERY Happy T-Cups. One with Chives the other with that lovely Cilantro. We even went a little crazy and planted Sun Flowers. I LOVE Big Happy Sunflowers!.

Though my nails and the dirt were definitely one, I wasn't yet feeling the Love but as I scrubbed the dirt and positioned those wonderful T Cups on my sunny plant shelf in my kitchen...I had visions of amazing dishes made all that much more amazing by these delicious herbs lovingly tended by my own 2 hands...I was beaming.

My dear Gardening Guru Friend Holly wanted to see pictures of these Happy, happy
T cups...thus, this Blog Post.

Are they Not Absolutely Wonderful!?!?!

My Fairly Happy Chives...
(made our scrambled eggs taste incredible!)

T-Cups for 2! not very happy looking Cilantro.

Seriously! They were lovely and green and firm a few short days ago...
...Until my Black thumb touched them.
Limp, Pale very SAD looking Cilantro.
HOW am I supposed to make yummy fresh Salsa with pale, limp Cilantro?
My Gardening dreams are dashed yet there any hope?