Sunday, August 19, 2007

I. Am. Awesome.

Yesterday we spent some time looking around at Borders and reading cookbooks (because we're super cool like that) and in Jamie Oliver's "Jamie's Dinners" cookbook, he had a recipe for poached pears with walnut cream. It all seemed simple enough: the pear was poached in white wine with a little vanilla and I took the liberty of adding Triple Sec, a pat of butter, and a stick of cinnamon; and the walnut cream was just some ground up toasted walnuts mixed in with some mascarpone cheese and a little honey.

So I made it myself and reduced the leftover poaching liquid to make a sauce. I added a bit of honey and brown sugar to temper the tanginess from the wine. I have to say, the whole thing was heaven.

I wish I was better at food photography and Photoshop. Taking photos of food with our point-and-shoot camera does okay, but I long for the fuzzy background and warm tones that would turn our food pictures into full-blown food porn.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Anthropologie Fall Catalog

It always sucks when the new Anthropologie catalogs come in the mail. They have so many pretty things that it's hard to make a decision. Unfortunately, their ridiculous shipping prices coupled with inconsistent quality make me hesitant to buy more from them. Which is a shame because the designs are always gorgeous and the prices would be reasonable if the quality lived up to the price, but so often it just doesn't. Sigh. Oh well, it's always fun to look at. I'll probably pick up a few pieces here and there this fall. Here are three of my favorite new looks:

Saturday, August 4, 2007

The beginnings of Cherry Basil Ice Cream

We got an ice cream maker once upon a time as a wedding present from my brother Rob and we've never really used it much. Until this summer. Suddenly I have this overwhelming urge to make ice cream all the time. Within the past two weeks, I've made blackberry ice cream, mint chocolate chip ice cream, pomegranate sorbet, and now cherry basil ice cream:

I'm excited.

I got two pounds of cherries at Costco yesterday and used about half. I pitted them with the cherry pitter (best little uni-tasker ever!) and pulsed them in the food processor about 6 times. I added the cherries to a pot with about 8 basil leaves from our plant out back, 1/2 cup of sugar, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, and 3 tablespoons Absolut Kurant. I heated it through while I was working on the ice cream base. (I've been following the recipe for vanilla ice cream from The Best Recipe cookbook, minus the vanilla, and it's served me quite well so far.) After the cherries were heated through, I removed the basil leaves.

Once I heated the milk and cream and tempered and cooked the eggs, I put the cream mixture in an ice bath, then did the same with the cherries. Once both the cherries and the cream were cool, I added them together and now they're all mellowing out and chilling together in the fridge. The mixture will hang out for about 3 hours or so and then I'll put it in the ice cream maker. I'm excited.

From what I can tell so far, the cherry and basil flavors are both coming through really well. The addition of the basil adds an element of intrigue, but it complements the cherries well. We'll probably have some later tonight and I'll garnish it with some fresh basil leaves and a few whole cherries. I'll try to remember to post pictures.

Fall Wish List

It's hotter than Hades here today, but all the fall catalogs have started arriving and making me wish for cooler weather. Here are a few items I've already bookmarked for fall purchasing.

The Bella jacket from JCrew in Heather Coral. I could totally wear this with my brown tweed skirt and tall brown boots, or with dark trouser cut jeans.
I need a pair of classic brown knee high boots. They're a basic wardrobe staple that I'm missing.

I also don't own an argyle sweater and I need to have one. I'm not in love with the colors in this one from JCrew, but I'll continue to search til I find one that's juuuuuuuuuuuust right!

Attempts last fall to find a basic wrap dress failed, so I'm on the hunt again this year. This one from Boden looks like it could work.

I've never purchased anything from Boden, but their catalog always has great things. I like this v-neck top in the pretty grape color.
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