Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Summer 2011...Trying some things...

This is the first time in a while I've had a chance to catch my breath and post something other than photos for the BWD posts every other Monday.  I've been doing a lot of thinking about the things I'd like to accomplish from my list this summer---some of which I'll be able to enjoy with my parents, others on my own or with other friends---and wanted to share a few of these adventures!  It seems as though I discover something every day that I haven't yet tried, and am excited to start the experience!

A few of the items are going to be summer-long endeavors:
  • Reading and watching the Harry Potter series (I've completed the first)
  • Reading Jane Austen (I'm going to guess this will take me from today's date, 5/24/2011 through the end of the year!)
  • Reading three books I read during high school
Some are crafty:
  • Create five sewing projects for myself (and I just fell upon a website for a store in SPOKANE of all places that sells both the patterns AND the fabric for a particular designer)
  • Learn to crochet
  • Finish a knitting project...more specifically, I'll root for a scarf to be completed
  • Use scrapbooking supplies---for cards, frames, etc
  • Make homemade soap
  • Make homemade candles
And finally, some are for the culinary artist:
  • Make doughnuts at home
  • Make candy at home---something that challenges me, using a food thermometer
  • Try eating a new ethnic cuisine
  • Eat at one of Austin's famous trailers
  • Eat at Magnolia Cafe without buyer's remorse (or guilt)
  • Make homemade s'mores---marshmallows AND graham crackers
  • Make homemade preserves (with my brand-new pressure cooker)
And some are just plain fun:
  • Visit the Alamo
  • Go swimming in Barton Springs
  • Have a themed party---I'm thinking something like 80s aerobic?
  • Take self-defense
  • Go on a roadtrip
  • Try bikram 
  • Take a trapeze lesson
  • Swim in an ocean
  • Go to gospel brunch
  • Buy cowboy boots
  • Visit Schlitterbahn---look it up!
I'll track my progress more diligently---with five classes last semester, and four of them being labs, I barely had time to sleep if it wasn't in my schedule.

The summer night is like a perfection of thought.  ~Wallace Stevens

Monday, May 23, 2011

BWD#5 Cornmeal Shortbread Cookies

Shortbread---one of the yummiest, simplest desserts that can be made so many different ways!

I had to improvise this time---no lemons, but we did have a few oranges in the refrigerator---so I substituted orange zest for lemon zest.  It got me thinking---those oranges that are sold around the holiday season that are covered in chocolate!  To make these a bit fancier, I'd probably melt some bittersweet chocolate and dip a corner of the shortbread in them.

In any case, I love the method DG has us utilize---putting the dough into a ziploc and rolling it out.  I wish EVERYTHING could be done this way!!!

Simply adore the tea set and serving table---both wedding gifts!

Monday, May 9, 2011

BWD#4 Fluted Polenta and Ricotta Cake

I can't believe how quickly the last two weeks have flown by, with finals and plenty of other things to keep me busy.

I was a bit nervous at first when I tried to track down the Mission figs, because I visited a supermarket that I don't usually use---I must have done three trips through the aisles before I found the dried fruit!

This is my first experience baking with figs, and I have to say, the dried figs are super easy to work with---especially SunMaid.  They're not dry or difficult to work with.  This batter was definitely one of the easiest I've had to put together!  I'm planning on not feeding anyone tonight (well...the cake, anyway) because DG suggests the flavors, particularly the honey, mature after one day.

I'm interested to see how the texture turns out, as the combination of cornmeal, honey, sugar, and ricotta is an interesting one!

Here's a little preview of the pre-baked product:

The beginnings...

Finished product...being packed up and sent over to my father-in-law!  Reviews to come!  Back to the books...