Sunday, March 17, 2013

Birthday Weekend!

How cool is this?  
Unfortunately, I couldn't make "screen capture" work, so I took a picture with my phone. 
Technologically challenged? Yup. 

Yesterday was my birthday - 48!  It was a great day. I went to Ann Arbor, MI (just an hour from here) for pedicures and lunch with good friends. I don't get a pedicure often, and I'm not sure why. It was lovely. We sipped hot tea, relaxed in comfy reclining chairs, and let them massage and pamper our tired toes. After pedicures, we went to Zingerman's Roadhouse for lunch. So delicious! Warm spinach and mushroom salad...artisan cheese with bagel crisps and roasted balsamic grapes...I even had an ice cold beer.  Now I'm not usually much of a beer drinker. I prefer wine - and nothing sweet. But this was wonderful. 

I was home in time to make dinner...and decided to make Mushroom Stroganoff. Sorry, no pictures, but it was delicious.  The tradition here is for my husband to bake my cake. It is always the same - Angel Food, from scratch, with fluffy, seven minute frosting. The fun part is he usually makes a mistake and we get to laugh at the various disasters. Yup, I'm serious.  One year, he mistook tsp for tbsp, and let's just say I've never had such a salty cake in my life!  With years of practice under his belt, I think he has finally mastered the art.  Here's what's left of the cake today.  The picture doesn't do it justice - so light and airy.  Nice work!

Tricks to the perfect Angel Food cake: don't use your freshest eggs. I get better results when they are at least two weeks old. Bring them to room temperature before starting.  If you are lucky enough to have one, using a standing mixer. The egg whites need to whip a long time to get stiff.  We actually bought a standing mixer because we love Angel Food cake so much.  I don't regret it at all.  Folding in the ingredients is not the same as mixing. Folding allows you to gently combine the wet meringue with the flour/powdered sugar, without losing the air that's been whipped into the batter.  That air is what makes the cake so light and fluffy. Take your time - practice. If your first one isn't perfect, try it again.  It's so worth the effort. 

Of course, if you bake an Angel Food cake, you have a dozen egg yolks staring at you. I can't bare to throw  them out or feed them to the dogs - my hens worked hard laying those eggs! What else could I do but whip up some lemon curd? I followed Martha Stewart's recipe, which was quick and easy. The curd came out just perfect. But now I suppose I need something to put it on.  

Just for fun - here's a picture of eggs from our hens.  The palest ones are not white, but a soft greenish blue.  So pretty! No need to color eggs for Easter around here. 

And finally, my husband thinks he is really funny. Here is one of my gifts this year:

If you always wondered, "who buys this crap" when seeing such "lovely" items in the stores, well, now you know.  
Hands off ladies - he's all mine! HA HA HA HA HA!