Ikea." :-) Cranberry sauce stood in for lingonberry sauce.
I took over some grapes from the farmers market for dessert—though we didn't get around to eating them because the kids needed to get to bed—and a rosé, which we did get around to drinking, because I figured it would go well with meat in a slightly spicy and creamy sauce. It was the 2008 Vega Sindoa Rosé, made from the Garnacha, aka Grenache, grape. We enjoyed it. Lots of cherriness.
Abbe made the Lego flower decorations for the table.
I've been up to some serious ice cream making these past few weeks. I made more mint chocolate chip last weekend because I didn't know how many more weeks I'd be able to get fresh peppermint at the farmers market. And the weekend before that, I made my second batch of lemon verbena ice cream for the same reason. And because it had become my ice cream obsession.
I made the first batch after seeing a sign for lemon verbena at Berried Treasures' farmstand at the Union Square Greenmarket that noted it was great for ice cream. I'd heard of pastry chefs making ice cream with LV and took the sign as an indication I should try it myself, especially after giving the herb a good sniff. It truly has an amazing scent that, like the writer in the above-linked blog post says, is lemon plus something else that's hard to describe but is definitely "captivating."
I assumed the LV ice cream would turn out to be a novelty that I wouldn't eat up too quickly, but I couldn't get enough of it. I gave some to Bob and Jen to try (they weren't that fond of it), and as I wrote in one part of my birthday-post opus, I took the last of it to South Jersey so my family could try it. Nobody raved there but nobody complained. Why am I surrounded by people who don't appreciate the depth and breadth of my culinary genius? :-)
When Tracey tried it on the day she and David came to pick up Matt and Mike, she said it felt odd to be eating something that tastes like lemon verbena because she wears a perfume that smells like it. I told Bob and Jen what Tracey had said on the pizza night I gave them the ice cream, and Jen said that the only time she'd heard of LV was in one of the Little House books she read to Abbe. Pa Ingalls splurged on a bottle of lemon verbena perfume for Ma one Christmas. Bob said he bet Pa got some action that night.
And speaking of fruit, my other big ice cream experiment this summer was pluot. It was a good solid effort, but considering how much I love pluots, the end result was a little bit disappointing. It hinted at pluot awesomeness but didn't totally deliver.
And ARROHK,* I made coffee ice cream for Dad's birthday, and it was a big hit as always. It occurs to me that I should try making mocha sometime. Not necessarily for Dad—unless I've got some coffee as a backup. :-)
For Jeff's birthday, I took Upside-down Chocolate-Spice Cupcakes With Chocolate Ganache Glaze and Candied Ginger Pieces in to work. Quite a name, and quite a cupcake.
It was all Martha's idea, from the Cupcakes book. Or more likely, of course, the idea of one of her minions. The cupcake itself is reminiscent of Martha's Chocolate-Gingerbread Cookies, the best damn cookies ever. The cake was tasty but was naturally more subtly flavored than the dense, buttery cookies.
You fill the cupcake tins only halfway, so the tops end up pretty flat after baking. Once the cupcakes have cooled, you flip them over and spoon chocolate ganache on them. Once that's set, you press bits of candied ginger onto the surface, and, man, do they look purty. I had fun making different shapes out of the gummy ginger and creating different patterns out of them. And I left some ginger-free for those who wanted a less-spicy experience.
I got a few rave reviews from my co-workers; the words "you've outdone yourself" were used. ;-) Only 10 were eaten, which seems to be the norm. Next time I take cupcakes in, I'm seriously going to bring only 10 and see what happens. Maybe that time, they'll eat only eight. *sigh*
The other day, Joyce sent me a link to the This Peanut Looks Like a Duck blog, and we both agreed that this tomato was the most-impressive duck-looking thing. And then later that day, I came across this tomato that looked like a rabbit. Yeah, it was a slow work day. But a superawesome day for finding tomatoes that looked like animals.
STUPID RAISINS GET OUT OF MY COOKIE: I saw that phrase on the T-shirt of a teenage boy in my neighborhood. Fun.
Back in July, I questioned whether a farmstand at the Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket was selling Tribute everbearing strawberries. The following week, that stand was strawberryless, so I didn't bother to ask any of the people working there about what they'd been selling. A few weeks later, in the 20s of August, I came across this sign at the Berried Treasures stand at the Union Square Greenmarket:
Both Tristar and Tribute strawberries are actually day-neutral, not everbearing, varieties. I got some, and they tasted almost identical to regular, June-bearing strawberries.
*As regular readers of Hawleyblog know.