Friday, October 3, 2008

Stanley's Birthday, Which Was All About Me

Stanley's birthday was Wednesday and I put forth some uncharacteristic effort for him. I woke up at 5:00 to bake the traditional Spupspe family cinnamon rolls so that they would be ready by 8:00, because he had to go to work earlyish. I could have baked them the day before, which is how they have always been baked, as long as any of the Spupspe's can remember. However, the last time I made them, at Mom and Dad Spupspe's house for the Fourth of July, Stanley's mom happened to have rapid-rise yeast. This shaved several hours and a couple of steps off of the prep time. It only took two hours. That's doable for fresh morning rolls. So I went for it. At around 5:30 it looked like disaster was imminent, because the yeast was not bubbling. It was just sitting there, dead in the water, due to some unknown reason. Was it already dead when I bought it? Did I inadvertently expose it to metal, which is clearly forbidden in the recipe? Luckily, I had bought twice the number of yeast packets called for, because I wanted to have it on hand in case I got a wild hair and decided to bake again in the next year. I actually do want to do more baking, and cooking in general. Actually, just baking. I have a kitchen with lots of tools. I know people who would eat baked things. There are several recipes I want to try. And kneading dough and letting it rise is strangely therapeutic. Anyway, I tried again with the yeast, and thank Sarah Palin, it worked.

One other minor mishap with the rolls was that I had less than half the brown sugar that was called for in the filling, so they aren't as sweet as they should be. I don't look at this as a bad thing. Less sugar makes them better for you, plus, now there is nothing stopping me from making cream cheese icing, aside from the high cost of groceries.

That evening, Stanley got home at 6:00 and was really hungry, so I cooked up some fried green tomatoes, which we will be having a lot of in the coming weeks as it gets colder. We've got 20 or 30 tomatoes on the vine and not a lot of sunshine and warmth for them. But you know, fried green tomatoes are pretty good, and easy to make. Dip in egg, dredge in flour, fry in oil.

To backtrack a bit, last Sunday I did some frozen meal prep with my friend Carolyn*, as we did a few months ago. One of the meals was spinach-mushroom stuffed pork chops in a white wine gravy, and mashed potato casserole. I cooked that one up for Stanley's birthday dinner. It was delicious, in my opinion, and according to Stanley.

For dessert, because I love tiramisu and Stanley loves lemon-flavored desserts, I made tiramisu al Limoncello, which was loosely based on a recipe we saw demonstrated by Lidia Bastianich on her PBS cooking show. I adapted her recipe to a tiramisu kit from a box, using lemon juice instead of espresso/coffee and Limoncello lemon liqueur instead of amaretto/rum, and omitting the cocoa, but adding lemon zest to the mascarpone mixture. I couldn't help but taste the approximately 1:1 lemon juice/Limoncello mixture before I soaked the ladyfingers, and it was so good it made me bang my hand repeatedly on the countertop. Really sour but just sweet enough to make you drink it anyway. Now that we have a bottle of Limoncello I'm going to experiment with lots of lemon cocktail and dessert recipes. OH! Lemon crepes! As Jasmine** would say, "That's what I'm talkin' about!"

The dessert turned out pretty well, quite delicious, nice and tart, but I detected a traditional tiramisu coffee/chocolate flavor in the cream. It hadn't occurred to me that there would be flavoring in there. It didn't ruin it, but it was distracting.

Here's the birthday card I gave Stanley.

Have a great day!

*Name changed.

**Jasmine = Squiggly Worm. Both names changed. Obviously.

1 comment:

Lois Rosewood said...

100th birthday! :D That's a good way to put getting older in perspective.