Eating: We had many tasty dishes at bookclub potluck. We don't do a sign up, as I have insisted it be a "true" potluck. So far, we have always had a good mix of appetizers, salads, entrees, etc. This year, as has happened in other years, a theme arose, purely by "luck of the pot". We ended up with a kind of Mexican theme: tortilla soup, chicken mole, beans and other good food that coordinated well with it. As promised, my cream puff and hot fudge sauce recipes.
Cream Puffs - From Betty Crocker - I always feel like I am cheating because these are so easy to make. It seems like it would be one of those difficult things but it is not. There is a cream filling you can make for them (looks like a pudding recipe to me) but I always fill mine with ice cream, like a French profiterole. You could also fill with a flavored (or plain) whip cream. I like to top mine with hot fudge. You could also just dust with powdered sugar, or spread a little chocolate frosting on top. So many options!
Heat oven to 400. In a 2 1/2 qt. saucepan, heat 1 C water and 1/2 C margarine or butter to a rolling boil. Stir in 1 C flour, reduce heat. Stir vigorously over low about 1 minute or until mixture forms a ball; remove from heat. Beat in 4 eggs all at once; continue beating until smooth. Drop dough by scant 1/4 cupfuls about 3" apart onto ungreased cookie sheet (the Pampered Chef large stainless scoop works really well for this).
Bake 35-40 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Cool away from draft. Cut off top 1/3rd of each puff and pull out any filaments of soft dough (discard this - it is just eggy dough, really). Fill with cream filling, whipped cream or wait until serving and fill with a scoop of ice cream. If you are filling with cream, refrigerate until serving.
To make chocolate cream puffs, decrease flour to 3/4 C plus 2 T. Mix 2 T cocoa and 1 T sugar with the flour.
To make the cream filling: Mix 1/3 C sugar, 2 T cornstarch, and 1/8 t salt in 2 qt saucepan. Gradually stir in 2 C milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir 1 minute. Gradually stir in at least half of the hot mixture into 2 egg yolks, slightly beaten. Stir into hot mixture in the saucepan. Boil and stir 1 minute; remove from heat. Stir in 2 T margarine or butter and 2 t vanilla. Cool.
World's Easiest Hot Fudge Sauce - Okay, I don't know if this is the easiest recipe in the world but that is the title of it, from Weight Watchers Best Ever Desserts. 2 T of sauce = 2 points under the old system. (114 cal, 7g fat, 4 g sat fat, 0g trans fat, 1mg chol, 58 mg sod, 15g carb, 2 g fib, 2 g protein, 29mg Calc),
Combine 1 C fat-free half-and-half, 2 T light corn syrup and a pinch of salt in a heavy medium saucepan, set over med-high heat. Bring just to a boil, whisking until smooth. Remove from heat and whisk in 8 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate (finely chopped) until melted and smooth. Return mixture to a boil, whisking constantly; boil about 1 minute. Remove from heat and whisk in 1/2 t vanilla. Use immediately or cool to room temperature. Transfer to a covered container; refrigerate up to one month. Gently reheat before serving.
Reading: I am about half-way through False Mermaid, the latest mystery by Erin Hart. I am enjoying it pretty well, and want to find out whodunit. But as with any mystery, I am just waiting for the "bad guy" to point to Scooby Doo and the gang and say, "And I would have got away with it if it hadn't been for those meddling kids!" Maybe that is what I don't like about mysteries...
Next up, I will start The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly. I haven't even looked at it yet to be able to say what it is about but know that it is a children's book and believe it is historical fiction. This is the book for Sunday bookclub this month.
That's all for now. I am off to Mini Medical School at the U of M now. This is a series (2.5 hrs every Monday evening for 5 weeks) offered twice a year, open to the public (for a fee, of course). This time the topics are all brain related - last week it was Traumatic Brain Injuries, and studies related to detecting and treating seizures in dogs (also using the device for humans). This week, ummm... I can't remember what the 2 talks are about, but something brain related. I have attended these in the past about 6-8 times but not in 4 years. It is topics related to work, so is ongoing learning for me, but also something to challenge my brain and I do enjoy it. Last week, they had samples of brains for us to examine (hold and look at). When does the public get a chance to hold a brain in their hands? Fascinating stuff!
Until next time,