Monday, April 27, 2009

Good Times with Friends

A Girls-Only Party!

A tea party, complete with tea, coffee and chai
as well as scones and biscotti.
There was also a choice of lemon curd
and Devonshire Cream for the scones.



Chai
Combine in a crockpot:
2 quarts (8 cups) water
8 tea bags of black (I used green decaf) tea
3/4 cup sugar (1/2 cup is plenty)

In a large tea ball, put
16 whole cloves
5 cinnamon sticks, broken
16 whole cardamon seeds (optional)
8 slices fresh ginger

Place tea ball in crockpot.
Cover; cook on HIGH 2 - 2 1/2 hours.

Discard solids. Refrigerate.
Add a little milk in your cup prior to serving.
(Can be served hot or cold)

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Cream Scones

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
2 tsp bakingn powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/3 cup cold unsalted butter
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Egg mixture for brushing top of scones:
for top:
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 Tblsp heavy cream

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Place rack in middle of oven. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

In large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut the butter into small pieces and blend into the flour mixture. The mixture should look like coarse crumbs. In a small measuring cup, combine the whipping cream, beaten egg, and vanilla. Add this mixture to the flour mixture. Stir until just combined. Do not over mix.

Knead dough gently on a lightly floured surface. Roll or pat the dough into a 7" circle, about 1 1/2" thick. Cut this circle into 8 triangular sections. (I cut into 12 sections.)

Mix the 1 lightly beaten egg with the 1 Tblsp. heavy cream and brush over scones. This helps to brown the tops during baking.

Bake about 15 minutes or until lightly browned and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and turn broiler on high. Sift confectioners (powdered) sugar over the tops and place scones under the broiler. Broil for just a few seconds, turning the pan as necessary, until the sugar had melted and turns golden brown. Make sure to watch carefully, as the sugar turns golden and burns very quickly. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Serve with Devon Cream, whipping cream, Lemon Curd, and/or your choice of jelly.

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Lemon Curd

3 large eggs
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (2 - 3 lemons) (DO NOT use bottled lemon juice)
3/4 cup granulated white sugar
1 Tblsp finely shredded lemon zest
4 Tblsp. unsalted butter at room temperature,
and cut into small pieces

In a double boiler, or stainless steel bowl over saucepan over simmering water, whisk together the eggs, sugar, and lemon juice until blended. Cook, stirring constantly (to prevent curdling) until the mixture becomes thick like sour cream or a hllandaise sauce. This will take approximately 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Whisk the cut butter into the mixture until melted. Add lemon zest and let cool. The lemon curd will continue to thicken as it cools. Cover immediately (so a skin doesn't form) and refrigerate for up to two weeks.

Makes 1 1/2 cups. You may whip 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream and fold into lemon curd for a lighter curd
.

*******************************

Devonshire or Devon Cream

4 ounces mascarpone*
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 or 2 Tblsp. granulated white sugar
Zest of lemon
* Mascarpone is a soft unripened cheese that belongs to the cream cheese family. It comes from Switzerland and Italy anad is a thick, rich, sweet and velvety, ivory-colored cheese produced from cow's milk that has the texture of clotted or sour cream. Its delicate and mild flavor is great with fresh fruit and is probably best known for its use in Tiramisu. Produced mainly in the fall and winter, it is sold in plastic tubs and can be found in specialty food stores and in the deli sectin of some grocery stores.

Place all the ingredients in a large bowl and beat until the mixture holds its shape and looks like softly whipped cream. Use right away or cover and refrigerate until serving time.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

Note: This can also be used as a filling for tarts or with fresh berries.

A great time was had by all!
Friends are one of life's Good Fortunes!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

One Last Post on Arizona

The first thing we saw at the Sonora Desert Museum
outside Tucson on Tuesday, April 7 was this docent
with this barn owl.


She explained that this owl had been found and delivered
to the museum as a very tiny baby. Instead of
leaving it where it was, someone had moved it.
Thus, it's been a part of the "museum staff"
for a number of years.

Almost one of the first things we were able to watch was a rapter display. They have rapters "trained" to stay within the immediate area while they discuss each bird's characteristics.

I have no idea what this plant is, but it was spectacular.

Isn't this a great view?
There was a pane of glass between us,
thank heavens. :-)

In the hummingbird aviary, we spotted a hummer
on her nest.
This little hummingbird has a bright purple
"front," but it preferred to sit in the bright sunlight.
Consequently, this silhouette is the best I could do.

Again, I know not what this is...
but here's another variation of this blossom!
This is a photo of me with my Aunt.
She's such a fabulous person!
And, yes. I'm wearing braces.
At least for the next few months.

We left Tucson Tuesday afternoon and headed
north to Phoenix/Mesa.

On Wednesday morning, we headed for South Mountain Park and Preserve. We had packed our lunch ahead of time, so we first stopped at Dobbins Lookout and enjoyed the view! Here we are, overlooking Mesa and Phoenix!

After lunch, we drove to a trail head and began hiking again!
Of course, can you tell who's at the end of the pack?
Yes, it's Miss Camera Lady! ;-)
An interesting shot of a group of saguaro cacti!
:-)
We found an obliging bicycle rider to take our photo.
I just couldn't get the hang of the self-timer!
Good friends!

After returning home, we rested a bit, changed clothes
and headed out for dinner.
Have you ever heard of the Organ stop Pizza restaurant?

video

The pizza may or may not have been good. I can't say as I remember tasting it! ha. It was the entertainment that draws the crowd every night! The place is huge and can hold around 700 people! There's a huge main floor as well as a balcony for dining.

Center stage sits a huge Wurlitzer Organ. There are photos and information about four accomplished musicians who take turns playing this organ. While we were there, Lew Williams played.

Quoting from the menu/brochure, "the unit orchestra, later known as the theatre pipe organ, was designed with imitative orchestral tones in mind, rather than the customary liturgical sounds found in church instruments. The theatre organ has been described as part military band, part symphony orchestra, and part theatrical sound effects. The Wurlitzer product was considered by far the best organ.

This particular Wurlitzer theatre organ was built for the Denver Theatre and was installed in 1927. The organ was used regularly until the 1930's. This original organ was a "style 260," having three manual console and 15 ranks/sets of pipes. Organ Stop purchased the instrument in the early 1970's and undertook the mammoth task of rebuilding the instrument. After several additions from other ill-fated Wurlitzers, the 23 rank organ was installed in our original facility in 1975. In 1997, a larger four manual console was added. Through the years, several rare sets of pipes have been added, including a massive set of 32' wood diaphones. As of 2006, the organ has nearly 6000 pipes. The massive quantities of wind required for operation are provided by four huge turbine blowers. The resulting instrument boasts 78 ranks, 17 tuned percussions and innumerable traps and effects and is the largest Wurlitzer in the world!

The building's design is expressly for the enjoyment of patrons, with the organ installed in four chambers at one end of the restaurant. 43 food ceilings provide unparalleled acoustics. The console is "presented" on an 80000 lb. rotating hydraulic elevator."

Needless to say, this was also a highlight!
We had a wonderful vacation.

I hope you've enjoyed the sample of our trip. :-)
SG

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

More Arizona Memories

April 4

These are the Superstition Mountains.
We'd studied these mountains last Fall during tutoring sessions. Briefly, Jacob Waltz discovered a gold mine and seemed to have plenty of money. Just prior to his death, he gave a clue as to the location of the mine. Many people have searched for this mine, over the years. And many people have died trying to find it. (I have no idea if it is still "lost.")

This is the "Superstition Saloon" in Tortilla Flat, where we had our lunch.
FYI: Tortilla Flat is now a town with five residents.
It used to be on a stagecoach line.

(I don't want to be superstitious, but do these fellows look suspicious?)

Did they peek into the women's restroom??


After lunch we headed for a boat ride on Canyon Lake.



The circular shapes are actually petrified logs within the rock "walls."

Can you spot the big horn sheep?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix, AZ

Nope!This isn't Who-ville,
and these aren't Whos.

This is Denny and Marty,
our friends who enabled us to have such a grand time!
This is the most amazing glass sculpture!


And here we are... SG and hubby!
It still looks as though we just stepped off that little speck of dust! ;-)
On Saturday, April 4, we visited the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix.
You need to click Right Here to visit the display of blown glass.
It's amazing, and for the most part, fit right into the landscapes.

I will not feature the rest of the glasswork here.
You'll see great photos through the link.
This post will give you an idea of some of the wonderful things we enjoyed.
None of the photos are identified...
Have fun!
:-)

(fruit)



I'm sorry I didn't take a clearer photo.
Do you get an idea of the size of this little cactus?




Blue flowers seem to be unusual.


About Me

My photo
I enjoy being outdoors! I also love that I've two children (now grown up with families of their own)and six young grandchildren! :-) Sure would like to see them more often!!