"Life isn't long enough to do all you could accomplish. And what a privilege even to be alive. In spite of all the pollutions and horrors, how beautiful this world is.
Supposing you only saw the stars once every year. Think what you would think. The wonder of it!"--Tasha Tudor

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Wicked. Sinful. Decadent. Delicious. Proceed with caution...

Take a beautiful bunch of wonderful strawberries. Rinse them and let them dry thoroughly.

Get a bottle of Grand Marnier. It is a lovely orange cognac. We will be injecting the strawberries with a syringe and then dipping them in chocolate. Oh yes. (insert big sigh here.)

I use a sterile syringe with the sharp needle attached. I keep a box of sharps to vaccinate the puppies, but if you don't have one, you can ask your doctor or vet for one rather than buy a whole box. (Unless you plan on making these on a regular basis. In which case I may just show up at your door.) If you do an internet search for Grand Marnier chocolate covered strawberries, you will not find them made using the sharp needle. They tell you to use a pastry injector or a syringe without the needle, which I'm sure work fine too. I've never tried them that way. Doing it my way you can inject the liquor into the stem-top rather than through the red berry part and it helps keep it from oozing out.

The size of your berry will determine how much Grand Marnier you will draw up into your syringe. There are 5 cc's in a teaspoon. Start by drawing up 5 cc's and inject the needle into the top of the berry, right next to the stem at the top. Go slowly. The slower you go, the more you can get the berry to accept. When it starts bubbling at the top, you are probably done. Put the berry down and finish the rest. You are just going to have to taste one to know if you have enough Grand Marnier. It's a dirty job, but somebody's got to do it.

Now for the chocolate part. I am partial to dark chocolate, but you can surely use your favorite. Basically, you want to get the very best chocolate you can like a Valrhona or Callebaut but you can use chocolate chips too. Melt the chopped up chocolate slowly in a double boiler with a scant teaspoon of vegetable shortening added in. You can add a tiny drop of heavy cream if you like, if you are using good chocolate but it is not necessary. Don't use the microwave. The chocolate can seize up. You want your strawberries to be dry as well. Any moisture will cause the chocolate to seize up and get dry and grainy. When the chocolate is nice and smooth, grab the berries by the leaves and dip into the warm chocolate. Let them dry on a wax paper covered tray. You can put them into the refrigerator to set. I leave them in the fridge because I like them cold, but you can leave them out for your guests unless it is too hot or humid in the room.
You can also buy packaged 'dipping chocolate' in the produce section. Bakers' chocolate even came out with one which you can find in the baking supplies section of the grocery store near the chocolate chips. These can be microwaved in the containers they come in and are pretty good too. Follow the instructions and resist the urge to heat them faster than 30 seconds at a time or it will seize up. Chocolate is timing, my friend.

While we are talking about sweets, a little known fact about The Mister: he loves marshmallows. I found a bag of gigantic marshmallows in the store the other day. They are the size of tennis balls. After working almost 12 hours in the heat and humidity outside, John thought he would finally get to take a little rest on the sofa and watch a little TV with his marshmallows. Little did he know that two impish Corgis were nearby, watching, waiting, ready to pounce....

Photos are blurry, I know. But too good not to share....

Bridget trying to French kiss John.. Again. ♥

Stella knows she has John wrapped around her little paw.

For who can resist a Corgi's charms? Not I.

♥ CS

Monday, June 21, 2010

Midsummer's Eve

Today, June 21st is the Summer Solstice, or the longest day and the shortest night of the year. It is a magical night for Corgis everywhere. Don't be surprised if you find your little faerie steeds among the missing in the wee hours of the morning. They are probably out flying all of the tiny fay ones to parties amidst the fairy rings in gardens all over town. The Corgis will adorn themselves with lovely wreaths of flowers and ribbons. I heard that the faeries have been preparing magical little feasts for days. On the menu are big juicy strawberries, mint iced tea and lemonade, fairy cupcakes with lots of frosting with little edible flowers covered in sugar, and freshly baked cookies for their honored Corgi friends. Tonight there will be parties with dancing to ancient Celtic reels and glowing glass jars filled with hundreds of lightening bugs by volunteer Corgis. The little fireflies will surely be set free when the party is in full swing by other Corgis and faeries who have sampled too much of the Midsummer's Eve punch.

Let your tired Corgis sleep in tomorrow morning for after providing transport for the fairy realm and partying all night, they will surely need a few extra winks. Never fear, for after a good sleep they will be right as rain once again.

Happy Summer, my lovelies! xo xo CS ♥

Friday, June 4, 2010

Whip your bras off.

Did I grab your attention? I know, bad Cathy. I probably got my husband's attention, for sure. Actually it is a line from one of my favorite movies that does have a connection to my post this morning. Last night my lovely friend Wendy in Rhode Island sent me a couple of photos of Yogi in her garden. You've seen Yogi on this blog before. I just love him. Who can resist the charms of such a handsome fluffy subject? Not I. Outside this morning, the sky is as blue as Mel Gibson's eyes and there are bees and butterflies and birds and everything is green and flowery and so pretty. Flowers just make me happy. So I thought I'd look up a few quotes for all of us who get intoxicated and giddy when in the presence of lovely flowers. There are so many. Here are a few which struck my fancy:

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." ~ Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

"There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." ~ Anais Nin

"The Earth laughs in flowers" ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"A Morning Glory at my window satisfies me more than the metaphysics of books. " ~ Walt Whitman

"I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers." ~ Claude Monet

"Bloom where you are planted." ~ Mary Engelbreit

"If you've never been thrilled to the very edges of your soul by a flower in Spring bloom, maybe your soul has never been in bloom. " ~ Terri Guillemets

"When you have only two pennies left in the world, buy a loaf of bread with one, and a lily with the other. " ~ Chinese Proverb

Oh yes, and about the bras. Probably one of my favorite flower quotes comes from a 2003 film called Calendar Girls:

"The flowers of Yorkshire are the like the women of Yorkshire. Every stage of their growth has its own beauty, but the last phase is always the most glorious."

The movie stars Helen Mirren, Julie Walters, (I ♥ these actresses) John Alderton and Cieran Hinds. I'm not even going to go on here about the film or the plot, which is bittersweet, lovely, sad, happy, funny and original all rolled into one. It is based on a true story. Click over to the link and watch the trailer. It is worth renting the movie for the scenery alone. Or if you want to find out why the bras are getting whipped off. If you missed this one in the theater, go and get it and stock up on some popcorn for the next rainy day or sleepless night. You'll be glad you did. Let me know how you like it.
Have a happy Friday my lovelies! xo xo ♥ CS