Thursday, July 28, 2011

Get rid of ants overnight!

Your mileage may vary, but this homemade ant trap literally worked that quickly for us. I mixed it up in the evening after ants had ruined my dinner plans (what kind of ants eat almonds, anyway?), and saw all of two the next day, both in the trap.

In a pint jar, add 1 tsp. Borax, 6 T sugar, and fill to the top with hot tap water. Shake until everything is dissolved, then fold or crumple up a paper towel in the solution, place it in a shallow dish (e.g., a tupperware lid) and place it along a major ant thoroughfare.

This cost us basically nothing, was more effective than most purchased ant traps I've encountered, and since one of the recommended uses for Borax is scrubbing stubborn dishes, I didn't even have to permanently sacrifice the dish!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Feast of St. Anne

Happy feast of St. Anne, patroness of mothers, pregnancy, homemakers, lacemakers, seamstresses and pious women everywhere!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Ice Cream Exploits 2011

I subbed regular rum for the coconut, and that may have been a mistake. It's okay, but tastes more like straight-up coconut milk than piña colada. I'll probably either try this again with the correct rum, or look for a recipe with creme of coconut instead.

Pear-riesling sorbet
I tried something similar once upon a time at the North Market in Columbus, and always vowed to recreate it once I had an ice cream freezer. For my version, I used red pears, and left the peels on until after poaching, which gave it a lovely pink color. It froze extremely hard, though, so next time I'll probably either add more wine and reduce it, or throw in a shot of vodka in at the end as "antifreeze". More sugar would work, too, but I'd hate to over-sweeten it.

Honey Peach
I didn't notice in the recipe that I was only supposed to puree half the peaches, but it came out well all the same. Better, if you don't like peach chunks. I used 5 peaches, which came to about 1 lb, 10 oz. It's quite yummy, but I think I'll try it again at some point with the full 2 lbs., to weigh it more towards the peaches than the cream. Shown here with Trader Joe's Triple Ginger Thins.

Amazing, no changes needed; if you like strawberry cheesecake, this is a must-try. It was a bit too high-yield for my freezer, but I may have inadvertently whipped in some air with my immersion blender. At any rate, I ended up shoveling some out about halfway through freezing. My only other note is that you can make your own crème fraîche by combining a large glug of buttermilk (2-3T) with a cup of cream, and leaving it at room temperature for 24 hours. Use a towel, if anything, to cover it, as it needs to breathe. I'll likely try this recipe again with peaches at some point.

Coffee (and Donuts)
I served this at a party, and it was a huge hit ("The best coffee ice cream I've ever tasted!", even), but goodness was this a picky recipe. Next time, I would strain the beans before making the custard, as I ended up squeezing them by hand to get it out. I'd also skip the ice bath entirely, unless I was in a big hurry. I added chopped up donuts shaken in cinnamon sugar during the last 5 minutes of churning. This one seemed a bit low-yield; I think I only got 1 quart including the donuts. As a result, it froze quite quickly, so keep an eye on it.

I found this one via Amy Welborn, who is also on an ice cream kick, and thus, like me, has lots of egg whites to use up. The raw meringue gives this one an amazing texture, so if you're shy of such things, best to just move along. It wouldn't be the same without it.


Friday, July 22, 2011

St Mary Magdalene

Mary of Magdala went and announced to the disciples,
"I have seen the Lord," and what he told her. [Jn 20, 16]

Catholic Cuisine has a great treat for today- cookies named St Magdalen Fingers. Also check out Cooking with the Saints for more recipes associated with Mary Magdalene.

Image source: Agnolo Bronzino, Pieta, 1530

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


I just finished reading Issue One of Kinfolk: A Guide for Small Gatherings online, and it was chock-full of inspirations from kindred spirits. The gatherings range from coffee for two, to dinner parties, to a picnic in a meadow, with an emphasis on simplicity, the better to enjoy each others company. I can't say how much I loved the fact that the first section is Entertaining for One, (i.e., alone time). I even came away with a few insights relevant to my prayer life, as those articles focused on making time to be quiet every day, both outside and in.

Do read and enjoy, pluck something for your quote journal ("A house is no home unless it contains food and fire for the mind as well as the body."), and walk away with some new ideas for your next gathering of two or twenty.

(Cloche tip: Margaret Perry)

Friday, July 15, 2011

A Bounty of Blueberries

The first round of this year's canning, after a weekend expedition yielded eight pounds of blueberries ($1.75/lb, and they're organic!) After trying the Pioneer Woman's pancakes, blueberry-lemon became the official flavor of Summer 2011 in our house, so of course I had to try it in jam form. We had some this morning along with cream cheese on our bagels, and it was sublime. For next time, though, I think I'll try cutting out about a cup of sugar, as I like things on the tart side (lesson: read the reviews).

Now I just have to come up with recipes for the rest of them. I'm thinking of a blueberry-spice syrup with grated ginger or nutmeg, some of these darlings, and freezing the remainder. Ideas?

Friday, July 8, 2011

Dear friends, I would like to renew to you and to all artists a friendly and passionate appeal: never separate artistic creativity from truth and charity; never seek beauty far from truth and charity, but with the richness of your genius, of your creative impulse, be always courageous seekers of truth and witnesses of charity. Make truth shine in your works so that their beauty awakens in the sights and hearts of those who admire them the desire to make their existence, all existence, beautiful and true, enriching it with that treasure that never diminishes, which makes of life a work of art and of every man an extraordinary artist: [the treasure of] charity, love.

A Tight-Knit Community

Why Facebook can't match Ravelry, the social network for knitters.

The best social network you've (probably) never heard of is one-five-hundredth the size of Facebook. It has no video chat feature, it doesn't let you check in to your favorite restaurant, and there are no games. The company that runs it has just four employees, one of whom is responsible for programming the entire operation. It has never taken any venture capital money and has no plans to go public. Despite these apparent shortcomings, the site's members absolutely adore it. They consider it a key part of their social lives, and they use it to forge deeper connections with strangers—and share more about themselves—than you're likely to see elsewhere online. There's a good chance this site isn't for you, but after you see how much fun people have there, you'll wish you had a similar online haunt. The social network is called Ravelry. It's for knitters (and crocheters).

Ravelry's success is evidence in favor of an argument that you often hear from Facebook's critics: A single giant social network is no fun. Social sites work better when they're smaller and bespoke, created to cater to a specific group.
The Church Ladies are all big fans of Ravelry! If you are too, you may want to read the whole article here and my cloche tip goes to the Happy Catholic where I first saw the link.

Appropriately Friday

Epicurious' favorite dozen burgers that won't leave you asking "Where's the beef?"

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Holy Father's Prayer Intentions for July, 2011

General Intention: That Christians may contribute to alleviating the material and spiritual suffering of AIDS patients, especially in the poorest countries.

Missionary Intention: For the religious who work in mission territories, that they may be witnesses of the joy of the Gospel and living signs of the love of Christ.

O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary,
I offer You all my prayers, works, joys and sufferings of this day
for all the intentions of Your Sacred Heart,
in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass
throughout the world,
in reparation for my sins,
for the intentions of all our associates,
and in particular for the intentions
of the Holy Father for this month.