Greetings, everyone, and thanks for visiting my blog! This particular blog will not have a whole lot to do with jewelry making, but it will have everything to do with feeding the one who makes the jewelry, plus her husband. See, yesterday was Mr Karlsson's birthday, and rather than go out and be social and eat at a fancy restaurant, Mrs Karlsson opted to cook Mr Karlsson a birthday dinner for the ages. Why the ages, you say? Because when Mrs Karlsson went searching for recipes, Mrs Karlsson searched through Southern cooking blogs and websites, and, well, those usually involve feeding armies or family reunions, and there are only two Karlssons allowed to eat people food in our house.
After due consideration, I decided to make meatloaf, potato salad, and a chocolate tart. I started cooking at 9am, because I figured I could take a break in between and work on some jewelry, but it didn't really work out that way. Here's what happened:
After I put FIVE POTATOES in the oven to bake (and this is what should have tipped me off about how much potato salad this recipe was actually going to produce), I made a graham cracker-style crust. Instead of graham crackers, I decided to be all fancy and use Italian almond toast and brown sugar instead of white sugar. The almond toast had a faint hint of anise, which I was not expecting, but I figured it would work to offset the chocolate. I put the crust in the fridge to let the butter harden again. (Just so you know, there is butter in a graham cracker crust.) Then I mixed white chocolate pastilles, Valrhona 85% cacao pastilles, and Valrhona 66% cacao pastilles to form my own blend of couverture chocolate. (In case you were curious, couverture chocolate is a higher quality chocolate than baking or eating chocolate and has a higher percentage of cocoa butter in it. Chocolatiers use this type of chocolate for making truffles and the like.) Once I had that done, I got two cups of heavy cream (hey, I didn't say this was going to be health food, y'all) and added espresso powder to it. The espresso powder adds depth of flavor. I heated the heavy cream until it was steaming.
Once the heavy cream was steaming (but not boiling!), I removed it from the heat and added about a teaspoon of good vanilla (because that's what Ina Garten says you're supposed to do). Then I poured it over the chocolate and let it sit for about five minutes to let the chocolate gently melt. The reason you want to gently melt the chocolate is that if you overheat it, it crystallizes and burns and gets really gross. Your ganache (that's what the chocolate and cream mixture is called at this point) should be glossy looking and easy to stir. If you discover you were impatient and didn't get the cream hot enough, you can always microwave your mixture for about 20 seconds, then stir. Don't put metal spoons or bowls in the microwave, by the way. You could set the place on fire.
Once you have your ganache stirred, you can pour it over your pie crust, and add whatever you want to the top. I decided to add raspberries, because that is Mr Karlsson's favorite with chocolate. I'm normally not a fan of raspberries because I can't stand eating the seeds, but these berries were exceptionally delicious, so I ate what was left over from decorating. Behold, the result!
By the time I finished making this glorious tart/pie/thing, the potatoes were baked, so I took them out of the oven to cool enough to peel. While waiting for that to happen. I cooked TWO POUNDS OF BACON. Why two pounds, you ask? The potato salad recipe called for a pound, and I decided to modify my meatloaf recipe and put a pound of bacon in it, too. (Somewhere, a cardiologist's eye is twitching...) Want to see what a pound of bacon frying looks like in real life? Here it is!
I didn't get any pictures of me chopping or peeling or any of that other tedious stuff, but here is the potato salad and meat loaf. Yes, that is a ton of blue cheese on top of the meatloaf, along with House of Karlsson secret recipe barbecue sauce. Yes, it was delicious. Yes, all this made enough to feed the 101st Airborne Division. Pretty sure we'll be eating this for a week.
And now, some news! I'm starting to hear back from art shows I applied to! I'm wait listed for Bayou City in Houston and also the big show in Galveston, but I did get into Septemberfest in Midland! I'm looking forward to heading out to west Texas after Labor Day to see everybody!
Since you made it this far, I figured I post a gratuitous alligator gar picture. This gar was caught by Mr Karlsson down in Huntsville on the Trinity River. This particular gar had a crooked back, probably borne of some genetic anomaly or a bad run in with a predator in its youth. Mr Karlsson caught this all by himself, and hopefully next time he goes gar fishing, he'll put the GoPro on his hat instead of his tummy so we can actually see what he is doing in the film. Ahem. He let this one go to fight another day. It had an approximate length of four feet.
Finally, here is resident diva and genius Tosca Q Puss to remind you that there is still a coupon code for 20% off of everything in my online shop here on the website. Just type in TOSCA2018 in the tiny spot for a coupon code at checkout and you will receive 20% off your entire order before shipping and tax and all that. Happy shopping, and once again, thanks for visiting!
P.S. In case you were curious...
Here are links to the potato salad and meatloaf recipes (minus some alterations I made).