Friday, December 18, 2009

Making God Laugh

If you want to hear God laugh, tell Him your plans.  

And only God knows who came up with that line originally. I've seen it attributed to everything from "Old Folk Proverb" to Woody Allen and assorted cultures and folk in between. Doesn't matter. It falls into the "best laid plans of mice and men" category and I do believe I heard a fairly subtle heavenly chuckle somewhere in the background today.

Which is why you're getting the LOLcat photo of those cutie-pie fur kids instead of a CBG photo of the Charlie Brown Christmas tree. (Sorry about that, Kate.) When the weather was decent earlier today, I was busy with company and "stuff" and couldn't go out to gather the perfect CB tree. When I was free to do the deed, it was raining. Of course. I'm not feeling particularly desperate about it. There's still a week to go. No pressure. No need to deliberately get wet when I can be reasonably sure of helpful periods of relative dryness.

Oh wait. Do I hear a distant chuckle again?  I was not making plans, God. I was merely speculating, okay?

I did get one element of the project safely in hand. Patti brought me the perfect little red ball ornament. Yay! That's got to count for something.

I was also quite pleased with the results of a new (to me) experiment in the culinary department. Do all y'all know about creme fraiche? There are accent marks in there somewhere but we aren't going to worry about it. I'm informed it's pronounced "krem fresh" and it's like the French version of our sour cream. Only more decadent and silky. And it doesn't separate in sauces and soups like sour cream can. You can get details by clicking on this Epicurious link and those folks, unlike moi, know of what they speak.

I've never seen it in the store myself but apparently the creme fraiche in this country is ridiculously expensive. I don't see why that should be when it's so easy to make it yourself. After skimming at least a dozen different sites for recipes, the consensual formula seems to be as follows: for every cup of heavy cream (whipping cream), add 2 tablespoons of either cultured buttermilk, cultured plain yogurt or sour cream. Mix together in a non-reactive container (canning jar, plastic food keeper, etc.) and leave out, covered, at room temperature for one to two days, until it thickens. Shake or stir from time to time. The warmer the room, the faster it will set up. Then you can give it another stir and put it in the refrigerator where it will keep for a week or two, getting thicker and developing flavor as it goes.

I did up a pint of whipping cream with 4 tablespoons of buttermilk and it took two days to thicken to almost sour cream consistency. At that point (yesterday) I put it in the refrigerator. When I took it out today, parts of it were very thick, parts were more custardy -- which evened out when I gave it a good stir. At any rate, the flavor is getting wonderful and it certainly tasted great in the potato soup I made this afternoon.

By the way, it is safe to leave it out at room temperature while it's "making." The good bacteria keep out the bad bacteria. As long as your cream and buttermilk are okay, the combo will be fine.

Prices vary, of course, but going by what I pay at the little market here in town, it costs me all of 15 cents more to make the creme fraiche than to buy a tub of sour cream. The only downside is that one needs to get it started a couple of days before one will need it.

Just remember, if you plan ahead, you might be making God laugh.

PLEASE NOTE: I apologize to any of you who were messed with when you clicked the link to the YouTube video last night. Somehow I messed up the original link but didn't catch it because I didn't do my usual check. Fortunately, Becky and Wendy were on the ball and gave me a heads up. Thanks, gurlfriends! Just for the record, I did check the Epicurious link in this post. (big goofy grin)


kate et jim said...

Well, I never heard that phrase, Dee, and got quite a good giggle out of it this morning! (I was more familiar with 'mice and men'). God must have had quite a laugh with all the different plans I've made throughout life, so far.

I can wait for the photo, Dee. All in good time, eh?

Bonnie said...

At first I figured you were going to say you couldn't find all the parts to the CB tree.

Dee said...

All in good time. Yes, that sounds about right, Kate. (smile)

Ah, Bonnie -- finding all the parts isn't the hard part. Getting them together seems to be the hitch. But we will prevail. I think.

Maggie said...

Yes, not only did you leave us two links that now work, you sent me a hug. Since we are without heat here, I'll wait till summer to try this. Everyone tells me it is flat out great stuff.

And yes, go brave the rain. It's ok. You will dry. :)

Kate said...

Lucky for me, Trader Joe's sells creme fraiche, & at a fairly reasonable price too. And you're right, it's silky & decadent and good enough to eat on scones or other such delicacies.

Dee said...

Well, Maggie, you don't have time to make a batch before your Christmas cruise. (grin) That gives you something to look forward to after you return.

Left-coast Kate, how great TJ's has it at a good price! Just out of curiosity, what IS the price on a pint of creme fraiche?

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Taking risks like this could be a bit of a hassle. Making a new dish for a classic occasion is a good idea but could be a burden if it doesn't turn out right. However, if it does turn out right, the get together meal could be very bounty. And now, i'm thinking of trying that out myself for my brother's birthday next week.

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