Whipped Cream Crisis

I’m not sure if you have heard, but due to a tragic nitrous oxide accident in Florida this past August there is currently a canned whipped cream crisis happening right before the holidays! That’s right, a canned whipped cream crisis!! Not quite as strange as the Norwegian butter shortage of 2011 (link here if you want a good giggle) that was caused by an inane diet fad that involved eating entire sticks of butter, but no less of a crisis when you stop to consider how many holiday treats deserved to have a delicious whipped topping.

Enter, homemade whipped cream.

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Not only is it ten million times more delicious than anything you could buy in a can but it’s stunningly easy to make and I guarantee that you will be nothing short of a holiday hero if you whip up a batch for your nearest and dearest (pun entirely intended)! I’m convinced that once you experience the otherworldly, transcendent fluffiness of homemade whipped cream you’ll never go back to that silly can again. Plus if you’re by yourself in the kitchen when you’re making it you can eat it by the large spoonful … no one will ever know (not that I’ve ever eaten whipped cream by the spoonful straight out of the bowl before *cough*cough*cough* I’m a lady).

I typically use an electric mixer, but if you don’t have one, two old school methods – both involving good old elbow grease – will do the trick.

Ingredients

1 cup heavy cream

3 tablespoons powdered sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Electric Mixer

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or in a large bowl using a handheld electric mixer, beat together the cream, sugar, and vanilla on high speed until the mixture has doubled in size and become enough tot stick to the whisk, about 3 minutes. Don’t over-whip or you’ll end up with butter, but if you do go too far you can always stop, add more cream, and then continue whipping to the correct consistency.

Old-School Method #1

Hold an arm wrestling competition to determine who has superior forearm and wrist strength; they will be the whisker in this method. Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl and whisk them together with a wire whisk until your arm feels like it will fall off and your cream has doubled in size and soft peaks begin to form.

Old-School Method #2 

Combine all of the ingredients in a large jar, screw on the lid tightly, and shake, shake, shake until you have whipped cream. To engage everyone at your party in the game of ‘making whipped cream’ pass the jar around a large circle to distribute the shaking amongst your guests. (Recommended shaking music: TSwift – Shake it Off; KC and the Sunshine Band – Shake, Shake, Shake; Peaches and Herb – Shake Your Groove Thing; Devo – Whip It)

Variations on a Whipped Cream Theme

Lemon Zested Whipped Cream – Add 1-2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest along with the vanilla for a hint of lemon. (yummy with pumpkin pie)

Peppermint Whipped Cream – Add 1 teaspoon peppermint extract in place of the vanilla. (perfect on top of hot chocolate or chocolate cream pie)

Not even a countrywide nitrous oxide shortage should come between you and the perfect whipped topping this year. So, bust out your mixers (or muscles) and start whipping!

 

 

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Loving the process

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Last week, with an evening cocktail in my hand, I sat back and watched my husband cook dinner, which, for those of you who know him will not be surprised to hear, included dancing, singing, and an overall sense of magic as he slowly built flavor upon flavor into his gumbo. With each new addition to the pot an intense and altogether new flavor would spice the air and we would all inhale deeply to try and catch the essence. Crisping chicken skin and browning sausage left Ladybird a pile of drool in the kitchen, while the addition of onion, bell pepper, and celery (the Cajun holy trinity) suffused the air with bright vegetable tones, slightly reminiscent of Chinese food. Worcestershire sauce added an appropriate and otherworldly tang and as I sniffed the air from my counter perch I read the ingredients list only to discover it contained a vast array of delicious that I love. Things like vinegar, anchovies, garlic, and molasses so whoever decided to keep all of those treasures in one bottle is my hero. Aaron’s favorite addition, however, comes at the end; fresh parsley evokes a wonderfully green, cool flavor that is able to cut through the intensely rich stew and offers a necessary balance to the dish.

A few hours later, over steaming bowls of decadent gumbo, we waxed poetic about food and its cultural origins. Cajun cooking has its holy trinity, French cooking has its mirepoix of onion, celery, and carrot, Italians use the same base but call it soffritto (which translated means, to stir-fry, or sauté to gently tease out a huge wealth of flavor), and a vast number of Thai dishes begin with garlic, ginger, and lemongrass. Individually these ingredients offer a very specific taste but together they pack a delicious punch. By taking your time and doing right by these ingredients it’s possible to achieve layer upon layer of sumptuous flavor. Even quick dishes that aren’t as labor intensive as something like gumbo, can be rich with depth of flavor so long as you care about the ingredients that you use.

I love watching Aaron cook. I love remembering to love the process as much as the product; something that is not always easy when you spend most of your time in a kitchen. I often forget just how magical cooking is and how large a place it has in our wellbeing as humans. It’s incredibly easy for me to forget what a gift food is and I often do. I get caught up in the annoyance of having to cook or I hate the thought of even looking at food after a particularly long day of making food and I end up cooking a meal that probably tastes fine, but that I didn’t enjoy making. Most likely that’s still going to happen because I do work in a kitchen for a living, but if I can remind myself to think about the process, constantly smell the delicious smells wafting around the kitchen, and start wearing a ‘kiss the cook’ apron I’m bound to have way more fun at the end of the day. Because when you stop to think about it food is wonderful.

So, as the holidays approach and you all start planning your menus, don’t forget that food is magic and a little shoulder dancing in the kitchen goes a long way. Love the process as much as the product and eat your hearts out.

Pie Podcast

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A few weeks ago a lovely college pal reached out about being a guest on Real Talk Radio with Nicole Antoinette and, needless to say, I was supremely flattered and excited to check out Nicole’s work. Right before leaving D.C. I had started spending an inordinate amount of time listening to podcasts in the kitchen. As I spent the majority of my time by myself in various stages of epic pie making, podcasts were the perfect solution for keeping my brain busy while I mindlessly made pies with my hands. My listening habits typically trended toward deep dives into the This American Life and and Radio Lab archives with occasional forays into Snap, Serial, and Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me. The ever dulcet tones of Ira Glass, Jad Abumrad, and Robert Krulwich helped me roll out hundreds and hundreds of crust each week and the oddball and interesting stories on Snap Judgement made peeling and slicing endless apples more bearable. When I wasn’t at work all of my conversations started with the sentence, “I was listening to this podcast AND…” to the point where Aaron started keeping a tally and nearly everything I said was sprinkled with facts that I had learned from the radio.

When we moved to Kentucky for the summer, the majority of my time was consumed with writing and perfecting my business plan but I’d also gotten it into my head that I should start listening to bussinessy podcasts in order to become a more businessy boss lady. I started with Start-Up, because it seemed like the right place to start (up) and I found it to be good. Not great, but good, with lots of helpful hints and surprisingly soothing horror stories about asking other people for large sums of money. However, by the second season I became a little disenchanted as I learned just how badly the business had gone in real life as opposed to the rosy picture the radio had painted. After googling ‘best small business podcats’ I tried a few different shows but none of them stuck and I think it’s because I missed hearing about other people’s real life lives. The few podcasts I listened to were smart and snappy, and I’m sure utterly business savvy, but none of them made me feel like we were in the same boat. I wanted to listen to voices that sounded more like mine; scared but also thrilled to be a small business owner, unable to comprehend how to write a good business plan but doing it anyway, working my way up to the perfect pitch so that when you ask someone for all of their money they don’t run away laughing hysterically, etc.

I was utterly charmed when I started reading about Real Talk Radio and found Nicole’s previous seasons so honest and refreshing. After listening to just a few podcasts I wholeheartedly leapt at the chance of being part of the show. Nicole does an excellent job curating intelligent, funny, and gritty conversations and I think it’s because she does such a nice job of actually having a conversation with you. We talked for just over two hours and none of it felt strained or inauthentic. She has a truly lovely way of finding common ground and a real knack for creating a comfortable situation where it’s possible to talk about anything and everything. I’m pleased as pie to be included in season 8. And while it’s not a small business podcast by any means it is one of those podcasts where the voices sound a lot more familiar.

Here’s a link to my specific podcast, but don’t hesitate to listen to others too …. they’re pretty fantastic!!

PIE PODCAST

Winter Pie

It’s December! I absolutely love winter. I like seeing my breath create little clouds outside, and wearing hats, and the smell of crackling wood fires in crisp air, and drinking warm things whole wearing a onesie. And snow! Snow is simply magical. It seemed entirely appropriate to make an ode to snow pie for the first day of December, as it’s likely the most ‘snow’ I’ll see until we go to Colorado for the holidays.

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Speaking of holidays – Happy Thanksgiving!! I know it was last week, but if still feels appropriate to give a little grateful shout to all you pie loving people out there. I hope your Thanksgiving was full of loud family, hungry friends, and of course, PIE.

Even before pie became such a huge part of my life Thanksgiving had a special place in my heart. I love that the entire basis of the holiday is to love your friends and family, eat as much food as you can, and for at least twenty-four hours remind yourself what you have in your life to be grateful for.When I began the pursuit of pie I could never have imagined how huge and special Thanksgiving was going to feel and every year the holiday that I hold so dear has been more and more astounding. Because of pie I have been able to be a part of hundreds and hundreds of  your holiday dinners and I feel so incredibly awed and grateful for the chance to to be a delicious part of your family’s traditions. So, here’s a big ole THANK YOU FROM THE TOP OF MY LUNGS to all of you who have allowed me to be a part of your holidays.

I’m including a couple of links below because I also think that due to everyone falling into a deep, deep turkey induced coma, all too often the ‘giving’ part of Thanksgiving gets brushed aside and there are plenty of worthwhile organizations that would benefit from a generous and giving spirit.

Stand with Standing Rock – and for some historical context watch Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee

Planned Parenthood

American Civil Liberties Union

Happy Holidays friends in pie – and thank you again for letting me be a small part of your day of thanks and giving!!