Cooking again instead of sewing

I said earlier this year I would test my favorite recipes and organize a cook book.  Cook Book Resolution

I have to admit that cooking is probably my least favorite activity. I like to bake and I use a convection, inferred cooking appliance when I can because I love the kind of cooking where I do the prep work, then let the oven, slow cooker or other appliance do the cooking. If I have to stand over it, watch it, tend to it or otherwise be continuously involved with the process then I'd rather make a reservation. 

Ripe bananas
Today was the day I had to test the banana pudding recipe. It was not my plan on a hot day to have to stand in the kitchen constantly stirring the pudding mixture. When I went shopping about three days ago I purchased more bananas than we could use before they became too ripe. In another day I would have been testing the banana bread recipe instead of the banana pudding recipe. 

Very ripe Bananas

My recipe is one I got from my Grandmother. She gave me the list of ingredients and told me all of the details of how to make it. I only made minimal notations about how to prepare the recipe. This is exactly the kind of thing I needed to find and correct. My kiddos will be at a loss for how to make the banana pudding unless it is corrected with full instructions, but with the recipe neatly typed, I will not recognize it. 

Over ripe, but acceptable banana
Here is the recipe with the instructions. There is no comparison to instant pudding mixes. 

Mema's Banana Pudding

2 or 3 large bananas (more if smaller, use enough to cover the surface of your serving dish for two layers)
1 box of vanilla wafers - your favorite brand, or make them ahead of time 
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
3 egg yolks, reserve the egg whites if you want to top with meringue
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla (I like vanilla so I always use real vanilla and double whatever the recipe lists, so just know that I used at least 2 teaspoons.)

Before you begin to cook, separate the eggs, stir the egg yolks and set aside in about a two cup bowl.

In a sauce pay, mix the sugar, flour and salt, gradually stir in the milk and heat over a medium temp stirring constantly until the mixture thickens and boils. I use a  cone shaped wire whisk. It covers more of the pan surface eliminating any chance of letting the mixture burn or become lumpy. 

While stirring constantly allow mixture to boil for two minutes. Remove from heat.  

With a large spoon dip a little of the pudding mixture into the eggs, stir the eggs to prevent them from cooking. Continue to add a little of the hot mixture to the eggs, slowly raising the temperature of the eggs without cooking them. When the eggs are sufficiently hot, add the egg mixture to the rest of the hot pudding mixture. Stir.

Return the pudding with eggs added back to the burner, bring to a boil and cook for two more minutes, stirring constantly.

Once cooked, remove from heat, add the teaspoon of vanilla and two tablespoons of butter, stir, set aside long enough to cover the bottom of your serving dish with vanilla wafers and a layer of sliced bananas. Pour half of the pudding over the bananas and wafers. Place another layer of vanilla wafers over the pudding and another layer of sliced bananas. Pour the rest of the pudding over the second layer of vanilla wafers and sliced bananas. 

Let the vanilla pudding sit while you whip up the meringue or allow pudding to cool and add a whipped cream topping. Store in the refrigerator, best served cold and is even better the second day. 


Summer Travel

Quick trip across mid America flat land. 

Kansas Windmills at Work
Yes, I am talking about Kansas. I got some inspiration for a new quilt while traveling through the wind farms between Russell and Hays. There was one place along the way where cattle were cooling themselves in a field near an old fashioned rusty windmill. Beyond the cattle on a higher hill one of the large white windmills towered over the scene. Even further away and on even higher ground there were more large windmills clustered near the ridge of the hill. They looked smaller because they were so far away. Each layer of land was a a different color, green in the field, yellow ocher near the tall windmill and yellow-gold at the next hill. There was not any real place to pull over to get a photograph so I took mental notes about how the windmill shadows fell on the tower, what the clouds looked like and how interesting it was to see the different generations of windmills side by side. 

A little bit later I pulled off at an exit to take a picture of one of the windmills up close.  From the highway they seem to tower silently in groups. When you stand near them there is a whooooosh sound as the large blades slice through the air. On one side of the road there was one lonely windmill and on the other there were several much further away.  When you drive through at night they all have red lights that blink together to alert planes in the area of their presence. 

Kansas Wind Farms
When I got to Colby I stopped at Quilt Cabin. They have their fabrics grouped in color themes. There is a whole section for the Wizard of Oz with poppies, windmills, and other prints that could be used together. They had many patterns, specialty rulers, sewing machines, layer cakes, jelly rolls, honey buns, and charm packs. The color themes have names like Harvest, which is the brown, yellow, gold and orange colors or grasses, which is an assortment of greens. There are also themes for sky, clouds, water. I looked for their web site which I could not find but they do have a facebook page.