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  1. Friday, July 30

    Ice Cream and the Cape

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    Cape Cod and ice cream go hand in hand. I think every town on the Cape has an ice cream shop, most often selling homemade ice cream and with a loyal following claiming that that particular ice cream shop is the best on the Cape.

    Our family visits Ice Cream Sandwich in Sandwich, MA every year. Usually we plan an ice cream night and go just once. This year? Um, yeah, we’ve been eating a lot of ice cream. Let’s not count the visits. No, really. No counting allowed.

    By the way, I have created the perfect ice cream cone. Homemade waffle cone with homemade black raspberry ice cream topped with chocolate jimmies.* Heaven, people. Heaven.

    *When I’m not in the northeast, I call sprinkles ‘sprinkles.’ When I’m here, I do as the Romans do and sprinkles suddenly become ‘jimmies.’ I think that’s because if I say ‘sprinkles,’ suddenly everyone within a 5-mile radius is looking at me like I have lobsters crawling out of my ears. Locally caught lobster, of course.

    In case you were wondering about the rumor that the phrase jimmies is racist in origin, it’s not true. No guilt necessary when ordering your ice cream!

    As I was researching all of this very important information, I discovered sprinkles/jimmies are also called “hundreds and thousands.” Romans or not, THAT is a mouthful. I am decidedly too lazy to ever use that particular phrase!

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  2. Wednesday, July 28

    This is what I call a VACATION

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    Even though SocialLuxe Lounge is next week and causing a few grey hairs to sprout on my head each day, this week has been unbelievably wonderful and relaxing.  We’ve hardly done a thing. Just the way I like it.

    I lost my camera cord. Actually, more accurately, my sister-in-law lost my mom’s camera cord, because I forgot to bring mine in the first place. Which means I can’t download any pictures from my camera. Thankfully we are living a true vacation life this week and I have been a total food blogger slacker and don’t have any photos to share with you anyway. Don’t worry, I still love you. Just wanted to drop a quick hello!

    Everyone send positive camera-cord-finding vibes our way!

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  3. Sunday, July 25

    Week 183 Menu

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    It is so good to be back on the Cape.

    I love being steps away from the beach.

    I love seeing my girls’ hair get curlier by the minute in the ocean air.

    I love the weathered cedar siding, everywhere you look.

    I love watching my children’s childhood memories being created, unfolding in beautiful ways.

    This is my magical place.

    Our menu is quite fluid this week. I love vacation.

    Saturday (last night):
    -Our annual Sweet Tomatoes pizza binge

    Sunday (tonight):
    - My mom is making Chicken Croissants tonight

    As for the rest of the week…my mom is planning on making fajitas another night, I’m sure Nate’s mom will do a fantastic cookout. We’ll definitely be eating at Seafood Sam’s. Beyond that, we’ll play it by ear.

    Please share your menu for the week! You need to step in while I’m off relaxing on the beach. Thanks for being so responsible and stuff.

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  4. Thursday, July 22

    Heading to the Cape

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    And we’re off! Tomorrow morning, the girls and I are boarding a 6 AM flight…which means I’m getting out of bed in about 5 hours. Ugh. I haven’t posted much this week, which I would like to blame on the upcoming Avery SocialLuxe Lounge, which has officially taken over my life (in a good way…I think!). The next few weeks will be full of all kinds of fun and food, so I promise to get some good posts up here!

    See you on the East Coast! Boston, Cape Cod, New Jersey and New York City….here I come!

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  5. Wednesday, July 21

    Kaiserschmarrn (aka Emperor’s Pancakes) Take One!

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    When Nate and I were in Berlin a few summers ago, the hotel we stayed in served the most amazing breakfast every morning. One of the items they served was Kaiserschmarrn, or Emperor’s Pancakes, a traditional Austrian dessert…which happens to be very delicious as a breakfast or brunch food.

    The version our hotel served was oh so delicious. There are many recipes out there with various techinques, so I’ve decided to make this one of my culinary quests…to recreate those pancakes we had in Berlin.

    Today is Attempt #1 at Kaiserschmarrn. It was a good attempt. Not quite like the version we had in Berlin, but I like this recipe on its own merits. The pancakes came out with a nice texture and I was popping kaiserchmarrn like candy.

    Kaiserschmarrn is often served with plumb sauce - a delicious combination indeed! I shared a great recipe for stewed plums with you a few weeks ago which I would highly recommend using with this recipe.

    So, here is Take 1 of Jane’s Kaiserschmarrn Journey!

    Kaiserschmarrn (aka Emperor’s Pancakes)
    A combination of several recipes I found online
    - 2 C flour
    - 1 C milk
    - pinch salt
    - 4 eggs, separated
    - 1/4 C butter
    - 1/4 C sugar
    - 1/2 C butter
    - 1/2 C raisins (traditional, but optional)
    - 2 T powdered sugar

    Mix flour and milk together. Add salt. Stir in egg yolks, 1/4 C butter and raisins (if using). Beat egg whites in a separate bowl with the sugar until peaks form. Melt 1/2 C butter in a 12 inch skillet that can be placed in the oven. Add egg whites to the flour mixture and pour batter into pan. Bake at 375 degrees F for 18 minutes (I baked mine for 20 minutes, but it was 2 minutes too long). Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve with plum sauce.

    Since this recipe calls for baking all the batter at once the entire duration of cooking, you end up with one giant pancake, which I cut into little triangles like so.

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  6. Monday, July 19

    Random Fun Stuff

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    First off, if you voted for This Week for Dinner in the BlogLuxe Awards, thank you! We are one of the Top 5 Finalists for the Tastiest category! Yea! Thank you thank you thank you for voting. The winners will be announced at the Avery SocialLuxe Lounge on August 5. Everyone cross your fingers for the next two weeks! And be sure to click over to the BlogLuxe Awards page. The list of finalists makes for some great summer reading! There are just so many wonderful blogs out there, it’s kind of amazing.

    Second, if you’re feeling like doing a little shopping, head on over to Shabby Apple. They’ve got bunches of stuff on sale for 20% off, including Swim and Fitness. Which is why am even writing about Shabby today…

    Pictures from Shabby Apple

    I recently got this bathing suit (click here for the top, click here for the bottom) and these yoga pants and I LOVE THEM. I can’t believe how many compliments I’ve gotten on the swim suit. And the yoga pants? Talk about slimming – the top is nice and snug with a super duper crazy wide waistband, so you can suck it all in without having to hold your breath all day.  Also, the fabric on both items is really nice quality.

    Shabby Apple did not provide me with these items. Our good friends were involved with the design of the swim and fitness lines, which is why I tried them out. I’m so glad I did! Happy shopping!

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  7. Sunday, July 18

    Week 182 Menu

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    It’s so close I can taste the salt air…

    On Friday we fly out East for our annual weeklong family vacation on Cape Cod. I can’t tell you how excited I am to get to this beautiful place. And be with both sides of our family. And eat like calories don’t count.

    MONDAY:
    - Spaghetti
    - Salad & yummy bread

    TUESDAY:
    - Our 11th Anniversary! Eating out for sure!

    WEDNESDAY:
    - Dinner at friends’ home

    THURSDAY:
    - Eat out – it’s the night before we leave, so I’m being realistic here

    FRIDAY:
    - Flying to Boston alone with my girls…AND the flight takes off at 6 am. That will be a DAY.

    SATURDAY:
    - First day on the Cape! Woo-hoo!

    SUNDAY:
    - I’m on vacation…no planning for me!

    So begins three weeks where I will not be super inspiring when it comes to my actual meal plans…but I do promise to share all the delicious food we eat on our trip! And if you do plan a menu while I’m off galavanting around the East Coast…PLEASE PRETTY PLEASE share it on here! I need you all to inspire one another with your meal plans, since I’ll be failing miserably at that job. ;)

    Time to share your menu! Bring it on! We need you!

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  8. Friday, July 16

    Tri Tip Roast

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    Since it’s too darn hot to cook in the kitchen, how about we hit the grill? Nate bought a tri tip roast a few weeks ago, a food item we had never cooked before. I browsed a bunch of tri tip recipes and we went for it…with great success! Our tri tip roast came out tender and flavorful…mmmmmmm. Unfortunately I couldn’t get a great photo of it…I won’t go into details, but this is the best shot I got. The meat was actually a little more red than what it looks like here. It was perfectly cooked and perfectly tender.

    ANYWAY…here’s the “recipe” for my marinade. As for cooking the meat, we did exactly what my blogging friend Elise outlines over on her blog Simply Recipes. By the way…Nate is now the president of the Charbroil Chimney Charcoal Starter Club. I think that deserves a post, actually. I’ll have to remember to grab my camera next time he’s grilling!

    Tri Tip Marinade
    - Gallon Ziploc bag
    - Soy Sauce
    - Red wine vinegar
    - olive oil
    - fresh garlic cloves, sliced (2-5, depending on how much you like garlic)
    - salt & pepper
    - honey

    Pour in equal parts soy sauce, vinegar and olive oil into the Ziploc bag…enough that it will cover your roast when the bag is sealed. Add garlic, salt & pepper and about 1 tablespoon or so of honey. Add the tri tip roast to the bag, zip it up and let marinate overnight.

    Click here, cook the tri tip exactly how Elise Bauer tells you to over on Simply Recipes and everything will come out beautifully.

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  9. Wednesday, July 14

    Food and Fun with Thermador

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    Last week I had the wonderful opportunity to visit Thermador’s gallery kitchens in Scottsdale, AZ. Thermador is a luxury kitchen appliance maker that has been around for years and years and years. Julia Child had Thermador appliances, which automatically makes me want them more. Last week Thermador announced their new steam convection oven to a group of 20 bloggers at their gallery kitchens, instead of in front of traditional media in NYC. I was so happy to be included in that group of bloggers and had a great time getting to know the folks at Thermador, learning about their products, and spending time with some pretty amazing bloggers. Oh…and eating…and eating…and eating some more!

    I could write pages and pages about the trip and the food we ate, so I’m going to try to keep things as short as possible. And while Thermador did pay for my trip, rest assured everything I am writing in this post is completely sincere. And might I suggest you check out the White on Rice Couple’s beautiful summary of the trip…their photos are fan-freaking-tastic, which is not surprising because they are fan-freaking-awesome. But I digress.

    Let’s start with the gallery kitchens. They were BEA-U-TI-FUL. And humongous. Like, I could fit my entire apartment in one of these bad boy kitchens. When am I making my million bucks? I’m ready.

    How fun would it be to work at this place every day? Especially with super nice and talented gourmet chefs cooking food all the time.

    When we arrived bright and early in the morning, we toured the kitchens and then were treated to an amazing breakfast prepared by the Thermador chefs. We gathered some pretty amazing recipes that day, both from lunch and breakfast. Once I make some of the recipes at home, I will be sure to share them with you. Promise.

    After breakfast, several of the Thermador products were demo’d for us. People, I’m sold. All I need is a house and a budget for a luxury kitchen and I’m so there. And, can I also say, I think I would choose their electric or their induction stovetops over the gas range? I know, this sounds like crazy talk. Everyone loves gas more than anything, right? Thermador’s gas ranges are pretty sweet…but, so is their electric stovetop, which has all kinds of fanciness. And the induction stovetop? Downright high tech fancy schmanciness. Chef Kyle says it’s his favorite. I believe anything Chef Kyle tells me.

    See that little blue thing next to the pot? It senses the temperature of the pot and stuff. It’s smarter than a person and cooks rice perfectly. No joke.

    We then had the chance to help cook our lunch. Poor Kristen here ended up making the beurre blanc sauce for the salmon wellington. She stood there at that big old frying pan forEVER stirring and stirring and stirring. Plus she got to feel all uncomfortable while everyone took pictures of her. Total blast for Kristen, I’m sure. She assured us she had fun. The sauce came out beautifully, by the way.

    How cute is that crème brûlée? Food tastes better when it’s cute, right?

    Look at that backsplash thingy suck up the steam like a Dyson vacuum. Whoosh!

    And that full sheet of roasted vegetables fit in the giant oven no problemo. Did I mention my whole kitchen could fit in that oven? Again, not exaggerating here. Okay, maybe a little. But not much.

    Here’s the salmon wellington.

    And the beef tenderloin? Cooked to perfection…which brings me to my final point and the whole reason we all went on this fabulous, food-filled trip…

    The Steam Convection Oven.

    Photo courtesy of Thermador. All my shots came out FUZZY.

    It was soooo cool. And since it’s only $3000 and has to be installed in a wall I don’t have, I’ll be getting one in no time. {Insert sarcastic smirk.} Seriously, though, this oven is great. You can cook with steam only, steam-convection combination, or true convection. You can do pretty much anything in there, and reheating food is also nicely done using this technology. I’m excited about the prospect of baking artisan bread in one of these puppies and potentially having it replace the microwave. Like I mentioned, there is no stand-alone version and it is kind of small…but it would meet most cooking and baking needs nicely.

    Phew. I’m done. Like I said, there will be some fun recipes for me to feature as a result of this fabulous trip. Oh wait! I’m not done! A few pictures of the group! (Tina listed out all the blogs in attendance here, definitely worth checking them out!)

    And…a picture of my dear friend Lindsey (formerly of Cafe Johnsonia, currently of Fresh Clean Start, who went on this trip for Design Mom). Lindsey was one of my very first “blogging friends” and has since become a “real” friend. She even wrote a guest post for me way back in the day and is the source of this amazing potato soup.  It was so fun to come together years later for such a great trip. Funny where life takes you.

    For real. I’m done. Thank you, Thermador!

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  10. Tuesday, July 13

    Instant Yeast, the new love of my life

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    When I went to my pastry chef friend Faye’s bread making class (which I still need to write about – I’m such a slacker!), she used instant yeast and said it’s the only kind she uses. Since I do anything Faye tells me to do (at least with baking!), I hopped on over to Smart & Final and grabbed a pound of Saf-Instant Yeast.

    I used it for the first time this weekend for pizza dough. And I fell in love. If you are scared of using yeast, this yeast is for you! I don’t know about you, but I’m always worried that the water I dissolve active dry yeast in is too hot or too cold. Since you add instant yeast directly to the dry ingredients, your worries are over!

    Here’s a little run down on how to use instant yeast.

    • Use about 20% less instant yeast than the amount of active dry yeast called for in a recipe.
    • Add the instant yeast directly to your dry ingredients.
    • When substituting into a recipe that calls for active dry yeast, be sure to add the amount of water you would have dissolved the yeast in to your wet ingredients.
    • This handy website over here gives a good description of all the different types of yeast. For instant yeast it says you only need 1 rise. The first rise is replaced with a 10 minute rest and you don’t have to punch the dough down.  (P.S. That website I linked to also has a great conversion chart for the different types of yeast. Just sayin’.)

    So, there you have it. I doubt I’ll ever go back to active dry yeast. As for where to buy instant yeast, my local Safeway does not carry it, but my Smart & Final does (where it’s only around $4). You can also order it on Amazon, which is just downright handy.

    I’m going to make sure Faye reads this post and pipes in with any information I forgot! :)

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