In the month of May I made several fabulous desserts. I know. Toot your own horn much, Mimi? Why yes… yes I do!
Anyway… the first dessert I made was a croquembouche. The name comes from the French phrase croque en bouche , ‘(something that) crunches in the mouth’. It is made of profiteroles (in this case cream puffs) piled into a cone and bound with threads of caramel (or spun sugar). It may also be decorated with sugared almonds, chocolate, flowers, or ribbons (but not in this case).
This was a monumental dessert. My initial inspiration came from the Sugar Baby cookbook. I spent two weeks perfecting my cream puffs. After several recipes, I landed on the Joy of Cooking recipe for choux paste and it was perfect.
Then came the filling recipe. This ended up also being a JoC recipe… I followed the vanilla pastry cream recipe. The sugar part did come from the Sugar Baby book. But I know that I didn’t cook it long enough. This part I didn’t practice. So the day of the party I blindly chucked some water and sugar into the pot and followed the directions. The sugar kept crystallizing. I tried again. I got a fine layer of web around the stacked cream puffs, but then the sugar went crystalline again. I took a picture and called it good. And thank god I took a picture! If I hadn’t, I would have had no proof that there had been a web at all. By the time dessert came around, the web had disappeared and formed crystals on the cream puffs. It was delicious, none-the-less.
Will I make it again? It is a tough call. The cream puffs are downright awesome as is. The spun sugar? Well I cut a whisk so that I could do it properly, so I guess I should make it at least one more time. But only for a special occasion. And I really have to figure out how to do the sugar correctly.
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1. I took two days off from riding. Partly because last week I really pushed myself and couldn’t find time to get off the bike. (sounds weird, right? But I was committed to commuting the last few days of last week… I rode over 65 miles last week!) But the stomach flu is pretty good at persuasion and managed to keep me off the saddle Monday and Tuesday.
2. This morning it was humid and cool. The rain last night washed the city down and it was such a beautiful clean ride in. I wish every ride was just like this morning’s. Quiet. Clean. Lovely. I was perfectly dewy when I arrived at work.
3. I have figured out how to maximize the cargo-holding ability of the Public bicycle! I know I must look a little crazy when this bike is all loaded up, but it is such a great feeling knowing that I can get little E to daycare, hit the grocery store or farmer’s market, take whatever I need to and from work – all without worrying how I am going to get it all home.
4. Riding with Little E has been so much of a joy. Two Sundays ago we went for a 16 mile ride with a group of friends. Around mile 13 he got incredibly tired and a little fussy. He lasted until mile 16, ate a snack and promptly passed out in his car seat in the car on the way home. I wonder if he would ever be comfortable enough to fall asleep on the bike?
5. May is Bike Month has really been incredibly inspirational to me. I love my bike and I am so glad it gave me the motivation to beat my previous goals, help my teams meet their goals, and to just get out there and have a good time. I may not have ridden as many miles as the rest of my gang (and rest assured, we are a bike gang… a really small bike gang), but I am proud of my accomplishments this month. I even won a pair of bike socks!
6. My thumb hurts. Like tendon-y kind of hurt. I feel like a dork wearing my thumb brace at work, but it seems to help so there ya have it.
7. I think on Friday I am going to go for a nice ride in the afternoon. Either by myself or with at least one of the gang.
8. My husband needs to get his bike fixed.
9. I think that is all the random that I can come up with for now.
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I’m having a mega awesome time riding my bike for May is Bike Month. The program here gives you little badges (icons on your bike month profile) when you do things. For example, I registered early and got the early bird badge. I challenged a friend to compete for mileage and that earned me a challenge badge.
I keep meaning to tell you about the bigger badges I have been earning. It seems like every day a new one hits my profile. The last four were big. I rode for 15 days of the month. Boom. Badge. I hit 100 miles. Badge. I used my bike instead of my car (for commuting or errands) twenty times. Badge. Then – today – I met my pledge. BADGE!
I have ridden over 130 miles on Clementine this month. (Yep. That’s her name.) Today I rode an extra 10 miles so that I could take my picture at 5 different bike locations in order to win Bike Bingo. I did it in about 50 minutes to boot!
I am super excited about the next few days with Clementine. We’ve got some sweet adventures coming up.
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