Today has been such a sweet day for me. I got to spend the morning helping with the Valentine's party for my son's preschool class. Kids are so easily impressed and they don't need much to make a party. These cupcakes did the trick. I'm only two years into this preschool thing but I'm beginning to think I may need to invest in one of these.
We spent the afternoon playing outside in some gorgeous spring-like weather. It sent my mind reeling with spring garden ideas but I must have patience. Winter's not over yet.
We also practiced hitting the T-ball and you can tell by the look on my baby's face that he is all too eager to join in the fun with his big brother. If only he could walk....
We had my mom over for dinner which is a typical Monday night tradition. She and I like to indulge in a little guilty pleasure referred to as "reality TV." It's a girl thing. I don't watch a lot of TV but when I do, it's really bad TV...and I love it!
I made some ribeye steaks along with a spinach and arugula salad topped with this dressing. I love Ina. I also couldn't pass up the chance to make my version of strawberry shortcake for my family. Strawberries on Valentine's day? How chiche! But have you met my friend Creme Chantilly? In short this is homemade whipped cream flavored with vanilla. I learned this recipe when I took a cooking class here several years ago. It's a crowd pleaser and will certainly impress a room full of guests. As you can see in the photo, I like to serve it on top of a store bought pound cake and sliced berries. It's so quick, easy and delicious and I'm going to share the recipe with you all because I love you so much and after all, it's Valentines' Day!
Creme Chantilly (makes about 2 cups)
1 cup heavy cream, chilled
2 ounces powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1. Place the cream in a chilled metal mixing bowl. Use a balloon whisk, whisk the cream until slightly thickened. (I use my KitchenAid mixer on #6 for a minute or so but have done this by hand too. Whipping cream by hand is not for the weary but it's not impossible either.)
2. Add the sugar and vanilla and continue whisking to the desired consistency. The cream should be smooth and light, not grainy. Do not over whip.
3. Creme Chantilly may be stored in the refrigerator for several hours. If the cream begins to soften, gently whip as necessary.
*A few notes: When making Creme Chantilly, the vanilla extract and the sugar should be added after the cream begins to thicken. Either granulated or powdered sugar may be used; there are advantages and disadvantages to both. Granulated sugar assists in forming a better foam than powdered sugar, but it may cause the cream to feel gritty. Powdered sugar dissolves more quickly and completely than granulated sugar, but does nothing to assist with foaming. Whichever sugar is used, it should be added just before the whipping is complete to avoid interfering with the cream's volume and stability.
Happy Valentine's Day fellow peaches!