Love and romance always seem to be in the air the week before Valentine’s Day.
There’s romantic love, the love you have for your children and grandchildren, the rest of your family (well mostly) some are hard to like let alone love. The love of an old friend is invaluable and for a new friend sure to grow. You think you can’t love anyone more than your children and then your grandkids come along and your heart is stolen again. They become the frosting on the cake.
Ralph and I have been together for more than 40 years now and being married to me is not always a picnic. He divorced me many years ago and then we remarried. We do things daily or should that show how much we care for each other. I get the coffee ready every night before I go to bed and set out my tea cup. When Ralph hears me getting up he turns on the hot water so it’s going to be ready by the time I make it to the kitchen.
On Super Bowl Sunday, I cook for Ralph pretty much anything he chooses with no regard for healthy or a balanced meal and I literally serve him in his chair while he watches the game and he reciprocates when the Oscars role around.
“It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages,” Friedrich Nietzsche said.
So for this week and month show your love not just in a bouquet of flowers, a box of candy, a gift of jewelry, or a reservation for dinner but in your everyday kindness and actions. Sometimes the best gifts are those that are hardest to give because they involve time and thought. Keep this in mind, you can’t give happiness if you are unhappy. So create an inventory of love and joy.
This recipe I’m going to share with you today has been around forever. Cream puffs are easy to make for the most part and this one has a couple of variations. You can use a standard whipped cream filling or the strawberry you see in the picture. Your other choice is one from my friend Shirlee Veverka. She prefers a pudding like filling. The recipe is from her son’s eighth grade home economics class. C.J. was a Carson City graduate around 30 years ago so I’m assuming we went to Carson Junior High what we now call Carson Middle School.
Cream Puff Pastry (also called Choux)
1 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour
In a medium pan combine water, butter and salt, bring to a boil. Add flour all at once stirring vigorously until it forms a ball. Remove from heat and cool 10 minutes. Add eggs one at a time beating well with a wooden spoon until each egg is incorporated into the mixture. Drop by tablespoon or teaspoon for smaller puffs on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake in preheated 375 oven 30 minutes for larger puffs and 18 for smaller one. Make sure you cook until golden brown. Cool before cutting the tops off and removing any soft dough inside.
1/2 cup of your homemade strawberry jam or your favorite store bought
2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 ounces cream cheese softened
1/3 cup powered sugar (you can add more or less sugar to taste)
1 teaspoon vanilla
Whip your cream till soft peaks form and gradually add the powdered sugar, cream cheese and vanilla. Whip until stiff and fold in your jam. Chill for an hour.
2 tablespoons melted butter
3 tablespoons Dutch processed cocoa powder
1 cup powdered sugar
1-2 tablespoons hot water
Combine sugar and cocoa in bowl stir in melted butter and hot water until desired consistency either for drizzling or spoon over top of the puffs and let run down sides. I do this on a separate cookie sheet and let cool before I finish filling them.
Vanilla Cream Pudding
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
dash of salt
2/3 cup non-fat dry milk
1 1/2 cups water
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons butter
Mix dry ingredients in bowl, combine egg yolks and water, whisk slightly and stir into dry ingredients. Put into microwave on high for 4 minutes and every 45-60 seconds stop microwave and stir. When mixture boils and is thick remove from micro and stir in vanilla and butter. Cool and chill before filling puffs.
You can fill your cream puffs with whipped cream, the strawberry filling or the vanilla cream pudding. Try all three. If you don’t want to mess with the chocolate glaze you can use a sprinkling of powdered sugar or leave them plain.
Linda Marrone is a longtime Carson resident, manages the 3rd & Curry Street Farmers Market and is the director of Nevada Certified Farmers Market Association.