Thursday, November 3, 2011
What a week it was. We left Friday October 21st to head to Cape Cod via a somewhat circuitous route. We got home this past Saturday, October 30th. Nine days away. I missed my furry critters and was tired of all of the riding in a car. But, I got a lot of cooking magazines read and a lot of recipe clipping done. We got to see our grandkids twice and visited some cool places. Plus, the biggest and best news is our freedom. I've hinted on occasion about my angst over our situtation but I've never really come out and said anything. Now, I finally can. You see, to a great extent this blog was my way of making sure there was a place I could go to be really happy. I love cooking and I've found I love sharing my stories about cooking. And, I've met some of the most wonderful folks through blogging. The angst is a long story and I won't go into it other than to say that finally, ten years after they separated and seven years after I met Connie, he and his ex-wife have settled. She will no longer be causing us to spend thousands of dollars on attorney fees. She will no longer be stalking us - me on my blog and we're pretty certain via private investigators. Now, when I'm working 70-80 hours a week, it'll be for me. We're going to have a heckuva mortgage but the alimony is over. We can move on with our lives. I kept saying that if we could get everyone in a room together we could get it settled. It worked.
(For those of you in states with reasonable divorce laws, you're probably scratching your heads. Ah, but Connie got divorced in Massachusetts. You can go to massalimonyreform.com and see what folks have been going through there.)
Now, let's talk about our trip. I'll break it into a few days so I'm not like your local brook, babble on... We drove from Indy to Columbus, OH on Friday night. That was Kara's birthday party night. Kara is my daughter-in-law. She's married to Connie's eldest son, David. She's one of the nicest people in the world. That's in addition to being wicked smart, pretty, fun and kind. And, she's the mother of the two most wonderful grandchildren in the world. (What? Me biased?) She and David are amazing parents. Every time I'm with them I'm in awe.
So, Kara requested "that strawberry deliciousness." That would be strawberry torte. It all started when we were kids and Miz Lou (across the street neighbor) fixed her mother-in-law's recipe for strawberry torte for Tim's birthday. Tim's the middle of five kids. Ted and Dan were in my class and Tim was best buds with my younger brother, John. Funny story here. So, Lou's mother-in-law, Aunt Katie, was my mother's mother's best friend. Lou and my mother were best friends. John and I grew up with and have stayed friends with the middle three kids. AND, John's eldest, Samantha, went to school with Dan's daughter. Four generations. Ok, back to strawberry torte. John wanted it for his birthday too. So, Mom made it. The recipe called for whipping the egg whites and slowing adding the sugar. We'd all help because it took FOREVER to whip all those egg whites. Then, one day Mom realized the recipe had been written before mixers existed. Eureka! Strawberry torte was something we could do easily. Kara had a taste at one of the family parties at my brother John's house. Now, we're going to have another family hooked on the stuff. Unfortunately, the camera with the photos was left at David and Kara's on the way back so its taken me a few days to be able to post this. And, now I've discovered that the recipe is at home and I'm at the office and I don't have the baking instructions. I'll fill those in shortly.
7 egg whites
1 t cream of tartar
1 1/2 c granulated sugar
1 t vanilla
1 pint strawberries, cored and very thinly sliced and patted dry
8-10 strawberries, cored
1 pint whipping cream
Preheat your oven to 275. Put the egg whites in the bowl of a mixer. Make sure the bowl is clean and dry. Add the cream of tartar and the vanilla. Beat them on high while slowly adding the sugar. You want the meringue to be very stiff and glossy. Scrape the meringue into an ungreased 8-9" springform pam. Make peaks.
Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the peaks are lightly browned. Turn off the heat to the oven and allow the meringue to cool in the oven. Cut the crispy peaks off. REmove the meringue from the pan. DO NOT wash the pan yet, you're going to want all the crispies! Put the meringue on a cake stand or serving plate. Cover it with the sliced strawberries. Whip the whipping cream until soft peaks form. Your choice here: I like my whipping cream plain. Connie likes his sweetened a bit. Or, you can use Cool Whip if you'd like to save calories and fat. Slather the whipped cream over the strawberries and the side of the torte. Now, time for the crispies. Scrape the inside of your springform pan and sprinkle the crispies over the whipped cream.
Top the whole deal with the whole strawberries and the reserved meringue peaks. Confession here: One, I didn't have Connie get enough strawberries so we didn't have any for the outside. AND, David didn't realize I was saving the meringue peaks and managed to inhale them before I could stop him. Oh, well, it still tasted wonderful!