October 30, 2009

Friday Fragments VGNO - Ghosts, Bedtime, Homework and Thanksgiving Feast Part 5: Pumpkin Cognac Crème Brûlée

I'm late, I'm late - for a very important date!  With Mrs. 4444's and the gang for Friday Fragments.  Usually I have my post all written and scheduled to post at 12:01am, but this time I'm writing them before the crack of dawn.  This should be interesting!  It's Friday, after all, and that means it's time to dust off the cobwebs of your brain and collect all the things rolling around in the dark corners to toss into a pile of Fragments.  Any little tidbits that were too long to Tweet but too short to turn into its own post can be compiled into one easy post.  Well, for everyone else, that is.  For me, it just turns one post into an even longer one because you know I tend to be wordy.  All. The. Time.  I was born that way.  Probably talking up a storm before exiting the womb.  My poor parents.

This is my favorite weekend.  Not so much the Halloween part of it, though it's much more fun now that Princess Nagger is around to cause mayhem and excitement, but because Daylight Saving Time will come to an end.  We get to gain back that hour that was swiped from us in the Springtime.  Whenever that hour goes away, my brain never seems to be able to catch up until we get it back.  So my brain will be very happy Sunday morning for sure.

Since it's still been dark before 7am this week, Princess Nagger thought I woke her up too early when she looked outside and exclaimed "It's still dark outside!" giving me a look like I had some nerve waking her up so early


My doctor was kind and called in a prescription of antibiotics for me on Tuesday, so hubby picked them up for me that evening and I'm well on the road to actually feeling human again.  Yesterday I spent the better part of the day trying to tame the wake of Tornadoes Princess Nagger and Hovering Hubby.  I made some great progress, so that also makes me feel better, too.


One of my web design clients are Ghost Hunters.  They're being featured on our local NBC station in a three-part segment about several different haunted locations in the Susquehanna Valley.  It's like they've hit the 'big time' here in Small Town America.  Frogmama's hubby probably wishes he were living in this area right about now. 

I was spoiled last year.  Princess Nagger was in afternoon kindergarten, so I didn't have to finagle her out of bed at an ungodly hour every morning to get her ready for the bus.  She also didn't bring home homework for me to do.  That all changed this year now that she's in first grade.  No more 'sleeping in' until 7am and the stacks and stacks of papers she brings home every day are enough to drive me crazy.  That and the homework for me to do, helping her with some project, then writing my observations.  Must be a conspiracy to get us parents to write long-hand since a majority of us tap speedily on keyboards and rarely flex our long-hand muscles.


The one benefit of having to finagle Princess Nagger out of bed so early is that it has eliminated the Bedtime Wars at night.  Some of you are aware of those - the loud protests, the creative stall tactics, all in the name of staying up just a little while longer.  Now that Princess Nagger has been having to get up so early, not only does she not protest at bedtime, sometimes she even sneaks up to bed early.

If hubby and I are sitting on the couch, I'll see out of the corner of my eye that she's trying to be as stealthy as possible as she creeps up the stairs.  It's quite comical.  Other times hubby and I may be out on our respective computers in the Summer House and she'll call me on the intercom with some last minute requests and say Good Night - I'll go in and check on her and she'll already be fast asleep with the phone on her pillow.  Sleeping like an angel.  Blissful.


Jan from Jan's Sushi Bar  was a wild woman last week posting a plethora of recipes to entertain the masses and spin circles around the Spin Cycle.  She encouraged me to post my Thanksgiving Feast recipes, so this week I'm doing just that.  For those that are just tuning in, this is the list of recipes I prepare for Thanksgiving:

Champagne Turkey
Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes
Slow Cooker Apple Stuffing/Dressing
Slow Cooker Sweet Potatoes
Cranberry Sauce with Port and Cinnamon
Pumpkin Cognac Crème Brûlée
Apple Cranberry Pie

I've been posting them as a daily series this week in case anything on that list catches your eye or tempts your taste buds.  Here's the recipe some of you have been waiting for:

Pumpkin Cognac Crème Brûlée

Makes 8 servings


3 cups
 whipping cream
 large egg yolks
1/2 cup plus
2 tablespoons
 sugar, plus more for brûlée topping
1/2 cup plus
3 tablespoons
 canned pumpkin
1/4 teaspoon
 kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon
 ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon
 ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon
 ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon
 ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon
 freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon
2 tablespoons
(substitute rum or brandy, if desired)


Preheat oven to 325°. Place 8 (6-ounce) ramekins or custard cups in a heavy-duty roasting pan.

Heat whipping cream to just under a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat (I usually do this in a double boiler to ensure that the cream doesn't scald). Remove from heat.

Combine remaining ingredients in a large mixing bowl, whisking together just until smooth. Gradually whisk in hot cream.  It's important to do this gradually, you don't want the cream to curdle or the egg yolks to cook into lumps. Pour mixture through a wire-mesh strainer into a pitcher.

Divide custard evenly among ramekins. Fill pan with hot water to a depth of 1 inch. Cover with aluminum foil, crimping around edges of pan. Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until custard is barely set and jiggles when shaken. Remove ramekins from water bath, let cool, and chill 3 hours or up to 3 days.  Make sure they're cooled completely before putting them in the fridge - they'll form condensation over they're still a tad warm.  If they do form condensation, not to worry, just pat them lightly with a paper towel to absorb the moisture before the next step.

Remove from refrigerator. Sprinkle surface of each custard evenly with 1 scant tablespoon sugar. Caramelize sugar with a kitchen blowtorch, moving flame quickly back and forth across custard (this is the fun part!). Let cool 2 to 3 minutes before serving.

Note: If you don't have a kitchen blowtorch, broil 3 inches from heat 2 to 3 minutes or until sugar caramelizes.  Watch it closely, though, it can burn and you don't want the custard to have a chance to heat up, either.

For a nonalcoholic version of this dish, simply leave out the cognac; you'll lose depth of flavor, but the custard will cook the same. Do not substitute pie filling for the canned pumpkin and spices. Prep: 15 minutes; Bake: 45 minutes; Chill: 3 hours.


Princess Nagger Conversation of the Week:

PN:  "When I sleep, I have a flaremare."

Me:  "What is a flaremare?"

PN:  "A really cool weird funny dream."

Me:  "OK, so what's usually in a flaremare?"

PN:  "You are in a computer game. Picture this...you're a bird and your'e flaring your wings.  That's why there's the part about 'flare'."

Me:  "But wouldn't that be called a flaredream?"

PN (rolling her eyes and shaking her head):  "No."

Me:  "Why not?"

PN:  "Because it's like a long winged bird flaring its wings."

Me:  "So how does it make it a flareMARE?"

PN:  "Come with me, I'll show you."

She led me to the living room, where she lay on the couch and pretended to be asleep.  I waited to see what the 'flare' part was, but... nothing.

Me:  "So...what's the 'flare' part?"

She leaped up, jumped on the couch, her arms flung wide and screeched like a bird.

Me:  "Ahhh...OK, I think I got it.  But why do you call it flareMARE instead of flareDREAM?"

PN:  "Because it can be scary or funny.  Either one."


If you're just hanging out at home on Friday night (and blogging), feel free to join in on Ann's Virtual Girl's Night Out (boys are welcome, too!)


Don't forget to visit Mrs. 4444 at Half Past Kissin' Time for fun Friday Fragments and Ann Again and Again for VGNO.

36 Random Sassy Comments:

4 Lettre Words said...

I so LOVE DS Time, too! I'm hoping it will help with getting Sam up in the mornings. Suddenly, he needs more sleep during the week. Can't imagine why?!?

This week's PN conversation totally made me smile! I just love what kids come up with on their own.

So glad that you are feeling better, my friend. Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Yaya said...

Flaremare. HaHa!

Glad you're starting to feel better.

Yay for an extra hour!

Sue said...

I think I had a flaremare last night.

I am so going to check out those delicious sounding recipes!!!!

Feel better! So glad I could be your co-winner at Mrs 4444's this week!

McGillicutty said...

Wow...for throwing this together before dawn you did a damn fine job and the flaremare is fantastic!!! Might have to check into the VGNO, sounds like fun!!!! xxx

won said...

Ummm....yes, your homework. I can so relate. I often wondered on the bigger projects, such as Science Olympiads if the teachers really felt the students did the majority of the work. How could they?

I have been nervous sending my son off on his bike to school in the dark lately. I'll be glad that next week he'll have some light to ride in.

Enjoy your weekend.

Chocolate Covered Daydreams said...

Flaremares have got to be the ultimate in dreams!

Can you come and cook for me this Thanksgiving?

Jan said...

Thank you, Princess Nagger, for giving those sorta scary/sorta funny dreams a name. It fits, too!

Oh, this is the recipe I've been waiting for! Beloved refuses to buy me a kitchen blow torch, though. He seems to think I'm going to catch myself on fire.

I'm glad you're feeling better!

Sherri @ Luv a Bargain said...

And here I was thinking that Day Light Saving change was NEXT weekend. Didn't even think of it being the 1st Sunday in Nov this Sun. Duh? I'm thrilled to get an extra hour of sleep and to not have to send my son to the bus stop in the dark. But poo on the getting dark at 5:00pm. Princess is too cute about sneaking up to bed. So good.

Glad your feeling better:) Happy Firday!

Amy said...

I am glad you are feeling much better. I hope you have a fun and safe weekend.

CaJoh said...

These all look very yummy. Now that I have a torch, I should be able to make this one. I'll still make my pumpkin pie.

I'm having Thanksgiving as my theme this month for Friday's feast, you'll have to link up sometime.

Thank you for sharing,

Insanitykim said...

For a few days my 'puter refused to load the comment box for your blog. I just yelled at it and it worked! Who knew?

I cannot tell you how desperately I need that hour back! I am so happy I could cry! Also, soccer is over this Sat...SLEEPING IN HERE I COME!

And um, once I got to here:
"Pumpkin Cognac Crème Brûlée" I really didn't read anything else. I started licking the computer screen. Yeah, my kids just experienced their own living "flaremare" when their mom started eating the computer...good times, good times...

The OmniCouple said...

Your Pumpkin Cognac Crème Brûlée recipe sounds AMAZING! We will have to try this.

FlareMare is so funny and smart! How she thought it up and to add Mare from nightmare, since it can be scary of funny, is SO smart!

Martha in PA said...

A reason to buy a kitchen blow torch!!

I'm glad you are feeling better. I wish Tara would readjust to going to sleep early. I even tried over the weekend getting her up early, but that did not work. She is still up to 1 (2, or 3) and sleeps pretty much until I wake her up. I guess its' the age! Thank goodness she is in "virtual" school!

Yeah for getting the hour back. I like how that Sunday always seems like such a LONG day.

Well, speaking of Tara, time for me to go try and get her to wake up!

Post-Modern Jen said...

So funny that you've been blogging about your Thanksgiving menu, I just started jotting mine down on my calendar with the list of to-buy's nearby. I knew I should start planning early this year after last year's mistake- I went shopping for a turkey the day before Thanksgiving-what was I thinking? Needless to say all the birds left were frozen and I had to make do with a turkey breast and a couple of drumsticks (don't ask!)...
BTW, your little princess sounds alot like mine :)

buffalodick said...

I was so hoping you had a brulee torch! I got one about three years ago, and for frostings, brulee, etc. they are fantastic!

Kristina P. said...

One of my best friends LOVES creme brulee! This sounds really good!

Firefly@www.firefly-shop.org said...

Flaremare LOL she is too cute, and I think I have those too LOL

Grand Pooba said...

Flaremare! She is so funny! Can you rent her out to me for just a few days?

rxBambi said...

that brulee sounds wonderful but i'm thinking is also sounds kinda difficult... could a wanna-be do it, or do you think it's more of an expert level? I certainly don't have a blowtorch (althought I like the idea of one). And I only have ramikins (remikins? ramadans? whatever) cuz I use them to mix spices and stuff... I've never actually put them in the oven.
I suck. Boo.

blueviolet said...

I remember when the day came and the kids started getting themselves up and ready for school. What a blessing that was! Sleep, heavenly sleep.

You design a famous blog! :)

I love that PN thinks she's being so slick! teehee

Upstatemomof3 said...

I love this weekend too - getting that hour back is GREAT!!! And that kiddo of yours always cracks me up!!

Justine said...

A flaremare! Oh my goodness, that was awesome!

Justine :o )

I am Harriet said...

Hi Stacy.
I'm dressing up as a mom in sweats for Halloween :)

Have a fun Halloween and VGNO!

Tracie said...

Flaremare--Love it!!

Glad you are feeling better...just in time for the weekend! Hope it is a nice one for you!

I am going to have to try out this recipe...it looks yummy!!

Happy VGNO!

Maggie said...

Like PN I also have a lot of flaremares. :O

Have a great Halloween! Stay Safe! :)

Eternal Lizdom said...

Oh how I wish that early mornings meant easier bedtimes for me... *sigh*

My husband's best friend is part of a ghost hunting group here in Indiana. He's not so much a skeptic... not really a believer... he's just waiting for proof.

Happy FF!

Jenn@ The Crazies said...

OK Stacy I think I am gonna have to try the recipe this weekend.. looks delectable!!! LOVE the flareMare!! Awesome!!! Happy Halloween & GNO

Lady Mama said...

I can't get over all the homework they give to first graders. I'm dreading it.

The creme brulee looks amazing!

And I love the "flaremare" conversation. Hilarious.

Wonderful World of Weiners said...

Please come to my house and make that for me. PLEASE?????

You can rub my wieners!!!

Hallie :)

Carolee / Home4ever said...

You have a summer house? How cool!

Hope you had a Happy VGNO!

Happy Halloween!

Jenners said...

Glad you are feeling better.

And I love PN "flaremare." she is so funny.

And I'm getting homework for ME in Kindergarten!!! So I guess it will get worse. And school does seem to tire them out doesn't it?

Watch out for ghosts!! : )

JulieChats said...

OK, after seeing the words, creme brulee, I could hardly read anything until I got to the recipe! MMMMMM! But I do love those make ahead mashed potatoes, everyone should do it, I've been making them for years & everyone asks for the recipe. The more things I can get out of the way before Thanksgiving the better! I'll have to check out your crockpot recipes now that I've got my virtual creme brulee fix!

BTW, had a pumpkin cheesecake crepe today...SO GOOD!

Just stopping by late to say Happy Halloween, Happy VGNO & SO Happy my DUCKS beat USC!!! :)

Stop by & check out my latest Layout of the Week. http://juliechats.blogspot.com

LT said...

So glad to hear you got your medicine and are starting to feel better!
I am not looking forward to the 1st grade homework either, it seems that my Kindergartner brings home enough!!

Casey said...

I usually love DST but it's kicking my ass and it's only been a day. Graham woke up even earlier, at the NEW 6 which is the old 5. Grr.

PN is funny. Glad you don't have to fight the bedtime battles like we do here.

jenie said...

following you...love your blog.

am dropping by from VGNO tru MBC

so...see you around?
hope u visit my blogs too
life round me N you
earthy me

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