March 14, 2010

Maple Vinaigrette Part II and Strawberry Chocolate Trifle

Well hello!  This weekend was a blur.  Why?  Because now there's a playroom 8 blocks down that has big red walls, covered in trees and owls - and blue walls too, starry and whimsical.  There's a treehouse.  A real one, with a big tall ladder to climb, and little windows with shutters that open and close.  There's a rope swing underneath and a great place to create Lego masterpieces.  Across the room there's a stage for all the Indiana Jones-Lego Batman-Kung Fu Panda moves a kid could ever wish for, and the wall behind it is covered in chalkboard paint.  And underneath everything is about 23 coats of paint in about 18 different colors.  I'll be posting pics soon enough.  I'll have to bum the befores off Linds.  This leaves me in a very groggy state when it comes to getting my weekly posts written and saved to drafts before Monday hits.  Bear with.
I'll keep things as consistent as I can though, and will be doing my best to keep up posting.  Here's Part II on my Maple Vinaigrette.  I wanted to revisit this because I figured something out.  If you just keep the bottle your extra virgin olive oil comes in, you can mix the red wine vinegar and oil and then store it in that bottle.  Then when you want to put the Maple Vinaigrette spin on the regular oil n' vinegar, you just pour out some into a mixing cup and add the dijon mustard and maple syrup, salt and pepper.  The thing I love about homemade dressings more than anything else is that they are wonderful for their subtlety.  You don't need to smother anything - you can actually taste the vegetables!


Here's another something that I can tell will be a summer hit in my kitchen (even though I don't have a very strong sense of the season in any of my meal plans, unless it's the obvious chowder in the fall, popsicles in August). This is a Chocolate Strawberry Trifle.  My sis makes an amazing one from scratch that includes pound cake and lemon custard and lots and lots of expensive, organic, locally grown, free range, free trade berries.  Or you can do it my way which includes a box of Jell-O.  (closed-mouth grin)

Here's what I did, and I should say straight off the bat that if you don't have a trifle dish like this, you're disadvantaged, because it's all about the presentation.  And if your dish doesn't have doves, hearts and tulips on it like mine does, why even bother.  The doves make it.

I (accidentally) bought chocolate cook n' serve Jell-O.  Prepared as directed and added sour cream, and lots of vanilla and cinnamon, to taste.  This made my chocolate custard mixture taste more homemade.

Next I made some whipped cream.  Put a stainless bowl in the freezer and let it get good and cold.  Pour in some heavy whipping cream and beat it until it forms the consistency you want.  Throw in some white sugar and vanilla to, to taste.  This is the ONLY way to eat whipped cream.  I never ever buy Cool Whip because the taste of the real thing ruined me.  I put it into a small Ziploc baggie (S.C. Johnson Wax is in Racine; this baggy was manufactured in our town.  Don't believe me, check the zipcode on the box: 53403) and then I pipe it onto whatever pastry, cake, pie is in front of me.  

Last thing I did was bake a box of brownies.  Ok, that was probably the first thing I did.  I put two brownie mixes into one baking dish so they'd be extra fudgy.  Then you just assemble the whole thing.  Brownie layer, chocolate layer, whipped cream layer, strawberry layer, repeat.

Make a day ahead so that the trifle tastes like it actually has its head on straight and has been resting in the fridge, as opposed to rushing around the kitchen throwing ingredients at the counter, tripping over dog food bowls, and unearthing cell phones from underneath a stack of mail with chocolate-covered fingers.


  1. Okie dokie, now yer jest makin me hongry thar, Betsy. Well, or you would be if I wasn't recovering from a hit-and-run (especially the run) stomach bug. But nevermind that - based on the pathology I expect to be in dang-near normal shape by tomorrow.

    Anyway, it's hard to believe such magic happens mere biking distance from my underground lair, and even harder to resist the temptation to set up a surveillance operation to unlock the secrets. Now I suppose that sounds creepy, doesn't it? Let's just all thank the good Lord I actually have more important things to do with my time. But I would love to see you guys sometime (soon).

  2. Yum yum yum! Now where can I get a trifle dish with doves on it?

  3. Haha, Sis. That trifle dish is out of control! With all those doves and hearts, surely one becomes more spiritual after eating out of it. With a big spoon. Straight from the bowl.

    p.s. I'm going to try that dressing this week.

  4. oh geez. these sorts of pictures are just sheer torture to one in my state. now i'm craving a billion things that are just out of reach. i'm sure justin will appreciate the necessary trip to the grocery store :] kudos on some super delish lookin' creations. can't wait to see pics of the playroom.

  5. I'm soooo making that trifle. It won't be quite the spiritual experience yours is. Seeing how my dish doesn't have doves.

    Amanda T. (

  6. Hey Betsy! Came over to get a little bit of Betsy! You always make me smile. I am going to try that dressing...very nice.
    Jeremy and I went on this crazy diet, where we practically starved! Now I am over it and plan to make up for all those precious lost calories.

    Your friend-Michelle


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