Hey everyone, Cooking with Carlee is a year old!
A lot has changed in a year! When I started this little blog, I really had no idea what a blog was. I had never followed and blog and didn't even know I should do some research before jumping into the abyss. I had one social media account, my personal Facebook page that one of my friends had set up for me with my hijacked email address because I was holding out. (Thanks Tish!)
I had started the year with an email to family members asking for favorite recipes. I thought it would be fun to switch things up a bit, cook some family favorites and have a way to share with them with the people who had sent them to me as I did it. I knew just enough about blogs to know that would be a good way to do it. Then the craziest thing happened, I realized that people besides my family saw some of my posts. The more it seemed like other people were seeing some of the stuff I was doing, the more I wanted it to be a little bit better. The more time I spent doing it, the more I wanted people to see what I was doing. It was a crazy cycle. Then I learned about blog parties and joined a couple of fun blogging groups. Next thing I knew, I had a bloglovin' feed that is full of fun people's work and now I have Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and G+.
It has been a lot of fun sharing some of my favorite memories and recipes. I have been having a blast trying some new things as well. MiMi has done a lot of pitching in with recipes and posts. If I had known more than nothing when I started this whole venture I probably would have named the blog differently. You know, something that required a little creativity and maybe opened it up a little bit. However a whole year in I don't know what the other name would be and I am sharing what I love.
I appreciate each of you who have stopped in, especially those of you who have commented. I love hearing when you try a recipe and love it. I also enjoy reading your own memories and stories. I have gotten to know some other bloggers really well too. I feel a kinship with a special few of them and really enjoy reading what they have been up to. It is amazing how close you can feel to people you have never met.
To properly thank you, I thought we needed two things. 1. A dessert (of course, any proper celebration has dessert!) and 2. a giveaway (because who doesn't like presents!)
Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee
makes 12 4 oz creme brulees
1 tsp vanilla bean paste (I just love seeing the little vanilla bean specks!)
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups half-and-half
6 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
Butter for greasing the ramekins or custard cups
1 cup brown sugar
3 T granulated sugar
- Preheat oven to 325 F
- Mix together the vanilla bean paste, eggs, egg yolks and sugar. You want to whisk it pretty well so that the sugar dissolves. You don't want grainy custard.
- Stir in the milk and cream, again whisking well to get it all mixed. Set aside to let the air bubbles work themselves out while you prepare the dishes.
- Generously butter 12 ovenproof custard cups or ramekins. Place buttered dishes in a 9x13" pan or roasting pan. You can place paper towels under them to keep them from sliding if you wish.
- Pour the custard mixture into the prepared dishes.
- Fill a measuring cup with water as hot as you can get it from your faucet. Pour around in the roasting pan, around the ramekins to create a water bath.
- Bake for about 45 minutes, depending on the depth of the dishes you are using. You want the edges to be set and the middle to have just a little jiggle left.
- Remove from water bath and cool.
- Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate until completely cold, preferably overnight.
- When ready to serve, blot the top of the custards to make sure they are dry. Mix together sugar and brown sugar and sprinkle evenly over custard tops. Using a small kitchen torch (or Matt's big one!) caramelize the sugar, keeping the torch a couple of inches from the sugar and moving it back and forth until the sugar is melted and golden.
- Allow the hot sugar to cool for 2-3 minutes then enjoy!