Wednesday, July 24, 2013

First hornet encounter

It started as one would expect; a screaming child wobbling into the house and clutching a leg. Angry puncture indicating the level of the attack was lower than flower height and lack of stinger adding evidence that this was not a bee. So, ice pack and Benedryl cream to the rescue as I suss out the story from the boy. Girls are hiding under the wagon he assures me, away from the corn snakes that sleep away the day under the salvaged barn like a bunch of  redneck rockstars. Before I can screech out the window for the girls to get know how the urban neighbors must love it when I do that... two little girls crawl from under the wagon dancing a mad Cherokee war dance and then begin the anticipated dash to the backdoor with the sadly anticipated screaming just one key higher than their brother's. Benedryl cream, half an Equate caplet apiece, and a cool cloth applied with a liberal dose of Arthur cartoons didn't bring them around.
Good thing there were pecans in the house. Some sugar, butter, and buttermilk made some praline perfume that had them dancing in no time. Now if I can just get the girls to stop with that danged Lady Gaga stuff.

Mama's Praline Cure
 1.5 c pecans, almonds, or walnuts
1 c brown sugar
1 c white sugar
2 TBSP butter. Real butter. Full fat, real salt. No messin'
2 TBSP buttermilk. Real cream can substitute but REAL stuff, please
vanilla. Good stuff, and close your eyes when you pour it or you conscience will stop you too soon
pinch of salt.

preface: Arrange little piles of nuts, each about the size of a biscuit,on a greased jelly roll pan.
coating: Use a medium soup pot. You will need more space than you think. Cook sugars and butter on medium hot until they reach 235 on a candy thermometer or if  children have smashed it in the drawer accidentally cook until it all turns the color of a new penny. Take off the heat at once, add vanilla and buttermilk or cream. This is when it will slosh and bubble dangerously. Use a long wooden spoon ( whisks clot with sugar, not like I would have tried that...ahem, well once) to whisk like mad, adding a pinch or two of salt to bring out the sweet flavor. Ladle over piles of nuts quickly, reheating if needed. Cool in freezer for about ten minutes.

Contemplate whether it would be a mortal sin to add bacon to such a beautiful thing as a praline.