June 30, 2011

Happy Birthday, America!

Have a Wonderful Weekend!
Wishing everyone a very happy 4th of July as we kick off our country's 235th Birthday.  Land of the free, and home of the brave...


June 23, 2011

Make mine unsalted, please...

As we celebrate the first days of summer, it seems only appropriate to show you the newest Clever Girl find: Lake Michigan Unsalted tees and sweatshirts!  These are super soft and comfy--perfect for breezy summer days...  How about a few fun facts about Lake Michigan:

  • Lake Michigan is the third largest Great Lake by surface area, and the sixth largest freshwater lake in the world!
  • Of the five Great Lakes, it is the only one lying wholly withing the United States
  • The Great Lakes are the largest freshwater system on Earth.
  • The Great Lakes contain an estimated 5,500 cubic miles (22,700 cubic kilometers)of water—a fifth of all the liquid surface fresh water on Earth. And, it's enough to submerge the continental United States in nearly 10 feet of water.
  • The United States draws more than 40 billion gallons (151 million liters) of water from the Great Lakes every day—half of which is used for electrical power production.  
Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan and Illinois all share a part of this great lake, so these make quite a clever hostess gift when visiting a lake house for the weekend. So remember this-- Margarita?  With salt.  Lake Michigan?  Unsalted, please... 

June 16, 2011

Weekend Treat

Here is a delicious recipe for Blueberry Lime Curd Cake.  Now don't faint when you read this--it's really quite easy, and you can make it in stages and then assemble it.  Trust me; it's worth it.  The sharp lime flavor contrasts perfectly with the creamy frosting for a surprisingly light and refreshing dessert.  Perhaps a good Father's Day treat?  Hope everyone has a great weekend!

2 Cups sifted cake flour
1 1/4 Cups sugar, divided
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
7 Tablespoons canola or light olive oil
1/3 Cup fresh lime juice (about 3)
3 Tablespoons water finely grated rind of 2 limes
3 egg yolks
8 egg whites
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
Lime Curd:
8 large egg yolks
1/4 Cup freshly squeezed lime juice (3-4 limes)
1/4 Cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (1 -2 lemons)
1 Cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 stick (113 g) unsalted butter, cold, cut into pieces
2 Cups heavy cream 
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons gelatin
1/4 Cup water
2 pints blueberries for garnish

To prepare cake, line bottoms of the 3 (8-inch) cake pans with parchment paper, coat with cooking spray.

Combine 2 cups cake flour, 1 cup sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk, until well combined. Combine oil, 1/3 cup juice, 3 Tablespoons water, rind and egg yolks in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add oil mixture to flour mixture, beat with a mixer at medium speed just until smooth.

Place egg whites in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar, beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining 1/4 cup sugar, beating until stiff peaks form. Gently stir one-fourth of egg mixture into flour mixture, gently fold in remaining egg white mixture.
Divide cake batter equally among prepared pans. Bake at 325F for 20 minutes. Cool in pans for 10 minutes, remove from pans. Remove wax paper from cake layers. Cool completely on wire rack.

Lime curd:
Beat egg yolks and sugar until light in color and sugar almost dissolves. Add lime juice and lemon juice, half of the zest, and salt to the egg yolk mixture. Cook in a heavy-bottom saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon (be sure to scrape the sides of the pan) until mixture is thick enough to coat back of the spoon 8-10 minutes. Remove saucepan from the heat. Add butter, stirring until smooth and the remaining zest. Refrigerate until chilled and set, at least 1 hour.

For stabilized whipped cream, combine gelatin and water, allow to soften for 5 minutes, then dissolve gelatin over low heat. Gelatin must be liquid, but not warm.

In the chilled bowl beat the cream and sugar just until traces of beater marks begin to show distinctly. Add the gelatin mixture in a steady stream, beating constantly and beat just until stiff peaks form when beater is raised.

To assemble cake, place 1 cake layer on a plate, spread 1/3 of lime curd over cake layer, scatter blueberries. Top with second layer, 1/3 of lime curd, and blueberries and third layer. Combine the remaining lime curd with whipped cream and spread frosting over top and sides of cake.

Garnish with blueberries.

You're going to love this, promise! 

June 14, 2011

Graduation Celebration

School is out for summer, and it's time for graduation celebrations and parties. Need a "nifty gifty" for a recent Graduate?  Look no further.  The Sprout Zipper pouch in bright chartreuse makes the perfect gift.  The iconic leaf pattern is fresh and modern (designed by one of our favorites, Orla Kiely) and it's the perfect size to keep all of life's little necessities close at hand.  There are three darling Orla Kiely pencils tucked inside, and plenty of room if you want to add a little bit of graduation money too.  Pouch comes boxed with Orla's signature label and is, quite simply, the perfect graduation gift.  Congratulations to the clever Class of 2011!

June 10, 2011

Etc. Etc.

Well, here I am, home from Maine, bags unpacked; and I'm happy to report that I found many vintage treasures for Clever Girl. Some I'm having shipped in; and others I'll drive home in the fall.  Needless to say, Maine never disappoints.  The only thing I didn't find was a moose.  Evey year, for decades now, I have tried to spot one, but to no avail.  They are everywhere out there, but my timing is always a wee bit off.   I pull into the hardware store and they say, "Did 'ya see him?  Big fella, was just in the parking lot."  We went out to the Seagull Spot for brunch, and guess what had just been there?  Momma Moose with her twins. The Maine Moose eludes me, but I'm going to keep looking.
Meanwhile, back at the store...we've just gotten in the cutest sweaters ever!  The strawberry red is fresh and crisp, and the buttercup yellow and cool turquoise are pretty nifty too.  Lightweight and easy, they all look terrific paired with white pants...

A fresh batch of hats has just come in, and we're expecting more of everyones favorite Magdalana tops this coming week.  Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

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