Today's prompts from Eden Hills are: Starts with X, Craft and Growing.
Starts with X
Xanthophyll starts with X. Xanthophylls are yellow-coloured pigments that one might find in a variety of natural sources, including leaves that turn yellow in the fall. Specific xanthophylls include lutein and zeaxanthin, which are the compounds responsible for the yellow colour of egg yolks.
Today I made my quick and easy egg custards with some eggs from our lovely flock. Look at all that xanthophyll!
.....why (I hear you asking) are there more than 4 egg yolks in the picture? Well, the eggs I am using are from our Silkie hens, which lay eggs that weigh about 1 oz, compared to a regular egg that is about 2.5 oz. Thus, 9 Silkie eggs = approximately 4 regular eggs!
Whisk together the eggs and sugar with a splash of vanilla. A teaspoon or so will do. Sometimes I use almond extract instead. Action shot!
Add 2 1/2 cups of milk. Alternatively, you can add 1 1/2 cups of milk and 1 cup of water. I like the full milk version. I also use full fat (homogenized) milk. That skim milk business is nasty. Whisk again, not too vigorously, or it will splash all over the place!
Prepare a 9 x 13" glass pan - fill it about 1/3 with cold water. Then set the custard cups (ramekins) into it so that the water goes about halfway up the sides of the cups. The water helps ensure even cooking, and prevents bubbling in the custards. It is a cooking technique known as "bain marie," derived from French, and previously from the Latin.
Bake at 350 F for about 45 minutes.
The tops will be firm, not wet. You don't want the tops to be puffing up - if they do, you've cooked it for too long. It will still taste OK but the texture will not be as smooth. Here are my finished custards. Super yummy with a swirl of maple syrup on top!
As most readers know, I do a lot of craft-themed things, when I have time. I haven't had much time at all lately. Here is a cowl I knitted a couple of months ago. Knitting is definitely one of my favourite crafts.
There isn't much growing around here at this time of year! However, I do have a few house plants, including the following succulents. I am fond of cacti and succulents. They have very interesting shapes and forms.
As you can see, I keep them on a sunny windowsill.
This is a plant with a cute common name - fairy washboard. Its proper name is Haworthia limifolia.
Double points, for X no less (!!) - this plant belongs to the Xanthorrhoeaceae family.
This is an Echeveria, but I do not know which one - there are hundreds of species and I haven't had time to pore over the many pictures of them online and determine which one it is. It might be Echeveria shaviana. I do love the ruffled edges.
Finally, this is a cactus species that I affectionately call "Hairy Mary" but it is actually Rhipsalis burchellii, also called Mistletoe cactus. I used to have one in Iowa that was huge and very robust. This one is much smaller and less full, but hopefully over time it will become more dense.