Infinite Child 2

Infinite Child 2
Our Beautiful Dolphin motorhome

Friday, December 9, 2011

Happy Birthday to an Angel

Today is Billy J Cotton's birthday.  I wish he could be with us to celebrate - it would be so much fun.  But, on September 30, 2009 I posted this on a cooking forum that we both loved:
Billy & Jesse - his last visit to California.
""My wind chimes just chimed!
     Once in a rare moment God creates a beautiful Angel that he sends to earth to enrich the lives of all that he might touch. That Angel blesses everyone he touches, no matter how light the touch might be, with humor, love, and the kind of friendship that fables are written about.  No one that meets that Angel will ever forget his kindness, his generosity, the vastness of his spirit, and the strength of his love. Those few that have been held in one of his amazing hugs will never be the same, his spirit will always be indelibly bonded to theirs.
     Today I learned that God called that Angel back to heaven. The world is a sadder place, there is less generosity, less kindness, less love. Billy Cotton is now sitting with God discussing the dinner menu, sharing his boundless enthusiasm with all the other angels – throwing sticks for his beloved Buddy, and wishing that we would all stop mourning his loss and instead rejoicing in having known him.
     I talked to Billy yesterday morning – his meds were working better, he was feeling better, we told each other how much we loved each other; but we always make sure that we let each other know. He was so tickled by his veggie soups! He’d gotten Jesse a wonderful new home, and he was looking forward to doing some shopping for some new slacks – and coming to visit us on the farm.
     I am saying prayers for his family, knowing that their loss is so overwhelming - wishing that there was something I could do or say that would ease the pain and loss that they must be feeling. I know how we feel – and just cannot imagine . . . . we love you Billy – and our lives are a little emptier without you, but so much fuller for having known you!'"

     I'm going to fix a special dinner for him, Chicken with Paprika Cream; a recipe that he so generously shared with us all.  I'm also going to bake a Birthday cake for him. Billy shared this recipe with us and we had so much fun playing with this cake when he came to visit.  Originally it was made with lemon juice, but I had limes and we went with it!  I'm so glad we did!

White Pepper and Ginger Lime Cake

Recipe Adapted from Maida Heatter
Serving Size : 8
2 large limes -- zest finely grated
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 by-1/2 inch piece fresh ginger (see note)
3 cups all-purpose flour -- plus more for dustin
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground white pepper
1 cup unsalted butter -- at room temperature
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
Billy glazing the beautiful cake  
Lime  glaze
1/3 cup lime juice
1/2 cup granulated sugar

This cake has an intriguing, albeit unexpected, combination of sweet and hot flavors. That has made it an often-requested alternative to the common lemon pound cake. The cake is similar in concept to a pound cake but is as dense, rich and moist as an English pudding.

Cake: Adjust the oven rack one-third up from the bottom of the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Butter a 10- to 12-cup Bundt pan. Dust with flour and shake out any excess.

In a small cup, combine the zest and juice. Grate (do not mince) the ginger and add it to the lemon juice mixture. Set aside. Sift together the flour, baking soda and baking powder, salt and pepper. Set aside.

In a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the sugar and beat for about 1 minute. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating until incorporated after each addition. Reduce the speed to low, add the flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with the buttermilk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with the flour. Stir in the lemon and ginger mixture and blend just until combined.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth the top by briskly rotating the pan first in one direction, then the other (the batter should be rather heavy).

Bake for 70 to 80 minutes, until a cake tester inserted gently in the middle comes out clean and dry. (If you have used a 12-cup pan, the cake will not rise to the top of the pan, but that is all right.) Make glaze as soon as the cake is put in the oven to allow the flavors time to meld.

Let the cake stand in the pan for 5 to 10 minutes. Cover with a rack, turn the pan and rack over, remove the pan and place the cake on the rack over a large piece of aluminum foil to catch drippings of the glaze. Glaze the cake while it is still warm. After the cake is removed from the pan but while it is still warm, stir the glaze to recombine. Using a pastry brush, brush the glaze over the warm cake, allowing some to drip into the hole. The cake will easily absorb all of the glaze. If some of the glaze drips onto the foil, pour the glaze back over the cake. Set aside until cool. 
     Using 2 wide metal spatulas, or using a flat-sided baking sheet as a spatula, transfer the cake to a serving plate. The cake is even better if it ages for a day or two covered with plastic wrap -- the spicy hotness cools a bit as it ages.
     Glaze: In a bowl, combine the juice and sugar. Makes about 1/2 cup.

Billy's visits were always so much fun, we even had fun when he came all the way from Oregon to help us move!  We'd spend most of our time creating wonderful food in the kitchen.  He made his first souffle and his first "Fattie" at our house . . . it was so much fun to spend time cooking and shopping for food with him.  

Shrimp Sushi Parfait
This was a fun dinner that he loved.  We made it the same visit as the cake.  This was probably about as close to "sushi" as Billy would ever get - fish was about the only thing he wouldn't eat. 

Shrimp Sushi Parfait

Serving Size : 6
1 cup sushi rice
1 1/2 cups water 
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 large ripe avocado
2 tablespoons sour cream 
2 large limes, juiced -- divided
salt to taste
2 cups cooked baby shrimp
1 teaspoon grated ginger root 
1/4 cup red onion, finely diced
1/4 cup red pepper, finely diced
1/4 cup yellow pepper, finely diced
1 tablespoon chopped coriander 
1 teaspoon sesame oil
 8 large cooked shrimp (we sautéed them in garlic, butter, and lime juice)

Place rice in strainer and rinse rice until the water comes clean. Place rice and water in a medium pot and place on high heat. Place a lid on the pot and when liquid comes to a boil turn down to a simmer. Simmer until all the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Remove pot from the heat and let stand 10 minutes, covered. Place rice in a bowl and add the rice wine vinegar, sugar, and salt.

Peal avocado and remove pit. Either mash or purée with a food processor. Stir in the sour cream and squeeze in some lime juice. Season with salt.

Roughly chop the shrimp (the small baby shrimp). In a small bowl combine shrimp, ginger, red onion, red pepper, yellow pepper, coriander, lime juice, and sesame oil. Mix to combine.

Into 6 clear glasses (large martini glasses), place 1 Tbs. (15 ml) of the shrimp mixture, followed by a layer of the avocado mousse followed by a layer of the sushi rice. Continue until all the ingredients are used up, preferably with the shrimp as a last layer. Top each with 3 large shrimp.

I was looking through our pictures of Billy today.  Funny - they almost all have food involved!  We are fortunate - we have so many wonderful memories of Billy to keep him close to us, and so many friends who also knew and loved him!  We'll be thinking about those friends, and Billy's family today, hoping that they feel, as we do, that Billy is close to us all the time.  So we'll celebrate him today, and . . . . we'll be listening for the bells! 

1 comment:

Nancie McDermott said...

So sorry for your loss, and the world's loss of this man. I will be making that cake!