Saturday, March 29, 2008

McArthur Park is Melting

Jon's brother and family are coming for dinner tonight. We haven't seen them in quite a while. They live in Chicago.

"I don't think that I can take it, cause it took so long to make it-"

eek, got going on that torte I've made about five times. But on the back of the box it showed a way to make it extra French. In my addled way, I thought "Yes, More French. It's Alexandra's 16th birthday, and they go to France a lot."

Dum dee dum, I know what I'm doing, (accent dumb.) it came out of the mixing bowl tasting great on the spoon but looking like a French beauty product, stiff and slabby. Then I noticed the measuring cup of milk sitting quietly off at the side, that hadn't joined the French batter party. Had to toss all the batter, and those backyard chicken eggs, I mean oeufs, are what made it so gloriously yellow.

Off to Albertson's, where every store checker is mentally ill, (not to mention the customers.) Back home, trying not to hyperventilate, made the whole thing a la France again. It looks a bit teetery, but as long as it doesn't land on the floor we'll be all right.

Rest of menu:
Fried Chicken (the best thing I cook)
Spare Ribs
Black eyed pea dish (tomatoes, onions, green pepper, celery)
Corn dish (sauteed with red pepper and spicy peppers and onions)
Cole Slaw (trying another recipe, never satisfied with what I get.
Grilled asparagus

When Jon opened the grill to wipe it down a male Black Widow jumped out. We're having troubles with them again this year.


Linda said...

Why do bad things happen to good peoples? When we first moved to CA we were friends with this couple who traveled a lot and loved good food. We met them at Tommy's Mexican for dinner right before their trip to France. We had all been reading those books by Peter Mayle about Provence. My favorite parts were about drinking Pastis, and I wanted some Pastis so bad. When they came back from France, they brought us some Pastis, and also a giant rubbery-plastic pastry scraper with "E. Dehillerin, 18 rue Coquilliere 75001 PARIS" inscribed on it. They didn't want to go to Tommy's anymore. But they offered to cook us a French dinner. In a desperate move, I offered to make dessert. At the time, the only dessert I knew how to make was pecan pie. I've since learned cherry pie (from cans) and a flourless chocolate cake with easter eggs and worms on top. But this pecan pie was out-of-this-world good. A couple things that made it so good: It used dark rum, and it used not only dark brown sugar, but Lyle's Golden Syrup instead of corn syrup. And of course I made the crust using King Arthur's flour. I had a time getting the dough off the counter and into the glass pie dish, but managed to do it with the help of my new pastry scraper and assorted other spatulas. The pie went in the oven. After 50 minutes the buzzer went off and you were supposed to insert a skewer into the center of the pie. If the skewer comes out clean, the pie is done. Well, the skewer would not come out clean, even after returning the pie to the oven 5 or 6 times. I called AGgles. She told me to forget about the skewer. She said to hold the pie up so that you can see the pie through the bottom of the glass dish. If the crust looked a little brown, it was done. I managed to hold the pie up and imagine my horror when I saw the giant "E. Dehillerin, 18 rue Coquilliere 75001 PARIS" pastry scraper staring at me from the bottom of the glass dish. It had adhered itself to the bottom of the pastry and cooked along with the pie. There was no time to make another pie, so I took that one and decided to act surprised.

The black widow sounds OMINOUS. I'm wondering if you should move north.

Your menu sounds spectacular!

sal said...

I can't believe you made that torte twice! It's so much work!! What a lovely dinner you made.

Mom baked a spatula into a cake once. Dad was trying to eat it and kept hitting the frosting coated spatula with his fork, asking, what's this?

sal said...

But how do you make it extra French?

straaaay g said...

looks like a good day to go dumpster diving at sally's house.

Fearless Freep said...

Recipe from 1975 A&P cookbook before they took all the bad stuff out, including the flavor. I don't add the sugar or dried mustard and it is the best coleslaw I ever ate.
2 medium heads cabbage shredded 4 large carrots shredded 1 green pepper shredded 2 cups real mayo 1 TBS salt 1 tsp sugar 1/2 tsp dried mustard 1/2 tsp pepper 1/3 cup vinegar 1 TBS celery seed Toss cabbage,carrots and green pepper. Mix the rest of the ingredients into a sauce. Pour dressing over the cabbage mixture and toss to cover the mixture. Place in the fridge. I like to wait 24 hours for it to cure. It is delicious.

Namowal said...

The torte blooper sounds like something I'd do (if I was ambitious enough to make one)! How frustrating! Your guests are lucky that you went through the trouble of making it again.

Mean Jean said...

We have a French S-I-L who has tried to cook things for us over the years and everytime something goes amiss. He burned the pizza (he owns a bakery and was showing off his crust), he made profiteroles and the sauce "broke", his crepes stuck to the pan. He takes it so hard when it doesn't work out. He could use some acting tips from linda! He tends to be broody in the best of times and when the chocolate sauce messed up he was near suicidal.

Sally said...

Linda, that story was great. Actually that pecan pie recipe sounds like something you should post. In fact it sounds mythic when you recite those various brands. I still think about the worm and egg cake and the wonder of it.

Sal, I don't have a Kitchen Aid big mixing stand so I have to use a handheld mixer. So I made the layers of the cake with a mix. The Frenchify upgrade was an extra egg, milk instead of water, and butter instead of oil. It also made the cake perhaps too fluffy but it was still delicious. In fact everything turned out well.

Fearless, I like green pepper and carrots in slaw too. I improvised on two recipes, with just a basic bagged slaw mis (no dressing.) I did 2:1 mayonnaise/buttermilk, since I had buttermilk from the fried chicken, celery seed, lots of pepper, a little apple cider vinegar, and then a glob of Chow Chow relish, which helped immensely. It was still a little bland I thought but there wasn't a shred left over.

mean jean, I agree that was brilliant on Linda's part to decide to pretend to be surprised.

Jesse said...

I can recommend this modification on GlaDOS' cake recipe.

She recommends place settings at the end but I left that out. My house looks nothing like hers! :D

* 18.25 ounce package chocolate cake mix.
* One can prepared coconut pecan frosting.
* 3/4 cups vegetable oil.
* 4 Large eggs.
* One cup semi sweet chocolate chips.
* 3/4 cup butter or margerine.
* 1 and 2/3 cup granulated sugar.
* 2 cups all purpose flour

Don't forget garnishes such as:
* Fish shaped crackers
* Fish shaped candies
* Fish shaped solid waste
* Fish shaped dirt
* Fish shaped ethyl benzene
* Pull and peel licorice
* Fish shaped organic compounds
* Sediment shaped sediment
* Candy coated peanut butter pieces. Shaped like fish.
* One cup lemon juice
* Alpha resins
* Unsaturated polyester resin
* Fiberglass surface resin
* Volatile malted milk impoundments

* 9 large egg yolks
* 12 medium geosynthetic membranes
* one cup granulated sugar
* An entry called 'how to kill someone with your bare hands'
* Two cups rhubarb, sliced
* 2/3 cup granulated rhubarb
* One tablespoon all-purpose rhubarb
* One teaspoon grated orange rhubarb
* Three tablespoons rhubarb, on fire
* One large rhubarb
* One cross borehole electro-magnetic imaging rhubarb
* Two tablespoons rhubarb juice

Sally said...

Someone please remind me not to invite Jesse to the next blogger pot luck!