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      CommentAuthorTrenchcoat
    • CommentTimeFeb 14th 2007
     
    When my mother lets me loose in the kitchen, the adventure usually ends in extreme disaster or delicious success. Too often, my inexperience leads to preventable accidents. When first beginning to bake, I accidentally mixed powdered sugar into a cookie dough, rather than granulated. Instead of cookies, I ended up with animal fodder. Sadly enough, this first misadventure did not innoculate me against further occurrences of the sort. Over the years, I have had many interesting and sometimes tearful fiascoes in the realm of the kitchen. I find almost nothing is more distressing than getting halfway through a recipe and discovering that the next ingredient is nowhere in the house. I have made many hurried rushes from the kitchen to the storage pantry, only to find the necessary item missing. The fact that our pantry is located down the stairs and on the other side of our large house ought to help, but I never seem to learn.

    My last action in the kitchen involved the creation of an imposing-sounding Double Crusted Apple Pie with Custard. The diagrams in the cookbook showed the Master Chef pouring a custard through a hole cut in the roof of the pie. Intrigued by this new technique, this was my choice of baking projects. Cautiously, I read over the list of ingredients: butter, eggs, sugar... when I had finished checking the refrigerator for the lemons and cream cheese, I began.

    The first step was the mixing of the pastry, a simple task. So, I sprinkled some flour across the counter and fetched the rolling pin. Rolling pie crusts has always been one of my favorite tasks, but the first time I tried to complete one without an adult present, I soon realized I did not have my parents' touch with a rolling pin yet. In my house, it is just as common to see my father rolling out a pastry as my mother. When I surrendered my first attempt at a pie crust, a ball of mutilated dough, into his expert hands, a seeming miracle took place. With a few deft spins of the rolling pin, the crust was paper-thin, in an almost perfect circle. Then it was gently placed in the pie plate, ready for the filling. For me, it is still a triumph to put a roughly oval shape, thick in some parts, thin in others, in the pie dish. If it only cracks in two places, I'm quite satisfied. Still, my technique has been improving, and this day, I jubilantly laid the relatively circular pastry in the pie plate and proudly noted that it overlapped the edge all around, without a crack in sight. Glowing with this success, I set the dish aside and began on the filling.

    The apples were peeled with ease and tossed with the spices. Nutmeg flavored the kitchen air deliciously as I rolled out the top crust and gently, gently laid it across the top of the filled bottom crust. I carefully trimmed the edges and crimped them decoratively. I beamed on my creation for a moment, admiring the way the still soft crust sat on the apples and then began to prepare the egg wash for brushing across the top. Absently swinging the refrigerator door open, I reached for the egg carton. My hand met air and I looked at the empty shelf with a gasp of horror. Of course, the egg wash was just for looks on the pastry, but the custard! Eggs were essential to the custard.

    Happily for me, we live on an acre with several types of animals. There are goats, rabbits, and, most important to me at that moment, chickens. Finding eggs in the chicken coop, however, was not a sure thing. Our hens lay only intermittently throughout the summer and stop completely in the wintertime. It was only March and there was no knowing if there would be eggs or not. I held onto hope as I rushed out to the barn. My eyes fixed on the seven brown ovals lying in a back corner of the coop. Then I looked at the rooster and his inch long, fighting spurs. He looked back at me menacingly. I know from experience that our rooster is afraid of me, but logic did not apply in this case. I was not going into that small, enclosed corner of our barn with that rooster looking at me with those glittering eyes. He strutted right next to the wire that separated us and jabbed towards me with his beak. His sharp, curved beak. He didn't look as though he were about to back down. I had a dilemma. What was I to do for the custard if I didn't get those eggs? Hastily I grabbed a handful of grain and tossed it into the outside pen. The chickens squawked their way out and I scuttled in. Gathering up the eggs, I departed before a vengeful rooster could re-enter the coop and attack me.
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      CommentAuthorTrenchcoat
    • CommentTimeFeb 14th 2007
     
    Still, I didn't dare consider the venture successful until the eggs were in the custard. There have been several instances where eggs I claimed met unplanned for ends. Once, I removed an egg from the chicken pen, planning on depositing it in the house when I went in. In the meantime, I placed it in my pocket. Later, when feeling in my jacket pocket, I htought it was a bouncy ball and squeezed. The coat needed a good washing after that. Another of my episodes concerned the baking of a cake. I had my butter and sugar creamed in our standing mixer's bowl and I added one egg, lifted the bowl and mixed it in. I placed the other eggs underneath the mixer bowl, in the hollow where it normally rested. Once the first egg was mixed, I lowered the bowl to add the other three anad ended up with egg soup all over the bowl.

    In an effort to ensure no disaster would touch these eggs, I placed them in the refrigerator while the pie baked. When the time came, the custard was made perfectly and without incident. Then, when it was time to pour the custard into the pie, disaster threatened again. The pie was perfect and smelled heavenly and I had cut the hole in the top according to the diagrams. When I began to pour the custard in, the space directly under the hole filled up and remained full. The custard was not sliding down towards the sides of the pie. The recipe book suggested that if this situation occurred, a gentle shaking of the pie back and forth should settle the custard in. Carefully, lest my beautiful crust shatter, I wriggled the pie. Unfortunately for me, I had baked a very juicy apple pie and this slight tremor caused the flavorful liquid to spill over onto my hands. Quite obviously, that approach was not going to work. A quick moment's thought produced a better result. With the aid of a small spatula, I pushed on the custard and it slid out of sight. In a short time more, the pie was finished, a small mound of custard rising out of its top to give it the look of a masterpiece.

    When a baked good vanishes, it makes the chef very happy indeed. My custard pie, once finished and available for eating, vanished in less than ten hours. Given that there were seven people in the house, greedily waiting for a slice, this might not be entirely astonishing, but I can defintiely count that adventure a delicious success.

    Written March 2006
    _________________
    The Deadliest Trenchcoat
  1.  
    I'm pretty sure I was just called greedy ...

    Ah, well. For certain concoctions, I can stand it.

    Anemone
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      CommentAuthorTrenchcoat
    • CommentTimeApr 1st 2007
     
    The next posting on my disasters in the kitchen should feature the six-course dinner party I'm cooking this coming weekend. As a teaser, the courses will be, (1) Chicken Consumme', (2) Romaine with Feta and Walnut Vinagrette, (3) Fried Scallops with Citrus Sauce, (4) Quiche Lorraine, (5) Chicken Stuffed with Cucumber, and (6) Dessert which is unspecified as of now. I shall have decide on it soon.
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      CommentAuthorDakoru
    • CommentTimeApr 1st 2007
     
    I wish I could cook, I took a cooking class last semester in school, but I barely passed (alot of sucking-up to the teacher got me through). Hope your event goes well, I can't wait to hear the exciting outcome. =-)


    ~Dak
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      CommentAuthorTrenchcoat
    • CommentTimeApr 1st 2007
     
    Aha! The finale is to be a flourless chocolate cake, otherwise known as the Bete Noire (Black Beast). Anemone shall not get even a smidgen of a sample if she doesn't post soon.

    The Deadliest Trenchcoat
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      CommentAuthorDakoru
    • CommentTimeApr 5th 2007
     
    Oo, sounds delicious, wish I could eat it instead. =-[)
  2.  
    I got some. And I didn't post anything new story-wise. ;-)

    Anemone
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      CommentAuthorTrenchcoat
    • CommentTimeApr 6th 2007
     
    Well, I suppose I shall just have to take your punishment out of some other dessert. There are several I am still planning on making soon. Post or Perish, Anemone!
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      CommentAuthorDakoru
    • CommentTimeApr 15th 2007
     
    *Hides*