Wednesday, February 03, 2016
Cooking Under a Chaotic Sky
My new soil heating cables came today. Just in the nick of time, too, since after several mild, warm days the temperature is taking a dive tonight and tomorrow night. I got the new cable buried in the seed starting box and as I stepped up on the deck to go in the house late this afternoon, looked up at the western sky. It was quite beautiful with so many shades of grey and white, but there was something a little unsettling about it, too. I got a sense of chaos from it. And chaos is about what I got when I cooked supper tonight. In case you were wondering, Murphy's Law is alive and well and operating in my kitchen!
The plan was to attempt an entire menu from the Annabel Langbein cookbook: Artichokes with vinaigrette, Chicken and leek gratin, Garlicky vegetable toss, with pear and hazelnut pies for dessert. It was going to be so beautiful and so delicious, just like on her show where she whipped it all together in a half hour. Oh, yes, that was the plan. Suffice it to say, it was another plan gang agley.
We ended up not having the artichokes- and there were no snow peas in the garlicky veggie toss. They were in the fridge, but they didn't make it into the saucepan. I thought the chicken leek gratin turned out nicely but Mr. G didn't care for it- he said the Provençal crust topping had an off taste to him, maybe because I had let it burn slightly. I also overcooked the zucchini in the veggie dish, mis-measured the ingredients when I was making the pastry for the pies which made the pastry more bread-like than pastry-like, and then I dropped the compost pail, scattering the contents all over the floor. But the icing on the cake, was the hazelnut butter for the pies.
Then I rolled out the pastry into rounds, peeled and halved a pear, cored it, then sliced the halves lengthwise almost to the top so they formed fans when pressed down slightly. I mixed the hazelnut butter with some confectioner's sugar, spread the mixture onto the pastry rounds, topped each round with a pear half and popped them in the oven. The recipe called for glazing the pears with apricot jam after baking, but my neighbor had given me a jar of pear honey she had made so I used that. They didn't look too bad, and tasted fairly decent, so all was not a complete disaster. I did try to clean up most of the mess I'd made in the kitchen, but did leave enough mess for Mr. G to mutter over. I think he's be most disappointed if he didn't have anything to complain about when he's washing dishes! I don't know if I'll try any of those recipes again.At least not until I get some kitchen elves to serve as sous chefs.