Monday, April 2, 2007

Food disasters and feasting.

Every once in a while, a rock that’s been rolling wants to stop and pick up a little moss. I had the mossiest weekend ever. It was fantastic.

As I alluded last week, I had plans to have a relaxed weekend hanging out with C. while he was on duty. We watched a pile of television, re
ad several pages, and ate some fantastic food.

Most of it was fantastic, anyhow. Our big plan for weekend cooking was to be a spectacular home-made pizza. C. wa
s going to whip together the dough while I was driving out, and we’d top it, bake it, and then relish in its delicious glory.

We got off to a slightly slow start. We were still waiting for the yeast to get bubbly when I got there, and then had to wait an hour for the dough to rise. In the meantime we snacked on hummus and flatbread, and chatted. We also may have watched some television. Whatever, it was the start of a lazy weekend!

Once the dough was looking gorgeous and well-risen, C. prepared the toppings while I turned out an excellent oblong-shaped rectangle of doughy-goodness. Then we topped it. Italian sausage, mozzarella, pepperonis, red onions, bell peppers—it was a work of art! I got the oven hot, and we set it in.

I will take responsibility for the mess that happened next. Thinking that the pizza would take longer to cook than it did, I suggested that we finish the second half of the DVD we were watching. It was only 30 minutes! The air filled with the smell of delicious pizza baking goodness. Finally, the show wrapped up, and our stomachs grumbling, we went into the kitchen to retrieve our masterpiece.

C’s face when he opened the oven was something to see. Our delicious dinner, our awesome work of art… it looked like it had been through an incinerator. The cheese was black and crispy. The crust (labored over!) was hard and carcinogenic. The red peppers, once plump and tasty, had dissolved into nothing more than charred rinds. The pepperonis were sad brittle discs. I thought C. was going to cry! I take full responsibility for the disaster, and ate two pieces of it (crunch crunch crunch) anyhow. It was awful.

The rest of the weekend’s cooking turned out spectacular, however.

Saturday brunch was a fluffy and delicate Dutch Baby with lemon juice, powdered sugar, and fresh sliced strawberries. I’ve been trying to be good and only buy things like strawberries when they’re in season, but the ones at New Seasons have been
so lovely lately, that I splurged and—yet again—made a treat out of them.

I’ve made some lovely Dutch Babies with hand-beaten, eggs, milk, and four, but the consistency is so much better when you have a device that allows you to really beat the hell out of the eggs and the batter. A Christmas eggbeater from mom fit the bill to a T. Portable! Fun! Functional! Whirrr! Whirrr!
The other winning factor in the DB combination this time around was the use of a ceramic pie pan instead of my standard square Pyrex. The presentation was much prettier, and the end result was slightly thicker and moister, with the same perfectly crisp edges.

Still making up for Friday’s disaster, we restored our good cooking streak on Sunday night with a tasty fillet of salmon, rice and fresh green beans.

We made a Soy/Ginger/Maple marinade (full of garlic and yummyness), and spooned that over the fish. We sliced a couple of red onions for flavor, and placed those on top of things as well. The sweet of the Basalmic vinegar and the maple syrup was a perfect complement to the ginger, garlic, and soy sauce. And the fish was moist and beautiful. Rice was a mix of wild and brown rice, steamed and plain. Finally, the green beans were sautéed in garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. We didn’t eat until almost 10, but it was well worth the wait.

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