Archive for November 23rd, 2007


Thanksgiving Cooking Debachles

Ok, so yesterday in my comments I alluded that my cooking did not exactly go as planned.

That’s a pretty mild understatement. I shall, as they say, begin at the beginning.

Tuesday night, the family and I were having a discussion about the sweets to be had at the feast. Sweets typically fall to me, as my mother is more fond of cooking than baking. Ok, so as I told y’all Tuesday, I was just gonna make the pie.

No. I made the pie, a cake, and tea cakes(I’ll explain these in a bit).

Ok. No big deal. I’ve made these before, so this will be…a piece of cake, right? Eh. Kinda. We’ll start with the pie…and then move on to the main course.

So, I dig up my Pyrex pie pan and grab my refrigerated crust. As much as I love to cook, I can be a bit of a lazy cook. And I just don’t see making pie crust when it comes ready to go in a box. I follow the directions and carefully press the dough into my pan, and do a blind-bake (you pre-cook the crust) like my recipe called for. I pull out the crust and….it’s ballooned in the middle. I go into a mild panic…until I see (in both the recipe and the box) that this is normal, and to just press the crust back down with a spoon. I do, and life goes on. Pie completed! And it looks good! Until I cut into it, that is. Apparently, my mashing with the spoon tore the dough(and I didn’t notice) so some of the pie juices sank underneath my crust. Now, my crust was cooked, but it was stuck to the pan. So when you cut a piece, half of you pie slice stays right in the pan, and must be scooped out with a spoon. But, it’s quite tasty, so I count it as a minor setback for my first pumpkin pie.

On to the cake. Now, this was at lil’ bro’s request. He wanted a caramel cake. No prob, I know how to make those. But we didn’t have the sour cream required for the cake. So, I made a plain cake and decided to put some caramel frosting over (the original has both a caramel flavored cake and icing). The cake making was awesome…it came out moist and dense. Just wonderful. I used a buttermilk cake recipe, because it’s so lightly flavored any type of icing will take center stage. What was the problem? T’was the icing, folks. Oh, boy. That icing.

OK, I have nothing to say in my defense here. I didn’t thoroughly read my recipe and I didn’t separate the sugar properly. What’s that? How do you separate sugar? Well, the recipe will give you a set amount of sugar you need (here, 3 1/4 cups) and you’ll need to put a certain amount to the side (here, 3/4 cup) for use elsewhere. However, I didn’t read my directions, and I assumed 1/4 of the sugar needed to be set aside. I’m thinking that here was the beginning of the end. I figured I’d be able to resolve the problem because I continued with the recipe, and it looked like it was supposed to look….and when all was said and done and I’d iced the cake, it was beautiful! Just lovely. So I continued with my other recipe (the forthcoming tea cakes). Once I’d put that dough in the fridge to chill…I looked over at my lovely cake. And the icing had POOLED AROUND THE BASE. I mean…just a lake of my icing all around the cake. Now, this happens when the cake has not cooled before icing is applied. That cake was ice cold. My icing just didn’t set up like it was supposed to. Ok, so now I’m pissed. But lil’ bro thought it was both cool (the whole icing melting thing was awesome to him. Did I mention he’s almost 17? That might have something to do with it) and delicious (he promptly cut into that cake and took down a slice). So yeah. All’s well that ends well, right?

But the good times continued with the aforementioned tea cakes. For those who never heard of tea cakes, no, tea cakes don’t have tea in them (like lil bro assumed), even though if you do a search for them on Food Network you’d see some recipes that do. Those recipes that do are not true southern tea cakes (you’ll want Paula Deen’s version for the tea cakes I’m referring to). So, why are they tea cakes, then, you wonder? Simple. They’re intended to be eaten with your tea. They’re lightly sweetened, so you can enjoy your cake (it’s actually a cookie) and your tea without that dreaded sweet-cancels-sweet thing your mouth tends to do. I don’t care for them, because a cookie without chocolate is blasphemy to me, but since Mom isn’t a real sweets kind of person, they work for her. So I made her some.

Since it had been a while, I’d forgotten how squishy and sticky the dough gets. So once all the flour was mixed into the butter (simplest recipe ever, y’all: flour, baking soda, salt, butter, vanilla, sugar) it was all runny. And I’m thinking, dammit, I’m battin’ a thousand with these here desserts today. But I slapped it in the fridge, it firmed up, and the recipe was saved. Crisis averted. And Mom was impressed and happy: since me and lil’ bro don’t care for tea cakes, she had them all to herself.

Whew. Are y’all still giggling? Good. Because it just gets funnier. I still have to cook my lil’ chickens Cornish game hens. So, Thursday morning I roll over and “feel up” my hens (Mom’s terminology). I’d marinated them in a herb and garlic marinade, and I then rubbed em down with an herbed butter. I tossed them in a baking bag with some onions and a splash of chicken broth. And I’m exhausted, because my “monthly issue” is upon me. So, I go take some ibuprofen and lie down.

And sit straight up 2 hours later. OMG. O. M. G! My chicken! I forgot about it! It’s burned!

No. It isn’t. Lil’ bro and Moms kept watch. It was perfectly done on the counter. Whew. I should mention I’m shaking like a leaf now, because I scared myself so badly.

And I finished my dinner with my wild rice, and it was good. Yeah.

So, all in all, dinner went well. Even with the missteps, everything turned out lovely, and nobody was concerned about the state of the desserts but me.

And since talking about yesterday’s dinner has made me hungry, I’m gonna go grab something to eat now.

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