harmoney: (Default)
If you've ever wondered what it's like to go on a cooking adventure with me, lets take into account my complete inability to focus on one task into consideration. This usually involves me saying something like, "Oh. I'd like to make blueberry lemon muffins! I know I have blueberries and lemon juice, so I should be good to go!" and not bothering to look at the rest of the required ingredients until I'm well entrenched in the making of blueberry lemon muffin goodness. Sometimes, this involves creative substitutes, sometimes this involves a mad dash to the store (either by me, or my wonderful husband who never complains about having to dash to the store in the middle of a release cycle. really.), sometimes this involves an 'oh shit what can I do with these ingredients NOW?' and sometimes it's completely different because my inability to focus actually caused chaos in the recipe in a *different*, completely unexpected way.

Such as this morning. My goals for this morning involved making dishes for *two* social events I've been invited to. This is, like, almost a quota for social eventage in an entire year for me, so it's very important to me that not screw up either dishes. One is a girl's brunch. We have a variety of people coming, but the only concern that is taken into account is one of the girls is vegetarian. I now I don't have to worry about catering to her since there will be others, but I do because she's a friend and OH MY GOD what if NOBODY ELSE thinks about her and brings like bacon wrapped bacon logs or something and she CAN'T EAT and can only DRINK THE MIMOSAS provided?! See? It's very important for me to consider this. This consideration is important later. After about two hours of researching recipes, trying to come up with novel, but yummy, ideas, I finally settled on deviled eggs, because, dude. Deviled eggs. I went through my recipe last night to ensure I had EVERYTHING I NEEDED (actually forced myself to read the ingredients list), and boiled the eggs so they'd be ready for this morning and I'd only need to devil them. Excellent.

The other goal is for a craft-dessert thing this evening. Now, the hostess is actually dairy-intolerant. This is a new concept to me, so I was bound and determined to figure something out for her despite her assurances that I don't need to worry about her, and it's not necessary to ensure she can partake in the dessert, there will be plenty and there was more rambling, but I stopped listening because I was already planning to attempt a rice pudding with almond milk or coconut milk instead of cow's milk. (I'm actually a very good cook, despite the rest of this post.) So, I went through the recipe last night and was very careful to read the entire ingredient list to ensure I could substitute everything sanely. I briefly considered baking shortcakes for strawberry shortcakes, and even considered making a fruit tart, but decided the lack of cream cheese in the latter and the lack of whipping cream in the former would entirely ruin the dessertiness. So, I went back to the rice pudding, even pleased that we actually have GOLDEN RAISINS in our pantry.

So, I got up this morning, briefly played on the computer, then hopped in the shower to begin my day of throwing everything together. I'm fairly confident in my abilities at this point to put together two awesome dishes and have fun and enjoyment for the next few hours. So, after my careful planning the night before, I got to work. Now, I've made both many times before, so I felt I only had to be especially careful with the rice pudding, ensuring no utensils were cross-used, ensuring dishes were kept separate, ensuring that I focus on one while the other does it's thing (such as the deviled eggs sitting in the fridge). I was even proud of not even making a mess of the kitchen, which Steve generally disapproves of. Then, it dawned on me, "What if nobody brings anything sweet to the brunch and we're stuck with eggs of all sorts? What if we don't have muffins of ANY KIND?!" I dismissed it, thinking that I know a few recipes and I can throw something together easily at the hostess' house if demands are made. But, then I started worrying that would be rude, and what if someone WANTED something sweet, but didn't want to say something for fear of being rude and oh god, then someone would be unhappy and I could have solved it just by making fruit tarts, but no, I had to make deviled eggs because I was worried there wouldn't be enough fresh fruits and now my selfishness is going to cost someone their sweet tooth!

I dug through my recipes frantically, looking for a quick, easy-to-make muffin recipe. I came across a blueberry lemon muffin recipe that looked great, and hey, I have blueberries and lemon juice. I can do this. So, I set it down. But, not satisfied this is the PERFECT SOLUTION, I continue to look through the recipe cards and come across my coffee cake muffin recipe, which I made years ago, and it was really good, and hey, I should make that again. It was easy and went over really well. But, today, I think blueberries. I still have a lot from last summer in the freezer. Instead of doing the normal thing, you know, putting the recipe card back, I just set it aside because, well, I decided against it, right? but it's still a good recipe! And I carried the blueberry lemon muffin recipe card over to the Kitchenaid stand mixer.

I glanced at the first step (not the ingredient list, mind you) and said, "Ok. Flour, sugar and baking powder. 2 tablespoons? Wow. That's a lot. Huh. Ok, well, we'll just see." and wandered off to collect the items. I came back, glanced at the recipe card on the OTHER side of the sink and said, "Ok. 2 cups of flour, only a 1/2 cup sugar? Excellent. This will be easy to reduce later once I get the hang of this. Divided? Hmm. That's interesting. Ok. 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder. Odd. I swear it said 2 tablespoons. Huh. Oh well, I just misread it." and moved over to the stand mixer to begin mixing the dry ingredients per the recipe card. (Caught on yet, have you?)

So, I get the dry ingredients mixed, move back over to the recipe card next to the sink and start working on the wet ingredients, carefully following the instructions word by word. I get to the point where I'm supposed to mix everything together and I start wondering, "When do I put the blueberries in?" So, I skim the rest of the instructions. Nothing about blueberries. Blinkblink. I look back over the ingredient list, no blueberries. How the hell can you have blueberry lemon muffins without blueberries?! So, I look at the top of the card: Coffee Cake Muffins. Shit. I don't WANT coffee cake muffins! I want blueberry lemon muffins! Damnit, can I fix this? Where the hell is the blueberry lemon muffin card? Oh, it's by the mixer. Right, I remember putting it there now. What are the ingredients? Damnit all to hell, the proportions are completely different and now everything's mixed together and I don't have time to start over and ugh.

Hmm. I can add blueberries to the coffee cake muffins. Except, looking closer, the coffee cake muffins only called for 1 and 1/2 cup flour, but I put in 2, because I saw it somewhere else. Oh hell. Yup, on the blueberry muffin recipe. Well. Hmm. Nothing to be done, everything's mixed. Let's toss some blueberries in and see how they turn out.

So, now I'm waiting for the muffins to brown because I don't know exactly how long it's going to take the muffins since I MONSTERFIED the recipe, the kitchen is trashed, and I have 13 minutes to get dressed and get to the brunch.

Despite all of this, I have a tendency to produce some pretty wonderful eats. I just wonder how the hell I manage it.
Mood:: 'accomplished' accomplished
harmoney: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] harmoney at 12:43pm on 24/02/2008 under , ,
So much has happened in the last couple of months - although it doesn't really seem like a lot. Work saw our 7-year AHAA inspection, which was a pain in the ass, but we passed with flying colors (much like we knew we would). There are a few changes yet to be implemented, but for the most part, all is well. I know I'm going to get chastised at my review this coming week for being late as often as I have been, but I have also been told that my bosses know I work hard and go well and above what's always expected of me (even though we've had a couple of issues with cases falling through the cracks lately. Quite the mess.). I'm confident everything will be fine, and if it isn't, well, I'll worry about that if and when it happens.

And then there was the problem with the kitchen fire last week. Yes, I set our stove on fire. First thing in the morning. It was great. There are still dark spots everywhere and soot settled in various places. But, after the stove fire, I have learned 3 things. 1) Electric kettles are really worthwhile instruments when you're not *watching* the stove and your water for tea heats. 2) A fire extinguisher is really a necessary kitchen accessory (despite Steve's snorting and ranting about not needing one since we're not 6 years old anymore). 3) Air purifiers are expensive. I got a "cheap" one for $100, that thankfully works pretty well.

To keep myself calm after seeing the damage from the fireball on the stove, I keep reminding myself that everything that was damaged (the stove hood, and the cabinets and a little of the countertops) we were planning to replace anyway. And the stains on the walls - well, we were planning to paint anyway. So, there really is no loss other than a few stains on the stove (we can't afford to replace the stove) and figuring out how to repaint the ceiling. Ah well. But, the project to fix up the condo and sell it is moving along now, if for no other reason than my little kitchen fire episode is pushing us to clean and fix much faster than anticipated.

We've been looking at houses. The current plan is to buy a house and close in time to move everything out of the kitchen and into the new house. Move, fix the condo and have it on the market within 2-3 weeks of closing on our house. Our realtor is confident of the condo market in our area and thinks this will make it easier and faster to sell (especially since we have 3 cats and, well, there's not a single thing you can do to make litter boxes look asthetically pleasing).

There is a house we're interested in. I'm not going to jynx anything by posting much about it. But, suffice to say if we get it, all offers for people to come and visit will always be in effect. We will always have room and a pleasant place to stay. Of course, regardless of where we move, that will always be true, but I'm especially excited about this particular house. We shall see, though.

Until then, I continue to dream of it and look around ready to pack up. 4 years is a long time to be in any one place. This is true. And there are a lot of memories and good things from this place in Beaverton, but I'll be happy to get away from the traffic and noise this area has. I'll be happy to have my own yard and a larger kitchen and not have to fight with Steve over the toilet. Yeah. This is... definitely... starting to get exciting.


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