Sunday, August 15, 2010

Yes, Please!

Oh joy! I had a successful day in the kitchen, which did much to assuage my wounded ego after yesterday's bread-making debacle. I sort of knew this recipe wasn't going to work, not enough liquid in the dough. I did read in the comments about a similar bread that also contained oats but this other version called for soaking the oats in water or milk. That seems to make a lot more sense. In any case, my bread was not good, not one bit, it did not even redeem itself once toasted and slathered with butter.

So today, I made this, which is one of mine and my papa's favorite summer recipes. I used scallops instead of bacon, still delicious but perhaps a scallop-bacon combo is in the future because there is no way that could be bad. Also, without consulting the recipe, I caramelized an onion, only to find out it wasn't called for but still quite good. I made the pesto with walnuts instead of pine nuts and just in case you were wondering, peeling blanched walnuts is a real pain in the ass.

And now for the piece de resistance. I made a pie. Rhubarb. And homemade vanilla ice cream. But the real star was the crust. I come from a long line of accomplished pie-makers so there's always that pressure. Plus, after my colossal bread failure, I felt like I needed to prove something to myself. Okay, well and to Ben too, lest he think I can't bake. I made this pie crust and oh LORD, it was on point, best pie crust I've had in...maybe ever. No, no, that couldn't be but it was outstanding, thank you Deb for being my ever-trusty consultant. In addition, I read Shirley Corriher's chapter about pie-making in her book Cookwise so I was feeling ready! The only change I made was to use half butter and half lard. Don't hate me. After all this consultation, I was worried about things not being cold enough, especially since who the hell makes pie, or bread for that matter, in New Orleans in August. I put my cubed lard, butter, flour mixture, bowl and rolling pin in the freezer 30 or 40 minutes before using it. I even put ice cubes in a bag and let it properly cool down my counter before getting into it. I would show you a picture but the rhubarb was kind of a weird, greenish color, not that pretty pink I like so much. While perhaps not picture-worthy, it's worthy of just about everything else, tender and flaky, ginger-scented rhubarb, cool vanilla, oooh my! I wish I could send a piece to my grandmother, I think she'd approve.