Sunday, September 4, 2011

The day the brownies died

Today, after Girl #2’s first game as an official little cheerleader (yay for a parent-watching opportunity!) we will be heading over for a Labor Day cookout at my aunt and uncle’s house. We are in charge of appetizers.

We tend to take our food responsibilities very seriously. Lots of planning and precisely choreographed cooking precedes these events. Really, I’m surprised every time Husband and I come out the other side with all of our fingers. (When I get stressed in the kitchen, my go to threat tends to be that I’ll cut a bitch. Which means Husband. Said with love, of course. Again, a saint this man is.)

I will freely admit that I wasn’t always this way. Bake-y, I mean. In college, my dish of choice was macaroni and cheese of the Kraft variety. Kindof every night. And, um, afternoon. OK, OK, even mornings. (Now that we watch Top Chef, every food offering has become a dish. Because we’re classy like that.)

Husband has always been very adept at the stir-fry method of cooking. By that, I mean that in college he pretty much threw what was around into a skillet, added rice and tomato sauce and simmered/sautéed. It was….interesting. And, um, edible. Yup, interesting and edible kindof sums it up.

To rescue us both from years of random mixtures, I tried to cook when we first got married. Note that I said tried. Generally, Husband would come home to some sort of baked meat (usually very well-done) and side vegetable. No need for seasonings, the general charring that ensued added an interesting smoky flavor!

Thankfully, Husband rescued us both and took over the bulk of the dinner duties. He left the skillet-concoctions behind and (thank GOD!) became a superb griller.

When I reclaimed my soul after my career switch, I decided to give baking a try. Mom is an AMAZING chef and I figured some of those genes may have carried over. (They had not made the slightest hint of an appearance over the preceding thirty years.)

Carry over, indeed. I know that humility is a desirable quality and all, but I can rock me some pastry. I think Mom teared up a little when she was finally able to buy me a stand mixer for Christmas.

This past Easter, I was on desserts. I decided to do a cruise-buffet-inspired variety of little individual offerings. Despite having spent five hours painstakingly making a dobosh torte from scratch (seriously, look this sucker up. I am a pastry goddess!), this Easter buffet almost broke me. No, it wasn’t the mini-lemon meringue pies. Or the ganache-topped mini-cupcakes. Or even the chick-shaped cake balls. (Husband: Cake balls. Heh.) No, what almost drove me to the cooking sherry was frieking brownies.

Looking back, I can see where I went wrong. Since I didn’t see any Pam, I coated the mini-muffin tray with Crisco. Round 1, deep-fried brownies. I pulled them out of the oven and almost sloshed a good ½ inch of liquid lard all over myself. Because I was not going to let a batch of brownies beat me, I tried again. I used less Crisco and popped Round 2 into the oven. I could do this, right? Heck, brownies are the first thing every little girl makes from scratch, right?

I couldn’t do this. Deep-fried brownies 2, Alison 0.

Now I got angry. You know how they say to put happy thoughts and love into your cooking? Not these brownies. Batch 3 were filled with anger, bitterness and a stream of muttered curse words. However, this time I at least had the good sense to finally dig through our cabinets and find some cooking spray.

End result? Deep-fried brownies, 2, Alison 1. I WIN!!!

The anger-brownies were not the hit of the buffet. I blame the brownies. Little bastards.

1 comment:

  1. I love that, due to your extreme couponing prowess, you had three boxes of brownies on hand. Change that. You had enough ingredients to MAKE three batches on hand.