Edit – Forgot to include the video and picture of Saturday dinner! Apologies for reposting.
Saturday night. After a full day of working on the computer and a full day for Tawn out running errands and catching up with various friends, he is working on a blouse and I’m preparing dinner. Something very impromptu, made only of what odds and ends are in the kitchen. The result: pan-fried polenta topped with tomato sauce, bacon, and Italian sausage served with a mixed green salad. Not the healthiest main course, probably, but the fridge is a bit empty of veggies other than salad.
It has been kind of busy lately. The first trio of several guests the autumn arrive just before Thanksgiving, and I’m trying to get a very expansive work project (now in its fourth month) completed before then, so that I can spend some time with them while they are here.
On top of that, Tawn and I are hosting Thanksgiving at our place this year. It will be held on Saturday instead of Thursday because Thanksgiving is a US (and Canadian) thing and nobody in Thailand other than the US Embassy staff is getting Thursday off work! We expect close to 20 guests and will be doing a poolside potluck. A few decisions I’ve arrived at: I am going to roast only turkey breast, not a whole turkey. I am going to roast it in advance, slather it with drippings and broth, and reheat it before serving. I am also going to make my gravy in advance from roast chickens. Seriously, with 20 guests and a small kitchen, I am not going to try and do a whole bird and I’m not going to spend the $100 it costs to buy an imported bird and have it roasted at the market.
Recently I made a third attempt at Macadamia Nut Cream Pie and it was similarly soupy. Here’s a short video in which my irritation almost starts to show.
Seriously, what is the problem? Well, the good news is that this evening I whipped up a fourth batch of filling and it appears to be setting nicely. Two hours in the fridge and it is pretty firm. But here is the problem: I wasn’t very scientific in my approach so I can’t tell you exactly what the fix was. I bought some new cornstarch and threw out the old, just in case that was the issue (which seems unlikely). I also modified recipe #3, a Betty Crocker recipe for vanilla cream pie, increasing the egg yolks by one, reducing the sugar slightly, and almost doubling the cornstarch. The scientists among you will shake your heads at my technique, but I really can’t keep baking pies, each time changing one element à la Cooks Illustrated.
I’ll try it again soon and include a pie crust and take some pictures. Please, dear deity of the kitchen, let the me replicate my success with this recipe!
My aunt, who was like a substitute mother for me once my parents moved out of the Bay Area for the Midwest, recently underwent some serious heart-related surgery and apparently is doing very well. I’m so relieved. There are people in life who have an especially profound impact on us, who shape elements of our outlook on life. My aunt’s attitude of “there’s always room for one more at the table” has shaped my approach to hospitality, party-throwing, and friendship for more than two decades. I hope she is back to hosting parties very soon.
In other news, I found out that Tawn’s fashion school, which is affiliated with a school in Florence, has an exchange program. He could go study for a semester in Florence with no additional tuition costs. Room, board, transportation, etc. would be an additional cost – a very significant one! – but at least no more school fees. I don’t know how we could swing this but my job location is very flexible and I would certainly love to live in Italy for a few months. Maybe I can take a leave of absence and study Italian cooking!
Okay, those are the things on my mind. I’m going to go watch episode 2 of the PBS miniseries Circus.