I spent the entire day in the kitchen yesterday. I swear I’m not a glutton for punishment – just a really poor judge of just how much I can accomplish in an afternoon.
I made a Not-So-Vegetarian Cassoulet that turned out fabulous. I paired it with a homemade baguette and followed dinner up with Thunder Cake with (shudder) buttercream frosting. Three things. That just doesn’t seem like it should have taken all afternoon.
Where do I start?
- The cassoulet was easy and incredibly yummy with the kielbasa added. I can’t recommend this enough. I did not have fresh herbs on hand so I used dried thyme and skipped the parsley. Also, I skipped the breadcrumb top – I think I will do it next time, but I was feeling overwhelmed by the bread, cake, and cranky two year old.
- I make baguettes all the time. So often, that I guess I have gotten too confident. This time I went to take my bread dough out of the bread machine and found a goopy mess. I blame the two year old. I threw in a cup of flour, mixed it around, dumped the contents out onto my baking sheet, kneaded awhile, rolled it out and threw it in the oven. It wasn’t perfect, but it was good enough.
- Thundercake is the weirdest cake I have ever made, but amazingly enough it turned out. The girls had read the book at school and really, really, really wanted me to make it. I thought this was going to be a disaster; the shortening/sugar mixture does not want to cream with, um, water and tomatoes (go figure… ) But, I mixed it up and went ahead and threw in the dry ingredients and it all came together. The recipe says to top with chocolate butter cream frosting, but I did not have any in my pantry and didn’t want to take all the kids to the store, so I figured I would just make my own…
- OMG. The chocolate buttercream frosting was a nightmare. At this point, my kitchen is a mess. I have used every bowl, every piece of equipment I freaking have. I’m tired of cooking. But I can’t stop now! Oh no, I must make this cake correctly because – because – well, I don’t know. I should have sprinkled some powdered sugar on top and called it a day. Anyways, I pull out my Joy of Cooking. I start heating and simmering and water bath-ing the frosting. I couldn’t believe how much work frosting was. No wonder most people go out and buy a tub of it. I beat 24 tablespoons of butter into my sugar/water/egg syrup, 1 tablespoon at a time. I actually spent the first 10 minutes of dinner beating the mixture with a whisk at the table. I figure this frosting cost me about $5 in ingredients and $10 worth of time and effort. Never again.
Tonight. Tonight they can all eat PB&J.