dinner party salad (day 15)
Sunday was a wonderful day. F and I spent the afternoon cleaning and getting food ready (we made roasted ratatouille and two different Galette des Rois (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_cake)- there are more stories there that I will share another time! In the evening, we had 10 people around our little table (5 couples). It was so nice to have warm company in this warm house, eating warm food. It was -25 outside. Our meal turned out to be multi-course, with everyone bringing something to share. First was wine and cheese, then a salad and carrot-ginger-orange soup, mushroom turnovers, ratatouille and couscous, then more wine and cheese, chocolates and our Galettes. Kyla made the salad and it was perfect- mixed greens with plum tomatoes, mushrooms, chives, cucumber, and a balsamic dressing. Thanks to everyone who contributed to the meal!
The funny part about the galettes was that we were reminded that afternoon that one of our guests is allergic to nuts; which was pretty hilarious, since we had planned an almond dessert! Thinking through what I already had in the kitchen, I suggested we try a lemon curd filling for the second galette- I hadn’t made it before, but how hard could it be? I combined the lemon juice, butter, sugar, and eggs on the stove and started whisking. F quickly took over, since I was getting tired, and he whisked and whisked, waiting for the ‘soft peaks’ and ‘bubbles’ indicated in the recipe. Well, the bubbles came fast enough, but it didn’t seem to be thickening at all. After more than 20 minutes of whisking (recipes varied from 6-10 minutes- I think we got something wrong!), F took the electric mixer and started at it. After 10 more minutes of that, and no visible thickening happening, we gave up and put the whole thing in the fridge, hoping that the act of cooling would thicken it a bit. Let me add that we know had a lovely layer of white foam (meringue?) from all of the mixing. After a couple of hours, and in the midst of dinner, we were ready to stick the galettes in the oven, so we poured the curd into an open puff pastry shell and stuck it in with the almond galette. Forty-five minutes later, when it was time to take the desserts from the oven, I realized our grave mistake: the curd was already cooked! We didn’t need to put it in the oven in the shell- we could have just poured it into the cooked shell! These were my thoughts as I saw the lemon curd boiling and spurting out of its shell in the oven. We were laughing so hard that everyone was asking what we’d done! When we showed them, they were thoroughly entertained, but Dave, our nut-free guest, was really sweet and said it smelled good and he’d still love a piece. We cut it after cooling it briefly, and it looked like a biscuit with yellow baby food poured over top, honestly. The meringue we had unintentionally created had browned and added yet another ‘element’ to the look of the tart. We had another big laugh when we realized that the dried chickpea we put in as a king’s piece would be cooked by now, after sitting in a pool of boiling lemon-y liquid for 45 minutes. I had a piece, and honestly enjoyed it, despite the less than desirable presentation. In any case, a word to the wise: don’t double-cook your curd :).