Right now, in my kitchen, there is not a clean pan, bowl, spoon, spatula, sieve, grater, mixer, or surface that is clean!
No, I have not had an explosion or someone who broke in rummaging for jewels.
Instead, I have had my first experience with French cooking!
Tuesday night Grace casually mentioned that she needed a French pastry for her World History class on Thursday.
That's easy as there is a La Madeline right around the corner of the school.
Oh no, life is not that easy though, as this had to be made by Grace.
You may recall that this is the same school that I volunteered to make a Chinese dessert for, which caused days and weeks of trauma until I finally bit the bullet right in the middle of our kitchen remodel. Thanks to having my parents next door, that dessert was a success! And Mom's perfect timing of when to take something out of the oven.
I had asked Grace what she would like to make, not really knowing what a HUGE assortment of desserts were considered French, BUT the most important factor was that it had to be a recipe that Julia Child used.
Even without seeing Julie and Julia, I know that Julia Child is not French, so I cannot explain why we had to use a Julia Child recipe for this assignment.
We had talked about Pots de Creme like we had this summer at a nice restaurant.
Oh yummy! We thought that would be fabulous to learn to make.
This afternoon in the VERY cold, wet weather we stopped at Sam's to get enough ingredients to make LOTS of Chocolate Pots de Creme, even purchasing special cups to pour it in to make delivery to school that much easier.
I had checked out both of our Julia Child cookbooks from work and even a third French cookbook. I had scoured the internet for the best recipe and thought I had found it.
Since I did not take the recipe in and have absolutely no sense in quantities needed for things such as this, we came away with enough cream, chocolate, and cups to serve most of Dallas their very own pots de creme!
Mom and Dad had their own difficult day unfolding at their house as they attempted to replace their original doors with something newer and stronger and hopefully better insulated. When we got home and there was no door on their house we knew it had not gone well and the temperature outside was continuing to drop.
Under those circumstances it is really hard to ask your mom to take over this task that is facing you, but I have to admit, I was tempted. My mother can whip up a banana pudding from scratch before I can get my hands washed. I have seen her use two forks and whip evaporated milk to make whipped cream. She is world renown for her chocolate pies, roast beef dinners, and anything in between. French cooking I don't think she has ever tried, but cannot imagine it would be a problem!
But when I heard the story of the problems with the door, I could not ask her to take over and I firmly reminded myself that I am the mother and no longer the 11 year old!
We do not have quick dinners. Somehow I can plan to make something as simple as spaghetti and from the time I start the meal until Annabel is finished eating, it can easily be 2 hours.
In between I am trying to help Annabel understand how to determine the radius of a circle, which I do not know, answer questions for Grace on the book, "The Giver", wash a load of clothes, and load the dishwasher.
When we finally began our Chocolate Pots de Creme, Grace decided we could not make that.
WHAT????? We already have the chocolate chopped up, the eggs are ready to be beat, the cups are ready to be filled.
Can you guess why?
Well the main criteria of the dessert to be prepared is that it had BUTTER in it, as Julia Child's favorite ingredient. It was written on the assignment sheet! Pots de Creme does not. It has millions of eggs and a ton of cream, but no butter!
OKAY, slowly trying to adjust my thinking, not being familiar with French cooking that is not available at a pastry shop, I jumped on the internet and googled Julia Child+chocolate+butter and came up with her cake, Le Glorieux! Actually I came up with several mousse recipes first, but someone else was making that, so we had to go to plan q or are we up to plan r by now?
It took all 3 of us chopping, stirring, sifting, preparing the pans, and a mad dash to Mom and Dad's to get Mom's handheld mixer, but the cake is in the oven.
The time has gone off and one of the layers doesn't even look like it has been in the oven and the other smells and tests done.
No I have to make the filling quickly before the girls get out of the shower or I might get help again!
Actually I know we need to do more baking together as neither had a clue on how to "grease and flour" a cake pan. Oops! I'll work it in next time. Right now I have to melt more chocolate, chop more butter, and beat the tar out of it until it is the consistency of a smooth mayonnaise!