Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Poor mr, I thought as I worked on Monday Food fest last night. He’s at Boy Scout camp for three days this week. I could picture him eating hot dogs and peanut butter while we were enjoying my dad’s birthday dinner. I felt a little bad (but not too bad since he gets s’mores, too).
Yep, tonight was dad’s birthday dinner - only two weeks late this time! He’s been wanting bangers and mash since St. Patrick’s day (not sure why, we’re not Irish) so he begged for those. He also picked ham croquettes and asparagus with almonds (each of these he found in our local paper) and upside-down apple tart from a magazine straight out of the stone ages - seriously. I didn’t even know what some of the stuff the recipe called for is. My dad hoards - remember? Anyway, I had my work cut out for me.
I started at 4 - thinking it would be more than enough time to get everything done - and we finally sat down to dinner at 6:30. I used every single pan in my house - some more than once. I also ran out of cooking/serving spoons and spatulas before I was finished.
I started on the croquettes - since I read through the recipe and realized that they were supposed to chill for 24 hours. Whoops. So I whipped them up and stuck them in the fridge to chill for as long as possible. Then I started the bangers and mash - which (for those of you who don’t speak “Irish” is sausage and mashed potatoes). My grocery store didn’t have chicken sausages like the recipe called for so I got polish sausages instead. The bangers and mash required doing multiple things at once in and of itself, plus I decided to work on the sauce for the croquettes and the apple tart all at the same time.
It was getting later, so I threw on the asparagus, too, and it proved to be just one thing too many on the stove. Not for the stove - it did fine - but for me. I couldn’t remember what timers were for what items and which things needed to be stirred next and what I was supposed to put in the oven when. Things were beeping and buzzing and sizzling and spitting and I just about lost my mind when my dad pointed out the charred and blackened remains of the almonds in my skillet. They were burned beyond recognition and I’m just lucky it didn’t set off the industrial strength smoke detectors I have. I’d used up my almond supply, so I had to serve the asparagus drizzled with olive oil and lightly salted. Which was still good, but slightly disappointing. I’ll have to try the almond thing some other time.
The bangers and mash were a big hit with the parents. I personally thought it was a lot of work for some potatoes and sausage. Not my favorite meal, but it wasn’t my worst meal either (my worst meal would have to be this one. Or maybe this one.).
My dad loved the croquettes, but I thought they were too mushy on the inside - most likely because they hadn’t chilled overnight like they were supposed to. I’m pretty sure he was thinking of these croquettes when he picked the ham ones for this meal, and honestly, the ham croquettes just couldn’t measure up. If you want some awesome croquettes, make these instead and skip the ham.
And dessert? Well, let’s just say that this came pretty close to going up on that scoreboard over there as another failure. The only reason it isn’t there is because it was, technically, edible. First of all, the “dough” as the recipe calls it, wasn’t dough at all, but more like a floury coating. Maybe this is because I don’t know what the heck a pastry blender is? Hmmmm. I also turned the heat down to fast on the sugar because it melted while I wasn’t paying attention and when I noticed I got scared that it would burn if I didn’t turn the heat down RIGHT THIS INSTANT, and then the whole thing turned into this strange, hardened, congealed sugary mess so I had to heat it up AGAIN and add more sugar and THEN put the apples in... phew. By the time I took it out of the oven, I was so scared of ruining it completely or missing the plate and flipping it onto the floor, that I didn’t have the courage to “invert it onto a serving platter.” So I just served it upside down in the skillet with the yogurt sauce over it. It looks pretty pathetic, I know. But do you know what was worse than the way it looks? The way it tasted. The melted sugar turned into this maple-y/molasses-y tasting goo that I was not fond of. Thank goodness my dad likes that kind of thing, since it was his birthday dessert. I could have skipped it completely.
I guess that makes my favorite part of this dinner the asparagus. Weird. I wasn’t feeling sorry for mr at all at the end of dinner. In fact, I kind of envied him.
Don’t worry, though, I had some oreos stashed away - hiding in the... well, I can’t tell you, because it’s a secret hiding spot. We’ll just say that after my parents did a load of dishes, scrubbed my pans and cleared away the food (thanks, parents!! You’re the best) and the kids were tucked in bed, those little cookies were calling my name. So I got a decent dessert after all.