Back in the saddle
In a matter of weeks, Kristina and I will start shooting Grocery Bag season 4! I'm excited to be testing another list of cookbooks and kitchen products, and this season we have some really exciting adventures planned. We'll be covering our usual cross-section of celebrity books (Batali!), niche books (a lesson on gluten!), ethnic foods (hello Marrakech!) and the downright far-fetched. (Can a roast chicken really land me a husband?) You'll want to catch every episode.
As part of our pre-testing I’ve been knee deep in chocolate, for a book entitled “Chocolate”, of course. Oh how I wish the cameras had been there when I made Chocolate Pie in honour of The Help for my Oscar gathering.
Never finding much success in baking, I decided to spread out the work over three days to ensure I was focused every step of the way. Make the crust one day, the filling on day two, and the whipped topping the day of the show. Easy right?
The pie crust was something to behold. I was so proud, even my crimped edging looked almost professional (and you know how much presentation means to me). I let it chill undisturbed overnight, then tackled the filling the next morning. Again, everything was going smoothly. I poured the rich, chocolatey filling into the perfect pie crust. I even have a beautiful blue Emile Henri pie plate for it, making the presentation even more excellent.
And then it strikes me that something doesn’t quite look right. See the below picture? Does something seem amiss to you? I forgot to bake the *&%$# crust! How stupid am I??? Do I start all over again?
At that point I wasn’t sure I could finish in time. So I decided to take a page from Kristina’s book and attempt to fix what I had started. I scooped out all the filling and used paper towels to wipe down the inside of the crust. I wasn’t sure how baking some of the chocolate into the crust would affect the final result (aside from melting the chocolate, the fluffy filling never gets baked).
After wiping off as much as I could I popped it in the oven to bake (which took twice as long as the recipe said it would.) Then I let the crust cool and put the filling back in. Looked pretty good! Perhaps I was back on track.
The next step came that night when I was to make cacao-infused whipping cream. The recipe calls for bringing the cream and cacao nibs to a boil, letting it sit for 20 minutes, draining through a sieve, then letting it sit for several hours. Time consuming, but simple.
I was heading out for dinner and making the cream recipe in between hair blow drying and dog walking before going out. I was cutting it close for getting to the restaurant on time and was rushing. But I could make it!
Last thing I had to do was strain the cream and go. Stilettos were already on. Taxi called. Number one rule in the kitchen when it comes to making a recipe for the first time: DO NOT RUSH. While trying to get the lid on the plastic container (Is this lid from a different set?? I can’t quite make it fit!), the container slipped out from under my hand and the cream sprayed EVERYWHERE. Seriously, it was like I used a hose.
Do you know how hard it is to clean up whipping cream? It’s full of fat! So there I was in my nice dress and heels, on my hands and knees cleaning the floor and finding a whole new list of expletives.
Sunday morning, early to rise to go buy more cream and start that part of the recipe over again. I threw away that plastic container and its mis-matched lid and used a metal bowl – better for whipping later anyway. Alas, here is my final product. My guests were very happy and were none the wiser! Thanks Kristina, for teaching me to try to fix it before starting all over again. Being a perfectionist is for the birds.
Looking forward to a new season of cooking mishaps and adventures. New episodes will start airing in September and until then, of course, you can continue to enjoy our reruns on OWN and we promise to share our antics during production here on annaandkristina.com.