It’s a Red Letter Day!

…that’s because I’m composing my very first blog entry from the comfort of my home (and in my pajamas, if I may be so bold…)…rather than trying to do it slyly at work and wondering all the while whether or not one of my colleagues is going to rat me out. So…such freedom!

It was also a red letter day, in a manner of speaking, because the police searched my baked goods carrier this morning before I got on the Subway. They were very nice about it. One of the policemen said, “That’s a very interesting shaped container…” and I said, “It’s for food!” and he replied, “Ah, so I wouldn’t have any use for it then.” Then he swiped it all over with that wand-thing and I was on my merry way.

I was transporting two pies and a tart…partially because one of my coworkers turned 30 today but partially because I was really mad at the end of the day yesterday and I find baking somewhat therapeutic. (In fact, I was talking to my aunt recently and she said that baking is good for anxiety because there’s something about the exactness of the measuring that calms you…)

Just as an interesting little sidenote: I was having lunch with a colleague today and explaining why I came into work with so much food and he said, “You know, if you were my wife, I’d pick fights with you all the time.”

The peanut butter pies really went off without a hitch. The only thing I struggled with was making numbers out of peanuts…but that could very well have been because I was running late this morning and I was in too much of a hurry to take the necessary time to craft a “3” and a “0.” (The “0” pie got kind of squished on my way in, too…as in, the “0” was indecipherable.)

And…remember all those onions?? Well…I got to take 5 (!!) of them home with me last night, so I had plenty to make the Vidalia Onion Tart (I actually only needed two to get five cups of onion…). The tart dough, however, was a little more troublesome. The directions said to cream the butter, sugar and salt together in a food processor for ten minutes…but that just sounded ridiculous to me. Ten minutes?? Nevertheless, I threw it all together in the Cuisinart and hit “ON” when the phone rang…but about ten seconds into my call, all the stuff had already mixed up and was making a funny noise – and I don’t have a paddle attachment – so I just turned it off and said, “Looks good to me.” That was possibly the source of my downfall as it turned out to be a very greasy crust. (I also couldn’t really be bothered to roll it out to 1/8″ thick [What was that I was saying about baking being therapeutic??], so I just kind of squished it in the tart pan.)

I had to bake it for a little bit and then throw all the stuff inside and bake it some more. The innards – onion, cream, egg, parsley, chives – looked a lot like egg salad. (I am not a big egg fan. In the first grade, we had to do a lunch-swap thing where we decorated lunch bags and had our mothers fill them up and the next day we put them all out on a table and then somehow we each got to pick one. My teacher was very clear that she would not tolerate any complaints or any faces or rude gestures. But I couldn’t help it. As soon as I opened mybag and pulled out an egg salad sandwich, I recoiled in horror. Luckily, however, she did not see me…or perhaps I would not be sitting here, blogging to you today.)

And then as I prepared to place the tart pan with the removable bottom into the oven, we had a textbook Lisa Lacy moment: somehow the half-baked (yes, yes…I know…ha, ha) shell popped out of the tart pan with the removable bottom and landed precariously on my burners. Meanwhile, the fluted ring – which was still hot from being in the oven, mind you – cascaded down my bare arm, leaving little red marks all along the way (I’m being a baby – it was nothing serious). I was somehow able to pull the ring up my arm and nestle the half-baked crust back into the pan (it was so gooey – how I didn’t end up with raw Vidalia Onion Tart inside my stovetop is something of a miracle).

You’re supposed to bake it for 20 minutes “or until a knife comes out clean.” So…20 minutes later, a knife did not come out clean. I put it back in and set the timer for another five minutes…but then smoke started coming out of the back of the oven. Now, I don’t have a vent or anything, so I just take the batteries out of my smoke alarm whenever I make anything (yes, I do that a lot)…so there wasn’t any risk of my alarm going of…but it was circa midnight and there are at least a dozen of my landlady’s relatives sleeping upstairs (including, perhaps, my landlady) and I thought it best not to rouse them from their slumber with the Red Hook Fire Department (ooh – my second reference to emergency people in one entry)…as I had flashbacks to the infamous midnight coffeecake incident. But I turned everything off and opened the back door and the smoke cleared…and no one was any wiser.

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