Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Kitchen Gods

I don't know what I did to anger the kitchen gods, but it must have been impressive since it has adversely affected my kitchen karma since last Friday.

It began when I decided to make some pumpkin gnocchi for dinner. I had all of the ingredients in the house; and, after all, I had made many batches of fluffy and delicious potato gnocchi in the past. Easy? Not so fast. I ended up with a lump of leaden orange-hued dough. There was no saving it.

I decided to think about dinner later and went on to candying a batch of nuts for a treat with drinks or dessert. Easy? Not so fast. Crystallized, stringy and rock hard--there was no saving them.

The next day T & G were expected for dinner. After burning a batch of crostini, I decided to make of batch of savory biscotti to have with drinks. Need I say more? The dough was tough and far from malleable. There was no saving them.

Thankfully, the rest of the dinner went off without a hitch. We had crostini (a new batch) topped with goat cheese and fig preserves. A lovely chicken roasted with carrots, lemons and olives followed. This was accompanied by a winter salad of escarole, red onion, walnuts and shards of Parmesan tossed with a mustard vinaigrette. There was apple cake topped with whipped cream for dessert. Redeemed! Or so I thought.

This is the chicken ready for the oven.

Dinners on Sunday and Monday were simple and uneventful. But yesterday when I tried to get a jump on my Thanksgiving baking--well. I had some time before dinner, so I decided to make the pastry dough and park it in the freezer until next week. The buttery dough for the apple crostata came together perfectly. On to the pastry for the pumpkin pie. A pastry dough, I might add, I have made hundreds of times. Not so fast. Right before my eyes it dissolved into a sticky mess. There was no saving it.

All I know is that I need to get my head into the game before Thanksgiving is upon us. L and I have been jointly hosting Thanksgiving for at least the last six years. I make a few appetizers, roast the turkey, and bake the desserts. She brings all of the side dishes. The number of people around the table varies from year to year, and we all look forward to it.

So I vow to banish distractions, and hopefully with the help of the kitchen gods, get on with the show.

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