We’ve all had “one of those days” in the kitchen. My friend Sam, writer and fine cook, wrote to tell me what happened today and with his kind permission I just have to pass this on.
What a mess:
This morning I thought I’d get a jump on the cooking for tonight’s dinner. Tonight will be crêpes, savory and sweet. I thought if I pre-prepared the fillings then I could focus on the crêpes themselves at dinner.
First I pulled my cubed pork from its overnight marinade and dropped it in a heated frying pan. As I stood at the stove browning the meat I noticed the smell from the pan. First it was odd, then it became pungent, then acrid, then searingly horrible– yes, the marinated meat had gone bad and I was now filling the house with the stench of frying rot.
After dumping, splashing, cleaning, and fumigating, I decided to take another tack. I needed to make chocolate sauce for the desert crêpes. That would be my next task.
I found a simple recipe in Ginette Mathiot’s book: melt chocolate and butter, whisk in egg yolks, whisk in whipped egg whites, chill several hours . I brought down my double-boiler, set water in it and set it going on the stove. The adventure began.
I separated the eggs. I started the whites beating in the KitchenAid. I added the yolks one at a time, mixing between each addition. Suddenly, I swear to Betty Crocker, between the sixth stroke of the chocolate and the seventh “Blam!” The entire pot of chocolate congealed into a texture like sullen coffee grounds. I had overheated the chocolate.
Gah! Panic! Heartbreak!
I remembered that if you add a small amount of fat, chocolate will sometimes relax back into smoothness. I added the recommended table spoon of canola and mixed.. and mixed.. and mixed! No luck.
At this point I gave up and went all in. I simply threw in the egg whites and stirred with an aggrieved resentment. To my surprise a lumpy, and unattractive sauce emerged which tasted not too bad. It was as ugly as home-made sin, as the saying goes, but rich and chocolaty. Not bad.
Feeling encouraged I rechecked the recipe. Ginette recommends adding two tablespoons of rum. Well, this seems like a nice idea, but I don’t have any rum at the moment, so I thought I’d splash in a little cheap Old Crow bourbon. Unfortunately “splash” was exactly what it did (remember kids, use measuring devices, don’t pour freehand from the bottle unless you’re a much better judge of such things than I am!).
So now my chocolate sauce tastes like it has enough alcohol in it to fuel a zippo lighter. I have damaged, rescued, and damaged the same dish, and the entire apartment is faintly perfumed with the stench of rotten fried marinade.
I think I’m done for the day.