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Cats!

7 May

The cats have been taking turns sitting in a box. Nothing but non-stop excitement around here!

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How to save a Boston Cream Pie tottering on the edge of disaster.

30 Jan

A Boston Cream Pie has three components — the cake part, the custard part, and the chocolate glaze part. I decided to make one for the first time with very little time to spare to bring to a dinner party last night. Something went wrong with each component, and YET, I managed to salvage a rather tasty dessert. Perhaps not much to look at, but easy on the gullet.

First mishap: The sponge/cake part. It needed to be baked in a 9″ springform pan. Okay. But mine leaked. So half of the sponge wound up on the bottom of the oven. See photo below: I figured I’d make a trifle or something, and that all wasn’t lost, so I went on to the next component while what survived of the cake cooled. In the end, I was able to slice what remained in half and made two thin layers of cake.

Second mishap: The custard/scrambled egg part. It curdled. I know that an ice cube will rescue curdled hollandaise sauce, but I didn’t have one, so I poured a bunch of heavy cream (cold, from the fridge) in and transferred it out of the saucepan. So far, so good. It uncurdled, but it was really, really hot. So I put it in the freezer. (See photo)

Third mishap: The chocolate glaze part. It was bitter and there wasn’t enough to cover the cake (judging by the looks of it). So I added a bunch of confectioners sugar and shortening to make it into a better glaze (a very good decision).

So, in the end, I managed to make a huge mess of the kitchen, a big pile of dishes in the sink, and a kind of ugly looking cake, but it was a hit at the party. The end.

Holiday Home Tour a success (phew!)

8 Dec

On Sunday, I opened up two floors of my house for a fundraiser Holiday Home Tour for the Springfield Preservation Trust. This was the reason I was furiously painting and cleaning for the past fortnight or so. I had alternating feelings of panic (I don’t have enough decorations! Everyone’s going to think my hallways are ghastly) and resignation (eh, ornaments shornaments, halls, schmalls).

In the end, all was well (as it always is, as Julian of Norwich was fond of saying). The people on the tour were extremely nice and appreciative of our (there were six homes on the tour) opening our places up. When the president of the Trust came by, I said to him “Well, this is the understated version of Christmas decor,” (mind you, dear reader, this is the most my house has EVER been done up for Christmas and I borrowed quite a few decorations). He replied, “Well, it’s a continuum of ornament on this tour.” Ha ha! Some of the places had a chicken in every pot and a tree in every room. I love my crooked old tree and my vintage ornaments, and it’s a delight to have a clean house and a freshly painted kitchen, so I’m considering the tour a win-win.

Day Three (Thursday, Thanksgiving)

26 Nov

I had a very civilized evening Thanksgiving meal with friends — no one there was related or under 40. Thus, there were no fights, slights, or frenzies. It was vegetarian and delightful. During the day, therefore, I had plenty of time to keep on keepin’ on in the kitchen. I’m nearly done! Just need to paint the trim around the doors and window (hoping to find paint in the cellar that I can use) and touch up the ceiling in a few spots.

Here’s how it’s looking:

Day Two (Wednesday)

24 Nov

Mamma mia! Lots and lots got done today thanks to my friend Jorge who came by and worked with me non-stop. We painted the brick wall, gave the ceiling two coats of black, and gave most of the walls a first coat of brown. Also skim coated the wall between the door and window and sanded and primed the previously skim coated wall to the right of the door. I *never* would have gotten all this work done without his help. His friendship is definitely something I’m grateful for.