Tuesday, January 06, 2004

So first things first. I got my sweet food processor for Christmas and it is amazing. With that and my stand mixer I can barely handle leaving my kitchen. You know how slicing an onion thin by hand is pretty easy and not too time consuming? And how with a mandoline, it's really really easy and not at all time consuming? With the food processor, it's effortless and INSTANTANEOUS. If I keep at this, I will soon be able to slice an onion just by thinking about it.

Christmas dinner and that night's party were amazing. If you ever want to make a sugar cookie with frosting, you cannot go wrong with Nigella's butter cookies in her How To Be a Domestic Goddess kids' section. 10 guests, 5 dozen cookies, all gone. You do the math.

My lemon meringue pie, though, was a catastrophe. The meringue was gorgeous and the crust divine, but the lemon curd. Why will my lemon curd never, ever set?

Another food disaster came the other night when I tried to make the Zuni Cafe spinach ricotta gnocchi. I suspect that the ricotta (not a particularly great ricotta, undrained) was far too wet, but I also wonder if beating with the stand mixer was a mistake. Whenever I see the words "beat vigorously" I assume the KitchenAid must do its job, but perhaps not. The results were exploding, misshapen ricotta lumps.

A food triumph, however, was the chicken pot pie I made last night. I can add veloute sauce to my repertoire, and hope I don't drink it like soup. Because it is amazing. Add that to poached chicken and vegetables (which we had had alone as the main meal the night before, to use the leftovers for the pot pie- I don't think I'll do that again, as poached chicken and veggies are pretty bland) and frozen peas. Top with a flaky pie crust and bake until delicious.

The pie crust was my first food processor pastry dough. I learned that the dough blade is only for doughs with 3 or more cups of flour. I wish I had learned this by consulting the owner's manual, but it's all okay. A little fraisage (which is the fun part of pastry anyway) and it all worked out. Again, simplicity itself. Soon I will be making pie crusts just by blinking.