Tuesday, August 01, 2006

We had friends over for dinner Sunday for fried chicken, and I have to say it was probably my number two fiasco of a meal, ever. My number one fiasco was the time I thought it would be a good idea to prepare fish meuniere for 10. This was nowhere comparable, and really, not that bad, in the scheme of things- things just didn't go as smoothly as I thought.

Starter was pimiento cheese, which was just fine, but which struck me while the friends were on their way as potentially patronizing. Is it patronizing to serve Southern food to Southerners? I don't know. I just know I really craved pimiento cheese, so I will chalk that up as fine. Also quite fine was the squash casserole (I halfed the usual recipe, which fills a 9X13 pan and which usually provides for leftovers at Thanksgiving. It turned out to be a blessing that our other two guests were no-shows, since this was the perfect amount for four people but would have been a stretch for six. I forgot that you can stretch things further at Thanksgiving because there are so many items, people want less of each) and the sliced tomatoes and watermelon. You can't really screw up slicing tomatoes and watermelon, they just need to be in season.

The fiascos were, in this order, the biscuits, the chicken, and the rhubarb-strawberry tart. While making the biscuits I realized I did not have any baking soda, and that is all I will say about that. They were edible, but had I any other bread product in the house to serve I would have tossed the biscuits. They were kind of embarassing.

As for the chicken, I grew overconfident in my chicken frying skills. I did not monitor the first batch closely, and it got almost burnt. I turned down the heat too much for the second batch, though, which led to really unpleasant looking chicken. Fortunately again the no-shows were a blessing in disguise, since I just served the first dark chicken and the presentable pieces of the second. The chicken was better than edible, but, still, not my best.

The tart was actually perfect, except for the fact that it had way too much filling, and the juicy sugar part of the filling ran over and burnt. Causing dinner to be marred by an unpleasant burning odor. Causing me to want to hide under the table.

Fortunately, good friends and conversation can make even the smell of burnt sugar seem bearable. (At least, I hope so. They did a good job of pretending, if not.)


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