Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Sunday's dinner went wrong at around 11 AM, when I accidentally bought a loaf of olive bread instead of a loaf of pain rustique at the Farmer's Market. In fact, I remember thinking, these loaves are the same size, and this one has no label, and then grabbing it anyway when a second look would have revealed the presence of olives. And olives and onions, pissaladiere notwithstanding, did not sound like an appetizing basis for the croutons for Sunday night's onion soup.

So I went out again to the store (not just any store, but the Third and LaBrea Trader Joe's, which on a Sunday is possibly the worst decision one can make) and then thought, hey, I will also get some chocolate and make the Chocolate Wonders from The Improvisational Cook! And I will get some of this Trader Giotto's gelato to go with it and we are going to have a lovely Sunday supper.

I started the soup, and everything went splendidly, following Mastering the Art of French Cooking version of onion soup because what could go wrong with such a recipe? Nothing! I made just enough for two since unlike Jane Smiley, whose Gourmet article had reminded me I love onion soup, I didn't particularly want to use the onion soup as the basis for every meal this week. Once the soup had simmered long enough (you can tell because it stops smelling of beef stock and smells just of onions) I set the soup aside and started on dessert.

That was when things really went awry, as I realized that one of the beaters to my hand mixer was missing, and I decided that since my husband puts away most of the dishes, it had to be his fault. Long story short, I picked a huge fight, and then burnt the croutons (which I had put under the broiler while the Chocolate Wonders baked and then figured would need longer than usual under the broiler since the oven was only on 325 or something, which was a huge misconception.

So I wound up with burnt croutons (as a result of making a dessert I would never have made had I not bought the wrong bread) and an angry husband (also as the result of said dessert and also my own irrationality. Okay, mostly my own irrationality) which led to a delicious (once I cut most of the burnt parts off the croutons) but mean dinner. It was, sadly, a mean dinner that not even the very tasty Chocolate Wonders could fully take the bitterness out of.

However, the Chocolate Wonders taste just as good the next day and are excellent even room temperature with gelato, so it is good to make extra just in case you and your partner are not speaking when you eat the first batch. They remind me of nothing so much as the late, great, Randall's Supermarket Chocolate Chewie. (They are a little denser and not quite as chewy, but they are a remarkable approximation.) They will not get you instant forgiveness if you have been a total jerk, but they will pave the way.