Saturday, December 8, 2007

Culinary and Crafty Failures

I wanted to make something fantastic for Clay's pitch-in work party last night. His boss asked for our big salad (which Clay takes every year) and I thought I would make a gingerbread cheesecake -- the recipe is in the December Martha magazine. Clay loves cheesecake and gingerbread, so I figured it was the perfect combination.

So, to make the cake, I took out my favorite 20th century inventions (Blogstalking Week #12 assignment):

These are the workhorses of our kitchen, even though I dropped the Cuisinart lid and have to hold it at a jaunty angle to make it work. (I found a new bowl on the Internet, but since this is an older model, we could almost get a whole new machine for the same price.) And how did I ever make a cheesecake without this happy pink Kitchenaid?

And the ReddiWhip? Well, you know, it's whipped cream. In a can. And it's ready. (ReddiWhip was a constant source of after-dinner entertainment for my dad. ReddiWhip on a baby's spoon, on a finger, or the best -- directly in your mouth.)

So, most of my yesterday was all about the cheesecake. I followed the recipe to a T and baked it in a hot water bath. After 65 minutes, it was "set, but wobbly in the middle," just like Martha said. Coming out of the oven, it was gorgeous. Cooled it for 2 hours on the counter. No crack. I, apparently, am a baking master.

During all this baking and cooling, I made this:

I saw a "believe" sign in a Mary Engelbreit book years ago, and always wanted to make one. So, I spray painted some wooden letters, covered a sheet of styrofoam with fabric and with the help of a hot glue gun and duct tape, I had a sign to hang above our Santa collection.

I hung the sign, put the cheesecake in the fridge and went to see Grandma and make a holy hour. When I got home, the sign had half-way fallen onto the Santas:

I patched it a bit and was going to hang it up again when Clay suggested I try hanging it somewhere else so that if it fell, no Santas would break (I really lucked out the first time -- Santas all over the floor, but none broken.)

He made the salad dressing while I went to get ready, and brought me up a taste. "This isn't right, is it? But I'm not sure what it needs." What it needed was new oil -- no amount of salt or herbs was going to change that icky stuff. So off he went to try again. (2nd attempt was a success.)

I thought it would be easier to serve if I cut the cheesecake at home, so I took out my sharp knife, dipped it in hot water and sliced up pieces of

nasty goo

Because I am nice, I will spare you a picture. The recipe did say to chill 8 hours or overnight, which I didn't, but this morning, the remnants of the cake are still quite gooey. Delicious, but gooey.

Luckily, there were two other cheesecakes at the party -- ours was not missed. And the salad was a hit.

The sign? Yep, it had fallen once again, even with the additional duct tape. Clay is going to try to salvage it for me today.

Yesterday was the Feast of St. Ambrose, Doctor of the Church and patron of our parish. His day doesn't get too much recognition, falling as it does between St. Nicholas and the Immaculate Conception, but I know they really whoop it up for him in Italy.

Here is what St. Nick left for Will (minus the beef jerky, dark chocolate bar and can of french fried onions he had already eaten by the time I got this picture taken):

(Wrestling update: At the conference duals last weekend, Will went 0-7. Dual meet at Scottsburg Tuesday, he was pinned in the 2nd period. It was a very strange venue -- when we got there, the lights in the gym were very low, almost romantic. There was one spotlight over the center of the mat and the ref wore some sort of sunglasses. Will tried to tell the ref he was bleeding, and the ref said, "Prove it" and didn't stop the match. If he had taken his glasses off, maybe he could have seen the streaks of blood all over the Scottsburg kid's singlet. Yikes. I know he is going to get a win soon. Maybe this Tuesday when they have a home meet.)

Prayer for 12/8: Food for all. I grew up on a farm, where even if we didn't have a lot of money, we always had plenty to eat. My prayer today is for food security for all Americans -- access to enough food for a healthy life, without the need for emergency food sources to meet nutritional needs. This should not even be a question in a nation as affluent as ours. May God forgive us for our excesses and waste and give us the strength to work toward this basic human right.


1 comment:

  1. It's terrible, but I'm giggling at the "Believe" sign that won't hang and the yummy but nasty goo.... Those things happen to me all. the. time.