06 April 2017

Ain't A Thing I Can Do About It.

Our new puppy is a terrier. We often tell Penny that her behavior is tenacious, which it is, though the animal could not care less whether we notice. Penny is going through her "make me" stage, though sometimes it's a "you can't stop me" stage. All we can do is remain firm in her training and love her to bits.

I understand Penny's persistence. My own tenacity simply will not allow me to walk away from a baking failure. Having perfected the cream puff . . . having posted the recipe here with specific instructions that cream puffs absolutely cannot be made without bright light . . . what did I do? I tried to make cream puffs in the dim evening light of our kitchen. Complete failure. So naturally I had to make two more arrays just to confirm that indeed I can make cream puffs . . . in a brightly illuminated kitchen filled with afternoon sunlight. 

And then there was the brioche calamity . . . and the biscotti nightmare . . . and my reproach of Paul Hollywood's recipes, which is neither to impugn Paul's kitchen talent nor The Great British Baking Show -- I'm merely saying that Paul's instructions failed me when using primarily Costa Rican ingredients. So I ran far and fast from Paul's recipes and sought the advice from good ol' U.S.A.'s King Arthur Flour. Mulligan! Now I won't say that it was the best brioche in the land, but I definitely made genuine brioche à tête as well as white chocolate & cranberry biscotti that actually resembled biscotti

Then I triumphed with my chocolate-mocha cream horns. They were worth that battle for puff pastry. And my Pastel de Tres Leches with the Italian meringue topping was so good that I believe Rusty only got two slices. Suddenly I'm an Italian meringue expert.

Anyway, with so many sweets swarming in our home, my shorts are noticeably tighter, which should come as no surprise. I need a mumu . . . thatand a new hobby that doesn't involve sugar, eggs, butter, and cream. I chose sewing.


I'm an excellent seamstress and pattern-maker; and my friend Rob brought yards of colorful pagne fabric all the way from Chad (the country in Africa, not a person). Maybe my penchant for baking came from Rusty's failure to repair my sewing machine, despite all those boy toys that he calls tools and despite my full year of whining about my machine's goofy needle-tension. Had I a working sewing machine, I'd weigh 105 pounds and Rusty would be whining about wanting my chocolate-orange ganache torte. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. 

Finally Rusty disassembled my sewing machine, cleaned it, did his man-magic to repair that inner sanctum wherein lives the bobbin, and presented me with a machine whose needle- and bobbin-tension match. There is one small problem: in layman's terms, the needle won't go up and down . . . neither via the foot pedal nor with a hand-turn of the wheel. And no, I'm not talking about an antique machine. The damn thing simply won't work; I haven't the skills to repair it; and this tragedy came to light on the eve of Rusty's departure for Texas.

Rusty tells me that, true, he did not disassemble the upper mechanism of the machine, and that it's probably like a two-stroke engine and simply needs its lightweight oil to work its way up to the wheel. Yeah. Right. Do I need a lesson about stroking a machine?!? No! I don't need an engine lesson, I need a working sewing machine.

So Rusty is in the United States this week. And without a sewing machine I'm left to find other projects . . . like shaving my legs. And projects like cleaning up Rusty's boy toy world -- removing to the recycle center all those pieces of scrap metal, bottles, and gourds that have been in his boy world for over a year . . . those items that Rusty avers he needs for some secret project and which I've sworn to eliminate from our property.

It's conceivable that the man will be thrilled when he sees that our car can now be parked under the shady carport. It's also possible that I'll have some explaining, if not apologizing, to do this weekend. Nevertheless, he cannot say that he wasn't warned; and I've enjoyed a tidy carport for a full week.

Will the carport quickly be refilled with dozens of new boy toys that return from the U.S. with Rusty? Of course it will. And I"ll complain until my next opportunity to de-clutter the man cave during Rusty's next trip to Texas. Ah, married life and first-world problems. Lo que hay.