As Long as We Were Discussing Chocolate....
ANYWAY, Mr. K and I have been invited to dinner tonight at the home of a delightful doctor for whom I used to work and her partner. I adore Dr. A, and haven't seen her in far too long (notwithstanding the fact that I miss the medical world so very badly I'd probably pay good money just to touch her lab coat), so when she asked me to bring dessert, I wanted something really great. I hunted and researched and struggled and planned and considered combining elements of multiple recipes and watched the Food Network (okay, so I'll watch the Food Network at the drop of a hat which I admit is terribly strange...but at least this time I had a good excuse). I studied and hunted and searched and finally decided on:
Yes, indeedy. Chocolate cake made from scratch, removed from the oven and poked all over with a fork. Bailey's Irish Cream poured over the poked cake and the whole thing set to absorb. Spiked cake then torn into pieces and layered in a glass bowl with homemade fudge sauce and whipped cream. Perfect, no? I got started on it this morning and was laying out everything I would need....when it dawned on me what I was making. Chocolate cake, creamy filling, fudge sauce that will solidify until it's sort of frosting-like......yep. To impress my dear friend, I have studied and worked and planned and angsted to produce...
....a giant, boozy, Ho-Ho.
Or Ding-Dong...take your pick. Either way, not necessarily the paragon of elegance I was going for. Hang on, let me just check my voicemail.....nope. No calls yet from any of the finer restaurants, wanting me to be their pastry chef. Go figure.
So, in the list of Ms. K's Helpful Tidbits for Life (or for Saturday, at any rate), I offer these timeless suggestions:
1. Experimentation is best saved for when the outcome is not terribly important....which, of course will guarantee a perfect result with nary a giant snack cake in sight.
2. Spiking the cake will not make it any less of a Ho-Ho...better to spike the recipients if at all possible. Later, you can tell them it's a secret French recipe and that they loved it (Le Houx -Houx, I believe it's called).
3. Whipped cream, likewise, does not solve all sins, no matter what the cat thinks. And it's not nice to smear it on her nose where she can't really reach it. Even if it is funny.
4. Face-saving ideas such as "I'll blend the entire thing in the blender and call it mousse!" should be re-examined carefully after sitting down with knitting for at least an hour. Then, if it still sounds reasonable, consider whether you might have drunk either too much or too little of the Bailey's.
5. Related to the above, one should think seriously about the possible ramifications of becoming known as "the one who brought a Ho-Ho smoothie to a dinner party." Unless you don't like the hosts. In that case, throw some Twinkies in there and go to town. That should take care of all those pesky invitations for some time to come(for the record, I LOVE my hosts, so the smoothie is right out).
6. The use of chocolate in an experimental dessert may backfire since chocolate is poisonous to dogs, thus eliminating the option of "accidentally" dropping the bowl on the way in and letting the dogs eat it. (Note to self: explore the wonders of vanilla.)
7. When planning an experimental dessert, telling the hosts ahead of time exactly what you're going to make is the cooking equivalent of merrily announcing to your entire knitting group that you're going to master a new stitch and make a complete hat out of it and teach it to all of them at the meeting next week. With yarn you spun yourself. From your own sheep, that you'll shear for the occasion. In other words, it's just asking for trouble.
8. Friends who are not as bright as my doctor friend might be fooled by a blithe "why yes, this is the chocolate trifle I was telling you about" while handing over a store-bought angelfood cake and a can of Hershey's syrup. (Note to self: cultivate friends who were raised by monkeys in the wilds of Borneo and have never heard of cake. Or trifle. Or Ho-Hos.)
9. A good phrase to practice is "Why yes, I'd love to bring something. How are you for napkins?"
10. Another one is "No, we already had dessert. Don't you remember? You said it was really good."
11. I am not Paula Dean. Or Ina Garten, or the Naked Chef. I am Ms. Knitingale. Next time, perhaps I should offer to bring socks.
Speaking of socks, I can't begin to tell you how much I've appreciated all your support and encouragement regarding my "socks to dye for". It feels like I have a whole bunch of friends who come over and help me laugh at myself and move on. Now, if you can just talk me out of the whole "dying 25 pounds of sock yarn because I'm so darned clever" thing. Or into it. I'll let you know when I decide which.