New Years Eve in the Emergency Room

This New Years Eve was the second time I've spent a major holiday in an emergency room. The first time was nine or ten years ago, when I split my head open playing ping pong (yes, ping pong) on Christmas Day and spent four hours in the ER getting ten stitches above my right eyebrow. This time? We were up in Pennsylvania visiting my sister, and I was cooking a nice big meal for family and friends. I had at least four different pots going, including a large saute pan with pommes savonettes (carefully peeled and bevelled potatoes cooked in water and butter) that had spent a good twenty minutes in a 400 degree oven before being placed on the stove top.

In the rush of preparing the coq au vin, I reached for the wrong pot, and put my hand firmly on the metal handle of the still piping hot saute pan. Sweet baby Moses did it hurt but good. I immediately applied ice and with the help of family and friends was still able to finish dinner. And it was very delicious, even though I had to eat left-handed while the right hand clutched firmly a dishtowel filled with constantly replenished ice. Every so often I would remove the towel, and it would feel like somebody was holding my hand inside a fire. I felt like Paul Atreides being tested by the freaky bald woman in Dune (that's for all the dorks out there).

Anyway, deciding it better to be safe than sorry, I had the missus drive me to the nearest hospital. I rang in the new year on a gurney, waiting for the percocet to kick in, talking to a ten year old girl who had split her chin open. The diagnosis: second degree burns. But they've been healing quickly, thanks for asking. Not nearly as bad as I expected. Wasn't it just last post that I mentioned my nascent food show, "Cooking While Stupid"? And already I have another episode in the can.

Anyhow, I'm too lazy to post the coq au vin recipe right now, and anyway, although it was quite good, it wasn't the best I've made. And Kitchen Monkey only posts the best. I'll make it again sometime this year, and if I get it right I'll take the trouble to post the recipe then.

I will, however, post this picture of swans I carved out of apples. I saw this in a Jacques Pepin cookbook, and yes, I'm aware that it's ridiculous.

Finally, the missus made an extremely delicious Baci Tart, seen below. Those are hazelnuts, in case you're wondering. Perhaps she'd care to post the recipe in the comment section?


Anonymous said...

Kitchen Monkey- this was an email sent to me from Ed: "Would you please pass on our thanks to P** for her amazing dessert. Once we got settled down, having that was a really nice way to end the night and bring in the New Year. Please give her our compliments." -your sis

Joe Baker said...

Thanks you Mr. Monkey for a great meal and a better story! Mr. Bear

Kitchen Monkey said...

Happy to oblige, my ursine compadre.

Pamela said...

Recipe for Baci tart from "The Art & Soul of Baking" by Cindy Mushet (a must have baking book!)

Chocolate Crust:

1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/3 C sugar
1 large egg yolk
1 C unbleached all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

9 in fluted tart pan w/removable bottom

1) Place butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer (I used a hand mixer which worked just fine) on med. speed for 3 min. Mixture should be smooth and creamy. Scrape down the bowl with spatula. There should be no visible lumps of hard butter. Add egg yolk and beat well.

2) In separate bowl, whisk together flour and cocoa powder. Add dry mixture to butter mixture all at once and mix on low speed until dough comes together, with medium/small clumps (this took a few minutes). If dough becomes too batter-like, you can chill the dough for 15 minutes before pressing into pan.

3) Scrape dough clumps into the tart pan and use the heal of your hand to press the dough from the center out into an even layer across the pan and up the sides. Use thumbs to push dough into sides of pan and make dough even with rim. Save any extra dough to patch cracks after baking. Chill in freezer for 30 min or fridge for 1 hour.

4) Bake shell at preheated 350 degrees on center rack for 15 minutes. Remove pan from oven (don't forget to hold onto the sides so the bottom doesn't pop out). Repair any cracks and bake 15-17 minutes longer. Place on cooling rack.

The filling:

1/2 C heavy whipping cream
1/2 stick unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 C water
2 tbsp light corn syrup
3/4 C sugar
1 1/2 C hazelnuts toasted and skinned (I found these in the bulk section of Wegman's already prep'd)
1 1/2 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1) Combine cream and butter in small saucepan until butter is fully melted and cream is just simmering. Remove from heat.

2) Combine water and syrup in medium saucepan. Sprinkle sugar over the top. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally w/a heatproof spatula until sugar is dissolved and liquid is clear. Turn heat on high and boil rapidly, swirling occasionally. Mixture will turn a golden honey color (you can drip a small amount onto a white plate to measure the color). Remove from heat and immediately add the warm cream and butter mixture. Caution! This will sputter so you should wear an oven mit - this is why the medium saucepan is the way to go too.

3) Stir w/spatula to blend the caramel and cream. If there are any bits of hardened caramel you can always put the pot back on a very low heat until it melts.

4) Add hazelnuts and cook over medium heat until caramel turns a light golden brown - just a couple of minutes. Pour mixture into the tart shell.

5) Bake at 350 for 17 - 20 minutes until golden brown and bubbling. transfer to cooling rack and cool completely (don't forget to always hold the pan by the sides!).

6) Place chocolate in double boiler to melt. Pour chocolate into pastry bag or ziplock bag (you can squish it into a corner and cut a small hole). Use this to decorate the tart as you like.

7) Place tart pan on top of a large can and the rim will slip right off. Use a thin sharp knife to serve.

8) I served this with frangelico whipped cream (1 cup heavy whipping cream, 1 tbsp sugar, 1 tbsp frangelico). Whip until fluffy.