Friday, December 10, 2010

Where there's smoke...

Tuesday’s dinner was modified Salmon Cucumber Couscous, a recipe I got from this site. (Yes, it’s Canadian. Sometimes I listen to streaming radio out of St. Johns, Newfoundland & Labrador, and the Take 5 ads for Cloverleaf piqued my interest.) It’s modified because I a) did not purchase Cloverleaf brand salmon, b) used whole wheat couscous which is possibly different from conventional couscous, c) used an orange bell pepper because I love them (my mother informs me I inherited this from my father) and they cost the same as the red variety, and d) used Tuscan Italian dressing because I have another recipe that calls for dressing and I didn’t want to buy two different bottles because I normally don’t eat salad that is not topped with ranch dressing, and I thought the Tuscan would be a good compromise.

In short: play with your food! Or rather, recipes are more general guidelines and don’t need to be strictly adhered to if you don’t have the budget for it, or simply don’t care. (Or you don’t live in Canada.)

This actually went off pretty much without a hitch. It tastes great, is extremely healthy minus the mercury in the salmon, and there are plenty of leftovers! It has, however, reiterated to me that I either need to get a proper mixing bowl or start tossing things in a spaghetti pot (I have two of those now).

After dinner, of course, comes dessert! Yes, I know I said I’d make the gingerbread cookies in the morning, but a few things came up, okay? Schedules were made to be broken. (See above note on recipes. Minus the bit about Canada. Canadians aren’t required to stick to schedules either.)

Still lacking a microwave, I again stuck the stick of butter in the oven to soften it, but this time I put the temp on 250. Because gingerbread dough needs to chill in the fridge for an hour, there is no point in wasting the energy to preheat the oven so soon. (My apartment is freakishly warm enough without the oven adding to it. Seriously, I talked to the landlords and it’s a mystery them, as well!) I guess I neglected it too long; there were two little puddles on the bottom of the oven when I checked on it. I don’t like putting tableware that is older than me and was given to me my grandparents when they bought a new set directly in the oven, but that is what I did to melt the butter in my little Corelle “mixing” bowl. It still took a dang long while to get to a mashable consistency!

Speaking of butter, why on God’s green earth is a pound of butter $3.29?? I guess I just never paid attention when I bought it with my groceries before, but when I picked up the lone package as my sole purchase, it’s a good thing I brought along an extra “just in case” dollar.

Okay! With dough properly chilled, I rolled it out with my trusty Name Your Poison highball while the oven preheated. As I laid the cut cookies out on the cookie sheet (pizza pan) I noticed something rising through the burners of the stove. *sniff sniff* Aw, crap. I opened the oven door and a cloud of smoke billowed out. Would that be the butter drippings from earlier?

About this time, I found myself cursing the state of Michigan for its lack of a requirement that all rental properties contain a fire extinguisher. (California has this requirement!) I turned the overhead fan on high and checked the living room for smoke. It hadn’t reached there yet, but it was only a matter of time, and I did not want my smoke alarm going off at 10pm, so I opened my living room window, which, for reasons completely unknown to me, always sets my dear, sweet cat Memphis on a crying fit.

So there I was with eyes stinging, smoke swirling up through the burners on my stove, cutting out gingerbread cookies, trying to distract my cat and not piss off my neighbors. Also, it was 21 degrees outside with snow on the ground. (Though honestly, I didn’t mind the cold air. Remember I mentioned that my apartment is freakishly warm?)

In the end, there was no fire, the smoke eventually dissipated, Memphis calmed down and took a nap on my bed, and the cookies turned out just fine. I sure hope everyone appreciates what I went through for them this year. And I chose to bake cookies as presents because I thought they’d be easy. Hah!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the cookies! They came out just fine, even with the shipping.