Woke to another coating of the White Death outside, but since it was Sunday I could start drinking as soon as I got out of bed and forget it was happening. So I did.
I decided to ease my liver into it with a French 75. I didn’t have Champagne to hand (as usual), but in a mixed drink like the Soixante Quinze, even a half decent Prosecco is pretty much indistinguishable. So I popped one, grabbed the $3.99 clearance “gin” I found at Gary’s, a lemon, and the suga-
“Oh, hello. You’re up early.”
“Yeah. I heard you banging bottles around, so I thought I’m come see what was up. Hey, do we had any of that canned turkey and cheese stuff left?”
“Yeah, I think so. Hang on, I’ve just gotta finish making my breakfast.”
“Dude, you’re taking forever. What are you, going to France for the ingredients?”
This is literally what I look down at every day when I’m cooking now. Hard to believe this same cat bolted in terror whenever he saw us just a few weeks ago. Now I can’t take two steps in my own home without him practically velcro-ing himself to one of my limbs. I’m not sure which version of him I prefer.
So what was I making in the kitchen this morning that so captivated him?
Wait. No. Although that would explain his rapt attention, if I was.
I was making something only slightly less exciting: Acorn Squash Apple Custard Pie! IN A HORRIBLE PRE-MADE PIE SHELL! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!
Yes. I had to get rid of the last of those damn Thanksgiving acorn squashes, and I was getting sick of my usual soup/curry/ice cream/bread rotation. So I looked around, found I had some other stuff that needed to vacate the premises soon or go bad, and winged it into a pie. It’s that whole “difference between being able to follow a recipe, and knowing how to cook” thing I bored you with recently.
So here’s what went down in a nut – er, pie shell:
Peeled and chunked the squash.
Steamed the chunks over apple cider til soft.
Mixed the two together, pureed them, and passed it through a fine sieve.
Simmered it down to a thick consistency, with a slice of ginger and a cinnamon stick.
Made a custard base of eggs, brown and white sugar, leftover sweetened condensed milk, etc., and a little flour (the squash paste still looked a bit soupy – good tip).
Poured it into a leftover Pillsbury pie crust. (Normally anathema, and banned from Dangerhouse. But NewWifey(tm)…ah, never mind. Just accept the fact that I’m married.)
Did not blind bake the sucker. Sometimes that’s best, and you should learn the difference.
Out of the oven, topped with whipped cream (yes, real).
Oh my god. If I had known how good this was going to turn out I would have made all 10 of those bastards this way. It was bliss on a plate. The brown sugar combined with the reduced apple gave it a deep caramel apple tinge towards the edges of the pie where it darkened and took on a bit of a crackly crust. The rest of it was a creamy, smooth custard with a melange of squash, fruit, and spice flavors. I seriously might retire and open a pie shop that only offers this one pie. I’ll make a fortune. (I’ll make my own damn crust if I do, though. I have some professional pride, after all.)
Just before I sliced into it I thought, ‘Hey, I have that nifty new Nikon wunderkamera. I bet it’s GREAT for food porn shots, especially with that super high tech macro lens!’
(BTW, I apologize for all the pics in this entry other than this one. I have the Nikon set up for a macro shoot downstairs, so I just grabbed the PlaySkool Samsung for everything else. It shows.)
So here you are. A super closeup of a freshly made Acorn Squash Apple Custard Pie, shot through a super closeup lens. Cue the bawm chikka bawm bawm…
Looks scrumptious, no? Actually, it looks an awful lot like a closeup of my nose pores. God, I hope I downloaded the right pic….
(Ok, here it is through a more human scaled lens:
I like the closeup better, myself.)
In news of Christmas traditions ruined, our local fire department every year does a tour of the neighborhood streets, spreading cheer and sometimes road salt (the latter being especially appreciated). They start up the big hook and ladder and send it out at about 5 mph with sirens going and lights spinning, stopping at any house that has kids to hand out candy and little treats, and pose for pics. Depending on the weather they either hitch up a large flatbed trailer that they make into a Christmas float, complete with Santa on a sleigh, or if it’s too icy to drag the float they stick St. Nick in the cab of the fire truck and string garland and lights all down the side. They always – always – have Christmas music blaring through the PA system so locals don’t think they’re moseying slowly to a house fire.
Yesterday they came around again:
That was it.
No towed float, even though the roads were cleared. No lights down the side of the truck. No Burl Ives blasting at 140 db.
Not even a goddam Santa.
They just rolled along slowly, sounding the air horn and sirens, and REGULARLY DRESSED FIRE DUDES waved when they saw us step out with our camera. At least they stopped at our neighbor’s house and handed their rotten kid a stuffed Picachu or something. Still.
Don’t get me wrong. The next time one of my cooking experiments threatens to engulf in flames my little ramshackle hovel in the woods, these guys are first on my list to attend to it. But, jesus. Talk about “Bah. Humbug!” At least put on a seasonal hat, guys.
Ok, gotta wrap this up. I’m about to have a pussy attach itself to me again.
The cat, too.
ps. The title’s a bit of an homage to my favorite of all the Japanese cooking channels on YouTube which features a dog who narrates in English with a French accent. Au revoir, Francis. RIP.
pps. Y’all can stop sending me angry emails about my previous post now. I get it, I get it: this is America. Pictures of pubic hair are only appropriate if it’s a woman’s. Sorry.