Thursday, December 25, 2014

Happy Christmas from A Book of Cookrye!

...or whatever you celebrate. Every culture has some winter holiday or another, so whatever yours is, I hope it's going well.
We at A Book of Cookrye have had a long night before Christmas Eve cooking for Christmas Day. We made 2 pies and a batch of Elizabeth's Rolls with sweet potatoes instead of regular mashed potatoes (seriously, try this, it's amazing and delicious). I've always liked to take the last dough scraps too small to roll out and cut, twist them into weird shapes, and then let them rise with the rest. This time I stayed tame since we'll have company and just made rings, but they came out looking oddly... puckered.

We also had the surprisingly hard task of watching the cherry pie Mom left in the oven before she went to bed. For some reason, the top crust refused to stop being raw. Ten, twenty, fifty minutes went by. Eventually, we pulled it out of the oven. It boiled over a tiny bit. The boiled-over cherry syrup had burnt and glued the pie to the pizza pan. I cut my hand on shards of burnt syrup while forcing the pie off. Then I got a good look at the pan.

Oh.... dear.....

This not being the first extensively burnt pan I've cleaned, I worried not. Then I cursorily examined the pie itself.

And so, around 2 in the morning of what was to be Christmas Eve, our cooking plans were drastically interrupted and we ended up putting our sweat and blood (see the aforementioned cut hand) into a desperate cleaning effort while hoping no one woke up to see what we had done. A lot of books, newspaper columns, and websites have lovely, clear instructions for removing the stubbornest of stuck-on food from your pans. However, no one ever says how to remove burnt-on food from pans with food still in them. And so, like delivering babies back in the 1800s, a lot of boiling water got involved. We ended up putting the pie in a frying pan full of boiling water and praying to all the gods that the stuff would melt off.
Can I please have a Christmas miracle a day or two early?

I'm going to add electric kettles to the list of things to be fervently grateful for. I am so glad Mom decided she really wanted one a couple years ago. Our stove is pathetically slow to boil water, and we had to come up with enough to repeatedly fill a pizza pan and a frying pan.
I'm so glad you're here....

The pizza pan was easy enough to fill, but the water bath for the pie was unnerving. You see, we couldn't just put the pie into the frying pan and pour the water around it without dumping water all over the top of it. So we had to fill the frying pan, guess how much water was probably about right, drop the pie into scalding water, and fervently mentally shout please dear Gods don't let the top of the pie get wet! as we watched it sink into the water. Our method seemed to be working, as each time we changed out the cooled water for some freshly heated, the pan looked disgusting.
As the schoolchildren say towards the end of every Magic School Bus episode: "It's working! It's working!"

We also found that what didn't dissolve on its own gradually softened over the course of many waters and we could wipe it off with paper towels. We had a lot of splats all over the kitchen that made it look like we finally learned how to change our own oil and for some reason drove right through the kitchen wall to do it.

Proving that every now and then the gods will let a lot of bad behavior slide when doling out Christmas miracles, we eventually had... this!

Merry Christmas everybody, and to all a good time!

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