Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A frenzied afternoon

Rebecca cooks butternut squash frequently and it is always yummy. Unfortunately, when peeling and cutting it, she also frequently peels or cuts off bits of her finger. I am always petrified when she is doing it, and have to give frequent cautions and recommendations to take care. This is, I am sure, not helpful – and in fact, probably counter-productive, as it will raise her stress level and we know that is not a good thing when working with sharp knives. But I can’t restrain myself, so usually I have tried to stay out of the kitchen while this is going on. Today, I got a butternut squash myself for the first time, and all these past bloody scenes of squash preparation were vividly before me. A butternut squash is a tough nut to crack, I found. Fortunately, my auntie was there to give moral support and to call 911 if necessary. Also fortunately, it was not necessary. There was no extra human protein in our risotto. The meal preparation was a series of fiascos, I am afraid. Usually when Ana comes, I wait till she is here, and we sort of cook together. This time, however, I decided to make a ginger cake for dessert and bread, which naturally, I could not put off till she got here. I started the bread last evening, and then forgot about it. Fortunately, I remembered at the last minute for getting it done on time. Or sort of on time. That meant that my cake and bread were in the ovens at the same time. They both had things that had to be done as certain points in their baking, and so I had two timers going. I got confused about which timer was which, but, praise the Lord, those two things came out well. But they came out much later than I had planned. And at some point, the smoke alarm went off, giving me a bit of a turn. When Ana arrived, I had all the ingredients chopped and ready to go for the squash risotto, which I was cooking in the pressure cooker. After deciding that the first cooker I put it all in was too small, and transferring it to a larger one (a messy business) I could not get the cooker to come to pressure. I thought maybe the lid was not on right, and started to take it off, but was afraid and locked it back on. I did this twice, and then on the third time, it suddenly came to pressure. So I suppose that it had not been locked correctly. I set the timer for five minutes, I thought, but moments later realized I had set it for five hours. At this point, I was a bit frantic. Timing is so crucial in pressure cooking. Ana cleverly pointed out that five minutes would be up when the timer said four hours and fifty-five minutes. So that problem was solved. But when we took the risotto out, the bottom was very burned from all the time it had been trying to come up to pressure. We carefully transferred it to a dish without getting the burnt part, and it was quite tasty. The cake was good too. It had apples, dates, fresh ginger, and lemon in it. The chard was way too cooked, but my auntie, Irish as she is, liked it that way. So after an exciting afternoon of cooking, we had a pleasant meal.


rebecca said...

I've only cut my knuckle off once when peeling squash! Since then I've been very careful.

Knitman said...

I have to ignore the cake but i love Butternut Pumpkin. Especially roasted.