Monday, March 27, 2017

Always read the bad reviews first!

When I am shopping on line or trying a new recipe, I gravitate to the least favorable reviews first. If there are any show stoppers there, why go any further? In the case of recipes, I am less concerned, because often the reviewers have some great suggestions, and the recipe ends up being quite tasty.

I am teaching a bread baking class this Sunday. As part of the class, my five students get to partake of a charcuterie board, quite elegant if I do say so myself, with slices of freshly baked baguette and glasses of wine in hand. The highlight of the repast is my three meat terrine.

When I was in Paris, I ate a terrine that made my knees shake. It was fantastic! I have searched recipes but haven't found anything like it. I found a pretty good one on, and I make one each spring for my bread baking students.

Even though it isn't as good as that memorable terrine in Paris, it is still pretty impressive, and I have never had a complaint when I bring it out, surrounded by cornichons, homemade dill pickles, mustard and Cumberland sauce.

I start it several days in advance. It starts with a trip to the store for ingredients not on hand. After much chopping, weighing and mixing, I put the meat and spices into the bacon lined terrine (yes, the product and the pan are both called "terrine"), wrapped it and then read through the comments at the bottom of the page. One cook wrote that it was good, but not nearly as good as one she had in Paris, so she only gave it two forks. In fact, the reviewer said, she had a spice mix from a famous restaurant in Chicago called The Bakery and said she was going to try to kick up the flavor by adding some of Chef Szathmary's magic pâté spice the next time she made it.

I was excited! I had some of his spice on my shelf and thought, it's not too late to spoon out the meat and add some spice. What a great idea! Then I noticed that the reviewer was SusanVey from Indiana. That's me, folks. I was reading my own review. That was my laugh for the day!

And by the way, I brought it up from my basement fridge where it will marinate for a day before baking, spooned it out of the bacon lining, added the magic spices and put it back to rest. Then after a slow bake, it is weighted and left in fridge for a day or so. Tasting is still a good way off. 

We will see if the suggestion from "SusanVey, Indiana" gets it closer to the wonderful Parisian terrine of my memory.

Terrine marinating for a day before baking

Baked terrine, sitting with weights for a day

After weighting for a day

Wrapped and ready to chill - look for my bread baking class blog to see it sliced and served!

Monday, March 6, 2017

Tashi - what a scare!

Wherever I go, Tashi goes. I trip over her a hundred times a day! She seems to sense where I am going next and moves to a spot where I will run into her. When I go to the bathroom, she always comes along. No sense in shutting the door - she will scratch at it, and I like my woodwork almost as much as I like my pets.

I got up at 4 am yesterday and Tashi didn't follow me to the loo. When I went back to bed, she was in exactly the same spot. She was stretched out, not in her usual sleeping position. I called to her, and she didn't move. Her eyes were open and not moving. I couldn't see her chest rise and fall in a breathing pattern. I knelt on the floor beside her, ruffled her hair, called her name. There was no response. I felt for a heartbeat and felt nothing, but then, I don't really know exactly where to look for it. No evidence of breathing when I laid my hand on her side. Two phrases that ALWAYS get a response are, "Do you want to go for a walk?" and "Treats!" Nothing. Eyes open, motionless.

With a heavy heart, I went downstairs to email my family and close friends that Tashi had passed. Right before I hit the send button, I heard a noise upstairs. When I went around the corner, there she was, standing at the top of the stairs. She came down two flights of stairs to get outside and do her morning thing. I saw no evidence of limping. She was perfectly fine. She ate a good breakfast, minimal coaxing.

We had a big event at church, and I had to be there early. I was there by 8:30, and didn't get home until after 2:00. I was very nervous about what I would find when I got home. There she was at the door, greeting me with tail wagging and big grin on her face.

What was it? All I know is that I still have my girl. She is on the floor beside me, snoring gently. I rewarded her with the full mile walk yesterday, and she was still going strong when we got back. I am wondering if she had a small stroke. If that was it, there is certainly no lasting evidence that anything serious happened. I love that girl! Each dog I have, especially as they reach their end time, I think, "This is the best. This one is the very, very best." Yes, Tashi is the very, very best!

Tashi taking her morning nap