Saturday, February 23, 2008
I have three dear friends, Beth, Karen, and Susan, from my law school class ('Class of '81). I continue to see them, over 30 years since I first met them in the law school library, complaining about The Case of the Thorns, our first assignment. We were long past due for a get-together, and I finally got around to arranging a party.
The first thing to consider was, of course, what kind of bread to bake. I'd had such good luck with the reprise of Rose's ciabatta that I decided to try her pugliese again. This is one that requires a stretching and folding technique while it's rising, which is a pleasure because the dough is so smooth and shiny.
I didn't have a banetton the first time I made this bread, but now I do, so it looks even prettier. It's a small loaf, and didn't fill up the entire banetton, but I love the distinctive flour circles. I remember buying these loaves from a bakery, and thinking the bakers were so talented to make these flour designs. Now I know that anyone can do it, but that doesn't lessen the pleasure in admiring it when it comes out of the oven.
For dessert, I got out The Cake Bible, and leafed through it until I settled on Chocolate Oblivion Truffle Torte, which Rose describes as "like the creamiest truffle wedded to the purest chocolate mousse." Well. Hard to pass that up. It's just chocolate (a lot), butter (a lot), and eggs (a lot). Melt the chocolate and butter together, beat the eggs for five minutes, and fold the egg mixture into the chocolate mixture.
I had to send poor Jim out to buy an 8-inch springform pan, because I didn't have that size. It looks quite tiny. He was very pleased with his success on this errand, but it must have rattled him, because when I sent him out later to buy two bunches of tulips, he came back with two bunches of roses. "Jim," I said, "These aren't tulips. They're roses." He looked at them. He wanted to argue, but he couldn't. He swore he knew the difference between roses and tulips.
The dinner was roast pork with ruby port jus,
with chipotle glazed apples. These recipes are both from epicurious.com. The apples were the star of the show, in my opinion. Minced chipotle peppers sauteed with sliced applies that have been mixed with cinnamon and sugar. A very simple concept made interesting with the addition of the peppers. It takes about a second for the chipotle's kick to register, which makes it surprising and delightful.
plain old mashed potatoes (but made from organic potatoes from Wisconsin)
plain old green beans, (so plain that it looks like Jim didn't take a picture of them)
salad with baby greens, blueberries, pecans, and grated Pecorino.
And, of course, bread.
Joining the Pugliese in the bread basket was the Italian herb bread I made a month or so ago, which has been waiting in the freezer for just such an occasion.
And, of course, lots of wine. We think we're an awfully witty group, but we seem to get wittier, and much louder, after several bottles of wine. Very odd how that works.
Against my better judgment, I made raspberry sauce to serve with the Chocolate Oblivion. Rose says there's some attachment to the Cuisinart that purees raspberries quickly and painlessly, but I did it the old-fashioned way, spending about 45 minutes pushing two packages of thawed raspberries through a sieve. And reminding myself why I don't like to do this. And reminding myself that I always say I'll never do it again, and why can't people just eat the damn seeds. But I'll have to admit that the combination of chocolate, raspberries, and whipped cream is the dessert trinity.