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Friday, January 29, 2010

Baby, It's Cold Outside...

The weather here in the Boston area is frigid.  I'm talking 12 degrees (F) with an 18 mph wind chill of -1.  Brrrr.  Do you want to know something crazy, though?  I love it.  I love this bitterly cold weather, especially on days like today when the sun is shining brightly (so deceptive, that sun).  It reminds me of my days in college at the University of Maine; in the morning, you would look out your window at the brightly shining sun, then step out of the dorm only to be completely bombarded by a wall of freezing cold air, and your nasal passages instantly turned to ice... Call me crazy, but I love it.

So, this week hasn't been the greatest.  I've had a run of pretty bad luck.  Do you ever have weeks like that?  I guess I should re-phrase that, because nothing truly bad has happened to me this week.  It's just been one of those weeks where I felt like the Universe was doing everything in its power to thwart all of my attempts at being happy.  I know... that's dramatic.  I tend to lose sight of the positive side of things, but seriously, this week it was difficult to stay optimistic.  I've refrained from typing about all the negative things that happened this week, because nobody needs to read that kind of downer-crap and some of it is personal information that I'm not entirely comfortable putting out here, but there's one story that I have to tell, because it's actually kind of funny:

For the past week, I've been trying to complete a recipe from an Ina Garten cookbook that a friend of mine gave me.  I've been dreaming of this lemon tart for months; obsessing over which flavor complement lemon without taking away from it, trying to decide whether to use a shortbread crust or pie crust, then wondering if I should add a flavor tot he shortbread, like lavender or rosemary... After what seemed like a century, we went to Williams-Sonoma to buy a tart pan with our $10 off coupon (score) and bought organic lemons and rich, creamy delicious European-style butter at Whole Foods.  It was going to be delicious....  Until I burned the crap out of the shortbread crust.  Ha!  And, to make matters worse, when I attempted to make the lemon curd, I thought I curdled it and searched for a new recipe that never set properly in the burned shortbread crust.  So, on Tuesday night, I started again with new, not especially organic, or creamy, ingredients.  I did lots of research on lemon curd, and knew that the cook-time for the crust was too long, so I was prepared. 

I made the dough for the crust and was baking it in the oven (blind-baking, actually, so it would cook evenly), then started the lemon curd.  Everything was going smoothly -- lemon curd not curdling, pie crust not burning... Great, until I decided to remove the blind-bake beans from the tart shell and forgot that I was using a false-bottom tart pan.  Yup.  The fluted ring part of the pan separated from the crust and fell around my arm like a scorching 350 degree bracelet.  I freaked, screamed like a little girl, and tossed the whole thing, beans and all, into the oven.  Destroyed.  I'm talking 100%, crust completely collapsed, destroyed.  We spent the rest of the evening scraping shortbread and beans out of our oven, and I now have a scallop-pattern burn on my wrist that isn't as bad as it is funny.  To make matters worse, the pot we used to cook the lemon curd was aluminum (I had no idea at the time that it was aluminum), and the acid from the lemons reacted with the pan when it was heated, and the curd tasted metallic.  It's actually quite funny, now that I'm thinking about it, but at the time, I felt so defeated.  

We're starting from scratch again tonight, and this time, it will work.  It will work, because for the first time this week, I feel rejuvenated and optimistic again.  It's amazing what weather will do to my outlook on life. :)

On another note, it was my birthday this past Wednesday, and I was completely astonished and overwhelmed by the number of well wishes and kind gestures I received, many from the people who continue to read this blog, even if I am sporadic with my posting and pessimistic in the few posts that actually leave my brain.  So, thanks to the many people who made my day so much better.  xo
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