Stephanie, the wonder coworker, has left me.
Okay, she didn't leave me, per se. She found a job that suits her life better and makes her happier. And I want that for her, I do. You would have been so proud of me, dear invisible friend. I only whined a little.
So. I have a new coworker. She worked her first weekend and, to make things easier, I was asked to work with her. No problem. Well, not much of one. Yes, it meant giving up a fair chunk of my off-time, but if it kept all running smoothly during a time of transition, it was worth it. Yesterday, she mentioned that today is her birthday.
Yes, this meant baking.
Now, you know I love to bake. I already had something on the books to make that day, though. We'll get to that in a minute.
I called Roommate to see if I needed to pick up anything at the grocery store in addition to the small items I would need for the day's baking, and Roommate reminded me that I also needed to make shortbread for her mother. [Roommate's mom decided to give pretty coffee cups as Christmas gifts and wanted shortbread to fill the oversized mugs. My shortbread, to be exact.] The way Roommate reminded me of this was too precious for words.
Roommate: What do you need to make shortbread?
Me: Butter, flour and sugar.
Roommate: Do we have that?
Yes. We have flour, butter and sugar in the House of Obsessive Baking. Followed closely by eggs, heavy cream and baking cocoa. In fact, if I am out of flour, it pretty much is the end of the world and we need to watch out for those four guys on horseback. And really, when I say that, I mean watch out. Look both ways before crossing the street. 'Cause whammo! Outta nowhere, here they come. And rude...! Rude. Every last one of them. Like, ohhh, you're the Pale Rider, you're such a tough guy. It would kill you to use a freaking turn signal????
Yes, yes, I digress again. One would think you'd be used to it by now.
When I got home, I started with the shortbread for Roommate's mom. [It's the cream-colored cookie in the picture above.] Fortunately, this is an incredibly easy cookie to make. [See ingredient list as previously mentioned.]
Then Roommate reminded me that she had received a "to die for" pumpkin bar recipe, and we should try it. I say unto you again, WE should try it. We. Much like "we made a horse cake." Remember how that turned out?
Actually, it wasn't quite like the horse cake situation. In this case, by "we," Roommate meant "Lisa." And so....
The pumpkin bars were not to die for. Oh, they're quite nice, really. Good texture. Pleasant moisture level. And thanks to my first experience hand grating nutmeg, fairly flavorful. But to die for? I think not.
These things completed, I moved on to the birthday cake. I considered making my go-to chocolate cake, but in the end, was compelled to make the peach-cinnamon-ginger bundt cake you see below, served with my cousin Dana's apricot syrup.
Pretty, huh? I have a Heritage Bundt pan I got from Williams-Sonoma. Pretty. So pretty. Of course, one must use half a can of Baker's freaking Secret to keep the pretty cake from sticking, but hey! Such is the price for beauty. Or so my friends who have had plastic surgery tell me.
And if it doesn't come out perfectly, well....God bless cousin Dana and her apricot syrup.
It was at this point I started on my last baking foray of the afternoon/evening and Roommate announced she was done washing the dishes I dirtied for the day. This isn't unusual or unreasonable, as I tend to use many, many dishes as I cook or bake. Fortunately, I was able to clean up the rest myself. This was not difficult. What was difficult, however, was the last item on my list.
French meat pie.
If you are unaware, dear invisibleness, Guy Fieri hosts a show on the Food Network called "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" and now and then, shows his viewers a dish I cannot resist trying to make. Such was the case with French meat pie.
I paged through a few of my ninety-five billion cookbooks after seeing this dish made on television and found a few variations on it. Then, emboldened by the first real success I had making pie crust for Thanksgiving dessert, I gave it a try and brought my efforts to work.
So many lovely guinea pigs at work.
One guinea pig---ahem, colleague in particular raved about the pie. So much so, in fact, that another coworker [who is also a dear friend] asked me to make this nice [albeit raving] woman a meat pie of her own. And, as this is essentially meat loaf with a crust, I said okay.
I said okay. I said sure. I did. I have no one to blame but myself.
So in the spirit of the season, let's sing together...
Four dozen shortbreads
Three zillion pumpkinbars
Two pounds of bundt cake
And a French meat pie for Mer-e-diiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiith!!!!!!!!!!!