Monday, July 14, 2008

Heidi's Birthday

"Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; 
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised."
Proverbs 31:30

Heidi was not too excited about her birthday because she's 35. Her take on that was that in five years she would be 40. I told her I'd love to be forty. But 35 is even better. My 35th birthday was in Hong Kong and we had just received out furniture and an amah and I was still rather homesick though things were looking up.

In the morning Heidi called and we chatted and then it was decided that Annie would go over to her house and make her breakfast. Annie was in a down mood because she thought that Heidi was going to spend time dinking around with Corey and not her. Well anyway, that was not the case, and I thought thinks needed a more cheerier start, so I decided that she should come over to my house for breakfast, especially as the kitchen was bathed in sunshine.

Riley dashed out for bacon, boysenberry yogurt, and orange juice, Annie made the crepe batter, and I made strawberry sauce and rhubarb sauce, and I think Annie set the table. Corey was in bed. I had found frozen strawberries in the upstairs refrigerator, and fresh Oregon berries in the basement refrigerator, and frozen green rhubarb in the basement freezer.

strawberry sauce

1 pound frozen whole berries
1/2 pound fresh berries, quartered
2/3 cup water
1/3 cup sugar

Put all but the fresh berries into a pot and heat up. When the frozen berries have thawed out, take a potato masher and smoosh the berries. At the last minute add the fresh berries, and heat slightly. Pour into a serving bowl.

rhubarb sauce

1 pound frozen green rhubarb
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup sugar, or to taste

Put everything into a pot, cook until mushy, taste, and adjust sugar as desired. Pour into a serving bowl.

By 9:45 we all sat down for breakfast. Well, everyone but me, as I was standing at the stove making crepes. I was only making two at a time, because I just didn't feel alert enough to make three at a time. Some of Heidi's presents were opened. Corey gave her a fancy little purse and a funny calender of women in the fifties and sixties saying rude remarks. Riley and I gave her the AG art easel. Emily was all over that one, but Heidi didn't seem to sure about it.

After breakfast Riley left for work and the girls all headed out to have a fun day. They went shopping on Hawthorne and later met up with Sarah and Zac and they all went out to lunch at Todai, where there the birthday person eats for free. After lunch they did more shopping. Shopping seemed to be what Heidi wanted to do - shopping.

After they all left I set to cleaning the kitchen and cooking. I decided that I would cook my second Danish braid that was the Daring Baker project for June. The dough looked a little bit affected by its stay in the refrigerator for two weeks, but not bad really. This time I decided that i was NOT going to try and roll it out to the huge dimensions required by the original recipe. It rolled out very nicely. I decided that I would put on some strawberry jam that I had made and the the left-over rhubarb sauce from breakfast.

Then I got the bread started. I decided to use the white hard wheat flour that I had purchased at Bob's Red Mill. It turns out that it was thoroughly whole wheat flour, not white about it. I probably should have started a new batch, as the bread was for Heidi's birthday dinner, but I didn't. It turned out to be the most whole wheat bread I ever made.

Then I made the pie crust dough. I knew that what I needed was two bottom crusts and two lattice crusts. I decided that i would make the dough needed for three regular crusts, and then divide it four ways.

pastry dough for two rhubarb pies

14 ounces of flour
scant teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 sticks of cold butter, diced up
about 3 tablespoons of Crisco
1/2 cup iced water

In the food processor mix the flour, sugar, and salt.
Add the butter and Crisco and pulse until it looks like very course cornmeal.
Drizzle on the iced water, and pulse for a few seconds.
Dump the mixture into a fairly large bowl, and moosh it together into a solid lump.
Weigh the dough and divide in half. Then divide each one in half roughly, making one lump two ounces heavier than the other. Now in my case the dough weighed 28 ounces, so half was 14. Then for each half I ended up with one lump weighing 8 ounces and the other weighing 6. Wrap all the lumps in plastic wrap and squish into discs, making sure to keep the big and little lumps together for each pie.

Emily and I ate a few of the left-over crepes for lunch, and then headed out to find some rhubarb, corn on the cob, and lettuce and fruit for the salad. But on the way I decided that we would stop at Laurelhurst Park and go for a walk and see the ducks. Emily had a wonderful time, but it was very hot in spots. She particularly liked throwing pebbles into the lake while the ducks watched her. But eventually I needed to get going and I had to throw screaming Emily over my shoulder and hall her off. The over the shoulder bit amused her and she stopped screaming.

Trying to find decent priced produce has become very difficult, and this is complicated by the fact that gas is so expensive, so one doesn't want to go driving about. At Zupan's corn was either 4 for $5, or 5 for $4, neither price seeming satisfactory. And they had no rhubarb , and lettuce was $1.99 a head. So we bought olives (both Emily and I are passionate about olives) and left. Next I went to Uncle Paul's Market, where there was no corn or rhubarb, and I bought two heads of Romain lettuce, which later proved to be a bit tough. Back in the car Emily fell asleep, so I decided that I would go to a Starbuck's drive-thru for an iced double coffee and the gift card for Heidi. Then on to QFC, which was going to be my last stop no matter what! I got sleeping Emily out of the car, layed her against my shoulder, and she never woke up until I had to get my debit card out of my purse at the check-out stand. I managed to get rhubarb and corn for $1 an ear. Oh well. It was very good corn.

Back home I started right in on the bread and pies. I got the loaves in the pan to rise, and set up for making the pies. Before long everyone showed back up. It turned out that Christian would not be back from his grandparents in Klamath until around 11 o'clock, so there was six of us, and we could easily eat in the garden. The pies went together perfectly, I was really pleased. I also put the Danish in to bake, as it had been sitting on the table since noon, and it was now 5 o'clock. The pies finally went into the oven at about 6:10, and came out at around 7:10 or so. I so don't like to have an undercooked rhubarb custard pie. And the ribs for dinner, being cooked by Annie on the barbecue, were ready to go at about 7:30, as well as the corn. We ate some time shortly after that, and because of the rush I did not get anymore pictures. But it was a very nice dinner, and we all made a mess eating the beef ribs. The recipe for the ribs is very very simple, and I'll need to get it sometime.

At a rather unreasonable hour, sometime after 9, we had pie and opened the rest of the presents, which Emily calls prizes. The pie was perfect and everyone went mmmmmmmmmm. It was asked why should you have birthday cake, when you can have birthday pie. And they all agreed that the only really good pies they've ever tasted are made by our family. I have in fact taught all my daughters to make pie. Each girl has a specialty.

"The pursuit of truth and beauty is a sphere of activity 
in which we are permitted to remain children all our lives."
 Albert Einstein

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