Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Dinner with the Rinderknects

"Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, 
set your hearts on things above, 
where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 
Set your minds on things above, 
not on earthly things.   For you died, 
and your life is now hidden with Christ in God."
Colossians 3:1-3

The Rinderknects are dear friends from France who we have known since the early 90s. I really can't remember when we first met them. Nicholas was attending Western Seminary, and the family went to our church. They were in their late twenties at the time and had 2 sons, Nathaniel and Timothy. But soon afterwards Precille found out that she was pregnant, and she eventually had their third son, Jean. Nicholas is a pastor/missionary in France. Precille is a cellist, and the boys are all musical.

The Parks, Steve and Liz, also game to dinner. They are also old friends. We first met them in the early 90s, before they were married. They have three children, Leana, Haley, and Ian, and with them came a young girl who is a relative of some sort, but I confess I never figured out the connection. The Rinderknects have been staying with the Parks for part of the time while they are in America. Quelle chance!

Last Sunday we came to the realization that the sore on Riley's left hand was actually rather serious, and needed immediate attention, so off we went Sunday evening to the emergency ward of our nearby hospital. To be emergency wards on a weekend in the summer is just about the luniest place you can go. This was no exception. It was an hour or so before they called Riley to be seen, but he was back there so long I began to imagine the worst, plus I was freezing. And talk about crazies ...! SO I finally asked where he was and they immediately sent me back. There he was, laying on a hospital bed with and IV in his arm and tubes up his nose, watching the Olympics. The nurse was very nice, and when I mentioned that I was quite cold she promptly brought me two heated blankets, which I promptly wrapped around my whole body. They had taken his blood to be tested, and we needed to wait for the results. In the end he was given a big dose of anti-biotics and some other things, and was instructed to go to the doctor first thing in the morning. We were there five hours in all.

The next morning the doctor squeezed him right in, and quickly prescribed for him more anti-biotics. He also lanced the wound. It seems that the hospital doesn't like to do that for worry that he could get a staph infection. So in the end Riley got a really heavy dose of anti-biotics, and consequentially he developed a yeast infection, which in turn caused him to be greatly fatiqued. So this weekend he was very very lethargic. On the one hand this wasn't too bad. He wasn't at all talking about things he wanted to get done. We went to Starbucks and sat and read for a long time. The Starbucks on NW 12th and Gleason has a bunch of new easy chairs that a very eclectic, and very comfortable. When I first saw them, several months ago, I thought "how weird!", but I really like them now. I wish that I had one in my house to lounge around on.

But because of all the just hanging out that we did, I wasn't ready enough for having 20 people over for dinner. So on Monday I had Emily and a lot of work to do. I had to fight off a feeling of panic all day long. But I wasn't doing to badly. I was in my "just do the next thing" mode. Riley spent the day sleeping, going to the doctor, and then going to the pharmacy to buy medicine to counter the bad effects of the anti-biotics. Corey was also in the house, but she didn't come out of her room until some time in the afternoon. Fortunately she offered to take Emily for a walk.

But I think in the end, despite the fact that my house wasn't tidy enough, or clean enough, and that I was late in getting dinner on the table, things went well. We only get to see the Rinderknects about every four years, so one doesn't want to waist too much time not visiting when they do come. They once lived with us for 6 weeks, and that was delightful. I especially enjoyed cooking with Precille and then "discussing" theology after dinner with Nicholas.  

I decided that I would set two tables, one in the dinning room for the adults, and one in the back room for the people under the age of 18. As usual of late, I didn't get the right amount of places set at the perspective tables. There were actually 8 in the back: Nathaniel, Timothy, Jean, Leana, Haley, Ian, and Christian. And in the dining room we had: Riley and I, Liz and Steve, Nicholas and Precille, Sarah and Zac (and Caleb), and Annie and Corey and Heidi and Emily.
Nicholas and Thimothy

I had asked people to come at 6 for dinner, but I didn't have dinner ready until almost 7:30. This does not sit well with my son-in-law. I think I might come to the end of my life without learning how to get dinner ready on time when I have company, or even when I don't have company. What I really really need is a good amah. I Hong Kong Lita (our amah) always had all meals exactly on time. She was amazing. Of course if I was out in the afternoon and was then late getting back, so that she had to watch the children and get dinner ready, she was rather upset with me.

The Young People's Table

I had started the bread in the morning, but for some reason I was a bit behind on that. Maybe it was because the kitchen was messy and I had to straighten it up first. Then I had a bit of a struggle finding the cake pans I wanted. Emily and I went to Costco and The Barn around noon. We had a great time. But when I got back she was all reved up, and I had a terrible time until Corey took her for a walk. The menu seemed so simple, so why did I feel like I was struggling. But with Corey taking Emily, and then Zac and Sarah coming a bit early, I did begin to get back on track. Never mind that the bathroom never did get straightened up.

Nathaniel ...  Jean  ...   Thimothy


French bread
green fruity salad with orange dressing
Spaghetti sauce
spaghetti noodles: thin and thick
Chocolate Orange Gateau

Orange Chocolate Gâteau


3/4 cup dark cocoa, best quality (60 gr)
1 1/2 cups boiling water

8 ounces flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/3 tsp salt
1/3 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 sticks butter
a scant 2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

Chocolate Orange Butter Cream:

1 1/2 sticks butter, softened
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
4 teaspoons orange liqueur
or 1 teaspoon orange essence (Penzey) plus 1 tablespoon brandy
5 oz dark chocolate, copped up (I like to use Trader Joe's Pound Plus)

2 cups icing sugar (8 oz), sifted to remove any lumps

Whipped Cream Frosting:

1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup sugar

Make the cake first: preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Grease and paper and grease two 8 inch cake pans with at least a 1 1/2 inch side.
Combine the cocoa and the boiling water and stir to dissolve the cocoa and leave to cool somewhat.
Cream the butter and sugar, and then mix in the eggs, beating until rather light.
Mix the dry ingredients and add them to the creamed mixture alternately with the cocoa mixture.
Make sure all is mixed well, but don't over-beat.
Pour the batter into the pans and tap the pans on the counter to flatten and remove any bubbles.
Bake for about 35 minutes, until done. While the cakes are cooking make the ganache.
Remove from oven and place onto a cooling rack. After about ten minutes run a knife carefully around the edges of the cakes, then turn the pans over on the rack and leave to let the cakes fall out.

While the cake baking put all the ingredients for the butter cream except the icing sugar into a microwavable dish and heat in the microwave just enough to melt the butter and the chocolate. Remove from the microwave and give a good stir to make all smooth. Add the icing sugar and beat with a hand mixer to make all smooth. Eject the beaters and leave them in the chocolate mixture, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator until very hard. This will take at least two hours.

When the butter cream is good and hard, take from the refrigerator, remove the beaters and place them in the machine, and starting on a slow speed, and increasing as you go, beat the butter cream until nice and smooth and spreadable. As you beat it it will warm up a bit and become spreadable. You want it to be soft enough to spread on the delicate cake. Then get the plate for the cake (put a doily on it if you like). Cut the layers in half. Put the first half layer on the plate, cover with about 1/4 of the butter cream, and so on. When you put on the last layer, do not cover it with the butter cream, but instead, use the remaining butter cream to fill in the chinks on the side of the cake, so that the edge of the cake is all even and smooth. Then put the cake into the refrigerator to chill thoroughly.

When ready to finish the cake, put the whipping cream into a bowl and place in the freezer for about 10 to 15 minutes to chill. Then place the sugar and vanilla into the bowl with the cream and beat until nice and thick for spreading on the cake. If you like you can reserve a bit of the whipped cream for piping on the cake. Cover the cake with the whipped cream.

“If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.” C. S. Lewis


Barbara said...

Very best wishes to Riley for a speedy recovery.

Molly Loves Paris said...

Thank you. He has at least finished his anti-biotic, and the hand is looking somewhat better.