Sunday, November 22, 2009

Occasional Chef Wannabe- First in a series

Yesterday my foray into cooking had me trying a Hungry Girl recipe for a low calorie pumpkin pie.   The assembly looked fairly easy so after a quick trip to the grocery store to pick up all the fake carcinogenic ingredients necessary for a low cal dish, e.g. artificial sweetener in granular and syrup form, egg substitute, I started my Occasional Chef Wannabe project.  I put one of my ipods into the docking speaker station in the kitchen and searched for some calming music given that cooking always makes me anxious.  The best I could find was John Rutter Christmas Album, a series of lovely English carols sung by the Cambridge Singers.  It was 5:00 p.m. so I figured I would have the kitchen to myself while I measured and mixed.

I don't know whether it was my being in the kitchen or the music that beckoned, but suddenly my husband and mother in law decided they too had to make food in the kitchen.  Our kitchen is not that big and does not have that much counter space so having others take up counter space and get in my way looking for their own utensils got my heart racing so much that I suddenly stopped and left the room in the middle of the recipe to calm down.  Deep breathing does work--for a moment.  When I returned to make the filling, having finished the crust, my mother in law was heating up already cooked salmon in the microwave.  I heard the "pop" (she didn't) but hoped it was nothing much.  Unfortunately, when she opened the microwave we discovered the salmon had exploded everywhere and had filled the ceiling and crevices of the microwave with smelly salmon pieces.

My mother in law, uncharacteristically, cursed and then changed the curse to a more ladylike "shoot" while she spent a few minutes cleaning up.  After she finished, I went to check the damage and continued cleaning for a few more minutes.  Man, that salmon was everywhere!  I took the innards of the microwave apart (a revolving tray assembly) and scrubbed it top and bottom.  My mother in law felt bad but these things happen--and apparently must happen during my occasional forays into baking.  Hmmm pumpkin and salmon. Yum.

So back I went to finishing the pie.  I got it into the oven while hearing only twice the story of how the music reminded my mother in law of her aunt who taught piano when she was a child in England.  After the prescribed cooking time I checked the pie which did not seem done enough to me so I made an executive decision to cook it 15 minutes more and then hope for the best.  I let it cool and refrigerated it as instructed.  It smelled good and gave the house that holiday air in conjunction with the holiday music.

This morning I tried a slice for breakfast.  The first bite tasted good but as I proceeded I got a bit of an aftertaste not typical for pumpkin pie.  I do not know if it had too much pumpkin pie spice or it was the artificial sweeteners.  Typically artificial sweeteners do not bother me so I am thinking I may have put in more spice than I should have.  Hopefully someone else will try it and let me know how it is.  Calling something low cal in front of my beefy boys is a sure fire way to keep them from eating it!

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