Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Singing Doughnuts, Lying Mothers and Rhubarb as an Unmentionable

Poppy count: 24

Hockey-hangovers: 1. Mine. It’s not actually a hangover. But any adult rec player (which means anyone with late, lousy ice times) knows what I mean. You play late, you get home revved up and ready to go… except it’s past midnight on a schoolnight, and there’s getting up to do in the morning. Which manages to come much too quickly.

Dinners made last night in anticipation of the hockey hangover: 1. Roasted red pepper soup. I feel so, so… well-organized. I know myself well enough not to be fooled into believing the feeling.

Hot cups of coffee waiting for me when I shambled groggily out of bed this morning: 1. It was so nice.

It’s amazing to me how appealing sweet and starchy is when I’m wiped out. On days when I have hockey hangovers, making a massive detour for Top Pot Doughnuts seems not just reasonable, but necessary. Important, even. For the sake of my rear end continuing to fit in the same size pants (and while there are things I like to shop for, pants are not one of them), I usually manage not to make the detour. But sometimes, the starchy, the fried and the sweet sing their siren call to me (hey, if one of my neighbors can turn invisible and put rats in my crazy neighbor’s house, it seems perfectly sane to say that a doughnut could sing to me in an attempt to lure me to eat it), and I listen for just a little too long and end up snarfing down all manner of hopelessly unhealthy food.

Today, I am sort of proud to say that I did not end up at Top Pot. The kids had soccer up at Magnuson Park this afternoon, and there is a Top Pot just over in Wedgewood. I resisted.
I should admit, however, that once I dropped Curly off for preschool near lunchtime, I made a beeline for Sweet & Savory (1418 31st Ave S) where I bought pain au chocolat, a strawberry rhubarb clafoutis and, probably most significantly (for me), coffee. The pain au chocolat and the clafoutis I saved for an after-school treat for the kids (and yes, I took a little finder’s fee). The coffee I sucked down in about 10 seconds. I have never had a Proper Clafoutis in France. I’ve only had clafoutis in America. My understanding, from what I’ve made and read, is that a clafoutis is pretty much a fancy baked fruit pancake. My mom used to make a spectacularly delicious apple pancake for occasional Sunday morning brunches, and all the clafoutis I’ve had essentially remind me of that. Quite often, the comparison is not favorable to the clafoutis at hand. This clafoutis was more cake-y/muffin-y, as you can see from the picture. It’s a clafoutis with structure. But it was really good. The kids enjoyed it. Somehow, in describing it, I neglected to mention that it contained rhubarb (Curly’s allergic to nuts, not rhubarb). I couldn’t see it working out well if I mentioned rhubarb. Rhubarb is really not a very scrumptious sounding word, and mentioning it would have only led to suspicious inquiries about what, exactly, it is and the entire clafoutis would have been tainted with the suspicion that is really bound to hang around something that's actually a vegetable and has still stealthily made its way into desserts everywhere.

It’s not quite the first time I’ve fibbed a little about food to the kids. Have you ever noticed a tired looking mother at checkout, children in tow, and she's clearly managed to get the bloody errand at the grocery store done, kids in tow, only to have one of the worn-out children start melting down because they want a Twix/Hershey/Candycandycandy? I have. And I wasn't her. Because I told my trusting little bunnies that those brightly wrapped packages were tuna. During a point in their lives when they hated fish. I'm sure I'll pay for it down the road, but... I think it'll have been worth it.


Back to the pastries. Pain au chocolat has a receptive audience in my home. The pain au chocolat from Sweet & Savory fared well, which is to say it went down the hatch with happy murmurs of contentment. It was quite nice, stacking up pretty well against our personal hall-of-fame pain au chocolats (Le Panier, Café Besalu, etc).

Knowing I had hockey last night, and thinking it would be a good idea to make tonight’s dinner, I made a dinner of pasta with arugula, tuna, garlic and lemon to eat before hockey. It’s tasty, it’s easy, and I wasn’t going to step on the ice and realize that I’d eaten too much to even hope to chase after unfairly fit 16-year-olds without throwing up on the bench. I could tell that my husband liked it because and he took the leftovers to work with him for lunch today. Generally, he says he’s going to take leftovers with him. But the fate of most leftovers in our house is to languish in the refrigerator until either I eat them for my lunch or they develop mold and a personality and I throw them away. The penne is pictured above. As I mentioned, it’s easy, (heat garlic and olive oil, add tuna, turn off heat. cook pasta, chuck in arugula when it's almost done, drain. Toss all together and squeeze on lemon juice to taste, and taste and correct for salt and olive oil. mmmm.), and the results are lovely for a weeknight dinner.

I tried a new ice cream- a chile, cinnamon chocolate by Vosges. Online, ordering it with 3 other flavors will run you $45 (it’s couture chocolate, so apparently that allows for comical mark-up. Does Karl Lagerfeld taste it for them or something?), and I'm pretty sure that doesn't mean that it gets hand-delivered by a smoking hot delivery-man who ran it (shirtless) the entire way to you and now must languish in your kitchen, looking amazingly handsome, while having a glass of water, allowing you to languidly start spooning up the first pint whilst admiring his six-pack. For $45 for 4 pints, you would sort of hope for something like that. I did not have to order it online from the apparently very enterprising company, since I spotted it in a freezer.
I did not spend nearly $12 for a pint of ice cream. At least... I hope not. I bought it after soccer on Sunday and was in a sort of hypothermic haze (and why I bought ice cream when I was half-frozen would be a question I would be totally unable to answer. It's a mystery to me, as well). Yep, smaaahhht. That's me.
Anyway. Verdict: it's nice, and sort of interesting. The cinnamon flavor was a little too there for my taste, but the chile was pleasant. I had a chili-chocolate gelato once in Rome and enjoyed that, and have tried some chocolates with chile in them (varying degrees of success). I think the cinnamon muddles the flavors a bit, instead of adding a Mexican-ish sort of inflection to the whole thing. But that's me. I might buy it again... but for the price (which I'm not sure about, okay), it should be competitive with the ice creams from Fran’s Chocolates, and it’s just... not. And also, the kids have been making regular observations about how hot it is (it was 50 degrees- Fahrenheit- and raining Sunday; they're optimists) and how we should start making gelato and ice cream soon. It might not be hot, but they do have a point.

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