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How my dough should have looked after refrigeration

OK, so Saturday afternoon/evening, I rested.  Wide awake, I rested.  Wide awake, I created a time-line that I thought would get me through the party relatively sane and intact.  Wide wake, I walked downstairs Sunday morning at about 3 a.m. and started some of the prep work.  Did I mention I was wide awake?

Needless to say, with everything else going on I failed to either make or purchase an anniversary card for my dear Hubs.  (I haven’t yet mentioned that as chaos is whirling about me, it was whirling about him, too.  He was far from idle, and was rushing about taking care of all the things I was not, and then some. Plus taking care of our pets, who were being shamefully neglected by yours truly.  Princess will tell you she was not a happy camper, and showed her displeasure throughout the long weekend by barking her fool head off over absolutely nothing.  Being part basset and part English pointer – an odd combination, admittedly, but makes for a very cute doggie – it also makes for a piercing bark/bay, and a virtual cacophony.  As I am still alive, and so is she, it obviously was not unbearable, but it certainly felt like it was at the time.)  Since I was cardless, and for one of the few times in my life without any appropriate rhyme in my head, I asked Caroline Merrell (see Part 1) if I could perhaps sing, in honor of my husband, a song I had written back in 1982; I wanted to sing it during the  11 a.m. worship service as the offertory.  Caroline indulged my request.  “I Praise You, Lord” had always been accompanied on piano by myself, and has no written accompaniment.  I always just improvised it.  As I cannot play anymore, I needed Caroline to do it, as well as do some improvising herself.  Fortunately her talent is impeccable, and she was able to develop a lovely counterpart to my own (tired) voice.  So, as I put together the necessary doughs and batters in the kitchen that morning, I also was singing over and over in my head, that song, making myself more and more anxious, as I knew there would be little or no time to rehearse our improvisation that morning before worship.  Oh well, I would do the best I could, and I knew that Ashley would enjoy it, even if I croaked out of tune.  The mental rehearsal sent my brains around the bend, and along with them, some key ingredients for recipe preparation, of which I was blissfully (!?) unaware.  More of that later. . .

You will all be pleased to know that the song came off well.  The lyrics I was and am still especially proud of, and so to show you something else of mine besides mistakes, here they are:

(A song of love and praise in all seasons)

I praise You Lord, for seasons just like these:

For sun-brightened trees that color Autumn days.
And I praise You Lord, for a moment just like this –
For a love-lightened kiss that sets the heart ablaze.
I praise You Lord, I praise You Lord, I praise You.

I praise you Lord, for the snows of Wintertime
For the window-sparkling rime that yields to Spring.
And I praise You Lord, that when life seems hard and cold
Your glorious plans unfold and hearts can sing.
I praise You Lord, I praise You Lord, I praise You.

I praise You Lord, for the rains that fall in Spring
For the sweet new life they bring o’er all the earth.
And I praise You Lord for the storms that cloud our days
Yet bring with them Your Grace: new hope, rebirth!
I praise You Lord, I praise You Lord, I praise You.

I praise You Lord, that when the blooming’s done
The warmth of summer sun brings forth the fruit.
And I ask You Lord, that our lives may always be
A glory-song to Thee, a mirror of Your Truth.
I praise You Lord, I praise You Lord, I praise You.
I praise You, Lord, I praise You, Lord, I praise You!


Now, on to chaos:  We got home after church, and I “had work to do!”  Onward and upward (downward, actually)!  Ashley busied himself, quite ably, with the details of producing a flawless, enjoyable party.  He was, however, beginning to worry a bit about where we would find enough parking places for our guests.  We have space for two cars, comfortably spaced.  Hmmm. . .I knew he would come up with a solution!  He was in great shape, thinking clearly, and not at all worried (uh-huh).  So, on that score, at least, NO PROBLEM!  “Don’t worry, Darling!  Everything’s going to be fine.  The party’s going to come off great – without a hitch!”  As soon as that came out of my mouth, I knew we were doomed.


All weekend, the Autumn weather had been perfect.  Each night had been either freezing, or near freezing, and would serve as the perfect refrigerator for all the party food that would not fit in the refrigerator.  Of course, that morning it wasn’t quite as chilly as it had been recently, but I was quite certain that Sunday night would be plenty cold enough to serve as my supplemental appliance.  Several of the menu items required being kept chilled, so naturally, God, knowing what I needed, and always supplying my every need, would provide the needed weather.  I failed to remember that thirty-five years ago, the day before our wedding had dawned the perfect October day.  Crisp, dry, and absolutely cloudless, the sky a sapphire blue.  The following day dawned a complete opposite.  Warm, humid, completely cloudy, the sky a gunmetal gray.  And beginning to rain.  God, in answer to other more important prayers, decided to answer “Yes” to those farmers or whoever, and “Sorry, Paula” to me.  An exact copy of that day was therefore Xeroxed for our party. No extra refrigerator.  So, valuable time during which I needed to be cooking was necessarily devoted to cleaning out the refrigerator of items that amazingly enough, for me anyway, were nowhere near their expiration date, and all clear of gray and green fuzz.  Down the disposal and into the garbage and/or recycling it went.  But, now I had room in the refrigerator for the coming, but yet unprepared, party food.  The rain was soaking the ground where cars were to be parked and therefore mired in our yard.  I suppose it was a good thing, for once, that we have almost no real grass.  (See my post, “Ode to My Grass,” https://paulatohlinecalhoun1951.wordpress.com/2010/10/17/on-grass/.)  But we also remembered that our neighbor across the street, a seasonal and only occasional resident, was not present, and we could use her driveway for any “overflow.”  Ashley decided to put our car in that driveway so it would clear more space in our own. At least part of a problem SOLVED!

Meantime, I’m back to cooking.  Never in my life have I made more errors while cooking.  Everything started going wrong.  Now, understand that all these recipes I had prepared dozens of times, and was completely familiar with how to prepare them.  To start with, I made the dough for my Cheese Krispies.  They are always delicious and crispy – a savory complement to the sweetness of the dessert items I was (yet) to prepare.  So I made the dough and refrigerated it.  It refrigerated all right.  It became an almost completely rock-hard lump that I had to leave out of the fridge for more than 3 hours to become “pliable” enough to be able to pinch off in pieces small enough to form into little bits for cooking.  I had planned on getting them cooked on Sunday night.  Instead, I put the dough back in the fridge, and decided to get out of bed early enough Monday morning to soften the dough and cook them and get that part out of the way.  I guess it was a good thing that I managed only 1-1/2 hours of sleep Sunday night, and was therefore awake enough to come downstairs, this time at 2 a.m., to “get ‘er done.”


Next on the agenda Sunday night was making the cream cheese pastry for my extra-special mushroom turnovers – always a crowd pleaser.  I had decided (when shopping) to lower the fat content of the pastry by using 1/2 neufchatel and 1/2 fat-free cream cheese.  Little did I know that this alteration would rather drastically change the consistency of the pastry dough.  It usually comes out of my food processor in a perfect ball, ready for the refrigerator.  This time I had to pour it out of the processor bowl.  As I had purchased (in an effort to save money) only exactly the amount of ingredients as I would need (remember I spent quite a bit of time coming up with my menu and carefully drawing up my grocery list), I had no ingredients with which to reprepare the pastry, so I refrigerated what I had made, and hoped it would firm up.  It did.  Another rock.  More thawing time only to yield the original gloppy mess.


Ah, yes, I see that my word count exceeds 1500, so I will save the next part of the story for the next post.  While you’re waiting, pray for me.  Maybe I can finish up this tale with only one more entry.  Time will tell.  At least at this point I have enough. . .



How my dough looked after refrigeration