I busted out Mastering the Art of French Cooking the other night. I was in the mood to cook something classic, yet more ambitious than usual. I chose two different recipes – one for garlic soup and another for poached-style eggs. I had all my ingredients, I was excited about the recipes, I felt good. And … it all went downhill from there.
A brief outline of the snowballing disasters:
The garlic soup is basically garlic, boiled, crushed and then infused into water. You turn this garlic water into a soup by adding an emulsion of eggs and olive oil. Got that far without issue. I was even proud of my very viscous emulsion. I carefully mixed the hot garlic water with the egg mixture as to not burn the eggs … another successful step. I tasted. It needed acid. I added a squeeze of lemon juice … and watched as my soup went from beautifully emulsified to curdled in seconds. Strike one.
I then decided to tackle the eggs. The idea was to bake eggs in ramekins with a little cream and butter and then top them with fresh chives and sauteed mushrooms. Delicious. Sadly, I failed to read the bit in recipe about starting the eggs on the stove to thicken the cream. Frustrated, I just tossed them in the oven in a water bath. After a few minutes they didn’t seem to be cooking at all. Strike two.
Jordan suggested we put the eggs under the broiler in an attempt to rescue dinner. It was tricky to move a small, too-full pan of water with ramekins sliding around into our drawer style broiler, but we did it. After a few minutes, we opened the broiler drawer to check on the eggs and the pan came sliding out, spilling an eggy, creamy, watery mess all over the kitchen floor. Of course, this commotion prompted Willow to come racing over to investigate. To sum things up, in our tiny galley kitchen we had myself, Jordan, a nosy dog, an open broiler door, a large eggy spill, and a pot of curdled soup. Strike three.
Amazingly, I tried to save dinner yet again by plating this disaster and serving to Jordan and myself.