Thursday, April 12, 2007

Detox or South Beach?

I have fallen off the Detox wagon and I am placing the blame firmly on B's shoulders. See, B told me that all his family was in town for Easter weekend; I had wanted to try out a certain recipe from my Julia Child cookbook and so I said that we should invite everyone over for a meal one day and I asked B to sort it all out. He thought Easter Sunday would be good so I even cancelled lunch plans with a friend in order to make a meal for B's family. Well, B's father and stepmother apparently got in a fight and went home early. B then told me that his sister-in-law had left on vacation with his nephews and since his brother couldn't leave the house on his own (still recovering from surgery) none of them could come; and his stepbrother had left town on Saturday, last minute change of plans. But by the time he told me this, I already had all the ingredients for an elaborate dinner in my refrigerator. Finally, last night, I decided that I would have to cook the recipe that I had planned otherwise it would all go to waste. And that is how Veal Prince Orloff killed my diet.

I actually had the rice and onions soubise already cooked. I thought (quite stupidly, it turns out) that it would be easy to throw the rest of the recipe together, having skimmed the instructions very quickly last week. Luckily, I thought I would try to make an early dinner and headed into the kitchen at around 5:30. Luckily, because even with the early start I only managed to take the finished product out of the oven at 8. It was absolutely worth every minute in the kitchen. The meat (I used a veau quasi, which Julia says is the sirloin tip? I have no idea) was incredibly moist and flavorful. The onion, rice, and mushroom filling was rich but not heavy and the mornay sauce on top was perfectly smooth and creamy. The only problem was the size of the finished dish. The veal roast that I had bought looked rather small and I thought it would make a meal and maybe a small dinner of leftovers. By the time I finished putting the sliced veal in the dish, with the stuffing and the sauce, I realized that I could have easily fed 8 people with the amount of food I had in front of me. But by that time, it was already after 7 and a quick scroll through my mental rolodex came up with only about 2 of my single male friends that I could possibly call at that late hour who would be willing to pop round for a meal. Oh well. I decided I would officially cancel the diet (up until then I had deluded myself into thinking that I could make this luscious meal and manage to do nothing more than taste a slice.) When B and I finally sat down at the table, I grabbed by camera and moved around the dish, trying to find a good angle. After all that work, I needed some documentation, something to show off when all its buttery, creamy goodness had disappeared. Sadly, for all its yumminess, Prince Orloff is not very photogenic. B said it sort looked a little turd-ish. Thats my boy, always ready with a quick compliment. But he was right. So that is why I directed you to the epicurious site and a lovely shot of what our meal should have looked like. Atleast next time I'll know to put a bit more effort into the presentation.

Best part of the cooking though was having Ella perched on the counter next to me, trying to help at every step. She loves loves loves cooking with me. Yesterday, I had her pull the stems off the mushrooms for me, which she did with enthusiasm. Then she held the bowl out to me each time I finished chopping something. She did all the dumping of ingredients from one pot to another, with varying degrees of success... And she discovered the pepper grinder. Every time I turned around she grabbed it and tried to put a few more turns of pepper into the dish. Luckily,its a bit too stiff for her so I didn't have to worry about over-seasoning but pretty soon she'll have mastered it I think. Of course, that doesn't mean she ate her dinner any better than normal. Honestly, I don't know how that kid keeps growing considering how little she eats. If I can get 5 bites of food into her at a meal its outstanding. On the positive side, she is perfectly happy if those 5 bites are all green vegetables (broccoli, spinach, beans, or peas) and she never asks for a snack between meals. But still.

So like I said, the detox is officially cancelled. I am trying to console myself with the thought the last nights dinner was totally fine under a South Beach diet. So despite ingesting probably a stick of butter and a cup of cream, I am still on course. Right? (I'm not stepping on the scale to find out)

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