So, today was the big day! Cooking Royally. Oh my gosh.
Joe came down last night and over breakfast, he, the General, and I all tried to decide what recipe out of Eating Royally we would all enjoy. It was every bit the challenge I expected it would be, since Joe was heavily lobbying for salmon or goat cheese, both of which I hate, and the General was glaring with every recipe. Finally, I made an executive decision that we'd be eating Pojarksi Smitane, which was a fancy word for some sort of Polish meatballs. We'd substitute ground turkey for veal, since none of us was too hot to trot on eating veal, and Joe offered to make "Elsie's Potatoes"--oven roasted potatoes with olive oil and rosemary. We also divised a green bean dish of oven roasted green beans and baby bella mushrooms in olive oil, garlic, and balsamic vinegar.
And so it was. We started the morning by making the Queen's Birthday cake, a decadent chocolate cake made with little else than a pound of chocolate, a pint of heavy cream, and a lot of eggs. The chocolate and cream made a delectable cream filling that probably ought to be illegal, and the eggs combined with sugar and cocoa powder and flour to make a light as air sponge cake that was to die for.
We whipped up another batch of the chocolate and cream and poured it, still hot, over top of the cake and filling, which we had torted together. We are kicking ourselves that we didn't take a picture of the finished cake, but here's a photo of it as we were first pouring the molten ganache over it.
Around 4:30ish, Melissa arrived, and we started the earnest cooking. She brought me the gift of an ulu knife from her trip to Alaska, and I should have used it, because the Pojarski had a decent number of vegetables to dice, and I would have loved to try it out.
But, we all swung into action, and the whole process went together very quickly. Honestly, the recipe looked a lot more complicated than it was, and while we forgot to buy celery, we improvised with extra onions and celery salt. We struggled a little bit with the timing, but other than that, it went really, really smoothly.
To be honest, I wasn't too sure if I would like the Pojarski, since they contain the zest of an entire lemon and I am not really a lemon person. The sauce contained a lot of lemon juice. But I was game, since I figured we'd all either love it or hate it, and we were brimming with anticipation by the time the whole thing was ready to go on the table.
(We cooked to the beat of Princess Diana the Musical for a little extra flair.)
Melissa and I got out the good tablecloth, china, and real cloth napkins, and then we dished everything in real serving dishes and brought it to the table. This was my plate as we began to eat:
The sauce for the Pojarksi contained a lot of paprika, which explains the orange color. It also contained broth (we used vegetable, although we were supposed to use beef), onions, butter, heavy cream, the aforementioned lemon juice, and a variety of spices. Joe cooked it with the prowess of a master.
By the time we sat down to eat, our mouths were watering. The house smelled so good!! The food was actually amazingly delicious, although sad to say that The General did not go for the Pojarski. He wound up loving the potatoes and had those and a ham and cheese sandwich. :-) But he tried everything, so I give him credit, 100%.
After dinner, we cut into the Queen's cake, which was insanely good. The chocolate was so rich, and so sinful, we still have half the cake left and it was only a single layer cake to begin with. All involved agreed it was a big success and we need to do it again. And we've all agreed (even Joe) that Lobster Thermador is our next test recipe :-)
Of course, I'm not going to eat again for a month--I've got heavy cream running through my veins. But I know it's going to be great. And it was a really fun way to remember a princess and be treated like one at the same time.
(Extra love and thanks to Joe, Melissa, and the General for another wonderful time)
1 week ago