Saturday, August 27, 2011

If at first you don't succeed, have the good sense to know when to call it quits for hell's sake.

I have this friend.  I call him Napa Paul.  I call him that because he's from Napa, California, his first name is Paul and because I'm clever and witty.  Yes.  My nicknames for people have always sucked.

Napa Paul is actually who first started calling me Ginja Ninja.  I liked it, or rather, it's one of the few names I've been called that I didn't hate.  So I kept it.

He sometimes reads my blog.  He apparently read my posts where I failed miserably at baking cookies and then again with baking a cake.  He decided he would help by sending me a package in the mail.  He thinks he's funny.  He is not.

Containing my enthusiasm.  Can't wait to try them out. 
 After my previous failures in the kitchen, I had decided it just wasn't for me.  I would go ahead and scratch that off my list of things that make me awesome.  But then Napa Paul had to go and send me these cookbooks which basically obligated me to try again.  Damn you Napa Paul.  Damn you to hell. 

Fine.  FINE!  I decided to give it another shot.  I'd picked up a few tips and thought I had a pretty good idea of what I'd done wrong.  Actually I'd picked up A tip.  Singular.

The Real Housewife of H20Ville held a contest with the chance to win an adorable apron.  I didn't win.  But that's when it hit me what I'd been doing wrong.  I was improperly attired.  Well, I wasn't about to make that mistake again.  Only problem.  I don't own an apron.  However, if that's all that's standing between me and phenomenal baking glory, I would improvise.  In the form of lingerie.

I feel I should mention I was slightly inebriated when thinking this was a good idea.
 
And yeah.  I was wearing the thong.  Over the jeans.  The outfit needed to be complete and I was not taking any chances this time.  I was ready to bake!

I skimmed over the recipes and settled on lemon bars.  Simply because I recognized all the ingredients.  Butter, flour, sugar, eggs, lemon zest.  Whoa.  Wait, what?  What the hell is lemon zest?  Quick google search, uh huh, sure, grate the peel, got it.  Need cheese grater.  I was making these at E2's place while he was out and after much clanging and bashing of pots and pans, I came to the conclusion the boy does not own a cheese grater.  No big deal.  Clearly I'm a pro at improvisation so I grabbed the potato peeler and went to work.  Now.  As I mentioned, I was a little tipsy but even in my less than coherent state I realized this couldn't be right.

Here, have a lemon bar.  Those chunks you're biting into?  Delicious lemon zest.  Duh!

Okay, skip the zest.  How crucial could it be anyway?  Lets see.  Mix sugar, flour and softened butter.  I look down at the sticks of rock hard butter I just pulled out of the freezer.  Calls for 1 cup which is two sticks.  Why would they package them as half sticks of butter?  If they were stuck together 2 of them would make 1 stick so that means I need 4 sticks of butter to equal 1 cup.  Made sense at the time.  But clearly they were not soft and clearly I was not about to wait for them to soften up.  Two minutes in the microwave should do it.  Vino refill, check the butter.  Oh crap!  It's butter soup.  Just extra softened.  I'm sure it will be fine.

Pat the mixture into bottom of pan.  Pat?  That can't be right, I think as I POUR the mixture in.
 
I eventually get it all in the oven and wait for my lemon bar delights to bake to perfection.  Timer dings.  Out comes...

What's with the tumor?
Ummm...other than the misshapen lump, it looks totally edible.  I let it cool for an hour and try to cut into it.  It doesn't cut.  It crumbles into a soggy heartbreak.  Right about then E2 called and asked how it was going.  I told him.  He suggested putting it back in the oven and asked how long ago I had taken it out. 
Me: "An hour ago".
E2: "Oh.  Never mind.  It's too late".

I suppose this is what's to be expected when you use twice as much microwaved butter as you're meant to.

It really doesn't look as horribly wretched as it was.  E2 got home and actually ate a spoonful.  From the other room, I heard him immediately gag and spit it into the garbage.  The whole pan got dumped.

Then I got pissed.  How can this possibly be SO difficult??  Hundreds, probably thousands of people bake something delicious every day.  How can I be so incredibly inept?

 I was determined to try again.  E2 suggested I give it a couple of days.  He didn't think my ego was ready for another failure so soon.  I called him a mean name.  Then gave it a couple of days.

I tried yet again.  This time sober.  Mostly.  There was no microwaving, there was no pouring when there should have been patting, there was no mention of zest.  But there WAS success.

Booyah Bitches!!!!!
VICTORY IS MINE!!!!!!!!!!!!!