Saturday, November 10, 2007

Recipe for Success, Recipe for Disaster

They are perfect. Ripe, succulent, perfect. And I've never done this before, or at least never done it successfully.

So tonight was the night. Tonight I will do this, make this and it will resonate.

I place them in a plastic bag, walk to the register.

"$3.84," said the cashier.

Handing her a ten, I notice that the woman behind me has that new instant chocolate dip in her basket.

"It's a fondue kind of night, isn't it? Does that stuff work?"

"Yes, just cold enough. It's real easy, melts in the microwave."

"What are you going to dip? Pretzels, marshmallows...oh you're getting strawberries. Lovely. You are going to have such a fun night."

"Yes, we will," the woman replies, still making goo-goo eyes at her girlfriend. I envy them. They're together.

Buck up, girl. Only 8:45. He said he'd be over about 10, it takes that long to drive. Gives you time to make fondue also if you're so inclined. And then you will have all night together.

Placing the bag on the passenger seat, I drive home, eyes flicking from the road to the bag. Do I have everything?

Red wine, blush wine, sugar. Should be easy. I'm not even going to consult or epicurious on this one. They'd not helped me in prior attempts, so this was going to be a strictly seat of the pants attempt.

Cutting board sterilized, knife ready. Remove the labels, core and seeds. Thin slices. Before I can poach them, I have to prepare the poaching liquid. Two cups red Bitch wine, one cup Arbor Mist Tropical Fruit. I have only the finest of wines in my kitchen. One cup sugar. Stir over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Layer the slices in the poaching liquid. Add one half cup water so the slices are covered completely by the liquid. Lower the heat to a simmer and place the lid on the pan.

And wait.

And wait.

And wait.

Remove the cover. Lovely pinkish color, perfect tenderness. I'll try one. Wow. I've succeeded. I have made perfectly poached pears.

Now to plate them. A spiral, using the asymmetry of the pears to best advantage. On a fine, white china plate. Let the poaching liquid reduce. Drizzle the intensely purple syrup over the pears. Set the platter on the table, atop a contrasting place mat.

Bzzz! Bzzz! My cellphone dances on the counter. I smile at his face in the tiny screen and flick it open. Twisting a lock of hair around my index finger, I try to keep the purr out of my voice. "Hey. You done yet? Getting late, mon ami."

"Um, look sweetie? Something came up. I'm going to be stuck here for a while, hon. Maybe I'll catch up with you on the weekend."

"Oh. Okay then. Bye." I look at the carefully constructed tableau. And throw it out.

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