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July 17, 1999
two years ago

Cooking Day

I slept in late, trying to catch up on the sleep I'd been missing for a while.

I did get up pretty late, and started the day by cooking a few eggs, some Canadian bacon, and toasting two bagels. Cut up some sharp cheddar, and then layered it all together for bagel breakfast sammiches that John and I really enjoyed for the first thing we ate.

I then made tiramisu.

I'd made it before, and changed a few things, this time, mostly because of availability rather than any shortcoming on the part of the previous try. One of the things I changed because of memory, and I thought I'd put three eggs into two cups of half and half the time before, along with a pound of mascarpone. this time I only had half a pound of mascarpone and half the lady fingers I'd had before, so I thought I'd half the whole recipe. So I was thinking that two eggs into one and a half cups of milk would do. I should have done two eggs in one cup of milk, I think, as the milk isn't as thick as the half and half, or something, as the custard turned out a bit thinner than I liked.

Most tiramisu recipes call for raw eggs. Usually the yolks get beaten with sugar and the mascarpone before it's all folded into the beaten egg whites, or if the person's more ambitious and less fat conscious, the cheese and yolks are folded into whipped cream. I was, the time before, serving the stuff to someone that was pregnant and I didn't want to risk raw eggs. So I made a cooked custard, whipped the mascarpone with just sugar, then slowly beat the cooled custard into that, and the whole thing fluffed up quite nicely. This time the custard was a bit too thin to take the air so easily.

The other main difference was the quality of the espresso. The first time I'd made it, it was with Victor's espresso, about six shots of the shorter draw espresso that they make. Six shots made about four ounces of really finely dense espresso, normal American espresso baristas draw a full ounce per shot rather than the less than an ounce shots Victor does. The problem was that I knew this, but I went and drew full ounce shots anyway and the espresso was badly watered down. So when I dipped the lady fingers into the coffee and cognac, they tasted almost more of cognac than of coffee. Drat.

I'm going to have to try this again. While I was making it I was always watching the Food Network and they were showing Calling All Cooks and the guy on the TV was making tiramisu, too. Thing is that it wasn't particularly helpful as he did it with raw eggs and he added whipped cream and I like my tiramisu rather dense rather than fluffy. Taste, it's all a matter of taste.

I spent the afternoon, while the tiramisu was curing in the fridge, watching TV for a while and when that depressed me, I started playing Parasite Eve, going through all the museum stuff to get enough experience points to start in on the Chrysler building. I'm still low on levels, but surprised myself by having Liberate before I'd even gotten as far as the Eve's in the backrooms. So now I'm starting to think about actually going for the Eve's and getting my levels up a bit more, or if I'm just being greedy and scared of the building. Don't know, yet.

I stopped to make dinner as we'd invited Joan and Alex over and I wanted to try the beef stroganoff that Calling All Cooks had done as well in the last week, and I had fun with it. Didn't quite get the whole recipe down, so far as simmering the result for many, many minutes, but it actually got a lot of cooking time in because I got done a little early, they came just a bit late, and the noodles took a while to cook, so it turned out tender and lovely on the noodles that I did have.

It was really fun to just talk with Joan and watch Alex learn and play and figure things out. He's about two and he was fascinated by John's little pump car and wanted everyone to play with him with it. He was shy up to that point. Then John showed him the chutes and buckets of the marble system on the refrigerator, and he was completely hooked into wanting to play with that. It was really cool to watch. We also had a great time trading stories with Joan about Fezzik and about her farm and farm animals and all the things she'd seen. Also war stories about the move, about getting oriented here, and about how to just cope with a completely new environment. It's good to have her as a resource.

After they left to take Alex home and to bed, I sat down and played more Parasite Eve until I was tired of it, and then John and I watched another two episodes, first the one about Neal Armstrong going back up in Apollo 14, and then the one about the astronauts learning about geology from a Caltech geology professor. I loved them both, actually, though the Caltech one was just so very, very keen. It's all about context anyway. All the engineering I learned there had some of that concept, that the problem is only defined when the context is defined, which is, likely, why I'm so driven to do real specifications and context for what I'm going to do.

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