Supper’s ready

It all started with dropping the lid of the slow cooker on my foot. No wait a minute, it actually all started with the idea of baked beans. Seeing as how I would have my hands full getting Thanksgiving dinner under control, I decided it would be a good plan to get Friday dinner off the to-do list by delegating it to the slow cooker. I gave the beans a good soak overnight, then packed them away to bring to the cottage on Thursday. So far so good. When I arrived, I loaded them into the cooking device with the appropriate fixings and congratulated myself on a job well done: Friday dinner would be done, dusted and in the fridge before bedtime.

Except for some reason the slow cooker went berserk and started belching smoke just before the beans were done. At which point I snatched the lid off, which promptly slid off the counter and intercepted my ankle. Once the air stopped turning blue, I salvaged the beans, which didn’t look too worse for wear. I then used up all the ice cubes I had been hoarding for T-day cocktails to try to mitigate the elephantine proportions of my ankle.

On Friday morning I checked out the state of the beans: hard as rock, but if I do say so myself, in a rather tasty sauce. So much for an easy Friday dinner. But that was not my key concern at the moment. My key concern was to get the day’s pre-work done so that Saturday would not be an ultra-marathon of cooking. First up: pumpkin pie and apple pie. Being the super organized person that I am, I had roasted the pumpkin the week before and the processed innards were already waiting in the freezer. Come to think of it, I could have saved myself some ice cubes by just using the frozen pumpkin ziplock for first aid, but I digress.

Since both pies need prebaked crusts, in the interest of time I decided to do both at the same time. When the penny started to bid a fond farewell, I started keeping them to build up a pie weight collection. You will see where I am going with this in a moment. Anyhow, I prepped the pie shells with parchment paper and penny pie weights and popped them in the oven. Now normally, I put pie shells on a cookie sheet so they are easier to get in and (more importantly) out of the oven in one piece. In my own defense, my cookie sheets were otherwise occupied with my stuffing bread at that moment. Eleven minutes later my oven told me to take the naked pies out of the oven, at which point one of them collapsed and broke, spewing pennies all over the oven. Nothing more could take place from a pie perspective until the oven cooled enough to take all the racks out to retrieve the pennies…

Luckily, I had another pie shell and as it happens, my recipe for pumpkin pie advises that for optimal results it is best to put hot filling into a hot (prebaked) crust – a step I was planning on skipping in the interest of time. So in goes the third pie shell, now on a baking sheet (fool me once, shame on me, fool me twice, double shame on me) while I tended to the filling. Since the clock was ticking louder and faster, I decided that it seemed silly to heat the cream and pumpkin before adding the eggs. Why not whisk the eggs into the cream and save a step? Why not indeed? Well, because It turns out that even over low heat, eggs cannot resist becoming scrambled. But I had no more pumpkin. So I strained out the lumps as best as I could and carried on. And made another dessert just in case.

Now it’s just a small matter of getting the turkey cooked without incident, but given my track record so far this weekend, I’m thinking the odds aren’t the greatest. At least I think I can manage to make more ice cubes without incident. Stay tuned.

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