We’ve spent all day working on a document that had a deadline and required all our attention. First, G. worked on it for the last couple of days; then I took over last night and was transfixed until 3:30 a.m. Resumed the task at hand from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30. Then G. reviewed what I had done and we finally wrapped it up around 5 in the afternoon. Some Easter day, huh?
It’s a good thing our kids are grown and the granddaughters have bunny business with their families where they live. It was refreshing, actually, to be able to dedicate our time and attention to something singular like this. It was rather a breakthrough in our thinking and so we were also buoyed up by the possibility of progress being made, slow and arduous as it seemed at times.
So, by 5 o’clock in the afternoon, we cleared away the mounds of paper and G. heated up the oven to 375 degrees for the long-awaited black pepper and gruyere cheese popovers I wrote about some weeks ago. I’ve been tweaking popover recipes since the holidays now and so was looking forward to yet another variation for mixing up these few ingredients: room temperature eggs, salt, pepper, whole milk this time heated up almost to boiling in a saucepan, flour in the same proportion of milk.
I slipped the popover pan into the heating oven, deciding to use the twelve cup smaller popover pan instead of the six cup big popover pans. It was the right choice because the batter filled the cups to almost the rim just right. I left a hair of space on the top so that when I dropped small cubes of gruyere cheese into the tops of the batter, it came just up to the top. The heated popover pan from the oven was sprayed with Pam to ensure that the beautiful puffs of golden magic would pop out when baked. The other trick was to leave the popovers in the 375 degree oven for exactly 40 minutes. They pop up amazingly about half way through and the temptation to take them out as they brown and brown some more before the allotted time is so tempting. STAY FIRM. Even if they’ve popped, the softer insides need the time to bake so that the popovers don’t fall immediately after taking them out of the oven. Let the buzzer run out. Open up the oven and let the popovers sit for just a few minutes (while you take pictures if you want) or set out platters to put the popovers on, sprinkling more gruyere cheese on top of them when they’re still hot.
Usually, or in the old days (a few months ago,) I would have probably also made some rack of lamb, rare and on the bone with fresh rosemary, garlic and mustard a la Julia Child. Maybe a small bowl of baby brussels sprouts. But recently, I have been cutting out one dish, then another and G. and I have been happy and satisfied eating this way. So, tonight, along with these gruyere popover treats, I made a salad in the blue spongeware bowl:
rinsing hearts of romaine in cool water and spinning them dry, broken up in crisp bites first in the old blue bowl. Then, half an asian pear, cored and cut up in medium-ish slivers, crisp and cool; about half a log of garlic herb goat cheese in small chunks, and best of all, a generous handful of those sinful maple glazed walnuts we’re not supposed to have. I made a small amount of vinaigrette with grapeseed oil, a squeeze of Meyer lemon, Japanese Marukan seasoned vinegar, and a dash of maple syrup. Whisked together and dressed in the salad, the light ingredients were a perfect foil for the rather robust popovers. We drizzled Billy Bee honey on the popovers halves pulled apart and steaming. Somehow, this brand of honey has more body and a taste that is discernably sweeter than other honeys we’ve tried.
It was satisfying to enjoy this simple meal together after all the hard work we had spent doing the rest of the day and also the day before. It was oddly also pleasant to have a holiday where we were free to spend the day on something else.
After cleaning up, G. left to take popovers to a neighbor who had been in an automobile accident earlier in the day; and some for his mother and brother who live across the street. We have three popovers left, perhaps for breakfast, or later for a midnight snack if we’re still up.
So, that’s the popover follow-up I promised. Hope you had a good day too.