I’m having a very busy week, and the one come up doesn’t look to be bringing any relief. If anything, it’s going to be far busier. The holidays come at a time this year when my mind seems to moving at 65 MPH and my body is lagging back at about 45. As I mentioned several blogs ago, I seem to have developed this strange ailment in my salivary glands that causes them to puff up and down like bellows every time I put something sweet in my mouth. To correct this problem I’ve been prescribed a high level dose of antibiotics to be taken over a ten-day period ending this coming Thursday.
Antibiotics and I don’t seem to agree with each other. I’m allergic to most of them, but this one I can tolerate but have been advised never to take a drink while taking it (alcoholic, that is). Normally, I don’t mind, but the three Christmas parties we were invited to all take place during this ten-day period, two of which we just attended at friend’s homes and the one coming up today with family. The invitation for Friday night’s party read “heavy hors oeuvres and lots of holiday cheer”. In layman’s terms, don’t eat before you come, don’t expect dinner when you arrive, and drinks will be liberally dispensed. The host and hostess have a beautiful home and always decorate accordingly. I was to bring the deviled eggs, which I made in the morning . I topped them with pimentos and pickles shaped to look like holly and made a rose for the center of the plate out of the skin of a Roma tomato. Very festive.
My girlfriend asked me to get there on time to help out, which was 5:30. For my birthday I got a beautiful pair of black slacks and a top to match embellished with a little glitter glam, so I planned on wearing that. I tend to be one of those people who changes fourteen times ending up with my entire wardrobe spread across the bed, and eventually heads out the door wearing the first outfit I tried on. This is a behavior that gets on my other half’s last nerve, so when I actually know what I’m going to wear going in he’s a much happier camper. Even with that going for me, I allowed myself an hour to pull myself together as it takes a little longer to get fabulous these days, and, as I said the mind is willing but the body simply refuses to catch up and cooperate. I ran my bath first, and threw in the good bubble bath and a soap rose out of my crystal jar that I reserve for special occasions.
Water running, I took out my box of glamour and began applying the base coat. Somewhere in the back of my mind I remembered that I’d bought a silver shimmery sort of eye shadow for New Year’s Eve years ago. As I’m terrible about throwing makeup out it could have been just following my high school graduation. That being said, I was certain I still had it tucked away somewhere. After rummaging through the long forgotten blues, and the rarely used greens, I found it in the back of the drawer. My eyes, as it seems is the rest of me, are sensitive, in particular to mascara, so on a daily basis I tread lightly in that area or end up looking like a 60’s activist with a bag a day habit. This being a special occasion, I applied both the glittery shadow and wanded my eyelashes, and went to soak in my fabulous tub.
My bathtub looks out over the veranda and down across the lake. We’re high enough and secluded enough where we’re afforded the privacy to slip in and out without having to close the blinds, so the view is always present when you’re soaking. I love it. It’s one of the amenities I will most about our house when we leave. I rounded the corner already anticipating the feeling of the hot water floating around my neck, and stepped in. Heaven.
Closing my eyes, I sank down in the heat and rested my head. Wonderful. Some time later a good shaking brought me out of my relaxation to find my other half standing over me announcing I had fallen asleep. After admonishing me for doing something potentially dangerous, he bent down and scrutinized my face. After some scrinching of features, he asked what was wrong with my eyes. Oh-oh. Grabbing a towel and wrapping it around me I went to my vanity and looked in the mirror. My reflection looked like an old Timothy Leary mug shot. Both eyes, the left more so than the right, were red and puffy, but I must say in all honesty they were shimmery as touted on the label of the eye shadow.
Having no choice, and at that precise moment supposed to be fully dressed and knocking on the door at the party, I washed my face, reapplied my makeup as best I could without the shimmers and went to get dressed. Wanting to be prepared so as not to have to rush I had ironed my black pants earlier and laid them on the bed. I slipped on my shirt, pulled on some black dress socks, added earrings and some bling and went for my pants. It seems that my white cat, partial to sleeping on a blanket at the end of the bed, had gotten there before me leaving a good deal of her furry white behind as evidence of her passing. My jet black pants were now more of a mottled grey and looked like a bichon frise. I grabbed a wet washcloth, wiped most of it off, did a quick reiron, and out the door we went.
I arrived at the party with one eye partially shut, no eggs (I sent my other half back for them), twenty minutes late, and leaving a trail of white cat hair floating in the air as I walked, but I arrived. In the end it was fun. My will power gave out along the way and I ate some of the petit fours soon having my left jaw coordinated with my left eye giving me a sort of Elephant Man meets Quasimoto look. Ah well, they were good friends so said that I always provided comic relief. Find a niche and fill it. Guess that’s mine.
This Bavarian cream is truly decadent. Pair it with the pastry and it should have an R rating.
Notes on making cream puffs. Best the day they are made. You can make pastry the day ahead and store in resealable plastic bag in the refrigerator until you’re ready to fill. Don’t crowd them while baking, they need to have steam circulating around them to puff nicely.
Cream Puffs with Bavarian Cream
3 tsp. granulated sugar
3 tsp. cornstarch
2 cup half and half
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 tsp. vanilla
4 Tbsp. Chambord (black raspberry liqueur)
1/2 cup whipped topping
In large saucepan whisk together sugar and cornstarch. Whisk in milk and beaten egg. Cook, stirring constantly over med. high heat for about 8 mins. until mixture has thickened and is bubbly. Remove from heat. Add vanilla. Cool. Sir in Chambord. Gently fold in whipped cream. Chill.
1 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. milk
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
Confectioners sugar for dusting
Blueberries or raspberries for garnish if desired
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In large saucepan bring water, butter and salt to boil over med. heat. Add flour all at once and stir until smooth ball forms. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 mins. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Continue beating until mixture is smooth and shiny.
Drop onto baking sheets in 1/4 cupfuls about 3″ apart. Mix together milk and egg yolk. Brush over pastry. Bake for 30-35 mins. until golden brown.
Cool on wire racks immediately cutting slit for steam to escape.
Split puffs and set tops aside. With fork remove soft inside dough and discard.
Fill pastry bag or large plastic bag with diagonal cut in one corner with Bavarian cream. (Fold bag down to fill and then after filled turn back up and squeeze mixture to bottom.) Generously fill bottom of puff and place hat or top on top of filling.
Yum. Makes about 10