Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Amateur Chef

It seems that just about every Wednesday afternoon I end up doing a mega cooking session. Today was no exception. I just couldn't seem to commit to just one recipe. We need cookies. We are out of yogurt. There isn't any bread for toast tomorrow. Husband will not be happy to have Monday leftovers again tonight. And so on...But in the middle of all this calamity, Georgia started pointing at the empty cake stand and desperately repeating, "bo, bo, bo" which, in her language, is the nickname for our cat, Bogart, and also for "bolo" (cake in Portuguese). You would think that since I was, at that moment, adding curry to the Moroccan Chicken, letting the Cuisinart beat up the ginger cookie batter, boiling the milk for yogurt and about to take out the flour for the bread, I would forgo the "bolo." Think again. And instead of a simple cake (or better yet one from a mix), a vision of those light and airy angel food cakes my Hungarian grandmother used to make pleasantly came to mind. I remember as a little girl waiting patiently for it to cool, the pan upside down over the neck of a Coca Cola bottle. Decision made. Without further thought to things already simmering, boiling, and mixing, I made a dash for the computer to find a recipe.

And here's where it gets tricky. You see, I have never seen an angel food cake in Brazil. Perhaps it is because I have never seen "cream of tartar" in the supermarket. And what the heck is "cream of tartar" in Portuguese anyway? But, Aries that I am, I wasn't giving up. After a bit of furious "google-ing," I discovered how to substitute the ingredient without requiring a Ph'd in chemistry. After that, the recipe is pretty straightforward--except when you think you are an amateur cook playing solo chef during the dinner rush (and don't forget the toddler clinging to your legs). As I was beating the eggs and slowly adding the sugar, those stiff white peaks never formed. That is when I looked at my tablespoon and saw that I was adding flour instead. Several expletives later and with the contents of the bowl ready for the garbage disposal, I decided to test my kitchen skills and see if I could turn this into something (why throw away TWELVE eggs). So, I dumped in more flour, butter, baking powder, anxiously waiting for it to resemble cake batter and then popped it into the oven.

Forty-five minutes later Georgia got her "bo." Felipe just got home for his Moroccan chicken and there will be yogurt and bread at the morning breakfast table. The ginger cookie dough got tossed in the freezer to be baked NEXT Wednesday. After all, I am just an amateur cook.


  1. Wow! Amateur cook? I don't think so! You made dinner, cookies, yogurt, bread AND cake at the same time!
    Here in Brazil we have "cremor tártaro". I bought a long time ago, just because I was curious about that. But, I must say I had never open that little jar...
    (Tammy, estou adorando falar com você, mas me corrija se eu disser alguma besteira no meu parco inglês, okay?)

  2. sounds like an ingredient you might find at one of those posh markets like santa luzia. in the meantime, i'll accept a ginger cookie...this is what you get for sharing your cooking sprees with a pregnant women! bj