Tuesday, May 5, 2015

the novel bakers present...

just in time for cinco de mayo~

my abuela's table is a delightful illustrated journey of mexican cooking~

normally i am not all that chatty, i love books and just like to share visually, but today will be my true confessions... i have been living at the beach and decided rather spur of the moment to try and knock out my novel bakers homework on the same day as my bookclub meeting at the beach. which means i had loads to do in the kitchen in a short time... right off i was handicapping myself, but time was getting dicey and i already had bought the cinco de mayo food so i decided i best get cracking!

it was a GORGEOUS day by the sea, which hasn't been the case lately with fog and high winds, to wake up to a warm sunny day was delightful. after a challenging walk on the beach with the dogs and high tide, including one little midget dog nearly being swept out to sea, i was already wound up. i came home with a military precision, first make the rosewater pavlova for the bookclub, then start simple and make the sangria...

it sounded so innocent...

and then it ALL fell apart...

did i mention it was a warm day? down right hot. its rarely hot on the coast. as i was making the sangria outside trying to get a pic of the mexican merriment i begin to sip... oh my, its so refreshing, tastes just like fruit juice. heavy smile. did i mention the dogs were a pain in the neck this morn in the high tide, i was a bit wound up... hmmm, why not sit here a spell and sip, maybe grab some chips, i could even make guacamole and relax. did i mention its 10 am... have i ever stated i am not a drinker? as in i am an instant drunk. as in i was whipped! yep, i was smashed at 10:15. i had LOADS to do and lets just say i did it poorly from then on...

i dropped the pavlova straight from the oven, it had been gorgeous. nothing a ton of whip cream, fruit and rose petals can't hide!

after the book clubs mess i wanted to quit, but i had committed to cinco de mayo and i had to follow through. but i was soooo relaxed i just wanted a nap...

next up i needed to get the flan in the oven. i make flan all the time, easy peasy. not when you are drunk. i got creative. a little too creative... i had 4 egg yolks left over from the pavlova, i used those instead of whole eggs, the recipe called for 2 tins of specific milk products, i just opened two unrelated products and hoped for the best. you will see NO flan from me this day... it came out a lovely dulce de leche milkshake, even though it was in the oven for close to 2 hours :-)

next i wanted to cook the magnificent piece of halibut i had purchased for a small fortune. i love halibut, its a special treat to buy and i was eager to try the new recipe, but oh my i was so tired... lets not forget the flan, which was never going to be flan, i was still waiting on my single oven before i could make the halibut. oh my what a tangle mess we weave when we start to deceive... as in i should have FOLLOWED THE DAMN RECIPE.

i should mention i hadn't eaten all day either, which is why the sangria was having a party in my body... i needed that fish!

the halibut was one of the HUGEST slabs I have ever cooked, well over 3" thick, in my stupor it could have been 6" high. by now i am getting quite sloppy in the kitchen, i yanked out the aluminum foil and had a good 15' release itself and go rolling away on the floor. have you ever tried to reroll aluminum foil? i don't even think sober would have had much better results... heck i hate aluminum foil anyway, parchment is so much prettier.

i begin chopping, vowing to make this recipe perfect, i am reading and rereading the instructions only to find i have been flicking back and forth between 2 recipes. i have basterized another recipe. oh no, it is too costly to screw up another course! too late though, there is nothing i can do now. i did mention how TIRED/drunk i was, how i really just wanted to nap/pass out...

and i am still waiting for the damn flan to get out of the oven...

finally i am able to put the fish in the oven, it says 350 for 15' for one half of the recipe i have mangled. for the record i always cook halibut at 450 for 15'. i check in 15', its still raw. i give it 7 more minutes, its still raw. i am raw, i have lost my buzz and am oh so ready to nap off the morning glow... this goes on for 30 more minutes. i am ready to scream now, I MUST TAKE A NAP! i cranked the oven to 450 for 15', finally after close to an hour i had THE MOST PERFECT HALIBUT EVER!

while waiting on my mile high fish i managed a quick little salad...

now i am exhausted and hung over all at the same time and i still have to photograph this *^$! forget cute, just aim and hope something comes out decent. forget all the glam shots and props, i am DONE DONE DONE. so there you have it my true version of cinco de mayo gone bad, but i will say, whatever i did to that halibut was fantastic, worth every darn penny of it and more! next time you feel like trying new recipes, save the sangria for last~

wishing you all a happy cinco de mayo! and yes, i finally did nap the afternoon away, only to redrink the hair of the dog at book club that night, ole!

for a far more sobering day, be sure to visit all the novel bakers today~


  1. Oh you were muy ambitious with book club and novel baking the same day! I am chuckling... I would have been worthless after sangria for breakfast :) but it is as easy to drink as it is to make! I have to confess my hubby was out of town this weekend so I mixed a pitcher on Thursday and finished it off by Sunday...*hiccup* :)

    Your pavlova is a thing of beauty...it looks like a masterpiece with drifts of powdered sugar, petals and berries. No one would every know it had been dropped. You amaze me, I bet your book club was thrilled and oohed and aahed...

    We love halibut, but it is so pricey on the east coast, I assumed it would be more affordable in your waters. I'm chuckling over "its still raw. i am raw."...glad to know it was muy bueno! The fish illustrations in the book float my boat. I can only imagine what my photos would have turned out like, snockered over sangria. The looks salad too wonderful too. Thanks for the delicious fun for Cinco de Mayo. She has a follow-up book I saw, maybe we can get smashed on sangria next year...Olé!

  2. jain,
    Can you hear me shrieking from all the way across country??? I love it when you get chatty! Hilarious~~yes, that Sangria did me in too and when I pulled up my photos way too many were not in focus at all. I know I thought they were as I was shooting them! And I was also struggling with the foil to cover my chicken!! It rolled away and after tearing it to pieces in frustration I used the pot lid instead.
    And your food still managed to come out looking amazingly delicious! Wait until you see my avocado salad mess. You will think about withdrawing my Novel Baker invitation for the future. Now I see from your salad what this was supposed to look like! It was yummy though.
    Flan~~I didn't even dare try that! Much less a pavlova at the same time!
    This was an interesting book and your choices were mine too although I eventually faced the fact that doing a strange fish and a flan at the same time would be so far beyond me, even without the Sangria to nourish me as I went. Your beautiful photos are tempting me to try again, though, with a glass of water for thirst quenching this time!
    Happy Cinco de Mayo and thanks for letting me play along!

  3. Ha, well Jain, I think you celebrated Cinco de Mayo the whole day long, and although you were frustrated and foggy, your food looks incredible as always and your photos are fabulous anyway! Good save on the pavlova, what a dish of heaven that must have been! The cookbook could not be more charming, thanks for sharing so many of the wonderful illustrations~

  4. I'll have a sip of that sangria, for sure. And when you turn around, I will gulp the whole damn thing. Yes, getting tipsy is just what this gal needs, as 2015 is whipping my butt. I'm telling you, despite the year that it took to bake your halibut, it was worth it. Fish has never looked this gorgeous, and the cake looks like it was made by the gods of dessert. Your humorous storytelling was a hoot! First time I've smiled in forever. And the beauty is unparalleled. Thanks for introducing me to this charming book and for organizing our adventure! Now let's have more sangria! xxoo

  5. OMG, you have me cracking UP! I never would have made it, smashed on Sangria. YOu are a TROOPER, girl! Everything looks delicious, I bet noone knew of any accidents. SO glad the halibut was GOOD!!!!

  6. Oh, my! Thank you so much for the great laughs! Amazing work considering you were tipsy, er, okay, smashed! The halibut looks amazing! The pavlova is gorgeous! If you didn't mention the accident, no one would have ever guessed. Now I'm inspired to try making dessert! Your photography is still amazing!

  7. I must admit I read your post a couple of days ago and have been smiling every time I think of it. Thanks for sharing your adventurous day and your beautiful creations. I popped over to Amazon and ordered the cookbook, can't wait for it to arrive.

  8. Hi Jain
    Your post is so funny, I am stil chuckling thinking about it. The roll of tin foil was classic. I loved how you kept pressing ooonnn despite the dilemma, bound and determined to pull it all together, while one disaster would only lead on to the next. This would make great reality TV!!! It is so funny because we have all been there and can definitely relate. Amazing how beautiful your post is and how no one would have known what had happened during the whole prep. An endearing post and one not soon forgotten!!! This will keep you chuckling years later! Ole'