In my 5th installment of the JENNY STALKER SERIES, I chose to stalk someone I had just "met". This is not what I had initially planned to do. I was planning to go through my list of bloggers systematically one by one. Three little words changed all of that. Luckily, my next victim is a teacher. My 11 year old mentality
should've could've been the perfect fit. The only problem was the time difference. She's about 9 hours ahead of my Pacific Time Zone.
Stalker Series post with Zen Chef, I discovered that I was being followed by a fennel. Right. Specifically, a fennel head with GLASSES was following me on twitter. Her name was @ColloquialCook. And she lives in Paris. Sense any jealousy on my part? You're right. Heck, she could live in a shoebox ANYWHERE in France and I'd still be pea green with envy.
I was really excited because I had stumbled upon a cookie post she had done a while ago and i had bookmarked it to make for Christmas. Since I believe in fair warning [and let's face it...it's pretty damn creepy to stalk someone without letting them know you are], I sent her a message informing her that she's on my list to be stalked. She replied with a VERY nice response but what caught my attention were the last 3 words which left me speechless!
The 3 little words were "Bring it on". Many thoughts came and went through my mind.
1. Does she KNOW who she's talking to? There are a few screws loose in my head.
2. Does she not realize that I am cooking/baking challenged????
3. Does she not realize how NEEDY I am?? I'm the youngest child...I need attention...LOTS of it.
The answer to that was obviously, "no" because I'm sure that ZenChef was way too nice to tell her what a true pain in the butt I was during his stalking.
Well, that was HER problem. She asked for it. The challenge was trying to pick the appropriate recipe for me to try. The answer came when I had asked twitterland for suggestions for nut flour options for my financiers. @ColloquialCook came to the rescue...for my stalker series AND my financier recipe.
Metrics: Her recipes had the weight measurements vs volume that we Americans love to use. As much as it pains me to admit it, the darn frenchman was right again when he said that baking by weight was better and more precise than by volume so I've actually been converted for awhile. The challenge came when I tried to figure out how to convert Celsius to Farehnheit:
192.0 [ …carry the 3…ummm…]
432.0 […carry the 1…]
if you believed that, you are straight up crazy. I looked it up on the online converter like any SANE person would do.
Fiscal Responsibility: I'm a penny wise, pound stupid. I like to save money where I can. I decided to save money on the nut flours by getting whole nuts and grinding them down. Only problem was my cheapass didn't buy the hazelnuts skinned/blanched. So I had to skin those buggers one by one. I've got serious OCD so little specks and bits of skin DRIVES ME NUCKIN' FUTS. It took me THREE FREAKING DAYS TO SKIN THOSE STUPID HAZELNUTS. In the meantime, she was on stand by and ready to answer any questions that I may have had. Expecting her to be on constant stand by for three days while i scrubbed those nuts one by one was a bit too much to ask. So I messaged her with random questions because I didn't want her to feel neglected. And I didn't tell her what I was doing because I try really hard to hide the crazies in my head.
Vocabulary/Language: I like to consider myself well read with a pretty decent vocabulary but how often do you use the word "didactic" in a sentence? Right. NEVER. Never, unless you're @ColloquialCook trying to confound me in a direct message. [I admit it. I remember that word from English Lit but damned if I remembered what it meant. I had to look that one up]. The other phrase that threw me was "Icing Sugar". huh? DM'd her...forgot that she's sound asleep due to the 9 hour time difference. Look it up on the internet. Right, Powdered Sugar. Duh.
Toasting: You know those UNSKINNED hazelnuts I bought? Yeah, well I had to toast them in the oven to skin them. Her instructions clearly call for me to toast the 2 nut flours together. But is it ok to re-toast the toasted hazelnuts?? Crap. it's 4:00am in Paris. She's lucky I don't have her cellphone number. I toasted. I figured if everything went south because I toasted twice, I was just going to fall back on my youngest bratty sister line: "BUT YOU SAAAAAAIIIIIID!!"
Browning Butter: She asked me if I'd ever browned butter before. I've browned butter before. Once. Ok, TWICE because I burnt it the first time. i burnt it the first time because I didn't get that it was the PROTEIN that was supposed to be browned and NOT the butterfat. GRRR. This time around, after I dropped the butter into the pan, I decided i had a few minutes to check my email. Replied to emails until I heard a smoke alarm go off. Shockingly, it wasn't coming from my kitchen but my neighbors'. Sadly, due to my lack of attention [common theme in my cooking/baking adventures] the forgotten butter was burnt and ruined. Started over again and decided that, in fact, i didn't have time to check my emails.
Temperature Conversions: Ok, 464 degrees farhenheit? that just SOUNDS crazy...do I bring it up to 475 or down to 450? Then drop the temperature down to 392?? or 400?? Looked at the time...crap. 5:30am in Paris...no way she's awake yet. I decided to go with 400 degrees all the way through. [I chilled the mixture for an hour before baking and threw some chocolate in it because i love chocolate]
Amazingly, I did it! The financiers turned out VERY delicious in spite of my challenges. I was bummed that I wasn't able to get the timing right to properly stalk ColloquialCook this time around but rest assured, this isn't the last time I'll be stalking her.
Another good recipe from Team France [that's 3 points from Team France for those of you who are counting*]!! This recipe is easy and super tasty. Go find it and try it.
Thanks, Claire ...stalk you later! :)
*Team France consists of: Tartelette, ZenChef, & Colloquial Cook