Cooking School Journal: Puff Pastry II

Well, puff pastry II was…  interesting.

Joe was in DC Monday and yesterday, and I was with the girls. I missed Monday’s class, but he and I had worked it out that he would stay home Wednesday, and I would take a make up class.

Yesterday I was determined, regardless of two hot tired girls and a toddler with a cold, to make my homework: puff pastry. There is no worse time to make puff pastry than the late afternoon when the outside temp is 96 degrees, your air conditioner is exhausted and spitting out room temperature air, your thermostat reads 83 and you have a snot-ridden sick 2 year-old literally hanging off your leg crying.

I persevered long enough to make the butter block and pastry dough. I patted them each into squares between sheets of plastic wrap and fridged them. The whole time Hannah was screaming out the front window, “Owie, owie. My mommy is giving me owie’s,” a mantra that she has quickly learned will cause me to reward her in anyway I can, just to get her to stop. Yeah, I gotta work on that.

But by 11:30 pm Hannah had cried herself to sleep, and I had properly rolled, folded and fridged the dough the required four times. I needed one more fold before class.

Joe’s plane was delayed. He was supposed to fly out at 5 pm my time. We had a nice chat and said good night. As usual, and you all know how I feel about air travel, I got choked up, said a prayer for his safe landing in L.A., and then began imagining the worst in all of its gruesome details. hindenburg

That healthy exercise is usually followed up by my wondering which of my black suits is clean from the drycleaners. And then, when it’s a really long flight, I wonder if it makes more financial sense to take the life insurance and pay off the mortgage, or invest it. That is usually followed up by long detailed images of how my life would be totally ruined regardless, and the kids would be scarred for life.

Luckily, I was distracted by a phone call from Arthur. He and I laughed for an hour and a half. Before I knew it, all my world’s problems were solved, and  I thought Joe was flying over the midwest.

Joe’s flight was, however, VERY delayed. When he didn’t arrive home at 11pm, I was sure the wreckage was somewhere over Nebraska.I poured myself a couple of stiff drinks. I finally went to bed after 2am, and I stayed in that twilight sleep state until he finally came in with suitcase rolling behind at 3 am. “Oh thank God”, I thought to myself and then (without even a ‘hello’) turned over in the bed and had the best five hours of sleep I’ve had since the mid-eighties. When I awoke, I had lost three pounds in saliva alone.

Oh sh*t! It’s eight o’clock. Lilly came in to wake me up. I told her to get dressed. And closed my eyes.

Oh sh*t! It’s 8:17. Lilly was dressed, Hannah was stirring and Lucy was still asleep. I told Lilly to wake up Lucy. And closed my eyes.

Oh sh*t! It’s 8:25. Lilly and Lucy were dressed, and I told them to get Hannah dressed. And closed my eyes.

Oh sh*t! It’s 8:34.  Now I’m screwed ,but the last thing I want to do is wake up.

Finally, at 8:40 am, I dragged myself out of bed. I showered, dressed, put on my indispensable lip liner (it’s all about the lip liner) and headed downstairs in a fog.  All I could think about was getting that puff pastry out of the fridge for 15 minutes to do one more fold. Blindly, I placed it on the counter and then headed toward the coffee maker.  I ground the beans (Peet’s Major Dickason’s– the best), scooped them into the filter, filled the the tank and  turned it on.

I then headed back  to the puff pastry. I unwrapped it and patted it with my hand to test its temperature. When I looked down, through my sleepy eyes I saw  a perfect handprint made of  ground coffee on the surface of the dough.

Oh sh*t!

It just got worse from there.

I fed the kids the worst breakfast of all, sugary cereal and skim milk. They ate it with gusto. I grabbed my stuff, scurried them to the car in the garage and told them to buckle in. They were going to camp — late.

“Where’s my towel?”

“Where are my goggles?”

“I’m still thirsty.”

The out-the-door chorus began.

“Just get in the car!”

While they buckled in, I feverishly tried to use my pastry brush to remove the coffee out of my dough. I rolled it hastily one more time, folded it into thirds and wrapped it tightly.  I bagged it and ran to the car… with it,  towels, juice boxes and goggles in tow.

I jumped in the front seat, opened the garage door, turned and asked the kids if they were belted in. Then I threw it into reverse. It was 9:24. Class started at nine and so did camp.

I hit the gas only to hear the horrendous sound of crumpling metal.

I hit the brakes and turned around expecting to see one of the kid’s bikes twisted around the axle.  No. I had left the trunk liftgate wide open yesterday unloading the groceries, and I had just crushed it in the garage door.


I made sure the kids were okay and  ran inside to get Joe.

He was at the sink trying to focus on shaving with two very sleepy eyes.

“I just killed my car in the garage door,” I said.

“Oh sh*t!” He replied.

But he just stood there half awake, razor in hand trying to stare at me through his eyelids.

“No. I need you to come fix it.”

“Oh sh*t.”

As we got to the bottom of the stairs, Lucy opened the interior door to the garage. “Mom! I need my goggles!”

The dog quickly slipped past her with Joe and I screaming, “Oh sh*t! Rocky! Come!”

I prodded her out the door and told her to get into the (insert positive parenting request here) car.

I canvassed the immediate neighborhood on foot calling for the dog, sweating and freaking out. I’m going to kill that damn dog. Meanwhile Joe separated the trunk lid from the garage door. He was attempting to remove all of the pieces of metal and plastic that were now hanging off of the car. The entire time he was worried that the neighbors would catch a glimpse of him adorned in shaving cream and bath robe.

Ten minutes later, we got the dog back. I dragged him to the house by his collar. The kids were loaded in the car. My puff pastry sat perfectly balanced on the center console– too warm. The trunk lid was shut.

I took a deep breath and drove the kids to camp and myself to school in what’s left of my SUV.