Saturday was a bake-your-heart-out kind of day: baked chicken and rice, green beans, homemade egg noodles, and... the crowning glory... angel food cake! The amount of butter we used for the chicken and to drown the egg noodles was enough to... actually... take your heart out! I'm not a baked chicken and egg noodles kind of cook. But my neighbor and good friend is quite the stellar wife, and she decided to make her husband his favorite childhood dinner for his birthday. And I decided helping her would be the perfect excuse to conquer my longtime fear of making angel food cake from scratch
(and watch some Olympics :-) ).
I have a long history of frustrating failed attempts to make any kind of egg white-type dessert. It all began with a Christmas in high school. I was in charge of some meringue-y creation, which was to be the grand finale to a truly gourmet feast. It was, in short, a flop. Floppy flop flop. There was absolutely nothing light, fluffy, or airy about it. Between then and now I have tried at times when I felt particularly daring or confident in my maturing kitchen skills to successfully tackle a recipe with egg whites. Nope, my handicap continued. Two years ago, on Shawn's second birthday in Uganda. For some insane reason I chose to, one more time, confront my fear of egg whites in the form of his beloved angel food cake . Wrong move! Let's just say that at the end of the day, all I had for Shawn was an oven filled with runny angel food cake batter and a whole lot of tears. Boo hoo.
Fast forward to Saturday. First item of the day was to make those oh-so-time-consuming egg noodles.
My personal comments on those crinkly things is that they are not worth all that time! There's nothing complicated about them--they're quite simple, really. But seriously! They don't taste any better than store-bought fresh pasta, and they just took waaaay too long. The birthday boy was pleased, though, and that was the goal I guess. I'm just saying you won't find me making them next Saturday... or any other Saturday for that matter.
Then came the angel food cake. Andrea and I held our breath for every step.
When we accidentally poured in all the granulated sugar into those fragile egg whites instead of spooning it a couple tablespoons at a time, we stood there somberly and silently with our hands clasped, watching the batter spin round and round, willing it to beat the odds and stiffen for crying out loud! In the end, it was clearly an amateur cake: it shrank a bit more than I assume it "should," and, well, it leaned. But it "sprang" back at us, just like the recipe said, and it looked like a stinkin' angel food cake! SUCCESS! At that point we didn't care if it tasted like styrofoam. But you know what? It didn't. No sir. It tasted better than any dry angel food cake from Safeway. It was moist and melty and... angelic.
Ahhh! Now that was certainly worth it. And to top it all off, I have now officially overcome my 13-year fear of egg whites. Maybe, just maybe, I'll get to serve one (that isn't leaning) for Shawn's big 3-0. But let's not get ahead of ourselves!