Monday evening the outside air was stifling but Trader Joe’s was freezing. The Hawaiian shirted staff can’t fool me. I know well enough by now to wear a serious sweater when crossing the automatic door threshold. Armed with a large block of bittersweet chocolate and a fresh container of milk, I breezed through the check-out line. The cashier was particularly friendly, encouraging me to enter the bring-your-own-bags raffle. In the past year I had spun some sort of wheel and won a jar of Cowboy Salsa so it seemed highly unlikely that my lucky Trader Joe’s streak would continue. Hating to disappoint the fellow behind the register, I scribbled my name and number on an orange ticket. He wished me luck and dropped the ticket into the raffle basket. I tend to group luck into the same category as horoscopes. When I win something I’m lucky; when I lose, not so much. Horoscopes are the sort of thing I believe when they are good and disregard when they are not to my liking.
On Tuesday morning before the temps soared, I logged several running miles prior to work. The air was thick with fluorescent green pollen and weighty with humidity. A series of orange cones cordoned off treacherous potholes causing me to take to the sidewalk. The sidewalks were equally hazardous with upended slabs of cement and wayward Little Tike Cozy Coupes. It was time for caffeine.
Casually glancing at my daily horoscope while consuming my first iced coffee of the day, it posed the seemingly ridiculous question, ”Got healthy?” Damn straight, I replied trying to ignore the remainder of my astrological forecast. Before putting the column aside, I noticed the cautionary advice to look out for and navigate a few potholes. Duly noted and already navigated.
My morning ‘to do’ list included a quick pie tutorial and blind bake. I had unearthed a long-lost recipe that I was determined to assemble before heading to the sugar mines. The pie at hand was all about chocolate, in this case extra dark with a shot of espresso. French Silk Chocolate Pie is Chocolate Cream Pie’s glamorous cousin. Chocolate Cream is comfortable in gingham, French Silk dons a little black dress, heels and triple strand pearls. With the mercury threatening to hover around 90 degrees by mid-day, the pre-baked crust and stove-top filling made it quick and cool to prepare. The pie is crazy rich, but using bittersweet chocolate seems to temper the sweetness. A fluff of unsweetened whipped cream and a glass of cold milk is all you really need to accompany this mousse within a crust. I tucked the pie into the refrigerator and grabbed a bottle of seltzer for the road.
Pie crust was on my agenda as I headed to work, envisioning a freezer stock piled with pate brisée within the next few hours. My plan to get a leg up on prep was thwarted at the near conclusion of cubing 6 pounds of sweet butter for pie pastry. My astrological sign proved horribly true in the sweltering heat of the kitchen. The previously chilled but rapidly softening butter and the vicious French chef’s knife collided with my innocent thumb. Got healthy? Nooooo- GOT HYDROGEN PEROXIDE AND STERILE GAUZE??!!
There is a nano second after the accident where you would give almost anything to take that moment back- the one right before the knife does the damage. But it was too late for if onlys. Unlucky with the knife, but oh-so-terribly lucky with the crew on hand. One bit of stellar news presented itself in the presence of calm-under-pressure-Katrina, barista by day, nursing student by night. Entrusting her with my maligned digit, she and the bakers round the bench came to my aid. Propping my arm up on a case of butter, I looked the other way as the thumb triage unfolded. And you know what they say about lemon juice on an open cut? Citrus can’t hold a candle to the sensation of hydrogen peroxide getting cozy with a laceration. Suffice to say that the best place to head was home.
How fortuitous that the injured thumb was on my left hand, allowing me to navigate ice cubes, gin and tonic into a very tall glass with my right. An unopened bag of Cheesy Poofs was within reach and the sofa in the sunroom provided safe haven.
It was probably the throbbing of the thumb coupled with the ringing of the phone that woke me several hours later. To my amazement, the manager from Trader Joe’s was calling with the news that I had won a $15 gift card for bringing my own grocery bags. Luck be a lady with a bum thumb, indeed.
Professional Pie-isms & Seasonal Sarcasm