I had a wonderful plan for dinner last night. I had some chicken kebobs all put together and ready to be thrown on the grill when I got home. I wanted to make the Blueberry and Strawberry Buttermilk Cake that was posted on Pinch My Salt (thanks Nicole!) as a perfect summer dessert. I figured I’d pick some greens from my little container garden so we’d have a salad. It was a beautiful plan.
That’s when reality stepped in. After visiting a bit with my husband, I was ready to set the plan in motion. I went outstide to turn on the grill so it could heat while I prepared the batter for the cake. And, you guessed it, it wouldn’t light. I think I may have inadvertantly left the gas turned on a tiny bit so there wasn’t any. I fruitlessly pressed the ignition button several times…nothing. Grrrr.
Okay…now what’s for dinner? I didn’t want to try grilling the kebobs indoors…they really cried out for a real grill. Hmmm. Well, I figured we could still have the planned dessert. I put together the batter while thinking about what else to make. It’s a lovely, simple recipe and the batter came together easily. I put it into a square pan (rather than the round pan suggested) and popped it into the oven.
Meanwhile, I had figured out an alternate entree. I had some skinless/boneless chicken thighs in the frig waiting for an idea. I quickly lined a quarter sheet pan with a couple of layers of aluminum foil and layed out the thighs. A liberal sprinkling of salt, some pepper and lavish paprika. Then I dotted each with a dab of butter. I placed the pan under the broiler for about 5-6 minutes.
During this lull I contemplated side dishes. I popped out to the “garden” (I have a tiny yard with a bunch of containers holding tomato, cucumber, pepper, butternut squash, lettuces and herbs) and picked some lettuce and a nice little cucumber. Okay, salad taken care of! Then I remembered two things: 1) I had some cooked rice that I had frozen in the freezer (Mark Bittman had a great article on freezing stuff) and 2) I “forgot” to put the berries on top of the cake. Yes, that’s right, the berry cake was berry-less.
I checked the cake (it had been baking for about 15 minutes) and it was still very soft so I went ahead and put the berries on top and kind of smooshed them down a little with my hand. This is what comes of reading a recipe too fast…you might miss a thing or two. Back in the oven it went. Within a minute or 3, I remembered I hadn’t sprinkled with sugar…so, opened the oven, grabbed a spoonful of sugar and sprinkled. Sheesh.
I turned the thighs, sprinkled with more salt, paprika and butter. Back under the broiler for another few minutes. By now I had placed the frozen rice into the microwave and it was, theoretically, defrosting. When I opened the microwave to pull it out I learned an important lesson: don’t touch really hot, steamy stuff with your bare hand. Boy that was hot. I pulled the mostly defrosted rice out, sprinkled it with salt and pepper and a little olive oil, mixed it well with a fork and put it back in to heat through.
Now the cake and the chicken thighs were done and both were removed from the oven. The cake to cool on a rack and the thighs to rest. While the thighs rested, I made a quick oil and vinegard dressing for the salad (basically I just plated the greens and some cucumber slices, applied a little salt and pepper and drizzled with olive oil and a touch of cider vinegar. Then I sliced the thighs cross-wise and added that and the rice to the plate. While the cake cooled, I served up our little dinner. I briefly explained the whole plan snafu thing to my husband and, after tasting the thighs, said that my “alternate plan was better than most people’s plan.” He’s a keeper.
Once dinner was finished, the cake was cooled. I dished each of us a piece and garnished with whipped cream (have I mentioned that I keep a nitrogen charged canister with cream at the ready in my refrigerator?). The cake was delightful. The berries had only sunk in a bit but that was actually fine. The late addition of sugar created a nice little patina on the top. My husband’s verdict? ”I could eat this everyday!”