With Peter coming home for Easter last weekend, we decided to celebrate Darien's birthday a week early. We asked her what she wanted for her meal, and she told us "to keep it as simple as possible."
Right. Like that was going to happen.
I went shopping on Saturday and picked up most of what we needed. Since we would be slicing so many vegetables, and some needed to be julienned, Antonia decided that a mandoline slicer would make an excellent present from the boys. She purchased one and I picked it up from her cabin and secreted it away. So far, so good.
While Antonia and Darien were singing in church on Sunday, I got busy. After some fumbling around, I was able to julienne the carrots, celery, leeks, and other toppings for the sole. Since we were doing French, of course the whole pile was sauteed in a mound of butter. I added sliced mushrooms at the very end, and set everything aside in the refrigerator for later use. I then got to work on the crust for the tarte. This was the part that made me nervous, but it was surprisingly easy -- mix the dry ingredients, then add a slightly beaten egg and softened butter in a little crater and mash the whole thing together. I rolled it all into a ball and set it in the refrigerator to chill.
When Antonia arrived, we switched it into high gear. We gave Darien firm instructions not to enter the kitchen after she exclaimed how nice the salmon looked.
I started chopping and Antonia worked on the fish -- sole, not salmon -- preparing it in a baking dish for poaching. I put the mandoline to good use, slicing a the potatoes to a nice thinness, followed by the zucchini. I sliced the apples razor thin with the mandoline and Antonia placed them artistically on the pie dough that she had formed into a rough approximation of a circle. She then heaped a mound of sugar on top. It was so much sugar she didn't have the heart to use all the recipe called for, especially after she dribbled the honey on it. Maybe that is what made it taste so good.
This was a good dinner. I would never have been able to pull everything together without A., so props to her.