I almost had a meltdown on Friday night. No lies. I arrived at the Whalesbone ready to do whatever Charlotte needed me to do. Her list was pretty simple:
1. whip and pipe brown butter
2. shell peas
Seriously… that was it. Simple eh? Yeah… I thought so too: and then I saw the pile of peas to be shelled and I let the butter temper too long – – holy heck does warm butter ever become messy!!! I swear, I tempered it, and then tossed the blocks into an enormous stand-mixer and whipped it all up… a beautiful, nutty coloured fully creamy texture… that started melting!!!
I was able to pipe my first batch quickly – although my little florets of butter were sad-looking and droopy…
As I brought the tray upstairs to the walk-in fridge, Charlotte looked over and saw… all she could say was “they’re melting! Get them in the walk-in!” Turns out they were a little too flat :0(
A little dejected I placed the tray and the bowl of remaining, whipped butter in the walk-in, allowing both to cool and harden up. Charlotte followed me in to figure out our plan of action… and that’s when Kshonze came to the rescue. True story…
Picture it. Charlotte and I staring at a tray of limp florets and Kshonze walks in and says “I know how we can fix this! Whip it in a bowl of ice… like a bain marie, only with ice…and set up to pipe the butter here in the walk-in”. Done… or so I thought.
Downstairs I went… and grabbed an old school hand-mixer (it was Charlotte’s grandmother’s I think) in order to to re-whip the remaining brown butter, this time placing the smaller bowl (full of butter) into the larger bowl filled with ice. Result – thick butter. Ready to be piped. I walked back up those stairs to the walk-in (my butt gets a great workout on Friday nights) in order to set-up my tray, and that beautiful, nutty coloured, creamy, thick butter into a piping bag… when I was interrupted.
Time to make a sundae.
Let me tell you… butter can harden as quickly as it can melt (if not faster!) In the time it took me to make a couple sundaes my bowl of butter was thick and HARD! Sigh. As I attempted to pipe it – it started to clump together. The result – ghetto butter that resembled coral more than butter… who wants to eat coral?! A million sighs. Oh yeah… and the butter melted a little and was all over the walk-in… on the door, on the floor… butter gets everywhere!
see… atempt #2 – ghetto butter
Time to try it again. 3rd times a charm right? Fingers crossed… back to the basement I went. Out came the sunbeam hand-mixer; ready to beat the butter into submission. At this point I felt like it was war – me and the butter. Who would come out on top? Well… VICTORY was mine! I was able to produce a perfect, beautiful tray – – the florets sitting tall and proud – ready to be placed in their butter bowls and served with some delicious bread.
victory was mine in the end… pretty eh?
With that task finally completed (yes, it took me over an hour to finish this task), I put away the hand-mixer, tossed out the ice and empty piping bag(s)… and got down to basics: shelling peas.
When Charlotte had asked me to grab the peas out of the walk-in I figured I’d have a few to work on… but I never imagined I’d have this many!!!
buckets of peas… for real
But after the insanity of the butter I looked forward to such a zen-like activity – grab a pea, pinch the ends, slit the seam to open and then rub out the peas. Simple. And might I add… very relaxing – – well if you think spending 3.5 hours shelling peas is relaxing. Yep – three and a half hours and I only finished 1 and a quarter of those buckets.
shelling peas… thank you Daniel for taking my picture ;0)
But they were so green, and tender, and they smelled so good… fresh, sweet peas. Really beautiful. And perfect for the soup Charlotte was making the next day.
peas in a pod… and actually… my favourite picture EVER!
That was my evening… for real. Butter and peas and a few sundaes thrown in-between to keep me on my toes. I always like to say that I learn something new when I spend an evening at the Whalesbone… and I learnt that I only like to work with butter in the winter ;0) and that shelling peas really does give you a green thumb!