Today’s ingredients are from Suzanne at A Pug in the Kitchen. I’m so excited on her behalf, because her recipe won a Whole Foods Market contest Your Best Drink for a Crowd! She didn’t know I was going to share that, but I’m pleased as punch. Or should I say that I’m silly over this slushy?
Next week’s ingredients come to you from Albuquerque, New Mexico and my friend RC. I do miss the Land of Enchantment and my friends there.
I hope those of you who like long episodes can forgive me for a rather abbreviated post. Mid-week I have a special task, and I need part of my weekend to prepare for it. I didn’t format a recipe for you this week, but there is a video. Follow the links to recipes for the Suzanne’s Coco Lime Slushy and the vintage tomato aspic.
Now I bid you a spirited Bon appétit!
3. Aspic, Quail, Puff Pastry
Maestro Martino, still on one knee, placed his hand over his heart… or over where his heart would be if he wasn’t a ghost. He gazed adoringly at Granny Fanny. Her eyebrows knitted. It seemed like the cat had her tongue. Finally she cleared her throat and turned to me.
“Paisley dear, is this strange, but very charming man one of your friends?” she asked.
Then I was the one who was perplexed. I was sure the first thing Granny would notice was the fact that there was a ghost in her kitchen! However, when I took a good look at Maestro, I realized that he no longer had that semi-solid appearance. He looked as rock-solid as the rest of us. For some reason I found that development very unsettling.
I remembered his comment, “Well, I am one powerful poltergeist, Signorina!” and I was worried. I couldn’t say quite why… but I had a good case of the heebie-jeebies.
While I stood in confusion, Granny’s hostess reflex kicked in.
“There’s a nice tomato aspic in the icebox if ya’ll want anything else,” she said, but then her eyes fell on the uneaten feast on the kitchen table.
It was actually a refrigerator. Granny was quite proud of it, but she still called it an icebox. She opened the door and took out the aspic, despite the abundance of food on the table. She cut a slice of it and put it on a small plate that matched her teacups — green with a blue chrysanthemum design. I noticed her hands were shaking. Granny was steady as a stone. In all the drama and close calls we’d had, I never once saw her hands shake.
She also left the refrigerator door open, another thing that was very unlike her. She offered all three of us the aspic. Andy and I stood mutely and shook our heads to say no. He cleared his throat as if he would speak. He even opened his mouth, but no words came out.
I had never seen my grandmother act in such an odd manner. I whispered to Andy to be ready to catch her if she fainted. Andy moved closer to her. I think he was about to introduce himself, but Granny’s strange behavior kept him silent.
“The Wongs are sending over some quail tomorrow,” she said in a hollow, absent tone. “With half the family going to California to visit relatives, they’re cutting back the restaurant’s hours. Arabella said they had too much food, so she’s sending some things to all the ladies in our book group.”
Granny placed the plate on the counter. “Paisley,” she said, and the second use of my proper name did not escape me. It usually meant I was on thin ice. Or that Granny was in a very emotional state. When I saw the undefinable expression in her eyes, I almost wished that this time “Paisley” meant I was in trouble.
“Paisley, where are your manners? Aren’t you going to introduce me?” she asked with a pointed look at Andy and a covert glance at Maestro.
I gave my old friend Andy a rather formal introduction. I was that nervous. The whole time I was trying to think of what to say about the ghost! Andy shook Granny’s hand and was extremely polite. I noticed that he kept cutting his eyes toward the spirit in an anxious way.
“And this,” I began uncertainly. “Well, this is Maestro Martino. He’s… he’s a chef.”
It seemed that Maestro was a rather fickle specter. A moment earlier he had been overcome at Granny’s presence. It seemed the refrigerator had been equally fascinating. When I looked at the spirit he was bent over and leaning inside the electric icebox, murmuring and marveling about the technology.
As Maestro leaned further into the refrigerator Granny suddenly leapt toward it. She gave his bottom a firm push. Then she slammed the door shut and leaned back against it with Maestro inside.
“He’s a chef,” Granny said, arching one eyebrow at me. “And he’s a ghost. When were you going to get around to that part, Paisley Idelle Peabody?”
Applesauce! She’d used my whole name. I really was in trouble.
“What do you think you were doing, bringing a ghost into my kitchen?” Granny Fanny demanded.
Muffled complaints emanated from the refrigerator. Maestro Martino seemed to have gotten over his infatuation with refrigeration technology. The stifled grumbles became more pronounced.
“Please, release me signora!” he cried. “How could you do such a thing? My piccina puffed pastry! Pardon me please, I present no problem. I am one pleasing poltergeist, I promise you,” he carried on with unashamed begging.
Then Maestro started hiccupping again, in between pleas to be let out of the refrigerator. Granny looked aghast. She took in a breath and her eyes widened.
“Paisley Idelle Peabody! That ghost is drunk!” she said.
Her eyes fell to the shards of the broken wine bottle on the floor. Both her eyebrows went up when she saw the skull, which was still intact. I thought she was catching on to what had happened. Then she saw the ancient crate Andy and I brought from the abandoned factory — the crate where we found the cursed bottle where Maestro had been… marinating for who knew how many years.
Meanwhile the complaints from inside the refrigerator ceased. At first I didn’t noticed that the pleas were replaced by a smacking sound.
Granny plopped down into one of the white ladder back chairs at the kitchen table. She motioned to the crate.
“Andrew,” she began and I cringed to think she had used Andy’s given name because that probably meant he was in trouble with her too. “Why don’t you open another wine bottle. We might as well see if he has a friend in there.”
Andy looked as relieved as I felt. He opened the crate and hesitantly chose a bottle. “You don’t really think…” his voice trailed away. “No. That would be too impossible.”
As Andy uncorked the bottle of wine, a loud sound from the refrigerator made us all turn.
The ghost gave a grand belch.
How to Make: Quick Puff Pastry
Copyright © 2014 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene
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