Two Beaman families enjoyed Mexican fare at Chuy’s, a Fifties-themed restaurant where patrons can observe hand-rolled tortillas being tossed in air and prepared for the table.
When our orders were delivered, we stuffed ourselves with tacos, enchiladas, and burritos. Curtis gobbled up his combination platter in minutes and wanted more. He’s fourteen now with a stomach that’s a bottomless pit.
Looking up from the dessert menu, Curtis eyed the server, “An order of flan please.”
“I’m sorry. We’re out of flan, but we have cakes and ice creams,” His face fell. I felt his disappointment.
“How about we make flan sometime before school starts?” offering my clueless stab at a solution.
“Okay, let’s do that!” he nodded, grinning.
And so we did.
Curtis and I have worked in the kitchen before. He’s not an ingénue. Previously, he didn’t shy from wearing one of my aprons for the job, his torso way too small then for Grandpa’s denim.
I wrote about our first attempt as a duo in Do Real Men Wear Aprons? several years ago in a different kitchen.
The Flan Fanfare
His apron for flan making was Grandpa’s denim, not Nana’s flowery outfit. From the beginning Curtis took charge – I’m not in the pictures much, except for reading the recipe and initiating the video. He is almost my height now with more pronounced muscles, a bass voice, and a shock of thick hair, a teenage waterfall.
Oh, I did assemble the ingredients.
Vanilla Bean Fascination
For the first time ever, we cooked with a real vanilla bean, a .05 organic bean costing a small fortune, even from Walmart. No wonder! Such beans are imported from Madagascar, Uganda, or Tahiti. I wonder if vanilla plants would grow in Northeast Florida; we’d be rich! And growing such an exotic plant would be less risky than growing a weed, like, say, marijuana.
Curtis carefully extracted seeds from the imported bean, the strays collected in a sieve.
The kitchen was a flurry of activity ~ cracking eggs, measuring dry ingredients, simmering . . .
3 Ways to Tell Things are not Going as Planned
- Discovering, too late, that the internet flan recipe mingles the ingredients for the two distinct parts of a flan recipe: the custard and the caramel glaze.
- Observing, too late, the bubbly caramel layer turn from amber to russet
- Gasping when the russet mixture hardens into rock candy
Even after the sugar water mixture reached “amber” color, and we pulled the pan off the stove, the declining heat turned the mixture to an unwelcome rusty color. Thereupon followed a kerfuffle of scraping, reheating, hoping to salvage the recipe!
Then we realized that the caramel mixture should have gone on the bottom of the pan, the custard part on top. Our project turned into an upside down affair because we assembled the project backwards.
Like a pineapple upside-down cake, we should have been able to slide the flan out of the pan and plated it, bottoms up. Oy!
The custard looked healthy (sort of) as we pulled it from the oven. Should it look bubbly? we wondered.
We drizzled what caramel we could salvage onto the top of the custard in ramekins. It didn’t look half bad.
Curtis’ face registers the trial-and-error frustration of our first attempt at flan making. He admitted it did taste good though. His Grandpa B. agreed!
The Oral of the Mory:
A Blogging Friend Tries Something New
My blog friend L. Marie tried to make Yarny, a new project for her. She agrees she had mixed results, but she enjoyed nosing out of her word-y comfort zone to experiment with yarn.
What is the last new thing you tried? How did it turn out?
Comments on my trial and error recipe with Curtis?