Friday, July 29, 2011

French Fridays with Dorie - citrus-berry terrine

When we went to France last summer, one of the things that I wanted to take back to the states with me was giving up multi-tasking. While in France, I worked hard (so sad) to focus on one thing at a time. Enjoy the moment and completely focus on the thing at hand. There have actually been studies that show that multi-taskers don't do things as well as someone who does a focused task. We multi-taskers might get a lot done, but something suffers. I would posit that happiness suffers. We are so focused on getting the tasks done, that we don't take time for the pleasure of what we're doing to invade our soul.

While in France, my soul was invaded repeatedly by pleasure and I certainly enjoyed it! Back in the states...I continued to work hard to stay singularly focused. A very tall order and I am not always successful. For work things, I just have to multi-task...I can't seem to overcome the years of self-training to juggle 10 things at once. Oh well...guess I'll never be completely happy at work.

However, in more personal things...I have gotten much better at single-tasking. That's right...doing one thing at a time and enjoying it. Especially with cooking. But, it still takes actual effort. If I don't focus on focusing...I am soon doing several things at once and not enjoying any of them.

This is a very long-winded introduction to this week's recipe for French Fridays with Dorie.  You may know where I'm headed on this one.  While working on this very simple recipe (basically, create jello with orange juice, sugar and gelatin and then add fruit after the jello has set a bit), I was distracted with a few other things (like going shopping in the middle of making the jello).  Dorie's recipe said to make the jello and then refrigerate it for two hours (stirring a few times) until it was the consistency of egg whites.  I made the mix, popped it in the fridge and ran out for a quick shopping trip.  About 90 minutes later, I texted St. James and asked him to stir the orange stuff in the fridge.  He texted back and said it was set like jello and he couldn't really stir it.  Oops!

The next morning, I started it again (luckily I had four packs of gelatin, as the recipe needed two).  I reminded myself to stay focused.  I thought I was focused, but got distracted for a little bit (I think I was cleaning the house, as we had company coming)...by the time I went to stir the gelatin, it was very set (not quite completely, but pretty darn close).  At this point, I had no more gelatin (and was losing patience), so I added a little hot water to break it up a bit, stirred in the fruit and dumped it into a baking pan.  When making this, I wasn't completely unpacked yet and couldn't find my loaf pans...so I used a square.  When I unmolded, I used the first try as a base layer and then unmolded the second try on top of that.  I should have put a layer of whipped cream or marscapone cheese in between the layers.  That would have made the two layers hold together and give it a bit more of a visual interest.  Along with the loaf pan, my camera was still packed also, so my one photo is from my iphone again.  I now know that there are some cool apps for the iphone for photos (just downloaded hipstamatic), but you have to take the photo with the app...you can't fix the photo afterwards.


My result was not pretty, but it was quite tasty and everyone loved it.  Only I knew that it should have looked oh so more elegant.  I promise next week to have some nice photos...and maybe to stay focused and make the recipe properly.

PS...to all my fellow Doristas...I have been catching up on your blogs...however...google won't let me sign in for some damn reason and I can't leave any comments.  I'll be working on that this week too!

19 comments:

oneexpatslife said...

Way to persevere! And I like your introduction, we could all work at slowing down a bit and focusing on one thing at a time. Easier said than done I'm sure, but hey, we can always try.

oneexpatslife said...

Way to persevere! And I like your introduction, we could all work at slowing down a bit and focusing on one thing at a time. Easier said than done I'm sure, but hey, we can always try.

Cher said...

I am not sure what I would do with myself if I only had one thing to focus on. I think I would shut down :-0
Hang in there!

Ei said...

Two months in France! Sigh! Sounds lovely. Good for you for giving the recipe a second go. I doubt I'd have the patience to try again. You work on single-tasking, I'll work on patience. lol

Looks good to me!

MyBlackPoodle said...

So true. I did the same thing. Many of my cooking mishaps come from doing too many things at the same time.

gaaarp said...

I had the same trouble, except mine was exacerbated by the fact that in addition to letting it go too long without checking or stirring, I had also used too much gelatin. I whipped it up with a whisk, and it worked out fine. Not pretty, mind you, but it tasted great. I made it a second time, and it came out looking much more like the one in the book.

Mary said...

The Nancy Pan is a long vintage style loaf pan that Nancy of The Dog Eats the Crumbs gave me when we met at the AMFT book signing back in November of 2010. It is amazing and I love the shape. A few other blogger/friends have received it from her too and people often rave about how nothing sticks to it and it is perfect and unique. I love your story about multi-tasking...I too need to incorporate a little more laid back french attitude in my life!

DessertByCandy said...

Totally identified with feeling torn between multitasking and enjoying the moment. Hopefully you have better luck with this recipe next time. It is so pretty and delicious.

Lizzy said...

Mine did the same thing after 90 minutes, but I was too lazy to start over. I microwaved and whisked, and said a prayer :) Turned out OK! Whew. Yours looks perfect~

Foodiva said...

I can relate to both your multitasking and single-tasking comments, we are moms after all! But yes, it's a good reminder to savor the special moments, even this weekly FFWD and the joys it brings (to you and your family). I liked how everyone's terrines turned out...mine used agar instead of gelatin, because I knew I wouldn't be able to manage the unpredictability of the latter!

yummychunklet said...

Glad you kept at it and that it turned out fantastic!

Kris' Kitchen said...

You've been busy! With moving, etc I think your mold turned out as perfectly as anyone could hope...looks lovely. And I know what you mean about multi-tasking...I'm doing my nephew's wedding and working all that in between all my other stuff, and today I just about lost my mine...so no Dorie for me today. And, I have been known to wish for just one boring day...just once. One day when I have nothing to do. It will never happen. But I love my life. But I could probably take your advice and be more focused on some of the important things and people and actually enjoy them even more.

Elaine said...

Hi, Steph! It is so good to have you back posting FFwDorie again! I hope everything went well with your move. Your terrine looks so good!

Betsy said...

I enjoyed your thoughtful musings about single vs. multi-tasking. I can totally relate to the internal struggle. I've been working on focusing on one thing at a time since I read The Happiness Project. I fall off the wagon, but am definitely more aware. I think women are wired to multi-task so it's challenging. Your terrine looks delicious. I think the first gel time must be closer to 30 minutes. Mine was firmer than it should have been when I went to stir it the first time after 45 minutes.

Adriana said...

I wish I had added some "red stuff" to mine. Glad to hear your family enjoyed it! Thanks for reminding us that singletasking is the way to go for many things in life.

lola said...

Multi-tasking drives me nuts! I try to stop but its not easy. The taste is what's most important, isn't it?

KarenP said...

I need to focus on focusing too...Especially in the kitchen; I love cooking, but sometimes my multi-tasking makes me not enjoy it because I end up rushed to get dinner on the table. I'm glad everyone enjoyed your terrine even if it wasn't elegant and pretty! :)

Kathy said...

Steph, Nice to see you back at FFWD. I ran into the same problem with the initial setting but put my gelatin in the microwave for about 40 seconds, checking it every few seconds, until it was the consistency I wanted. It worked just fine. So glad every one enjoyed your terrine. I love the idea of a cheese middle. Yours still looks wonderful even with all the problems you encountered.

Mary said...

This recipe was delicious, and way to persevere! I wouldn't call it multi-tasking, but I do have a short attention span and tend to get very distracted while cooking, sometimes with disastrous results!
:)